Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Fred Hoiberg allows Dwyane Wade to stop practice, call out teammates

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As a rookie NBA coach last season, Fred Hoiberg was seen as a friendly players’ guy who got walked all over by his players at times. Jimmy Butler begged Hoiberg to coach the team harder.

This season, Hoiberg doesn’t have to yell at his players — Dwyane Wade is doing it for him.

Hoiberg gave carte blanche to Wade to stop practices and call out teammates’ mistakes, and Wade is taking full advantage, reports Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“The coaching staff really doesn’t need to say much because before you know it, every time I turn around D-Wade is stopping the play and he’s cursing guys out as well,” Bulls power forward Taj Gibson said. “And it’s great and our young guys are understanding to it. They’re still in here early; they’re staying late. And they understand what we need to do and that’s really good for us early.”

“Yeah, that was so harsh, Taj,” Wade said. “I read that. I wouldn’t say cussing out. I would say getting my point across — tough love. But good love. I would stop practice if I see something. We got to police each other. And I want people to do the same to me. There are certain times I’ve done things that I need to be better at, and you’ll hear Rondo say something to me or Jimmy say something to me. And I want it to be like that with everybody. I don’t want it just be us three always talking. I want everyone to feel confident that they can maybe not yell at everybody but pull a guy aside and say, ‘Hey, D, you should’ve been there on this.’ We want to get everyone comfortable with that. I’ve been around a long time. If I see something that I think we can nip in the bud early, you want to nip it in the bud.”

Players holding each other accountable could be the start of the Bulls developing the culture they need to become more than a .500ish team. This team has some young players who need to be taught how to be a professional in the NBA. All of it are reasons for Bulls fans to have some optimism.

The big questions about these Bulls still linger: the lack of shooting and floor spacing, the defensive questions, and how Hoiberg is going to handle the team once there is tension amongst Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler, and Wade?

But at least Wade is helping set a tone.

Rare LeBron James rookie card could fetch $200K at auction

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AKRON, Ohio (AP) A rare piece of Cleveland Cavalier history – a LeBron James autographed rookie card – was put up for auction and could fetch up to $200,000.

Just eight bidders had vied for what’s being billed as the world’s rarest and most valuable James basketball trading card as of Friday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2dh0XRS). But the leading bid was expected to grow from its figure that day of $85,000 before the auction closed Saturday.

The one-of-a-kind card from Upper Deck’s 2003/04 Ultimate Collection series features a picture of the Cleveland Cavalier taking a shot, along with a swath of the NBA logo from his game uniform. It was randomly placed into a pack of cards more than a decade ago.

The card is graded as a “MINT 9” but Professional Sports Authenticator group and the card “reflects an untouched, impeccable appearance.”

Officials at New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions haven’t disclosed the identity of the seller, but they said the card would be sold, as the minimum $50,000 bid had been met.

While sought after, James hasn’t reached the collector’s status of “Mr. Basketball” George Mikan. A mint condition version of Mikan’s 1948 card fetched more than $400,000 last year.

Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com

Welcome back NBA: Stephen Curry’s scoop alley-oop to Andre Iguodala

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The NBA is back.

Well, sort of. The NBA preseason is back, but for the Warriors there was still some showtime in Vancouver as Stephen Curry threw the scoop alley-oop to Andre Iguodala for the reach-back slam.

This team is still just fun.

On the whole, the game was as sloppy as you’d expect in the first preseason game — particularly for a Warriors team trying to fit in Kevin Durant and a lot of new pieces.

Before the game, the Raptors did lock arms as a sign of unity during the national anthems.

Raptors players, coaches lock arms in solidarity during national anthems at preseason game

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How many games did it take to for there to be some kind of protest action during the national anthem of an NBA game?

One.

At the first preseason game of the year, the Toronto Raptors players and coaches locked arms during both the American and Canadian national anthems, before they tipped off against Golden State in a game played in Vancouver.

On the other side, veteran David West stood about two steps behind the rest of his teammates during the anthems.

Raptors players had said since the start of training camp they were looking for a way not so much to protest but to keep the conversation going about what fueled the protests in the first place. This seems a smart answer.

The league expects there to be more protests coming. The NBA (unlike the NFL) has a rule that players must stand with their team for the national anthem, and they have enforced it in years past. The league and players union have talked about how to handle the protests that everyone knows will continue to come in a variety of forms.

The protesters will have the support of big names such as Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers. What the NBA will want is a way to help players not only express their opinions but make a difference in their communities.

Watch Wizards’ Otto Porter drain halfcourt shot

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The Washington Wizards were having a little fun, a half-court shooting contest near the end of practice on Friday.

Apparently, half court is well within Otto Porter‘s range.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

Porter’s going to be starting at the three, working next to John Wall and Bradley Beal, and they could use another shooter to help balance the floor this season. Porter hit 36.7 percent from three last year, he’s got some range. Although he really shouldn’t try this shot mid-game, Brooks wouldn’t even let Kevin Durant do that.