Kurt Helin

Mike Dunleavy, Luol Deng

Hoiberg still optimistic Dunleavy Jr. will play for Bulls this season

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CHICAGO (AP) — Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg says he still thinks forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. will play this season.

Dunleavy is away from the team working with a specialist as he recovers from a back injury.

Hoiberg said Friday he is “optimistic” the veteran sharpshooter will suit up after being sidelined all season. He also understands the skepticism that Dunleavy will return, saying it’s “fair to question that, talk about it.”

The veteran sharpshooter was expected to be out eight to 10 weeks after having surgery in late September, but he experienced a setback in his recovery.

The 35-year-old Dunleavy re-signed with Chicago in July after he averaged 9.4 points and shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range in 63 games last season.

Kobe’s 10-year-old daughter already mimics his pull-up jumper

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant‘s pull-up jumper is a work of art. While the consistency of it falling has dropped off in recent years (although in his last five games his outside shot has been on target again), his fundamentals in keeping his balance while throwing his defender off is something to be studied by young wings.

Or, Kobe’s daughter.

Baxter Holmes of ESPN had this great note in a story on Kobe dunking for the first time this season (hat tip Eye on Basketball and Complex).

Bryant lined up for free throws and stared across the court to his smiling wife and two elated daughters, the youngest of whom, 10-year-old Gianna, was especially excited.

“We were shooting not too long ago and she was shooting one-dribble pullups,” Bryant recalled. “I asked her where does she get that from? She said, ‘From watching you.'”

“I didn’t know she was paying attention that much,” Bryant continued. “I watch her play and she has the same mannerisms. She’ll sit there and bite her jersey and all this other stuff. That’s a beautiful thing.”

Her coaches may not love her taking pull-up jumpers quite yet, but nature over nurture. And every league is a make-or-miss league, if she’s knocking them down nobody will care.

How many All-Stars should Warriors have? Curry says why not five?

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Andrew Bogut #12, Andre Iguodala #9, Draymond Green #23, Stephen Curry #30, Klay Thompson #11, and interim head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court while the referees review a play during their game against the Toronto Raptors at ORACLE Arena on November 17, 2015 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Stephen Curry is a lock, the fans will vote him in as a All-Star starter (and likely top vote getter overall). Klay Thompson was an All-Star last season and is close to certain to be again, although the backcourt in the Western Conference race is a crowded space. If Draymond Green isn’t an All-Star it’s a crime.

But how many Golden State Warriors should make the All-Star Team?

Stephen Curry thinks three would be low, as he told the San Jose Mercury News.

“Why not five?” he said.

“The way they we play, every given night we all want to have an impact on the game,” Curry said. “Stats may look a certain way and you can make judgments off of that. But when a team goes 25-1, and hopefully we keep that trajectory going, hopefully individual guys are recognized for what they mean to the team.”

The problem is other teams get guys, too. With Curry and Thompson likely in for the backcourt, you can bet on Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and probably James Harden making the cut. In the front court there is Green, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Dirk Nowitzki, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins — and that leaves guys like Tim Duncan and (the deserving) Derrick Favors off the team.

Who of those guys are you going to drop to put in Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, or Andrew Bogut?

Those last three Warriors are fantastic players — and more importantly perfect fits for the Warriors’ offense — but All-Stars? Nah.

Three’s company. That works.

Unless you want to count Luke Walton/Steve Kerr as coach.


Despite talk among fans, early trade market reportedly quiet

DeMarcus Cousins
Associated Press
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It takes buyers and sellers. Supply and demand. Two to tango. Choose your cliche but the truth remains — if a team is going to make a trade in the NBA, there have to be two willing parties, both of whom think they have something to gain.

All of which is why — despite the growing chatter in the media and among fans about potential trades — the actual NBA trade marketplace has been quiet. From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Meaning, there is more demand than supply. Teams who think they have a shot at the playoffs want to buy, not sell. That has left the market relatively barren; we will have to see how that changes as we move toward the February trade deadline.

There are some names out there — Kevin Martin and Caron Butler likely will get moved. There will be a lot of Ty Lawson chatter but actually trading him and his large salary (and limited production on the court) will be difficult. While the Pelicans deny they are shopping him, Ryan Anderson also likely is available (the Pelicans say they are listening to offers). There are others.

However, Miami moving Hassan Whiteside is unlikely because of the salary challenges. And Celtics/Lakers fans can dream all they want, Kings’ ownership has zero interest in moving DeMarcus Cousins.

This could end up being another quiet trade deadline.

Warriors ready for shot at revenge against Bucks Friday


The Golden State Warriors have built the best 26-game start in NBA history with a businesslike approach.

The next game will be a little personal, however.

The Warriors get a chance to avenge their lone loss when the Milwaukee Bucks limp into Oakland for Friday night’s matchup.

Milwaukee sent shock waves throughout the league by ending the Warriors’ 28-game regular-season winning streak with Saturday’s 108-95 victory. Michael Carter-Williams capped the upset with a late dunk he followed by glaring at the Golden State bench, a move which drew the ire of several Warriors.

“We remember what happened less than a week ago,” Stephen Curry said following Wednesday’s 128-103 bounce-back win over Phoenix.

Even if Golden State didn’t have that additional motivation, Milwaukee (10-17) faces an uphill task in achieving a season sweep. The Bucks have lost 11 straight on the road and won’t have top scorer Greg Monroe for a third consecutive game due to a Grade I MCL sprain in his left knee.

Monroe played an integral part in the victory over the Warriors, tallying a season-high 28 points along with 11 rebounds and five assists.

The Bucks have averaged 89.0 points during their road skid. Including playoffs, Golden State (25-1) hasn’t scored fewer than 90 at home in 70 straight outings. The Warriors have won 29 straight in Oakland in regular-season play.

Having Klay Thompson at full strength also figures to hinder Milwaukee’s chances. The All-Star guard was held to 12 points and 4-of-14 shooting as he dealt with a sprained ankle in last week’s meeting, but scored a season-high 43 against the Suns.

“It’s good to have a few big-scoring games here or there just to let teams know they can’t focus so much on Steph,” said Thompson, who went 8 of 13 from 3-point range. “Just (to) give him some balance out there because he’s going to get every team’s greatest look every night.”

The Warriors also should be more fresh for the rematch. Last week’s loss was the finale of a grueling seven-game, 13-day road trip, but they’ll play for just the second time in six days Friday.

Milwaukee has dropped the first two games of a four-game western swing. After opening with a lackluster performance in Tuesday’s 113-95 defeat to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, the Bucks showed more will Wednesday but lost 113-90 to the Clippers.

“The fight was there and the intent was right,” coach Jason Kidd said. “The guys played hard, but the ball did not fall for us. The effort was extremely high, but we just could not make the plays when we needed to.”

Carter-Williams had 17 points in the latest defeat and has averaged 17.7 in a three-game stretch, a result of his increased role with backcourt mates Greivis Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless sidelined by ankle injuries. The point guard totaled 17 points, seven assists and five steals against Golden State.

With Monroe out, the Bucks will lean more heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, who scored a season-high 19 on Saturday.

Milwaukee had lost four straight to the Warriors.