Kurt Helin

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah runs down the court with an apparent injury to his left shoulder during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Chicago. The Nets won 105-102. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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Joakim Noah’s injury likely changes Bulls’ plans at trade deadline


The Chicago Bulls were expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. They had already reportedly tested the trade market for Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, and Taj Gibson. With Nikola Mirotic on the roster (but struggling) and the emergence of rookie Bobby Portis, the Bulls could move one of their bigs to get help on the wing.

Now Noah is out for the season following shoulder surgery.

Not only does that mean the Bulls are without their best rim protector, but also it changes what the Bulls are thinking at the trade deadline, suggests Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Noah’s injury also closes whatever window there was on the Bulls’ desire to trade him. They were exploring what they could get for him as the February trade deadline approached….

The Bulls were also quietly checking into deals for Pau Gasol, who will opt out of the final year of his contract after this season. But Gasol, who played in Friday’s loss to the Mavericks, is also battling injuries (shoulder, Achilles) and has a short list of teams he will sign with, making it difficult to trade him for a valuable asset.

Gibson, both because he is rock solid on the court and will make an affordable $8.9 million next season, was always the most likely Bull to be moved if they wanted real quality back. But now, can the Bulls afford to get rid of another big? Or, would they want to try to bring in another big man in a trade, one under contract who will be around longer? Would the Bulls be willing to move a wing such as Tony Snell to get the deal done?

The Bulls are going to undergo a lot of roster changes the next couple off-seasons. It will be interesting to see how they construct a team to fit around Bulls’ coach Fred Hoiberg’s system (which didn’t love Noah, so he was moved to the bench).


Matt Barnes fined $35,000 by league for saying sometimes violence is the answer

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“Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is. And unfortunately, it happened. I don’t regret it. Like, man to man knows who’s wrong and who’s right.”

That was Matt Barnes speaking about his run-in with Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife back during training camp. Barnes was suspended two games for the incident — the players’ union is appealing that trying to get Barnes his $64,000 in game checks back — and the topic came up again when Barnes’ Grizzlies took on Fishers’ Knicks this week.

Those comments will cost Barnes another $35,000 in fines, the league announced this week.

“Matt Barnes’ comments condoning violence do not reflect who we are as a league or the character of our players,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations for the league, in a statement. “His words are unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the core principles of this game and the NBA.”

The NBA is protective of its image; Barnes had to know the fine was coming when he said it.

I’ve always gotten along well with Matt Barnes, he’s been forthright in our dealings, and he does fantastic work with vision charities in the off-season. That said, I think Barnes gets off on the light side here — what he did was abuse. Not with Derek Fisher, that sounded more like an assault legally, but police chose not to arrest him. I mean with Barnes’ estranged wife — trying to control behavior through physical violence is the definition of abuse, and that’s what Barnes was doing here. For a league that would like to avoid that stigma, I’m not sure it came down hard enough on Barnes.

Watch Ben Wallace’s jersey retirement ceremony in Detroit


Ben Wallace, the anchor on defense for the 2004 Pistons that won the title and the teams for years on either side of that who were a force in the East, deserved to have his jersey in the rafters at the Palace in Auburn Hills.

Now he’s got it.

The Pistons retired his jersey on Saturday night with a touching ceremony; we thought we’d pass it along.

Stephen Curry hits three standing on Pistons’ center court logo

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The Detroit Pistons outplayed the Golden State Warriors Saturday night and handed the Warriors their fourth loss of the season. Detroit earned that win at home, and it was perfect timing to do it on the night Ben Wallace got his jersey retired.

But the shot of the night went to Stephen Curry — he knocked down a three while still standing on the Pistons’ center court logo. That is just ridiculous.

Curry had 38 on the night, but the Warriors couldn’t defend the Pistons and Curry did not get enough help on offense.

Jae Crowder hits Celtics’ game winner, John Wall misses layup to tie

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It was a well-designed play by Brad Stevens, but, even more, a good recognition by Jae Crowder and a fantastic pass by Marcus Smart that gave Boston the game winner Saturday night.

As good as that play was, there was the surprise at the other end of John Wall missing a layup that could have tied it after he had sped coast-to-coast for the chance. Kelly Olynyk makes Wall alter the shot, but it is still makeable (Wall is shooting an above-average 62 percent in the restricted area this season. It didn’t fall this time.

With the win Boston remains the eight seed in the East and is now two games up on the Wizards for that final playoff spot.