Kurt Helin

Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves

Report: Minnesota to trade Chase Budinger to Indiana for Damjan Rudez

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Indiana wanted some depth and athleticism in the wing behind likely starters Monta Ellis and Paul George, so they went out and traded for it.

Indiana has acquired Chase Budinger from the Timberwolves in a trade, reports Adrian Wojnaorski of Yahoo Sports.

I like this deal better for the Timberwolves.

You may not recognize the name Damjan Rudez but here’s what you should know: The guy can shoot the rock. He’s a 6’10” Croation who can play the three or stretch four, and shot 40 percent from three as a rookie last year playing 15 minutes a night. While the Timberwolves have depth at the three and four slots — Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng and others — you can never have enough shooting. Rudez is going to get some minutes and hit some buckets.

Budinger can shoot the ball, but he has lost some of his trademark athleticism after years of injuries, which limited him to 67 games last season. He averaged 6.8 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes a night when he did play, plus he shot almost 37 percent from three. That lack of athleticism has hurt Budinger’s defense as well in recent years.

However, near the end of the season (the last couple months) Budinger seemed to have some of his bounce back and with that was a pretty good player. In the final six weeks of the season, he averaged 12.3 points and shot 39 percent from three, playing 29 minutes a night. If that’s the guy the Pacers can get for an entire season this will be a good trade for them.

It’s just, with his injury history, it’s hard to bet on it.

Mark Cuban is not buying DeAndre Jordan’s twitter apology

San Antonio Spurs v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three
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In the wake of DeAndre Jordan changing his mind and backing out of what he told the Dallas Mavericks to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers — and doing it in an unprofessional way, not taking calls from or meeting with Mavs owner Mark Cuban — Jordan took to Twitter to apologize.

This did not involve Jordan directly calling and speaking to Cuban (reportedly Jordan’s mother did, however).

Cuban took to the Cyber Dust app (he’s a primary investor and driver of the app, a Snap Chat competitor) to answer DeAndre and posted this, via Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Did Jordan write his own apology? No way to know for sure, but let’s say that it’s very rare for an athlete do to that and not a PR pro working for him.

Previously on Cyber Dust, Cuban explained his side of what happened when he tried to meet with Jordan (hat tip to the Sporting News for transcribing).

“Through all of Monday we were texting back and forth discussing players available, the amount of cap room we had left. Who our staff liked. Who he liked. How excited he was.

“Then on Tuesday the communications basically stopped and we started hearing rumblings from multiple people that something was up.

“So I flew down to Houston and got a room at the galleria, which is just a few minutes from his house I had my driver take me to his house. It’s inside a small gated community but the gate was wide open. So we drove in and I literally walked up to his door.

“There was no one home. So I texted him saying that I was there. I know something is up. Let’s talk. He texted me that he was on a date.

“I told him to have fun. I wasn’t in a rush, that I was happy to come by there and say hi or if he wanted to make the date fun, take them to Dallas for a night out.

“He didn’t respond.

“After about 10 mintues I went back to the hotel. I wasn’t going to sit in front of his house. I didn’t think that was right.

“When I got back to the hotel I texted him that I wasn’t in front of his house. Have fun on his date and we will talk.

“He hit me back immediately saying thanks.

“He knew I was in town. He knew I was close by. I knew something was up. I was getting the same reports everyone else was.

“I also knew his agents were coming to town. It made sense that he would talk to them and worst case, even if he was having second thoughts the agent would be able to give me updates.

“Like any big career move it’s natural to have second thoughts. So while I was concerned, I still wasn’t worried. SO I went to bed.”

Report: Sixers’ Joel Embiid to have another foot surgery, could miss entire next season

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
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This just sucks.

Joel Embiid was on track to be the No. 1 (or at worst No. 2) pick in the 2014 NBA draft, until concerns with his foot needing surgery had him fall to the Sixers at No. 3. He missed all of last season recovering from that injury (although by May both his agent and the team said he was back to “playing basketball”), however, a recent setback raised concern that the recovery had gone well off track.

It has — Embiid is going to need another foot surgery and likely will miss the entire 2015-16 NBA season, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 7-footer will have a second surgery after the latest setback in the healing of his right foot, according to several NBA sources. The team will decide whether to have it in North Carolina or at the New York Hospital of Special Surgery

“I would say there’s a great possibility that Embiid won’t play next year,” the source said. “Just think how long they sat him when they thought he was healthy.”

The need for surgery has been confirmed by John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com. However, Gonzalez notes that the timeline for Embiid’s recovery is unknown — it will depend on what the surgeons find and need to do — and he could potentially return next season.

Whatever the case could this now be career threatening? Maybe. Sixers fans have reason to be concerned. Chronic foot issues and NBA big men — whose job requires running up and down a hardwood floor — are a terrible mix.

The Sixers drafted Jahlil Okafor with the No. 3 pick this year and he will play along the front line with Nerlens Noel (who sat out his first year after knee surgery but played last season). Those two with Embiid could have made a formidable front line rotation for years to come.

Now you have to wonder if we’ll ever see it.

Video of Michael Jordan dunking while in high school? We got that.

Michael Jordan
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The fact Michael Jordan could dunk in high school is about as shocking as Donald Trump’s hair being fake.

Still, the video dug up by MaxPreps of Jordan dunking back in his days as a star at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C., is kind of cool. There’s Jordan on the leak out getting the pass and throwing it down on the breakaway with a style that looks familiar. Plus, you’ve got to love the old-school gym with the curtains on what was likely a stage back behind the basket.

That gym at Laney is now named after Jordan, and his Air Jordan brand paid to update it a few years back. Suffice to say the curtain is gone and now it is nicer than your high school gym.

Chauncey Billups says Ty Lawson no leader, Nuggets need to trade him

Ty Lawson
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They’re trying, Chauncey. They’re trying.

Turns out Chauncey Billups — the former NBA All-Star and Denver Nugget point guard, now an analyst with ESPN — is no Ty Lawson fan. Not that there are a lot of them in Denver right now. Billups was on 104.3 The Fan in Denver  Thursday and said it was time for the Nuggets to move on from the Lawson era (hat tip Eye on Basketball for the transcription):

I mean, well, one, Ty, he has not demonstrated what you want from the leader of your team and a guy who they’ve handed the keys to. He’s not demonstrated the kind of leadership that you want. And you have a young kid named [Emmanuel] Mudiay coming in who I think has a chance to be a star in this league. Right now the best player on the team is Ty Lawson. As a young player in the league, you come in 19-20 years old, you oftentimes try to emulate some of the actions on the floor and off the floor of the best player because that’s one day what you want to be. So I think just from the standpoint of the welfare of Mudiay and the well-being and the growth of Mudiay, you have to get Ty Lawson and you have to move him along.

The point about wanting good examples for Emmanuel Mudiay is a good one — and Lawson’s video after the Nuggets drafted Mudiay is a perfect example of why Denver would want to move him. Lawson had issues such as being late to a practice after the All-Star break, plus Denver had hoped he would be a leader and instead they had real chemistry issues with him in that role last year.

The problem is, Denver has tried to trade him. There just isn’t much of a market right now.

There were talks with the Dallas Mavericks, but those fizzled out, and Dallas now has Deron Williams in house. Denver has shopped Lawson around (as well as other players, they are ready for a roster shakeup) but have not found a deal worth their liking. The challenge is the league is deep with point guards right now so the options are limited — and the teams looking for point guards know that. It’s simple economics, there is more supply than demand.

But expect Denver to try hard to find Lawson a new home before the season starts. Something that would make Denver native Billups happy.