Kurt Helin

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Report: Jimmy Butler not thrilled with Gar Forman’s team building comments


Who is the leader in the Chicago Bulls locker room? It used to be Joakim Noah, with Derrick Rose having quiet influence, but Jimmy Butler awkwardly tried to step into that role this season after signing his max contract extension. He rubbed a few Bulls’ players the wrong way, said Fred Hoiberg needed to “coach them harder,” and that combined with the losing and injuries led to a miserable season in Chicago.

In the wake of all that, GM Gar Forman was asked about the rumors Jimmy Butler could be traded and he said, “we have to explore all options.”

Not surprisingly, Butler didn’t like that, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

That comment didn’t sit well with Butler, sources said, merely adding to his growing wariness regarding Forman that stems from Butler feeling slighted during failed negotiations on his rookie extension. Butler ultimately rejected the Bulls’ four-year, $44 million offer, won Most Improved Player honors for 2014-15 and signed a five-year, $92.3 million deal with a player option for the final season last July.

This doesn’t mean Butler is on the block.

But in the Bulls’ early organizational meetings to shape offseason strategy, little changed from the February trade deadline regarding Butler, sources said. That means it would take a significant offer involving at least one high-profile player and multiple first-round picks to pry him loose.

As Johnson notes, the Bulls prefer to build via the draft anyway.

Short of a “Godfather” offer that is not coming, the Bulls would be making a mistake trading Butler. Teams need elite talent to win in this league, and Butler is one of the better two-way players in the NBA. Has he liked the spotlight on him now? Sure. Does he have a lot to learn about how to lead a team? No doubt. But anyone who wants to trade him based on those things doesn’t know how to build a winning basketball team.

We will see this summer of the brain trust in Chicago knows how to build a winning basketball team.

MRI on Hassan Whiteside’s knee shows sprained MCL, he’s likely out at least couple weeks


Officially, Hassan Whiteside is listed as “day-to-day” with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

In practice, he likely can return in a couple of weeks. If the Heat are still playing then — not having Whiteside in the paint protecting the rim makes that task far more difficult.

The Miami Heat tweeted this out Sunday:

The Heat did not list a grade of the sprain. However, Stephen Curry is still battling back from a Grade 1 sprain — the mildest of the sprains — and will have missed a couple of weeks. If Whiteside has a Grade II or III sprain he would be out longer.

This diagnosis is good for Whiteside in that the free agent to be did not suffer a torn ligament requiring surgery. The young man is going to get paid max or near max dollars and a more severe injury would have made some teams hesitant.

However, this is not good for the Heat — Whiteside is essential for them in a series where they now trail the Raptors 2-1. Toronto’s offense is all about the penetration and shot creation of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Miami could take away some of their shots at the rim with Whiteside protecting it. Miami doesn’t have another good rim protecting option and Erik Spoelstra may be forced to go super small now.

Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas has a sprained ankle, but may be back sooner than Whiteside in this series.

Al-Farouq Aminu may have had Saturday’s best dunk (VIDEO)


A lot of things went right for Portland in its Game 3 win at home against Golden State. Near the top of that list was Al-Farouq Aminu going off for 23 points.

He also had arguably the dunk of the day Saturday, when he attacked and the late-rotating Andrew Bogut was not about to stop him.

Dwyane Wade took extra warm-up shots during Canadian national anthem

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That’s disrespectful.

Imagine the outcry if a player took a few extra warm-up shots during the American national anthem.

Miami’s Dwyane Wade got in a few shots once the Canadian national anthem had started before Game 3 between the Heat and the Raptors. That is a violation of the NBA rules. If he had taken one shot, realized he was late and walked over to the line of players standing for the anthem it would be one thing, but he just keeps on shooting. Here is the video, or follow this link to a better version (hat tip Reddit).

The start of the anthem seems to come fast before the teams are ready, the Raptors were just finishing shooting too, but if you watch the video they quickly stop and get in the line. Wade kept firing away. I don’t think he was being intentionally disrespectful, but it comes off that way.

My guess is the league’s reaction to this will be to send a memo to teams telling them to remind players to be respectful of the anthem. My guess is the reaction would be very different if he did this during the American national anthem. Just ask Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

Wade, you can do better.

Watch Damian Lillard go off for 40 to beat Golden State


When Portland beats teams, it’s usually because of an offensive explosion. The Trail Blazers don’t win with defense, they just count on their offense being so good it covers everything else up.

For example, there is Damian Lillard going off for 40 points against the Warriors leading the Blazers to a 120-108 Game 3 win Saturday. Lillard did his Stephen Curry impression by hitting threes and looking unstoppable. Oh, and playing like an All-Star, not that he’s still bitter about being left off that team this season.

We will see Monday if Lillard can replicate it. And if Curry is back.