Ricky Rubio sounds like a guy going to put off NBA debut

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Despite what Timberwolves brass has insisted, it has never made sense for Ricky Rubio to leave Barcelona and come to the NBA next season. Because it doesn’t make sense to walk into a likely lockout that could cost games. Why leave one of the top teams in Europe, Barcelona, where you are a rock star, to come here and potentially not get paid and have no place to play?

Sounds like he is willing to wait it out.

In an interview with Spanish sports publication Marca he hinted he might wait and that the lockout will be a factor when he makes his decision (via Hoopshype, which did the translation of the quote as well).

“I do have interest in the NBA, but not as in right away…”

“I signed a six-year contract with a buyout option after the second season. If I leave this year I would have to pay an amount of money and that’s it. It’s a unilateral decision that I have to make, although if I had to leave at any time, I would talk to the club and the NBA franchise, which is currently Minnesota…”

“Going to the NBA is a dream; every good Spanish player wants to follow Gasol’s steps because he’s a role model…”

This is a question of when, not if. He will come to the NBA someday. But when matters. Minnesota is trying to sell hope and Rubio is a key part of that, so they speak of how good their relationship is and how he is coming soon.

If you read the entire article (via Google translation as we did), Rubio sounds patient. He has to make a decision on buying out his contract before the July 1 deadline on when the NBA players and owners must come to a deal or a lockout starts. And even the optimistic Jared Dudley says there is a 90 percent chance of a lockout. Plus, remember that the Timberwolves can only pay $500,000 of the $1.4 million buyout — the rest comes out of Rubio’s pocket.

It’s unclear what the buyout provision is in future years, that also will be a factor, although that is something that could be renegotiated.

Report: Dennis Smith Jr. rejoins Mavericks after reconciling with Rick Carlisle

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Second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been rumored to be on the trade block. The Dallas Mavericks guard hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with coach Rick Carlisle, and several teams have expressed interest in Smith. It appeared that Smith was all set to join another team as part of a swap as we approach the trade deadline.

A report on Sunday on the latest from Dallas has changed all that. According to The Athletic, Smith and Carlisle have had productive talks and the 21-year-old is set to rejoin the team for their game on Tuesday.

Via Twitter:

Smith hasn’t made the kind of leap the Mavericks were hoping for. Despite an offensive explosion across the league, he hasn’t seen his advanced numbers experience a significant bump. Smith’s flaws are that of a young player — shooting and decision-making — so any additional communication with coaches will be a good thing for him.

Who knows is he and Carlisle can ever heal the wound fully, but it felt too soon to press the eject button on a Top 10 pick like Smith for Mavs fans.

Lakers PG Lonzo Ball will miss 4-6 weeks with ankle sprain

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The Los Angeles Lakers have been dealt another injury loss.

Lakers PG Lonzo Ball, part of the young core the team is trying to develop around LeBron James, suffered an ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets on Saturday. The team release via their website said Ball would be re-evaluated but could mis 4-6 weeks.

Via Lakers:

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, who was injured in last night’s game at Houston, underwent an MRI which revealed a Grade 3 left ankle sprain. Ball is expected to miss 4-6 weeks and updates will be provided as appropriate.

Ball had to be carried from the court after he collided with James Ennis during a play in the third quarter. Ball appeared to step on Ennis’ foot when the Rockets player tried to cut him off from the basket.

LA has had a rough go of it since LeBron injured his groin some 13 games ago. The Lakers have also been without Rajon Rondo, and have had a tough time winning games. The team, once thoroughly in the playoff race, has now dipped to ninth place in the West.

James and Rondo have been cleared for basketball activities, and they need their veteran leadership now more than ever heading into the All-Star break.

Watch the Bulls’ tribute video for Dwyane Wade

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Dwyane Wade is a Chicago native but the Miami Heat guard only played in the Windy City for a short amount of time. Wade was a member of the Chicago Bulls for 60 games in 2016-17 despite having signed a massive contract with the team in July of 2016.

Wade is now back where he belongs in Miami, and he’s been on a bit of a farewell tour across the NBA. As such, the Bulls felt it prudent to show a little tribute video for Wade before the final game he was to play at United Center.

Via Twitter:

How Bulls fans feel about Wade probably depends on who you ask, but a tribute video from the organization is a classy touch no matter what.

Wade has done jersey swaps with players around the league and in Chicago he got a special one: Benny the Bull.

‘One Piece’ fans are trying to get Steven Adams into All-Star Game

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There’s been a lot of clever NBA All-Star marketing over the years. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum did a “Napoleon Dynamite”-themed video for his buddy Damian Lillard this season. The Toronto Raptors made a faux-vintage action figure ad for Kawhi Leonard.

Now it appears that anime website Crunchyroll is trying to get “One Piece” fans to vote for Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams.

Adams is a fan of anime, and has professed his admiration for the show “One Piece” before. Adams made mention about how he was watching the show instead of Kevin Durant‘s debut with the Golden State Warriors a while back. In turn, Crunchyroll — a streaming site — made a video trying to get people to vote for Adams in the NBA fan vote.

Via Twitter:

That’s pretty good, but will it be enough? We know the fan vote gets wild, especially with favorites who are sort of undeserving (Derrick Rose and Luka Doncic come to mind). Could a big push from the anime crowd help Adams, who is an excellent player but who has never been an All-Star, notch his first bid?