Bulls coach Thibodeau has no interest in resting Derrick Rose: ‘If he can go, I think he has to go’

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Derrick Rose has missed three of his team’s last four games while dealing with ankle injuries, including Friday night’s win over the lowly Sixers.

Rose has been game-time decisions for each, warming up a couple of hours before tip-off to see if he would be able to go.

But the soft schedule, which has included games against Orlando and Minnesota that Rose has missed, has zero to do with the team’s strategy. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wants Rose playing the moment he’s healthy enough to do so, in order for his star player to rid himself of any lingering rust that has accumulated from so much time off over the past two seasons.

From Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago:

When asked on Friday whether Rose would be ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Boston Celtics as well, coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t wait until the question was finished to respond.

“No, no,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see (Saturday). We’ll see where he is. If he can go, I think he has to go. If he can’t, then he doesn’t. It’s really that simple. It’s the only way he’s going to shake the rust off is getting out there and playing.”

The Bulls’ front office feels the same way. While GM Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson are hopeful that Thibodeau will keep Rose and Joakim Noah on a minutes limit to start the season, their outlook jives with the head coach’s: If Rose feels good enough to play, then that’s what he should do.

I’m not sure that the majority of Bulls fans would feel the same way.

The Eastern Conference is a two-team race between Chicago and Cleveland, at least on paper. There doesn’t appear to be another squad capable of handling either of those two in a seven game series once the playoffs begin, and unlike previous seasons, the Bulls would like to be at full strength for a change once that time is upon us.

Playing Rose now if he’s anywhere below 100 percent is short-sighted at best, even with the intention of getting him comfortable with the regular season grind, to the point where he can play in a cohesive manner with his teammates. The smart move would be to continue to rack up wins against inferior competition while Rose makes his way back, but it appears as though the organization won’t rest him without cause, and wants him back on the court just as soon as he feels he’s healthy enough to contribute once again.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.

Victor Oladipo denies trade rumor he wants out of Indiana

Victor Oladipo
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It was a trade rumor that kind of came out of nowhere — maybe more as a thought exercise for Celtics fans hoping to move on from Gordon Hayward — but it got traction: Victor Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana.

Not true, Oladipo said.

Oladipo jumped on Instagram Live with rapper Fat Joe and shot down the rumors (hat tip Clutch Points):

“I’m a Pacer. I’m a Pacer…

“Those rumors on the internet, I don’t know where they’re coming from, I’m just focused on getting my knee right for next year.”

He said later in the interview he wants a ring, he wants “hardware” because that is needed to show you are one of the greats, and he would consider leaving the Pacers to get it. But that wasn’t a short-term thing. (Also, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor and a lot of other guys would like to talk with you about that attitude.)

Oladipo returned mid-season from his knee injury to a Pacers’ team that finished as the four seed in the East but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oladipo never quite returned to his All-NBA form after coming back from injury and averaged just 14.5 points a game in the 19 regular season games he did play. Oladipo is owed $21 million next season, the last year of his current deal.

Whether he wants out of Indiana or not, at $21 million and with questions about just what level of player he is post-injury, there is not much of a trade market for Victor Oladipo. Indiana more than likely runs it back under a new coach — who has yet to be chosen — and banks on a healthy Oladipo helping the team make the next step.