The Jazz used the enormous Rudy Gobert to contest Marcus Smart’s inbound, leaving the paint just open enough – with a recovering Gobert – for Tyler Zeller to find an opening. Credit Smart for making that tough pass, too.
Front offices of potential contenders from Los Angeles to Philadelphia have their eyes on the Chicago Bulls — will the struggling Bulls pivot to chase Victor Wembanyama and the top of the lottery, making them sellers at the trade deadline? Teams have interest in Chicago’s three stars: Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic.
Except just-extended LaVine isn’t currently available, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday on his network’s pregame show discussing the Knicks.
“The Knicks will be watching Chicago. Is Zach LaVine a player who before the deadline possibly can become available? He certainly isn’t now.”
Chicago is not yet ready to pivot to tanking, so none of its stars are truly available. That said, the Bulls don’t look like a playoff team, they miss Lonzo Ball, and even if things do come together where do they stand in the East hierarchy? If the Bulls do become sellers, they aren’t going to tear this team down to the studs, it would likely be trading just one star. Possibly a second if the offer was strong enough.
LaVine — who signed a five-year, $215 million extension this past summer — is the least likely to be available, league sources have told NBC Sports. The expectation is that Vucevic would be the Bull first made available if the Bulls decide to start seriously listening to offers. And that remains an “if.”
That said, front offices around the league have their eyes trained on Chicago.
John Collins is out for at least another week with a sprained ankle. DeAndre Hunter has been out with a strained hip flexor.
Now you can add Dejounte Murray to the Hawks’ growing injury report, he is out at least 2-3 weeks with a sprained ankle, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.
Hawks All-Star Dejounte Murray is expected to miss two weeks with a left ankle sprain, sources tell me and @sam_amick. Atlanta now has Murray, John Collins (ankle) and De'Andre Hunter (hip) sidelined.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 8, 2022
The injury happened on a closeout from RJ Barrett of the Knicks.
Murray suffered the injury on this play Wednesday night against the Knicks, landing on Barrett's foot on the closeout.pic.twitter.com/xASjBGDBJK
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 8, 2022
The Hawks have already had chemistry and fit issues this season, and missing key players for an extended period only exacerbates the problem. Atlanta looked flat getting their doors blown off by the Knicks Wednesday night, 113-89, a game that added to a string where they have lost 5-of-7. Now they will have to find a way to right the ship without their second-best playmaker.
There also is an update on the Hawks’ play-by-play announcer Bob Rathbun.
Bally Sports Southeast's latest update on Hawks Play-by-Play Announcer Bob Rathbun. pic.twitter.com/4IAaR7VICt
— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) December 6, 2022
The WNBA and USA Basketball star has spent 10 months in Russian prisons — including being convicted and sent to a Russian penal colony — for having vape canisters with small amounts of cannabis oil in her luggage as she went through Russian airport security back in February. She became a political pawn in the tensions between the United States and Russia, mostly surrounding Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and was freed via a prisoner swap announced Thursday.
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home. pic.twitter.com/FmHgfzrcDT
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
The basketball world — WNBA players in particular — had worked to keep her name front and not let Griner be forgotten during this ordeal, pushing President Joe Biden and the government to reach a deal. With the news Griner was freed, NBA and WNBA players took to social media to react.
“Brittney has had to endure an unimaginable situation and we’re thrilled that she is on her way home to her family and friends,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “We thank the members of the NBA and WNBA community who never wavered in their efforts to raise awareness of Brittney’s unjust circumstances.”
BG is FREE!!! 294 days and she is coming home!!! 😭🤍🙏🏻❤️
— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) December 8, 2022
BG 🙏🏽 God is so good
— A'ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) December 8, 2022
God’s grace is SUFFICIENT! @brittneygriner is home! I love you BG!
— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) December 8, 2022
No more days. She’s coming home 🧡 pic.twitter.com/HsjbdPfdn5
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) December 8, 2022
Welcome Home BG!
Thank you for exemplifying what a true Warrior spirit looks like. You’re forever loved by so many unconditionally. 🤞🏾♾
— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) December 8, 2022
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) December 8, 2022
— Chris Paul (@CP3) December 8, 2022
Welcome home BG!! 🙌🏿 🙏🏿
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) December 8, 2022
— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) December 8, 2022
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) December 8, 2022
BG is FREE ‼️
— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) December 8, 2022
“We are overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that our sister Brittney Griner is finally coming home,” the NBPA said in a statement. “Her strength and courage throughout this last year have been truly remarkable, as have the efforts of her wife Cherelle, our WNBPA sisters, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, who have been relentless in their call to bring Brittney home. We know this homecoming would not have been possible without their unwavering support and continued work to keep BG always top of mind, and our players are honored to have contributed to those efforts. While this is a celebratory moment for our sisters and us, we must not forget the other political prisoners who remain in dire circumstances all over the world. These individuals must be remembered and fought for every single day as BG was so that they too can have this moment. Welcome home Brittney, we are so happy to have you back! #WeAreBG”
The best news to start our day with: finally, our sister BG is coming home!!
So grateful for all those who tirelessly worked to make this happen. Welcome home, Brittney!!!!
— Chiney Ogwumike (@chiney) December 8, 2022
Tears of Joy🏾 ✊🏾✊🏼✊🏻✊🏾 https://t.co/CY060plpQN
— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) December 8, 2022
— Kahleah Copper (@kahleahcopper) December 8, 2022
Helll yea!!!! BG is free!! ❤️❤️❤️
— Chelsea Gray (@cgray209) December 8, 2022
Thank you to all the government officials involved in securing her release 🙌🏽 what an unbelievable feelings https://t.co/iJFpE1uZ3V
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) December 8, 2022
When I tell you nothing could kill my vibe today! My sis is coming home 🙌🏾🏾😁
BG is FREE 🙌🏾
— Jonquel Jones (@jus242) December 8, 2022
Yes! She’s coming home!
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) December 8, 2022
Welcome home, Brittney Griner 🤍 pic.twitter.com/ELtuqHiwXk
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) December 8, 2022
BRITTNEY WE LOVE YOU!!! we have been waiting on your homecoming and it’s finally happening!! ❤️🙌🏼
— Amanda Zahui B. (@AmandaZahuiB) December 8, 2022
Welcome Home BG!!! We’ve missed you! https://t.co/k1meZ8lnUp
— James Wade (@coachjameswade) December 8, 2022
Brittney Griner 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽. Thank god
— Kim McNeill (@ecucoachkim) December 8, 2022
BG! We love you! We love you so much. We are so thrilled you are coming back to American soil!!!!
— Arielle (Ari) Chambers (@ariivory) December 8, 2022
Brittney Griner is HOME!!!! Praying for her still! GREAT NEWS!!
— Joy Smith (@CoachJoy21) December 8, 2022
Have freakin chills that BG got released! God is so good! We love you!
— Danielle Robinson (@justDROB) December 8, 2022
Anthony Davis has played at an MVP level for weeks now, outdueling even Giannis Antetokounmpo recently in a Lakers’ win. LeBron James is still a force at age 37, Russell Westbrook has accepted the role and has been a game-changer as a sixth man, and the Lakers’ role players are hitting their 3-pointers.
It’s been an impressive run, but can the Lakers keep it up and be a genuine threat in the West? Corey Robinson of NBC Sports and I discuss all that, plus whether the now-healthy Clippers can find a groove and become a threat.
In Corey’s Jukebox he dances a little salsa and explains how Nikola Jokic is like Beethoven. Then there is talk of the Kyle Kuzma trade rumors, and what exactly are the long-term plans in Washington.
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