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Report: Jimmy Butler will tell Heat he wants to play in Miami

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What Jimmy Butler wants and what Jimmy Butler has to accept may be two different things.

Or, is Jimmy Butler using Miami to get what he really wants — a full five-year max from Philadelphia?

While Butler is coveted by teams everywhere from Los Angeles to New York — literally — his heart is apparently in Miami, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

In terms of fit and culture, Butler would be perfect in Miami. Whether that actually comes to pass is something else entirely.

The buzz around the league for a while has been that what Butler really wants is a fully guaranteed, five-year, $191 million offer from Philadelphia and that all the other rumors — Miami, a sign-and-trade with Houston, joining Kevin Durant on the Clippers, etc. — are all really about pressuring Philly to give up that money. The Sixers, reportedly and understandably, are hesitant to give a full five years to Butler, who is about to turn 30 and has an injury history.

That said, Philly wants to retain Butler and would only relent to a sign-and-trade if Butler both demanded it and threatened to leave to a third team with cap space if the Sixers did not make the trade. The Lakers and Nets have cap space and interest in Butler, and the Lakers are reportedly being very aggressive now (what that says about their pursuit of Kawhi Leonard is interesting).

With Miami, it will likely take a third team to get a deal done. No way the Sixers agree to take on the salaries of Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, or Ryan Anderson. Some combination of Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, and Josh Richardson would work for Philly, but not Miami.

Butler remains one of the real wild cards in free agency, even if what he wants is to be in Miami.

Brandon Clarke bullies Ian Mahinmi with monster dunk (video)

Brandon Clarke
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How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?

After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.

Patty Mills hits game-winner in Spurs’ NBA-record fourth straight OT game (video)

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.

But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.

Popovich, via ESPN:

“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.

And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.

 

Report: Luka Doncic might return to Mavericks within a couple weeks

Luka Doncic
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Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.

Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.

Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.

But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.

Bucks’ Eric Bledsoe out two weeks due to right fibula avulsion fracture

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The Milwaukee Bucks keep right on rolling, they won their 18th straight on Saturday night, cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now they’re going to have to keep this winning streak going without point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Bledsoe will miss at least two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced Saturday. The injury happened Friday night in a win against Memphis.

An avulsion fracture is where a strain to ligament pulls a little bit of bone off where the two connect. It sounds worse than it is medically, and while it hurts rest is usually the only treatment needed.

Bledsoe is averaging 15 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Bucks, shooting 34.4 percent from three, playing solid defense, and providing another ball handler and shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee has been +4.1 points per 100 possessions this season with Bledsoe on the court.

George Hill, who has had a strong season for Milwaukee off the bench, will step into the starting role for now.

The injury comes at a rough time as the Buck hit a tougher part of the schedule this week, facing Dallas (which may be without Luka Doncic) and the Lakers on Thursday.