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TODAY'S NBA RUMORS

Updated Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Any unvaccinated NBA player with temporary visa status who leaves the country will be unable to reenter the United States, according to a memo obtained by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday. For example, a player who is not vaccinated against COVID-19 would be unable to reenter the United States after playing in Canada. The same applies if an unvaccinated player travels outside the United States during NBA All-Star Weekend. - ESPN.com

Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry now sits just 16 3-pointers away from breaking Ray Allen's career 3-point record after knocking down seven more treys in a 126-95 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night. When asked if he thought he could break the record of 2,973 during Wednesday's home game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Curry smiled. "Anything is possible," he said. Part of the reason the smile came so easily for the two-time MVP is because he knew what it would also entail -- breaking teammate Klay Thompson's single-game record of 14 3-pointers, which came in October 2018 and knocked off Curry's previous record of 13. - ESPN.com

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler aggravated a tailbone injury that had kept him out four games in his return to the court on Monday, a 105-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Butler favored his back after a hard fall on a missed driving layup early in the first quarter. He scored just 10 points on 13 shots before heading to the locker room midway through the third quarter. He did not return. - ESPN.com

LeBron James said he and his teammates have to play better when asked about the scrutiny facing Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel. "I think criticism comes with the job, you know?" James said after practice on Monday. "Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff. And we as his players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor. We're a team and an organization that don't mind some adversity, that don't mind people saying things about us, obviously, because it comes with the territory." L.A. is 12-12, which would put it as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and in the play-in tournament if the season ended today. - ESPN.com

Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan entered the NBA's health and safety protocols Monday and missed the team's 109-97 home victory over the Denver Nuggets. DeRozan is the third Bulls player currently in the health and safety protocols, joining Coby White and Javonte Green, both of whom tested positive for COVID-19 last week. However, as of Monday evening, the Bulls were not certain whether DeRozan would be sidelined for multiple games. Coach Billy Donovan said he expected to know more information in the next few days. - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM MONDAY

As the third quarter neared an end, Brandon Ingram drove to the basket and absorbed contact. He earned a trip to the free-throw line, where he scored his 32nd and 33rd points of the game. Ingram scored a season-high 40 points, but on the second leg of New Orleans’ Texas two step, he received little help. Ingram converted 15 of 28 field goals. His teammates combined to go 25 of 66. - Times-Picayune

After the New York Knicks lost their third straight game, and for the fourth time in their last five, against the Denver Nuggets Saturday afternoon, All-Star forward Julius Randle said it's up to him and his teammates to decide what kind of season they want to have. "I have to be better. Everybody has to be better," Randle said after New York's 113-99 loss to Denver, a deceiving scoreline from a game that saw the Knicks trail by 30 with eight minutes to go. "I'll take responsibility for the team. I'll take responsibility for myself. That doesn't bother me. At the end of the day, I just wanna win. I think everybody ... well, I know everybody in that locker room wants to win, too. "We gotta look ourselves in the mirror and decide what we want the season to be. I know what I want it to be. I know what the guys want it to be. But we have to commit to it, and that's just really what it is." - ESPN.com

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic did not play in Saturday night's 97-90 loss to Memphis, the second night of a back-to-back, with what the team said is left ankle soreness. Coach Jason Kidd said the soreness was a residual effect from the left ankle sprain that sidelined Doncic for three games last month. The 22-year-old also dealt with a sprained left knee then. The Mavericks lost all three games without their two-time All-Star. - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SUNDAY

With DeMar DeRozan drawing James Harden and Kevin Durant with him on a drive into the paint, Lonzo Ball was all alone on the right wing as he launched a 3, crouched in anticipation and then turned toward courtside to the fans behind him after drilling a late dagger against the Brooklyn Nets. Down four rotation players due to health and injuries, the Chicago Bulls continued their surprising start to the season by erasing an 11-point third-quarter deficit to give the Nets a stinging 111-107 loss at Barclays Center on Saturday night. The Bulls (16-8) have won three straight games and leave New York having beaten the Knicks at Madison Square Garden and the Nets at Barclays Center on this road trip. This is also the second time this season that the Bulls outplayed the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference in the fourth quarter to hand the Nets a bitter loss, clinching the season series between the two teams. - ESPN.com

The Charlotte Hornets have had four players -- LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels, Mason Plumlee and Terry Rozier -- enter into the NBA's health and safety protocols, it was announced Saturday. The Hornets have sent players and staff home from their practice facility as there's concern of possible positive COVID-19 tests, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. - ESPN.com

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Saturday's 124-102 win over the Miami Heat with right calf soreness. It's the second straight game Antetokounmpo has been sidelined because of the injury, which kept him out of the second half of a back-to-back on Thursday in Toronto. Coach Mike Budenholzer said then he was hopeful this would be just a short-term issue. - ESPN.com

The Chicago Bulls, who played the Hornets on Monday, saw Javonte Green test positive for COVID-19 on Friday, following Coby White earlier this week. Charlotte had four players enter health and safety protocols on Saturday. - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SATURDAY

The Portland Trail Blazers fired general manager and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey on Friday following an independent investigation that determined he violated the team's code of conduct. "Out of respect for those who candidly participated in that privileged investigation, we will not release or discuss it," the Trail Blazers said in a statement. "We are confident that these changes will help build a more positive and respectful working environment." Joe Cronin will serve as interim general manager during the Trail Blazers' search for a permanent replacement, the team said. - ESPN.com

LeBron James said his brief stint in the NBA's health and safety protocols left him feeling "confused," "frustrated" and "angry" after his first game back in the Lakers' 119-115 loss to the LA Clippers on Friday night. James missed the Lakers' game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday after returning a positive test for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning that required him to isolate from his team and fly back to L.A. solo on a plane chartered by the team. "I knew I was going to get cleared because I never, ever felt sick at all," James said after finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals against the Clippers. "I just thought it was just handled very poorly." - ESPN.com

James said he initially tested negative on Tuesday and then tested positive in a follow-up test. The league reintroduced more rigorous testing to its teams following Thanksgiving, hoping to catch any cases that could have arisen from players expanding their circles around family and friends for the holiday. "Usually when you have a positive test, they'll test you right away to make sure," James said. "There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you've been put into protocol. That's the part that kind of angered me. I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn't allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento. - ESPN.com

Zion Williamson's return to the NBA floor has been delayed because of soreness in his surgically repaired right foot, the New Orleans Pelicans announced Thursday afternoon. Williamson was supposed to participate in his first full practice on Thursday but was held out because of the soreness he had been experiencing in the past few days. While not a sharp pain, the soreness has persisted. The team does not believe it will be a major issue moving forward, but they are proceeding with caution. - ESPN.com

Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic complained to the officiating crew early and often during a 107-91 home loss Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans. Too often, in the opinion of first-year Mavs coach Jason Kidd, who wants his franchise player to be more selective in picking his spots to lobby for calls. "I would lean toward playing 5-on-5 a bit more," Kidd said when asked about Doncic's frequent discussions with the referees. "You're not going to get any calls. Officials, they tend to not stop the game to change calls. You have to understand there's a point in time in games -- dead balls -- to be able to talk to officials." - ESPN.com

The game was long decided and the Memphis Grizzlies starters were relegated to cheerleaders on the bench when John Konchar got a steal and headed to the basket. His right-handed dunk gave the Grizzlies a 145-67 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder with 3:02 left and a new franchise record for points in a game. That 78-point advantage was Memphis' biggest lead on Thursday night, but by the time it was over the Grizzlies were still 73 points ahead. Their 152-79 win over the Thunder shattered the NBA record for the largest margin of victory. - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY

As Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo charged toward the basket during the closing seconds of a tie game against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, he knew he was going to have to get creative to score. So, Antetokounmpo flipped the ball off the bottom of the glass with a finger roll to guide it into the hoop and seal a 127-125 victory for the Bucks. His heroics capped off a 40-point, 12-rebound, 9-assist performance and helped lead the Bucks to their eighth consecutive victory. "If you just go normal, most likely you're going to get blocked, so you've got to be sneaky with it," Antetokounmpo said after the game. "I'm getting old. I'm not able to dunk on people anymore, so I've got to be sneaky." - ESPN.com

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid said "it's going to take awhile" for him to fully round back into form after an extended bout with COVID-19. Embiid had his second straight rough shooting performance in Wednesday's 88-87 loss to the Boston Celtics. "I would never use it as an excuse but obviously I think it's going to take me awhile to get back, especially legs and cardio and all that stuff," Embiid said after going 3-for-17 against Boston, making him a combined 7-for-33 across Philadelphia's past two games. "But every single day I got to keep working hard, and keep getting better." - ESPN.com

X-rays on the lower back of Karl-Anthony Towns came back negative Wednesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves star told reporters. - ESPN.com

The most versatile element of the Miami Heat lineup, the player the defense is designed around and a fulcrum for the offense, is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. The Heat announced Wednesday that center Bam Adebayo will be sidelined for approximately that period of time, with thumb surgery scheduled for this weekend. Adebayo downplayed the discomfort after he completed Monday night’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, with a follow-up examination showing a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his right thumb. - Sun Sentinel

Devin Booker left the Phoenix Suns' big matchup against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night with a left hamstring injury and did not return. He suffered the injury during the second quarter, grabbing his leg after a drive six minutes before halftime. He left the game moments later. - ESPN.com

As [Zion] Williamson gets closer to making his season debut, he'll join a team that is off to one of the worst starts in franchise history. His return will bring some much-needed stability to the young core, but the Pelicans are looking to follow the 2020-21 Washington Wizards and become just the fourth team since the ABA/NBA merger to make the playoffs after starting 6-17. "We haven't had Z this season. [We're] really waiting for him. We need him," Valanciunas said. "He's gonna be the big piece for us offensively, defensively. The game is gonna change in a good way, big time." - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM WEDNESDAY

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will miss at least 10 days because of lower abdominal tendinopathy, the team announced Wednesday. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis, the team said. Lillard will be evaluated again in 10 days and will miss at least four upcoming games. - ESPN.com

Miami Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo will undergo surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, the team announced Wednesday. Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Adebayo is expected to be out for four to six weeks, which would cause him to miss between 15 to 20 games. Adebayo, 24, has blossomed into one of the NBA's best two-way centers, able to switch out onto virtually any guard defensively while also being a hub of Miami's offensive attack. Through 18 games this season, Adebayo is averaging 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Chicago Bulls guard Coby White tested positive for COVID-19, coach Billy Donovan announced after practice Wednesday afternoon. White will enter the NBA's health and safety protocols and will not travel with the team to New York this week for games against the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. White is the second Bulls player to contract the coronavirus recently, following center Nikola Vucevic, who missed seven games last month while in the league's health and safety protocols. - ESPN.com

After a four-month investigation, the NBA has punished the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat with the loss of second-round draft picks because of premature discussions into the free agency of guards Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, the league announced Wednesday. Chicago and Miami will lose their next available second-round pick after the league concluded that the teams had impermissible discussions with representatives of the players ahead of the opening of free agency on Aug. 2. In a memo to teams obtained by ESPN, the league wrote, "Both teams fully cooperated with the investigations," which was a factor in the penalties. - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM TUESDAY

New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters Monday afternoon that he is removing guard Kemba Walker from not only the team's starting lineup but also the rotation as a whole, beginning with Tuesday's showdown with the crosstown-rival Nets in Brooklyn. "It's a tough decision to make, but you always have to do what you think is best for the team," Thibodeau said after practice Monday in explaining his decision. "I view Kemba as a starter, and so it'd be tough to play three small guards together. I gave it consideration, and I've got great respect for who Kemba is as a person and all he's accomplished in this league. "But I have to do what I think is best for the team." - ESPN.com

Jonas Valanciunas wasn't exactly a marksman when he entered the NBA in 2012. In fact, in his first five seasons in the league, he went 1-of-4 from 3-point range. But those days are long gone. Valanciunas hit his first seven 3-pointers on Monday night -- all in the first half -- as he helped lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 123-104 win over the LA Clippers. The 6-foot-11, 265-pound bruiser has slowly started to add the three-point shot to his game since 2017, but he's never had a night like Tuesday when he scored a career-high 39 points to go along with 15 rebounds. - ESPN.com

Falling completely out of the Brooklyn Nets' rotation was not something Blake Griffin saw coming. After starting 17 games this season, Griffin has sat the past two games after Steve Nash inserted LaMarcus Aldridge into the starting lineup. "No, I mean listen, [Aldridge] has been playing unbelievable," Griffin said. "So, I totally get starting him, especially Joe [Harris] has been out, and I totally get that. "Being completely out of it, though, I didn't necessarily see that coming. But that's not my decision. As players it's our job to do whatever coaches see best, so at this point that's what it is." - ESPN.com

Orlando Magic rookie Jalen Suggs fractured his right thumb during Monday night's 101-96 loss at the Philadelphia 76ers and will be out for an extended period, the team said. - ESPN.com

NBA forward and sneakerhead P.J. Tucker is honoring fashion icon Virgil Abloh with his shoe choice for Monday night's game ... rocking a pair of Off-White Jordan 5s with a special tribute. The Heat baller showed off the kicks prior to taking the court against the Denver Nuggets ... which have messages etched in Sharpie -- "Thanks for a lifetime of inspiration" and "Virgil will always be here." - TMZ.com

An NBA fan was removed from his courtside seat on Sunday ... and it's all 'cause he allegedly hurled Kardashian heckles at Tristan Thompson. For real. Here's the deal ... during the fourth quarter of the Kings vs. Grizzlies game in Memphis, Thompson became visibly upset with a fan sitting courtside, and pointed the man out to refs and stadium staffers. - TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM MONDAY

Stephen Curry was angry at the officials during Sunday's 105-90 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles, then made the other team pay for it. The Golden State Warriors star scored 13 of his team-high 33 points in the fourth quarter and caught fire with just over nine minutes left, after a drive toward the basket in which he thought he got fouled by Clippers small forward Terance Mann. Curry did not get the benefit of the whistle and let his frustrations fly, earning a technical foul, while displaying more outward anger than at any other point this season. "I thought I got fouled, so I let my emotions go," Curry admitted after the team's eighth straight win. "And definitely fired me up, fired our team up -- you have to be able to direct that energy into just putting the ball in the basket, obviously, after that. So that's where I feel like we do it well, where you don't let it become a distraction for the rest of the game, and it obviously helped open up the game." - ESPN.com

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant avoided a serious knee injury but is expected to miss at least a "couple of weeks," coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters ahead of Sunday's game against the Sacramento Kings. - ESPN.com

The Golden State Warriors assigned Klay Thompson and James Wiseman to their G League affiliate on Sunday, the team announced Sunday. The hope is that Thompson (left ACL/right Achilles) and Wiseman (meniscus) receive practice time at that level while they continue their respective rehabilitation programs. - ESPN.com

Isaiah Thomas made sure USA Basketball's road to the 2023 World Cup didn't begin with a major upset. Thomas scored 21 points, including a sealing 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left, and the Americans erased a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Cuba 95-90 on Sunday in their World Cup qualifying opener. "It's an honor and a privilege to put USA on your chest," the 32-year-old Thomas said. "So, anytime USA Basketball comes calling, I'm always going to be for it. We have a great group of guys, a great coaching staff, and it was fun to be out there. It was a great game. It was a tough game for us." - AP via ESPN.com

Enes Kanter is scheduled to officially become a United State citizen on Monday, and in honor of this long anticipated occasion by the Celtics center, he has changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom. The name change caps a particularly active stretch for Freedom, considering his ongoing effort to call attention to the human rights abuses and aggression by the Chinese government in places like Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan via national TV interviews and game night sneaker art. Freedom has called out the NBA and sneaker giant Nike for supporting the Chinese system. - Boston Herald



NBA RUMORS FROM SUNDAY

Moments after winning their 16th straight game, the Phoenix Suns could be heard clapping and shouting in celebration of their latest victory on their way into the visitor's locker room at Barclays Center. "We run New York!" one member of the Suns team could be heard shouting in the hallway. The Suns (17-3) completed a road sweep of the New York teams on back-to-back nights and moved within one win of matching their franchise's longest winning streak with a 113-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. The win came one night after the Suns beat the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. - ESPN.com

Joel Embiid exploded for 42 points in his return from a nine-game absence due to health and safety protocols but wasn't able to lift the Philadelphia 76ers in a 121-120 double-overtime loss to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. Embiid played 45 minutes in his first game back after testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 8. He finished with 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks and got to the free throw line 21 times. "I really thought I wasn't going to make it," Embiid said of his time battling the virus. "It was that bad. So, I'm just thankful to be sitting here. I'm just glad I got over it.'' - ESPN.com

Houston Rockets guard John Wall has expressed his hope to the organization that he can resume playing for the team in the near future, sources tell ESPN. Wall and the Rockets had agreed on him sitting out until a trade could be found, but the five-time All-Star guard talked to Houston general manager Rafael Stone on Friday about restarting discussions on a return to the active roster, sources said. The two sides are expected to continue talks on Sunday. - ESPN.com

With two years and $91 million left on his contract, trade talks surrounding Wall have been a nonstarter this season and there is been no inclination on either side for a buyout to make him a free agent, sources said. - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM FRIDAY

Houston Rockets rookie guard Jalen Green will miss at least one week because of a strained left hamstring, coach Stephen Silas told reporters Friday. Green, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft, exited Wednesday's 118-113 win over the Chicago Bulls in the second quarter because of the injury. - ESPN.com

Former NBA player Marc Gasol will play for Girona, the club he founded in the second division of Spanish basketball, he announced Thursday. The 36-year-old Gasol said he will play until the end of the season before deciding whether to retire. - AP via ESPN.com

Golden State Warriors swingman Klay Thompson participated in a full team practice on Tuesday for the first time since tearing his left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and his right Achilles in November 2020. "It's so exciting," Thompson said. "Just to be running up and down the court and playing basketball, it's truly a blessing and it makes coming to work so easy. The boring stuff's behind me, and now it's just getting back in game shape -- I got to stay patient because I can be an overeager person to get out there and play, but I'm just incredibly grateful to be out there. The work the training staff and I have done over the last two years is really paying off, and it's hard to put into words how grateful I am to be playing basketball again." - ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY

Nets star Kevin Durant said it "means the world" to him to pass Hall of Famer Allen Iverson for 25th on the NBA's all-time scoring list during Brooklyn's 123-104 victory over the Celtics here at TD Garden on Wednesday night. "I mean, it means the world. I dedicated my life to this game at an early age ... so I watched all these guys that I'm like passing up," Durant said after scoring 21 points for the Nets, who improved to an Eastern Conference-leading 14-5. "I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be in the NBA like them, and make an impact in the league like them. So Iverson, he was the pantheon for me. One of those guys that I emulated every time I went outside and played with my friends. It's all surreal. I pictured I would be in the league, and had an idea ... but to do it is pretty special." - ESPN.com

LeBron James was napping in the city that never sleeps on Monday when the NBA announced that the Los Angeles Lakers star would be suspended for the first time in his 19-year career and have to miss Tuesday's game against the New York Knicks. "Rob [Pelinka] called me. I missed his call," James told ESPN of the Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager dialing in the bad news. "As soon as when I checked my phone and it was a missed call, I was like, 'I know I'm suspended.' "I mean, it's some bulls---. But whatever." - ESPN.com

Denver guard P.J. Dozier has a torn ACL in his left knee, the Nuggets announced Wednesday. Dozier crumpled to the floor after a collision at the rim during Tuesday night's 119-100 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, which led to initial fears of a serious injury. Additional tests Wednesday confirmed the tear. - ESPN.com


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