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NBA Rumors Stories for Sunday, December 16, 2018
Updated 12:00 a.m. ET

He’s the source of constant double teams with opponents daring Griffin’s teammates to make plays. And that’s the issue for the Pistons as trade rumors start heating up Saturday, the day that many free agents signed in the offseason become eligible for trades. There is no one close to Griffin on the roster. “You probably need a couple of folks like that, in my opinion,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said after Griffin’s acquisition last season. “We didn’t go searching with that philosophy, but it did come to us and we just couldn’t not afford to look at a guy like Blake, who can really change your franchise. We weren’t deliberate about (finding a star) because we’re building the team one by one, but you see it in the league the elite teams have a few Blakes.” Detroit Free Press

As one of the worst shooting teams in the league, the Pistons need wing help. With Reggie Jackson struggling, they wouldn’t mind an upgrade at point guard. There are two players that come to mind. With the Washington Wizards reportedly considering a sell-off of talent, the Pistons would have great interest in shooting guard Bradley Beal. Detroit Free Press

Another obvious target if he were to become available? Pistons fans received a firsthand look at Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, who scored 12 of a game-high 31 points in the comeback victory Wednesday night. The Pistons were interested in January and they would be interested now – maybe even more so with Jackson struggling to fit with the offense designed around Griffin. Detroit Free Press

With LeBron James set to meet Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets later Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers star thought back to the first time he met the former Chicago Bulls superstar on a June day in 2001, ages before he would be considered on par with the six-time champion and five-time MVP. "It was godly," James said. "I've said that over and over before, but it was like meeting God for the first time. That's what I felt like as a 16-year-old kid when I met MJ." Jordan was 38 then, preparing for an NBA comeback with the Washington Wizards and imparting advice to James, who was still in high school. ESPN.com

James is now weeks away from his 34th birthday and 460 points behind Jordan for No. 4 on the NBA career scoring list. The high school kid who wore No. 23 inspired by his basketball idol now has a résumé in the sport rivaled by few to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. ESPN.com

"Any time I'm even mentioned with the greats that played this game and guys before me who laid the path, laid the grounds in this work and allowed me to be in this position, it's always humbling and gratifying for my city," James said, referring to his hometown of Akron, Ohio. "Just knowing where I come from, some of you guys know where I come from that's been there, and some of you guys haven't, but where I come from, there's not many of us. It's very limited. It's very, very limited inspirations. Very limited resources. Very limited everything. So for me to be in this position where I'm at today, it's just a blessing." ESPN.com

A three-team deal that would have sent Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards and Kelly Oubre to the Memphis Grizzlies is dead over which Brooks -- MarShon or Dillon -- the Phoenix Suns had believed they were getting, league sources said. Memphis would not put Dillon Brooks in the trade, sources said, leading to the agreement being called off. ESPN.com

The Grizzlies and Suns didn't communicate directly on the trade, using Washington as a conduit in coordinating the three-team deal, sources told ESPN. The Grizzlies believed they were trading MarShon Brooks to Phoenix, but the Suns believed it was Dillon. ESPN.com



NBA Rumors Stories for Friday, December 14, 2018
Updated 11:20 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves so frustrated by the officiating in the second half of Thursday's 126-111 loss to the Houston Rockets that several players, LeBron James and Lonzo Ball among them, purposely held their hands behind their backs on a series of defensive possessions to make a point to the referees. "Just trying to defend without fouling," James said, who briefly locked his hands behind his body on a Rockets possession in the third quarter. "That's a point of emphasis anytime you play Houston. They got guys that can sell calls really good -- Chris [Paul] and James [Harden] -- so you got to try to keep your hands out of the cookie jar." ESPN.com

"You can't touch them," Ball said, expressing extra indignation at the two times Josh Hart was called for a foul while Harden was attempting a 3-pointer. "I was just trying not to foul today," he continued. "They were calling it tight today, so I was just trying to get my hands out of there. ... It's very tough staying in front of [Harden] with your hands like that." ESPN.com

At a news conference in July of 2017, Suns owner Robert Sarver laid the groundwork for why his team needs a new arena or renovations to their current one, Talking Stick Resort Arena. "We have no choice to do one of those two because as you know, our arena is becoming outdated. We're soon to be the second oldest arena in the league. Smallest arena in the league square-footage wise, not so much seating capacity, but square-footage wise and as I said the second oldest infrastructure wise. "We have to have an NBA-quality facility. I know that. I think the city of Phoenix knows that. We have no choice but to get one of those two things done. "So hopefully within the next couple of years we'll start construction on something.” Arizona Republic

In a statement Wednesday, Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley said the the team was focused on staying in downtown Phoenix. “We very much look forward to publicly discussing the many ways in which Talking Stick Resort Arena benefits downtown Phoenix and our community at large, and answering any questions the council and their constituents have about the arena and the proposed renovation," he said. "Our priority remains being in downtown Phoenix long-term, and we’re excited about the opportunity that lies ahead." Arizona Republic

When it was time for Justise Winslow to decide whether he wanted to sign a contract extension with the Heat before this year’s Oct. 15 deadline, he didn’t need much time to think about it. “I was fine with whatever decision he made,” Winslow’s mother, Robin Davis, said. “But he goes, ‘Mom, I want to be here.’ I’m like, OK, let’s do it then. He didn’t want to go anywhere else, he wanted to be right here. “It was just something that was understood that this is the place he wanted to be, this is the place he wanted to be his second home.” Miami Herald

Yes, it’s a small sample size. But this represents a big jump for a player who is averaging 7.9 points on 40.9 percent shooting during his NBA career. What has clicked for Winslow recently? “I think my first three years in the league, I was so caught up in trying to become this max-player guy that I was skipping steps along my maturation process,” said Winslow, who is averaging 11.1 points and is shooting 39 percent on three-pointers this season. “But when I just kind of took a look back and I thought to myself, I’m going to make plenty of money. It’s about that and guys want to get paid, but it’s also about the people you’re around and the atmosphere and the energy.” Miami Herald

Over the past week-plus, the Wizards have overall been trending in the wrong direction, now with three straight losses and injuries to John Wall and Otto Porter Jr. But over the past five games, Kelly Oubre Jr. has quietly been playing some of the best basketball of his career. In his last five outings, Oubre has scored at least 19 points in four of them. He has amassed 96 total points, his most ever in a five-game stretch. That breaks out to an average of 19.2 per contest and he got that number while shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 44 percent from three. He also grabbed 4.2 rebounds and posted 1.6 steals and a block per game. NBC Sports

Jonas Valanciunas, who sacrificed a starting spot with the Toronto Raptors and proceeded to give the team some of the most consistently good play of his career, will be lost for more than a month thanks to a thumb injury suffered Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors. Valanciunas, swatted across both hands in an aggressive move by Golden State’s Draymond Green, suffered a dislocated left thumb that required surgery in Palo Alto, Calif. The team said he will wear a cast for four weeks and be examined again then. Toronto Star

The Trail Blazers have been scuffling, losing seven of their last 10 games and falling to ninth in the Western Conference heading into Thursday night’s games … This will be the third game in four nights for both teams; Portland lost in Memphis on Wednesday night … Mississauga’s Nik Stauskas is averaging 6.7 points and 16.7 minutes per game while shooting about 37 per cent from three-point range … Toronto has won six in row over Portland, including three straight at the Moda Center. Toronto Star



NBA Rumors Stories for Thursday, December 13, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams and Councilwomen Laura Pastor and Debra Stark have asked for a postponement of this afternoon's City Council vote on whether to spend $150 million upgrading the Suns arena. This, because the deal will go down in defeat if it's put to a vote. Whether they get a continuance or not could mark the beginning of a showdown between the city and Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is telling some council members that he will take the team to Seattle or Las Vegas. Arizona Republic

The council votes were reportedly locked up last week but they began softening once the city released details of the deal late Thursday and the public started weighing in. The last straw came Tuesday night, when Council Michael Nowakowski began wavering – and reportedly wasn't answering his phone for the old arm twist. Arizona Republic

An international trip only seemed to intensify the Bulls’ current place at the epicenter of the NBA. Boylen’s old-school coaching tactics, which have included wind sprints, push-ups, five-man substitutions and showing film clips in the postgame locker room, led to two or three players suggesting a boycott of Sunday’s practice. They also have raised eyebrows around the league, even as the Bulls’ ears tune out the noise. Chicago Tribune

“There’s so much noise, so much negativity,” Paxson said. “I don’t feel it inside our building or our locker room. As crazy as it may seem, it’s actually been a good week for us for the long term. Jim has come in and set his tone. This is a different day and age than back when I played, so players have more voice than ever before. But it’s something that can be worked on and worked out, and Jim has a real open mind to all these things. Chicago Tribune

Phil Jackson made a surprise visit to the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility Wednesday. It was the first time Jackson has been seen by the media at the facility over the past two seasons. The team said the former head coach just stopped by. Lakers coach Luke Walton, who has kept in touch with Jackson and at times solicits advice from his mentor, said he didn't know his former coach was at the facility until media members pointed at Jackson, who was seated in a balcony above the court. ESPN.com

To coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs’ defensive improvements have been a matter of working both harder and smarter — and also simpler. There is much that goes into evaluating an NBA defense in an era in which half the league is averaging better than 110 points per game. “It’s not just the system,” Popovich said. “It’s them reacting to each other, trusting each other, communicating with each other. You just keep working at it.” Express News

A top former executive with the Sacramento Kings has agreed to plead guilty in an audacious scheme in which he siphoned off $13.4 million from two of the team’s top sponsors and spent it on beachfront homes in Southern California. Jeffrey R. David, the former chief revenue officer for the team, agreed Wednesday morning to a plea agreement in a deal that will recoup all of the money diverted from the Golden 1 Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente, his lawyer told The Bee. Sacramento Bee



NBA Rumors Stories for Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

After the Warriors hired Kerr in 2014, it appeared they were shooting a lot of 3’s. In the 2014-15 season, the Warriors ranked fourth in 3-point attempts per game (27) because of their sharpshooting backcourt. Four years later, though, the NBA’s league leaders in Houston (42.2) and Milwaukee (40.3) vastly surpassed what the Warriors have averaged this season in 3-point attempts (30.6). Yet, the Warriors (19-9) enter Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Raptors (21-7) at Oracle Arena shooting prolifically from 3-point range in the past two games. They went 19-of-43 from the perimeter in Monday’s victory against Minnesota, three days after shooting 19-of-46 from beyond the arc in Friday’s win in Milwaukee. Mercury News

Swaggy P is back in the game. Nick Young, who earned a championship ring with the Warriors last season, was signed by the Denver Nuggets on Monday, according to ESPN. Mercury News

The Lakers were unmoved. The Nuggets had no choice but to be moved, given that they could be without four starters (Will Barton, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray) on Monday when they meet the Memphis Grizzlies. Point guard Isaiah Thomas has yet to make his season debut with the Nuggets. Mercury News

Find out who fits long term. In all the important ways, that’s what this Bulls season is about. It’s why Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis returning for Monday’s game against the Kings is so important. It’s why Fred Hoiberg no longer is coach. And it’s why Jim Boylen doubled down Monday on moving forward as Hoiberg’s replacement — no interim tag, mind you — with his true, intense personality. Chicago Tribune

One day after two or three players suggested a teamwide boycott of practice in a group text exchange that led to two hours of intense team meetings, Boylen articulated the organizational mandate he believes he has to change the Bulls’ culture. “My job is to try to push our guys to a place they can’t take themselves,” Boylen said. “That’s pushing them outside their comfort zone. That’s what the Reinsdorfs are paying me for.” Chicago Tribune

According to multiple sources, Sunday’s scheduled practice served as the tipping point for some players’ frustration. But the fact Boylen used two five-man substitutions in Saturday’s 133-77 loss to the Celtics — the second coming just 2 minutes, 58 seconds into the second half with the Celtics leading by a mere 5-3 in the half — and constant public browbeating that featured Boylen publicly questioning players’ toughness and conditioning were bigger issues, per sources. Chicago Tribune

Kyle Lowry has become far less willing to get into the rim, he hasn’t attempted a single free throw in five of his last eight games and hasn’t been to the lane more than four times in any of the other three. Of his last 28 field-goal attempts, 25 have been three-pointers. “I feel like he should be a little bit more aggressive,” Kawhi Leonard said after Sunday’s home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. “Our offence kind of allows everybody to be themselves and take their shots. It’s a lot of freedom. With that said, he’s going to have some big games coming up.” Toronto Star

There’s a sense of normalcy surrounding the Warriors again, and, believe it or not, it’s all thanks to Draymond Green. Golden State’s injured All-Star forward is finally set to return to the court, and his return just may coincide with a patented winning streak. Green, who has missed 13 of the team’s past 15 games with a sprained right toe, has been cleared to play Monday night when the Warriors host the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. Mercury News

The rehabilitation of DeMarcus Cousins enters its final phase this week, probably as soon as Monday. He’s going to Santa Cruz to get in a few intensified practices with the G League Warriors, who aren’t scheduled to play a game until Friday. Cousins has spent the past 10 months recovering and rehabbing after having surgery in January to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon. He has spent the past several weeks participating in practices and scrimmages with the NBA Warriors. NBC Sports



NBA Rumors Stories for Sunday, December 9, 2018
Updated 12:00 a.m. ET

Brandon Ingram’s MRI Thursday evening confirmed a sprained left ankle and Ingram will be reevaluated in one week, the Lakers said Saturday. That means Ingram will miss at least two more games after Saturday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers play the Miami Heat at home Monday and will start a four-game road trip that begins in Houston Thursday. LA Times

Ingram is averaging 15.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season. He suffered the injury in the first quarter of Wednesday's win over San Antonio when he landed on the foot of Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge after taking a jump shot. Aldridge was whistled for a flagrant foul 1 for sticking his foot where Ingram was going to land. ESPN.com

The Lakers have lost 10 games this season, half of them to the Spurs and Magic. Not what you’d expect given the way those teams have been playing this year, but it shows two things. First, it shows that during the course of an 82-game season, most teams will have a shot at beating you. Second, it shows that the Lakers have been able to secure wins against some of their better opponents. LA Times

The free throw disparity has been a point of contention for the Lakers all season. When LeBron James passed Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list, his coach and some teammates mentioned that James’ scoring numbers would probably be much higher if all of the fouls committed against him were called. Last night, Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan attempted just three fewer free throws than the entire Lakers team. LA Times

The Bucks added guard George Hill from Cleveland in a Friday transaction but he’s unlikely to make his Milwaukee debut (on Sunday) … Second meeting of the year for these two teams; the Bucks won at home in a game both Leonard and Antetokounmpo sat out … Milwaukee sits second in the East. 3 1/2 games behind Toronto, and lost by 10 at home to Golden State on Friday night … Lowry is 5-for-27 from three-point range over his last five games. Toronto Star



NBA Rumors Stories for Saturday, December 8, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guard Matthew Dellavedova and forward/center John Henson from the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team trade, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman announced today. Inside Hoops

As part of the trade, Cleveland is also receiving Milwaukee’s own 2021 first round pick and 2021 second round pick as well as a 2022 second round pick from the Washington Wizards. In exchange, the Cavaliers will send guard George Hill and a 2021 second round pick (Washington’s via Utah) to the Bucks and forward Sam Dekker to the Wizards. In addition, Milwaukee will also receive forward Jason Smith from Washington. Inside Hoops

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank George Hill,” said Altman. “He helped us get to the NBA Finals last year and has been a consummate professional on the court and in our community. Both George and Sam Dekker went about their work here with professionalism and class and we wish them the best. At the same time, we’re very pleased to bring Delly back to Cleveland and want to welcome John Henson as well. This deal satisfied several important aspects for us in terms of having both long and shorter term benefits and assets involved. We will continue to look for ways to improve and strengthen our position for the future, while enhancing our ability to compete and grow in the short-term also.” Inside Hoops

On Thursday, Bulls coach Jim Boylen said Kris Dunn was showing “flashes” of his potential and Bobby Portis also was nearing a return to the court. But neither played Friday night against the Thunder. Dunn sprained the MCL in his right knee Oct. 22, and Portis suffered the same injury two nights later. Both participated in full-contact practices Wednesday and Thursday and in the shootaround Friday, leading to speculation they might be back in the lineup. Chicago Tribune

Knicks coach David Fizdale gave all indications Frank Ntilikina is no longer French toast. After benching him for three straight games, including letting him sit during Thursday’s nationally televised 128-100 loss in Boston, it looks as if the 2017 lottery pick will be back in the mix when the Knicks host a rare Garden back-to-back — Saturday against the Nets and Sunday against Kemba Walker’s Hornets. Fizdale even played center Luke Kornet, who has played less than 16 minutes this season, in the final minutes of the carnage against the Celtics — but kept Ntilikina on the bench. NY Post

After 129 games, including 64 starts, the end came unceremoniously for Andrew Harrison last month. The Grizzlies cut the third-year pro six games into this season, sending him on a wild ride that came full-circle for a few hours at Smoothie King Center on Friday night. Harrison's third team in five weeks, the New Orleans Pelicans, faced the Grizzlies in a Western Conference showdown. “Those are my friends for life, man," Harrison said of the Grizzlies. "I really enjoyed being around them. Some of the best times of my life I had with those guys. But I definitely want to win. It’s definitely personal. I definitely want to win.” Memphis Commercial Appeal



NBA Rumors Stories for Friday, December 7, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Pistons announced Friday morning that guard Ish Smith will miss at least two weeks after an MRI showed a muscle tear in his right adductor (groin). Smith suffered the injury in the Wednesday loss at Milwaukee. It’s the third injury to the Pistons’ backcourt, along with Reggie Bullock (left ankle sprain) and Luke Kennard (right shoulder sprain). Detroit News

Damian Lillard got the Blazers off on the right foot, but it was Jake Layman who stole the show. Layman, who slid into CJ McCollum’s roster spot in the starting lineup, took advantage of the opportunity he was given. Layman dropped 24 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes for the Blazers, leaving fans wondering: is it the mustache? NBC Sports

Up in the land of Kyrie, Knicks coach David Fizdale gave his strongest case yet that the Knicks have become an attractive free-agent destination after 25 games on the job. The Knicks are closing in on having cap space for a maximum salary this summer but have work to do. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, a Northern Jersey product, was considered their best chance until he proclaimed he will re-sign, but that is no guarantee after the Celtics’ sluggish start. NY Post

Irving’s backup, Terry Rozier, is also a restricted free agent, and the two of them may not be able to coexist long term. The Knicks like Rozier a lot, according to a source. The specter of Kevin Durant’s wandering eye has the Knicks on red alert. Durant never gave Phil Jackson a Hamptons meeting in 2016. Across recent years, James Dolan’s Knicks no longer became the Big Apple of superstar’s eyes. Hiring Jackson as president didn’t seem to improve matters. NY Post

Fizdale said he wouldn’t comment on when Porzingis would be back at practice, clearly sensitive about talking about the Latvian star since he made remarks last month he was doing “light running” and no sprinting and wasn’t planning on a 2018-19 return. Porzingis took exception and posted on Instagram a photo of him sprinting on a track that day. NY Post



NBA Rumors Stories for Thursday, December 6, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Golden State Warriors returned to Cleveland on Wednesday for the first time since winning the 2018 NBA Finals, and Draymond Green couldn't help but notice the visitors' locker room looked a little bit different. The Cavaliers redesigned both locker rooms in the offseason, and Green thinks he knows why. "Man these people changed their locker room up in Cleveland," Green said in an Instagram story. "They must couldn't have gotten that champagne smell out huh 30?" SF Chronicle

Frank Ntilikina was the last one off the court at Knicks practice Wednesday in Tarrytown, NY, but wasn’t in his usual chill mood. When asked how he was holding up during these uncertain times, Ntilikina went back at the questioner. “You see now — how do I look?” “Fine?” went the response. “I’m fine. How do I look out there [on the court]?” “You look like you’re working hard.” NY Post

“I got a front office that supports me in that,” Fizdale said regarding his tough lineup decisions in reference to Ntilikina. “We have to know who’s moving forward out of this group. And it won’t be every single player on this roster, unfortunately. That’s the nature of the business. We have to come out of this year knowing who those guys it’s going to be moving forward with us.” NY Post

Patience is what coach Nate McMillan is preaching as well — especially in regards to Tyreke Evans’ place in the Pacers starting lineup, which isn't going to change. “He’s had some turnovers, some missed shots lately, (but) we’re not going to go away from him,” McMillan said. “Off the bench, he was doing some good things for us. Hopefully he’ll find his rhythm and start knocking down some of those shots." While McMillan isn’t wrong that Evans was doing some good things off the bench, he wasn’t doing them consistently — or to the level the Pacers likely expected when they brought him to the team this offseason. Indy Star

On the same day the New Orleans Pelicans sent point guard Frank Jackson to the G-League, the team added guard Andrew Harrison on a two-way contract, a source confirmed to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. ESPN was first to report the signing. Harrison, 6-foot-6, 213 pounds, most recently played for the Cleveland Cavaliers where he was also on a two-way contract. The Cavaliers waived Harrison on Sunday but was picked up by New Orleans on Tuesday night (Dec. 4). Times-Picayune



NBA Rumors Stories for Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Just days after Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni praised the play of forward Danuel House Jr., and said House "belongs in the NBA somewhere," House no longer was in the NBA with the Rockets. That could be a temporary situation. The Rockets waived House on Wednesday, a day after he played 12 minutes against the Timberwolves as P.J. Tucker's primary backup at power forward. Houston Chronicle

Jazz center Rudy Gobert was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Tuesday afternoon for his public criticism of the officiating following the Jazz’s 102-100 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday. Salt Lake Tribune

A few days ago, Bronny James came downstairs to show his father something. Bronny planned to wear No. 23 when he played for the Santa Monica Crossroads middle school basketball team, the same numberhis father has worn in NBA games for the last decade and a half. Then Bryce, Bronny’s little brother, declared that he would be wearing No. 6, the number his dad wears in practices and the number he used to wear when he played for the Miami Heat. LA Times



NBA Rumors Stories for Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Chicago Bulls fired head coach Fred Hoiberg today, and immediately promoted associate head coach Jim Boylen to head coach. Often, when a head coach is fired, a temporary (interim) coach is named, but the Bulls decided there was no reason to wait and immediately gave Boylen the job. Hoiberg was named Chicago’s head coach on June 2, 2015 after spending five seasons as head coach at Iowa State. During his time with the Bulls, he coached the team to a record of 115-155 (.426). In 2017, he guided the team to the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, where they were ousted by the Boston Celtics in six games. Inside Hoops

The Bulls promoted associate coach Jim Boylen to head coach. There’s no interim in Boylen’s title because he’s well-regarded by management and ownership and has a chance to win the job permanently, executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said at Monday afternoon’s news conference at the Advocate Center. Chicago Tribune

Paxson also put to rest any questions about general manager Gar Forman’s job security, saying, “Gar is absolutely safe.” Hoiberg, who compiled a 115-155 record and one playoff berth in his three-plus seasons, arrived at the team’s practice facility Monday morning prepared to run the 11 a.m. practice. Paxson and Forman were there to relieve him of his duties. Chicago Tribune

Hoiberg still wants to coach, preferably at the NBA level, a source said. His five-year, $25 million contract that runs through next season is fully guaranteed, sources said, which means he’ll be paid fully until he lands another job. Chicago Tribune

Jim Boylen is the new Bulls coach and never has been the Bulls coach (if you don’t count that one day on Easter). Jim Boylan, however, was the Bulls interim head coach in 2007-08. The two actually worked together at Michigan State. Boylan was Scott Skiles’ longtime right-hand man and went 24-32 down the stretch of the 2007-08 season. Boylan almost fared well enough to keep the job. But as the Bulls lucked into drafting Derrick Rose that offseason, John Paxson began a coaching search that ultimately netted Vinny Del Negro. Chicago Tribune

Yes, the Bulls are 5-19, on an NBA-worst six-game losing streak and headed toward the NBA Draft Lottery for a third time in four years. They’re 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency and 28th in net rating. But no team has suffered more injuries than the Bulls this season, especially to key contributors, and at one point last month Fred Hoiberg was forced to start a backcourt of Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono. What chance did he have of surviving this? NBC Sports

The answer, Paxson said Monday afternoon at the Advocate Center, was a lack of “energy and competitive spirit” the front office noticed in games, practices and the locker room the last few weeks. That passion, Paxson said, had been evident even during last year’s tank-inspired 27-win season. NBC Sports

It was a common sight on the Bulls sideline to see Boylen, not Hoiberg, yelling out defensive assignments, motivating players and arguing calls. That’s not necessarily a requirement to be a successful NBA coach, but it fits what the Bulls are looking for with the current state of their team. Boylen even admitted as much on Monday, boldly saying that "I think I’m a little more passionate in-game coach than maybe Fred is." NBC Sports

A source told the Sun-Times over the weekend that Hoiberg knew his time as Bulls head coach might be cut short this season, but he figured he had a month or two to get it right. It turned out he had far less than that. In what came as a bit of a blindside to the fourth-year coach, the Bulls informed him Monday morning that he was fired, and wasted no time in promoting associate head coach Jim Boylen to Hoiberg’s seat. Chicago Sun-Times

Paxson was also asked why Forman wasn’t made available to the media, and said, “As far as speaking, I’m the spokesman as the executive VP of the Bulls. Gar has a role. We work in tandem together. We make decisions together. But I’m the person who will stand up in front and talk about why we do certain things. That’s just the way it is." Chicago Sun-Times

None of this is to suggest Boylen staged a hostile takeover. In fact, Boylen and Hoiberg are friends, and the two spoke after the Bulls informed Hoiberg he had been fired. But that moment is one of many over the past 3½ years that exemplified the lack of a coherent vision for leadership of the franchise. Lack of leadership, more than wins and losses, is the reason Bulls management felt a coaching change couldn't wait. "I think as a head coach you have to demand excellence in your players," Bulls president of basketball operations John Paxson said Monday. "They will respond to that." ESPN.com



NBA Rumors Stories for Monday, December 3, 2018
Updated 8:00 p.m. ET

The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived Billy Preston and Andrew Harrison -- a pair of players on Two-Way contracts, league sources told cleveland.com. Cleveland.com

With those spots available, the Cavs have signed Jaron Blossomgame and Jalen Jones to Two-Way contracts. Blossomgame, a 25-year-old forward, was a 2017 second-round pick by the San Antonio Spurs. He was recently acquired by the Canton Charge in exchange for John Holland. Cleveland.com

Giannis Antetokounmpo sounds like he’s ready to go Greek-freaky on Knicks forward Mario Hezonja. “Oh, yeah, I’m going to punch him in his nut next time,” Antetokounmpo declared after the Knicks’ 136-134 overtime win over Milwaukee on Saturday night. Midway through the first quarter, Hezonja raced down the court and dunked the ball with the Greek Freak chasing him. After the play, Antetokounmpo crashed to the floor and Hezonja stood over him and glared at him, before raising his arms to rile up the Garden crowd. NY Post

Knicks guard Trey Burke didn’t return to the game after landing awkwardly and leaving in the first quarter with a sprained right knee, though X-rays were negative. Even so, second-year guard Frank Ntilikina didn’t get off the bench, marking the first time this season the second-year guard was out of the rotation entirely. “Coach’s decision, but as you could see with these guys, none of them are ever in the dungeon,” David Fizdale said. NY Post

The biggest reason to believe this time is the play of Blake Griffin, who’s putting up All-Star numbers: 24.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists, while hitting 36 percent on 3-pointers. After getting acclimated to the team in the second half of last season, Griffin has assumed the mantle of lead dog on the sled — and the Pistons are ready to follow his example. Griffin is taking the reins at the ends of games, forcing other teams to double-team him, which opens lanes and shots for others. What’s making it work is that his teammates trust Griffin’s decision-making. “It doesn’t really matter — he’s going to make a play. He’s done it in every way,” said Stanley Johnson, who had 19 points against the Warriors. “The attention he gets at the ends of games, it gives us open looks. I’ve never played with a guy like this in my career before. Detroit News

An MRI taken on Warriors center Damian Jones after Saturday night’s loss in Detroit revealed a torn pectoral muscle in his left shoulder and he will be seeing a specialist, the team announced Sunday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing league sources, reported that Jones will meet with a specialist in Chicago and undergo surgery this week that could possibly sideline him for the rest of the season. Mercury News

There is nothing set in stone that this is absolutely Fred Hoiberg’s last year coaching the Bulls. The Sun-Times confirmed that over the weekend. What can’t be denied, however, is the growing whispers coming from atop that the next month will be crucial for Hoiberg even finishing out the rest of this season in that coaching seat. The Saturday debut of Lauri Markkanen was a critical first step in that evaluation process, as the second-year player was sidelined throughout the first 23 regular-season games, recovering from a right elbow injury suffered the first week of training camp. Chicago Sun-Times

Hoiberg’s five-year, $25-million deal was guaranteed, which means if they do move on from him in February, they will still be paying him through next season. Not a concern for board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who terminated Tom Thibodeau while still owing him $9 million over two years. v



NBA Rumors Stories for Sunday, December 2, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

"With Steph (Curry) out, with Draymond Green out, you're seeing the real KD," Scottie Pippen said Friday on ESPN's The Jump. "The KD that I felt like has been holding back for the last couple of years. We watched him play with Russell Westbrook, win an MVP there with Westbrook, and still I don't think we saw the full KD. NBC Sports

When ESPN's Brian Windhorst then asked Pippen: "If (Durant) came to you and said: Scottie, what should I do -- should I stay here and get some more rings or should I go off and try to do it on my own?" Pippen was crystal clear. "I would tell him to go off and do it on his own because I think he is capable of leading a team on his own," Pippen said. "I think he's capable of winning a championship by himself -- with another player -- but KD is the best player in the league right now. I truly think that he's there." NBC Sports

The expectation is that Saturday will bring one giant lineup change for the Warriors, one massive boost for the NBA. Stephen Curry's anticipated return after an 11-game absence with a groin injury immediately lifts the mood of the Warriors, who are coming off that rarest of nights inasmuch as they could walk out of Scotiabank Arena encouraged by their showing in a 131-128 loss at Toronto. NBC Sports

Though the timing was coincidental, Otto Porter Jr.'s absence from Friday night's game against the Sixers had nothing to do with the trade rumors he had been involved in earlier in the day. Instead, Porter left for personal reasons to deal with a family matter. The rumor had tied him to the Sacramento Kings. It was reported by the Athletic and confirmed by NBC Bay Area. NBC Sports

Though the Kings may have interest in Porter, the Wizards maintain their stance that they are not looking to trade him, according to a person familiar with the situation. That means no plans to ship him to Sacramento or anywhere else. But, what if they changed their mind? If the season continues to feature lopsided losses, the Wizards may have to re-evaluate their long-term options, especially in light of their salary cap situation. NBC Sports

When the Clippers pay a visit to DeAndre Jordan’s new Dallas office on Sunday, they’ll do so as the hottest team in the NBA, having won nine of 10 games to improve to 15-6, good for the Western Conference’s best winning percentage. “Not easy,” Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle said of the task of facing the Clippers. “They’ve been playing great,” said Jordan, adding that he hasn’t exactly been following the Clippers’ results all that closely. “No, not really. Nothing against them, I just pay attention to our team. “ Daily Breeze

NBA Rumors Stories for Saturday, December 1, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Wizards will be without their starting center for the majority of the remaining part of the regular season, as more details emerged on the health of Dwight Howard on Friday. On Thursday, it was reported that Howard was likely to undergo surgery on a gluteal injury, although no decision was final. On Friday, Howard "underwent an L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy," according to the team. NBC Sports

Dwight Howard, who the Wizards signed to a two-year, $11 million contract this past summer, turns 33 in just over a week. He has appeared in just nine games in his first year in Washington; the Wizards are 4-5 in such games. NBC Sports

The Sacramento Kings are reportedly "monitoring" the Wizards and forward Otto Porter Jr. as the team, exceeding many expectations in the Western Conference to start this season, looks to improve its roster, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. NBC Sports

The road to recovery has been a difficult one for the Thunder's Andre Roberson. The same day Roberson showed glimpses of his most progress in his rehab from left knee surgery, he experienced another setback, a Thunder spokesman said Friday. An MRI of Roberson's surgically repaired left knee Thursday showed that the 26-year-old now has a small avulsion fracture in his left knee. Oklahoman

76ers guard Markelle Fultz will continue to see specialists into early next week, according to a team source. On Nov. 20, Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, told the 76ers that Fultz would not practice or play until he saw a shoulder specialist to address his lingering injury issue. Brothers originally said that Fultz would see a specialist on Monday in New York. Then the agent said Fultz would see multiple specialists in the early part of the week. Now they added that he will see even more specialists next week. Philadelphia Inquirer

The Pacers (13-9) will be without Oladipo for their seventh game against the Kings. After wins at the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns to open the road wing, they fell down 13-0 to the Lakers, trailed by 24 in the first half and came back to take the lead 69-66 in the third quarter. They accomplished that despite the starting backcourt of Collison and Tyreke Evans combining to shoot 5-for-22. Since he has started in Oladipo's absence, Evans has shot 18-for-62, or 29 percent. They're 3-3. Indianapolis Star

When a story appeared in a tabloid with criticism of the Knicks’ last two lottery picks, Knox and Frank Ntilikina, Knicks coach David Fizdale bristled at the notion. “I think I’ve got a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old trying to figure out the NBA, the league that’s full of the absolute best players in the world, the best coaches in the world, doing it in the absolute toughest market in America,” Fizdale said. “Give them a break. These guys are learning on the fly. “Whoever’s criticizing them, let me know how many people can become great at 19 and 20 while they’re being punched in the face and they’re learning it all at the same time. I don’t hear those critics. My kids come in here and bust their hump every day. Our organization, we love our kids. We put our arms around them. We’re in here just trying to get them better every single day. And they’re going to go through struggles. That’s just part of the deal.” NY Newsday

Rockets center Nene is expected to make his season debut on Saturday against the Bulls, with the Rockets holding him out one more day on Friday in part because they are playing a back-to-back but also because he went through his most demanding practice on Thursday. Houston Chronicle

Rockets guard Brandon Knight, who has been out since the 2016-17 season when he had knee surgery to repair a torn left ACL), took a major step in his comeback, playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets' G League affiliate. Knight, 26, had a follow-up surgery this summer, pushing back his return to the court after he was acquired along with center Marquese Chriss in the trade that sent Ryan Anderson and De'Anthony Melton to the Suns. Houston Chronicle

The Miami Heat has apparently given up on trying to win in the Vice Nights jerseys for now. The Heat’s Friday game against the New Orleans Pelicans was scheduled to be the seventh straight home game for Miami to wear its black alternate jerseys, but when the Heat arrived on the court — still the Vice-themed variant Miami has used — the Heat donned its typical red and black warmups. A team spokesman said the team made a last-minute decision to wear red, instead. Miami Herald

The Vice Nights jerseys drew plenty of attention for Miami, but also coincided with a recent home losing streak. The Heat (7-13) debuted the black, pink and blue jerseys Nov. 9 against the Indiana Pacers and haven’t won at AmericanAirlines Arena since. Miami is 0-6 while wearing the alternate jerseys. Miami Herald

The team continued to play on the special Vice Nights court trimmed in pink and blue pastels, again opening with the team's special Vice Nights introduction video. The Heat are next scheduled to play in the Vice Nights uniform Sunday against the Utah Jazz in the third game of this four-game homestand. South Florida Sun Sentinel



NBA Rumors Stories for Friday, November 30, 2018
Updated 10:00 p.m. ET

If it seems as if LeBron James has been shouldering a disproportionate part of the load for the Los Angeles Lakers so far this season, that's because he has. The four-time MVP admitted after Thursday's 104-96 win over the Indiana Pacers that he has struggled with striking the right balance between initiating the attack and relying on his teammates to take over. "That's the challenge of things I've been kind of battling with since the season started," James said after scoring 38 points in 38 minutes against Indiana, adding 9 rebounds and 7 assists. "How much do I defer and allow some of our young guys to kind of try to figure it out, and how much do I try to take over games? I think tonight was one of those instances where they looked at me and they wanted me to close the game." ESPN.com

James admitted that he thought he would have less responsibility on his plate to make plays when he pondered the season ahead after joining the Lakers as a free agent this summer. "I figured I wouldn't have the ball in my hands as much coming into the season knowing we have multiple ball handlers on our team with Zo and 'Do," James said. "BI [Brandon Ingram], Lance [Stephenson], Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] as well. Those guys have the ability to make plays as well. But I'm available any time we need a play to be made. ... [It] is a challenge for me and is an adjustment for me. It's whatever it takes to try to help our ball club be as great as we can be toward the end of the season. And at the same time getting better every day." ESPN.com

A week from Saturday, the Nets can give Spencer Dinwiddie up to a four-year, $47.5 million extension, and he hopes they do. He prefers staying in Brooklyn to free agency. But even though the deal looks like a bargain for the Nets, it’s certainly no lock they make it. “I’d love to have an extension. I’d love to be here for a long time. If I don’t get an extension, I’ll be looking forward to unrestricted free agency and going through the season trying to help the Nets win games as much as possible,” Dinwiddie said. “Either I’m going to sign an extension or I’m going to be an unrestricted free agent, simple as that. The ball is very much in [general manager] Sean Marks and the Nets’ court. NY Post

Dinwiddie currently makes $1.656 million and an extension would put the Nets over the luxury-tax threshold. NY Post

If the Nets don’t ink Dinwiddie by June 30 and let him hit free agency, they could use his Bird Rights and sign him late as they did with Joe Harris. NY Post

The Clippers scored 42 first-quarter points, a team high for any quarter this season. Harris scored seven of his team’s first nine points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 11 points. In all, the Clippers shot a blistering 68% and led by 16 points entering the second quarter. The Kings may have had fresh legs but they also were dealing with internal dysfunction. Coach Dave Joerger reportedly asked assistant general manager Brandon Williams to leave a morning shootaround in part because he believed Williams had leaked a story that Joerger’s job was in danger, and that Williams wanted to take over the head-coaching role himself. LA Times

Joerger avoided a direct answer when asked about his relationship with Williams before the game, instead saying the team was looking forward to playing the Clippers. Whatever ailed the Kings leading up to, and during, the first quarter quickly faded. They outscored the Clippers by 13 in the second quarter to trail 71-68 at halftime. Sacramento’s comeback spoiled Avery Bradley’s best offensive start to a game this season. He scored 16 points and assisted on two baskets in 16 first-half minutes. LA Times

Korver signed a three-year, $22 million contract with the Cavaliers in July 2017. Reportedly, the deal included a handshake agreement with Cavs general manager Koby Altman stipulating the Cavs would either trade Korver or buy out his contract if LeBron James opted out after the 2017-18 season, which James did to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. News Herald

The Magic have lacked a killer instinct to finish off opponents when they have them down. The past two losses are perfect examples. The Magic watched Golden State erase an 18-point lead during a short period Monday, then saw an 11-point lead become an 11-point deficit at Portland on Wednesday. The Portland result irritated head coach Steve Clifford so much that he answered one question from the media afterward and then exited the interview area in a huff after about 40 seconds. Orlando Sentinel

Marcus Morris is certainly doing his part. He remains the team’s most efficient 3-point shooter (43.2 percent) and third leading scorer (13.9 ppg.) despite coming off the bench in all but three games. “Just trying to control what I control when I get out there, whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, just trying to do something,” he said. “Obviously I feel like I’m a matchup problem. Either way the offense goes I feel like offense or defense I can incorporate myself at a high level, if I’m not scoring, being able to defend multiple positions and offensively being able to stretch the floor and rebound.” Boston Herald

In the past few weeks, the Pistons have had a visit from former Detroit mayor Dave Bing, an NBA Hall of Fame player with the team in the 1960s and ‘70s, and from former boxing champion Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns. Bringing Hearns to speak after a practice was an effort to infuse some swagger into the Pistons and give them an appreciation for Detroit’s rich heritage of motivation and work ethic. “He’s a Detroit legend. That’s what I want to try to do: bring as many people here who represent the city of Detroit and give our guys a sense of understanding and pride,” Casey said Thursday. “Detroit is about hard work — the grind, the grit. Detroit News



NBA Rumors Stories for Thursday, November 29, 2018
Updated 3:00 p.m. ET

Warriors guard Stephen Curry will remain out Thursday at the Toronto Raptors as he continues to recover from a strained left groin, but Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Curry will play Saturday night at the Detroit Pistons. Curry, who has been out since Nov. 8 after injuring his groin in a home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, returned to practice earlier this week. Kerr said Rick Celebrini, the Warriors director of sports medicine and performance, advocated giving Curry two more days of rest. ESPN.com

"Steph is not going to play [Thursday]," Kerr said after Wednesday's practice. "He wants to play. He's ready to play. And we're just going to be extra cautious. Rick felt very strongly, based on his years of experience doing this stuff, that it made sense to be extra careful, and he's going to wait. He will play in Detroit." ESPN.com

Shortly after 12 p.m. Eastern Time, the Cleveland Cavaliers completed their call with the league, making the Kyle Korver trade official. The Cavs received swingman Alec Burks and two future second-round picks. The Cavs will get Utah's 2020 second-rounder and Washington's second in 2021 that Utah owned. "Kyle's on-court accomplishments are well known," said general manager Koby Altman. "More importantly, though, Kyle is a great person and teammate. He sets an example in everything he does. His work ethic, character and dependability are all at a very special level and something we will always respect and be thankful for. We wish Kyle and his family the best as he continues his career back in Salt Lake City." Cleveland.com

A team source used the terms "shocked" and "thrilled" when recapping the trade package with cleveland.com on Wednesday night. A source close to Korver said he was "appreciative" of the Cavs for sending him to Utah -- a place where his family is familiar and comfortable. Korver spent three seasons with the Jazz earlier in his career and thrives in a movement-based, team-oriented system like Utah's. He also wanted to play for a contender and the Jazz, despite a bumpy start, were the fifth seed last season and have playoff aspirations once again. Cleveland.com

Frank Ntilikina was the last player left in the visitors' locker room as the rest of the team rushed into the cold Philadelphia night. The chill in the air didn’t seem much different than what the 20-year-old Ntilikina had endured on the court and in the locker room. A scoreless night in a one-sided loss on 0-for-5 shooting, which came a night after another scoreless night in Detroit, raised questions again about the progress and development of the second-year guard, a former lottery pick and now a mystery in the Knicks' rebuilding plans. NY Newsday

“I’m still confident in my abilities,” Ntilikina said. “I keep on working on it every day. I know eventually it’s going to fall. It’s like a bad moment of me shooting-wise, but it’s going to be alright. It’s the story of the NBA. It’s the story of young players coming in. This is how it happened." NY Newsday

As the Heat walked off the court Tuesday following its sixth consecutive home loss, Dwyane Wade put his arm around a frustrated Josh Richardson. Wade had just passed up a contested two-point jumper to find Richardson for a wide-open three-point shot that would have won the Heat the game. Instead, Richardson’s shot rolled off the rim and Miami lost to the struggling Hawks 115-113 to fall to 7-13 this season. “It’s trying to continue to build him to be hopefully the focal point of this franchise,” Wade said. “All year, he’s had big shots and big moments, and I’ve gotten out of his way on a lot of them. I had an opportunity at that point where I had an open shot after I shot faked him, but I decided to go to the young fella for him to bring it home for us. And I would do it again and again.” Miami Herald

Josh Richardson’s usage numbers are up across the board from 2017-18. His offensive touches have jumped from 57.2 to a team-high 75.3 this season, his usage rate (an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while on the court) has spiked from 17.5 percent to 23.2 percent this season, and he’s averaging a team-high 16.4 shot attempts after finishing last season at 10.9. Miami Herald

While it might be overdramatic to label Shamet a savior, it is also difficult to envision where the Sixers would be without the rookie's ability to rip off his warm-ups and knock down shots whenever JJ Redick exits the court. The addition of Jimmy Butler obviously has added a new scoring dimension, but it came at the expense of two of their three most prolific long-range shooters, an aspect of the game that remains a critical complement to the skill sets of their three rim-attacking stars. Shamet's role in filling that void has been one of the most important developments of the 15-8 start, which has the Sixers sitting in third place in a resurgent Eastern Conference playoff field. Philly.com

On the same day they disclosed ominous news about Dwight Howard's injury, the Wizards were served a direct reminder of his absence in their 125-104 loss to the Pelicans on Wednesday night. That's not to say the Wizards were a juggernaut in the nine games Howard played. But they sure could have used him as they went up against Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle and the Pelicans' fortified frontcourt. New Orleans out-rebounded the Wizards 64-38. They had 62 points in the paint compared to the Wizards' 38 and Washington only managed 16 free throw attempts. Also, with John Wall and Bradley Beal having off shooting nights, they could have used a big center to set screens to free them up. Those are all things Howard usually helps with. NBC Sports

Iguodala is in his 14th NBA season. He is the oldest Warrior, two months from turning 35. This is his fifth season out of the starting lineup and the third during which his minutes will be monitored by the training staff. He has reached the career stage when NBA players begin wondering about their athletic mortality, leading to the questions most would prefer to dodge. NBC Sports

More than eight years after the bullet-riddled remains of former Clippers player Lorenzen Wright were found in Memphis, Tenn., a trial date has been set for his ex-wife and another man charged with the killing. During a hearing Thursday, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Lee Coffee ordered the trial of Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner to start on Sept. 16, 2019. “Unless there is some unavoidable act of God that makes it impossible to try this case, this case will be tried on that date,” Coffee told the defendants. LA Times



NBA Rumors Stories for Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Updated 2:00 a.m. ET

Just before free agency opened, whispers of the Denver Nuggets pursuing LeBron James emerged. The truth is, James didn’t put much thought into signing with Denver, but the Nuggets did try. James said Josh Kroenke, the vice chairman of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, whose mother technically owns the Nuggets and whose father owns the Los Angeles Rams, broached the subject with him. LA Times

“He sent those throwback jerseys, I think they’re wearing them tonight,” James said after the Lakers’ morning shoot-around Tuesday. “The white ones? With the mountains, I believe, that’s on it. Said you’d look good in one of these. But we’ve been on vacation, things of that nature, we have a great friendship. But I didn’t give it much thought.” LA Times

Kroenke, who vacationed with James in the summer of 2016 after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the title, mailed James a Nuggets throwback jersey. “The white with the mountains that’s on it,” James said at shootaround Tuesday from the Pepsi Center. “He said, ‘You’ll look good in one of these.’” Denver Post

The offensive numbers are awful for Mario Hezonja since he was named the New York Knicks’ starting small forward four games ago versus Portland. But coach David Fizdale has seen phenomenal growth in Hezonja’s defense, even highlighting the forward’s work on that side of the ball during film sessions. Hence, Fizdale has stuck with the enigmatic Croatian, who is shooting 37.7 percent. In fact, Fizdale gave credit to Tim Hardaway Jr. for a pep talk after he made the surprising Hezonja promotion. NY Post

Nev Schulman went fishing for a new "Catfish" co-host and turned up with a handful of celebs to help him ... including NBA star Nick Young. Sources close to the production tell TMZ ... Swaggy P will be 1 of 8 guest co-hosts when the new season debuts Wednesday night. The other guests include model Slick Woods; Jane Carrey, Jim's daughter; Tallulah Willis, singer Elle King and former NFL star Rashad Jennings. TMZ

LeBron James, Cindy Crawford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lindsey Vonn have teamed up to launch a health and wellness company called Ladder, becoming the latest celebrities to market their own wares instead of just endorsing other companies’ brands. Ladder will start by offering four core products—two protein powders, a greens powder and an energy powder—and creating content related to healthy living. The company says it could eventually expand its portfolio to include products such as snack foods. WSJ.com



NBA Rumors Stories for Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Updated 6:00 a.m. ET

George Hill played four-on-four with teammates and coaches, taking contact once again, prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers leaving for their two-game road trip Tuesday afternoon. He's "progressing," according to head coach Larry Drew. Hill could even make his return Wednesday night against Oklahoma City, a team source told cleveland.com. Cleveland.com

The Cavs had him go through the post-practice contact session and he's expected to take part in Wednesday's shootaround in Oklahoma City. His official status will be determined after that, as the training staff wants to see how Hill responds after two straight days of on-court work. Cleveland.com

On the Mavs: "Two weeks ago, we were trying to do too much," J.J. Barea said. "Now we just play hard, help each other, talk and it's working. We got DJ (DeAndre Jordan) in the back. We need him to be that force. We know our offense is going to be good, even on bad days. So we just got to play our defense." Barea added that the contributions of Maxi Kleber and, lately, Salah Mejri, have been crucial to the defense growing some teeth. And, of course, wins don't hurt. It's a lot easier to stay motivated on the defensive end when you're seeing the win column grow. Dallas Morning News

Through 20 games, Orlando sits sixth in the Eastern Conference in a season in which the primary goal is to develop young talent. This summer, the Magic drafted Texas-standout Mo Bamba, pairing him with a young core that includes big man Jonathan Isaacs and San Jose native Aaron Gordon — who recently signed a four-year, $84 million deal. Despite the youth movement, the team’s best player has been eighth-year center Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging 19.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and one block this season. In Sunday’s victory against the Lakers, Vucevic scored 31 points, adding 15 rebounds and seven assists. Mercury News

The Grizzlies will be looking to bounce back after back-to-back losses, including an unexpected 103-98 defeat at the hands of the 7-14 New York Knicks on Sunday . . . Memphis has only lost two games at home this season . . . The Raptors will also have their hands full with Marc Gasol, who has put up 20 points or more in six of his last 10 games and is averaging career-highs in rebounds (9.7), steals (1.6) and made threes (1.8) . . . A win for Toronto would secure the team’s third six-game win streak of the season; they have yet to put together seven straight victories . . . Norman Powell (shoulder) is still out for the Raptors. Toronto Star

Euroleague: Khimki Moscow Region suffered a big injury blow on Saturday, learning that it will be without services of its leader and this season’s most productive player, Alexey Shved. This past week Shved earned back-to-back MVP of the Round performances in a span of just 48 hours, and led Khimki to a pair of important victories, but also injured his left pinkie finger during Round 9 road win against Zalgiris Kaunas. Euroleaguebasketball.net

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