Category Archives: Basketball

LeBron James Reacts to Carmelo Anthony’s Standing Ovation at MSG

Carmelo Anthony was in attendance Sunday night at Madison Square Garden for the Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks game. While he was there to watch close friend Dwyane Wade in one of his final two games in the arena, the Knicks made sure to give Anthony some love as well.
Not only was there a video played of Carmelo’s 62-point performance, but he was shown on the jumbotron after the memorable moment in history. As you can see in the video posted by ESPN’s Ian Begley, the former Knicks star received a huge ovation from the fanbase.

Here’s the reception Carmelo Anthony received at Madison Square Garden when he was shown on the Jumbotron during Knicks-Heat: pic.twitter.com/v0LUDiKeaW
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) January 28, 2019

Later in the evening, current Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James had a message about both the video and Anthony, tweeting that it was well-deserved for his friend.

Well deserved!!! 👏🏾🙏🏾‼️‼️‼️‼️@carmeloanthony https://t.co/awReCCl6ZF
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 28, 2019

Anthony was recently traded from the Houston Rockets to the Chicago Bulls. He played just 10 games for the Rockets prior to the team opting to go in another direction. It’s expected that he will either be traded or waived before the upcoming deadline.

Carmelo Anthony’s Run With Knicks
Anthony, who’s 34 years old, was traded to the Knicks during the 2010-11 season from the Denver Nuggets. He spent seven seasons with the team, playing in 412 games and averaging 24.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Over the impressive stretch, Anthony shot 44.3 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc.
The Knicks made the NBA playoffs in each of Anthony’s first three seasons, with the best year coming in 2012-13. New York went 54-28 that season before losing in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That stretch also marked arguably the best of Anthony’s tenure with the team, as he averaged 28.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Latest on Carmelo Anthony-Lakers Rumors
While the Bulls are expected to part ways with Anthony soon, it’s led to plenty of speculation that he could wind up with James on the Lakers. Although there have been various reports and rumors pointing to both sides of that, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski sounded off on it shortly after Anthony’s trade to Chicago.
As he reported, the Lakers have interest in Anthony but don’t want to waive a guaranteed contract.

Sources: The Lakers maintain interest in Anthony, but do not want to waive a guaranteed player to create a roster spot for him, league sources tell ESPN. If a roster spot eventually opens with LA, yes, the Lakers are a possible destination for Anthony.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

This isn’t all that surprising, as the Lakers remain focused on landing a second superstar to pair with James. The focus has primarily been on Anthony Davis, and the bulk of the team’s current guaranteed contracts have at least some amount of trade value and upside, making them tough to part with.
On the opposite side of the argument, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports stated on the Nate Duncan podcast that the interest in Anthony may be more from James than the front office (per Clutch Points).
“Well, LeBron James is over there,” Haynes said on the Nate Duncan podcast. “And he’s made it quite clear that he would like to play with Carmelo Anthony. So if we’re going off of the past, LeBron typically has a strong voice and teams usually operate in a manner that’s going to appease him. So I will say that he definitely has interest.
“I don’t know necessarily that the Lakers brass is all that interested in bringing Carmelo Anthony on board.”
It’s an interesting situation and one that will be worth monitoring over the coming weeks. The Lakers could use depth at this point, specifically due to the injuries which have impacted the roster. Beyond that, if the team did swing a deal at the trade deadline, it could potentially open a roster spot for Anthony.
READ NEXT: 3 Anthony Davis Trades Involving Lakers’ Brandon Ingram


Blake Griffin Trade Talk: Lakers, Knicks Headline Top Packages

As the NBA trade deadline approaches, the chatter around potential deals is only going to continue heating up. While a few big names have already been linked as trade candidates, there have been a handful of additional players mentioned recently. One specifically that jumps out is Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, although his scenario is a bit different than the others.
As Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson reported on Twitter, he believes Griffin has privately stated he wants to be moved. Robinson proceeds to cite the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat as possible options.

If Blake Griffin is moved, look for New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets & Miami Heat as his preferred destinations. https://t.co/PSX9TEJZqP
— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) January 27, 2019

Although it’s unknown what stage this whole situation is at and whether the Pistons would actually move Griffin, who was acquired last season, it’s an interesting topic. Even without knowing an overwhelming amount on this trade chatter, there are still a few teams who can put together strong deals for the Pistons star.
Let’s check out a few potential trades that could make sense for both sides if Detroit does decide to put Griffin on the table as a candidate to be moved. We’ll start off with the Los Angeles Lakers and a major hypothetical on their approach moving forward.
*Note: All trades created with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine and are only for enjoyment purposes.

Lakers Acquire Second Star in Blake Griffin
ESPN NBA Trade Machine
Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into this trade, specifically the fact that it would mean the Lakers trading two potential pieces of a deal for Anthony Davis. This deal stems from The Athletic’s Bill Oram reporting that Magic Johnson and company would consider a “blockbuster that lands the Lakers a second superstar.”
“The second is obviously the priority, even if it means parting with some combination of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Ideally, the Lakers would be able to land a second star in free agency and keep the core intact. However, with Anthony Davis unlikely to become available by the deadline, that particular dilemma may be a moot point this season.”
It’s an interesting scenario, and to be clear, I have no idea if Los Angeles would decide to avoid the risk of losing out on Davis during the offseason by acquiring Griffin instead. While the current Pistons star isn’t quite the caliber of player Davis is, he’s currently playing the best basketball of his career and would help right the ship immediately.
Personally, I think the Lakers are more likely to wait for Davis and make the push during the upcoming offseason, even with the risk. But if not, this deal for Griffin also provides outside shooting with Reggie Bullock.

Knicks Begin Building for the Future
ESPN NBA Trade Machine
*Knicks also second 2020 first-round pick and 2022 second-round pick to Pistons
The New York Knicks are expected to be big players in free agency, and if they plan to make a run at someone like Kevin Durant, it could be helpful to have Griffin in town. There have been rumblings the Knicks want to move Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Frank Ntilikina, so it’s tough to envision a better deal that accomplishes that than this one.
Draft picks would almost certainly have to be included here, and a 2020 protected first-rounder along with a second-round pick in the likely “double draft” in 2022 could get it done. The big aspects of this deal on the Pistons side are how the team feels about Hardaway and whether they believe Ntilikina has the upside to become their point guard of the future.

Luka Doncic Gets New Star Teammate With Mavericks
ESPN NBA Trade Machine
*Mavericks send protected first-round pick to Pistons
The Dallas Mavericks would be quite a fit for Griffin, and I’m not going to put it past Mark Cuban to figure out how to make this deal happen. What’s interesting is that it would reunite Griffin and former Los Angeles Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan. That may or may not be a good thing, but regardless, Jordan is only under contract through this season.
In this scenario, Dallas moves Wesley Matthews’ contract and finds a perfect home for Dennis Smith Jr., who needs a fresh start. Smith could be the best part of this deal for the Pistons, although Harrison Barnes would be a solid addition as well. As Detroit searches for their potential point guard of the future, this is a low-risk, inexpensive opportunity to see what the former first-round pick in Smith can provide.
READ NEXT: Anthony Davis Trade Talk: Nets May Push Lakers, Celtics for Star?


Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Suns; Latest on Kyle Kuzma Injury

The Los Angeles Lakers will play at least one more game without LeBron James when they host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. It seems they also may be without another go-to offensive weapon as well in forward Kyle Kuzma. With the Lakers playing the final few home games before a road stretch ahead of the All-Star break, they’ll look to snap a three-game losing skid against a struggling Suns group.
After falling in overtime against the Houston Rockets last Saturday, the team has since dropped games against the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves, moving to 25-24 on the year. LeBron’s absence has been nearly impossible to overcome, and since the Christmas Day injury, the Lakers have posted a 5-10 record as they await the return of their star forward.
Before diving into the roster and starting lineup for the date with Devin Booker and company, let’s check out the latest on Kuzma’s injury which may hold him out Sunday.

Latest on Kyle Kuzma’s Injury
It seems Kuzma’s injury may not sideline him long, but there’s a chance he could sit this game out. The Lakers revealed that Kuzma missed practice on Saturday due to a hip strain and is currently listed as questionable.
Beyond that, Mike Trudell of the team’s official website revealed head coach Luke Walton said Kuzma “didn’t look right” against the Timberwolves. He was limited in that game and the injury has apparently been nagging him as of late.

Luke Walton said Kyle Kuzma, who’s been dealing with a sore hip, “didn’t look right” physically, and that Kuzma “truly loves to compete but wasn’t able to do what he wanted to.” Already down LeBron and Lonzo, it didn’t help to have Kuzma limited, though Minnesota was beat up too.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 25, 2019

If Kuzma is unable to go, it’ll be interesting to monitor how Walton and the coaching staff opt to approach the starting lineup. Fortunately, the Suns play a fairly small lineup so they may be able to get away with going even smaller than they have as of late.
UPDATE: Kuzma has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Suns

Position
Expected Starter
Backup

Center
Ivica Zubac
JaVale McGee
Tyson Chandler

Power Forward
Kyle Kuzma (Q)
Michael Beasley
Moritz Wagner

Small Forward
Brandon Ingram
Lance Stephenson

Shooting Guard
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Josh Hart
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Point Guard
Rajon Rondo

There’s a chance Michael Beasley or Moritz Wagner could start, but the option to re-insert Josh Hart in the lineup with Brandon Ingram at the forward spots is more realistic. The Suns are likely going to start Josh Jackson at the four here, so putting Ingram against him defensively makes sense.
The obvious hope is that Kuzma can play, but with an upcoming stretch of six-straight games against possible playoff teams, it may be wise for the Lakers to give him the night off. After this game, Los Angeles will host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
READ NEXT: 3 Lakers Trades for Anthony Davis Involving Brandon Ingram


LeBron James Injury Update: Will Lakers Star Return vs. Sixers?

The much-anticipated return of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James may be near. Or, maybe we should hold off on the excitement just a bit at this moment. It’s tough to gauge exactly what the outlook of the future Hall-of-Famer is when it comes to his groin injury. But one thing that’s certain is that he won’t suit up for Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
While James is trending in the right direction, he took a huge step forward in his recovery on Saturday. As the Lakers revealed (with pictures, which was a nice bonus), LeBron returned to full contact defensive drills during the most recent practice.

LeBron James returned to full contact defensive drills for the first time since his injury, but won't play Sunday against the Suns. pic.twitter.com/e8y9z8kbI8
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 26, 2019

The importance of this can’t be understated, as there were talks that James had done some non-contact work prior, but the fact he’s in the mix at practice points to a return being near. There is yet to be a return date set, but the outlook improves with this news and we’re going to take a look forward at when he could realistically suit up.

Will LeBron James Return vs. Philadelphia 76ers?
For the first time since LeBron’s injury, there is a real reason to believe he may return in an upcoming game. There are currently eight games remaining (including Sunday) before the All-Star break, and there have been no signs pointing to James missing the festivities that weekend. In turn, expecting him to get back in the lineup sooner than later makes sense, but doing so against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday would be beneficial for a few reasons.
The Lakers are obviously being cautious with James, which is the right move, and even when he returns it’ll almost certainly be with a minutes restriction. Tuesday’s game against the Sixers marks the team’s final “home” game (they play the Los Angeles Clippers two days later) before the All-Star break. After the Clippers matchup, they have five-straight games away from home, and it’s a stretch where the star will desperately be needed.
This run includes dates with the Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Sixers, and Atlanta Hawks. While playing the Sixers in Los Angeles on Tuesday will be a tough matchup, giving James one game at home to log some minutes before this stretch could be key.

Hopeful of James’ Return for Tough Stretch
With the Lakers sitting at 25-24 currently, facing the first four teams listed on that road stretch, as well as the Sixers and Clippers prior to it, could leave them in a tough spot. James returning won’t completely keep that from happening, but it’s a starting point, even if he’s only able to play on a minutes restriction.
The Athletic’s Bill Oram cited that many had circled the game against the Suns as a possible return date for James. With that being the case, signs do point to him suiting up soon, and Tuesday is a decent spot to keep an eye on.
If you assume the Lakers defeat the Suns and move to 26-24 with five games they could easily lose waiting ahead, the idea of going into the break at 28-29 or 29-28 is far less than ideal. Even with their star back in a restricted fashion, it would at least give Los Angeles a chance to push a few of the top-tier teams that lie ahead.
READ NEXT: 3 Anthony Davis Trades Involving Lakers’ Brandon Ingram


Rockets Trade Talk: Enes Kanter, Robin Lopez Deals to Bolster Depth

The Houston Rockets are slowly but surely working towards getting healthy once again. With Eric Gordon recently returning from injury and Chris Paul set to return Sunday, it essentially covers the backcourt depth. But the Rockets could use an extra body in the frontcourt, even with the signing/emergence of Kenneth Faried.
The injury to center Clint Capela will leave him out through the All-Star break more than likely, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed in mid-January that he had suffered a thumb injury. Unfortunately, it proved to be worse than originally thought, as Capela’s MRI showed ligament damage.
At this point, the addition of Faried could be enough to hold the Rockets over until Capela’s return, but adding another legitimate center to the mix makes sense. The key is that Houston almost certainly won’t want to give much up in a potential trade. Fortunately, two options in New York Knicks center Enes Kanter and Chicago Bulls big man Robin Lopez could come at a low cost to the team.
Let’s look at two potential deals, one for both players, which wouldn’t leave the Rockets shorthanded and will allow them to bolster their frontcourt prior to the homestretch of the year.
*All trades courtesy of ESPN NBA Trade Machine.

Robin Lopez Finally Gets Moved
ESPN NBA Trade Machine
*Note: Houston adds a second-round draft pick.
The Chicago Bulls seem to have little interest in buying out Lopez, although that may happen if the deadline gets closer and no deal happens. But instead of risking watching Lopez go elsewhere, the Rockets could offer up Brandon Knight for contract reasons and a second-round pick to make the deal happen.
The worst-case scenario for Houston is if they wait out the Bulls release of the big man and then he chooses to head to another team. With that said, the options are all on the table for the Bulls, but a deal with the Rockets makes sense for Lopez as an opportunity to see a solid workload and contend for a title.

Enes Kanter Traded to Rockets

*Note: Deal includes a second-round pick from Houston.
Things between the New York Knicks and Enes Kanter have taken an ugly turn. The big man can’t seem to find his way onto the floor at this point, even with starter Luke Kornet sidelined due to injury. And after a recent game, Kanter essentially asked for a trade out of town, as The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov revealed.
“What they’re doing to me is pretty messed up. I deserve better.”

“You either play me or let me play.” Kanter said, according to Vorkunov.
I can’t envision a world where the Knicks opt not to deal Kanter before the deadline. The problem is since head coach David Fizdale won’t play him and it’s known the team wants to trade him, Kanter’s value isn’t all that high. Plus, he’s on an expiring deal, so it makes little sense for the Knicks to stick him on the bench for the rest of the year.
READ NEXT: 3 Anthony Davis Trades Involving Lakers’ Brandon Ingram


Bucks Trade Talk: Grizzlies’ Mike Conley Pegged as Ideal Target

The Mike Conley sweepstakes are likely to ramp up in the coming weeks. With the news that the Memphis Grizzlies are open to trading their star point guard, it’s led to plenty of speculation and various rumors. Although it’s unknown whether a deal will actually happen involving the 31-year-old point guard, one thing that’s certain is that there are interested suitors.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Grizzlies are open to moving Conley as well as center Marc Gasol, who have been cornerstones of the franchise for 12 seasons.
“Memphis ownership and management have decided that they’ve reached an organizational crossroads and are preparing to weigh deal scenarios on one or both of their cornerstone veterans between now and the Feb. 7 trade deadline — and perhaps into the offseason, league sources said.” Wojarnowski revealed.
There’s an obvious chance the Grizzlies could opt to keep both players, but that comes down to the potential offers which come their way. Conley, specifically, has been an interesting name to monitor. While he’s been linked to a variety of teams, there was a pitch made about a pairing with the Milwaukee Bucks which makes a lot of sense.

Mike Conley Pegged as Great Fit for Bucks
In an interesting segment on ESPN’s First Take, Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith both addressed the Conley situation. Surprisingly, the duo agreed when Kellerman pitched the idea of Milwaukee swinging a deal for the guard.
“A team like Milwaukee, if you could turn the job that [Eric] Bledsoe does, if Conley could that job … and also he can’t go anywhere next year or the year after? All the sudden, it’s like whoa, you’ve gotta watch out for Milwaukee.” Kellerman said.
Smith took Kellerman’s point and ran with it, citing the thought of Conley playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
“I like that suggestion, no question about it. Because I like Conley with the Greek Freak and Middleton and those boys that they have in Milwaukee, particularly being coached by a guy like Budenholzer, who can utilize him effectively.” Smith stated.
It’s an interesting thought, and if the Bucks move Bledsoe, who’s on a one-year deal, it gives them a player in Conley to star alongside Antetokounmpo for the foreseeable future. It would almost certainly cost the Bucks a bit more than just Bledsoe for this deal to work, but they do have a few young, intriguing pieces.

How Bucks Trade for Mike Conley Could Look
For the Bucks to strike a deal for Conley, there would have to be some additional cap moved along with Bledsoe’s $15 million number. While evaluating trade scenarios with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, the idea of a trade putting him with Thon Maker and Tony Snell could get the job done.
ESPN NBA Trade Machine
There’s a chance this would require possibly a second-round pick or even a protected first-rounder to make it happen. While the Grizzlies have made it known they’re open to moving Conley, they have little reason to make a deal unless it includes a decent return. But if they’re looking to open up cap space with potential Conley/Gasol trades, Bledsoe coming off the books after the year gives Memphis flexibility on how to approach their future.
READ NEXT: Mike Conley Trade Talk: Top Possible Deals for Grizzlies Star


Anthony Davis Trade Talk: Nets May Push Lakers, Celtics for Star?

The Brooklyn Nets may want in on the Anthony Davis trade fun. Although the chatter surrounding the New Orleans Pelicans star has primarily been around the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, the Nets are lurking in the shadows. Brooklyn has taken steps in the right direction after a few tough seasons and will likely be in the market for a big move this coming offseason.
As things stand, the Nets sit with a 27-23 record, holding the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Even following a season-ending injury to one of their top players in Caris LeVert, the team has continued to play at a high level, winning six straight as of late. And according to ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith, the nets may be right there in the mix this offseason if and when the trade offers for Davis begin.
During a recent episode of The Stephen A. Smith Show, the analyst spoke about a wide range of topics, but during a stretch about the Lakers, an interesting comment on Brooklyn was made.

Stephen A. Smith Puts Nets in Mix for Anthony Davis Trade
In the midst of stating his concern over the Lakers’ ability to lure a marquee free agent, Smith addressed how the offseason and Davis’ situation will go. He all but guaranteed the New Orleans Pelicans star will tell the team he wants out this summer but believes the Lakers could lose out on the All-Star. Instead, citing the Celtics and Nets as options to watch for him.
“Anthony Davis will let the Pelicans know he wants out this summer. He will announce it publicly, he wants to be traded, make no mistake about it, it’s coming. But the Pelicans still have to cooperate, and it’s not like Anthony Davis is going to say ‘I want to go to the Lakers only.’ He’s going to say he wants out and he wants to be with a contender.” Smith stated.
“So it’s a Boston [Celtics] situation, it’s a Lakers situation, it could potentially be a Brooklyn Nets situation. I don’t think the Clippers, but you never know.”
The Nets have the firepower to make a push to acquire Davis if they opt to go that route. Their roster is loaded with young players and the arrow is pointing up for the franchise also. After three consecutive seasons with 28 or fewer wins, the Nets have nearly surpassed their best win total over that span in just 50 games this year.

Potential Nets Trade for Anthony Davis
The situation involving Brooklyn and their trade for Davis would be an interesting one, as the team has eight players currently on one-year deals. It’s all but certain that a deal would include center Jarrett Allen, who’s improving at a fairly rapid rate and would be a nice addition for the Pelicans.
Beyond that, much of the deal could be centered around draft picks. Along with the Nets’ own selections (with a few second-rounders dealt), they have the Denver Nuggets’ 2019 protected first-round pick and two other second-rounders this year (Pacers, Knicks) coming in. Brooklyn is also set to receive two picks in the second round of the 2020 draft (Nuggets, Blazers) and one in 2021 (Suns), per RealGM.
The Nets also could include Joe Harris potentially or even LeVert, who they’ve reportedly kept out of previous trade talks. Regardless, Brooklyn has the firepower to make a strong offer for Davis if that’s how the upcoming offseason plays out.
READ NEXT: Lakers Trade Talk: 3 Anthony Davis Deals Involving Brandon Ingram


DeMarcus Cousins Return: Kerr Says Boogie’s Injury Rehab Has ‘A Ways to Go’

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was very honest in his assessment of DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, and his hopeful return to the court. The good news is Cousins has begun to practice with the team, but the downside is the Warriors big man is not close to returning to game action.
“Conditioning-wise he’s still got a ways to go,” Kerr told ESPN. “I love how far he’s come, but I don’t want people to get the idea that he’s getting close to coming back. It’s still going to be some time. It’s a totally different deal playing in an NBA game and playing against [assistant coaches] Willie [Green] and Chris DeMarco.”
The team has not released a timeline for Cousins to return, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported when Cousins first signed with Golden State that it could be January 2019 before the big man played again. Here’s some footage of Cousins practicing with the Warriors.

Here’s a couple possessions of DeMarcus Cousins scrimmaging. One possession he challenges a shot, then leads a break then gets a dunk in transition. pic.twitter.com/VEAA5uT46p
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) November 1, 2018

Steve Kerr Called DeMarcus Cousins a “One-Year Rental”
Kerr was surprisingly honest on Cousins’ status beyond this year and admitted the big man is a “one-year rental.” Kerr also went as far as saying Cousins would be playing on another team in 2019.
“We made no bones about it when we signed him,” Kerr noted to ESPN. “It’s a one-year deal. We’re not going to have money to sign him next year, he knows that. So we’d like him to help us win a championship. We’d like to be able to help him get a great contract next year somewhere else. That’s the reality. So the best way to do that is to play really well and enjoy this season and everybody do the best we can and have fun with it.”
Former Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis has already begun his recruitment for the two big men to reconnect.
“He will be a free agent next year,” Davis told The Undefeated. “Hopefully, down the line we can reconnect…I tried to call our GM. He said he had no idea. I tried to call ‘Cuz’ [Cousins], but something happened with his phone. It sucked that it happened. But life goes on… I know the situation [Cousins] was in. He had to make a business move for him and his family. He had to do what was best for his career. You can’t do nothing but respect it.”
Steph Curry noted that Cousins’ presence at practice is already helping the team bring energy each day.
“I know he’s just eager to go out there and play,” Curry explained ESPN. “We all know he’s just chirping at the bit. I feel like what he’s been able to do in practice hasn’t been substantial, but I think he’s playing [in] live action [situations] and ramping it up so I don’t know how long it’s going to take for him to take the next steps and whatnot but just having him out there, having him be part of practice is huge for us and huge for his morale I’m sure. And it’s another step in the right direction.”


Wizards Starting Lineup & Roster vs. Thunder

The Washington Wizards received some good news ahead of their matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. After a 1-6 start to the season which has left the team looking for answers, they at least have some help on the way. The Wizards will have offseason signing Dwight Howard on the floor for this game, marking the official debut with his new team.
ESPN first revealed the news, which came from head coach Scott Brooks. Howard was able to practice on Thursday after missing the first seven games of the year with a strained muscle in his buttocks. While his return is certainly a big deal, it’s unknown how many minutes he’ll play, but the veteran center should provide an immediate spark.
To this point in the season, the Wizards have primarily started Ian Mahinmi at center. He’s drawn six starts with the other one going to Jason Smith in a game Mahinmi missed. Brooks has opted to play small-ball lineups more often than not to this point, though, as Mahinmi averages just 16.8 minutes per game.
Let’s take a look at how the Wizards’ starting lineup is projected to look Friday against the Thunder.

Wizards’ Projected Starting Lineup and Roster vs. Thunder
*Notates projected starter
C: Dwight Howard*, Ian Mahinmi, Thomas Bryant
PF: Markieff Morris*, Jason Smith
SF: Otto Porter Jr.*, Kelly Oubre, Jeff Green, Troy Brown Jr.
SG: Bradley Beal*, Tomas Satoransky, Jordan McRae
PG: John Wall*, Austin Rivers
It’s expected Howard will enter the starting lineup right out of the gate, but as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington revealed, he’s still dealing with quite a bit of pain at this point.
“It just doesn’t go away. It’s a lot better than it was,” he said. “I haven’t even been able to sit down. It hurts to sit down. Every time I get home, I can’t watch a movie sitting down. I’ve gotta lay down on the floor. It’s very painful.”
Of the Wizards’ seven games, they’ve seen Wall, Beal and Porter start each of them, with Morris starting six while missing one game due to injury. Green has also drawn one start, taking Morris’ place during his absence. The Wizards are likely to stick with this starting group throughout the bulk of the 2018-19 NBA season. Now, the hope is that the group can flip the script on what’s been a slow start to this point.
READ NEXT: Jimmy Butler Trade: Four Realistic Deals for Timberwolves Guard


Timberwolves Starting Lineup & Roster vs. Warriors

Category : Basketball , NBA , Sports

It seemed originally that Jimmy Butler had grown tired of the Minnesota Timberwolves opting to push his potential trade to the backburner. While the team may be hoping he’ll have a change of heart (highly unlikely), Butler had reportedly put his foot down on the situation. And prior to last game, it seemed the All-Star guard wouldn’t be on the floor for a while.
This came after The Athletic’s Shams Charania revealed that Butler was beginning a six-week process which may include an extended absence in order to push for a trade.

Jimmy Butler is taking next step in six-week-long process aimed at getting the All-Star out of Minnesota by sitting tonight against Utah, and could lead to extended absence for Butler, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 31, 2018

Butler started contemplating not playing tonight on Tuesday, and the final decision was made Wednesday morning, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Timberwolves termed it "general soreness and precautionary rest,” but Butler informed Tom Thibodeau of his decision.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 31, 2018

Although Butler did sit out against the Utah Jazz, Timberwolves analyst Alan Horton revealed that Butler will play Friday against the Golden State Warriors, per head coach Tom Thibodeau. He also revealed that Jeff Teague will be out once again while Tyus Jones will play.
With Butler set to play, let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup for the team, which may include Jones starting at point guard.

Timberwolves’ Projected Starting Lineup & Roster vs. Warriors
*Notates likely starters Friday against the Warriors
C: Karl-Anthony Towns*, Gorgui Dieng
PF: Taj Gibson*, Anthony Tolliver
SF: Andrew Wiggins*, James Nunnally, Keita Bates-Diop, Luol Deng
SG: Jimmy Butler*, Josh Okogie, C.J. Williams
PG: Tyus Jones*, Derrick Rose
After Derrick Rose’s 50-point explosion against the Jazz, there’s a chance he could wind up starting. I do believe the Timberwolves like his scoring off the bench, so leaving him in that role makes sense. Also pairing Rose with Okogie, the team’s first-round pick out of Georgia Tech, would be ideal. He’s flashed upside while averaging 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
The injury to Teague is the big spot to watch, but Butler’s return to the lineup will make the Timberwolves starting group look similar to what fans have become accustomed to seeing. Now, we just have to wait and see how long Butler remains not only in the starting lineup but on the team with trade rumors still swirling.
READ NEXT: Jimmy Butler Trade: Four Realistic Deals for Timberwolves Guard