Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Far from just acquiring a star in his prime in Jimmy ButlerPhiladelphia 76ershead coach Brett Brown believes the organization has obtained a player that fits perfectly both with the team and the city.

“I mean, where do you begin?” Brown said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I think that, defensively, and with the physicality that he plays with … he mirrors the spirit of Philadelphia.

“He is a fierce competitor, and there is (a) toughness that he plays with. It’s who he is. He wears it on his face. It’s seen in his game. It’s confirmed by multiple All-Defensive teams, and it’s a perfect fit for our city and our program defensively.”

The 76ers lost a couple of important pieces in the deal to acquire Butler with the Minnesota Timberwolves, trading away starting forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric. However, Brown believes he’s now equipped with a roster that can take the next step after a second-round appearance last season and years of struggle during the “Trust the Process” era.

“Maybe (Butler is) the first move in the new reality that our goal is to build for a championship, and play in the NBA Finals, and continue to be an annual – and that’s always the hardest thing – contender,” Brown said. “I think we are building a core, truly, with their ages, that is going to have the ability to do that. We are going to have the ability to do that for a while now.

“We’ll be amongst royalty for a while now. So if you refer to that as sort of the first phase of the legitimate process, I think that’s fair.”

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The Minnesota Timberwolves finally pulled the trigger on a trade for Jimmy Butler on Monday, and president/head coach Tom Thibodeau is satisfied with the haul his team was able to procure from the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I said from the beginning: You always have to put the organization first,” Thibodeau said Monday, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “So you set the parameters for what you are looking for, and once we felt we got to that point where the offers met some of the things we were looking for, then we said, ‘OK, now it’s time.'”

In what Thibodeau described as being a “good deal,” the Timberwolves landed Robert CovingtonDario SaricJerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-rounder from Philadelphia in exchange for Butler and 2017 first-round pick Justin Patton.

The process of trying to move the All-Star forward was long and arduous, with Thibodeau having reportedly shunned several packages along the way which included rebuilding pieces and not the proven commodities he desired.

Thibodeau shut down the notion that he was prioritizing acquiring players who could help the Timberwolves win games now instead of looking towards the future.

“Not really. It was what was best for the organization,” he added. “Obviously, getting good players was a priority. The pick part was important. We felt we got a good pick from Philly.

“It was what does it mean for the team? If you get two rotational players, that’s good. If you can get a pick, that allows you to do more things. I think that’s all part of it. You’re always trying to think about what the possibilities could be.”

Butler will be in uniform Wednesday night when the Sixers take on the Orlando Magic.

With no discussions taking place about Carmelo Anthony returning to the Houston Rockets, his representatives are trying to find the former All-Star a new landing spot, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Anthony remains away from the team due to an illness, and reports of the Rockets’ readiness to move on from him are coming as a surprise to both the forward and front office executives around the league.

Houston is struggling to replicate its success last season, and the team ranks among the bottom third of the NBA in net rating. The Rockets’ early difficulties on both ends run deeper than Anthony, but his ineffectiveness as a defender has forced Houston to turn to rookie Gary Clark, asking him to take on a bigger role in the rotation.

During the offseason, the Rockets restructured their elite defensive roster that reached Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference Finals, hoping that Anthony could take on a tertiary playmaking role. After 10 games, the organization has apparently decided the fit won’t work moving forward, even though Anthony is willing to come off the bench.

Anthony is averaging 13.4 points and shooting 40.5 percent from the field.

At this point last season, the Boston Celtics were 11-2 – about two-thirds of the way through a 16-game win streak. Things are a little different this year, with the team wobbling along at 7-6 and struggling to find its identity on offense.

After Sunday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, star point guard Kyrie Irvingwondered whether a well-tenured veteran might help stabilize a team which currently ranks 27th in the league in offensive rating, scoring just 104.2 points per 100 possessions.

“I think it just comes with, just some experience,” Irving said, according to MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “Looking at this locker room, me being in my eighth year and being a ‘veteran’ as well as Al (Horford) and (Aron) Baynes. Right now I think it would be nice if we had someone that was a 15-year vet, a 14-year vet that could kind of help us race along the regular season and understand it’s a long marathon rather than just a full-on sprint, when you want to play, when you want to do what you want to do. It’s all about attitude and effort. That’s all it is.”

It isn’t clear whether Irving was making a direct petition to his team’s front office or simply preaching patience as one of the league’s least-experienced teamsworks through its growing pains. The Celtics’ roster is currently maxed out at 15 players, with a pair of prospects on two-way contracts; testing Irving’s hypothesis would require jettisoning one of his colleagues to make room for a veteran.

Last year’s Celtics managed a 55-27 regular-season record en route to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals – with no player older or more experienced than Horford. Those lofty results came despite Gordon Hayward and Irving both missing time with injury.

Jimmy Butler occasionally butted heads with former Minnesota Timberwolves teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins over their work ethic and desire to win. Now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers following Saturday’s blockbuster trade, Butler finds himself paired alongside two other budding stars and questions over whether history will repeat itself in the City of Brotherly Love.

One of those stars, Joel Embiid, isn’t going to allow Butler and his aggressive leadership style to change how he conducts himself both on and off the floor.

“I’m going to do me,” Embiid said, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I’m going to do Joel Embiid. I’m going to dominate. Occasionally, when guys from the other team want to talk trash, I’m going to be right there talking trash (and) using social media. That’s me. Nothing’s going to change. I’m going to be me.

“I’ve been doing a great job being there for this franchise, being here since basically (the rebuilding process) started. I intend to keep doing what I’ve been doing – help my teammates play better and make everybody happy and make sure we can win games.”

Having no pre-existing relationship with Butler, Embiid is intrigued over the possibilities of what they can potentially accomplish as a cohesive unit. He also sees no harm in Butler possibly being confrontational, just as long as its for the betterment of the Sixers.

“If it’s beneficial for me and for the team, then no problem,” added the 7-footer. “But if it’s something that I don’t think is going to be good for the franchise, then that’s not okay. I think everybody knows that I say whatever I want, whatever comes to my mind. I don’t have no problem doing that.

“But I’m excited having him. I think we can build something special. I’m excited to go out there and play and have someone else help carry the load. Hopefully, we make it to the Finals and have a shot at the title.”

The official trade call and physicals are reportedly scheduled for Monday, with the 76ers under the impression that Butler will be in uniform for Wednesday’s meeting with the Orlando Magic at the earliest.

A northern California county has been hit with a deadly wildfire, and it’s become a potential concern for the nearby Sacramento Kings.

The forest fire – dubbed “Camp Fire” – began on Thursday in Butte County, and it’s pushing smoke south toward California’s capital city. It’s reached Sacramento’s downtown core, and the Kings’ Golden 1 Center became visibly cloudy inside.

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“Not to sound dumb, but this kind of snuck up on everybody,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “From wherever you’re coming in from (you notice the smoke). Today I immediately started calling our staff: ‘How bad is it downtown? What’s going on here?’ It’s just a really sad deal.”

Prior to Sacramento’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, arena workers were told to keep the doors closed as much as possible to minimize the smoke seeping through.

However, Lakers star LeBron James was concerned during L.A.’s morning shootaround.

“You can smell it,” said James. “We haven’t really gotten up and down (running) like that to the point where you can tell it affects you or not but anytime smoke is around, you know it can affect all of us. Not only us as athletes but everyone. Everyone gets affected by pollution.”

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma added: “Breathing, it’s a little bit muggier. You can kind of feel that from the jump.”

Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is hoping to make his season debut in three weeks, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The 40-year-old underwent ankle surgery late last season and missed the final four games of the campaign.

Nowitzki returns to a squad that now features rookie Luka Doncic and newcomer DeAndre Jordan in the starting lineup. He’ll give the Mavericks a boost with his floor-spacing ability.