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Dwyane Wade 'Closes Miami Chapter' With First Bulls' Win

Oct 28, 2016 8:52 AM

Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 105-99 in his debut with the franchise.

Wade hit his fourth three-pointer of the game to seal it for the Bulls.

“I closed the Miami chapter right there,” Wade told The Vertical inside an empty locker room late Thursday.

“I can’t focus over there anymore. I want those guys in Miami to be successful, but I’m motivated by greatness here. I’m motivated by doing what people think I can’t do, for sure. I had to make a decision, and I feel good about the decision I made.

“A lot of emotions hit me when I made that shot. I’m not here because I’m angry at [Pat Riley] or the Heat. There’s no anger. I’m happy because I got the freedom to look elsewhere. I got to look at home.”

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Tags: Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, NBA

Greg Oden Done Playing Basketball, Returns To Ohio State As Student-Coach

Oct 28, 2016 9:06 AM

Greg Oden has returned to Ohio State as a student-coach.

Oden played in China last season after dealing with a number of injuries in the NBA. Oden underwent multiple microfracture knee surgeries and other issues. Oden last played in the NBA during the 13-14 season with the Miami Heat.

"I wanted to stay around basketball and coach gave me a lifeline to be here," Oden told the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. "To give me something to do with my afternoons.

"I'm still trying to figure out my life. Since I've been in fourth grade, all I've known was basketball. I'm just trying to better myself and work on my degree and set something up for the future of my family."

Oden is now 28 and acknowledges his playing career is over.

"I wish," Oden told the Star. "It's over."

Oden was the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, leaving Ohio State after his freshman season. Oden is now a sophomore in college and majoring in the sports industry.

"I wouldn't say I regret anything," Oden said. "I would say I just wish I did things better."

Dana Hunsinger Benbow/Indianapolis Star

Tags: Greg Oden, Ohio State Buckeyes, NBA

Dunc'd On: Reddit Mailbag + Spurs/Kings

Oct 28, 2016 4:32 AM

A few thoughts on the Kings home opener against the Spurs, then (10:30) a Reddit Mailbag! Questions include if C's will trade Isaiah Thomas, where Ronnie Price's odd contract ranks, where teams would rank if their entire roster were in their primes, which RFAs have the most to gain this year, why so many teams committed to questionable contracts this summer, how many straight Finals LeBron will win, and more.

With host Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) and Danny Leroux (@DannyLeroux). 

Click to subscribe via RSS feed or iTunes.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: NBA, Dunc'd On

Blake Griffin Hasn't Begun Thinking About Free Agency

Oct 27, 2016 11:07 AM

Blake Griffin was plagued by injuries last season, injuries that occurred both on and off the court.

“I don’t ever enjoy time away from the game,” Griffin said. “But it does make you appreciate what you have. Every time something is taken away, you’re forced to take a step back and realize how much that thing means to you. You don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. This was a good restart, for me to remember why I’m here and what I love doing the most.”   

Griffin finished third in MVP voting during the 13-14 season.

Griffin will essentially be in a contract year as he's expected to decline his $21.4 million player option for 17-18 with the Los Angeles Clippers to sign a long-term max contract.

“Contract year or not a contract year, I’m playing the exact same way and focused on the exact same things,” Griffin says. “I haven’t had any conversations about free agency or about anything. If there’s something that anybody hears throughout the course of the season, it’s false, because it didn’t come from me. … This season is just like any other season. My main focus is to accomplish what we’re here to accomplish, and that’s a championship.”

Griffin has been linked to his hometown Oklahoma City Thunder.

“That talk doesn’t impact me,” Griffin says dismissively, when reminded about the hopeful hometown theory. “It’s always going to be there. Fans always want to speculate. My main focus all summer long was getting healthy and getting better. My main focus now is this season. There’s so much basketball to play. I don’t want to say what other players do is none of my business, because it does affect your business whether you’re playing against them. But whether KD is in Oklahoma or Golden State, it’s all the same. We’re going to lace up and play whatever team anybody is with.”

Ben Golliver/Sports Illustrated

Tags: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

DeMarcus Cousins: I Like Dave Joerger And He Likes Me

Oct 27, 2016 11:24 AM

The Dave Joerger-era with the Sacramento Kings got underway with a 113-94 win at the Phoenix Suns.

Joerger replaced George Karl, who had a tenuous relationship with DeMarcus Cousins.

“I like him and he likes me,” Cousins said of Joerger.

“Joerger’s been great,” Cousins said. “I think what he brought to the team is what this team needed. It fits our identity more than how we played in the past. Not to knock any of the previous situations but I think this situation fits this team the best.”

Joerger said he hasn’t done anything out of character to try to connect with Cousins.

“I didn’t really do anything special other than try to be yourself,” Joerger said. “I think if you try to be somebody else that’s always a problem. Players can always see right through that so just be yourself, what you’re trying to do, how we’re trying to build it for the future of our team this season and going out for future years."

Jason Jones/Sacramento Bee

Tags: DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Lakers Experimenting With Brandon Ingram At Point Guard

Oct 27, 2016 9:19 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers used Brandon Ingram at point guard in his NBA debut.

With Jose Calderon injured and Nick Young starting, Ingram showed promise bringing the ball up the floor.

“It helps engage him in the game. He’s a great basketball player and has a great feel for the game,” Luke Walton said. “When you’re handling the ball, even when you’re not shooting, just making passes. It’s a great way to force you into the game.”

“I felt like they went away when I got to the point guard position a little bit,” Ingram said.

“Knowing I can play-make for myself and play-make for other guys. When I got to the point guard position, it got a lot easier for me. I was making plays for my other teammates and making plays for myself.”

The Milwaukee Bucks have successfully used Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard over the past year.

Mark Medina/Orange County Register

Tags: Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Ben Simmons Hasn't Considered Sitting Out Entire Season

Oct 27, 2016 9:28 AM

Ben Simmons hasn't considered sitting out his entire rookie season after undergoing surgery for a Jones fracture of his fifth metatarsal in training camp.

"First guy I did speak to was KD [Kevin Durant]," Simmons told media before the 76ers' home opener against Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. "He had something similar [and] he just said, 'Listen, get advice from everybody and [you'll] be good.' It's good to reach out to people like that that have gone through it."

Brett Brown said Simmons could return in January but later walked that back.

"I was just getting excited about how soon he might be able to come back," Brown said. "There is so much speculation and dates as a coach you sort of want to hear what you want to hear at a time. I did mention a January hopeful return. That is premature. [...] That is a coach doing a lot more wishing than receiving instruction. So we will play this out. Everything is on track with his rehabilitation."

Simmons doesn't have a return date.

"I'll come back when I'm ready," he said.

"There's no timetable to getting healthy. I'm just working hard to get back and as soon as they tell me I can play, I'll get out there."

Nick Metallinos/ESPN

Tags: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA Injury

Tristan Thompson Wasn't Surprised By Being Drafted Ahead Of Valanciunas

Oct 27, 2016 8:58 PM

Tristan Thompson was considered by some to be a surprise pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 4 selection in 2011 ahead of Jonas Valanciunas. 

Valanciunas didn't come to the NBA until the 12-13 season.

"It's only a surprise if you didn't watch the workouts," Thompson said following Thursday's practice before heading to Toronto. "If you ask ownership and coach (Byron) Scott and CG (Former GM Chris Grant) and even Griff (General Manager David Griffin), if you watched the workouts, there's some other guys in that workout that probably shouldn't have went in the pick they went, but, we won't get into that. It was not a surprise."

Thompson and Valanciunas will always be linked by their draft class.

"In the draft you always have a special bond and connection, especially if you have one that goes right after you, so it's kind of always, I guess everybody thinks you're competing," Thompson said. "But me and him both have a good relationship off the court, so we just push each other and try to get the best."

Chris Fedor/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tags: Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, NBA

Pistons Could Move Into New Downtown Arena Next Season

Oct 27, 2016 7:30 AM

The Detroit Pistons are in discussions about joining the Detroit Red Wings at the still-under-construction Little Caesars Arena as soon as next season. The arena is being built for the Red Wings in downtown Detroit.

At the most senior level, Tom Gores and Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, have directed their executive teams to work on a framework agreement that would permit the move, subject to approval by the NBA and city officials, the source said.

The sides are researching how the arena could be modified to accommodate an NBA team.

When Arn Tellem was hired by the Pistons, one of his main tasks was to work on the arena deal.

The Pistons have been in the bottom six in NBA attendance for five straight seasons as they play at the Palace in Auburn Hills.

Vince Ellis/Detroit News

Tags: Detroit Pistons, NBA

Dunc'd On: First Full Night Of Games

Oct 27, 2016 3:42 AM

We recap, in order: PHI/OKC, IND/DAL, AD'S 50, ORL/MIA, MEM/MIN, LAL/HOU on the first full night of games. 

With host Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) and Danny Leroux (@DannyLeroux).

Click to subscribe via RSS feed or iTunes.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: NBA, Dunc'd On

76ers Exercise 17-18 Options On Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas
Joel Embiid was the third overall pick in 2014 while Jahlil Okafor was picked third overall in 2015.

RealGM Staff Report

D'Angelo Russell: There's Freedom In Kobe Not Being Around
D'Angelo Russell will have the biggest role on offense for the Lakers.

Sam Alipour/ESPN

R.J. Hunter Close To Deal With Bulls
R.J. Hunter was waived by the Celtics as part of their final roster cuts for the regular season.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

James Harden Excited To Increase Assists As Rockets Enter Season With 'Different Vibe'
While James Harden has always been a prolific scorer, his ability as a passer may return to the public consciousness this season under Mike D'Antoni.

Kevin Ding/Bleacher Report

Lakers Exercise 17-18 Options On D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr.
The Lakers picked up the fourth year option on Julius Randle and the third-year options on D'Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr.

RealgM Staff Report

Knicks Tried To Sign Nicolas Batum In Free Agency
New York envisioned adding both Nicolas Batum and Joakim Noah to their starting lineup.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Dennis Schroder, Hawks Agree To Four-Year, $70M Extension
Dennis Schroeder and the Hawks have agreed upon a four-year, $70 million contract extension.

Marc Stein, Zach Lowe/ESPN

Austin Rivers Turned Down More Money To Re-Sign With Clippers
Doc Rivers thought the Clippers could lose Austin Rivers to the lure of more minutes and a bigger role.

Dan Woike/Orange County Register

Joel Embiid Considered Quitting Basketball Last October
In a Lee Jenkins profile, Joel Embiid talks about growing up upper middle class in Cameroon and learning how to shoot by watching videos of regular white people online.

Lee Jenkins/Sports Illustrated

Popovich: Kawhi Leonard Now 'More Confident, More Aggressive, More Hungry To Score'
Kawhi Leonard has become a much better player on offense over the past few seasons.

Nate Duncan/Dunc'd On Podcast

Kevin Durant: Blowout Loss To Spurs 'Woke Us Up A Bit'
Kevin Durant scored 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting to go with 10 rebounds in his debut with the Warriors.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Clifford: I've Never Seen Anyone Improve Skill Level Like MKG
The Hornets are optimistic on the development of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who was limited to just seven games during the 15-16 season.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Cap Holds For Players Coming Off Rookie Contracts Could Increase
The Spurs, Pistons and Wizards held off on extensions with Kawhi Leonard, Andre Drummond and Bradley Beal, respectively, to maintain a lower cap number.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Terrance Ferguson Suspended One Game For Striking Opponent
Terrance Ferguson is playing for the Adelaide 36ers after deciding not to attend Arizona for his freshman season.

RealGM Staff Report

Dunc'd On: Spurs/Warriors, Jazz/Blazers, Knicks/Cavs
A full wrap-ups of the three opening night games: Golden State/San Antonio, Portland/Utah and Cleveland/New York.

RealGM Staff Report

Cavs' Rings Feature Comeback From 3-1 Down Against Warriors
Three white diamonds depict the Warriors' wins, and four garnets represent the Cavaliers' wins.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Paul George: My Only Goal Is Playing For A Championship
Paul George can become a free agent in 2018.

Nate Taylor/Indianapolis Star

Chris Hansen's Group Offers To Build Seattle Arena Without Any Public Money
The group concedes in the letter that "the economic landscape has changed."

Chris Daniels/KING 5 News

Dan Gilbert To Meet With LeBron James To Discuss Direction Of Franchise
Dan Gilbert said he and LeBron James have come a long way in the six years since the 2010 offseason.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Magic Exercise 17-18 Options On Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton
Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja and Elfrid Payton are now signed through the 17-18 season.

RealGM Staff Report