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October 31, 2014 | 05:41 PM ET Update

“It came down to me deciding that I want to bet on myself,” Butler told Yahoo Sports in a text message on Friday. “It was about me believing that I put the work in this summer to become a better player with the hope that my improvement will give the Bulls a better chance to win a championship.” Yahoo! Sports

The sides still have until midnight EST on Friday to reach agreement on a 2011 draft class rookie extension, but Bulls officials expressed to Butler and his reps at Relativity Media, Walters and Steve McCaskill, that they made their final offer earlier on Monday. The Bulls will have the chance to match an offer sheet and retain Butler next summer, but looming is the threat of a rival believing that it can extract Butler with a steep offer that threatens the Bulls’ payroll structure. Teams could include a player option on a three-year deal that would allow Butler to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017. Yahoo! Sports

SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS: THE BEST OF VINE AND INSTAGRAM

Adding to our social media tools, you can now watch here all the videos NBA players are posting online – including those by Nate Robinson, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith, of course.

   
October 31, 2014 | 04:43 PM ET Update

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed guard Alec Burks to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. "We have great regard for Alec’s work ethic and dynamic athletic ability as well as his growth potential,” said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. “Alec is a young player with a unique skillset and true passion for basketball who consistently finds the gym and has displayed the characteristics and desire to continue to improve his game. He is a high-character individual who, throughout his time with the Jazz, has expressed his love for Salt Lake City and Jazz fans, so we are thrilled to know that he will be a core piece of our future as we continue to grow. NBA.com

Alec Burks: Excited to be apart of the @Utah Jazz future. Thankful to the Miller family and the best fans in the NBA #jazznation http://t.co/l98WqqXGww Twitter @AlecBurks10

October 31, 2014 | 03:40 PM ET Update

Rusty Simmons: On deadline day to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Klay Thompson, his camp reports no news in talks with the Warriors. Twitter @Rusty_SFChron

Adrian Wojnarowski: Milwaukee's extension talks with Brandon Knight have ended, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Knight plans to enter restricted free agency in July. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

Who are some FA point guards the Thunder could look at signing? Anthony Slater: Gal Mekel has been rumored. Was recently with the Mavs before getting released after they signed J.J. Barea. Ish Smith is another option. But my guess: Michael Jenkins. He was in camp with OKC and played relatively well when given the opportunity. He knows the system, is comfortable with the team and can shoot it a little bit. Nobody they bring in is gonna be groundbreaking, so my guess is they go with someone they are familiar with. Oklahoman

But, on this very special Halloween day, the Hornets looked back for a change, providing the Bobcats name with the proper burial it deserves. After one game under the Hornets name, the team saw it fit to put the Bobcats name to bed, via a custom casket cake. The cake featured an RIP cross and the words "Here Lies The Bobcats." Sporting News

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN WARRIORS HISTORY

Wilt Chamberlain never won a championship with the Warriors, but his monstrous stats make him the clear pick for No. 1 player in franchise history.

   
October 31, 2014 | 02:21 PM ET Update

“We feel Kawhi is deserving of a max contract, and we are disappointed that something couldn’t get done,” Elfus told Yahoo Sports. “There’s no debating Kawhi’s value. The market has been set. He’s done everything the Spurs have asked of him, exceeded all of their expectations. Coach [Gregg] Popovich has gone out of his way to call Kawhi the future face of the franchise. We have great respect for the Spurs organization, but here, we simply agree to disagree. “There will be no shortage of teams interested in Kawhi’s services next year. There will be a lot of contract scenarios available to us, and we will explore them all.” Yahoo! Sports

The team exercised the third-year option on Dennis Schroder. The point guard will make $1,763,400 next season. Unlike most NBA teams, the Hawks do not announce their decision on team options. The deadline for the decisions is today. “I’m pretty upset about it but it’s part of the game,” Jenkins said. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I felt how I came back from injury, from August until now, I feel like I made leaps and bounds and shocked a lot of people in the way I came back. I feel like in the preseason, I might have earned my spot and had my option picked up. But it didn’t happen. I will continue to work hard, support the team and be positive.” Jenkins, who was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Vanderbilt, has been slowed by injury during his Hawks career. He averaged 6.1 points in 14.8 minutes as a rookie in 74 games. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Miami front office recently launched a more organic “Heat Nation” marketing campaign focusing on the city’s culture and devotion for its basketball team. The Heat website recently launched a six-minute video encapsulating this post-LeBron movement. In the video, the organization attempts to send the message that it is much bigger than LeBron. While this may be true, King James’ tenure in Miami seems to suggest otherwise. The Fields of Green

Prior to James’ arrival in Miami, the organization was losing money. However, following The Decision in 2010, James helped a struggling Miami franchise increase team revenues by 52 percent over four years. Considering where the Heat were in team value and revenue before James arrived in South Beach, the $67 million they paid him over four years wasn’t a bad investment. The Fields of Green

Ballmer’s enthusiasm is incredible and unwavering. During the first quarter he did an interview with TNT’s David Aldridge which he couldn’t stop moving. He looked like he was on the verge of giving D.A. a big bear hug and screaming in his face. Ballmer is like a young, unhinged Mark Cuban. It is wonderful. The Big Lead

‘New Girl’ star Zooey Deschanel relayed on a story on ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’ about the Lakers captain coming to visit the set of her show — and her sister’s show, ‘Bones’. “One day they were like Kobe Bryant’s on set, do you want to say hi?,” Deschanel said. “I said ‘sure’ but it was kind of weird because I wouldn’t have guessed he would be our audience.” For The Win

REAL ESTATE: WHERE DO PLAYERS OWN HOMES?

NBA players spend a lot on real estate. But where and how much exactly? Find out here

   
October 31, 2014 | 01:26 PM ET Update

In the end, James will make the ultimate call in Cleveland, but remember something: He doesn’t have the leverage with a one-year contract that people want to believe. He committed to a short contract so he could cash into that new television booty, but whatever is threatened for the sake of leverage – directly or indirectly – James can’t leave Cleveland again. His image, his brand, couldn’t survive the fallout. Once James returned, make no mistake: he signed a lifetime contract with the Cavaliers. This time, it’s in blood. Yahoo! Sports

But Young has stayed away from the NBA. He says many of the top sports scientists feel that, due to the demanding schedule and management's narrow-mindedness about player fatigue, working in the NBA ends up being little more than a fool's errand. "I haven't heard great things about the NBA as a place for sports scientists to work," Young says. "It's very difficult to get things done. A lot of the sports science guys I know in the league are trying to leave. They find themselves placed in positions where they're glorified stretching coaches." ESPN.com

Making matters worse is the sleep deprivation that comes with traveling overnight. The health risks are real: studies have shown that going 24 hours without sleep has the same impairment effect of a 0.10 blood alcohol level, which is considered to be legally drunk. The same effect is seen after several nights of having as little as four hours of sleep. "With all those games and all that travel, you're constantly recovering," Young says. "Unless you're cycling lineups, which I've never heard of, guys just don't get a chance to recover." ESPN.com

Young suggests the NBA adopt a 60-game schedule that eliminates back-to-backs entirely and cuts down on travel significantly. From Young's perspective, teams should play no more than two or three games a week. "That'd be very light for the NBA," Young says. "The performance dropoff is pretty steep as you play more, and likelihood of injury goes way up. If you are the team that played three games, vs. the team that played two, your likelihood of injury is much higher, and your likelihood of winning is lower." ESPN.com

As the season unfolds, the Klutch Sports client most are watching closest is deposed Golden State coach Mark Jackson. He has bounced agent to agent in his brief coaching career, but landing with Paul raised the suspicions of Jackson’s motives: Does Jackson think Paul can simply wedge him into the Cavaliers’ job? Most believe that James is too smart to ever want a coach who spends far more time retweeting Twitter praise for himself than preparing his basketball team, but Jackson shouldn’t be underestimated as one of the sport’s great self-promoters. And make no mistake: If the Cavaliers struggle, it won’t be James and Kevin Love taking the blame. It’ll be coach David Blatt, who understands – even embraces – the burden. Yahoo! Sports

Most agents and business associates of key Cavaliers players are on full alert to keep clients out of the tentacles of Klutch. The Klutch sales pitch has been predictable: Come with us, get paid with the Cavaliers. As much as anything, James has set up Rich Paul with a sweet gig: Paul doesn’t negotiate the contracts for clients, nor does he do the marketing for LeBron James. Those jobs belong to Mark Termini and the Fenway Sports Group, respectively. Nevertheless, Paul is the personable frontman, the secondary recruiter behind James himself. Yahoo! Sports

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
October 31, 2014 | 12:21 PM ET Update

Reachable incentive clauses could push Burks’ deal to $45 million, sources said. Burks has developed into one of the NBA’s better young shooting guards and is a cornerstone of the franchise’s youthful core. Burks, a member of the 2011 NBA draft class, and his agent, Andy Miller, had until midnight EST on Friday to negotiate an extension with Utah – or Burks could’ve entered into restricted free agency in 2015. Yahoo! Sports

Jon Krawczynski: AP source confirms @Adrian Wojnarowski report of 4 years, $42M for Alec Burks, with incentives carrying it to about $45M. Could be a busy day today Twitter @APkrawczynski

Darren Wolfson: Said 4/$52M is what Wolves will do. Maybe 54. On Rubio to say yes. RT @1500ESPN .@Darren Wolfson says Rubio will accept 4-years, $58M. Twitter @DarrenWolfson

The Knicks won’t pick up point guard Shane Larkin’s team option for 2015-16, a source close to the situation confirmed Friday to SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog. The deadline for guaranteeing the third-year option is today (Friday). The Knicks Blog

The Hawks declined to exercise the fourth-year team option on former first-round pick John Jenkins. The shooting guard would have been due $2,228,025 for the 2015-16 season but now becomes an unrestricted free agent following this season. The team exercised the third-year option on Dennis Schroder. The point guard will make $1,763,400 next season. Unlike most NBA teams, the Hawks do not announce their decision on team options. The deadline for the decisions is today. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When it comes to Leonard, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich walks a fine line. On one hand, Popovich believes -- and wants Leonard to believe -- that he is the future of the franchise. It’s why Popovich frequently responds to questions about Leonard with that very phrase. “You can only talk to somebody so much and if you do it too much, they don’t hear you anymore,” Popovich told SI.com. “Him hearing it from another source, maybe he starts to understand the responsibility that comes with that. It’s not easy to come every night and do what the big guys do. Kevin Durant is expected to do that every night. LeBron [James], Timmy [Duncan]. When he hears it from a lot of sources, I think it helps.” Sports Illustrated

“The different qualities I saw in Tim, in Manu, in Avery [Johnson], I see in Kawhi,” Bowen said. “I would never limit him to being what I was. He’s special. He’s the most complete player on the team right now.” The Spurs expect Leonard’s offensive game to continue to expand. Leonard continues to work diligently with shooting guru Chip Engellend, who tweaked Leonard’s form after the draft and has steadily helped him become more comfortable shooting three’s from all over the floor. Assistant coach Chad Forcier, who works with Leonard to develop an array of moves, including step backs and jump hooks. And Popovich promises to put a few more plays in the playbook for Leonard, mainly in the post, where Leonard can utilize his sturdy 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame to overpower smaller defenders. Sports Illustrated

Looking nothing like the team that trailed the Bulls by 35 points in Wednesday's season-opening loss, the Knicks pulled off a stunning upset and got Derek Fisher his first win as an NBA coach. They erased an 11-point deficit and spoiled James' big night with a 95-90 victory. "The city is on fire," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "So much traffic driving to the game, so many fans on the streets, they're excited about LeBron being back. But we came in and spoiled the excitement. Great for us." Newsday

But only two games into an already trying Lakers’ season, Lin has encountered a new challenge. How to play with Kobe Bryant. “He’s used having to look over his shoulder all the time and playing with players who like controlling the ball a lot,” said Bryant, referring to New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Houston’s James Harden. “I told him, ‘That’s a big urban legend of me. I want to score. That means coming off of picks, catching and shooting. You handle the ball and you run the show.’” Los Angeles Daily News

“I have to do what I have to do sometimes if things aren’t working,” Bryant said. “I have to manufacture (scoring). But I’d much rather have him run the show. That’s what he’s good at doing. He’s good at getting into the lane and running it for other people. It’s a matter of him pulling the bull by the horns.” Los Angeles Daily News

An anonymous NBA scount dishes his take on the Thunder's outlook with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sidelined. "They are going to have a hard time scoring. You know they are not going to rush KD back because that’s not what they do. The entire offense was funneled to Westbrook and Durant. You can run the same sets but how effective is it going to be without two of the top 10 players in the NBA? But that’s probably what they are going to do. Reggie Jackson is like a mini-Westbrook. He’s going to get a lot of shots. It was the Perry Jones Show against the Clippers, so he will get looks too. Serge Ibaka isn’t a post presence but they might try to do more to get him more baseline jump shots. These are band-aids though. In this conference, they can easily lose 10 or 15 games over the next month and be in a deep hole when Russ or KD comes back. This injury could knock them out of the playoffs." Sports Illustrated

Depending on the diagnosis that is expected to be more clear on Friday, the Thunder's championship hopes may have gone out the door with him. It's unclear if the injury, which Thunder coach Scott Brooks called a small fracture of the second metacarpal, will require surgery. "What seed were the Rockets when they won it all (in 1995)?" one Thunder official asked as he tried to process the unwelcome news. USA Today Sports

"It's tough," said Ibaka, who had 17 points and nine rebounds against the Clippers and was one of only eight Thunder players available by game's end. "We were not ready for it…We have a lot of guys with injury, and we need to just figure (it) out. We need to just keep playing the way we did tonight, to keep fighting…We've got guys. We've been there before. "You know, what happened to me last year now happened to KD and Russ, it's something I can not really talk about because I can not really control that. What I can do is keep staying together. I'm going to tell the guys, stay together and keep pushing, keep working." USA Today Sports

Veteran NBA forward Josh Powell, waived by the Rockets last week, has remained with the team to try his hand at coaching while he considers his next move. If he chooses to retire as a player, he could then officially join the Rockets’ staff as a player development coach working with Rockets big men. “It just fell into place,” Powell said. “I don’t ever question what God has in store. One door closes and another one opens. Coach (Kevin McHale) is being patient with me. Everyone has been real helpful in helping me through the transition process. I look forward to a new chapter and an exciting opportunity.” Houston Chronicle

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October 31, 2014 | 08:47 AM ET Update

Sources say that the Wolves and Rubio have been in advanced negotiations for the last few weeks that are likely to lead to an extension. Thompson and Golden State, meanwhile, have been in serious talks for some time after the Warriors backed out of long-running Love trade talks with Mi?nnesota this offseason in order to keep Thompson. ESPN.com

As I wrote in the notes for Friday’s paper, the Cavs and Anderson Varejao are close on a three-year, $30 million extension. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein was first to report the extension news. Akron Beacon Journal

This year, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis remain free agents. Allen is biding his time while waiting to see what team he might fit with, and retirement remains a possibility for the 39-year-old. Lewis is working out, sometimes in Dallas, to recover from a knee problem. "We haven't talked to him, but I think he's doing it the right way," owner Mark Cuban said of Allen. "He's waiting to see who's doing well. If it comes down to it, we'd always consider it. We're always open to improving the team. But you don't want to mess up a good thing, either. That's when Caron got hurt and Roddy got hurt. But Peja is a good example," he said referring to Caron Butler and Roddy Beaubois injuries creating a need for Stojakovic in 2010-11. Dallas Morning News

David 'Dubi' Pick: I noted yesterday that the OKC Thunder express interest in Gal Mekel. Wonder if deal could materialize with Russell Westbrook out. Twitter @IAmDPick

Kyrie Irving led Cleveland in both points (22) and assists (seven), but pointed to his four turnovers as proof that he needs to work with coach David Blatt in executing the plays that are being called. "For us, it's just a better communication between me and Coach Blatt," Irving said. "That's basically what it boils down to. I'm his point guard out there, and some things that I see, you know, he has plays in his mind and I have plays in my mind as well. "We're just going to continue to grow. It's a process. Within practice, we kind of switch on and off [calling the plays], but for us it's about what's going on out there on the court and what he sees and what I see, and hopefully we can get on the same page pretty soon." ESPN.com

I asked Marion if that’s the fewest minutes he has ever played on a night when he’s healthy. “Yes,” he said. “By far. By far. It’s interesting.” Akron Beacon Journal

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban joined KRLD-FM on Thursday. Here are some highlights from the interview. On the Chandler Parsons/Rick Carlisle weight issue: “It’s like telling your wife she looks fat in a dress. It was nothing. It was just coach. Chandler it wasn’t a big deal for him, but it got a lot of media attention so coach did the right thing and addressed it. I kind of laughed it off when it all happened and Chandler kind of laughed it off but it’s just the nature of the beast with media these days. It’s better to nip it in the bud than to have to answer it over and over and over again. Because you know there’s going to be people months, years, later that are going ask about stuff like that.” Dallas Morning News

"We just absolutely melted down, hung our heads, and basically, the group on the floor were willing to let the game go. They were willing to let the game go," Van Gundy said. "We got five guys in there who weren't willing to let the game go and we got back in it. "But that was very, very disappointing. That was the first adversity we hit this year and we failed the test badly." Booth Newspapers

Walking off the floor after the Nuggets' 89-79 win in Denver on opening night Wednesday with 22 points and 17 rebounds to his name, Faried mouthed off about Smith's evening. "Josh Smith, we let him keep shooting," Faried said on the team's website after the game. "And he ended up with 25, but he still kept shooting. He shot them out of the game." Detroit News

Smith, who started off hitting six of his first 10 shots but made just three of his final 12, heard of Faried's comments Thursday afternoon from a friend, and fired back in kind before the Pistons played the Minnesota Timberwolves. "I don't respond to nobody with dreadlocks who plays basketball," Smith said, referring to Faried's hairdo. "He's a clown, quote me on that." Detroit News

"He fears me," Smith said. "He's scared of me, so, of course, he'll talk about me in the paper. He won't do it to me in my face. If you have to hide behind a microphone or smartphone, so be it. I don't mind." Detroit News

The early indication is that Russell Westbrook could miss four to six weeks after fracturing the second metacarpal in his right hand Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. It could keep the Thunder's electric point guard sidelined through mid-December and add him to an already ridiculously long list of injured Oklahoma City players who are expected to miss the season's first month. Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook broke his right hand Thursday, coach Scott Brooks said after the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Westbrook, hurt during the middle of the second quarter of the 93-90 loss, has a small fracture in his second metacarpal. No timetable on a return was available Thursday night. "We'll know more tomorrow," Brooks said. "We have to figure it out together." USA Today Sports

Russell Westbrook hurt his right hand going up for a rebound during the second quarter of tonight’s game versus the Clippers, and headed to the locker room for evaluation. As he was on his way, a fan said something to draw the Thunder guard’s ire. Westbrook turned around and snapped at him: The Big Lead

The second scenario offers limited options for the Lakers. The third scenario, while technically plausible, is considered heretical by so many Lakers faithful it's hard to see the Lakers pulling the trigger. "I don't think Mitch has much choice but to find ways to lose," one GM told ESPN. "They're going to be bad anyway. You don't want to be just good enough that you lose the pick and still miss the playoffs. I don't think they have the assets to get good enough to make the playoffs and I don't think they have the [expletive] to trade Kobe. It's paradoxical, but right now losing seems like the only way to really get better." ESPN.com

Silver talked about it in more detail with Howard Beck of Bleacher Report in a video interview (it’s worth watching all of it, they cover some other interesting topics). “I and others at the league office have spent a lot of time studying the Champions League for European soccer and other types of cups and mid-season tournaments,” Silver said in the interview. “Now there there’s a long tradition, but maybe there’s the opportunity to create a new tradition. And to create more competitions. Right now everything is about the Larry O’Brien trophy but soccer operates a little differently, they have different cups, which may not be as important as the championship but in their own right are highly significant. “Those are not the kinds of changes that are going to happen in a year, or maybe even in two or three years, but they are the kinds of development for the league that needs to be studied over time.” NBCSports.com

"I can say that I was more than surprised," Roberts told Yahoo Sports in an interview. "I am not suggesting that Adam is telling a lie. I am sure that the owners told him that. But it's difficult for me to believe that, especially after looking at the 2011 CBA negotiations and seeing all the money the players don't have now. There's $1.1 billion that the players would've been otherwise entitled. "I find it very difficult to appreciate how any owners could suggest they're still losing money. It defies common sense. We know what the franchise values are. I don't have to say '$2 billion' again and again, do I? "The gate receipts, the media deals. What else do you need to make money? We are not going to reengage in a process where this happens again. The NBA's cries of poverty will not fly this time." Yahoo! Sports

Following LeBron James' "Cramp Game" in the NBA Finals last season against the Spurs, much was made of the hydration formula he was using in the sweltering, AC-less AT&T Center. Gatorade took a shot on Twitter following the event, and it seems the players have made their choice. During LeBron's first game back as a Cavalier, against the Knicks, a Cavs' employee could be seen pouring Gatorade into a Powerade bottle. Now, it should be pointed out that Gatorade is an official sponsor of the NBA, but nonetheless, the unintentional irony is hilarious. Sporting News

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

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