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Butler smiled through his brief postgame chat with reporters and said neither the turmoil nor the bench role affected his play. “Disengaged? Nah. It was a little different,” he said. “I was still into it. I knew what I was supposed to be doing. I still took the shots I always take. That’s fine. “I’ll be back. I promise. I’m not worried about it at all.
Nick Friedell: Butler says he will still go to “war” with Rondo. Says he’ll prepare the same way he always does.
Vincent Goodwill: Butler: it can go one or two ways. Get better and win or sit and lost. If we win its a good thing. If we lose it wasn’t
KC Johnson: Butler said he didn’t read Rondo’s post.
People who know Rondo believe he can still be a starter in Chicago, but it can’t be with the current group. “Rajon has to play with guys who are more suited to the way he plays,” one person close to him said. “If he’s with some shooters and some slashers, he’ll be fine. They’ll be fine. I think he and Butler can play together, and maybe Wade and Butler can play together. But he and Wade and Butler can’t play together.”
It’s tough to make hard and fast judgments from preseason games, but there is some serious doubt around the NBA regarding Chicago’s constellation of All-Stars. Adding Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo to Jimmy Butler looks good on paper, but they will have to tweak their games to make the band sing in tune. “Rondo, Wade and Butler are all ball-stoppers,” an opposing executive said. “None of them are great cutters or guys that move without the ball. They’re all isolation-type players. They’re all very good players, but it doesn’t seem to be a good fit.”
KC Johnson: Jimmy Butler: “But I’m not going to take a step backward because I have new players on my team. I’m going to still be aggressive. I’ll still guard. I’ll have a voice in the locker room. I’ll say what needs to be said. What I want them guys to do whenever I’m on some bulls**t, I want them to tell me. I want you to say my name, man to man.”
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February 21, 2018 | 9:00 am EST Update
Polk said it’s a “concern” Walker will likely have to reach unrestricted free-agency before he could be re-signed, but that’s a function of the rules. “We love Kemba Walker,” Polk said. “We would like nothing more than for Kemba to end his career here.”
It took years to fully recover from the injury and he wasn’t cleared to play again until May 2017. The rehabilitation process tested him both mentally and physically, but he found a way to reach his goal. “It was essentially a four-year process,” Okafor said. “I just took my time making sure, not only the initial injury (was healed), but to recondition and rehab everything. … (I) figured while I’m waiting for my disc to heal, I can take the time to heal other things. When I come back, (I can) feel nice and bouncy and rejuvenated.”
Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk missed a portion of Tuesday’s practice, while being examined following a car accident in Arkansas over All-Star break. Monk suffered from upper-body soreness when he arrived for Tuesday’s late-afternoon practice, so a team doctor checked him out. Monk returned to practice at Spectrum Center in time to put up some jump shots after most of the other players left the practice court. “They just had to make sure he was OK,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “He wasn’t able to practice today, but he says he feels better. He’s just stiff. So, we’ll just see tomorrow how he feels and where he is at.”
Asked if he anticipates Steve Clifford, who has a season remaining on his contract, being the coach here next season, Polk responded, “I would today.” Like each of Clifford’s previous four seasons, he and his staff will be evaluated in the spring. “Once we get a new general manager on board, we’ll talk about the coaching staff,” Polk said. “Steve has brought a lot of strong organization” to the franchise, Polk said, adding Clifford’s health crisis (a six-week leave to address severe headaches) concerned everyone in management.
February 21, 2018 | 5:07 am EST Update
“He’s not [coming back to Miami]. But the fact when ESPN polled 48 players about what they thought might happen with LeBron that they even mentioned the Heat shows that, at worst, the Heat remain relevant in players’ consciousness,” Winderman wrote. “Basically, the NBA players polled still consider the Heat a desirable landing spot. And that is a good thing. But I cannot fathom, as you pointed out, the Heat having enough on their roster to attract such a level of free agent. There was a time when I thought Hassan Whiteside could have been such a lure, but with his role minimized, I don’t see that as the case anymore.”