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Butler scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and also spent time guarding Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas in a Game 1 win. “I had the luxury of playing with a guy named LeBron.” Wade said before Monday’s practice. “And we did the same thing when we played — to Derrick Rose.”
Dwyane Wade: “ You’re not going to slow down Isaiah Thomas from getting the looks and getting opportunities. The guy can score as good as anybody in this game. But just to give them a different look, if you get their offense out a little further, if it takes a little bit more time off the clock, all those things help. It’s good to be able to have a guy like that to say, ‘get us 30, and then go guard the guy that’s got 30.'”
Vincent Goodwill: Butler on Wade returning Saturday: “I’m stoked to have my guy back, let him get out there, get in a rhythm, and do what he’s done for years”
Jimmy Butler: Everybody knows the type of career that D-Wade has had. Obviously he’s gonna be a Hall of Famer, but the person he is off the floor, the things that he’s passionate about, the brand that he’s built, that’s something that I think every player can model after, and the fact that he’s doing everything the right way, he’s probably the nicest guy in the league by far, everybody loves him, that’s a legacy that you wanna leave. On the court, off the floor, he’s the man.
“You just never know how it’s going to shake out,” Wade said Tuesday of the upcoming offseason. “Obviously I’m not happy being [23-23] or whatever the case may be or will be, but there are things I’m happy with. I’m happy with Jimmy [Butler’s] growth and our relationship. I’m happy with the organization and how they’ve approached things, but I’m not happy with our record. But no one on this team is. But it’s months away before I concern myself with that, so I’ll figure it out later.’’
“At the end of the year, you sit back and see what the team is, what direction they’re going in,” Wade told ESPN on Wednesday night. “I would be a liar to say that I want to play on a team with all 21-year-olds. You know what I mean? And be a part of the future building. I would be a fool to say that. But you also want to be in the best position for what you think is for you at that time, too.
“… One of the main reasons I’m here is Jimmy. He’s the one who called me and got me to come here. So that’s a big part of my decision and everything else, is what Jimmy’s doing, what his future looks like and all that. And I’ve made it very clear. So I have no idea from that standpoint. You just have to wait and see and then see what works out.”
“He’s playing as good as anybody in the league right now,” Wade told ESPN.com on Saturday after the Bulls’ 123-118 win over the Toronto Raptors. “What he’s doing in the fourth quarter is even more impressive than the stat line at the end of the day. That stat line is amazing, but everybody knows we’re going to Jimmy. And to still be able to make those plays, make those things, it’s incredible. And then to still guard one or two of the other best players on the other end of the floor in the fourth, that’s impressive, man. He’s playing out of this world right now. His confidence is out the roof, and that goes a long way.”
“So many guys in this league have talent,” Wade said. “Everyone in this league has talent. There’s a lot of things that separate guys and that’s one of them — the mentality. The mentality that it takes to — even if you’re having a bad game like in Cleveland he wasn’t shooting well, to still be able to do that in the clutch, that’s big time. Those players, those are special players right there. And he’s putting himself in the category of just special.”
KC Johnson: Butler: “I can’t let DWade down. DWade has been doing that for years. The fourth quarter is always go time. I want to show I belong here.”
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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July 22, 2017 | 9:56 pm EDT Update
Jack Cooley must have made a good impression on the Kings during the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League. The former Notre Dame will sign a two-way contract with Sacramento, a league source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com’s James Ham.
Jared Sullinger has no problem using the F-word. Fat. Ask the out-of-work NBA player — the Phoenix Suns cut him in February — and the one-time Ohio State center from Northland speaks openly on the subject. I know, because I asked him. “You look like you’re down to, what, 240?” I asked, hoping not to have guessed embarrassingly high. “I wish,” he answered.
“My biggest was 320, when I was finishing my fourth year with Boston (2015-2016),” the 25-year-old offered. “Honestly, it was embarrassing.”
“I lost a year of basketball directly because of what I have done — my weight and my eating habits,” he said, explaining how his unwillingness to shed pounds led the Celtics to release him in 2016 and later contributed to the Toronto Raptors trading him to Phoenix on Feb. 23. The Suns cut him the next day.
Maybe an NBA franchise will notice Sullinger’s weight loss and show interest. He averaged 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in five NBA seasons. There is plenty of game left in him. Or maybe the next step is playing overseas. Either way, he does not sound worried. “Now that I have basketball and my health, I don’t give a damn about anything else,” he said.
July 22, 2017 | 7:31 pm EDT Update
The Cavs kept Irving’s request quiet. They wanted to patiently work on a deal without all the media frenzy happening right now. I also heard it was some players who began telling others — leading to the news coming out.