TRISTAN ON THE BLOCK? Cavs big man Tristan Thompson is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 14.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Because of that, and the fact he’s on a rebuilding Cleveland team with a 5-14 record, he’s someone that often pops up in trade rumors.
Not so fast, though, cautions Cavaliers beat writer Chris Fedor, who says Cleveland would like to extend Thompson and make him a part of their future core because they love his leadership and veteran presence. At the same time, Thompson is a free agent next summer, and if the Cavs don’t get the sense they’ll be able to re-sign him, he could be on the move ahead of February’s trade deadline. He’ll have a ton of suitors among the contenders, particularly those who lack toughness and rebounding inside.
After all, we’ve already seen him help a team win a title in 2016 thanks to his useful skill set, so could be quite popular if Cleveland does make him available.
THIS WEEKEND IN THE ASSOCIATION: Two MVP frontrunners continued playing at a ridiculously high level, while a 10-game winning streak ended.
🐎 Luka Doncic’s Mavericks and LeBron James’ Lakers clashed in L.A. on Sunday, and the outing only slightly disappointed due to the fact that it was a blowout. And considering the Lakers came into Sunday riding a 10-game win streak, it was surprising to see them be the ones getting blown out at home. Doncic was fantastic in the contest, scoring 27 points, securing nine rebounds and dishing out 10 assists.
🚀 James Harden dropped 60 points against the Hawks on Saturday, and it only took him 24 field-goal attempts to get there. It’s the highest-scoring performance since 1983-84 for a player with that few shot attempts. What’s more, Harden also became just the third player in league history to have a 60-plus point game in three consecutive seasons, joining Wilt Chamberlain (1960-1963) and Elgin Baylor (1959-1962) on the illustrious list.
ALDRIDGE TRADE VALUE: The Spurs are having a rough year, one that could lead to them shipping away some of their veterans. We spoke to various NBA executives to determine what seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge’s trade value might look like.
NO TRADE FUN: We’re on Day 139 without a single trade in the NBA. That’s the longest stretch since 1968, without counting lockout years. It’s been pretty boring, but things could pick up once Dec. 15 passes, since most of the players signed this past summer will become trade-eligible then.
ROTATION PLAYER DOWN: Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu suffered a meniscus injury over the weekend, and will be out indefinitely.
🤦 One of the worst signings of last summer, Aminu is under contract in Orlando for three years – with a player option on the last season, no less! – and is owed $29.2 million. He’s averaging 4.3 points so far for the Magic, and has only added to the logjam of offensively-challenged, defensively-gifted forwards on Orlando’s roster.
TOP ROOKIE SIDELINED: One of the early frontrunners for Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant will be listed as week-to-week as he recovers from a back injury.
CHANGES IN CHICAGO? After years of futility in Chicago, it looks like Bulls general manager Gar Forman might finally be on the hot seat. In a season where some thought they could be a potential playoff dark horse, Chicago is 6-14 and has the league’s eighth-worst net rating.
RESURGENT DWIGHT: Lakers big man Dwight Howard, who is enjoying a solid season off the bench for L.A. in a reduced role that he’s done well to buy into, wanted the chance to prove himself for his former team, the Wizards, before they traded him. He never got the chance to.
DION BACK: Heat guard Dion Waiters apologized privately to teammates, and publicly to fans, for his actions that led to his 10-game suspension. The suspension is now over, but Waiters was still listed as inactive for Miami on Sunday, in the first game he could have returned. With how well the Heat are playing, it’s tough to see Waiters cracking the rotation anytime soon.
EVERYONE LOVES DIRK: Retired Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki attended Sunday’s Lakers/Mavericks contest, and during a first-quarter timeout, L.A. honored him with a tribute video, which Lakers fans followed up with a standing ovation. Lovely touch from Los Angeles, and Dirk very much appreciated it.
BOOKER ON FIRE: …in practice. Have you ever wanted to see Devin Booker hit 45 straight threes? Now’s your chance. (It’s oddly soothing.)
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
Click here for the answer.
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