Anonymous GM: How do you pull it off? First, you talk it over with ownership. I analyzed the team and told them what I wanted to do, the guys I wanted to get rid of and the guys with future value whom we wanted to keep. We obviously traded away some of our veteran guys who gave us a better chance of winning right now for future draft picks and young players. The owners didn’t want to tread water any more than I did. They’d rather go down to the bottom with the hope of coming up, so they signed off on it. It wasn’t a fight at all. In a different season, it might not make sense, but this draft certainly makes it more appealing. Our coach understands that too. It’s no secret what we’re trying to do, and you can’t lie to him anyway or you’ll lose all trust. We never really had to tell him, because the handwriting is on the wall. He knows exactly what’s going on, and he’s good with it. What’s hard is keeping it from the players. If you took a poll in all 30 locker rooms, regardless of how the roster looks, I bet they’d all say they are a playoff team. That’s good, because you want them to play with effort and lose organically. You never tell the players not to try to win a game, but it’s obvious that you’re putting out a team that’s just not good enough to win.
December 8, 2021 | 2:36 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: The Chicago Bulls are signing forward Stanley Johnson out of NBA G League’s South Bay Lakers via hardship exemption, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Johnson went to training camp with the Bulls.
Michael Scotto: This is a podcast from Myles I think is pretty relevant. He said, “The organization is going to do what’s best for the organization. They’re not inclined to care about your feelings in a sense. Now that I see myself in these rumors all the time, it’s just like another day for me. It’s like, ‘Oh, what else is new?’” Some scouts and executives have pointed out his fluctuating minutes under Rick Carlisle as a kind of a hint that he’ll ultimately be the one traded. Turner’s 25 (years old) and is signed through next season, as is Caris LeVert, who’s also signed through next season. Domantas Sabonis has two more years on his deal and has already been a two-time All-Star at 25.
Michael Scotto: I feel the Blazers have tried to win with Damian and CJ for so long. There are some executives I’ve spoken to who agree with my own opinion that if they were running the show in Portland, they’d start a rebuild. Norman Powell is 28 and in the prime of his career. He’s played well enough and is signed long-term for the future. Robert Convington and Jusuf Nurkic could interest playoff teams before they hit unrestricted free agency. CJ has plenty of value. Lillard would be the crown jewel of the market because Washington and Chicago have improved, and a lot of people around the league were hoping Zach LaVine or Bradley Beal would hit the trade market. That’s really unlikely at this point, given the success of their teams. Lillard or McCollum would be the most attractive trade piece a team could get out there overall.
Matthew Tynan: The Spurs have assigned Jock Landale to Austin, and while it may not seem like it at the moment, this is a good sign for all of you clamoring for Jock. Between concussion and Covid protocols he missed out on a ton of valuable practice time. Now they want him to go get minutes.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard underwent a cortisone injection procedure to his abdominal last week to mitigate the pain he’s been dealing with for the last few years, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Lillard, 31, is scheduled to be reevaluated on Friday and could return to action as soon as Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources said. The pain had reached a heightened point before the procedure.
Ja Morant’s return to the Memphis Grizzlies could be delayed further as the star guard entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday, the team announced. Morant was not present at shootaround this morning. He’s still recovering from a sprained knee and per coach Taylor Jenkins’ timeline of a “couple of weeks”, he wasn’t expected to return for the Grizzlies’ three remaining games this week.