Storyline: Joe Johnson Free Agency

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Has your play in the BIG3 built any momentum toward an NBA return? Is getting back to the NBA even a goal of yours? Joe Johnson: Yes, I’d love to get back and play in the NBA. It’s not my ultimate goal, it wasn’t my goal getting into the BIG3. But if the opportunity presents itself, I would take upon the challenge. I would love to. But, I got a job to do, and my agent has a job to do. I’m not sure about the momentum or how it’s going, but I just focus on what I can do and what I can control.
2 years ago via ESPN

Tim MacMahon: Joe Johnson, who just finished his 17th NBA season, has no doubt that he wants to continue his career. “Hell yeah, I want to keep rolling,” Johnson told ESPN. “I’m not even thinking about [retiring].” He said he’d be interested in re-signing with the Rockets. “I would love to have a chance to win a ring,” he said. “I thought we had a great opportunity, man. It slipped away from us. I want to go to a contender. I don’t want to just be out here playing just to be playing.”

LeBron James really wanted Joe Johnson to come to Cleveland after receiving a buyout from the Brooklyn Nets in late February. Sources with knowledge of James’ intentions informed cleveland.com that the four-time MVP made it known to Cavaliers’ management and Johnson that he would slide to power forward on a permanent basis to open up a starting spot for his former Olympic teammate. “All I care about is winning. That’s all that matters to me,” James confirmed to cleveland.com. “A piece like Joe, you know what it does to your team and if he was concerned about playing time or concerned about starting, then I’ll sacrifice. I’ll sacrifice to get a guy like that to help us try to win a championship.”

Joe Johnson’s family is already with him in Miami, and if the seven-time All-Star gets his way they will not be moving again anytime soon. The newly signed Heat forward said Tuesday that he and team President Pat Riley have had discussions about him finishing his career in Miami, one of the reasons why Johnson decided to sign with the team last week. “The most important thing that Pat told me was that this wasn’t just a short-term deal, that he would like for me to finish my career here,” Johnson said. “And that’s what we’re working toward.”

Joe Johnson said he chose to sign with the Miami Heat over other Eastern Conference contenders due to his relationship and familiarity with Dwyane Wade and other Heat players. The versatile swingman, who started in his first game with the Heat on Sunday against the New York Knicks, hopes to finish his career in Miami. “Man, I had a connection with a lot of guys here. D-Wade, [Amar’e Stoudemire], UD [Udonis Haslem], guys I’ve been in contact with. Not just throughout this process, but over the years, and I just felt it was right,” Johnson said prior to playing at Madison Square Garden with his new team.
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Bulls looking for a new GM?

According to several NBA executives, the Bulls have started the early stages of adding a new face to the front office, with the position defined as a general manager “with a louder voice.’’ One executive did say that the talks the Bulls have had with candidates have been through back channels, with no formal interviews taking place, but the search is believed to be wide-spread.
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This would be in-line with a Sun-Times report back in November, in which the newspaper wrote that general manager Gar Forman’s job security was taking on water, with the organization’s senior advisor Doug Collins the loudest voice in a needed change. Collins has never been a big fan of Foreman’s, starting with questioning Forman for the hiring of Fred Hoiberg.
The hope for Paxson is this new hire will take over the media duties, allowing him to slip into the background. As for Forman, he is not expected to be fired, but reassigned into a scouting position, as the team is also looking to build up that department. The Bulls have long been known for having a small scouting department, and they plan on an expansion this spring.
Jared Dudley: Will be done next December! Best teams will play each other.. will help the ratings! Big money prize for the top 2 teams in the finals

Storyline: NBA Schedule
February 16, 2020 | 6:53 pm EST Update
Amid the controversial yet inconsequential finish of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, the league veered from the rules to determine Saturday’s winner. Instead of letting the judges vote for either Orlando’s Aaron Gordon or Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. after the first dunk of the dunk-off in the final round, the NBA allowed Gordon and Jones to attempt a second dunk-off dunk, which isn’t in the rules.
Storyline: All-Star Contests
Christian Yelich wasted no time getting from the NBA dunk contest to the Milwaukee Brewers spring training complex. On Saturday night, the 2018 National League most valuable player was a willing accomplice to the Bucks’ Pat Connaughton as he competed with three others in the annual mid-season dunk competition in Chicago. After taking a private plane overnight, there he was, bright and early Sunday morning, in the Brewers’ clubhouse at American Family Fields of Phoenix.
Asked if he were nervous about Connaughton jumping over him, Yelich said, “No, I didn’t have anything to be nervous about on that one. I was just standing there trying to keep still and hold the ball the right way, so I didn’t mess it up for him. It was cool. There was great energy in the stadium. For him to do it right on the first try, it was fun to watch. If he made it farther, I would have had a little bit more responsibility on another one.”
February 16, 2020 | 3:51 pm EST Update
The Spurs explored trading Carroll, but the Feb. 6 league deadline for teams to broker deals passed without any movement. Asked if he was surprised a trade didn’t happen, Carroll said, “Yeah, but no. Me being 33 and being in the league 11, 12 years, I know the NBA. If you really want to trade somebody, the biggest thing you have to do is maybe show their value, play them a little bit. Not playing really hurt my value a lot. It got a lot of teams probably second-guessing and saying, ‘Is he hurt? Is something wrong with him?’ ”
Storyline: DeMarre Carroll Trade?
Asked if a buyout is a possibility, a tricky situation given how much money remains on his contract, Carroll said he visited with his agent, Mark Bartelstein, in Chicago during All-Star Weekend. “He is handling that,” Carroll said. “Him and (Spurs general manager) Brian (Wright) and all of them. I don’t know what direction we are going to go. But at the end of the day, at 33, I don’t want to waste my talents just sitting at the end of the bench, knowing I could help a team produce.”
Make no mistake: The 11th-year pro isn’t ready to retire. “Another opportunity will come for me,” said Carroll, 33. “San Antonio, I don’t know where (it went wrong), what happened, what the hiccup was. But, at the end of the day, I am totally healthy. I work out every day, twice a day. When that opportunity comes, I will be ready to take advantage of it.”
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who is the Quicken Loans founder and chairman, is slowly returning to work eight months after he had a stroke. Gilbert, 58, returned to his Detroit office early this year. He’s there one or two days a week, using a wheelchair and accompanied by a service dog named Cowboy. He also spends three or four hours a day working with physical and occupational therapists at his home.
Gilbert said he had a blood clot in his carotid artery that was cutting off the blood supply to his brain. Doctors implanted seven stents inside his carotid artery to open the blood vessel. “If that artery was blocked more minutes than it was, it would have been much worse,” Gilbert said. Gilbert spent eight weeks at a rehabilitation center in Chicago last summer. He is able to walk with a cane but still struggles to move his left arm.
Storyline: Dan Gilbert Health
February 16, 2020 | 2:52 pm EST Update
‘Today was heavy,’ the 31-year-old wrote on Saturday as he documented his experience on Twitter. ‘We visited three country towns in New South Wales, massively affected by the wildfires. In Mogo, a small heritage town on the South Coast of NSW, we gave back to locals who have lost their homes, businesses and schools. Generators, torches, portable stoves, batteries, water, non-perishables: In addition to funds, these are some of the items that the impacted communities need. Now, more than ever, these people need our business. Support local.’
Whether or not the 54-year-old Smith ever ends up leaving Inside The NBA for a managerial role, he clearly has the desire for it. And though he didn’t take up the offer to be mentored, at least this time, that’s what made last season’s unprompted phone call from Ujiri so shocking to him. “I always had the aspiration,” Smith said, “but to have a guy like that call you out of the blue, not even knowing what my aspirations were? That was intriguing.”
February 16, 2020 | 12:23 pm EST Update
That was the thinking that convinced Mugar to adopt the Elam Ending for his league. “I’m so convinced that it’s the future of basketball,” he said. Mugar said he attributes a 17 percent bump in the tournament’s TV ratings at least in part to the introduction of the Elam Ending. He said he thinks fans are texting other fans to tell them to tune into fun games that are winding down.
One person that’s become a fan of the Elam Ending is Chris Paul, the veteran NBA point guard now with the Oklahoma City Thunder and current players union president. He said he’s a huge TBT fan and in 2019 coached a squad in the tournament for the first time. “For me, a guy who thinks about strategy, as I started watching the games more and more, every game had to have a game-winning shot. You couldn’t just foul. It got exciting,” he said. “In this format (for the All-Star Game), I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and an unbelievable tribute to Kobe.”
Elam said he got the call from the NBA on Jan. 23, informing him that the league would be using a variation of his concept. “When they called me, my mind started to think about some possible ways that the All-Star Game might end – a LeBron James dunk or James Harden three,” he said. Elam also said he’s heard from sportsbooks about prop bets planned for the game – they’re going to take wagers on who will hit the final shot that gets the winning team to the target score. “That will become one of the most popular prop bets in all of sports,” Elam said.
And yet as Indiana Pacers leaders converged on the windy city to wrap up their final leg of homework this weekend before Indy hosts the All-Star Game next year, they couldn’t help but remember all those 35 years ago. “We had some great parties, got through six inches of snow,” said Rick Fuson, who was the Indiana Pacers’ operational lead for the 1985 NBA All-Star Game in the Hoosier Dome. “But we want this time around to be an All-Star game like none the NBA has ever seen.”
Storyline: All-Star Locations
Larry Bird was one of the the city’s biggest advocates for an NBA All-Star Game return. The last time Indy hosted, Bird played in the game representing the Boston Celtics. “Back in 1985, there wasn’t nearly as much to it,” said Bird, now a consultant with the Pacers front office, after the city landed the event. “Now, the All-Star game is a spectacle. Every venue we have Downtown will be full. People will be excited, I think it will be fantastic. We’re going to put on a great show.”
Plans to re-create a fan experience like the city saw when it hosted the 2012 Super Bowl are already in the works, said Fuson. “If it’s weather that is 20 degrees and sunny, people will shoot baskets,” he said. “And they’ll drink a beer and have a cocktail. We’ve proven that before and it will happen again.” Downtown, well, it will look so different from what it did in 1985. “I remember in the late ’70s when I used to come Downtown at 9 o’clock when there was no place to eat, not many people walking around downtown,” said Bird. “This city has come a long way in the last 30 years. I’m very proud of it. I know a lot of residents are, too.” Fuson said all 6,700 hotel rooms Downtown will be used for the event next year.
Pau Gasol talked about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and looked back on being friends and teammates with the Lakers and NBA legend. “Once you slowly get over the void and the sadness and the pain you start looking at what he has left us. He was a guy who gave his best to whatever he did. He didn’t accept failure. He worked the hardest to be the best at what he did.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
Pau Gasol: “You can see how now – after basketball, after his career – he was sharing all those values, all that knowledge to inspire the younger generations. To share the messages of ‘be the best that you can be’. ‘Dedicate yourself to your craft’.” If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability,” Gasol said about Bryant’s legacy in a video by the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association).
February 16, 2020 | 12:06 pm EST Update
The problem for Young is, his numbers on defense are also eye-popping. According to ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus scale, which is a player’s estimated on-court impact on defensive performance based on 100 possessions, Young ranks last of 490 players (-4.66). According to Basketball Index’s defensive box/plus minus scale, his -2.7 mark ranks among the league’s worst. “Defense is obviously an area I want to continue to get better at,” Young said. “But that’s all about an effort thing. Getting in better conditioning, better shape. That’s definitely an area I need to improve (individually). … One of our biggest struggles (as a team) this year has been on the defensive end and rebounding.”