Jon Hamm of Bleacher Report: “So if neither Millsap nor Butler is a realistic option, who
might be? If the past is any indication, Oklahoma City could be on the hunt for an up-and-coming player in his fourth NBA season or less. Sources within the team believe the benefit of restricted free agency is too great to pass up: Unrestricted free agency creates for volatility and uncertainty. Restricted free agency at least gives the team a chance to match offers from other franchises. Players like Washington’s Otto Porter Jr., Phoenix’s T.J. Warren, or Chicago’s Doug McDermott could potentially be made available. While those players aren’t star-caliber now, they have room to grow.”
Erik Horne: “Per stats.nba.com, the Thunder makes the second-fewest passes in the league per game (266.5). Toronto is last at 263.4. But the Thunder ranks fifth in the league in assist-to-pass ratio (8.1). Most of that efficiency can be attributed to Westbrook’s nightly brilliance, but the bigs are emerging as more efficient passers as well. On fewer touches per game than last season, Adams (45.3 tpg last year, 37.7 this year) and Kanter (44.0 tpg last year, 33.4 this year) have each increased their assist percentages, or percentage of teammate field goals they’ve assisted on while in the game. Adams assisted on 4.2 percent of field goals while in the game last season and is up to 5.7 percent this season. Kanter’s jump has been even more drastic, from 3.2 percent to 7.4 percent.”
Patrick Redford of Deadspin: “Utah’s ceiling still probably puts them below the Houston-Golden State-San Antonio triumvirate, but their grind-it-out style seems well-suited to the playoffs. They already play the slowest pace in the league, and when transition opportunities dry up in the playoffs, they won’t skip a beat. That’s far away, and the Jazz are still very young, but they’re more than just the team with the good-hair guy. They could legitimately make some noise in the playoffs this year, untested as they are.”
Andre Roberson has some fuel for tonight: “At the end of that game, I felt like we got disrespected in a way. Them launching 3s at the end, I didn’t take that too kindly. And we remember that. We bring it up on film and we’ll come out tomorrow aggressive and try to get after them.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “Sources with knowledge of the Bulls’ thinking emphatically deny the notion that All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler is available. Given all the chaos enveloping the Bulls lately, with considerable doubt bubbling about how much longer Rajon Rondo will stick around Chicago, hanging onto one of the game’s best two-way players seems prudent.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “Whether Butler remains in Chicago long-term or not is a different question. Chicago is facing a difficult decision about whether to just accept this team isn’t going anywhere and embrace a true rebuilding effort, or to keep trying to stay above water and hope it puts together a special year. And the answer to that question is difficult to answer. The best way to approach this is probably like this: If a team calls and offers a dynamite, multiple-pick, multi-prospect offer for Butler, the Bulls will listen and talk about it. But picking up the phone when it rings, and being the one to make the call are different.
As always, it’s difficult to tell whether the Bulls are coming or going, and so the most reasonable thing to assume is that they’re standing pat.”