Patty Mills

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bridges, Magic, Hawks

The Hornets took a major step back in 2022/23, going 27-55 after finishing ’21/22 with a 43-39 record. However, there’s an “unmistakable aura” of optimism surrounding the team entering the ’23/24 season, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Oh, definitely,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “But I think a big part of it is the veteran players, their attitude and the fact that they came back for all of September. They are in great shape, they’ve shown great leadership.

I think having Miles (Bridges) back is part of it. I think the older players’ confidence and how Mark Williams and Nick Richards played at the end of last year is part of it. And they have a lot of confidence in Brandon (Miller) already. But, yeah, we are definitely in a good place.”

Here are a few more notes from the Southeast Division:

  • As part of his suspension following a plea of no contest to felony domestic violence charges, Bridges will be ineligible to compete in preseason games, Boone writes for The Charlotte Observer. The Hornets forward, who missed all of last season while his legal case played out, will be suspended for the first 10 games of ’23/24.
  • The Magic have plenty of depth at guard, with several players vying for regular playing time. Markelle Fultz, who started all 60 of his games last season at point guard, says the group has had a competitive yet supportive training camp, as Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “We’re all interchangeable and we can learn from each other,” Fultz said. “The main thing is competing while we’re out there on the floor but also supporting each other while we’re not. When the next guy is in, you cheer them on and learn from their mistakes and what he’s doing well.”
  • The Hawks and Quin Snyder are still learning from each other in the head coach’s first training camp with the team, but veteran guard Patty Mills says things have gone well so far. The next step is transitioning from practices to preseason games, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscriber link). “I think that’s where we want to see the carry-over,” Mills said. “You know, we can do it perfectly in practice and at a slower pace, but you get game speed, game action, live looks in a real game and that’s where we want to see the carryover. So I think it comes at a perfect time with how we’re moving forward with a lot of the stuff. So bring on the games and let’s do what we’ve been practicing and doing such a great job of in an actual game.”
  • In case you missed it, Hornets center Kai Jones has submitted a trade request. Details here.

World Cup Notes: Canada Vs. Spain, Australia, Finland, Egypt

Spain’s Juancho Hernangomez and Willy Hernangomez are the players that Canada’s Dillon Brooks is most concerned about as the teams prepare for their showdown on Sunday, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. It’s a high-stakes meeting that will determine who will move on to the quarterfinals and who will be eliminated, and although both nations have rosters loaded with NBA players, Brooks believes the Hernangomez brothers have many ways to control the game.

“They create a lot of mismatches for their team and the other teams,” Brooks said. “We got to match up their physicality and play harder than them.”

Neither team expected to be on the brink of elimination so early, but things changed on Friday as Spain lost to Latvia while Canada fell to Brazil, setting up Sunday’s do-or-die contest. Brooks’ teammate, RJ Barrett, is worried about the advantage that Spain has through more exposure to international competition.

“Their biggest thing is their experience,” Barrett said. “Many of them are EuroLeague champions. They have guys who’ve been playing FIBA basketball basically their whole lives. That’s what we’re going up against.”

There’s more on the World Cup:

  • Australia needs to evaluate its national team after being knocked out early, contends Olgun Uluc of ESPN. The Australians’ efforts to mix older and younger talent haven’t been successful, Uluc adds, and his solution is to build the team around Josh Giddey, with Patty Mills, Josh Green and Jock Landale holding the only other guaranteed spots for the 2024 Olympics. “I think we’re in the process of change, and style of play — both offensively and defensively — and we’re all disappointed but I’m excited where this thing can go,” coach Brian Goorjian said after his team was eliminated by Slovenia. “Definitely a clearer picture after playing this tournament.” Goorjian’s contract expires after the World Cup, but he’s expected to coach the Boomers in the Olympics, according to Uluc.
  • Finland appears headed to a pre-Olympic qualifier after defeating Venezuela on Saturday, according to Eurohoops. Lauri Markkanen scored 32 points as Finland picked up its second victory of the tournament.
  • A two-point loss to New Zealand on Saturday prevented Egypt from earning an automatic Olympic bid, per NetsDaily. The team, which features Brooklyn training camp invite Patrick Gardner, will have to earn a spot through next summer’s qualifying tournament.

World Cup Notes: Canada, Fournier, USA, Mills, Towns

The Canadian national team hasn’t had a ton of success in international competition in recent years and is missing top players like Jamal Murray and Andrew Wiggins at this year’s World Cup. However, Team Canada looked formidable its first group-play game on Friday, outscoring a talented French club by 27 points in the second half en route to a 95-65 win.

“We got our ass kicked,” French wing Evan Fournier told reporters after the game, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. “… They were really physical with us. Taking us out of our set plays. And as a team I think they kind of forced us to do things that we don’t want to do.”

The Canadians leaned heavily on their NBA talent in the victory, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, Dillon Brooks, Luguentz Dort, Dwight Powell, Kelly Olynyk, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker all playing at least 20 minutes. Melvin Ejim was the only other player to log more than five minutes in the game.

Gilgeous-Alexander was the standout, racking up 27 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists in just 27 minutes of action. Powell (+35 in 23 minutes) and Brooks (+33 in 26 minutes) anchored Canada’s aggressive defense.

Canada will face Lebanon on Sunday, while France will look to bounce back against Latvia.

Here’s more on the World Cup:

  • In an Insider-only story, Jonathan Givony and Kevin Pelton of ESPN pick their 15 most interesting players at the World Cup, including reigning NCAA national player of the year Zach Edey (Canada), projected 2024 first-rounder Juan Nunez (Spain) and Fournier (France), who scored a team-high 21 points on Friday after spending most of last season glued to the Knicks‘ bench. A strong World Cup could help earn Fournier a new NBA opportunity via trade or buyout, Pelton notes.
  • Team USA entered Friday as the strong frontrunners to win the 2023 World Cup, but head coach Steve Kerr knows the team can’t afford to get overconfident, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes. “Last time through this tournament, we finished seventh, we lost (two) games,” Kerr said. “We recognize how hard this is. These are not the days of 1992. … We may be one of the favorites, but I don’t think anybody’s clear cut. I think there’s a lot of teams that have a shot at this thing.”
  • Following an eventful offseason that saw him traded from Brooklyn to Houston to Oklahoma City to Atlanta, veteran guard Patty Mills provided a reminder on Friday of what he can bring to a team. The Hawks guard scored a team-high 25 points in Australia’s resounding win over Finland. “No surprises there,” Jack White said of Mills’ performance, per Olgun Uluc of ESPN. “We know he can turn it on; that’s what he does… he’s a hell of a leader and it’s what we expect from him.”
  • Prior to the start of the World Cup, Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns spoke to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic about why he’s playing for the Dominican Republic and what it means to him to represent his mother’s native country. Towns and the Dominican Republic team got off to a strong start on Friday, defeating the host Philippines in a game that set a new World Cup attendance record (38,115), as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press details. Towns scored 26 points in the 87-81 win.

Thunder Trade Patty Mills To Hawks For Three Players, Second-Round Pick

JULY 12: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Hawks.

The Thunder’s press release indicates that OKC is receiving a 2026 second-round pick in the deal. Atlanta previously traded away its own ’26 second-rounder, but controlled Golden State’s second-rounder for that year, so that’s presumably the one headed to the Thunder.

JULY 8: The Thunder have agreed to trade guard Patty Mills to the Hawks in exchange for guard TyTy Washington, forward Rudy Gay, big man Usman Garuba, and a second-round pick, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

This trade agreement will likely be separate from the five-team sign-and-trade deal that will send Dillon Brooks to Houston, tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.

Mills, Washington, and Garuba – who are all still technically Rockets for the time being – are all expected to be involved in that Brooks trade, with Mills ticketed for Oklahoma City and Washington and Garuba on track to land in Atlanta.

However, they probably can’t simply be rerouted to new destinations within the same transaction, since the Thunder don’t have the cap room necessary to take on the additional salary, Gozlan notes. OKC would be able to salary-match and go over the cap using Mills ($6.8MM) in a separate deal.

Having initially agreed to take on Washington ($2.3MM) and Garuba ($2.6MM) in a salary-dump trade that netted them two second-round picks, the Hawks will still come out ahead by sending one second-rounder to the Thunder and will shed Rudy Gay‘s unwanted expiring contract ($6.5MM) in the process.

Atlanta will end up with Mills – who may or may not remain on the roster and play a role in the team’s backcourt in 2023/24, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link) – and will save a little money while opening up a couple roster spots. The team is now $8.2MM under the tax line with 16 players on standard contracts, including three on non-guaranteed deals, tweets Gozlan.

Mills almost certainly wasn’t in the Thunder’s plans — they’d agreed to take him into their cap room as part of the Brooks sign-and-trade in order to acquire a pair of second-round picks. Those picks will be Houston’s 2029 and 2030 second-rounders, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

It’s unclear if the Thunder envision Washington, Garuba, or Gay opening the season on their roster. But even if all three of those players are waived, Oklahoma City will add another second-round pick in this deal, which is presumably the priority.

This will be the third time Mills has been traded this offseason. He was sent from Brooklyn to Houston and will move from Houston to OKC before heading to Atlanta.

A veteran combo guard who will turn 35 next month, Mills was no longer a major part of the Nets’ rotation last season — his 14.3 minutes per game represented his lowest average since the 2012/13 season. He recorded 6.2 points and 1.4 assists per game in 40 appearances, with a shooting line of .411/.366/.833.

Garuba was a first-round pick in 2021 and Washington was a first-rounder in 2022, but neither player has established himself as a consistent, reliable NBA player so far. As for Gay, he has compiled an impressive career résumé across 17 seasons in the league, but he’ll turn 37 in August, so his best days are behind him.

Rockets Acquire Dillon Brooks In Five-Team Deal

JULY 8: The complex five-team trade that sends Brooks to Houston has been finalized, the Rockets announced in a press release The breakdown of the deal, which combined several separate trade agreements, is as follows:

  • Rockets acquire Brooks (via sign-and-trade), the Clippers’ 2026 second-round pick, the Grizzlies’ 2027 second-round pick (from Clippers), and the draft rights to Alpha Kaba (from Hawks).
  • Hawks acquire Usman Garuba, TyTy Washington, the Timberwolves’ 2025 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2028 second-round pick, and cash (from Thunder).
  • Grizzlies acquire Josh Christopher.
  • Thunder acquire Patty Mills, a 2024 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2029 second-round pick, and the Rockets’ 2030 second-round pick.
  • Clippers acquire Kenyon Martin Jr.

In a separate deal, Oklahoma City will ship Mills to Atlanta in exchange for Garuba, Washington, Rudy Gay and a second-round pick.

6:04pm: The Rockets will acquire Brooks via sign-and-trade, generating a trade exception for the Grizzlies, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

Sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Houston is trading Josh Christopher to Memphis. Although Iko doesn’t specify it will be part of a Brooks sign-and-trade, that seems logical.

The Grizzlies’ trade exception for Brooks would be $11.4MM due to base year compensation rules, notes Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). If Christopher heads to Memphis in the deal, that TPE would shrink to $8.9MM, Gozlan adds.

5:20pm: The Rockets and Brooks have agreed to a four-year deal worth $80MM, agent Mike George tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will have a descending structure, tweets Wojnarowski. It will be fully guaranteed, with no player or team option, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As with VanVleet, Houston’s offer in order to secure a commitment ended up being for more years and more money than initially anticipated.

JULY 1, 4:35pm: The Rockets are close to reaching a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent Dillon Brooks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Houston has the cap room necessary to sign Brooks outright, the team has been engaged in trade talks around the league, according to Charania, who says a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies is a possibility if the Rockets reach a deal with the veteran forward.

Brooks was frequently linked to the Rockets in the days leading up to free agency. One report indicated that Houston was preparing to offer him a deal in the range of $14-16MM annually, while another stated the team had a meeting lined up for Friday or Saturday with the 27-year-old.

Brooks is a talented perimeter defender who earned All-Defensive Second Team honors this spring, but he has become an increasingly erratic shooter, making a career-worst 39.6% of his field goal attempts in 2022/23. His three-point percentage dipped to 32.1% on 5.6 attempts per game during the last two seasons after he converted 35.3% of 4.5 threes per game in his first four seasons, all with the Grizzlies.

On top of his offensive struggles, Brooks’ outsized personality and aggressive playing style have gotten him into trouble both on the court and in interviews off it. He received three one-game suspensions this season, once for an on-court altercation with Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell and twice for accumulating so many technical fouls.

Brooks ultimately wore out his welcome in Memphis, with a report after the season indicating that the Grizzlies didn’t plan to bring him back “under any circumstances.” His performance during the team’s first-round loss to the Lakers was reportedly considered to be a breaking point. Brooks referred to Lakers star LeBron James as “old” following Memphis’ Game 2 win, suggesting the NBA’s all-time leading scorer was well past his prime.

He was then ejected from Game 3 for hitting James in the groin, surrendered a pair of key baskets to LeBron in a Game 4 loss, and was eventually fined $25K for declining to speak to reporters after three games of the series (all losses). Offensively, Brooks shot just 31.2% from the field and 23.8% on three-pointers across six playoff games.

A change of scenery could benefit Brooks, and the Rockets have reportedly been prioritizing tough, defensive-minded veterans under new head coach Ime Udoka. Houston has reached an agreement with Fred VanVleet and was said to be aggressive in its pursuit of Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Brook Lopez, who ultimately decided to remain in Milwaukee.

Nets Officially Trade Patty Mills To Rockets

JULY 7: The pick the Nets received in the trade is their own 2024 second-rounder with top-55 protection, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Houston acquired Brooklyn’s 2024 second-rounder in a prior trade and will retain it if it lands between 31-55 next June.

JULY 6: The Nets and Rockets have officially completed their trade sending guard Patty Mills to Houston, according to a pair of press releases from the clubs.

Along with Mills, Houston acquired the Bucks’ 2028 second-round pick. The Rockets sent a protected future second-rounder to Brooklyn. While the exact details on that pick aren’t known, it’ll have top-55 protection, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

Mills will only be a Rocket temporarily. He’s being flipped to the Thunder as part of Houston’s Dillon Brooks sign-and-trade acquisition, as Adrian Wojnarowski first reported over the weekend.

Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) suggests Oklahoma City will be receiving three second-round picks as part of its deal for Mills, though we’re still waiting for clarity on the full terms of that trade agreement. According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Rockets will actually send two second-round picks to Oklahoma City and will amend the terms of a previously traded second-rounder.

A veteran combo guard who will turn 35 next month, Mills was no longer a major part of the Nets’ rotation last season — his 14.3 minutes per game represented his lowest average since the 2012/13 season. He averaged 6.2 points and 1.4 assists in 40 appearances, with a shooting line of .411/.366/.833.

“Patty was an exemplary representative of the Nets during his two years in Brooklyn, both for his contributions on the court and his impact in the community,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “We thank Patty for all he has brought to our organization and wish him and Alyssa nothing but the best in their next chapter.”

Mills is earning $6.8MM on an expiring contract in 2023/24. By acquiring him using cap space and using him as a salary-matching piece in a subsequent deal, the Rockets will be able to preserve a bigger chunk of cap room before eventually abiding by salary-matching rules to go over the cap in their sign-and-trade for Brooks. That deal is expected to involve four or five teams, including the Grizzlies and Hawks — as noted above, the full details aren’t yet known.

It’s not clear if the Thunder plan to hang onto Mills once they acquire him. If they cut him, he’d be eligible to sign with any team besides Houston (including Brooklyn).

Rockets To Acquire Patty Mills, Flip Him To Thunder

JULY 2, 1:00pm: Mills will be heading to the Thunder, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Oklahoma City will receive unspecified draft compensation as part of the deal.

JULY 2, 8:58am: Mills’ eventual destination remains a mystery for now. Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link) says his understanding is that the veteran guard won’t be headed to the Grizzlies.

According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, the Rockets traded for Mills in order to acquire an extra second-round draft pick. That’s not quite the same as saying the Nets are sending a single second-rounder to Houston as part of the deal, but that’s our working assumption for now.

JULY 1, 9:02pm: Mills won’t be staying with Houston, according to Iko, who tweets that the veteran guard will be included in an expanded version of the Brooks sign-and-trade and will be rerouted to a different team. It’s not clear at this point if that team will be the Grizzlies or another club.

JULY 1, 5:39pm: The Rockets continue to fill out their previously youth-heavy roster with more seasoned additions early in the 2023 offseason.

Shams Charania and Kelly Iko of The Athletic report (Twitter link) that Houston is putting the finishing touches on a trade for sharpshooting Nets veteran combo guard Patty Mills.

It’s unclear exactly what the Rockets are sending to Brooklyn in the deal, but the Nets aren’t taking back any players, per NetsDaily (Twitter link).

The 6’1″ vet remains a reliable catch-and-shoot option even 14 years into his NBA career. Last season for a playoff-bound Brooklyn team, the 34-year-old Saint Mary’s alum averaged 6.2 PPG on .411/.366/.833 shooting splits, 1.4 APG and 1.1 RPG across 14.2 MPG, his lowest output since the 2012/13 season.

Mills was a huge bench contributor on two NBA Finals-bound Spurs clubs in 2013 and 2014, winning it all in ’14. A deal for him would mark just the latest move clearly made with an eye towards expediting Houston’s timeline.

The Rockets, a team already loaded with recent lottery picks, have also inked experienced free agents Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, and Jock Landale during this free agency period. Houston also signed controversial former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka with an eye toward professionalizing its locker room identity.

Trade Rumors: Lillard, Harden, Brogdon, Fournier, Rockets

The Trail Blazers told rival teams that they are “open for business everywhere in the league” regarding a Damian Lillard trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (YouTube link).

Lillard, who asked for a trade on Saturday after weeks of speculation, reportedly hopes to end up in Miami, where he could be part of a title contender. However, the Heat may not be able to offer the best trade package, and Portland GM Joe Cronin intends to focus on the team’s needs rather than Lillard’s preference while negotiating a deal.

“For Portland, they’re going to go out into the marketplace and try to find the best deal they can,” Wojnarowski said, “a combination of young players, draft picks, salary cap relief, all the things you want when a star of Damian Lillard’s magnitude asks to be traded.”

Woj adds that he doesn’t expect a Lillard deal to be completed quickly and that Miami doesn’t have any advantage because Lillard wants to go there. The Blazers haven’t told Lillard whether they intend to comply with his request to join the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

There are more trade rumors to pass along:

  • The Sixers‘ asking price for James Harden has been “really high,” Wojnarowski said in the same segment, noting that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey tends to seek a lot in return when a star player wants to be traded. Harden picked up his $35.6MM player option this week, and reports have indicated that he wants to be dealt to the Clippers. Wojnarowski adds that it’s “not an easy trade to make” because Philadelphia has to get value in return to pair with MVP Joel Embiid and keep the team in title contention. Woj speculates that trade talks could extend beyond Summer League action.
  • The Celtics aren’t trying to trade Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Brogdon was involved in an early version of the Kristaps Porzingis deal, but that fell through when the Clippers pulled out due to medical concerns about Brogdon. Himmelsbach adds that Brogdon is expected to be ready for the start of next season, even though he’s considering surgery for a right elbow injury he suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • The Knicks will continue to explore trades involving Evan Fournier, per Ian Begley of, but they don’t need to open any more cap flexibility to add Donte DiVincenzo after agreeing to send Obi Toppin to the Pacers. New York doesn’t seem to be actively pursuing either Lillard or Harden, according to Begley.
  • David Weiner of (Twitter link) suspects the Rockets will fold multiple reported trade agreements into their sign-and-trade deal for Dillon Brooks in order to maximize their cap room. After acquiring Patty Mills and using up their remaining cap space, Weiner posits, Houston will package Josh Christopher (to the Grizzlies), Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington (to the Hawks), and Mills (destination TBD), whose combined salaries will be enough to match Brooks’ expected first-year salary (approximately $21.6MM) without requiring room.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Mills, Simmons, Simovic, Knicks

The Rockets remain a serious contender to sign James Harden, a source close to the Sixers star told Sam Amick of The Athletic. Recent speculation has trended toward Harden remaining in Philadelphia, but his camp wants to make it clear that Houston is still an option.

While it seems odd for a top player to consider leaving a title contender for a rebuilding franchise, Amick notes that a battle for leverage is behind all the leaks regarding Harden’s future. At age 33, his ability to land a near-max contract is limited unless he’s able to create the impression that more than one team is interested. Amick observes that both Philadelphia and Houston have been convinced throughout the process that they’re the prohibitive favorite to land Harden and that he’s only using the other team as a leverage ploy.

Keeping Harden is vital to the Sixers’ title hopes and they could be facing a “gap year” if he decides to leave, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (video link). He states that Philadelphia would only have about $9MM in cap space without Harden, leaving almost no ability to replace him unless the team can unload other salary.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Patty Mills is hoping Ben Simmons can take the court for Australia in the FIBA World Cup this summer as a prelude to a healthy season with the Nets, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Mills is encouraged by what he has seen from Simmons’ offseason workouts. “We’re still a few weeks away yet,” Mills said. “From all accords and from what I’ve heard, he’s looking after his body and getting to the shape and health that I think everyone wants and needs him to be. So I think first and foremost for him is just about getting to that part where he can be Ben again.”
  • Ivo Simovic, an assistant at UCLA, is finalizing an agreement to join Darko Rajakovic‘s coaching staff with the Raptors, tweets Pete Thamel of ESPN. Simovic and Rajakovic have teamed up before in Serbia and Spain, according to Thamel.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic explores 10 potential targets for the Knicks with their non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Katz cites Nuggets swingman Bruce Brown as one possibility, although Brown might be able to exceed the MLE on the open market and he doesn’t solve the team’s need for more outside shooting.

And-Ones: Boomers, Awards, Thibodeau, Butler, Gilbert

All but one of the 11 Australian players in the NBA have been named to the extended Australian Boomers squad for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Olgun Uluc of ESPN reports. The exception is a notable one — the Nets’ Ben Simmons, though there’s a possibility he’ll be added ahead of the selection camp.

Simmons recently expressed interest in playing for Australia in this year’s World Cup.

Some of the NBA current or past players who made the 18-man list include Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Josh Green, Jock Landale, Matisse ThybulleJosh Giddey, Dyson Daniels, Xavier Cooks and Thon Maker. The team will eventually be pared to 12 players.

We have from around the basketball world:

  • It’s going to be a busy week in terms of NBA awards announcements, the league’s communications department tweets. The All-Rookie team will be revealed on Monday, the All-Defensive Team will be unveiled on Tuesday and the All-NBA team will be announced on Wednesday. The Teammate of the Year award will be announced on Thursday.
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is looking for ways to slow down red-hot Jimmy Butler and the Heat. ESPN’s Nick Friedell takes an in-depth look at the relationship between Thibodeau and his former player.
  • Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, has died at the age of 26, according to ESPN’s News Services. Nick Gilbert had a lifelong battle with neurofibromatosis (NF1), which causes noncancerous tumors to grow on the brain, spinal cord and skin. He became well-known to NBA fans for being Cleveland’s good luck charm at the draft lottery, as the Cavs twice got the top pick when he was the team’s lottery representative.