Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Bulls Acquire Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Waive Carmelo Anthony

1:03pm: The Bulls have issued a press release confirming that they’ve sent a heavily protected 2020 second-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash. The team has also officially waived Anthony, lining him up to clear waivers on Sunday.

Chicago plans to hang onto Luwawu-Cabarrot, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).

12:39pm: The Bulls and Thunder are in the process of finalizing a trade that will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash considerations to Chicago, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Chicago currently has a full 15-man roster, so the club will need to trade or waive a player to finalize the deal. It sounds like that player will be Carmelo Anthony, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Anthony had remained in limbo after being sent from Houston to Chicago in a trade last month, but appears set to become a free agent, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers. The Lakers remain a “real possibility” for Carmelo, Woj adds (via Twitter).

The trade itself between the Bulls and Thunder appears financially motivated. Oklahoma City will be on the hook for a huge tax bill at season’s end, so clearing TLC’s $1,544,951 salary will save the franchise exponentially more than that in tax penalties. ESPN’s Bobby Marks pegs the tax savings at $7.3MM.

As for the Bulls, they’ll likely receive enough cash from the Thunder to cover more than Luwawu-Cabarrot’s remaining salary, so they’re essentially being paid to use a spot on their 15-man roster — the deal is similar to the financiallymotivated swaps Chicago made with the Rockets earlier in the season. It’s not clear if the Bulls will hang onto TLC, an unrestricted free agent in 2019, for the rest of the season or if they’ll replace him with another player after trading for him.

The 24th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Luwawu-Cabarrot hasn’t developed into a reliable NBA rotation piece. In 142 career games (14.9 MPG) for Philadelphia and Oklahoma City, he has averaged 5.5 PPG and 1.7 RPG with a .385/.317/.829 shooting line.

The Thunder will dip to 13 players as a result of the deal and will have two weeks to add a 14th man to their roster. By signing a player – or player(s) – to a 10-day contract or a prorated rest-of-season deal, the club will save some money on its year-end tax bill. I explained this concept last week when I identified Luwawu-Cabarrot as a potential trade candidate.

Meanwhile, the Bulls will use part of the $2.73MM trade exception they generated earlier this season in the Justin Holiday trade in order to absorb Luwawu-Cabarrot’s salary, Marks notes. The Thunder, in turn, will create a TPE worth TLC’s salary ($1,544,951).

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Northwest Division:

Raul Neto, Jazz, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $4.4MM deal in 2018
Neto’s $2.15MM salary for next season becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster after July 6. Even though it’s not much money, Neto has given the Jazz little reason to keep him around. He’s not in the rotation with Dante Exum backing up Ricky Rubio. Except for a blowout win over the Knicks in which he played 20 minutes, Neto has either been benched or seen fewer than four minutes over the past 10 games. With Rubio headed to unrestricted free agency, it’s conceivable Utah could exercise that option as insurance. The Brazilian native is more likely to continue his career elsewhere, probably overseas.

Trey Lyles, Nuggets, 23, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $10.4MM deal in 2015
Lyles has received rotation minutes but his offensive numbers have declined. He’s shooting just 41.1% from the field and 24.1% beyond the arc, compared to a 49.1/38.1 slash line last season. He was mired in a terrible slump last month, making just 32.3% (18.6% from distance) of his field goal attempts. Lyles will be a restricted free agent if the Nuggets extend a $4.63MM qualifying option. That may depend on some other factors. They hold a $30MM team option on Paul Millsap‘s contract. It’s also predicated on whether they believe Michael Porter Jr. will contribute significantly next season.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Thunder, 23, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.26MM deal in 2016
Luwawu-Cabarrot, a 2016 first-round pick by the Sixers in 2016, got some opportunities in his first two seasons with Philadelphia. His court time has diminished considerably in Oklahoma City. After playing in 69 games (19 starts) in his rookie year and 52 last season, Luwawu-Cabarrot has languished at the end of OKC’s bench despite Andre Roberson‘s injury issues. He’s played just 12 minutes since November 28. The Thunder didn’t pick up Luwawu-Cabarrot’s option during the offseason, so he’ll be unrestricted in July. It will be interesting to see if any team believes he has untapped potential or whether he’ll have to seek overseas opportunities.

Taj Gibson, Timberwolves, 33, PF (Up) — Signed to a two-year, $28MM deal in 2017
Gibson has become a more efficient offensive player in recent years while providing his usual toughness in the paint as well as rebounding. Gibson remains one of the top offensive rebounders in the league (2.7 per game) and has kept a positive attitude despite the addition of Dario Saric, which has cut into his minutes. If Tom Thibodeau remains in charge, the Timberwolves will likely try to re-sign him. Otherwise, Gibson will find work as a 25-30 minute option at power forward for a suitor looking for an upgrade at that position.

Nik Stauskas, Trail Blazers, 25, SG (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal in 2018
Stauskas is playing for his fourth organization in five seasons. He will be on the move again if his shooting doesn’t perk up. After a strong start, Stauskas has gone into an offensive funk. He made just 24.3% of his 3-point attempts in December and went scoreless in a nine-minute stint against Sacramento in his first 2019 appearance. Stauskas reached double figures in five of his first eight games with the franchise but has hit that mark just twice since that point. With first-rounder Anfernee Simons showing no signs of taking Stauskas’ rotation spot, the Blazers may try to acquire a wing player before the trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thunder Exercise Option On Terrance Ferguson

The Thunder have exercised their 2019/20 team option on Terrance Ferguson‘s rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. The move locks in Ferguson’s $2,475,840 cap hit for next season.

Ferguson, the 21st overall pick in the 2017 draft, appeared in 61 games for the Thunder in his rookie season, averaging 3.1 PPG in 12.5 minutes per contest. The Tulsa native has moved into a starting role this year with Andre Roberson still sidelined, but has struggled in the early going, posting just 2.8 PPG on .273/.077/.500 shooting in 20.8 MPG. Still, he’s just 20 years old and his affordable contract provides value for an Oklahoma City team above the luxury tax line.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2019/20 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Interestingly, the Thunder’s announcement today doesn’t mention Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who has a fourth-year 2019/20 option worth $2,529,684. Oklahoma City has until Wednesday to pick up that option, but teams often announce all their rookie scale option pickups at the same time, so the club may be opting to make Luwawu-Cabarrot an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Thunder Notes: Westbrook, George, Grant, Patterson

The Thunder remain the only winless team in the Western Conference but Russell Westbrook said it’s far too early to push the panic button, Royce Young of ESPN reports. Oklahoma City is 0-4 after blowing a 16-point halftime lead against the Celtics on Thursday. Westbrook had a brutal fourth quarter, missing all seven of his shots while making three turnovers. “We’re OK. We’ll be all right,” Westbrook said. “It’s early. I’m confident in my guys in this locker room, I’m confident in myself and my abilities to make sure that we have an opportunity to win a ballgame. There’s no need to panic. Obviously we’re not starting the way we wanted to, but we’ll be OK and I will make sure of that. So, not worried.”

We have more from Oklahoma City:

  • While Westbrook rubs some people the wrong way, he was an integral reason why Paul George decided to stay instead of joining one of the Los Angeles teams in free agency. “A lot of it was I liked our chemistry,” George told Young in a detailed piece on OKC’s year-long recruitment of George. “I liked what he brings to the table, I liked his competitiveness and I loved him as a teammate, as a friend, as a brother, as a dude in the locker room. He had a lot to do with me coming back here.”
  • Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson continue to share starting duties at the power forward spot, Thunder digital reporter Nick Gallo relays. Grant got the nod against Boston because coach Billy Donovan wanted to play a smaller, quicker unit. Against a more rugged frontcourt, Donovan will go with Patterson. “For us, it’s going to be game-to-game in terms of the roster and having a plan of how to utilize those guys,” Donovan said.
  • What can the Thunder do to fix their issues? Erik Horne of The Oklahoman takes a closer look.
  • The Thunder have until the end of the month to decide whether to pick up the rookie scale options on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Terrance Ferguson. Find out more here.

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Ingles, Timberwolves

With Andre Roberson now out until at least December, the Thunder won’t rush into the free agency market to find a replacement, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Coach Billy Donovan plans to give closer evaluation to players who have either been injured or haven’t been used in prominent roles during training camp, such as Abdel Nader, Alex Abrines and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

“That’s something [general manager] Sam [Presti] and I will probably talk about together with [assistant GM] Troy [Weaver], the three of us would,” Donovan said, “but right now having the number of players that we have on the roster for training camp, there’s enough.”

Oklahoma City has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, so a roster spot is available if the team opts for the free agent route. The Thunder are well over the luxury tax line with a team salary in excess of $145MM, but they cut their tax bill by about $20MM by waiving and stretching Kyle Singler. OKC has its entire $5.6MM taxpayer mid-level exception available.

There’s more tonight from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t willing to brush aside his team’s slow starts as a product of the preseason, relays Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Minnesota’s first unit fell behind 34-22 in Wednesday’s game against the Clippers and 31-20 after one quarter Friday against the Thunder. “You can fall into a trap thinking it’s preseason, we’ll get it, we’ll get it,” Thibodeau said. “That fact of the matter is, we open in 12 days. So the urgency has to be there.” Part of the problem, of course, is that the Wolves are missing a key member of their starting five as Jimmy Butler has remained in limbo since issuing his trade request.
  • Jazz forward Joe Ingles believes he’s among the league’s best shooters, relays Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. He has the statistics to back up that statement, shooting 44% from 3-point range over the past two seasons. “The numbers I’ve shot, the percentages, they obviously are what they are and people are going to dissect everything,” Ingles said, “but, I honestly feel like they’re all going to go in when I shoot the ball.”
  • The Timberwolves have announced a few promotions, naming Todd Checovich as scout/GM for the G League Iowa Wolves, Nick Restifo as senior basketball operations analyst and Troy Sutton as head strength and conditioning coach.

Thunder Notes: Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nader, Patterson, Adams

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is a world traveler, but he hasn’t spent much time in his new home of Oklahoma City, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. The second-year forward, who played in today’s NBA Africa game, spent just one day in OKC after being traded from the Sixers in a three-team deal July 25.

“It’s a new start,” he said. “Everything is new. I haven’t been there for more than a day, so I can’t even fully realize that it’s gonna be a new life, a new city, a new coach, a new staff, new players, new friends, new things to do in the city, new restaurants. Everything is gonna be new. I love learning new things when I move somewhere.”

Luwawu-Cabarrot hopes the change of scenery is accompanied by an increase in playing time. He was a first-round pick in 2016, but had limited opportunity to show off his skills in Philadelphia, spending part of his first season in the G League and averaging 16.5 minutes of playing time in 121 NBA games. The Sixers didn’t use him at all in the playoffs.

“I feel like it’s a very good opportunity for me,” he added. “I feel like Philadelphia didn’t want me anymore, so it’s a good thing that they traded me.”

There’s more tonight from Oklahoma City:

  • Also getting used to a new home is Abdel Nader, whom the Thunder acquired from the Celtics July 23, notes Dan Shalin for The Chicago Tribune. A second-round pick in 2016, Nader played one season in Boston, but was dealt when it became clear there wasn’t a roster spot for him. He is doing rehab work on his right wrist after undergoing surgery in June. “When [the trade] happened, I was a little bummed,” Nader said. “But I flew down instantly to OKC, met with the GM [Sam Presti] and with the coaching staff. Everybody is on the same page, and they welcomed me with open arms, made it seem like they wanted me. It felt good that the organization was putting their trust in me.”
  • Patrick Patterson is hoping to put up better numbers in his second season with the Thunder, writes Nick Gallo of NBA.com. Even though he played in all 82 games, Patterson was limited at the start of last year because of a summer procedure on his knee.
  • Steven Adams blasts former Thunder guard Reggie Jackson in his new book and says players were relieved when he was traded to the Pistons in 2015, relays Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops.

Anthony To Hawks, Schroder To Thunder In Three-Team Trade

JULY 25: The three-team trade involving the Thunder, Hawks, and Sixers is now official, according to a series of press releases. The deal took several days to finalize because the clubs had to complete a few other roster moves first, including Philadelphia signing Jonah Bolden earlier today.

Upon being released by the Hawks, Anthony intends to sign with the Rockets.

JULY 19: The Thunder and Hawks have agreed to a trade that will send Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Oklahoma City will receive Dennis Schroder in the deal. Royce Young of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the 2022 first-rounder will have 1-14 protection, and will turn into two second-rounders if it doesn’t convey in ’22.

The Sixers will also be involved in the trade, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who tweets that Philadelphia will acquire Mike Muscala from Atlanta and will send Justin Anderson to the Hawks. The 76ers will also deal Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to Oklahoma City, Vivlamore adds (via Twitter).

Upon acquiring him, the Hawks will waive Anthony, Wojnarowski adds. That will free up the veteran forward to join whatever a new team when he clears waivers, and the Rockets remain the strong frontrunners to land him.

We heard rumblings earlier this week about discussions between the Hawks and Thunder involving Anthony, Schroder, and Muscala, so it seems those two teams were able to find common ground, with the Sixers entering the mix as well. Here’s how the deal looks for each of the three teams involved:

Oklahoma City Thunder:

It has been nearly two weeks since word broke that the Thunder intended to part ways with Anthony, but the team resisted waiving him outright. Doing so would have reduced his $27.93MM cap charge to just $9.31MM, significantly reducing the club’s luxury-tax bill for 2018/19, but it would have added dead-money cap hits worth $9.31MM for the next two years as well.

By trading Anthony and a future protected pick and taking back Schroder and Luwawu-Cabarrot, the Thunder will reduce their 2018/19 team salary and projected tax bill substantially while also adding a productive point guard in Schroder. The 24-year-old, who averaged 19.4 PPG and 6.2 APG last season, figures to assume a role similar to the one Reggie Jackson previously had in Oklahoma City.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Thunder GM Sam Presti and coach Billy Donovan were granted permission to speak to Schroder before the deal was agreed upon, and both Presti and Donovan are “enthusiastic” about the fit. Oklahoma City had been seeking more speed and another ball-handler, Woj notes.

Still, there’s a reason Schroder was available. There are on-court questions about his shooting and defense, and off-court concerns about his character and his legal issues. Schroder was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge last September, with Georgia officials recommending in March that he be prosecuted for felony aggravated battery. He’ll face discipline from his team and/or the league when that case is resolved, but the Thunder appear to be banking him avoiding a more serious sentence.

As for the specific tax figures, by my count, the Thunder will now have a team salary of about $148.74MM with a projected tax bill just over $88.75MM. Prior to the deal, those numbers sat at about $160.97MM and $157.75MM, respectively. While Oklahoma City’s tax outlook for 2018/19 has improved, the Thunder will have to be wary about increased penalties in future seasons after adding Schroder’s $15.5MM annual salary through 2020/21. They’ll likely deal with that when the time comes though.

It’s worth noting that a lengthy suspension without pay for Schroder could further reduce the Thunder’s team salary and tax hit in 2018/19. A suspension would also reduce the likelihood of the point guard earning the $2MM in unlikely incentives included in his contract, though not all of those bonuses are tied to individual performance, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes.

Finally, the Thunder will create a traded player exception worth $10,883,189 in the deal. They’ll have a year to use it.

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks had been determined to move Schroder for much of the offseason, and drafting Trae Young and acquiring Jeremy Lin made Atlanta’s former starting point guard even more expendable. Despite his solid production, Schroder had a slew of on- and off-court question marks, as detailed above, and he was drafted and extended by Atlanta’s previous front office — general manager Travis Schlenk never seemed particularly attached to him.

By moving Schroder ($15.5MM) and Muscala ($5MM) for Anthony ($27.93MM) and Anderson ($2.52MM), the Hawks take advantage of their remaining cap room — they’re able to take back significantly more salary than they sent out as a result of that space.

Atlanta won’t get any real immediate help out of the deal, but the club will create future cap flexibility by clearing Schroder’s three remaining years from its books — both Anthony and Anderson are on expiring deals, and Carmelo will be waived shortly. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), he’ll get his full $27.93MM salary from the Hawks. That was certainly agreed upon prior to the completion of the deal, since Anthony had a no-trade clause and could’ve vetoed the move if he thought Atlanta would ask him to give back money in a buyout.

The Hawks will also acquire a 2022 first-round pick, which they’ll receive as long as Oklahoma City is a playoff team in ’22 — otherwise, it will become two second-rounders. The Stepien rule, which prevents teams from trading consecutive future first-rounders, meant that the Thunder would have had a hard time dealing an earlier first-round pick, since they’d already sent their top-20 protected 2020 first-rounder to Orlando.

Philadelphia 76ers:

While the Sixers’ involvement in this deal may seem extraneous, it’s a nice bit of business for Philadelphia. In Muscala, the team will acquire a big man capable of knocking down outside shots — he’s a career 37.8% three-point shooter and made a career-best 1.2 threes per game in 2017/18.

The Sixers thought they’d acquired a player who fit that role earlier in the offseason when they reached an agreement to sign Nemanja Bjelica, but Bjelica backed out of his deal with the team, leaving Philadelphia seeking a replacement. Muscala is a solid fallback plan, and is on an expiring contract, meaning he won’t compromise the team’s future cap flexibility.

In order to acquire Muscala, the Sixers only had to surrender Anderson and Luwawu-Cabarrot, a pair of players who seemed unlikely to have regular rotation roles for the team in 2018/19. The move will also help the 76ers clear out a roster logjam, as the team had 16 players under contract and was still believed to be considering bringing over draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden. Following the deal, the Sixers are back down to 15 players on NBA contracts, not including Bolden or 2018 second-rounder Shake Milton.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: NBA Africa Game, Global Camp, Upshaw

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Sixers center Joel Embiid will headline the rosters in this summer’s NBA Africa Game, the league announced today. The event, which will take place on Saturday, August 4 in Pretoria, South Africa, will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format, with Cameroon native Embiid heading Team Africa and DeRozan representing Team World.

Joining Embiid on Team Africa will be fellow NBAers Al-Farouq Aminu, Bismack Biyombo, Cheick Diallo, Evan Fournier, Serge Ibaka, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Pascal Siakam. DeRozan’s teamates on Team World will include Harrison Barnes, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay, Khris Middleton, and Hassan Whiteside.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • A total of 40 draft-eligible prospects from outside the United States will take part in the NBA Global Camp 2018 in Treviso, Italy from June 2-5, the NBA announced on Wednesday. While Luka Doncic won’t attend the pre-draft showcase, there will be plenty of prospects worth watching, including Cedevita forward Dzanan Musa, who is the No. 19 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.
  • The mother of Zeke Upshaw, the G League player who passed away earlier this year after collapsing during a Grand Rapids Drive game, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the NBA and the Pistons of negligence. The suit alleges that the defendants failed to provide the Drive with the “the resources, policies, and procedures reasonably necessary” to prevent or handle Upshaw’s collapse. Noah Trister of The Associated Press has the full story and more details.
  • Now that two-way contracts have been in effect for nearly a full year, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days explores what sort of changes we may see to the rules surrounding those contracts in the future.

Atlantic Notes: Belinelli, Fultz, Mudiay, Hayward

Marco Belinelli should provide a boost to the Sixers‘ offense when he signs with the team later this week, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Belinelli reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks and was officially waived Friday, allowing him to clear waivers today. He announced his intentions to join the Sixers on Saturday night, throwing in a “TRUST THE PROCESS” tweet for added emphasis.

The 31-year-old has been a deadly 3-point shooter throughout his 11-year career and is hitting at a .372 clip from long distance this season while averaging 11.4 points per game. He was part of a title-winning Spurs team in 2014 and will bring some playoff experience to a relatively young roster. He also has a reputation as a clutch shooter and won’t mind taking a shot with a game on the line.

The addition of Belinelli makes it less likely that rookie Markelle Fultz will return this season, according to Todd. It should also cut into the playing time of Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fultz’s shooting problems appear to be more mental than physical, suggests Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers‘ top overall pick has missed 49 straight games with a “scapular muscle imbalance” in his right shoulder. However, the Sixers issued a statement on December 9 that the muscle imbalance had healed and Fultz no longer had pain in his shoulder. Another team statement in early January said he was cleared “to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” However, there has been no progress since then and no guarantee that Fultz will be back this season.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay posted a double-double and kicked the Knicks into a higher gear in his debut game with the team this afternoon, relates Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mudiay, who hasn’t practiced yet with his new team, put up 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Veteran Jarrett Jack kept his starting job, but played just the first four minutes of each half. “When we bring in another point guard and young kid in Emmanuel, we have to look at things,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said about a possible lineup change. “We have a couple more games before the break. Then when we come back we have a few practices before that first game. If we’re going to do something, that will be the time.”
  • The Celtics still plan to start taking injured forward Gordon Hayward on road trips beginning next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward continues to make progress from the fractured ankle he suffered on opening night, but he remains unlikely to return to the court before the season ends.

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Celtics, Luwawu-Cabarrot, Casey

Despite the progress Gordon Hayward has made in rehabbing his fractured left ankle, Celtics coach Brad Stevens reiterated to reporters tonight that he doesn’t expect Hayward to play again this season, tweets Chris Forsberg of ESPN.

Hayward has discarded his walking boot, and a recent report suggested he could start traveling with the team on a regular basis in March. However, he still has a long way to go in recovering from the devastating injury he suffered on opening night.

“He makes a lot of shots standing still,” Stevens said. “I mean, a lot. Like, he’s a heck of a standstill shooter now. And he’s really good in a chair, too. But nothing new. We don’t anticipate him being back this season.”

There’s more Atlantic Division news to pass along:

  • The Celtics held a team meeting in Los Angeles this week in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Forsberg writes in a full story. The streak was the first difficult stretch of the season for a team that remains at the top of the Eastern Conference, and players said called the meeting positive and productive. “When you’re hitting a lull of losing games, you can tend to go your own direction and try to figure it out on your own,” Kyrie Irving said. “For us, we have great leadership at the top with Brad, and he echoes a message to us leaders on the team, and then we go out there and try to maximize that opportunity of getting better every single day. And I think that we did a great job of just putting everything out on the table. And it’s just about being professional and going out there and executing.”
  • A move to the starting lineup has brought out the best in Sixers swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. With J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless injured, Luwawu-Cabarrot made his fourth straight start Friday and is posting the best numbers of his career. “When you get more minutes, you have more time to prove yourself,” he said, “play our game and have fun on the basketball court. That was the biggest difference.”
  • Dwane Casey sometimes gets overlooked in discussions about the NBA’s best coaches, but he has a strong reputation around the league, notes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Casey has the Raptors in second place in the East and is one win away from being named head coach of the team captained by LeBron James in the All-Star Game. “They’ve been building this for a long time, since he won a championship in Dallas and he became the head coach here,” Kevin Durant said recently. “He changed the culture and they play extremely hard. He’s a great coach. I’m glad he’s still here. I’m glad he’s still pushing. They’re one of the best teams in the league.”