NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Bogut set to have MRI on left knee — The Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 5 last night in large part because of their shot selection, taking 34 of 83 shots (or 41 percent) were inside the restricted area. Part of that easy access to the front of the rim came with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green being suspended for Game 5 and another part came when Green’s teammate, Andrew Bogut, left the game early in the second quarer. Bogut blocked J.R. Smith‘s shot, but collided with him and landed awkwardly, causing his left knee to buckle. He’ll have an MRI today, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Missing Draymond Green was bad enough for the Warriors, who were without their two most significant big men once Andrew Bogut injured his left knee within the first two minutes of the third quarter Monday night.
Bogut collided with Cleveland guard J.R. Smith after blocking his shot. Bogut planted his left leg when he landed and Smith then fell on it, appearing to hyper-extend it. Bogut remained down, holding his knee on the baseline and writhing in pain for two possessions until the Warriors called timeout and assisted their center to the locker room.
He played just 7½ minutes, didn’t score and had two rebounds, three blocks and four fouls.
Bogut will have an MRI exam Tuesday to discover the severity of the injury, which initially was diagnosed as a sprain, and his status for Thursday’s Game 6 in Cleveland hasn’t been determined.
Backup center Festus Ezeli could see a spike in minutes in Game 6 if Bogut doesn’t return, but coach Steve Kerr could also use a variety of players and lean on a smaller alignment.
“All year long, I’m used to my role changing,” Ezeli said. “If that’s the case, I’ll be ready.”
What he wasn’t ready to do was blame the loss on Bogut’s absence.
“You could look at Bogut’s injury as another thing that sucked energy out of our team, but at the end of the day, those are all semantics,” said Ezeli. “Kyrie (Irving) and LeBron (James) hit some tough shots, but they also got some easy looks to get them going. We turned the ball over, and Bogut not being out there didn’t force those turnovers. We’ve just got to play a better, smarter game. I believe in this team, and I think we’ll be fine.”
Harrison Barnes said, “I hope (Bogut) gets better and he’ll be able to play, but if he’s not there, we’ll have to compensate. Obviously, we’ll have Draymond back, so we’ll have another body, but everyone has to pitch in.”
No. 2: Report: Wolves interested in landing Bulls’ Butler — After a breakout campaign in 2014-15, Chicago Bulls star guard Jimmy Butler had a solid season himself in 2015-16. The same couldn’t be said for his team, who went from a darkhorse Finals contender to out of the playoffs within the span of just one season. Butler also had some clashes with new coach Fred Hoiberg in 2015-16 and as Chicago heads into the summer, there has been talk the Bulls may be interested in dealing Butler. According to Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in Butler if he’s available:
The Minnesota Timberwolves are prepared to part with the No. 5 overall pick in this month’s draft, as the centerpiece of a trade package, if they can use it to construct a deal for Chicago Bulls star swingman Jimmy Butler, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves, in these early days of the Tom Thibodeau era, have made it known to the Bulls that they are strongly interested in dealing for Butler should Chicago elect to make him available.
The Bulls are not believed to be actively looking to move their All-Star swingman but have been listening to pitches for Butler, sources said. Butler initially rose to prominence as a two-way force playing for Thibodeau, the Wolves’ new coach and president.
Sources say that the Bulls naturally would demand a significant amount in return to part with Butler, which likely translates to at least one front-line player in addition to a top lottery pick this month.
The No. 5 pick alone clearly wouldn’t be sufficient to pry Butler from the Bulls, but Minnesota’s own cache of trade assets — given the various up-and-coming players on its roster — would theoretically enable the Wolves to either deal with Chicago directly or assemble a multiteam trade scenario.
Signals from the Bulls and their Butler intentions, meanwhile, have been mixed. The club asked Butler to represent it on the dais at the May 17 draft lottery, but Bulls general manager Gar Forman — after Chicago missed the playoffs — did say shortly after the regular season ended that “we have to explore all options” when directly asked about Butler’s future as a franchise cornerstone.
No. 3: Reports: Former Slam Dunk champ Robinson tries out for Seahawks — As an NBA player, Nate Robinson was a first-round Draft pick, a three-time Slam Dunk Contest champion, a key player on an NBA Finals runner-up and one of the more explosive players of his era. As a football player, Robinson was a solid kick returner and cornerback at the University of Washington in 2002. Robinson last played in an NBA game on Oct. 28, 2015 with the New Orleans Pelicans and apparently has a football itch he wants to scratch again. According to Master Tesfatsion and Mark Maske of The Washington Post, Robinson had a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday:
Former NBA point guard Nate Robinson tried out for the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, according to two people close to the situation. Robinson tried out with the team as a defensive back. It’s his first tryout with an NFL team as the 32-year-old has previously expressed interest in pursuing an NFL career.
It appears unlikely that the Seahawks will sign Robinson immediately, but the two sides will stay in touch.
Robinson, a Seattle native, last played football at the University of Washington in 2002. He played in all 13 games at cornerback, starting in the final six games of the season, before dropping the sport and focusing on basketball. Robinson also played both sports at Rainier Beach High, totaling 21 touchdowns and more than 1,700 total yards as a senior.
ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia has more on how Robinson’s tryout went and whether or not Robinson has a legit shot to make an NFL roster:
The 5-foot-9 Robinson had been playing basketball in Israel, but he has expressed interest in pursuing an NFL career at the age of 32.
“I need to get a little stronger, a little faster,” Robinson told ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton in April. “Lifting weights and watching a lot of film. Work on my feet and my hands and how to press [as a cornerback]. Basic stuff. I catch on pretty fast. Just learn some of the drills they’d have me do and start practicing and get ready for it.
“The biggest challenge is probably all the haters, everybody counting me out, somebody not really giving me the opportunity. That’s what I think the biggest challenge will be, getting somebody to give me that chance. If somebody gives me that chance, I know they’ll fall in love with the fierce competitor that I am because I catch on quick. Once I do that, then the sky’s the limit. I don’t know. It seems like they wouldn’t want me to be the first one to do something like this. That’s a huge challenge.”
No. 4: Rondo reflects on rough season in Sacramento — The 2015-16 season ended for the Sacramento Kings like the previous nine seasons had — with no trip to the NBA playoffs. Despite the addition of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo to a core that includes All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and others, the Kings only improved by four wins from their 29-53 finish in 2014-15. Tension and drama seemed to fill most of the Kings season and Rondo, appearing on ESPN’s “The Jump” Tuesday, had plenty to share about what went wrong in Sacramento:
Rajon Rondo said Monday on ESPN’s The Jump that the Kings never jelled as a team last season, and the tension between DeMarcus Cousins and the coaching staff was unlike anything he has experienced in his NBA career.
“There were too many distractions on and off the court. The organization as a whole, I don’t think was together completely. I think as a team you have to want the best for the next man beside you, and that wasn’t the case with the Sacramento Kings,” he said.
Of Cousins’ relationship with former Kings coach George Karl and his staff, Rondo said there was “a lot of tension at first.”
“Too much tension. I’ve never witnessed or experienced a thing like that in my 10-year career,” he said.
Despite that, Rondo said he tried to keep the team together by organizing dinners and getting his teammates in the gym. The Kings fired Karl after the season and later named Dave Joerger their new head coach.
Rondo called Cousins “the best big in the league” and said the 25-year-old center has “become like a little brother to me.” But Rondo also said Cousins has room to improve.
“He’s one of the guys that’s very selfless. He has to find other ways to get it done. He’s going to continue to grow and learn. I was just glad I was able to be in his life and have a little bit of influence and help him a little bit this year,” said Rondo.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Potential No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons is unlikely to work out for the Philadelphia 76ers — or any other team — leading up to the 2016 Draft … The Milwaukee Bucks and coach Jason Kidd are reportedly nearing an extension … Reigning Kia Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns is a big deal in China … Kevin Eastman, a longtime assistant coach on Doc Rivers‘ staffs in Boston and Los Angeles, is retiring … Pete Carroll is a fan of Stephen Curry’s much-maligned new shoe line …