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    D’Angelo Russell Out 4-6 Weeks

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    ESPN Sources: Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell will undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. – @wojespn

    Isaiah Thomas: NBA teams want to watch me play

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    FIBA, Free Agency, Injuries, Isaiah Thomas

    While the U.S. has already qualified for the FIBA AmeriCup Tournament, scheduled to take place in September 2022, two games remain in the qualifying round in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this week. The two-game set provides an ideal chance for Thomas to show his hip is once again healthy, and that he still has much to offer the game. “It was a no-brainer,” Thomas said. “It is a great opportunity to come out here and participate. A lot of NBA teams have told me that they want to watch me play. Here at this tournament, I’m able to play against real competition in addition to being able to represent my country, which is an honor and a privilege.” – via USA Basketball

    The COVID-19 pandemic that swept the world and threw the NBA schedule into disarray provided an unexpected opportunity for the nine-year league veteran. “It gave me time to get 100 percent healthy,” Thomas said. “I was able to get a procedure done on my hip last May that has allowed me to feel 100 percent again.” That surgery, performed by Dr. Edwin Su in New York, resurfaced the hip, relieving the searing pain that Thomas had dealt with for so long. – via USA Basketball

    His last appearance with the Celtics was in Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. He was traded to Cleveland after the season, beginning a nomadic migration through five NBA teams over the next three years. “It was very frustrating,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know how to deal with (the injury), everything was on the fly. I was really trying to do everything I could do to compete at a high level, but I wasn’t myself, and anyone who watched the games could see that.” – via USA Basketball

    Kobe Bryant wanted Derrick Rose with the Lakers

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    Trade, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks

    The late Kobe Bryant was in favor of the Los Angeles Lakers trading for Derrick Rose. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, had urged the Lakers to trade for the 2011 NBA MVP. “Before the helicopter crash, that was the only time I have ever heard — and I’m sure it happened more than I ever heard about — but this was the only time I ever heard Kobe make a little suggestion to the Lakers brass. – via TalkBasket

    Andre Roberson joining Nets

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    Free Agency, Salaries, Andre Roberson, Brooklyn Nets

    Shams Charania: Free agent forward Andre Roberson has agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. – via Twitter ShamsCharania

    Michael Scotto: Andre Roberson’s deal with the Brooklyn Nets is a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, a league source told @hoopshype . He played six seasons with the OKC Thunder, was a teammate of Kevin Durant, and made an NBA All-Defensive Team. – via Twitter MikeAScotto

    Trevor Ariza an option for Lakers?

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    Trade, Trevor Ariza, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder
    Feb 29, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza (8) drives against Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) in the first quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    To be clear, Woj was mostly speculating about types of players who might be available for contenders, not directly reporting. It was (at best) informed speculation, but still notable from an insider with his track record, on the heels of a report and given all the prior Lakers/Ariza connections: “Remember a player who’s still out there, Bobby: Trevor Ariza, who is on Oklahoma City’s roster, he’s not reported this year. (Thunder GM) Sam Presti traditionally does not do contract buyouts. He’s usually been able to find trades for guys, so maybe Ariza gets a trade somewhere and then gets bought out if the Lakers can’t trade for him, but that’s another player who I think will be in great demand among the contenders. He’s somebody who has shown up in big moments, a really experienced and versatile forward.” – via Harrison Faigen @ Silverscreenandroll.com

    Blake Griffin to sit while Pistons pursue trade scenarios

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    Six-time All-Star forward Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons have agreed that he will be out of the lineup until the franchise and his representatives work through a resolution on his playing future, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told ESPN. The Pistons will continue to pursue trade scenarios involving Griffin and talks on a contract buyout with his agent Sam Goldfeder of Excel Sports could eventually come into focus. – via Adrian Wojnarowski @ ESPN

    The Pistons are moving toward a rebuild under Weaver, and this gives the franchise a chance to play younger players as Griffin moves toward finding a role on a contending team. “After extensive conversation with Blake’s representatives, it has been determined that we will begin working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties,” Weaver told ESPN on Monday. “We respect all the effort Blake has put forth in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for all involved.”  – via Adrian Wojnarowski @ ESPN

    In a statement, Griffin told ESPN: “I am grateful to the Pistons for understanding what I want to accomplish in my career and for working together on the best path forward.” – via Adrian Wojnarowski @ ESPN

    “If Blake is bought out, there would be significant interest, but how much of a savings is Blake willing to take?” as an executive for a current Eastern Conference playoff team told HoopsHype. “He could provide a spark off of the bench. If he’s healthy, he could start if the team had a need, but he’s probably more of a rotation player right now.”  – via Michael Scotto @ HoopsHype

    “I see Detroit trying to get off some money but would probably have to take back multiple contracts with money going out,” another Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “I don’t know who would take him. It’ll probably end in a buyout with him giving money back. I’m guessing his agent is calling teams to see who wants him and what they would be willing to pay him so Blake won’t lose any money.” – via Michael Scotto @ HoopsHype

    Andre Drummond to Raptors?

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    MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 22: Andre Drummond #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena on February 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    The Raptors and Cavaliers are engaged in active talks on a deal that would send Drummond to Toronto/Tampa, sources tell The Athletic. Discussions between the two sides have occurred in the last few days, and Drummond was pulled from the lineup in Sunday’s game against the Clippers due to “rest” with Cleveland on a back-to-back at the Clippers and the Warriors on Monday. – via Shams Charania @ The Athletic

    While Toronto has expressed trade interest, several other teams, such as Brooklyn and Dallas, would have interest in Drummond via buyout, sources said. The Cavaliers have been in the postseason hunt in the Eastern Conference, so it is unclear how open the franchise would be toward a buyout after the trade deadline should the team be in the playoff hunt, but the franchise has certainly acknowledged Drummond’s likely desire to be on a contending team. A buyout is clearly not the preference. 23 hours ago – via Shams Charania @ The Athletic

    There’s been no discussion on a contract buyout that could allow Drummond to become a free agent, sources said. – via Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst @ ESPN

    Multiple sources told The Athletic that Drummond was pulled from the lineup also in part due to his “attitude and play” recently, and sources say Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff has had multiple sit-down conversations with the big man. Drummond has averaged 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per night in 25 games this season, his ninth campaign and yet another productive one. Cleveland acquired him in a trade with the Pistons last season. – via Shams Charania @ The Athletic

    Andre Drummond would like New York move?

    Cavaliers center Andre Drummond is also on the trade block and is being held out of games until he gets moved. According to a source, Drummond, a Mount Vernon native and impending free agent, would consider the Knicks a good landing spot. – via Marc Berman @ New York Post

    Doug Smith: I will go back to what an NBA advance scout who I greatly respect told me of Andre Drummond “He can get you 30-20 and have no impact on the game” – via Twitter SmithRaps

    Celtics keep Raptors at bay with 3s

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    Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Lowry

    The Toronto Raptors finish their 6-game road trip at TD Garden against the Boston Celtics. It was raining 3s as Boston snapped their 2-game losing streak with the 120-106 win.

    From the tip, it was clear Toronto’s defence was focused on containing Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They did just that, limiting the duo to a combined 8 of 27 from the field. Tatum put up 17 in his lowest scoring night in the last 8 games. Brown also had a season low 12 points in 32 minutes. While Toronto’s defence locked down two of Boston’s biggest scoring threats, it couldn’t contain Semi Ojeleye and Payton Pritchard.

    It was a career night for Ojeleye. He went 6 of 8 from deep, to score 24 points in 30 minutes. He was hot early and his teammates took notice. He shot a season high 8 of 12 from the floor and grabbed 6 rebounds. Pritchard continued his confident shooting against Toronto with 20 points and 5 rebounds. He was also lights out from deep. The two combined for 12 of Boston’s 20 made 3’s, shooting 67% from beyond the arc.

    For the 3rd time this season, the Raptors would fall on the second night of a back to back. Kyle Lowry led the team with 24 points and 6 assists. He shot 10 of 15 from the field but struggled from deep. Despite the teams struggles to make 3’s (they shot 9 of 28), Toronto was never completely out of it. In the 3rd, they had an opportunity to cut into Boston’s lead; they forced 8 straight Celtic misses, but couldn’t convert on their offence; they were playing Boston basketball. Toronto is at their best when they run and push the pace, but they couldn’t get into the open floor. While they average 16 fast break points, they only had 5 on Thursday.

    Despite the loss, Pascal Siakam had another solid night. He scored 23 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Norman Powell had 15, with Chris Boucher adding 12 points off the bench. Toronto controlled the paint, outscoring Boston 58-32, but gave up 60 points (compared to 27) from beyond the arc.

    Since the Raptors game 7 loss to the Celtics, Boston has had the edge. In a tight Atlantic Division, these inter-division games are always important. While your final record gets you into the playoffs, if you are tied in the standings, the team with the better head-to-head gets the higher seeding. Boston now owns a 2-0 record against Toronto and will secure the higher seed should the two teams end the regular season with the same record.

    The Raptors fought hard, but didn’t seem to have enough gas for a comeback. Before the game Celtics coach Brad Stevens shared his thoughts about the teams early struggles: “I got a kick out of everybody talking about Toronto’s downfall 8 games into the season. That wasn’t going to last… they’re too good, they’re too well coached, they’ve got too good of an environment”. Since starting the season 2-7, Toronto has slowly turned things around.

    With only 3 games separating seeds 3 through 8, the Raptors will need to lock in on their defence. 4 of their next 6 games will be against the top seeds in the East. It will be a test of the teams current success, and could very easily be the ultimate confidence booster for Toronto as the season continues.

    Next up… Toronto is back home to face the 6-19 Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff is 9pm EASTERN at Amalie Arena.

    LeBron James, Kevin Durant continue to lead All-Star fan voting

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    Shams Charania: Lakers’ LeBron James and Nets’ Kevin Durant continue to be leaders in second round of NBA All-Star Game fan voting. Warriors‘ Stephen Curry and Wizards‘ Bradley Beal leaders at their position too.

    Raptors to play entire 2020-21 season in Tampa

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    Marc Stein: The Raptors announce they will play their entire 2020-21 season in Tampa, Fla. – via Twitter TheSteinLine

    The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday that they will finish the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida. Because of ongoing border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and mindful of public safety measures in Canada, the team has decided they will continue to play their home games at Amalie Arena.

    “Florida has been really welcoming to us and we’re so grateful for the hospitality we’ve found in Tampa and at Amalie – we’re living in a city of champions, and we intend to carry on the tradition of winning for our new friends and fans here,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “But home is where the heart is, and our hearts are in Toronto. We think often of our fans, of our Scotiabank Arena family, and all those we are missing back home, and we can’t wait until we can all be together again.” via Raptors.com