Adrian Wojnarowski

  • Inside the bizarro world of the Cavs: When LeBron James' headband matters most

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 1 hr ago

    CLEVELAND – On his walk out of the news conference and back to his office on Wednesday night, one of the senior management team's teenage kids stopped to ask David Blatt: Did they ask you why LeBron wore the headband again?

    So, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers stood in a corridor of Quicken Loans Arena, smiled and said that, yes, someone did make mention of that to him.

    "To be honest, I hadn't realized he was wearing it," Blatt said.

    Yes, this was the revelatory discovery of the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 2 revival on Wednesday night, a staged storyline of a headband that included a Jumbotron spoof on the discarded ornament. This is the surreal nature of life with the planet's best player and Northeast Ohio's prodigal son, odes to the mystical forces of a terry cloth crown atop King James that is treated as a legitimate factor for his success.

    Finally, Blatt sighed and shrugged. Here was the guy who had won the playoff game on Wednesday night.

  • Tom Thibodeau makes his last stand with the Bulls

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    CLEVELAND – Outside the coach's office, there was life within the eyes of Tom Thibodeau. The possibilities percolated. For three years, the coach of these Chicago Bulls has come to the Eastern Conference playoffs with a battered roster bereft of Derrick Rose. For three years, they wondered whether they would ever be whole again, whether management's obsession with ousting Thibodeau would ever let him, let these players, make one more run for everything.

    "They sense that you don't get these opportunities all the time," Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports late Monday. "You've got to make the most of them. These guys are starting to build a chemistry. Whatever our circumstances are, we've got to go.

    "This is it."

    For everything Chicago management does to undermine the coach, this Bulls locker room has remained something rare in professional sports: unaffected and unrelenting.

    "Ahhhh, that's all noise," Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports. He won't do it. He won't think about endings on Monday night, when this feels so much like a beginning for these Bulls.

  • Sources: Bulls' Mike Dunleavy avoids suspension, will play in Game 1 vs. Cavs

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy has escaped a suspension for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Dunleavy hadn't been called for two-handed contact to the back of the neck of Milwaukee's Michael Carter-Williams in Chicago’s Game 6 victory on Thursday.

    After an NBA review, the league upgraded that play to a flagrant 1 foul call, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Dunleavy will be in the starting lineup on Monday for Chicago's Game 1 meeting with Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Dunleavy averaged 10.5 points, including 55 percent on three-point shooting, in the six-game series against the Bucks.

  • Why Billy Donovan decided to finally jump to the NBA

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Billy Donovan listened to every pitch a year ago – the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Detroit Pistons – and forever found a reason to turn jobs down. From rosters to geography to ownership styles, Donovan passed with an understanding that Oklahoma City loomed in the distance.

    Donovan never yearned to run an organization, learning the lessons of his coaching mentor, Rick Pitino, that sometimes less is more. He wanted to win, and wanted a general manager he could trust with personnel decisions and deal-making. For years, Billy Donovan and Sam Presti were magnets pulling closer and closer, until reaching a deal that sources said is worth $30 million over five years.

    "I think his relationship with Sam had a lot to do with it," says an NBA coach with close ties to Donovan. "And, obviously, a chance to have immediate success."

    Around Scott Brooks, there's a belief that he never had a chance this year, that Presti was always planning to replace him with one of two college coaches that he studied closest.

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  • Sources: Chase Budinger picks up contract option, passes on free agency

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger has exercised the $5 million player option on his contract for the 2015-16 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Budinger filed the necessary paper work on Wednesday, passing on the chance to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, sources said.

    Budinger, 26, finished this season strong, averaging nine points and shooting better than 50 percent over the final 2½ months of the season. At 6-foot-7 and with an ability to spread the floor with his shooting, Budinger has remained an intriguing trade piece for contending teams.

    For the season, Budinger averaged 6.8 points, three rebounds and one assist in 19.2 minutes a game. Budinger played three seasons with the Houston Rockets before a trade to Minnesota in 2012.

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  • Sources: Chad Iske to become Kings' associate head coach

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    The Sacramento Kings are finalizing an agreement with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Chad Iske to become associate head coach under George Karl, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Iske has a significant history and relationship with Karl, spending five seasons on the head coach's staff with the Denver Nuggets. For Iske, the move allows him to elevate into a top assistant coaching job. He has been well regarded under Sixers coach Brett Brown.

    Iske had spent 14 years with the Nuggets before joining the 76ers in 2013, when Brown hired him for his strong reputation in player development.

    Beginning the process of reshaping the Kings staff he inherited in February, Karl is also targeting another ex-Nuggets assistant, Brooklyn Nets assistant John Welch, league sources said.

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  • Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas planning move to NBA

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    After years of playing significant roles in the Euroleague and on the Brazilian national team, point guard Marcelo Huertas is planning a move to the NBA next season, Yahoo Sports has learned.

    Huertas, 31, a savvy, athletic 6-foot-3 playmaker and a deft shooter, is expected to be aggressively pursued as a backup guard in July free agency.

    Huertas has been anchored to the Spanish ACB League the past six years with long-term deals that contained significant NBA buyouts, but finally is free of those hurdles. He hasn’t ruled out returning to FC Barcelona next year if the right NBA offer doesn’t emerge, but Huertas is determined to take a serious look at joining the NBA.

    “This is the right time,” Huertas told Yahoo Sports.

    Huertas has played six seasons for FC Barcelona of the Spanish ACB, leading Barca to three consecutive Euroleague Final Four appearances. He’s averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 assists for Barcelona this season. Huertas is a career 87 percent free-throw shooter.

    Huertas has been Brazil’s point guard in numerous Olympic Games, World Championships and FIBA America tournaments. He averaged 11 points and five assists for Brazil in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

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  • Sources: Grizzlies need 48 hours to assess Mike Conley’s status after surgery

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    After surgery to repair a facial fracture on guard Mike Conley, the Memphis Grizzlies need to wait 48 hours for the swelling to subside before gaining a clearer understanding of a timeline for a possible playoff return, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    There are scenarios in which Conley could return in a possible Western Conference semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors, league sources said, but that’s uncertain until the healing process begins, the pain lessens and Conley can be fitted for a mask.

    Conley underwent surgery Monday in Memphis after sustaining a facial fracture under his left eye in the Grizzlies’ Game 3 victory over Portland on Saturday night.

    Memphis leads 3-0 in its best-of-seven Western Conference series against the Blazers. Game 4 is set for Monday night in Portland.

    Conley is a major part of the Grizzlies’ success, averaging 15.8 points and 5.4 assists in the regular season.

    Without Conley, the Grizzlies will rely on Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes to shoulder a bigger burden.

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  • Austin Rivers helps save Clippers' season, brings tears to his father's eyes

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    SAN ANTONIO – When Doc Rivers walked into the locker room, the scene stopped him. Chris Paul called on the Clippers to congratulate the young guard responsible for saving the season and present him the game ball. Everyone clapped. Everyone let out a long, loud cheer for Austin Rivers.

    "For a moment, for a half second maybe, I became a dad in there," Doc Rivers told Yahoo Sports later on Sunday at the AT&T Center. The tears welled in his eyes, but he quickly wiped them away and stiffened in the concrete corridor.

    To trade for his son, Rivers had to make a case on the move's merits to a dubious basketball community. He's had to live with the criticism. They've had to live with it together. They had Sunday together, too.

    Austin Rivers had his finest moment in the NBA on Sunday, scoring 16 points, delivering defense, deflections and a 114-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs to bring this best-of-seven series back to Staples Center at 2-2. He made deft drives to the basket and fearless finishes to stun the Spurs.

  • Did 'bush league' play complicate Love, Celtics' mutual free-agent intrigue?

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    For as much as Kevin Love has publicly resisted the discussion of free agency this season, it has been on his mind. He has never been completely comfortable in Cleveland, with his role, nor his connection to those around him. Throughout the year, league sources say, one destination grew in possibility as his exit strategy: The Boston Celtics.

    Boston has been no sure thing to lure Love, but it had a better shot than most had believed. If Love left the Cavaliers, the Celtics had closed the gap on the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The Celtics were waiting for July, and the chance to let coach Brad Stevens lay out Love's expanded role in his system. General manager Danny Ainge wanted a chance to sell Love on a vision for surrounding him with complementary talent, on maximizing his popularity as New England's next star.

    And so, suddenly, maybe everything changed on Sunday. Kelly Olynyk and Love tangled, Love's left shoulder apparently separated and clearly he's beyond furious. He called the play "bush league," and insisted that Olynyk "did it on purpose."