The Bulls are reportedly having a "positive dialogue" with impending free agent Joakim Noah.
It was recently reported that Joakim told teammates he was ready to leave Chicago due to concerns about the team's front office. His agent quickly refuted that report, and now, "Those close to Noah ... are still hopeful that he will be able to work out an agreement to stay in Chicago long term." A lot of this is posturing and we won't know which way Noah is truly leaning until free agency begins in earnest.
LeBron James racked up 23 points, eight assists and six steals in just 32 minutes on Wednesday, as the Cavs rolled to a dominant 116-78 victory.
LeBron was on pace for a triple-double if it weren't a blowout, and he's now scored at least 20 points in 23 consecutive postseason games. Needless to say, he's been one of the steadiest DFS options in the playoffs this year. He's one win away from his sixth consecutive Finals appearance, and one free throw away from passing Kobe Bryant for second place in career postseason free throws (1,320), trailing only Michael Jordan (1,463).
Kyrie Irving scored 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting vs. the Raptors on Wednesday, adding three rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and just one turnover in 27 minutes.
The Cavs roared out to a 31-point lead in the first half, the largest first-half lead in NBA Conference finals history, and they never looked back. Their 'big three' was perfectly in sync, scoring at least 23 points each in the blowout, and as a team they shot a ridiculous 57.1 percent from the field. Tristan Thompson added nine points and 10 boards, J.R. Smith had seven points six boards and four steals, and Cleveland can now clinch the series with a win in Toronto on Friday.
Channing Frye came off the bench on Wednesday for seven points, three rebounds and one block in 13 minutes of action.
Tyronn Lue hinted that he'd give Frye extended playing time in Game 5, but he logged only six minutes in the first half and sat out a meaningless fourth quarter. Frye continues to serve as Cleveland's backup center, presenting a tough matchup for Bismack Biyombo and Jonas Valanciunas, so he should once again log 18-22 minutes during Friday's Game 6.
Jonas Valanciunas returned on Wednesday with nine points on 4-of-4 shooting, one assist and two turnovers in 18 minutes of action.
The Raptors' offense briefly found a groove when JV checked in mid-way through the first quarter, but it was a mirage -- they trailed by 18 points after one quarter and the deficit only got larger. JV and starting center Bismack Biyombo briefly shared the court late in the second quarter, as coach Dwane Casey searched for anything that would spark his team, but we're not expecting to see that lineup again on Friday.
DeMar DeRozan had a game to forget on Wednesday, shooting 2-of-8 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line to finish a blowout loss with 14 points, three boards, three assists and two steals.
The Raptors were beat in every facet of the game tonight, trailing by a franchise-record 31 points going into halftime. They were a combined 21-of-35 from the free throw line and 3-of-17 beyond the arc, they turned the ball over 18 times, and they were out-rebounded 48-27, with only 10 boards during the entire first half. DeRozan and co. will need to hit the 'reset' button before Friday's must-win Game in Toronto.
Patrick Patterson bruised his left hand during Wednesday's Game 5 defeat, finishing with three points, two turnovers and zero rebounds, assists, steals or blocks in 19 minutes.
X-rays confirmed that Patterson only suffered a contusion and he did return despite the score being totally out of reach for Toronto. He should be ready for his usual 30-minute role during a must-win Game 6 on Friday, making him a viable low-end DFS target.
Bismack Biyombo started Game 5 but posted only seven points, four boards and one block in 21 minutes during Toronto's 38-point road loss.
In the wake of tonight's drubbing in Cleveland, it will be interesting to see if Dwane Casey opts to start Biyombo over Jonas Valanciunas for Game 6. Tonight's struggles come in the wake of a terrific stretch for Biyombo, who has raised his stock significantly. An unnamed Eastern Conference GM, citing the upcoming salary-cap increase, even suggested that Biyombo will be offered around $17 million per year as a free agent this summer. Considering the Raptors' long-term investment in Jonas Valanciunas, it could be very hard for them to retain Biyombo.