Enes Kanter out vs. Hawks Due to Back Injury; Willy Hernangomez to Start

The New York Knicks‘ frontcourt will be without a key contributor Friday, as center Enes Kanter was ruled out due to back spasms, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post

With Kanter out, Willy Hernangomez will start at center against the Atlanta Hawks.

So far this season Kanter has been highly productive for the Knicks with 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Kanter missed 10 games last season due to a fractured forearm he suffered after punching a chair on the sidelines during a game against the Dallas Mavericks

It was the first time since the 2012-13 season that Kanter has missed at least 10 games in a season. The 25-year-old averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 72 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17. 

The Knicks acquired Kanter in a blockbuster trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder on Sept. 23. He gives New York head coach Jeff Hornacek the versatility to share the floor with Hernangomez or handle minutes at center on his own. 

Because the Knicks have Hernangomez, who averaged a solid 8.2 points and seven rebounds in 72 games as a rookie last season, the loss of Kanter won’t impact what Hornacek wants to do. 

Hernangomez’s production has dropped to 4.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game this season in a reserve role, but he has a chance to put up big numbers against a Hawks team that has struggled to a 3-15 start.

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Ben Simmons Ruled Out vs. Magic with Elbow Injury

Philadelphia 76ers point-forward Ben Simmons will miss Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic with an elbow injury.

Per Jon Johnson of 94 WIP-FM, Simmons has swelling in his left elbow and will be re-evaluated Sunday.

Simmons injured his elbow during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers while trying to create space for a field-goal attempt.

The Sixers have become all too familiar with injuries to their franchise cornerstones, including to Simmons.

Selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 draft, Simmons missed his first season after he fractured his right foot in a preseason practice. Saturday will mark the first game he misses during the 2017-18 season.

However, Simmons worked his way back to 100 percent during an arduous rehab process and proclaimed in an August Instagram post his game had improved to the point where he “would have killed the old me on the court.”

Since debuting, the Australian phenom has averaged 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Considering Simmons is the team’s primary ball-handler and setup man, head coach Brett Brown’s attack is due for a tactical shakeup so long as the 21-year-old is sidelined.

Jerryd Bayless and T.J. McConnell should shoulder more of the on-ball playmaking responsibilities.

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DeAndre Jordan Trade Rumors: Cavs Would Consider Offer for Tristan Thompson

The Cleveland Cavaliers would reportedly consider a trade that would send center Tristan Thompson to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for center DeAndre Jordan, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.

Vardon wrote Cleveland would ponder acquiring Jordan if it believes doing so would help it get past the Golden State Warriors, even though he could only be a rental.


This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Derrick Rose Reportedly Taking Leave from Cavaliers to Evaluate Future in NBA

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose is reportedly taking a leave from the team in order to evaluate his NBA future, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin.

Per Wojnarowski, a Cavaliers source said, “[Rose is] tired of being hurt, and it’s taking a toll on him mentally.” 

Last week, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said Rose would miss at least two weeks due to an ankle injury. The 29-year-old veteran hasn’t played since a 124-119 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 7.

Rose has appeared in seven games this season and is averaging 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest while shooting 47.0 percent from the field.

The three-time All-Star signed a one-year contract worth just over $2.1 million with the Cavs during the offseason after spending 2016-17 with the New York Knicks.

Rose broke into the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft out of Memphis and was part of the Chicago Bulls organization for eight years.

He experienced some major highs, including winning the 2010-11 NBA MVP award after averaging 25.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Rose also dealt with some significant lows with multiple knee injuries, which cost him all of 2012-13 and all but 10 games in 2013-14.

While Rose put up 18.0 points per game with the Knicks last season, representing his best production since 2011-12, injuries continue to hamper him.

Rose has been effective as a starter when healthy this season, but when Isaiah Thomas returns to action from a hip injury, Rose figures to be relegated to a bench role should he decide to continue his career.

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Kevin Durant Ruled Out vs. Bulls with Ankle Injury

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant was ruled out for Friday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls due to a sprained left ankle, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Durant played in Wednesday’s 108-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder after he missed a 118-111 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

Durability has been a recent concern for Durant, as he played in just 27 games in 2014-15 and missed 20 contests last season—his first with Golden State—because of a Grade 2 MCL sprain.

He is one of the best players in the league when healthy, which he proved on the sport’s biggest stage last season by winning the NBA Finals MVP. Durant is an eight-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion and seven-time member of an All-NBA team. He also has a Rookie of the Year and league MVP on his resume.

The Texas product is averaging 24.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game this season after he scored 25.1 points a night in 2016-17.

While losing someone as skilled as Durant would be a devastating setback for every other franchise in the league, the Warriors are equipped to handle it. They still have the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to lead the way, although Green will sit out Friday’s game to rest.

Look for Andre Iguodala, Nick Young and Omri Casspi to get more playing time until Durant returns.

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LaVar Ball-Donald Trump Feud Generates Estimated $13.2M in Free Advertising

President Donald Trump reportedly provided a whirlwind of free advertising for LaVar Ball in their back-and-forth feud.

On Thursday, Darren Rovell of ESPN cited Apex Marketing Group, which noted that Big Baller Brand has received an estimated $13.2 million in advertisement as Trump and Ball exchanged barbs in recent days.  

According to Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports, Apex Marketing Group calculated the estimate by tracking the number of references to Big Baller Brand in the media compared to normal advertisement rates.  

“This back and forth with Donald Trump has extended the brand awareness outside of just sports,” Apex Marketing Group president Eric Smallwood said, per Eisenberg. “People who don’t follow sports are starting to get more awareness of the brand. To have that reaction from someone as high up as Trump, it has definitely helped [Ball] reach a larger audience.”

Things escalated between the two Friday when Ball didn’t personally thank Trump for helping three UCLA basketball players, including his son, LiAngelo Ball, back into the country after they shoplifted in China.

“Who?” Ball asked ESPN.com’s Arash Markazi. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Ball wasn’t done, appearing on CNN and discussing Trump with Chris Cuomo.

He refused to offer thanks during the interview either:

Naturally, Trump took to Twitter and aimed a number of critical barbs at the patriarch of the Big Baller Brand:

Eisenberg discussed the potential next step for Ball—after all the advertising—with Bob Dorfman, executive director of Baker Street Advertising. Dorfman believes he should lower the price on the $495 pair of signature shoes for Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and also position the brand as an anti-Trump one. 

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Luc Mbah a Moute Had the Highest Plus-Minus in a Game Dating Back to 1996-97

Fact: The Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute was +57 in last night’s blow out win over the Nuggets, the highest plus-minus in a game dating back to 1996-97.

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Source: Justin Kubatko

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