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Jimmy Butler To Joel Embiid: I Know A Place Where Villains Are Welcome

Jimmy Butler replied to Joel Embiid's cryptic social media post on Monday evening.

Embiid posted a photo of himself silencing the crowd in Philadelphia after hitting a key three-pointer with the quote "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain" as the caption.

Butler and Embiid were teammates last season.

Butler replied "I know a place where villains are welcome." Butler presumably was referencing the possibility of Embiid joining the Miami Heat. Embiid cannot become a free agent until 2023 and the Heat almost certainly don't have enough assets to trade for him relative to what rival teams could offer.

LeBron James: My Participation In 2020 Olympics Based On Body, Family

LeBron James has played in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics, but sat out the 2016 games. James is on the preliminary roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and will presumably be allowed to make his decision whenever he wants.

"My name is in the hat and it's always predicated on: one; my body, how my body is feeling at the end of the season -- I hope to make a long playoff run," James said. "And then where my mind is and then where my family's head is. So, it's a lot of factors but my name is in the hat."

Anthony Davis played in the 2012 Olympics as an incoming NBA rookie, but also sat out the 2016 Olympics. Davis is not sure if he will play in 2020.

"I don't know; I'm getting old," Davis said with a laugh. "I don't know."

Davis believes his experience in 2012 was formative.

"Being around those guys taught me a lot, showed me a lot, and I think I wouldn't be the player I am today if it wasn't for those guys," Davis said. "Kob' [Bryant], LeBron, 'Melo [Anthony], Tyson [Chandler], [Chris Paul], Russ [Westbrook], James [Harden], it was all my guys. I was their guy, their rookie. And it just helped me become a professional early in my career, showing me how to work, how to work hard, and I kind of carried that through my career."

Jrue Holiday: I Feel Like I’m Built For This Pelicans’ Team

With the New Orleans Pelicans rebuilding around Zion Williamson and presumably Brandon Ingram, there has been talk for months about the possibility of trading Jrue Holiday.

Both Holiday and the Pelicans have maintained that they would like him to remain with the team.

"I honestly feel like I'm built for this team, and the way that we've been able to come together has really been cool," Holiday told CBS Sports. "I feel like I'm committed to this team and the players. I know for me personally, I try not to let my teammates down, so every time I come out here I feel like I try to put on my hard hat and my armor and go out there and fight for them."

After a slow start to the season, the Pelicans are now within range of a playoff spot.

"It's been fun, just being able to grow together," Holiday said. "Going through tough times, like losing 13 straight and coming out of that and feeling like -- obviously there's an upside to that."

Nick Nurse After Raptors’ 15th Straight Win: ‘We’re Getting Everybody’s A-Plus Game’

The Toronto Raptors won their 15th straight game after their 137-126 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The win spoiled D'Angelo Russell's Wolves debut.

"I think we're getting everybody's A-plus game. They were really good, I thought, for a lot of stretches. We just had to try to figure some things out," said Nick Nurse after the game.

Nurse discussed his gameplan in slowing Russell down.

"[We] really tried to press up on him, make him drive it. We sat back, sat down too much, and he's going to make those no matter where he is on those. We did try to trap him out of the timeouts a lot when we got the right matchups on him and we turned him over twice out of timeouts for layups, which was huge," said Nurse of defending Russell, who had 22 points.

Russell expressed his excitement over his Wolves debut despite the loss.

"It was great. Super excited about this group. We know what Karl[-Anthony Towns] does and what he brings to the table. Just the group in general and coaching staff. I'm looking forward to this challenge to figure out what we can do to get better every day."

Mavs To Sign Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Release Ryan Broekhoff

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, league sources told Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Kidd-Gilchrist, who was recently bought out by the Hornets, averaged 4 points in 12 games this season.

The Mavs released Ryan Broekhoff to make room for Kidd-Gilchrist.

James Dolan Didn’t Consider Hiring Rich Kleiman To Run Knicks

James Dolan didn't consider hiring Rich Kleiman as president of the New York Knicks.

Sources say Dolan feared fans of the Knicks still blame Kleiman for Kevin Durant signing with the Brooklyn Nets instead of the Knicks.

Kleiman is known to be a lifelong fan of the Knicks.

The Knicks will instead hire Leon Rose, who has been an agent for more than 20 years and has had dozens of clients compared to Kleiman's unique partnership with Durant. Durant can't become a free agent until 2022.

Leon Rose Expected To Consider Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy For Knicks’ Coach

Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy are two head coaching candidates Leon Rose is expected to consider hire when he becomes president of the New York Knicks.

Thibodeau and Van Gundy have not been candidates during the Knicks' most recent coaching searches. James Dolan is believed to hold a grudge against Van Gundy following the way he quit during the 01-02 season.

Thibodeau is a CAA client and has worked with Rose.

Van Gundy and Rose are believed to be a mutual admiration.

"If Leon ever hired Jeff, the fans would love him,'' one insider said.

MacMahon: Whole Point Of Rockets Trading Clint Capela Was To Maximize Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has played better since the Houston Rockets moved to a small-ball lineup.

"The whole point of trading Clint Capela was to maximize Russell Westbrook," said Tim MacMahon on The Hoop Collective Podcast. "Just because having two non-shooters on the floor with James Harden in that system, it was clunky. All the analytics backed up the Rockets' decision in a small window of this season right now: they were better without Capela off the floor than with him on the floor."

The Rockets are vulnerable to scoring big men defensively and on the glass, but MacMahon points out how teams have had to adjust to their small-ball system rather than the other way around so far.

"They're all-in on this," said MacMahon. "Analytically it makes sense."

MacMahon, however, argues that Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets could be the matchups Houston doesn't have an answer for.

MacMahon also added that the trade was not motivated by luxury tax avoidance.

"This was a trade Mike D'Antoni wanted. He wanted to go all-in on small-ball," added MacMahon. "This was a trade Daryl Morey (wanted)."

Warriors View Next Two Seasons As Window ‘Before They Hopefully’ Re-Sign Stephen Curry In...

Joe Lacob articulated the timeline of the Golden State Warriors as they try to maximize the primes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

"Really, the emphasis is on next year," said Lacob. "The next two years, our window - Steph's last two years under contract, before we hopefully bring him back again - we need to field the best possible team we can. That was the emphasis."

Curry can become a free agent in 2022, followed by a player option for Green in 2023 while Thompson will finish his current five-year deal in 2024.

The Warriors will have one of the top selections in the 2020 NBA Draft and also own a future first from the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the Andrew Wiggins trade. Golden State could attempt to use a collection of those assets to acquire another star player to bolster their title chances.

Cavaliers Sign J.P. Macura, Malik Newman To 10-Day Contracts

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guards J.P. Macura and Malik Newman to 10-day contracts.

Macura (6-4, 203) has played in 32 games (all starts) this season with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers' exclusively owned and operated NBA G League team, averaging 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.6 steals in 30.1 minutes per game. He was also a member of the Cavaliers' roster for the 2019 preseason and appeared in two games for the Charlotte Hornets in 2018-19. Macura, who went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, played four years collegiately at Xavier, where he averaged 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.9 minutes per game over 141 career contests (79 starts).

Newman (6-3, 190) has appeared in 31 games (27 starts) this season with the Charge, averaging 17.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 30.9 minutes per game. He was also a member of the Cavaliers' roster for the 2019 NBA Summer League. Newman played two years collegiately at Mississippi State and Kansas, averaging 13.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 30.0 minutes per game over 68 games (55 starts).

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