The NBA trade deadline is next week and while it remains to be seen if the 76ers will trade Ben Simmons, it is looking more and more likely that the Pacers will trade big man Myles Turner as he’s just not a fit on the disappointing team. The Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Hornets have all expressed interest in Turner. Here’s a look at two intriguing NBA matchups this weekend for your favorite odds.
The best bets of the NBA weekend
Warriors at Bulls, Friday
ESPN game at 7:30 p.m. ET and could be an NBA Finals preview, but it’s the second of a very tough back-to-back for the Warriors and they apparently will be without All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green so the Bulls should be favored.
Thompson played for the first time since the 2019 NBA Finals last Sunday and has looked very solid but the team isn’t going to allow him to play both ends of a back-to-back so he’ll sit this one out. Thompson averaged 34 minutes per game the last season he played, and 33.1 minutes through his first eight seasons. He’s not playing near that much this season out of caution. The Warriors will keep tinkering, trying to find the best combinations, remembering that they’re playing for June, not January.
“It’s probably the biggest challenge for me, the minutes restriction,” Thompson said. “I’m such a competitor, I want to play 35. But I got to dial it back and accept reality of what the last two years were like and you can’t just take that much time off and jump into a 40-minute ballgame.”
As for Green, he’s dealing with a calf injury. He suffered the injury in pregame warmups on Jan. 9. Green only started last Sunday’s game vs. the Cavaliers so that he could be on the court for Thompson’s return but didn’t play then and won’t the rest of this week.
Chicago should be at full health for this one as it looks to end a nine-game losing streak in the series. On Nov. 12, Chicago was routed 119-93 at Golden State. Steph Curry had 40 points with nine made three-pointers. Curry’s 40 points were the most by any player against the Bulls this season and also the highest point total he’s ever recorded against them. Golden State recorded 15 steals, which is the most any opponent has had in a game this season. The Warriors forced Chicago into committing 20 turnovers, which was a season-most at the time. Green added nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Zach LaVine scored 23 points and DeMar DeRozan had 18 to lead the Bulls.
76ers at Heat, Saturday
An 8 p.m. ET tip and could be an Eastern Conference playoff preview. It’s the second of a back-to-back for Miami, which remains without its two best players in All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Adebayo underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on Dec. 7. He was expected to miss four to six weeks, but optimism ran high on a quicker recovery when he surprisingly joined the Heat on their seven-game road trip.
“He’s basically been doing everything, conditioning, getting up and down the court – from that standpoint, he’s been very involved and I think that’s been very good for him, his spirits, his positivity, and it’s been great for us having him around, especially on this last road trip. He’s still leading and encouraging guys and when you see him working, it’s hard not to get just encouraged and also inspired,” Coach Erik Spoelstra said. Butler is recovering from an ankle injury suffered Jan. 3. He’s closer than Adebayo is.
How about the Sixers trading Simmons? Reports are that Simmons is no closer to playing this season and the Sixers are determined to bring back a significant player with a trade. Simmons’ agent Rich Paul met with Sixers’ Daryl Morey and Elton Brand to discuss the stalemate, and there’s really not much of an update. The trade deadline is Feb. 10.
The Sixers are pretty healthy overall. The lone meeting between these teams was Dec. 15 and the Heat won 101-96 in Philly. Gabe Vincent hit a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and scored 26 points, Duncan Robinson had 21 points, and the Heat built a 23-point lead and held on. Miami shot 40.9% from long distance, hitting 18 3-pointers. None of Miami’s three leading scorers —Butler, Tyler Herro or Adebayo— were in the lineup. Joel Embiid had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Sixers. Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 27 points, and Tobias Harris added 24.