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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Stories by Grey Papke:

Report: Bills, Bears have looked into signing Kareem Hunt

Kareem Hunt

It seems likely that Kareem Hunt will be welcomed back into the NFL by someone at some point, and two teams are reportedly sniffing around.

According to NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright, the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills have considered signing Hunt, though neither has taken any steps to do so at this point.

The Bears’ interest has been openly discussed by members of the organization, and coach Matt Nagy was Hunt’s offensive coordinator for a year in Kansas City. The Bills, however, have not been linked before.

Hunt was released by the Chiefs after video emerged of him attacking a woman. He still faces NFL discipline, which is a factor any team that acquires him must consider.

Raptors’ Nick Nurse has funny quote about Kawhi Leonard’s slump

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard is averaging 17.3 points per game in his last four games, a modest total by the Toronto Raptors star’s standards. His coach suggests that there’s a pretty amusing reason why.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse suggested that Leonard, averaging a career-best 26.9 points per game this season, has just gotten a little bit bored being so dominant as we move through the latter stages of the regular season.

We are in that part of the season after the trade deadline but before the playoffs when things can start to drag a bit. Maybe Leonard can appreciate the same things that his new teammate is and pull himself out of it, even though it isn’t that much of a slump to begin with.

Report: Celtics’ tension not surprising to NBA insiders

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are clearly having some locker room tension, and it’s apparently not a shock to many NBA insiders.

According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, many inside the league are not shocked that the Celtics are having chemistry issues. The locker room is not considered to be toxic, but it is characterized as the players simply not being that close.

Marcus Morris essentially blew the issues out into the open after the Celtics blew a huge lead against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. It doesn’t sound like things are at a breaking point, but the players clearly aren’t having fun right now.

Damian Lillard reacts on Twitter to controversial no-call at end of loss

Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was less than enthusiastic after missing a shot on a drive to the basket in which he pretty clearly felt he got fouled.

Lillard said immediately after the game that he had been fouled twice on the final possession of Portland’s 102-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Lillard doubled down on Twitter, retweeting a screenshot of one of the perceived fouls with a pretty blunt criticism.

This is the sort of thing that may show up in the NBA’s L2M reports, which players generally hate. Lillard probably won’t feel any better about it even if the league acknowledges an error.

Twitter rips Christian Hackenberg’s AAF debut

Former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg is back in action playing for The Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express, and it’s not going well.

Hackenberg showed a lot of the things that made him a failure with the New York Jets, making a lot of bad throws and taking sacks. Twitter was happy to take aim at the former second-round NFL draft pick as he floundered in the AAF.

On the early evidence, Hackenberg won’t be getting back into the NFL anytime soon. Maybe Jon Gruden, his biggest fan, is paying attention.

Luke Walton has hilarious reaction to father Bill eating lit cupcake

Bill Walton cupcake

National treasure Bill Walton made headlines for biting into a cupcake with the candle on it still lit Saturday night, and his son Luke is apparently relaxed about it.

Luke Walton, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, confirmed that his father’s behavior didn’t really have precedent from his childhood. However, he was also thoroughly unsurprised that it happened.

Walton is a bit odd, but it makes for great TV. Luke probably has some great stories that he hasn’t told or are simply not fit for public consumption. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Report: Knicks were surprised by Kristaps Porzingis’s trade value slide

Kristaps Porzingis

The New York Knicks seemingly went into the trade process expecting to get more for forward Kristaps Porzingis.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks were “surprised” that Porzingis’s stock had dropped so much since the 2017 NBA Draft, when they last received offers for him. At that time, the Knicks had turned down the opportunity to acquire Devin Booker and a draft pick from the Phoenix Suns for Porzingis, and had also rejected a large offer from the Boston Celtics.

Berman reports that the Knicks did get 8-10 offers for Porzingis, but the Dallas Mavericks were the only team to offer up the right combination of a young player, expiring contracts, and two first-round draft choices.

Earlier reports indicated that Porzingis’s availability was something of a secret to some teams, but if up to a third of the league had offers on the table, it would seem it wasn’t that classified. The Knicks couldn’t expect Porzingis, who hasn’t played all season, to have retained all his trade value from when he was regarded as one of the league’s brightest young stars. He still is, but the injury concerns are real.

Kyrie Irving reportedly day-to-day with right knee sprain

Kyrie Irving

The Boston Celtics have all sorts of issues right now, but point guard Kyrie Irving’s health does not appear to be a serious one.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Irving is considered day-to-day with a right knee sprain. The injury is not considered serious.

Irving left Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers late in the second quarter and did not return. In his absence, the Celtics collapsed and blew a 28-point lead, with the Clippers outscoring them 70-38 in the second half with no Irving on the floor. If it’s any solace to Boston, it sounds like they won’t be without their star point guard for very long.