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Around the Association: LeBron and Zion on the Mend, Wall and Simmons Standoffs Continue, Crypto Arena, More

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are in Portland later tonight, as they look to make it three in a row with a win over Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. The 10-4 Bulls have been a ton of fun to watch lately, but let’s take a spin around the league and check in on some other NBA storylines.

•   The New Orleans Pelicans have been without Zion Williamson to open the season, but the superstar has been cleared to participate in contact drills beginning with some one-on-one workouts.

•   Williamson has been sidelined since he underwent surgery to repair a fractured foot suffered this offseason, and let’s just say that things haven’t gone well for New Orleans in his absence. The Pelicans are off to a dreadful 2-13 start to the season. Only the 1-13 Houston Rockets have been worse than the Williamson-less Pelicans this season. Williamson will get reevaluated on November 24 to determine whether or not he can progress to full team workouts with the Pelicans.

•   Speaking of Houston:

•   Off to a 1-13 start, things don’t appear to be getting better in Houston any time soon, at least not with the help of John Wall. Wall has not played a single game for the Rockets this season, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski thinks that it’s becoming “increasingly likely” that Wall will be traded this season. But, even if Wall doesn’t get traded, he’s still getting paid by Houston. In fact, he’s making just $2 million shy of what Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are making, combined!

•   On the players not playing front, we also have the long-running Ben Simmons saga between the former first overall draft pick and the Philadelphia 76ers.

•   Now, the Philadelphia 76ers are fining Ben Simmons for not traveling with the team on the upcoming road trip. Simmons and his agent Rich Paul dispute that the embattled star refuses to play not because of the desire to be traded, but because he is seeking mental health assistance and doesn’t feel ready to return to the team at this time.

•   The back and forth between the 76ers and Simmons has Philadelphia sports fans rightfully frustrated, and one fan is so frustrated that he absolutely HAD to vent to a Philly area sports talk radio show last week, no matter what.

•   LeBron James might be back in the lineup on Friday when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This is really good news for the Lakers because they looked like they were in desperate need of help when the Bulls blew the doors off of Los Angeles on Monday night at the Staples Center.

•   The 121-103 romping of the Lakers was the Bulls’ first win over the Lakers since November 20, 2016. Monday night’s win was also the first victory at the Staples Center since that 2016 victory, and now it turns out that it will be the last victory in the Staples Center as we know it today.

•   The Staples Center will become known as the ‘Crypto dot Com Arena’ on Christmas Day this year, marking the end of a 20-plus year run for the building under its current naming rights brand. The new deal is worth $700 million dollars and is good for the next 20 years. By comparison, Staples paid $116 million for the naming rights back in 1999. #inflation

•   Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash said that his team wasn’t in the same tier as the Bulls (and other top Eastern Conference teams) after the Golden State Warriors beat Brooklyn handily on Tuesday night.

•   I mean, I get that the Bulls spanked the Nets just last week and that losing to Golden State (something the Bulls also did last week) can make you question yourself, but I think that Nash might have been being a bit tough in his assessment last night.

•   Lonzo Ball has turned into the most complete version of himself yet with the Bulls this season.

•   Check out this awesome breakdown of Billy Donovan’s usage of Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan by Steph Noh:

•   Remember, the Bulls are back in action tonight in Portland. Tip-off is set for 9:0o pm (ct) if you’re in the business of sacrificing sleep for hoops.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.