Andrew Wiggins

Zach LaVine weighs in on first blockbuster of NBA trade deadline day

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USA Today

Zach LaVine weighs in on first blockbuster of NBA trade deadline day

We should have known better.

Despite all signs pointing towards a quiet NBA trade deadline, early Thursday afternoon has been nothing short of a flurry of Woj, Shams and Haynes bombs alike. The first true blockbuster of the day saw the Timberwolves finally get their main — shipping Andrew Wiggins, a protected 2021 first round pick and a 2022 second to Golden State for D’Angelo Russell

In some corners of NBA Twitter, the deal was panned as one of suspect value for the Warriors, who had leverage given how hotly Minnesota has pursued Russell since free agency.

Some of that criticism has to do with Wiggins being the primary chip coming back to Golden State. Wiggins is enjoying undoubtedly the best season of his career, but in the eyes of many has fallen short of expectations dating back to both his drafting No. 1 overall in 2014 and his signing of a max extension with the Timberwolves in 2017.

Zach LaVine looked at the move a different way:

And perhaps he has a point. 

Though Wiggins is a career 44.1% shooter from the field and 33.2% from 3-point range, he’s never played with close to the host of elite playmakers he’ll encounter in Golden State. If the return of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (as well as whatever they might net from this year’s top draft pick) vaults the Dubs back into contention next season, Wiggins could very well rise to the occasion in a role similar to Harrison Barnes' with the team when their dynasty was born.

From afar, LaVine will be spurring him on. The two spent the first three seasons of their careers alongside each other in Minnesota before LaVine was shipped to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler deal in June 2017.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports and tune-in to watch the NBA Trade Deadline Show on Thursday, February 6 at 1:30 p.m. CT. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Wendell Carter Jr. joins some insane teenage company after 28-point, 3-block outing

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USA TODAY

Wendell Carter Jr. joins some insane teenage company after 28-point, 3-block outing

The best way to break out of a slump? Put up numbers that only five teenagers in NBA history have ever reached.

Wendell Carter Jr. posted the best performance of his young NBA career on Friday against the Pistons, scoring 28 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. The seventh overall pick was a monster on both ends of the floor, especially in the third quarter when he posted 17 of the Bulls' 25 points and blocked two shots, For the moment it kept the Bulls in a game they'd eventually lose by 19 points, their fifth straight.

The damage Carter inflicted on the Pistons put him in some seriously elite company. At just 19 years old (he won't turn 20 until after the regular season), Carter joined LeBron James, Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins as the only teenagers in NBA history with 28+ points and 3+ blocks in a single game.

Towns and Wiggins both accomplished the feat in 2015, Durant did it twice in 2007 as a rookie, James reached those numbers early in his second season in 2004 and Garnett was finishing up his rookie season in 1995 when he posted his mammoth line.

Now Carter's on that list. And for what it's worth, Carter accomplished the feat in 32 minutes, fewer than any of the other teens.

He displayed his full offensive repertoire, with the Pistons having no answer for him and Zach LaVine's pick and roll action. Carter also scored a pair of buckets in post-up spots, an area he's struggled in during his rookie season.

Carter was far more aggressive than he had been during his recent mini-slump. Perhaps it was Zach LaVine's off-night (8 points on 3 of 12 shooting) or the Bulls being unable to get anything going from beyond the arc (3 of 21), but Carter attacked the basket, took open shots when he had them and didn't back down from the All-Star Drummond.

The performance came after he had averaged just 9.0 points on 40 percent shooting over the previous six games and went to the free throw line 17 total times. It wasn't necessarily a cause for concern, but it was nice to see him bounce back in a road setting against one of the tougher frontcourts in the NBA.

He stayed out of foul trouble and actually drew two fouls on Drummond in the first quarter, getting to the free throw line four times to begin his historic night.

Defensively, the three blocks were the most he had recorded since Nov. 10 against the Cavaliers. Though the Bulls were unable to slow down the Pistons from beyond the arc - they made 13 of 34 attempts, including a career-high six from Reggie Jackson - they didn't have as much success inside with Carter in the game.

He was poised, picked and chose his spots to avoid foul trouble and helped the Bulls get out and run when they did make stops.

Chalk it up as another performance for one of the most promising players in a star-studded 2018 NBA Draft class.

Carter's just beginning his run as the foundation piece of the Bulls' defense, and his efficiency on offense will only improve once Lauri Markkanen returns to space the floor.

Until that happens, we'll just have to marvel at the company he joined on Monday.

How did Twitter react to reported trade of Jimmy Butler to 76ers?

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USA TODAY

How did Twitter react to reported trade of Jimmy Butler to 76ers?

Jimmy Butler's wish for the Timberwolves to trade him was finally granted on Sunday, with Minnesota agreeing to send the All-Star guard to the 76ers.

The deal concludes what has been a turbulent chapter in the Timberwolves' season. Between the trade request itself, head coach Tom Thibodeau's reluctancy to trade Butler and Butler going nuclear at Timberwolves practice, Minnesota's 2018-19 season has gotten off to a...unique...start.

Naturally, Twitter had a field-day when reports on the trade happening came out. First, the reports themselves from The Athletic and ESPN:

But then, the fun started. 

For reference regarding the next two tweets, Butler reportedly targeted Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins during his profanity-filled practice tirade in early October.

And then there are the tweets that come at the expense of the 76ers.

Butler and Timberwolves third-stringers reportedly beat the team's starters in the same practice as his tirade.

Simmons, the 76ers' 6-foot-10 point guard, has not attempted a three-point shot this season. Fultz (30.8 percent) has not shot the three at a successful rate and missed much of last season with "the yips."

It looks like Butler has some competition for the face of Philadelphia professional sports, too.

In the end, though, the Warriors are still 10-2 and hold one of the best rosters in the NBA, even with the Butler trade.

Twitter never seems to disappoint, huh?