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NBA: Rockets Add Firepower, Dunk Champ Gets Shoe Deal, East Strugglers Plan Shakeup

The NBA is on a break for the next few days as everyone gets a much-needed rest after what was a successful All-Star weekend, particularly due to a thrilling All-Star Game.

However, the Houston Rockets are already busy making moves as they look to improve their squad for the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, All-Star Slam Dunk champion Derrick Jones Jr. has more things to celebrate after sealing a brand new shoe deal.

And over in the East, a couple of struggling teams in the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls are planning some major shakeups to change up their fading fortunes.

To those SBOTOP NBA fans who have yet to get caught up, here are the trendy news items across the league.

 

Rockets to add veteran forwards Jeff Green, DeMarre Carroll

The small-ball Houston Rockets are ready to add some reinforcements. They plan to use their two open roster spots on veteran forwards DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Green, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

Green, a free agent, will initially sign a 10-day contract with the Rockets before committing to a permanent deal. Meanwhile, Carroll still needs to clear waivers after he completed a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.

Green played 30 games for the Jazz this season before getting released on Christmas Eve. He averaged 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game. Carroll played just 15 games for the Spurs, averaging 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds.

The additions of Green and Carroll will give the Rockets some added size and versatility on the frontcourt to help play their new small ball strategy. P.J. Tucker has become the team’s starting centre after they traded away Clint Capela in a deal to acquire Robert Covington.

Neither Green nor Carroll is likely to significantly alter their chances to win the title. But at the very least, they should help reduce the playing time of the 34-year-old Tucker, who is averaging a career-high 35 minutes this season.

The Rockets are currently fifth in the Western Conference, two games back of the Utah Jazz in fourth and a further half-game back of the third-place Clippers.

Dunk champ Derrick Jones Jr. signs Puma shoe deal

Derrick Jones Jr officially seals an apparel & shoe deal with Puma after winning the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest
Derrick Jones Jr dunks into the basket during the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest

Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. won the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest in somewhat controversial circumstances.

Heat legend Dwyane Wade did not award poor Aaron Gordon a perfect score on his last dunk, which would have sent the final into a third tiebreaker round. Although, Wade pointed out afterwards that he was not the only one of the five judges not to give out a 10.

Nevertheless, Jones is officially the champ, which wasn’t the only piece of good news he got over the weekend. He also finalised a new multiyear shoe and apparel endorsement deal with Puma.

Jones wore a white and pink Puma Clyde Hardwood sneaker during the contest, which matched well with the Heat’s colourful “Vice Nights” jerseys.

As Nick DePaula of ESPN reported, the two sides had been in talks for months about a potential deal. But after Jones’ epic dunk contest victory — while wearing Puma footwear, no less — it was as good a time as any to seal the deal.

The 23-year-old Jones is having the best season of his young NBA career this year. He’s played 40 games, averaging 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game for the Heat.

 

Cavs planning to part with John Beilein, Bulls to make front office changes

The Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves at the very bottom of the Eastern Conference standings at just 14-40. As a result, head coach John Beilein may be about to step down from his job.

Beilein, who jumped up to the NBA this season for the first time after spending most of his coaching career in college, has had a rough debut campaign.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, Beilein has been described as “miserable” with his move to the Cavaliers as he’s struggled to adapt to the league.

Aside from the Cavs’ on-court struggles, Beilein also made NBA 2020 news of the wrong kind earlier this year when he called his players a “bunch of thugs” during a film session.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls are also planning some big changes, with president Michael Reinsdorf set to replace the front office currently led by Gar Forman and John Paxson.

Paxson and Forman have presided over the Bulls’ front office as a tandem since 2009. But they have struggled to steer the team toward success in recent years. They have made the playoffs just once in the last four seasons and at just 19-36, they look unlikely to make it again this year.

 

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