NBA Rumor Round Up For Thursday, November 26:
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors beat the Cavaliers on Wednesday, however one player on the team doesn't appear to be happy with his limited minutes. Forward James Johnson wrote the following tweet Wednesday night: "#Mood. Under-utilized." ... Through 12 games, Johnson is averaging just 13.5 minutes from head coach Dwane Casey, which is the lowest amount since the 2010-11 season. ... There is a chance Johnson may have his agent talk to management about looking at trade options.
Los Angeles Lakers: Even though Kobe Bryant is currently shooting a career-low 31.1 percent from the field, head coach Byron Scott has no plans to reduce the minutes of the 37-year old. "I haven't thought about reducing his role," Scott told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday. "I think his role is pretty defined for us right now. So is his minutes." ... Bryant has always maintained that he he can still play at a high level in his 20th NBA season. "I know his mentality is that he still feels that he can still play in this league, and we feel the same way," Scott said.
Orlando Magic: Head coach Scott Skiles did indeed make changes to his starting-five on Wednesday as he shifted Victor Oladipo to the bench and promoted Channing Frye to the first unit. Oladipo is fine with the new role and against the Knicks he scored 24 points off the bench. “My teammates look up to me,” Oladipo told the Orlando Sentinel. “So it was huge the way I responded today, because everybody saw that.”
Miami Heat: Forward Luol Deng was still having issues with his left hamstring on Wednesday, so he sat out the game against Detroit. There is a chance he will also be sidelined on Friday against the Knicks. "We're just trying to be cautious, trying to be smart," Deng told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I played the last game and it hasn't gotten any better, so I think we just want to be smart and just try to get rid of the little nagging injury that will just linger on and become something else."
Atlanta Hawks: Head coach Mike Budenholzer won't say when he expects Kent Bazemore and Tiago Splitter to return from their injuries. “With both of them we’ll have to wait and see how they feel the next day or two goes,” Budenholzer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bazemore has missed five games due to the sprained right ankle, while a sore right hip has sidelined Splitter for the last two games.
Houston Rockets: With Jason Terry starting at point guard and backup Patrick Beverley returning to the lineup, the minutes left for Ty Lawson are reducing. Lawson in fact did not play in the second half against Memphis on Wednesday and was only on the floor for two minutes and 41 seconds in the first half. At this time, Lawson has no plans to speak with J.B. Bickerstaff. "Man, I'm just down for whatever [it takes] for the team to win. Whatever the coach thinks, whatever my role needs to be or anything like that, I'm down to do," Lawson told ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins after the game.
Charlotte Hornets: According to The Charlotte Observer, the extension signed by head coach Steve Clifford on Wednesday does include a team option for the 2019-20 season. The prior three years are fully guaranteed. ... The Clifford extension could impact Nicolas Batum in July when he will hit the free agent market. “He (Clifford) trusts me. He believes in me. So that could be a big factor (in re-signing with the Hornets)," Batum said.
Phoenix Suns: The team made a move on Wednesday as they signed guard Bryce Cotton to provide cover in the backcourt. Cotton, after playing with the Utah Jazz in 2014-15, started the season in the D-League as member of the Austin Spurs. ... The signing of Cotton to a rest-of-season, non-guaranteed minimum deal brings the Suns roster to 15.