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Bob Ferry, ex-player and longtime GM of Washington Bullets, dies at 84

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Bob Ferry, who guided the Washington Bullets to their only title in 1978 as part of a prolific 17-year run as general manager, died Wednesday at age 84.

Ferry ran the Bullets from 1973 to 1990, and the team made the playoffs 13 times in that 17-year span, including three Finals appearances. The Wizards’ franchise has made the playoffs only 10 times in the 31 seasons since Ferry left that post and has not reached the Finals.

Ferry is one of four GMs in league history with 700 wins, 13 playoff appearances, a championship and two Executive of the Year awards, which Ferry won in 1979 and 1982. The others are RC Buford, Jerry West and Jerry Krause.

“Bob and his family are dear to my parents, the Unseld family, to the Wizards organization, and we just want to wish him and his family the best, and keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said Wednesday. “I know how difficult this time is. I just want to let them know we’re thinking about them, we care for them and we’ll be there for them.”

Ferry was the second general manager, after the Boston Celtics’ Red Auerbach, who hired two Black head coaches: K.C. Jones in 1973 and Wes Unseld Sr. in 1988. After he left the Bullets, he was a scout for several NBA teams over the next 25 years.

Standing 6-foot-8, Ferry was an All-American at Saint Louis University and the seventh overall pick in the 1959 draft. He played 10 seasons in the NBA with the St. Louis Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Baltimore Bullets, averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 634 career games.

His son Danny was a star at Duke, where he was national player of the year and won a national title. He went on play 13 NBA seasons and won titles as a player and as an executive with the San Antonio Spurs. He later was the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.

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Sources — Phoenix Suns to create confidential internal employee hotline amid Robert Sarver investigation

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As the NBA nears the fourth month of its investigation into the Phoenix Suns and majority owner Robert Sarver, the team is working toward creating a confidential internal hotline in the coming weeks for employees to report complaints, team sources told ESPN.

On Monday, a Suns executive explained to colleagues that the reason for creating the internal hotline is because “no one actually uses the NBA hotline at all,” the sources told ESPN. (Other NBA teams also have internal hotlines.)

The Suns did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2018, in the wake of Sports Illustrated’s reported allegations of harassment and violence toward female employees inside the Dallas Mavericks organization, the NBA created a confidential hotline for team and league employees to voice concerns of improper conduct.

In ESPN’s November story, which outlined allegations of a sometimes toxic and hostile workplace during Sarver’s 17-year tenure in Phoenix, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said the league had not “received a complaint of misconduct at the Suns organization through any of our processes, including our confidential workplace misconduct hotline or other correspondence.”

The NBA did not respond to a request for comment.

Employees were made aware of the NBA’s hotline in a February 2018 email from Suns team president and CEO Jason Rowley. It was noted in the email that the callers have the option to remain anonymous, but added a disclaimer: “Note that if you make an anonymous complaint, someone could still guess your identity from the circumstances or other information you provide.”

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Fantasy basketball daily notes for Tuesday

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In a league full of fun names, Ayo Dosunmu stands out. The second-round rookie scored a career-high 24 points for the depleted Chicago Bulls in a close win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

A Chicago native and Illinois product, Dosunmu has been thrust into a larger role in the rotation due to significant injuries to Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball. It’s not just his scoring prowess that was notable last night, as the rookie also paced the team with eight assists.

In seven games as a starter this season, Dosunmu has averaged 38.8 minutes to go with 11.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and, most impressively, 5.9 assists. Available in free agency in nearly every league, Dosunmu could be a fantasy factor for the next several weeks.

Monday recap

Highlights

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns: 27 points (10-17 FG), 9 rebounds, 14 assists

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls: 26 points (10-18 FG), 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks

Lowlights

Evan Fournier, New York Knicks: 7 points (3-9 FG), 0 rebounds, 0 assists

Monday takeaways

  • The Pelicans produced 64 points in the paint against the Pacers, the third-most New Orleans has scored in that area in a game this season. On a light night without a ton of star performances, one main takeaway is just how friendly a fantasy matchup Indiana has become. With Indiana missing several key starters, even a depleted New Orleans roster was able to feast on the Pacers. During the last 10 games, Indiana has allowed 116.1 points per 100 possessions to opponents, marking the fifth-worst defensive rating in the league over this span. Whenever looking for streaming options, pursuing the Pacers as a matchup could pay off.

  • Speaking of Indiana, the Pacers turned to rookies Chris Duarte and Duane Washington Jr. in the loss to the Pelicans. Washington Jr. produced a career-high 21 points thanks to sinking seven of his 12 3-point attempts, tying him with New York’s Quentin Grimes for the second-most 3-pointers made in a game by a rookie this season.

  • It wasn’t just Dosunmu playing a larger role for the Bulls on Monday, as combo guard Coby White filled the microwave role off the pine for Chicago. White couldn’t find his shot in the win, but he’s become a relevant option given the shots and minutes vacated by Caruso and Ball.

Injuries of note

  • Zach LaVine returned to the lineup for Chicago after missing multiple games with a knee injury. Even though his shot wasn’t falling, the fact LaVine handled a full workload is a good sign of things to come.

  • After missing multiple weeks due to a knee injury, Anthony Davis is listed as probable to play for the Lakers against the Nets this evening.

  • The Sixers won’t have Seth Curry, Danny Green or Shake Milton in the rotation against the Pelicans tonight. Tyrese Maxey should prove quite busy, while streaming Matisse Thybulle (if he plays through a shoulder ailment) could lead to gobs of defensive stats for those in roto or category leagues.

Analytics advantage for Tuesday

The Brooklyn Nets will be without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this evening, setting up James Harden with a heliocentric role leading the offense against the Lakers. Beyond the bearded one, I’m interested in streaming and daily fantasy shares of LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills, two of the key waiver additions to consider this week.

Aldridge has seen his usage rate spike a team-high 7.2% with Durant and Irving off the floor this season. Mills, meanwhile, has posted a team-high 10.9 3-point attempts per 36 minutes in such scenarios.

DFS discussion

Richaun Holmes, Sacramento Kings: A long stint in health and safety protocols means Holmes is still building back to a full workload with the Kings, but this also includes a notable discount on DraftKings this evening. With a viable path to 25 minutes, Holmes is a nice frontcourt bargain against Boston tonight.

Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs: Identifying awful perimeter defenses can prove rewarding when eyeing scoring guards. Such is the case with White facing a porous Houston defense that has allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points per game to shooting guards on the season.

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While Chicago Bulls welcome back Zach LaVine after five-game absence, DeMar DeRozan sits out

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The Chicago Bulls are getting one star back for Monday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, while simultaneously resting another.

Zach LaVine is in the starting lineup on Monday night after missing the past five games with a left knee injury. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan will not play against the Thunder as he rests on the second night of a back-to-back.

LaVine has not played since removing himself from the game in the first quarter on Jan. 14 against the Warriors after feeling soreness in his left knee. An MRI did not reveal any structural damage, but after the Bulls initially ruled him out until middle to late next week, his knee continued to improve enough for him to join the team on Monday.

In 38 games this season, LaVine is averaging 24.9 points, 4.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds on 49% shooting.

“Anytime you take that kind of scoring off the floor, you don’t want to necessarily feel like one person has got to make it up, but you’ve got to do it collectively as a unit there,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said before Monday’s game about playing through this stretch without LaVine. “His ability to both generate things for himself and for others is always something he does at an incredibly high level.”

LaVine returned to the court alongside guard Javonte Green, who had not played since Dec. 31 with a groin injury. While LaVine has been cleared to return to his normal workload, Donovan planned to limit Green to no more than 25 minutes in his first game back.

This is also the first time DeRozan, 32, will rest this season.

“With the stretch that we’ve had with these makeup games and so many games condensed, there would be conversations that we have,” Donovan said. “With DeMar, physically just where he’s at, he needs a break here.”

Bulls guard Alex Caruso had surgery on his right wrist on Monday morning, which went well, according to Donovan.

And guard Lonzo Ball is scheduled to have surgery on his left knee later, although Donovan did not have an exact date, as Ball continues to do prehab on his knee before his procedure.

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