- Scott Howard-Cooper: Warriors continuing push for Dwight Howard deal even without DH commitment to re-signing. Not backing off from risky move, source says. Twitter
- Chris Broussard: Nothing’s changed in Phoenix: Suns still not trading Steve Nash unless he asks for it, sources say. And he won’t. Twitter
- Dwyane Wade said he was sorry. To Kobe Bryant. So as far as the Miami Heat guard is concerned, it’s case closed when it comes to his hard foul that broke the nose of the Los Angeles Lakers guard during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game. “I sent him a message, with my apologies. Unfortunate that happened to him, but that’s all I could do,” Wade said following Tuesday’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena, the first time he has commented on the incident since Sunday. “He knows it’s no ill intent on me to do that. Did I take a foul? Yes, I took a foul. So, talk about me for taking a foul. But I never wanted that kind of outcome.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- Rose, who has missed 10 games with turf toe and back problems, endorsed Durant during All-Star weekend in Orlando. “I haven’t [done] anything this year yet to be MVP,” Rose said. “One guy that’s ballin’ right now is Kevin Durant. He’s ballin’ right now. Putting up numbers. Playing great, shooting high percentage. He’s ballin’.” ESPN.com
- Former Rookie of the Year and 3-time All-Star guard Brandon Roy, who recently retired from basketball due to a serious knee condition, has been entertaining the possibility of a comeback, telling Eurobasket, ‘It’s hard being away from the game. Don’t be surprised if you see Brandon Roy make his way back to the court.’ Eurobasket.com
- Anthony said the Heat showed the Knicks the blueprint for not only how they have to play but the amount of work and concentration they must put into each game. “The way that they prepared for our team, for our game, that’s something that I would like to take and bring that back to my team,” Anthony said after playing in Sunday night’s All-Star Game. “Just the preparation that they put into the situation that it worked out.” Newsday
- This just in from a Texas source, who’s hearing Odom is trying to get a buyout. “Don’t be surprised if the Mavs oblige. He’s just not happy in Dallas. Maybe his wife is making him.” New York Post
- Sources with knowledge of Howard’s thinking say nothing has changed about his outlook. And while his wish-list of teams still includes the Nets, Lakers and Mavs, New Jersey is far and away the leader.SI.com
It’s amazing how much of a difference one season can make. At this time last year, the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves were the laughingstocks of the Western Conference. Now, the Clippers are contenders and the Timberwolves are fighting for a playoff berth.
Coming off their All-Star appearances, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin – the two best power forwards in the game – go head to head for the second time this season as the Timberwolves (17-17) visits the Clippers (20-11). Griffin and Love are the league’s only power forwards averaging at least 21 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Minnesota has won four of five but begins a difficult schedule with four road games in five nights. The Timberwolves are just 1-6 when they play with no days rest on the road.
The Clippers have a daunting schedule of their own, playing 20 games in 31 days.
The last time the teams met on Jan. 20, Love, averaging 25 points and 14 rebounds, hit a game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer after Ricky Rubio tied the game with a 3-pointer of his own. Both teams have tweaked their lineups since.
The Clippers start Randy Foye in place of the injured Chauncey Billups, while Chris Paul and Caron Butler will be in uniform after missing the last meeting due to injuries.
Minnesota received a huge contribution from Darko Milicic, who scored 22 points and helped limit Griffin to 7-of-17 shooting. But Milicic has been replaced in the starting lineup by the immovable Nikola Pekovic, who has averaged 17.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in February.
Paul, coming off a season-high 36 points, will get his first look at Rubio, the rookie sensation who has been on a roll as of late, averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 assists in his last four games. Paul has an NBA-best 35 straight games with at least one steal, but his 2.3 per game still trails Rubio’s 2.4, the second best mark in the league.
Griffin leads the NBA with 93 total dunks. The entire Timberwolves roster has 117, led by Pekovic’s 23.
Los Spurs. El Heat. Los Suns. Los Mavs.
Now add the Orlando Magic to the list of NBA teams reaching out to their Hispanic and Latino communities.
The team will wear jerseys emblazoned “El Magic” for three home games, starting Thursday vs. Oklahoma City. Here’s a look at it:
Of course, the jersey is not entirely grammatically correct. Although the team’s nickname should stand and not translate, the phrase “the magic” is written and said, “la magia” in Spanish.
The Magic will also wear the jerseys Mar. 19 vs. Los Toros and Mar. 21 vs. Los Soles. For you unilingual folk, that’s the Bulls and the Suns, whose Spanish jerseys read, “Los Suns” when they should read, “Los Soles.”
By that time, Magic fans may be wondering, “¿Por qué no podemos comerciar Dwight Howard? Él no se va a quedar.”
Which is Spanish for,”Why didn’t we trade Dwight Howard? He’s not staying.”
Columnist Chris Perkins has an opinion piece upon the site today saying it is unwise to criticize LeBron James too harshly for his pass to Blake Griffin (wrong team) at Saturday night’s All-Star game.
I respectfully disagree.
Big stage, big moment, everyone around the country and the globe finally getting the chance to see what LeBron would do with the game on the line.
James failed in every way possible.
But Perkins also makes the point that this was an exhibition game with no huge meaning, and he has a point there… to a point. A big game is a big game, IMO, and a horrible decision in a crucial moment must be scrutinized.
In the above video produced for CineSport, host Noah Coslov and SheridanHoops Editor-in-Chief Chris Sheridan also discuss the teams that will be most active at the trade deadline. Sheridan’s choice is the Los Angeles Lakers, who are shopping Pau Gasol and also have an $8.9 million trade exception from the Lamar Odom deal with Dallas. (For a list of which teams have trade exceptions, and which teams have cap room to facilitate three-team trades, read this trade chatter roundup from Chris Bernucca).
Also touched upon is what kind of retribution we might see from Kobe Bryant next Sunday when the Lakers play the Miami Heat after Dwyane Wade broke Bryant’s nose during the All-Star game.
Perhaps a well-timed leg-kick when Kobe rises for a jump shot? It wouldn’t be the first time.
Well, that depends on who you believe.
It’s no secret Odom is unhappy in Dallas. The reigning Sixth Man Award winner is having by far the worst season of his career, unable to adapt his all-around game – that normally would fit almost anywhere – with the defending champions.
Right now, Odom is not even with the Mavericks. He left the team midway through last week to be with his sick father in Los Angeles, which he considers home, having spent 11 of his 12 NBA seasons with the Clippers or Lakers and having met his wife there.
He was not back with the Mavs when they resumed practice Monday, and coach Rick Carlisle said he will miss at least more two games.
And one report said he may not be back at all.
From Peter Vecsey of the New York Post: “This just in from a Texas source, who’s hearing Odom is trying to get a buyout. “Don’t be surprised if the Mavs oblige. He’s just not happy in Dallas. Maybe his wife is making him.”
Don’t get too enthralled with that notion from the last paragraph of the piece. There are not one, but two, dissenting reports. Sam Amick of SI.com tweeted, “He’s owed $8.9 million this year (pro-rated, 66 games), $2 million buyout for next season. But source tells me buyout isn’t going to happen.”
And then there’s this, from the guy who would be doing the buying out.
From Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com: “Amid rumors that Odom might not return to the Mavericks and a midseason buyout could be a possibility, owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon via email Monday night: “We haven’t discussed a buyout and we wouldn’t do a buyout. No chance that happens at all. We want to help Lamar work through any personal issues and expect him to be a valuable contributor to the Mavs this season. Players go through challenges from time to time and we try to be (an) organization that fully supports our players when things are challenging for them. We will do the same for Lamar.”
The Mavs may be bending over backward to appease Odom because he is a part of their master plan. Should he finish the season with Dallas, Odom almost certainly would be bought out as part of a massive cap-clearing plan to surround cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki with both Dwight Howard and Deron Williams.
And what a ko-inky-dink!!!
Williams, a Dallas native, is in Big D tonight as the Nets visit the Mavs. He is happy to be home – or away from home, if you will.
From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: “A day ahead of his homecoming game against the Mavericks, Williams gave indications he’s amenable – perhaps preferential – to signing with the Mavs when he becomes a free agent. The Dallas native called American Airlines Center “my favorite arena” while taking another shot at the Nets stopgap home in Newark. “Fans are great (in Dallas). It’s always good when arenas have a lot of energy,” Williams said. “Ours doesn’t have too much energy.” Williams also mentioned the “good shooting background” in Dallas, about a month after he criticized the sightlines in the Prudential Center. “I don’t like this arena one bit,” Williams said after a loss to the Thunder.”
The Nets have their own plan for a Howard-Williams exacta and have the upper hand on the Mavs (and perhaps others) because (a) Howard wants to play with Williams and fellow Nets guard Anthony Morrow; (b) they have the ability to trade for Howard now instead of waiting for free agency this summer; and (c) they can offer Howard iconic status in Brooklyn, which he would not have in Dallas, Los Angeles or Chicago.
When Howard played at New Jersey last week, he received a heavy recruiting pitch from Nets fans, who chanted his name throughout the game, and team officials, who strategically placed photos of the Brooklyn arena on the wall leading to the locker room.
Expect Mavs fans at the sold-out AAC to make a similar pitch tonight to Williams that Avery Johnson – who once coached Dallas and now coaches New Jersey – said should not be dismissed.
From Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com: “Johnson has a lot of respect for his former boss, Mavs owner Mark Cuban.
The billionaire has teamed with Dallas president basketball of operations Donnie Nelson to give the Mavs the financial flexibility this summer to attempt to sign Williams and/or Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. “He’s a threat, OK?” Johnson said of Cuban after the Nets’ practice Monday night at SMU. “I know the guy. I think because of the success he’s had — and I know he got criticized a lot for quote-unquote having all those years where he didn’t win a championship — but he’s had some great success here that rivals any situation. So that’s a threat.”
That leaves Howard, whose list of preferred destinations given to GM Otis Smith probably ranks in this order right now: 1. New Jersey/Brooklyn. 2. Dallas. 3. Orlando. 4. LA Lakers.
The groundswell behind Howard playing out the season with the Magic seems to have gotten stronger because (a) Orlando is third – but a clear third, behind Miami and Chicago – in the Eastern Conference, and there are two-plus weeks between now and the March 15 trading deadline for that momentum to build, and (b) if the Magic sense Howard is leaving via free agency this summer, they can work a sign-and-trade with his new team for some of the names being bandied about now – and still get Howard to one of his preferred destination cities.
For example, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel tweeted this afternoon, “Magic don’t really want Brook Lopez in Dwight deal, but even decent big men are tough to find.” Orlando could seek a better deal between now and March 15, then settle for Lopez this summer.
And why are the Lakers so far down the list?
From Sam Amick of SI.com: “Sources with knowledge of Howard’s thinking say nothing has changed about his outlook. And while his wish-list of teams still includes the Nets, Lakers and Mavs, New Jersey is far and away the leader. Though it may pain the purists, it’s not just about basketball for Howard. He wants to take his brand global, to leverage the international influence of Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov while building his brand as Brooklyn’s first star. His wandering eye is enticed not only by the Barclays Center that is set to open next season, but the businesses in the booming area around it that could afford many off-court opportunities. He wants, as one source said, to “be Kobe Bryant, not be with Kobe Bryant.” Of course, it’s hardly that simple. For starters, the Magic appear undecided on which direction they’ll go. Now that the All-Star festivities are behind them, it appears they still might hold on to him until the end with hopes for a change of heart. Among the many complications here is that any and all hopes of landing Lakers center Andrew Bynum — the best big man in the league to fill the Howard void — appear to be dashed because of Howard’s view of the Lakers. Close friends of Howard say he was, in fact, informed that Bryant sees him as a second or third option on a championship-caliber team if he came to Los Angeles.”
Howard and Williams landing in Dallas remains a long shot because there are more moving parts than an 11-man fast-break drill.
Before the Mavs even entertain buying out Odom (and Vince Carter) after the season, they have to find a taker for Shawn Marion, (2 years, $17 million remaining after this season). Jason Kidd ($8.5 million), may retire, but the Mavs also may have to renounce their Bird rights on a combination of impending free agents Jason Terry ($11.4 million), Brian Cardinal ($1.3 million), Delonte West ($1.1 million) and Ian Mahinmi ($884,000).
One factor that will have an impact on the overall trade market leading up to the March 15 deadline are teams with sizable trade exceptions, which include Denver ($7 million for Ray Felton), LA Lakers ($8.9 million for Odom), Orlando ($4.2 million for Brandon Bass) and Utah ($10.9 million for Mehmet Okur).
Teams with substantial cap room that can facilitate three-team deals include Sacramento, Cleveland and Indiana, although many expect the to hold onto their room and make a run at a free agent (Eric Gordon?) this summer.