As some of you may know, the site was down on Monday due to GoDaddy issues, but we’re back to fill you in on some relevant NBA news. See what Knicks guard J.R. Smith expects from his team this season, what Dwight Howard has to do to earn the respect of Shaquille O’Neal, what Dwyane Wade thinks of his jump shot and more below.
Speaking of Wade, be sure to check out what he thought when Steve Nash was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and more in Chris Perkins’ column.
- J.R. Smith expects big things from from the Knicks this season, according to Marc Raimondi of New York Post: “The Knicks want a ring and “nothing less,” according to JR Smith. The mercurial guard said as much to NYPost.com at a fashion event this weekend. When asked what fans could expect from the Knicks this season, Smith said frankly, “a championship.” “Nothing less,” Smith said. “If we settle for anything less, we already start off losing.” Smith also called out some of the top contending teams in the NBA in the interview, saying the Knicks will beat any of them. “Lakers, Heat – whoever,” Smith said. The Heat won the title last year and added Ray Allen, while the Lakers have brought in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. As long as the Knicks have Smith, though, they’ll be the league leaders in trash talk and eccentricity.”
- Shaquille O’Neal had a conversation with Rachel Whittaker of The Times-Picayune about Dwight Howard, the rumors of him playing in Mexico and more: “What was your reaction to Dwight Howard being traded to the Lakers? ”I don’t have a reaction. You have to care to have a reaction. I’ve got businesses to run. I always tell people that in order to step in my shoes you have big shoes to fill. For him, he’s going to have to at least win three to get people’s respect.” How do you feel about a big center like Howard following your same path to the Lakers following four years with the Magic? ”I’m flattered, if you want to put it like that.” Is there any truth to the reports that you’ll be playing games in the Mexican League next month? ”No truth to that. It’s kind of unfortunate that so-called experts have to get their sources from the Internet. It’s backwards. Especially like when people from ESPN know me and they can call me and ask me, but somebody else said it so they want to be the first to report it even though it’s not true. However, we could talk, but nobody has contacted me.”
- Michael Jordan has realized his failures and will hand basketball operations over to Rich Cho. Completely. Matt Moore of CBS Sports has details, from ESPN the Mag: “Obviously, I’m a competitor,” Jordan said this summer when asked about the Bobcats’ 7-59 season. “I never want to be in the record books for failure.” But he is. And what’s more, to get off this already unlikely path, there comes word that Jordan has taken the most unexpected turn of all during the past year: In order to win basketball games, Michael Jordan has removed himself from the equation. He’s promised his front office staff that he’ll let them do their jobs without his shadow looming over their war-room marker boards. More unlikely still, he’s handed over the reins of the Bobcats to a next-generation GM, armed with high-level metrics, to do for Charlotte what he helped do for Oklahoma City – and in doing so, salvage Jordan’s flagging basketball reputation. Michael Jordan, whose claim to ownership stems almost solely from his inability to admit defeat as a player, has, if only by his actions, admitted defeat as president. The dinosaur is making himself extinct.”
- Patrick Ewing passed up on the opportunity to coach a D-League team, from Frank Isola of New York Daily News: “Patrick Ewing, who for years has been passed over for coaching positions with the Knicks, recently turned down an opportunity to become head coach of the club’s D-League team, the Daily News has learned. Although Ewing is out of work after he was not retained by Orlando, the ex-Knicks great, who interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach position in June, would prefer to work in the NBA. Ewing has previously worked as an assistant coach with the Wizards, Rockets and Magic but has never been offered a job with the Knicks despite numerous openings over the years. The Knicks currently have a vacancy on their coaching staff but Mike Woodson is expected to hire LaSalle Thompson. It is unclear as to why the Knicks have refused to reach out to Ewing, especially since the club has former Knicks Allan Houston, John Starks, Herb Williams, Larry Johnson and Walt Frazier all under contract.”
- Ricky Rubio may not be ready to play basketball yet, but he can still make a pretty sweet trick shot, sitting down and all.
- Dominic McGuire reached an agreement with a team and coach that embraces his style, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
- Dwyane Wade discussed the issue with his jump shot with Ira Winderman of South Florida Sun Sentinel: “In the wake of a season where he felt his jumper got away from him, Wade said upon further review it was not as much about how he was shooting the ball as how he was going through that motion. Now, with training camp three weeks away, he believes he has a grasp on the situation. ”I have one of the best mid-range shots in the league,” he said. “But, obviously, when you have different injuries, it makes you change a little bit. So it’s just about getting back to that comfort of it and finding out where you are now. ”My midrange game is very important to me. The biggest thing is coming out of my pull-up without losing the ball and just making sure it comes through my hand the right way. When it comes to my shot exactly, I don’t have a bad shot. There’s other reasons why I come up short a lot. So it’s just trying to work the kinks out.”
- James Dolan apparently wants Isiah Thomas to return to the Knicks for a position, but Thomas isn’t quite ready, according to Isola: “The one person standing in the way of Isiah Thomas officially returning to the Knicks is Isiah Thomas. According to a source close to the former Knicks president, Thomas and Garden chairman James Dolan have had numerous discussions about a position in the organization, but Thomas has been reluctant to accept the job offer. “Isiah is very close with Jim Dolan but he’s told me that he’s not ready to jump back into the NBA just yet,” said the source, who was with Thomas on Friday at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. “There’s this perception out there that Isiah is desperate to get back, but that’s false. I think it will eventually happen but just not now.”
- Blazers general manager Neil Olshey discussed the importance of leadership from LaMarcus Aldridge, from Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge: “I’m ecstatic. It’s great. It was a little tough for awhile. The gym was empty after free agency and summer league. We had a great day today. We had about eight or 10 guys in here today. They got to play some full court. We’ve got a great coaching staff. The guys have been on the court active every day working guys out. All the young guys are excited. LaMarcus [Aldridge] did a great job, he’s a real leader. He’s the one who orchestrated these voluntary offseason workouts so I’m excited about him kind of taking over the locker room and being a solid voice of leadership for the young guys.”
- Andray Blatche will sign with the Nets, but it won’t happen immediately. Fred Kerber of New York Post has the story: “The Andray Blatche to the Nets’ move, a sensible and logical act, is expected to happen. It’s just going to take a little longer than it previously appeared. Blatche, the talented 6-11 power forward who was amnestied by the Wizards, has other business that needs to be addressed first before he could or would make any official agreement, explained his agent, Andy Miller, who still sees the 9.9-point career scorer as a good fit for the Nets. Blatche likely will agree sometime this week to report to the Nets — there are options, but every indication says Brooklyn. Previously, it appeared he might have signed as early as last week.”
- Doug Collins expects forward Thaddeus Young to come off the bench for him, but Young desires otherwise, from Kurt Helin of NBC Sports: “Thaddeus Young should be on your “Sixth Man of the Year” watch list. He averaged 12.8 points and 5 rebounds a game for the Sixers last year and this season he could bring a surge of athleticism and scoring when he enters the game for the Sixers. Except he doesn’t want to be on your watch list — he wants to start. At the three.
- Barry Jackson of Miami Herald has an update on Chris Bosh and Josh Harrellson: “Chris Bosh is adding bulk (six pounds of lean muscle) to prepare for the rigors of playing a full season at center…. The Heat is still giving thought about whether to sign former Knicks centerJosh Harrellson, who worked out for them the past week.”
- Have you seen the official trailer for NBA 2k13? If you haven’t, watch it here because it looks pretty sweet.