- With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, ESPN’s Marc Stein clears the air on a lot of superstar rumors flying around, including Pau Gasol and Paul Pierce: Raptors president Bryan Colangelo, in the wake of the Gay trade, is now openly acknowledging that he’s shopping former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. The Lakers’ interest in Bargnani remains a matter of debate in the midst of the Italian’s worst-ever season by far, but the not-for-public-consumption message that continues to emanate from Canada is that Toronto remains intent on pursuing Gasol even after trading for Gay.
- Stein on Pierce: Ainge isn’t just going to trade Pierce anywhere he wants no matter how many times he tells the story about Red Auerbach’s openly lamenting that he held onto the Celtics’ glory days too long. If Ainge ends up trying to move The Truth, it’s my belief — out of respect for the way Pierce stuck with the Celts through years of futility and ultimately helped haul the franchise, alongside KG, back up where it belongs — that he’d try to work with No. 34 to send Pierce somewhere he could get somewhat excited about.
- According to reports from A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, met with Greg Oden Saturday afternoon: Danny Ainge has made no secret about his focus these days shifting between preparing for the present-day struggles of the Boston Celtics, while planning for the future. Saturday’s visit with former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden falls into the latter category. Oden, who has had multiple knee injuries since being taken with the top pick in the 2007 NBA draft, was in town on Saturday to meet with the C’s.
- Jose Calderon, the Detroit Pistons newly acquired point guard is set to be the starter, per David Mayo of mlive.com: Pistons coach Lawrence Frank immediately declared that Calderon will become his starter after working out some kinks with the player’s work visa, which kept Calderon in street clothes Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and perhaps a couple of quick practices. “It’s no different than in football when you’ve got a quarterback,” Frank said. “It’s no knock on anything that you’ve got now. It’s just that Jose is really elite at it. He understands how to get guys the ball in the right place at the right time.
- On a big weekend of College Basketball — check out Jeremy Bauman’s preview of No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 3 Indiana here — SheridanHoops own Joe Kotoch examines the top small forwards in this years NBA Draft: Now more than ever, the NBA is about perimeter scoring and wings that can slash and create their own shot. A quick glance at this year’s crop of small forwards reveals several intriguing prospects who can help their future teams in various ways. When bunched together with shooting guards, the perimeter is one of the deeper positions in this draft. While the board is still unsettled, this position is dominated by young and athletic prospects that have a lot of upside.
Ben Baroff is an aspiring sports journalist and marketing professional who blogs and writes columns for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.