It may be conference championship weekend in the NFL, but here at Sheridan Hoops, we never stop talking basketball.
It’s been a few days since our latest MVP rankings, but if you missed them, here they are. There’s also been a lot of talk about David Stern’s impending abdication from the throne of the NBA, most recently from Mark Heisler.
But right now, I’ve got all the latest news from around the NBA:
- Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News seems pretty sure Rajon Rondo will be moved: “Rondo is the last blue chip from the 2008 championship team and 2010 Finals team that Celtics president Danny Ainge can convert into assets as he rebuilds the franchise. More than a few GMs around the league expect Rondo to be on the move, if not at the trading deadline next month, then maybe in June at draft time. … Rondo probably isn’t going to accept a role in a rebuilding situation with a rookie coach, Brad Stevens, so look for Ainge to try to move him to the West, with Phoenix and Houston seen as two potential destinations. Dallas has always had interest in the four-time All-Star, who blew out his right knee last January, but Mark Cuban doesn’t have the assets to make it work. With what Ainge was able to get for Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we expect he’ll pull off another coup when he moves Rondo.”
- On the subject of Rondo, Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News thinks he could be a fit with the Pistons, who have an abundance of talented bigs: “The Pistons aren’t shopping Monroe but they’re near the point where at least listening would be prudent, although the market for shot-creating small forwards isn’t the greatest (Philadelphia’s Evan Turner, Golden State’s Harrison Barnes), and they’re not giving away Monroe for pennies on the dollar. And nobody believes Celtics head honcho Danny Ainge will hold onto point guard Rajon Rondo, who just returned after recovering from ACL surgery, at all costs. The Pistons have always been enamored with Rondo, the ultimate facilitator and competitor. And though Detroit has Brandon Jennings, he’s not necessarily viewed as a long-term option at point guard. His contract is moveable and the Pistons didn’t hesitate to trade Brandon Knight last offseason for an upgrade. What’s to stop them from making another stair-step move?”
- Another big name star who could be on the move is Carmelo Anthony, as Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes: “Without Chris Paul, the Clippers crushed the Knicks the next night, with Anthony fighting for 26 points and 20 rebounds. He said afterward, “This is hard to deal with.” Anthony has said it was “smart” that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up in Miami. Anthony wants something similar. He needs help and he’s asking for it. And if a team’s franchise player, who has said he will opt out and test free agency, says something like that, his team has to listen. The Knicks have a month to make moves to entice Anthony to stay or to explore what they can get for him. That’s the primary job of the Knicks’ front office between now and the Feb. 20 trade deadline: Find out whether Anthony is fully committed to returning and what it will take. “I would think they would do everything they can to try to ascertain if they can re-sign him,” a league executive said. “I think how he views the team going forward is going to be important.” If there is a shred of doubt, Knicks officials should make calls about Anthony — and the Clippers should be the first call. They might not want to move Blake Griffin, but the Knicks have to start there. You would think Anthony would re-sign with the Clippers: It’s L.A., and his good friend Paul would be throwing him passes.”
- OJ Mayo is also disgruntled, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Charles F. Gardner: “Milwaukee brings an eight-game losing streak into Sunday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. And Mayo did not express much optimism things would get better following the Bucks’ 114-104 loss at Houston on Saturday night. Mayo played 30 minutes and contributed nine points and five rebounds against the Rockets, but he had played just 7 minutes in the previous game against Memphis and was scoreless. On Saturday it was veteran Caron Butler who had his minutes limited off the bench, playing just 6. Khris Middleton, John Henson and Mayo all were around the 30-minute mark. “It’s the same thing it’s been night in and night out,” Mayo said. “It’s been the same result, whatever the game plan has been. It’s hard to get a rhythm when you don’t know what’s going to happen for you night in and night out. You may get 6 minutes, 30 minutes. There’s no staple to what we’re doing. You can hang in there, compete and keep it close. If you don’t have a backbone to what you do, whether it’s going to be a defensive thing, an up-tempo thing, a pound-it-in-the-paint thing, a drive-and-kick thing. We’ve got to find a staple as a team.””
- SB Nation’s James Herbert looks at Ricky Rubio’s struggles with his shot: “Adelman also wants to win, though, and that’s where things get tricky. Rubio generally makes his teammates much better, but that’s usually not the case late in games. Minnesota never held a lead in Toronto, and Adelman elected to leave Rubio on the bench as the team tried to fight back in the final frame. He did the same on Wednesday against Sacramento. All Rubio could do was watch as Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry put his team away. The 94-89 loss at the ACC dropped the Wolves’ record to 0-12 in games decided by five points or fewer. While Rubio is a creative and effective passer in any situation, his shot has completely abandoned him in fourth quarters. He has shot 18.2 percent in the fourth this season and he last made a fourth-quarter field goal on Dec. 16. Opposing teams guard him accordingly. Adelman was annoyed when asked about the decision after the game, saying only that backup J.J. Barea was playing well and Rubio is “fine.””
- Michael Lee of the Washington Post looks at the 2013 rookies, with special attention to the Wizards’ Otto Porter: “Porter doesn’t know when or if he will get the chance to make a significant contribution for the Wizards, especially with Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster both playing well. But he is focused on making sure that he is ready whenever Coach Randy Wittman puts him on the floor. “I try to get here early, every day to get up shots, things like that. Getting some kind of conditioning in, because you never know when your card might be pulled,” Porter said. “Even though I might not be playing much right now. I still want to be in get in good enough shape where I might have to play 30 minutes, you never know. So I’ve been doing that and trying to stay afterward to get up shots.” Porter has also stuck to a weightlifting program in an effort to build up some strength on his slight frame. Teammate Marcin Gortat has encouraged Porter to join him in the weight room. “Let him tell it, I’m in it more than he is,” Porter said with a laugh. “Because I know that’s something I have to work on, it’s not going to just come over night. It has to be an everyday thing for me. I have no problem with that. I’m in there every day.””
Bobcats just announced Kemba Walker will miss 10 to 14 days with a second-degree sprain in his left ankle
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 19, 2014
Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent this summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.