Sprung: All-Breakout Team led by L.Stephenson, A.Afflalo, I.Thomas

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Where the hell has the time gone? It certainly flies as the days get shorter and darkness descends in the late afternoon. We’re already through the first quarter of the NBA season and almost at Christmas. The league has seen plenty of pleasant surprises, like the consistently stellar Portland Trail Blazers, and many disappointments, like the entire Eastern Conference besides Indiana and Miami. There have also been a whole host of players who have really progressed in a positive direction over the


Sheridan: Breaking Down the Kyle Lowry Trade Rumors


Trade rumors were flowing Thursday like water going over Niagara Falls as the day when the dam can burst — Dec. 15 — drew closer by the hour. (For those unfamiliar with NBA rules, the vast majority of players who signed contracts over the summer cannot be dealt until Dec. 15.) Most years, Dec. 15 comes and goes with tons of trade speculation buildup and very, very little in terms of actual deals going down. But this season, with 13 teams more


Marks: Where Will E.T. Call Home?


PHILADELPHIA — Evan Turner is in the top 20 in the NBA in scoring – No. 20, to be exact – and still feels unloved. Turner is still paying the price for not being what was expected three years ago as the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft – even though he is starting to do it now. He’s still being judged by what he considers unreasonable standards, as if he was supposed to be a flawless stone rather than


Sprung: Celtics aren’t tanking, they’re building


If the Boston Celtics are actually tanking, they are doing a really bad job of it. The Celtics played three very different kinds of basketball games over the previous five days – I was at two of them – that showed a lot about the way this team is operating. And giving away wins for ping-pong balls isn’t part of the plan. On Friday, Boston scored the first 14 points against Denver and led 39-15 after the first quarter. The Celtics nearly gave


Schayes: Rudy Gay has entered the Strange World of the Traded


Rudy Gay is seeing North America the old-fashioned way, by getting traded a lot. As the public marvels at all of the amazing things about pro sports, getting traded can definitely be one of the crappy parts. In theory, sports trades are supposed to be a win/win with both sides getting players they want. The reality can be quite different. In today’s NBA, convoluted salary cap rules make trades a little more interesting. Typically, trades involve a couple of principles and then a


Bernucca: Cap Room, Exceptions, Expiring Deals: Who Has What as NBA Trading Season Begins

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The NBA holiday shopping season is upon us a little early this year. It usually starts December 15, the first day players who were signed in the offseason become eligible to be traded. But after seeing Rudy Gay’s immovable contract somehow sent from Toronto to Sacramento, it is clear that shopping season is under way.  Come next Sunday, NBA general managers will have increased flexibility when looking to improve their rosters, which was Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro’s approach in acquiring Gay, or their payroll,


Heisler: Kobe’s return — Not Quite as In Days of Yore


LOS ANGELES — Kobe to the rescue? Are you kidding? Kobe Bryant made his long-awaited return in Sunday’s 106-94 loss to the Raptors, well before Christmas projections, but still too late to lead the Lakers as in days of yore. Try four seasons too late, which is how long the days of yore have been over in Lakerdom. Nor is this That Kobe. If he will ever get close again—you can just see Jim Buss going, “It’s early, it’s early… isn’t it?”– it’s weeks