SH Blog: Warriors acquire Steve Blake, Nets trade for Thornton, Clippers no longer looking for Shumpert deal

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With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, rumors have been rampant around the league throughout the day.

Can Cleveland find a taker for Luol Deng? How serious is Sacramento about moving MIP candidate Isaiah Thomas? Will the New York Knicks finally trade Iman Shumpert? Those are some of the many burning questions as general managers try to determine what will be the best course of action for their respective franchises. Some minor deals have already gone down on Wednesday, and plenty more juicy conversations are being had as you will find below:

BROOKLYN NETS ACQUIRE THORNTON AND LOOKING FOR MORE:

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Bernucca: Clippers Captain is Back, But the Ship Ran Just Fine Without CP3

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ChrisPaulSH1Chris Paul returned to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

We don’t want to be party-poopers, but it probably should be pointed out that the Clippers were better without him.

This does not mean that GM Gary Sacks should start exploring trade possibilities for a top-five player. And it doesn’t mean that coach Doc Rivers should go with the hot hand at point guard at the end of games.

But it does mean that if the Clippers want to win a championship this season – which is entirely within the realm of possibility – Paul has to reacclimate himself with his teammates more than they do to him.

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The Top 10 Surprises of the NBA season

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It’s exactly 10 days into this NBA regular season, it feels like 10 weeks for those who cover the league on a regular basis, and a whole hell of a lot has already happened.

Few things have gone as expected, of course the undefeated start for the Pacers is an exception, and surprises abound across the league. Here are 10 that immediately came to mind, including a pair of dazzling young point guards, one major market team in big trouble and another that’s downright irrelevant right now.

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SH Blog: Westbrook already dunking in practice, Wallace puts the Celtics on blast

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Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose covered the Denver Nuggets in their latest Grantland video, and I am starting off this blog with the clip because it just might make you cry a little. In a good way.

Simmons has the Nuggets listed at No. 13 and Rose thinks they should be ranked higher. It says here that Denver is unlikely to make the playoffs this season because:

1. They lost Iguodala and got nothing in return.

2. They lost starting center Kosta Koufos, who was probably their second-best defensive player.

3. They lost Corey Brewer, who wasn’t the smartest cat when asked to guard sharp shooters, as we’ve seen from his sometimes-comical job during the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. Other than that, though, he was a pretty useful defender throughout the regular season off the bench.

4. Danilo Gallinari will miss significant time.

5. They are relying on JaVale McGee to anchor their defense. Based on what he’s done in the preseason, his maturity issues aren’t going away any time soon: he complains about calls, too often looks dejected about things out of his control, commits silly fouls out of frustration and generally lacks discipline when it’s most needed. His freakish athleticism allows him to be a very good shot blocker, but his overall IQ and demeanor on the defensive end is not to be trusted for 30-plus minutes. And who’s behind him? Timofey Mozgov? J.J. Hickson?

Brian Shaw will attempt to implement a new system for a team that is underhanded and underdeveloped, especially on the defensive end. He wants them to play a style that can better succeed in the postseason by playing a little slower and utilizing the post, but does he have the proper personnel for that? They do have some offensive weapons in Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson, but is that enough to overcome their deficiencies in a loaded Western Conference? I’m not banking on it.

STORY OF THE DAY:

westbrookBig news out of Oklahoma City on Monday about Russell Westbrook, from Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

But the headliner was All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who participated in on-court drills with the team for the first time since he had arthroscopic surgery earlier this month.

“There were bits and pieces where Russell participated in practice, so that was good,” coach Scott Brooks said. “It was good to get everybody out there, working together.”

In recent weeks, Westbrook has been seen on the court during the portion of practice open to the media, going through light workouts with the Thunder training staff.

But on Monday, he apparently amped it up. And even in that brief setting, Reggie Jackson, the man who is replacing Westbrook in the starting lineup, seemed to be impressed.

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NBA Players’ Response and Support for Adrian Peterson

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Adrian PetersonThere are many tragedies in life that many hope to never have to experience.

One of the saddest realities in life is that of a parent outliving their child.

There are also many things—evil, terrible things—that no one should ever have to bear in life.

The worst of which, perhaps for a parent, is harm inflicted on their child at the hands of a criminal—whether verbal, physical or sexual abuse or even abduction or death. The burden of knowing that your child suffered such trauma is immediate cause for pain, sorrow and anger and can leave scars that can take years to heal.

Sadly, such tragedy struck the family of Adrian Peterson, 2012 NFL MVP and star running back for the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson’s two-year-old son, who had been in critical condition since Wednesday, died Friday due to wounds inflicted by the man in whose care he had been entrusted—his mother’s boyfriend, Joseph Patterson.

Patterson is in custody and will face felony charges. Peterson and his family, meanwhile, are faced with the difficult task of grieving a loss is incomprehensible.

Several NBA athletes took to Twitter to pour out their heartfelt and sincere condolences.

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