Hubbard: Mavericks Quietly off to Surprising Good Start

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Mark_Cuban_2011A little more than a month has passed in the NBA season, but it seems like we’ve already had a full year of distractions, both good and bad. Portland great; Indiana even better. The Knicks and Nets taking turns who’s bad and who’s worse. Kobe close to returning; Rose out for the year. Dwayne Wade hurting; the Atlantic Division hurting even more.

Meanwhile, the last team other than the Miami Heat to win a championship is quietly turning into a solid team, which is interesting for two reasons.

1. How is it that anything Mark Cuban owns is quiet?

2. After winning their first title, the Mavericks took such an unusual approach in trying to win a second.

Sixth Man Rankings: Point Guards Reign Supreme

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Markieff  & Marcus Morris Suns Well, it’s happened. The NBA’s early season darling teams have fallen back to earth.

The Phoenix Suns, who started 5-2, are now 5-6 and look poised for the early lottery once again.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division could be historically bad. The Philadelphia 76ers, who have won only twice in their last 10 games, trail the Toronto Raptors by only a half game for first place.

And the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are fighting for Gotham’s infamy as they both stand at 3-8.

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Tweet of the Night: NBA Players’ Reactions to Thursday Night Games

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Russell Westbrook pulls up for three in the waning seconds against Golden State.

You may think you know the biggest NBA fan…or, perhaps, you think you deserve that distinction yourself.

Everyone has their moment, impassioned by the play of their favorite player(s) on their favorite team(s) while watching their favorite sport. Some fans are crazy and have fits of rage when their team doesn’t play to their expectations. Others, however, may be more subdued when facing . They’d rather turn off the television and go to bed before seeing the end of the game if their team is losing.

Some fans enjoy a great game, regardless of who is playing.

However, the greatest fans—in any sport, but especially in basketball—are likely the guys who have committed their lives to it…the players, themselves.

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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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Evening News: Extension talks stall between Bulls and Deng; Durant open to working with Olajuwon

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In today’s latest NBA news, Chicago and Luol Deng remain distant in negotiations for a contract extension, Kevin Durant tells the media that he would welcome an opportunity to train with Hakeem Olajuwon, and the Mavericks go bargain-hunting on another free agent big man.

Contract negotiations stall between Bulls and Deng

Sam Aggrey of Comcast SportsNet Chicago reports contract talks between the Chicago Bulls and their All Star swingman, Luol Deng, have hit an impasse. luol deng

Deng, who is entering the final year of his contract, figures to be one of the most coveted free agents on next summer’s open market.

While the Bulls would love to bring Deng back, the two-time All Star may price himself out of the Bulls’ comfort zone.

Deng’s representatives recently met with the Bulls’ front office in hopes of striking an extension before the start of the season. After discussions, however, Bulls’ GM Gar Forman informed Deng’s representatives that the team was not prepared to offer the star a longterm contract.

Deng is one of the league’s best two-way players and should command a contract surpassing that of Andre Iguodala’s four year, $48 million deal from Golden State this offseason.

At only 28, Deng is still in the prime of his career. He averaged 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and, most impressively, 38.7 minutes per game for Tom Thibodeau last season.

 

Kevin Durant open to working with Hakeem Olajuwon

Yesterday, we covered Hakeem Olajuwon’s desire to privately work with Kevin Durant. Today, NBA blogger Fernando Martin asked Durant what he thought of Olajuwon’s statement. Kevin Durant

As it turns out, the respect between the two superstars is mutual. While Durant is not exactly sure what he could learn from “The Dream,” he has not shut the door on a possible meet up in the future:

“I don’t know,” said Durant. “At this point there’s only one Hakeem Olajuwon. I don’t know how much he can really help me but of course I watched him as a kid and I watch films of him now. I just try to take some stuff out of his game and put it to mine’s, but it’s so hard to try to be like Hakeem Olajuwon. But I’m up for anything. I’m looking forward to learning from anybody, so… We’ll see.”

If the two were to meet up, it would have to be soon. Olajuwon will start working exclusively with the Houston Rockets as a coach at the start of the season.

 

Mavericks extend training camp invitation to Fab Melo

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks are close to adding yet another big man to the team’s training camp roster:

Melo, who was the 22nd overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Draft, was traded to Memphis in a salary dump last month. He was subsequently released by the Grizzlies just two weeks after they acquired him.

The Mavericks have been trying to add depth to their front line all summer. After failing to land Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, or Greg Oden earlier in the the summer, the team has gone bargain instead. Melo will join Samuel Dalembert and Dejuan Blair in a refurbished Mavericks’ front court.