SH Blog: Bledsoe needs surgery on right knee and is out indefinitely, Woj destroys J.R. Smith in column

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ERIC BLEDSOE OUT INDEFINITELY:

BledsoeThe season of major injuries continued on Thursday, as news broke that guard Bledsoe will be out indefinitely due to expected surgery on his troublesome right knee. Marc Stein of ESPN broke the news:

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, a top contender for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, is out indefinitely after the team determined he needs a surgical procedure to repair cartilage in his right knee, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that the scope and severity of the injury will not be known until Bledsoe is in a surgeon’s care, but he is suspected to have suffered meniscus damage during his Dec. 30 return to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. Bledsoe was selected No. 18 overall in the 2010 draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who immediately traded him to L.A.

Bledsoe has missed the Suns’ past four games with what the team said is a sprained knee.

From an immediate standpoint, the loss of Bledsoe obviously hurts the surging Phoenix Suns and their hopes of being a contending team this season. In the long term, this could end up costing the guard big money depending on the severity of the injury, given that it is his contract year. He has already missed a number of games due to other nagging injuries as well, so his ability to stay healthy could be a factor in what he’s worth in the market. 

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Bernucca: Memo to Mitch Kupchak: Stop Haggling and Start Tanking

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Mitch Kupchak shouldn’t be playing hardball. kupchak

In his desire to trade Pau Gasol, the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers should not have insisted on receiving Dion Waiters or a first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nobody has overpaid for a rental since Ernie Grunfeld sent Ray Allen to Seattle for Gary Payton — and that was a long time ago.

Kupchak should have lowered his demands to match the team’s expectations. The Lakers are done for this season and should be singularly committed to one agenda: Making sure this rare down period for one of the NBA’s most storied franchises doesn’t last more than one season.

Kupchak should be tanking.

Some of the telltale signs already are in place. The Lakers have a bloated payroll of aging, overpaid players, almost all of them on expiring contracts. Injuries to their stars have hampered their ability to compete on their customary high level. They already are fading fast in the Western Conference playoff race.

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Scotto: New Year’s Resolutions for Knicks and Nets: Rebuild

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Can money buy happiness? If you’re the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, the answer is no.Prokhorov

The Nets have the league’s highest payroll, while the Knicks rank second.

The combined exorbitant payroll has produced a deflating 18-38 record and proven any championship aspirations were merely a pipe dream.

Ironically, speaking of the pipe, J.R. Smith was the first Knick to panic back when the team was only 3-8 at the time. Now, it appears Smith’s anxiety was warranted.

Thanks to injuries, a lack of chemistry and a subsequent lack of identity, the outlook for both teams is bleak for the rest of this season and the following season, too.

Therefore, it’s time for both organizations to make a critical decision – it’s time to begin rebuilding each roster.

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Gambling on the Eastern Conference: Long odds on everyone not named Pacers or Heat

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jameswade

Brain-twister for you today, folks.

Go back to the start of the 2005-06 regular season, and try to name a superstar player who has represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Your answer cannot include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen.

It’s OK. Keep thinking … 

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Sprung: Nets face yet another identity crisis without Lopez

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What are the Brooklyn Nets right now, other than a pathetic underachieving ballclub?

brook-lopezBrook Lopez is not coming back this season after breaking his foot, and the Nets dropped to 2-8 without him after Monday’s 103-86 loss to Indiana. Brooklyn is 9-18, a .333 winning percentage.

“It’s certainly a big setback, he’s a great player,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “One of the best centers in the league, so it’s obviously very difficult to replace what he gives on both ends.”

What’s worse than the team’s best player being lost for the season with no viable replacement? The team’s rookie coach thinks his players have grown content with losing games.

“It’s gotten very close to just accepting losing,” Jason Kidd said. “Getting comfortable with losing. And we’ve got to make a stand with that, because when things get tough, do we give in? And most of the time right now we do.”

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