That’s the impression the league left most of us with after making the decision to not suspend Serge Ibaka for taking a shot at Blake Griffin’s jewels, fining him $25,000 instead.
- Derrick Rose has suggested this trade: Carlos Boozer, who earns $13.5 million and other player, possibly a point guard, for Gasol. Marca.com
- Sean Deveney: Jeremy Lin on ESPN headline: They apologized and I don’t care anymore. I have to learn to forgive. I don’t even think that was intentional. Twitter
- According to source, Mike D’Antoni threw out his back on Monday before the club flew to Toronto and has been in obvious pain sitting through press conferences. But his backache could turn into a headache as he figures out a new rotation that could have J.R. Smith and Baron Davis in it, pehaps by tomorrow vs. Nets if not today vs. Dallas. D’Antoni even suggested Davis could eventually start. New York Post’s backpage today was perfect on Lin-Baron situation: “WaffLin”. Sulia
- Dallas Mavericks guard is not overly impressed with what New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has been able to accomplish. Especially those NBA record 45 turnovers Lin has produced, which are the most by a player in the NBA since the league started keeping turnovers in the 1977-’78 season. “I’ve been a point guard in this league and (45 turnovers in seven games) would have gotten me on the bench real fast,” Terry said. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
- Stefan Bondy: Nets need a small forward, and a source says they’re looking at Renaldo Balkman Twitter
- Until something, or nothing, happens, Gasol continues efforts to keep his enjoyment of the game a high priority, not exactly an easy task. “There has been so much going on from talks, from rumors, situations that have changed. That makes it more challenging than usual, the amount of games that we’ve played now this season. That makes it a little more complicated. I want to have as much fun as possible doing well and doing my part,” he said, “but it’s been difficult at times.” Most times, I’d say, which is why that smile Tuesday stuck out. To me, and to him. “It was good,” Gasol said. “I enjoyed it.” ESPN.com
- He had every chance in the world to discourage talk about returning to the Cavaliers. Instead, he encouraged it and embraced it. James can opt out of his contract in the summer of 2014. If James wants to return to the Cavs, they must find a way to make that to happen. News-Herald
- Ginobili said he was encouraged Sunday morning that inflammatory medications he received on Saturday already had lessened the pain from the rib injurfy. “I don’t think it is as bad as I feared it was,” said the veteran guard, who already has missed 22 games this season because of a fractured fifth metacarpal on his left hand. “Last night it was very bad, but the inflammatories (medicagtions) already are working. “We’ll know more tomorrow, but I am hopeful.” San Antonio Express-News
- “First of all man, I wanted to call in to ESPN and say something when I saw them saying [Anthony would mess it up],” Martin told SI.com. “Melo wants to win. The man is a competitor, and he wants to win. He’s as competitive as they come. ”Smart basketball player, and the best player on that team — hands down. So I don’t understand why people are questioning whether he’s selfish or not. No, the man is not selfish. The man wants to win. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. I don’t think he’ll mess nothing up. He’s going to come in and be Carmelo Anthony.” SI.com
- Under CBA rules, McGrady would be eligible for a trade on March 1. He didn’t go so far as to say he wants out of Atlanta but said he wants to play a bigger role for the Hawks. “Hopefully, I’m here,” he said. “I like it here. I like the guys. That’s what I love most about it. I like the guys in this locker room. But at the same time, I still can play. No doubt in my mind.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- J.R. Smith says he is signing with the Knicks, an there is an intriguing back story. On Thursday, Smith hopped a plane from China to LAX, arriving at the airport in the late afternoon, where he was intercepted, his camp said, by a representative for the Knicks. Smith was apparently headed later in the evening to Las Vegas, and according to a source in Smith’s family, the Knicks bought a ticket for their guy and sent him along, too. New York apparently hoped to sign Smith as he cleared U.S. Customs, and I can’t say I blame them after what I heard Del Negro promised Smith, John Canzano wrote in the Oregonian. Get this: Smith was told via text message from Del Negro, in what feels like a desperate, last-ditch effort, that he’d be — a starter — for the Clippers. Start? Smith? Really? “What I text to J.R. is between J.R. and me,” Del Negro said. “We’re just trying to make our team better. I think everyone on our team understands that.”
- Adrian Wojnarowski: The Knicks are offering J.R. Smith a second year player option of $2.5M that could make deal worth $4.3M, league sources tell Y! Twitter
- In order to make room for J.R. Smith, the Knicks had to cut someone loose. Renaldo Balkman: New york was great love da big apple #imout Twitter
- Marc J. Spears: Former Clippers forward Bobby Simmons, now with D-League Reno, is working out for the Clippers today. Twitter
- Portland point guard Raymond Felton says he’s reached a point he’s never been at as a professional athlete, and playing for someone who doesn’t have confidence in him is very frustrating. “I know I’m struggling, but it’s hard to perform the way you know how when you know they don’t have confidence in you,” Felton told CSNNW.com. “Never in my days playing basketball, have I felt like a coach wasn’t confident in my abilities. It’s hard to play knowing that. “Coming in and out of games is throwing my rhythm off, but it’s something that I’ll get through.” CSNNW.com
- Star Tribune basketball writer Jerry Zgoda has tweeted that Ricky Rubio will not participate in the NBA All-Star Game skills competition next weekend. “Ricky says he won’t participate in the All Star skills challenge. Didn’t say why, just said he decided not to,” Zgoda tweeted from this morning’s practice. Minneapolis Star-Tribune
- Last we heard he was deciding between the Bulls and Heat, but then the Heat resigned gladness and word was that Przybilla was not going to be heading to Miami after all. Sam: I’m not sure anyone knows. The Bulls have worked him basically since the lockout ended and I’ve heard they continue to talk to him. It seems more now a question of whether he wants to play, which he is not sure about. He has moved back to Wisconsin and is a family guy and one of those rare players who apparently can live without the game. He knows the Bulls want him. I think so do the Bucks, where he could be the starting center with Bogut out. I suspect that’s become a consideration as its sounded to me he would like to be closer to home than Miami. Have to respect that. NBA.com
- Asked if Boston could mount a “full court press” to change D12′s mind and consider the Celtics, here’s what Woj said. I think it’s late in the game to do that. Boston has tried very hard to get into that mix to be a team he would consider. I think there are really two scenarios for him in free agency, one is going to Brooklyn with Deron Williams and the other is going to be Dallas. Dallas…do you see Mark Cuban telling everyone how great Shawn Marion is, he’s all defensive team, why does’t anybody appreciate Shawn Marion? because he’s trying to get his contract off so he’ll have the cap space to sign both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. If they get rid of Shawn Marion, then Dallas is in the game for both those guys and then, they’ll be right there with the Nets in getting both guys. NetsDaily
They chanted “O-le, Ole Ole Ole” for Ricky Rubio in Minneapolis, and an M-V-P” chant was bestowed on — of all people — Renaldo Balkman of the Knicks at the Prudential Center in Newark.
There was real basketball played Friday and Saturday around the NBA as the truncated preseason began, so let’s take a quick look at who was turning heads:
Knicks 92, Nets 83
With the off-the-court focus on whether Baron Davis will join the Knicks (or the Lakers, or the Heat) and Mike D’Antoni’s pronouncement that New York can compete for the championship, Iman Shumpert had the defensive play of the game by stripping Deron Williams of the ball and going in for what should have been an uncontested dunk — if Shumpert hadn’t leapt too soon. Balkman scored a game-high 20 as Amare Stoudemire shot just 3-of-11.
Timberwolves 117, Bucks 96
The “Ole” chant came in the fourth quarter after Rubio (who came off the bench behind Luke Ridnour) fed rookie Derrick Williams for an alley-oop dunk. Must-have fantasy player Kevin Love had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and Love, Williams and Michael Beasley went a combined 6-for-6 on 3-point shots in the second quarter (Love was 3-for-3) as Minnesota shot 10-for-11 from behind the arc in the fist half. Stephen Jackson (back) did not play for the Bucks.
Warriors 107, Kings 96
Golden State coach Mark Jackson has devoted 95 percent of the team’s practice time to defense, and it showed as the Warriors opened an 11-point lead after one quarter and were ahead 19 at the half. It should be noted that the Warriors didn’t have to defend DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) or Chuck Hayes (heart abnormality), which helped them to a 47-32 rebounding advantage. Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette played 35 minutes, scored 21 points and made four 3-pointers.
Rockets 101, Spurs 87
Gregg Popovich didn’t even bring Tim Duncan and Tony Parker on the trip, and Luis Scola had 20 points in 21 1/2 minutes, Jordan Hill had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Terrence Williams and Goran Dragic were solid in the fourth quarter after the Rockets blew most of an early 22-point lead. Amnesty evaders Richard Jefferson (1-for-4, 2 points in 19 minutes) and Hasheem Thabeet (four points, four fouls in 19 minutes) struggled.
Bulls 95, Pacers 86
Tom Thibodeau had his starters on the court at the end of the fourth quarter, and Derrick Rose said he prepared for this matchup as though it was a playoff game. Rip Hamilton, the newest Bull, did not play. Jarrid Famous of the Pacers did, and put up a 2 trillion.
76ers 103, Wizards 78
The Wizards’ new unis looked sharp, but they did not. Washington fell behind by 40 points in the third quarter, and John Wall was sloppy with six turnovers and just eight points. Thaddeus Young was a plus-27 in 19 minutes, while the Wizards had 10 assists and 20 turnovers as a team.
Cavaliers 91, Pistons 87
Touted by Chris Bernucca as the Game of the Weak, Kyrie Irving (21 points) made five free throws in the final minute to end a sloppy display of basketball from what should be two of the NBA’s worst teams. Fantasy sleeper alert: Austin Daye had five blocks and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes of the bench for Detroit.
Hornets 97, Grizzlies 90
Chris Who? Jarrett Jack had 21 points six assists, no turnovers and three steals for the team that traded Chris Paul to the Clippers earlier in the week. None of the new Hornets played, and rookie free agent Justin Dentmon had the negative line of the night, with a minus-11 in 4:45 of playing time.