SH Blog: Phil Jackson meets with Lamar Odom; Kyrie Irving says he doesn’t deserve the media barrage

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ShabazzNapierIt’s only been a week since I last wrote here at Sheridan Hoops, but it feels like a lot longer. Finishing a degree and switching countries will do that.

Earlier today, UConn knocked off Florida to advance to the national championship game. Their coach, Kevin Ollie, is drawing lots of buzz as a potential NBA coach (he was the first guy Bobby Gonzalez mentioned as the next Brad Stevens), and their star point guard, Shabazz Napier, is looking like a future NBA player. But let’s not forget the ultimate cautionary tale of overvaluing success in the tournament: former LSU player Tyrus Thomas. Napier is an entirely different player, of course, but this tournament could go down in history as synonymous with his name, just like the 2006 edition was with Thomas (and George Mason’s Jai Lewis, but he was never an NBA prospect).

Napier is a great player: he’s a smart, heady point guard who basically runs an NBA offense already (thanks again, Kevin Ollie), and he could be an NBA rotation player. But if he jumps into the lottery, somebody’s probably paying too much attention to tournament games.

Now let’s get to the NBA’s latest news:

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

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220px-Rudy_GayThe 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, which was Raptors GM Masai Ujiri’s approach in moving him.

In addition to the Raptors-Kings deal, we’ve already heard reports that the Houston Rockets are telling teams reserve center Omer Asik is on the block and they are looking to move him between Sunday and Dec. 19, which is the deadline for any player acquired for Asik to be rerouted before the trade deadline on Feb. 20.

So Rockets GM Daryl Morey may make two deals. Or he may make one deal. Or he may not deal at all.

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Five Things To Watch: Houston Rockets

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James Harden

Times flies. And things change. The Houston Rockets are Exhibit A.

One year ago, the Houston Rockets headed into training camp seemingly empty-handed after a summer spent chasing Dwight Howard via a trade with Orlando.

Gone were Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Samuel Dalembert, Courtney Lee and countless others, and in were the unproven Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. It was a seemingly disappointing offseason, but just before the season was set to start, GM Daryl Morey changed all of that, trading Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and multiple draft picks for Oklahoma City sixth man James Harden.

Now, Harden has transformed into one of the league’s premier scorers, and the young cast around him has attracted Howard, the mercurial superstar who spurned the Rockets a year earlier.

There is finally a lot of excitement in the air, and it’s perfectly justified. After losing Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to injury just a few years ago, Morey has quickly rebuilt the Rockets into a contender.

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SH Blog: Pippen avoids charges from DA, Barkley puts Sixers organization on blast

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170px-Pippin_headshotRemember when Scottie Pippen was investigated by police for allegedly assaulting a man back in June? That man’s name is Camran Shafighi, and we should all learn to be better than this money-seeking 49-year-old.

Shafighi’s is suing the Chicago Bulls legend for $4 million – which is utterly ridiculous no matter how you put it – for allegedly beating him to unconsciousness for no good reason. According to him, he simply went up to Pippen, who was having dinner with his family, and asked for a picture and an autograph before an irate Pippen mercilessly punched and kicked him to the ground.

How is that for an idea to get rich? Find out where a famous NBA player is having dinner, go give him a reason to kick your ass, then sue him for millions of dollars for putting his hands on you. In no way am I saying those were his intentions, but the evidence sure does point in that direction, from The AP

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Evening News: LeBron James Shaves Head; Sanders gets $44 million from Bucks; Rockets sign Ronnie Brewer

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barber poleYou know it is a slow news day when the lead item of the evening news has to do with a player getting a haircut.

But the appetite for news never ceases, nor does our determination to keep bringing you something to whet your appetite, like the discussion of steak in the Tweet of the Night (must-read for meat lovers and Milwaukeeans). And the Top 10 Worst Free Agent signings, which was posted today — and is a nice counterpoint to the 10 Best Free Agent Signings, which went up a day earlier.

Tomorrow, we start posting our series of 30 team previews in 30 days. So the action never stops here at SheridanHoops. We are the Las Vegas of basketball Web sites.

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