Missed a game last night? Wondering what the latest news around the NBA is this morning? The Morning Shootaround is here to try to meet those needs and keep you up on what’s happened around the league since the day turned.
The one recap to watch: Hard to vote against Pacers-Nuggets, which had plenty of thrills down the stretch and saw Andre Iguodala come up big. Aside from a nice win, the Nuggets also got themselves closer to the No. 5 spot in the West, which the Warriors occupy.
News of the morning
Pau Gasol won’t request trade … for now — CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger reports that while Gasol isn’t happy coming off the bench this season, he’ll accept the role for 2012-13. After that? It’s not looking like Gasol wants a Sixth Man of the Year Award in his trophy case:
“It’s hard for anybody who considers himself one of the top players in the world to say, ‘OK, I’m OK with coming off the bench,'” Gasol said. “It’s a difficult situation that we’ve been dealing with here. The last few games have been great, and we’re staying positive and we look forward to that to continue. But at the same time, we don’t need any other distractions, any more negativity. We need positive embracing, we need focus, we need to support each other. That’s where we’re at and that’s where I’m at, too.”
After the post-practice interview, Gasol told CBSSports.com he was willing to embrace the bench role for the rest of the season, but couldn’t see himself accepting it for longer than that.
“I’ve been on this team, in this city, for six years,” Gasol said. “It’s very hard to stick around on this team, and I take pride in that. I think I’m a valuable asset and I want my role to be as big as it can be, within the well being of the team. But I don’t know if being a player that comes off the bench will be something that I’ll be able to accept long term.”Right now I want this team to work. I feel we have a very privileged team with great athletes. It’s been a crazy year for everyone, and I understand that. And the last thing I’ll be here is selfish right now. So I’m willing to work with what we have right now for the rest of the year and have no problems, because I want it to work. And I’m not a guy that just quits on himself or on his team.”
Bogut returns for Warriors, but Curry gets hurt — Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the Warriors finally got big man Andrew Bogut back in the lineup, but lost their star guard, Steph Curry, to — yep, you guessed it — an ankle injury:
But just when the Warriors were getting used to finally having their starting lineup intact, point guard Stephen Curry was knocked out of the game with a mild sprain of his right ankle.
It didn’t take long for Bogut to have an impact. On the Warriors’ first possession, he got the ball on the low block, dribbled baseline, spun to the middle and dropped in a left-handed hook in the lane. A couple minutes later, a touch pass from David Lee to Bogut led to an open dunk. Through his first six minutes, Bogut had four points and two rebounds. … “You can tell we’re a different basketball team with him on the floor,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “It was great to have him. Makes me a better coach. … He makes guys better, and he completes us as a team.”
At the five-minute mark of the third quarter, he was driving to his left while trying to get down the middle of the lane. While splitting two defenders, Curry appeared to step on Aaron Gray‘s foot. Curry hit the ground hard and was slow to get up. He tried to walk it off, and after signaling to Jackson he was fine, stayed in the game for just over a minute. Still wincing, he was replaced by Jarrett Jack. For the next several minutes, Curry was looked at by the training staff, fidgeted with his brace and jostled his ankle, took multiple trips to the locker room and even tried to talk Jackson into letting him back in. Jackson sent assistant coach Pete Myers to watch Curry run in the hall.
After Myers’ report, Jackson shut down Curry for the night.
“Just wanted to be smart,” Jackson said. “There was no need to put him back out there. He wanted to get back in the game, but I’ve got more interest in his future and our future. Funny thing is, he told me he knew he didn’t stand a chance once I sent my hit man to see him run in the back.” Curry said he had no idea about his status for Tuesday. He will continue to receive treatment before testing it out during the game.
Iguodala hoping to stick with Nuggets? — ICYMI, a great story from the Denver Post’s Christopher Dempsey detailing the up-and-down season Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala has had so far in Denver. Aside from that story, Dempsey comes with a good blog post on Iggy, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer and has a choice to make:
It’s halfway through the NBA season and it looks like things are crystallizing in Nuggets’ guard Andre Iguodala’s head concerning his opt-out decision at the end of the season.
Though he did not say it specifically it appears he’s leaning toward staying with the Nuggets long term, but here’s how: By opting out of his current contract, which would pay him roughly $16.2 million next season and signing a new, multiyear deal – even if the annual value of the contract comes out to be less than what he’s making now and scheduled to make next season.
“A lot of players have done it where they’ve gave up a large bulk of their contract, say, giving up $16 million to get $60 million,” said Iguodala, who turns 29 years old on Monday.
“In the grand scheme of things that makes sense. But if you give up $16 million and you get $20 million (it doesn’t make sense). So it’s all about playing your cards right and seeing where you’re at. At the end of the day winning takes care of everything, so if we win here, then hopefully the organization and myself will come to an agreement and we’ll continue to build on what we have here.”
Bynum pushes his return back a bit | Watch — Andrew Bynum had planned on getting back on the court for the Sixers by the All-Star break. Now he’s shooting more for a post-All-Star break return, as Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com reports:
“I talked about that for a while,” said Bynum prior to Monday night’s game against the Grizzlies. “I think giving myself a full other week of training camp is going to be better than trying to come back before that. To me, it doesn’t really matter when I come back.”
The Sixers visit the Timberwolves on Feb. 20, which is the first of 31 games to close out the regular season.
Sixers GM Tony DiLeo said earlier Monday that Bynum could practice with the team as soon as next Monday.
“He’s finishing up the last phase and then he’ll start to do more and more basketball-related activities and slowly build up to where he can get out there and practice 5-on-5 with the team,” DiLeo said.
Bynum said he has “no idea” if he’ll be able to practice that soon.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I haven’t discussed anything yet. It’ll be up to the doctors at that point.”
More good news on Bulls’ Rose? — It’s always hard to get precise information about how the injury rehab work by Bulls star Derrick Rose is going, especially when consulting his coach, Tom Thibodeau. All that said, there might be more positives on the horizon in terms of the former MVP’s status:
News about Derrick Rose continued to be handed out cautiously Monday, as it remained evident coach Tom Thibodeau is in complete control of the message.
Asked if there were any restrictions on Rose in practice, Thibodeau said, ‘‘He’s doing fine,’’ again showing his ability to duck and weave.
What Thibodeau would discuss is how the Bulls have been getting Rose into the mix with the first-teamers while making sure Kirk Hinrich still gets his work in with them, too.
‘‘[Rose has] already done a lot in terms of that in practice,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘That’s not going to be an issue. We have a good group of guys, so we actually bring guys in early before practice to go through stuff. They all — some first-team guys, some second-team guys — play different positions, so it adds a lot of versatility to our team.’’
In other words, if Rose wants to get in some extra work to test the surgically repaired torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, his teammates are there to provide it, even if it means showing up early for practice.
Lin meets legend before Rockets-Jazz game — Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports that Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin, who ignited the NBA with his underdog story last season, met a true pioneer of the game before last night’s matchup with the Jazz in Salt Lake City:
Long before there was Jeremy Lin, there was Wat Misaka leaving footsteps for Lin to follow. For the first time on Monday, those paths intersected. The first Asian-American in the NBA met the latest, with Misaka arriving early at Energy Solutions Arena to exchange pleasantries before the game. “It was humbling,” Lin said. “He was before all of us. He broke a lot of stereotypes, a lot of barriers and racial stereotypes. You have to pay respect to the people who came before you.”
Misaka, 89, said he has followed Lin’s career since Lin played at Harvard, writing to him several times. A native of Ogden, Utah, Misaka was drafted by the Knicks, then of the BAA, in 1947, with New York making him the team’s first-ever draft pick after he had led Utah to the 1944 NCAA and 1947 NIT championships. “He’s kind of following in my footsteps and improving on them,” Misaka said. “I wrote him a note of encouragement when he was with (Golden State) back in the dark days when things didn’t look too good for him. He didn’t have all these fans at that time. He’s made a lot of progress since them. I think he’s in a lot better place now.”
Big Baby makes vow of silence … sorta — Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports that Glen Davis plans to make it a point to no longer chatter with officials:
As the Orlando Magic prepare to face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, the emotional power forward plans to avoid talking to referees after questionable calls and non-calls. Davis received a technical foul in each of Orlando’s last four games for complaining to referees.
“I’m not going to say ‘Hi,’ ” he pledged. “I’m not going to say, ‘How are you doing?’ I’m just going to come here and play. That’s it because it’s been messing up my game, messing up the flow of my game, and I’ve got to grow up.”
Davis’ tech midway through the third quarter of the Magic’s loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday raised his technical-foul count this season to five and left him on the hook for a total of $10,000 in accumulated fines. Additional techs will result in more stringent fines. Players don’t receive an automatic one-game suspension until they commit their 16th technical in a given season.
“You can’t just think that I am stronger than everybody else,” he said. “If people foul you, they foul you. You know what I mean? Yeah, I don’t jump high. I go straight to the rim. But I’m not going to complain if there’s not a foul. The refs know that. But I’ve got to blend in with the game and let them do what they need to do. So I just need to shut up.”
Speaking of not jumping high … Big Baby did get up high enough last night to keep the Nets’ Gerald Wallace from crashing to the ground. Check it out: