Morning Shootaround — March 5

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: Box scores rarely tell the whole story of a given game and such was the case in last night’s Raptors-Warriors game from The Oracle. A click over to said box score reveals Andrew Bogut‘s return to the Golden State lineup and a somewhat ho-hum stat line: four points, eight rebounds and two turnovers in 29 minutes. But what’s lost in the box score is seen on the court as Bogut helped the Warriors get a sense of what their full starting five is like while also providing some defense that the Warriors have lacked the last few weeks. Steph Curry and David Lee were the box score stars in this game, but don’t discount what Bogut adds to the Warriors.

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News of the morning

Stoudemire ready for more minutes | Nuggets, Korver a match someday? | Jazz’s Williams may play vs. Cavs | Bobcats’ Thomas stays home | Sixers CEO chimes in on Bynum

Stoudemire wants more playing timeWe mentioned in this space yesterday that some were questioning Knicks coach Mike Woodson’s strategy in Sunday’s loss to the Heat, particularly the amount of minutes reserve big man Amar’e Stoudemire was playing down the stretch in that game. After Stoudemire logged 31 minutes and led New York with 22 points in a comeback win over the Cavs on Monday, it appears Stoudemire can handle more playing time. Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com reports that a source says Stoudemire is more than set to take on a bigger role if asked:

… According to a source close to the Knicks, Stoudemire is “ready” and “healthy” to play more minutes to help the team.

“He’s in tip-top shape,” the source told ESPNNewYork.com. “He wants to play; whatever it takes for [the Knicks] to win.”

On Sunday, Stoudemire only got in for 21 minutes — sitting out the last eight — in the Knicks’ losing effort against the Heat. Down the stretch he was needed because when the Heat applied more aggressive defense on Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks didn’t have an inside scoring threat. Tyson Chandler was in the game, but he’s not one to create his own opportunities.

If Stoudemire’s body is ready, it would be important to increase his minutes now, to better prepare him for increased playing time in the postseason. That’s usually what happens during this critical period of the season, as coaches shorten their rotation to focus on their best players.

“Now is the time to be giving him extending minutes to see how his body reacts to it,” the source said, “especially when you’re not on [a] big winning streak. … Something has to shake up.”

Head coach Mike Woodson is still banking on basic perimeter play and 3-point shooting, which worked in the first two months of the season when the Knicks started 18-5. But since then, they’ve been mostly playing .500 ball, and there are still too many outside shots from Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith. In fact, against the Heat, while Smith shot 3-for-14 from 3-point, Stoudemire took just seven shots from the field, making five.

The source said the Knicks are “not a real hard team to figure out right now.”

Nuggets interested in KorverThe trade deadline is long gone, so any hopes of the Nuggets acquiring Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver in a trade (including this smart one suggested by John Schuhmann way back when) are out of the picture. But that doesn’t mean Korver wouldn’t be a natural fit for the high-octane crew coach George Karl is assembling in Denver, writes Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post. In fact, Karl in his pregame comments last night (before Denver hosted Atlanta) couldn’t help but gush about Korver’s skills:

Korver, an unrestricted free agent in his 10th year in the NBA, is expected to be one of the Nuggets top targets in the offseason as the team actively courts players who can fill that shooting void. Denver won’t be the only team looking to gain his services, but if the money is right (Korver makes $5 million this season) the situation might be hard for the sharpshooter, who grew up in Pella, Iowa, to turn down.

Shots figure to be much easier to come by in a system where guard Ty Lawson’s driving is so respected that he sucks defenders into the lane, and other players capable of hitting from long range – Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer – make it so that he would be difficult to devote additional resources to slowing just Korver down in the manner that the Nuggets are expected to try tonight.

“You don’t have a lot of pin-down offenses anymore, for some reason the game’s gone to pick-and-roll and away from the execution of a pin-down,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “You’ve got (J.J.) Reddick and some guys that come off of pin-downs but this kid right now moves without the ball as good as anybody in the NBA, and he will get his opportunity to be the first option in 10-15 minutes of the game that we’re going to have to be responsible and see how he’s shooting it. And then you can’t give them the open three, you can’t give him the ‘oh, what happened’ three. You’ve got to be ready. He’s a big part.”

“He’s an unbelievable shooter, he’s so gifted with that,” Kosta Koufos said. “He just has a positive outlook to everything. That’s why he’s been so successful in the league. He’s just been working hard, day-in and day-out.”

Koufos raved about Korver as a teammate.

“He’s great guy,” Koufos said. “He’s what you think of a professional. He comes in, works hard, he’s very motivational, very positive, a great player. He’s one of the better teammates I’ve ever played with.”

Jazz hoping to get Williams back soonUtah, the No. 8 seed in the West, has stayed in the thick of the playoff chase and gone 18-14 since Dec. 22. Why is that date significant? That’s when starting point guard Mo Williams was lost so he could have surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb. Guard play has been a problem for the Jazz during Williams’ absence, but he practiced with the team in Milwaukee on Monday and could play again as soon as Wednesday in Cleveland. Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune has more:

Williams said Monday at the Jazz’s shootaround in Milwaukee that he could return to games as early as Wednesday, when the Jazz play at Cleveland, where he played from 2008 to 2011.

“We’ll see,” Williams said. “We’ll see. That would be great to play in front of those fans.”

The 30-year-old point guard had two pins removed from his thumb on Feb. 13, and his rehabilitation began in earnest after the All-Star Break, and if Al Jefferson were the final judge, Williams would be cleared to play.

“He said he was a little winded,” Jefferson said. “I told him I couldn’t tell.”

But the Jazz are being cautious with the veteran.

“As he gets close, he’s getting a little frustrated with trying to get himself to get better fast and be ready to go,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “It’s a process until the body responds and getting stiffness out and feeling comfortable with and not being hesitant with the hand.”

Corbin said he has not yet decided how to integrate Williams back with the Jazz, whether he would start right away or come off the bench to ease back into his leadership role.

“We have to get readjusted to him as he has to get readjusted to how the guys are playing now,” Corbin said. “It’s been a long time. … There will be an adjustment period hopefully we can make it as short as we can.”

Alec Burks has seen a substantial increase in opportunity and productivity since Williams went out, and has averaged 8 points in the 30 games he’s appeared in since Dec. 23. In February, he averaged 9.8 points and shot 44.9 percent from the field.

Bobcats tell Thomas to stay homeAround the trade deadline, there were reports of veteran guard Ben Gordon getting into a disagreement with first-year coach Mike Dunlap. While Gordon is still with the team, his role in the rotation has been diminished. Now another player the Bobcats have had troubles with in the past, Tyrus Thomas, has been told to stay home — although not for disciplinary reasons. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer says the Bobcats told Thomas to stay home during Charlotte’s West coast road swing to work on his conditioning and other aspects:

Charlotte Bobcats power forward Tyrus Thomas was told not to accompany the team on its four-game West Coast trip by team management.

Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said Monday that the front office felt Thomas’s time would be better spent in Charlotte, doing some physical rehabilitation and individual on-court work, rather than on the road with his team.

Thomas, the Bobcats’ second-highest paid player this season at $8 million, has fallen out of the rotation entirely of late. Monday’s road game in Portland was the 10th straight game that Thomas was designated as inactive and the 12th-straight game in which he did not play.

When the Bobcats acquired another power forward, Josh McRoberts, at the trade deadline, McRoberts was activated for his first game before he had participated in a Bobcats practice or shootaround.

The Bobcats have a considerable financial obligation to Thomas going forward – $8.6 million for the 2013-14 season and $9.4 million for the 2014-15 season, both guaranteed.

Sixers CEO: Bynum trade ‘should have worked’We’ve detailed the plight of Andrew Bynum and the Sixers plenty around here during the season, so there’s no reason to get into Bynum’s back story or the latest news. The main takeaway with Bynum is that the Sixers haven’t gotten what they thought they would out of him this season due to Bynum’s lingering knee injuries. Still, the Sixers’ brass is coming out more and more to talk about the trade and a more or less lost season, with the latest name to step to the podium and pontificate being Sixers CEO Adam Aron. He had the following to say to John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com:

“This is a move that should have worked,” Aron said. “But, unfortunately, he got an injury in September and it’s been compounded since, post-trade and we haven’t seen a day. The fans hopes were justifiably high that the Sixers had made a move, a bold move, that would catapult us back into the top teams in the NBA. It hasn’t worked.”

“The issue for this season is not whether Andrew Bynum has surgery, it’s what are the condition of his knees?” Aron said. “We thought he was going to play opening day. His doctors gave us a four-week delay, then another four-week delay. In December, we went out publicly and said he would be out indefinitely because we just didn’t know when he would be back. If you go back in time just three weeks ago, Andrew himself was telling everyone that he thought he’d be actively playing after the All-Star break. He did practice with the team about 10 days ago. There were high hopes and he was working out hard in February behind the scenes at the practice facility. But when he practiced with the team five-on-five his knees started swelling up and that was a big setback.”

Late last week, when Bynum was asked whether his knees are degenerative, he didn’t directly answer the question, saying instead that “50 percent of the people in the United States” are in the same situation. Are Bynum’s knees degenerative?

“I can’t get into his exact medical condition,” Aron said. “But I can say this, which is obvious to all of us: All season long he’s had bone bruise issues. He’s had cartilage problems. It’s March. He’s still not playing. He hasn’t played basketball since last May. Clearly, Andrew is dealing with some knee problems that have prevented him from playing in the NBA.”

Aron said “four doctors cleared the trade in August, and six doctors have actively been treating him and examining him all year long.” The Sixers’ CEO insisted that the team, until now, was confident Bynum would play this season.

“We certainly thought he was going to play in August,” Aron said. “That’s why we made the trade. Even in early October, we thought he would play on opening night. Then there was a delay. Then there was [another] delay. Even when we announced that he was out indefinitely, inside the team we thought he would play in January or February. He himself, in February, said he would play in February. But here we are in March and the team is disappointed. Our fan base is disappointed. And that’s the story of the season.”

ICYMI of the night: One reason Monta Ellis is the 15th-best scorer in the NBA?: it’s because he can always find creative ways to get the ball in the basket, like this:

21 Comments

  1. […] Morning Shootaround — March 5 | NBA.com […]

  2. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    BTW, Schuhmann’s trade idea: Kyle Korver for Corey Brewer.

    That idea around the trade deadline was a JOKE. Yes, having Korver would be nice … but he’s not worth giving up Corey Brewer.

    I know Karl would not like a trade like that. Come on. Plus, Denver has enough shooters on their roster. Brewer gives Denver more than just shooting. He brings energy, athleticism, speed. Brewer is primarily an offensive player but he is WAY MORE versatile than one-dimensonal Kyle Korver.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      I have a feeling Schuhmann was just hoping to put a “dent” in the DEEP Western Conference. Anything that can help the Lakers’ luck.

      Soooooooooo obvious. Eh?

  3. IanK says:

    1. If Woodson doesn’t play Stat, then they should have traded him for an inside scoring presence. Like Stat, funny enough. He’s too good to just sit on the bench, playing 20-25 mpg.

    2. Bynum is hurt, and should just sit out the rest of the season. There’s simply no point in joining the team now. Do yourself a favour, and your knees a favour, and just sit out. Heal. This has already been a career-long problem for him, so just sit out.

    The only reason he wants to play this season is because, supposedly, it increases his value ($$$) this off-season. If he doesn’t play, his new contract is going to be quite low.

    And Rose should sit out as well.

  4. bulbulito says:

    hey mike you should put stat in the starting line up..don’t waste the opportunity to win..damn! you should make decisions now before the playoffs starts..it’s better to be prepared than never!

  5. bulbulito says:

    hey mike you should put stat in the starting line up..don’t waste the opportunity to win..damn! you should make decisions now before the playoffs started..it’s better to be prepared than never!

  6. purpleman says:

    Please Mike Woodson, don’t mess this up…Knicks are a very good team. Stod need to start now.. Sumpert should warm the bench

  7. Uncle Drew says:

    It looked like Philly was on the rise after the last few seasons…. They give up so much for Bynum and he is in no hurry whatsoever to get back and healthy. He has no commitment to his team. It must be tough when you’ve gone all in on Bynum and it hasn’t worked out. I guess my Celtics will have an easier time in the Atlantic when it looked like it was becoming the toughest division in the league

  8. W/E says:

    Amnesty Bynum now Philadelphia and save ur money.

    • Ray says:

      Amnesty doesnt mean they dont have to pay him. They still have to pay all guaranteed money it just doesnt count towards the salary cap.

  9. JFC says:

    My god Bynum you need to go play! I feel soooooo bad for Philly. They gave up one of the best young rebounders in the league in Vucevic and now an up and coming scorer in Harkless. Plus Iguadola who now has a really good chance of winning in Denver. Bynum, I don’t care if your knees are bothering you. You are a 7 foot giant and you out of all people shouldn’t be crying about pain. For god sakes at least play one game, even just a few minutes for Philly so they can decide to whether or not to pay tens of millions of dollars for you!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      It’s the “Laker arrogance syndrome.”

      I bet (though I don’t bet/gamble in real life) that if Bynum was kept by the Lakers … he’d defintely be healthy enough by now to have played quite a few games in a Laker uniform. Bynum thinks it’s special wearing that purple-and-yellow uniform. It’s yellow by the way, NOT gold. :-)

      What a joke. No wonder no one wanted to trade with the Lakers after seeing how the Lakers screwed over the 76ers with Bynum not playing at all this whole season.

  10. HMH says:

    Bynum: Yeah, but 50% of the US population aren’t being paid millions by a pro-team to play ball…..

  11. dattebayo says:

    The NBA officiating is getting as inconsistent as it was in the last FIFA World Cups:

    During a stoppage of play, Jarrett Jack throws a forearm shiver in Greg Stiemsmas stomach and gets called for a technical foul. Serge Ibaka literally hits Blake Griffin below the belt and gets called for a flagrant 1. JJ Barea defends Ray Allen and bumps him (hard) with his chest and he gets called for a flagrant 2 and is thrown out of the game. When Derek Fisher did the same to LeBron in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, it was a much harder hit and it was called a flagrant 1 (and should have been a regular foul at best).

    They review every sparring and every flagrant foul, how on Earth can’t the officials get the right calls on these plays?

    • Anonymous says:

      Just goes to show that the refs make teams champions

      • R u SERIOUS??? says:

        so you mean to say Boston’s 17, LA 16 and Chicago’s 6 are all made by the refs??? think before u type… -.-

    • iCFakers says:

      JJ’s foul should have been a flagrant 1, but he got kicked out because of cussing at the refs.

      • dattebayo says:

        If you feel like you have to comment, please get the facts straight. There is nothing worse than stating a non-fact and distorting the truth.

        The referees reviewed the play, called it a flagrant 2 and then one referee came over and only said, ‘you’re gone’. No explanation and just a toss. When the Wolves heard that Barea had been tossed, everyone was upset and Barea started cussing at the refs, because that’s a ridiculously bad call out of a review. Instead of explaining the call to Adelman, who was rightfully upset about the call, the referee just gave him a Technical foul, which gave Ray Allen 3 freethrows and the Heat the ball on the side.

        You can get tossed for cussing at the refs, but that’s a technical foul and either a straight ejection or another technical. You can’t simply get tossed for cussing and the refs can’t upgrade a flagrant 1 to a flagrant 2 because a player cussed at them…

  12. Bstarr says:

    Mike Woodson said once that he can make the combination Melo – Amar’e work. He had his chance Sunday but didn’t do it. Now Amar’e showed you on Monday that he’s ready for full combat. Would be great if the Knicks meet the Heat again in the playoffs. Is going to be a war hehehehe.

    Andrew Bynum and Derrick Rose are the same story, forget about those guys, this season is over for them. Hope that both be back and the battle in the East gets more exciting!