Morning Shootaround – Jan. 11


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Jan. 10

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Rondo may return before All-Star break | Report: Love to join Lakers in 2015? | Report: Rockets, Nets discussed Williams trade | James accuses Kirilenko of flopping

No. 1: Rondo may return before All-Star break — New head coach Brad Stevens has the short-handed Boston Celtics playing slightly above expectations so far this season at 13-24. While that record doesn’t seem too impressive, the Celtics are only two games out of the playoffs and 5.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead. The return of All-Star Rajon Rondo would certainly help the Celtics’ playoff push (if they don’t sell at the trade deadline) and it sounds like the guard may be back soon, as he told reporters during shootaround prior to the Celtics’ game last night in Golden State and as reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe

“It may be this month, next month. It’ll be before All-Star break,” Rondo said.

Rondo suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee a year ago. He had surgery in February 2013, performed by Dr. James Andrews, and has been rehabbing since.

“I haven’t had any swelling,” he said. “I’m wearing my brace. At times when I play, it doesn’t feel like I have it on. No setbacks. It’s just, I’m taking my time.”

At this point, conditioning remains a key hurdle.

“I’m just trying to get back into shape,” he said. “I haven’t played ball in 12 months. You can do all the cardio, treadmill, running you want, it’s still different from basketball shape.”

Rondo didn’t rule out a possible stint in the NBA’s Development League, either.

“I might go practice with them when I get back,” he said. “Still just not sure yet.”

Since he was first cleared to participate in full-contact practice in December, Rondo said, he has made considerable progress.

“I feel 10 times better,” he said. “I feel more confident, stronger, more explosive. What I’m doing in the weight room, it’s productive.”

He also said he’s getting more comfortable with his teammates, many of whom haven’t played with him before.

“I’m getting a feel for them, they’re getting a feel for me,” he said. “I’m hitting a couple guys in the face or the chest, not knowing the ball is coming. The biggest thing is, I’m always telling guys, always be ready, even though it may not seem like the ball is coming to you.”

Still, the hardest part, he said, is “just not playing.”

“I don’t even like to watch the game anymore,” he said. “It’s frustrating. You see things that you just can’t help. It’s only a matter of what you can do from a vocal standpoint on the sidelines.”

***

No. 2: Report: Love to join Lakers in 2015? — Although the Minnesota Timberwolves’ commanding win over the Charlotte Bobcats last night helped ease the sting, things have not been going too well for them as of late. They’ve failed to win a close game this season (now 0-10 in games decided by four points or less) and after Wednesday night’s heartbreaking loss to the Phoenix Suns, Kevin Love called out the poor body language of some of the team’s bench players. Now, to make matters worse for Timberwolves fans, a league executive believes Love is destined to become a Laker in 2015. This rumor seems to always swirl around each season which gives credence to the recent report by CBS Sports’ Ken Berger:

Love, in his sixth season and the second of a four-year extension (more on that later), has yet to make the playoffs in Minnesota. The team’s highest win total since drafting Love fifth overall in 2008 was 31 last season.

When time came to sign Love to an extension during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, [David] Kahn declined to give Love a five-year, 30 percent max deal under the newly minted Derrick Rose rule. Love had to settle for a four-year deal in which he demanded — and received — a player option after the third season.

That opt-out is coming in July 2015 and will be a guiding force in every decision that the new GM, [Flip] Saunders, makes between now and then. Essentially, Saunders will be faced with the same predicament that encumbered Masai Ujiri in Denver with [Carmelo] Anthony; Otis Smith in Orlando with [Dwight] Howard; Kevin O’Connor in Utah with [Deron] Williams; and, once upon a time, Danny Ferry in Cleveland with [LeBron] James.

So what do Saunders and the Timberwolves do about Love? Play their hand to conclusion and hope for the best, as Ferry did in Cleveland and Smith did in Orlando? Or get out in front of the problem, like O’Connor did in Utah?

There’s no clear answer, and no guarantees that one strategy will work better than the other. It’s worth noting, of course, that Love shares the same wanderlust for a bigger market that led to Williams’ departure from Utah. He also shares the same agent, New York-based Jeff Schwartz.

“They should trade him,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “No one thinks he’s staying. Everyone knows he wants to go to the Lakers.”

But not all executives agree, and while none would wish Saunders’ dilemma on his worst enemy, there’s another situation that bears comparison to Love’s. That would be the one involving LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers.

***

No. 3: Rockets, Nets discussed Williams trade — The Brooklyn Nets have finally found their chemistry in 2014 as they’ve won five-straight games, including an impressive win over the Miami Heat last night. However, this recent surge by the Nets has been without star point guard Deron Williams, who is out with an ankle injury. This fact, plus the recent report by Ken Berger of CBS Sports that the Houston Rockets and Nets briefly discussed a deal centered around Williams, may cause some in the Nets’ front-office to consider Williams expendable (it’s important to emphasize that this deal was reportedly just discussed and didn’t gain much momentum):

Among the interesting tidbits floating around the D-League Showcase in Reno, Nev., this week involved the possibility of the Rockets pairing Dwight Howard with Deron Williams in Houston — an arrangement that now seems farfetched if not impossible.

Remember that the thrust of the Nets’ multiple attempts to acquire Howard in a trade two seasons ago was to team him up with Williams, who the franchise was trying to re-sign. Both players were on board with teaming up, but the Nets were never able to satisfy Orlando’s trade demands. Howard, of course, wound up getting dealt to the Lakers and famously bolted LA for the Rockets as a free agent this past summer.

But the subject of a Dwight-Deron duo was broached again in recent weeks, with the Rockets and Nets briefly delving into the particulars of a deal that would’ve sent Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to the Nets for Williams. It made sense on many levels. The Nets would’ve gotten an insurance policy at center for the often-injured Brook Lopez (who has since been injured again and is out for the year). The Rockets would’ve solved their own center problem, as Asik doesn’t want to remain in Houston. They’ve been trying to get off the Lin contract, and the Nets are one team that wouldn’t mind his $15 million balloon payment next season. All the better to stick it to the Knicks.

But the the idea never gained any traction and was shelved. Now, it’s probably dead for good with Williams undergoing multiple injections in his chronically bad ankles this week.

***

No. 4: James accuses Kirilenko of flopping — The aforementioned Heats-Nets game saw LeBron James foul out for the first time since 2008. That’s a mighty long time and James had a postgame reason for his early disqualification, as reported by Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News

“I thought [Andrei] Kirilenko flopped a few times,” said James, who fouled out for just the sixth time in his career. “To be honest, I thought he flopped and he got the call. I thought the last one that fouled me out (against Shaun Livingston) could have been a foul for sure. … But Kirienko definitely flopped on me a couple times and got the call.”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Stephen Curry did what Stephen Curry does. … European football logos designed for each NBA team … Lakers may drive head coach Mike D’Antoni to the bottleNick Young questions the Clippers’ ability to win in the playoffs. … Kobe Bryant didn’t look too happy on the bench during the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Clippers.

ICYMI of The Night: While Blake Griffin‘s dunk over Chris Kaman got the most love last night, this one by Derrick Williams deserves equal attention:


VIDEO: Williams throws it down

51 Comments

  1. okc2014 says:

    Love to OKC! Don’t go to the Lakers! You will be even more frustrated than you already are,

  2. Tony Moua says:

    Yaw stupid. Lebron is being treated like shaq to big to strong attack at will and hardly any foul calls. A little flop for lbj wouldn’t hurt especially when he hardly gets any foul calls attacking the rim so often. I watched that game and I was a little disgusted by bad calls but forget it, it’s not even a playoff game. Lbj is the goat.

  3. JimD54 says:

    WOW….I just watched Lebron King of flop…on youtube, the league should be fined for what they let that man get away with, and he accuses someone else of flopping? WOW

  4. Stephisbeast says:

    Omg is Leflop really complaining about flopping? This guy makes a living on flopping and getting away with fouls. I am not surprised about the cry baby tone though, he does that in every game invariably.

  5. Paul says:

    And this is why I prefer Kobe over Lebron. “The King” might have better stats and he’s very dominant and all that. Kobe is my favorite player because he doesn’t do this flopping BS that LeBron does, and it still amazes me that a player of his caliber is still flopping. Atleast be fair to the game and others, Mr Leflop. I don’t care if AK47 flopped or not, I just love seeing James’ reaction when his own methods are being used against him. Listen he has a good personality, but in this aspect, he’s a real jerk.

  6. Demetreus Newton says:

    All I see is Lebron has to much talent to be complaining flopping MJ wouldnt complain but Mj is the poineer of complaining did Phil Jackson and MJ not complain about how he the piston use to foul MJ sheesh ppl soon to forget about things and after MJs first ring he got every single call

  7. sirsparhawk says:

    They continue to push Love out the door, works for me because I love his game, and I wish he would get on a winning team.

    • you wish he could get on a winning team? says:

      …so why would he go to the Lakers than?

      • sirsparhawk says:

        Guess my post cut off, I wish he could get on a good team that values him. No I dont want him to go to the lakers. He would be much better on the Cavs or clippers, OKC, any team that knows how to utilize a shooting bigman.

  8. omni says:

    haters b mad cos they can only dream about their doodoo NY teams winning a game in a 7 game series lmao

    • Tim says:

      At least NY fans are real fan unlike the joke of a “fanbase” Miami has. Now please, go away little bandwagoner.

  9. Wanker says:

    Good one, LeFlop.

  10. Liam S says:

    No one on a team with Shane Battier can ever complain about flopping.
    The biggest floppers in the league are (in order) Derek Fisher, Shane Battier, Blake Griffin, Reggie Evans, Lebron James
    Does Lebron flop more than anyone else, no. Does Lebron argue more than anyone else maybe (does he get away with arguing past the point most players would have a technical or two, yes)
    There is no excuse for someone with as much talent and physical ability as Lebron to flop and throw tantrums to the extent that he does.

  11. Art says:

    Is LeBron complaining about referees who presented him 2 rings? He is really a king. King J. King Jerk.
    Do Miami fans want to watch videos that show how many times last two years LeBron didn’t receive deserved fouls?
    Or maybe they want to count how many unfair calls other players received guarding him?
    Only 1.5 PF per game last 3 seasons aggressively playing on both ends of the floor??
    Bill Russel, Magic, Jordan, Pippen, Kobe & other REAL superstars couldn’t even dream about that.

  12. BJBWild says:

    The game of Basketball is about playing the game and winning and not about he does the most floping. Let the Refs make the call and let us watch the game and give credit where credit is due. Jordan, LeBron and Kobe are and will be three of the greatest basketball player of all time. It look like you all are boring in your personal life and looking for something to hate on. Get over it and live your life and see were you are flopping in your life.

  13. Tim says:

    I honestly think flopping should have suspensions. 1st flop is a warning. 2nd flop is a $10,000-$20,000 fine and 3rd flop should be a 1 game suspension without pay. I guarantee that fixes the flopping problem. I also forgot to mention that Teletovic foul was NOT a flagrant! He wrapped up LeBron and let go as soon as he heard the whistle. You hear announcers say all the time if you foul someone, you do not let them finish the And-1 and that’s what he did.

    • izenone says:

      It doesn’t matter what’s the punishment for flopping as long as they don’t actually start enforcing the rule. There are probably more flops in any given game than the total number of fines handed out this season so far :/ And it’s not just borderline ones which are allowed either; many totally obvious ones go unpunished.

  14. hellon says:

    Love to the Lakers?Wasn’t it obvious,since he didn’t get the best contract available?But really,the only good players on the T-wolves are Martin,Love and Budinger,when he is healthy….that max contract for Pekovic is a waste of money.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      No, it’s obvious too many Laker fans run this blog. Lakers are arguably the worst in the league, yet somehow some Laker fan goes all out to try to cry for attention. To pry whatever lame rumors there may be out there. Give it up. Bryant signed the Lakers’ death warrant. Nick Young will likely walk after the season, unless Lakers pay him a lot more. Give it up, Laker fans. They are an after-thought.

      Love will probably stick with Minnesota, but if he does leave, he’ll want to go to OKC. What is the point of him going to Lakers? So he can lose even more than he does now?

      Come on. Common sense.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      I still predict Minnesota will take Golden State’s spot in the playoffs after 82 games are played. Minnesota has been inconsistent, but they have shown how great their offense can be. They just need to stay the course and keep integrating newly-healthy guys, such as Chase Budinger.

  15. vanta007 says:

    LeBron is a Cry Baby ! & It’s Sad to see !

  16. NBALLER says:

    It is a fact whether you are a Lebron lover or hater, that he flops alot, he even admitted openly that it is part of the game and if he can get away with it he WILL do it and you see he does regularly as well as other Miami Heat players like Shane Battier, so Lebron really shouldn’t complain if it is done to him. Watch carefully if Lebron makes a bad play or misses a layup, sometimes there is no one around him and he complains to the refs, I applaud the referees for their fairness and impartiality…. EXCELLENT job referees.

    • henriquebfs says:

      Of course he should complain. As I should, as every fan of the game should. This stupid thing must end. Flopping is for those who cant play the game. The refs should just simply let the game flow. With the time, players would start to play harder and stop complaining. Its not not calling the flops against LBJ that “justice” will be done, its making the right calls. Doesnt matter what he himself says, its not part of the game. Better were the days that players were allowed to taunt each other in the ears.

  17. NBALogics says:

    Love to the Lakers is a Stupid Move for him, I think he should reunite with his buddy in OKC or hop the EC train to the Bulls.

  18. kellogs says:

    i love how lebron complaining about AK’s flops made the frontpage of nba.com

  19. Brendan says:

    love to lakers would b nice but I was just glad clips annihilated the lake show last night. next years free agency should be interesting next summer I think love’s status will be huge we will see if the t-wolves can make a run for it and convince love to stay its up to him though. go to lakers love.

  20. Mike says:

    King Leflop, now you see flopping is sad and lame

  21. Tim says:

    If the NBA ever wants to reach NFL popularity level in USA then they will do something about flopping and complaining to the refs. $5000 are peanuts to the players and will NOT prevent flopping. Also, LeBron complaining to the refs after 90% of the fouls called on him, while he CLEARLY gets the most special treatment, is laughable. I love this league but man some of this stuff is giving the game a bad, bad reputation.

    • ?????? says:

      first, for a lot of players, 5 grand is not peanuts, especially if done multiple times. also, as much as i hate seeing lebron complain about a no call and not running back on defense (which, i admit, he does a lot), he certainly does not get the MOST special treatment. not by a long shot. personally, i think that goes to kevin durant. Harden is very good at forcing people into fouls, as is Pierce, but they are legitimate fouls. durant seems to get the call at a brush of contact. James, on the other hand, gets a bit of the shaq treatment, where he doesn’t get the call because he is so much more dominant than the other players in his position. For someone who scores so much in the paint to get a couple fewer free throws per game than durant is mind boggling. James doesn’t get any special treatment that every other star doesn’t get (because yes, there is a difference), but certainly gets fewer calls than some.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      NFL is popular? If you say so. Playing 16 games a season … whatever. I argue MLB and NBA (either one) is more popular than NFL.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      NFL needs to have at least 32 games each season. They need to implement playoff series (best 2 out of 3). I understand it’s very physical, but come on. That’s why they wear all that padding and big helmets. Come on, NFL. Man up! :-)

  22. mehg says:

    sorry baby bron

  23. Grievous56 says:

    Well You’re one to talk about flopping, LeBron.

  24. Bobo Lan says:

    I hate nasty defensive game like the one I watched yesterday. It reminded to the few games Heat played against Bulls.

  25. alan says:

    Bron’s just complaining about people stealing his moves.

  26. Raff says:

    lebron has flop but not so many times in a game kirilenko flop like 3 times

  27. DarylTee says:

    Tell me how many times have LeBron been fined for flopping this season? Link me any of the videos of possible flops he might have done this season. You people are absurd! Haters going to hate!

  28. Jack says:

    Lebron is hardly the worst flopper in the league, get over yourselves people.

  29. Da Beast says:

    It’s so funny to see LeBron complaining about flopping. How ironic.

    • KJ says:

      of course you will find a lot of videos about LeBron because he is and always will be the most hated player in the world. people need reason to talk against LBJ first his poor performances on tied games, then the topic of no ring no king. there will always be something to talk trash on LBJ. It is a shame how people take greatness every night for granted.

      • Tim says:

        It goes both ways. For every LeBron hater, there is a LeBron fanboy that thinks he can do no wrong. It’s a fact that he flops and he even admitted to it. Do you not think flopping is bad for the game? Also, they showed how he averages the least amount of fouls called on him and yet he still complains literally 90% of every foul called on him. If he were to eliminate these things, the “haters” would be cut in half.

  30. Erik Spoelstra = Bruno Mars says:

    Lebron had the chance to be the greatest player of all time. But he’s 6 ft 8 – 250 and every hit throws him halfway across the court screaming like he is dying. He also whines like a toddler when he doesn’t get the call. I’m not saying he is the only player to do this. But he is the player with the most talent doing this.

    If you search YouTube for “Michael Jordan flop” you get one video of a flop, but mostly you get videos of Lebron flopping. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZpGKC62qvs

    I guess you could say I’m a Lebron hater, but I’m more disappointed than anything else.

    • HEAT says:

      Still LBJ is the goat. btw stop riding kobe’s d!ck he’s injured . if and only if he comes back he will score atleast 15pts with 35%shooting and thats a fact :D stop hatin kid.

  31. Paul says:

    That was worst ref game I ever saw in basketball it was so one sided who pockets was those ref in for that heat nets game I think they was nets pockets last night bad basketball is getting worst and worst sorry to call my self a fan

    • Big L says:

      If thats the worst officiating youve ever seen then you must have started watching basketball this year.

  32. OKC says:

    I can’t believe Kahn wanted to save the 5 year contract for Rubio… what a fool. KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHNNNN!

    • Yiogi says:

      Actually it was Nicola Pekovic that got the 5 year contract and not Rubio. I like Pekovic but I like Love more. Rubio never had the ability to shoot the ball and seems incapable of improving. Other than that he is an ok player. I still would take Sved over Rubio though, Sved should get more playing time at the point which is his natural position.

  33. Link says:

    That’s funny, the Heat got 2 rings with flopping so James should get over it. Turn about is fair play. Yes Lebron is a fantastic player, and the Heat a great team, but they were bested. Get over it.

  34. Chris says:

    Lebron is really calling someone else out on flopping? You have got to be kidding me.

    • Kel says:

      My thoughts exactly. Not to mention all the no calls he gets. On defense and offense. He uses his off arm ot push people aside all of the time.