Morning Shootaround – Feb. 2


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Feb. 1

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Deng surprised by the mess in Cleveland | Bird discusses the Bynum signing | Stephenson frustrated about All-Star snub | Wall tries new shoes

No. 1: Deng surprised by the mess in Cleveland — Luol Deng said all the right things about his new team when he was traded in early January. He wanted to be a veteran leader for the young Cavaliers and everything seemed hunky-dory. Now less than a month later, the problems within the Cleveland locker room have become apparent to Deng, as reported by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

It’s been a true culture shock for Luol Deng since he’s been a Cleveland Cavalier over the past 26 days. Not in a good way, either.

Deng has seen how a team mired in losing since LeBron James left town wrongly caters to its young star players, even as they continue to undermine head coach Mike Brown at almost every turn. In Chicago, where Deng broke in and played nine-plus seasons, there is a winning culture where players are expected to act like professionals and understand that they will suffer the consequences if they step out of line.

As Deng recently told one close friend, “the stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess.”

But since then, he’s seen players get thrown out of practice, take off their uniform tops at halftime and threaten not to play, mouth off to Brown and generally act like spoiled brats. Entering Saturday’s game at Houston, the Cavs had lost seven of their last 11 games since the Deng trade.

***

No. 2: Bird discusses the Bynum signing– The Indiana Pacers recent signing of Andrew Bynum was a surprise to many people around the league. Bynum bolsters an already strong frontcourt for the Pacers and even though he was recently released by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Pacers believe he will be a key player in helping them win an NBA Championship. However, Indiana team president Larry Bird quickly refuted any talk that the Pacers only signed Bynum to keep him away from the Miami Heat, as reported by Mark Montieth at Pacers.com:

“I ain’t worried about next year,” team president Larry Bird said following the Pacers’ game-day shootaround on Saturday. “We’re in the now. We’re going to do everything we can to go as far as we possibly can.”

Bynum flew to Indianapolis from Cleveland on Friday and had dinner with Pacers officials that evening, including Bird and coach Frank Vogel. Asked the primary impression Bynum made at the gathering, Vogel said “overall enthusiasm.”

Bird said he wasn’t concerned with Bynum’s reputation.

“You hear all the negativity,” Bird said. “I never judge a person (based on what others say). I like to find out on my own. He’s big, he can help us and that’s all that matters.

“The way these guys roll around here, they can handle themselves. That never really entered my mind. They’re big boys. If Andrew can come in here and help them, it will be much appreciated.”

Bird scoffed at the notion that the Pacers might be signing Bynum merely to keep him away from Miami or other contending teams.

“We don’t have the money to throw around and let them sit on our bench,” he said. “That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

***

No. 3: Stephenson frustrated by All-Star snub — Staying with the Pacers, guard Lance Stephenson isn’t too happy about his recent lack of invitation to the 2014 NBA All-Star game. Stephenson has a case, too. He’s averaging 14.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game to become a significant contributor for the team with the best record in the league. Stephenson planned to take out his anger about the snub on his matchup last night, Joe Johnson. As reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

Heading into Saturday night’s game against the Nets – and with an All-Star snub still boiling in his mind – the 23-year-old Pacers guard told the Daily News he’s motivated to unleash his anger on Joe Johnson and the Nets.

“I already had a chip on my shoulder and it made me even worse,” Stephenson said about not making the Eastern Conference reserves. “Now I’m going to kill everybody who is in front of me.”

“Like I said, whoever made it in front of me or whoever is in my position who people think whose in front of me, I’m definitely going to go after them,” Stephenson said. “You’ll definitely see that tonight – me going after (Johnson).”

Despite his anger towards the All-Star snub, Stephenson said he understands that he’s young and there’s a new selection every year. The 23-year-old has a chance to be the best player to come out of Lincoln High in Coney Island, even after all that hype for Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair.

***

No. 4: Wall tries new shoes – A lot of NBA players are superstitious. This is no surprise. However, the lengths to which John Wall went last night to create perfect comfort for his feet were a little tedious. No matter the lengths, Wall’s decision worked as he helped the Washington Wizards snap the Oklahoma City Thunder’s ten-game winning streak. From The Associated Press:

The first half ended with a case of stars stumbling. Kevin Durant lost the ball to John Wall, and Wall then missed an open fast-break layup at the horn. It was Durant’s fourth turnover and Wall’s seventh miss in a row.

At halftime, Wall changed his shoes. Maybe that was the difference.

Wall, the newly minted first-time All-Star guard, scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, and the host Washington Wizards took advantage of a rare subpar night for Durant and snapped the Oklahoma Thunder’s 10-game winning streak Saturday with a 96-81 win.

“I didn’t like how I played on the road trip in my white shoes, so I tried the red ones,” Wall said. “They didn’t work in the first half, so I got rid of them and went back to my old white ones, and they kind of helped me out. I’m kind of superstitious.”

Wall also had 15 assists and 6 steals and went 7 for 11 from the field after halftime, more than making up for the 0-for-7 first half.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Jeff Van Gundy thinks Tracy McGrady might try to play baseball? … J.R. Smith took time to check out Chris Andersen‘s tattoos … The NBA broke out new Adam Silver basketballs last night … Luis Scola throws the ball off Paul Pierce‘s back to seal a win for the Pacers … John Wall and Damian Lillard reportedly invited to participate in the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk contest.

ICYMI of the Night: If the report of Lillard being invited to participate in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest is true, then he sure gave the world a justification for the invitation against the Toronto Raptors last night.


VIDEO: Lillard Soars

53 Comments

  1. TTKIN says:

    In what universe does Joe Johnson deserve to be an All-Star over Lance Stephenson? Lance IMO is the biggest reason the Pacers made the leap over Miami so far this year. And the Nets are still one of the worst teams in the league.

    It just figures that the Heat still get 3 all stars in the game (even though one barely plays) and the Pacers have just 2. The NBA gets worse and worse by the day.

  2. Dan Gibbs says:

    Stephon M. better than Damian L.? In his first year Lilard did as much as Marbury did in 3 years, and that’s BASEDONSTATS. Lillard has been the ultimate professional, Just so you know, in the locker room and off the court he is as down to earth as they come. What a lame D***

  3. Sayote says:

    I guess Bynum not playing well in Cleveland makes sense now. Maybe he saw what Deng is seeing now and so he said “I’m outta here”…

  4. Truthsez says:

    Go home stephenson you’re drunk

  5. CarloJames says:

    Lance Stephenson being arrogant and trying hard like you never desrve an All Star. More humble players are more deserving to get our vote!

  6. lol says:

    Look at Stephenson.. dude is crying b/c he didn’t make the Allstar lol. Well deserved man. This is like taking a candy away from a 3y/o kid. Jeezes what am I happy that this guy didn’t make it after all. Decent player but kids like him don’t belong in the Allstar.

  7. None Of The Above says:

    I agree that Lance Stephenson deserved a spot on the All-Star team, but, his attitude to missing out almost makes me glad he did. He seems to think that Joe Johnson is at fault for getting in instead of him.

    If you want to blame others Lance blame the coaches and fans who voted others ahead of you.

  8. Benjie says:

    Thanks Dwade for giving lance Stephenson an elbow to the head last year,His crazy and he deserved a knock on the head sometimes.Lance you can’t be an all star not now.They got more talented players than you.I probably put you on a good contributor rather than a main marque player.You don’t have the thrill factor and you turn the ball almost every game.Yah your numbers was right but even so they have more efficient player on the line rather than you.Joe Johnson is chosen because he wins games without KG or Daren Williams.If we take a chance and reversed the situation would you win a game without Paul George and Hebert / I don’t think so I’ll rather choose David west than you.

  9. Tany says:

    J.J.’s experience own’s that honor of playing all-star, take his buzzer-beaters.
    People like you(stephenson) without modest in the league are kids, and kids don’t play man’s basketball.
    Try and earn yourself the invitation, Steve. Dun just trash talk, like a kid.

  10. JustAComment says:

    ASG is all about the fans. Fans wanted to see good players with good attitude. These players are being idolize specially by the young ones. Stephenson is way far to be an all star. Idolizing this guy will be a no brainier. The way he act in the basketball court is as stupid as his looks. I don’t want for Miami to win championship but i rather don’t for the Pacers to reach the finals. This guy will be more arrogant if Pacers even reach the finals.

  11. coolitdude says:

    Bynum and Nate Robinson looks to be an unwanted jouneyman… let’s see which of them worn more nba uniforms…

  12. wanted: superstar says:

    AN ALLSTAR should be a Modest, inside and outside the court. I guess Stephenson should have moderated his comments and gave respect the coaches decision. I believe that he should be an ALLSTAR. He’s playing a superb role in Indiana this season. His comments to “KILL EVERYONE IN FRONT OF HIM” may just worsen his image to be unprofessional

  13. Smart plan of INDIANA they sign BYNUM so that MIAMI cant sign BYNUM
    they know if MIAMI sign BYNUM it is a threat in there Frontcourt

    wish MIAMI sign bynum first! they need his size and lowpost talents

  14. Hugh says:

    Hey Deng…I bet that 3 year, 30 million extension the Bulls offered you isn’t looking all that bad now is it?

    • justsayin says:

      Meh he’s about to be a free agent. – I think there are millions of reasons he can put up with playing a half a season with these turkeys.

      hint – I’m talking dolla$

  15. miami says:

    keep dreaming lance stephenson! self proclaimed allstar!

  16. jdub455 says:

    in as much as lance deserves an all star spot, the attitude of being frustrated of not being chosen aint proper. first of all, i dont believe he entered this season believing he wud be vying for an all star slot. just b thankful that u wer considered man. focus should be on the bigger picture. championship rather than individual accolades, this is why even with bynum in town, the pacers wont beat the HEAT,,, :)

  17. Edub says:

    The Cavs should fire Mike Brown because it IS his fault. How can you blame Kyrie for not being a leader when it’s only his 3rd year? Mike Brown has no set offense, and if the players like Dion Waiters are getting kicked out of practice and is STILL getting the same amount of minutes he had before, how can you not blame Brown?

    And in NY, it isn’t Brown’s fault as he’s shown success and improvement in a Knicks team since he’s gotten there. The Knicks just aren’t a good team. They are playing good right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gon on another losing streak and become the biggest things in Media AGAIN.

  18. JJ says:

    Cavs lack a leader. Kyrie Irving is TOO overrated, he is not trying to get better or make the team better. They need to trade him for someone like Wall or Lawry or Dragic who are true leaders that actually make a team better instead of worse.

  19. kobeballhog says:

    Stephenson cry all you want. You aint an all star. There are way more deserving than him that didnt get the nod. Yeah he plays good sometimes but comeback to earth you aint a great player. Still regularly making boneheaded plays. Doesnt deserve not even 1 vote as an all star.

  20. miami says:

    i love to see a boxing match between two arrogants-cousins and stephenson!

  21. Bobby says:

    The Cavaliers are in shambles….most of the teammates of Bynum didn’t understand why he was being released. It made no sense. Now Deng has confirmed that discord within the Cavaliers organization. Bynum was playing fine in Cleveland, Bynum will do good with Pacers. I think this signing has more to do with Hibbert than it does with Bynum. Hibbert isn’t as good as his contract, and I would take Bynum’s all star potential over what Hibbert has shown any day. Hibbert could very well be traded within a year, if he doesn’t become a 18pt-14reb-2 blk center within the next year. I’m sure that the Pacers would rather sign Paul George to a max contract, get a cheaper center like Bynum who can do just as much as Hibbert. Trade Hibbert to make space for a more deserving second max contract. or maybe just better starting line-up.

    • jon4949494 says:

      Are you seriously calling Bynum better than Hibbert? Hibbert is about to be DPOY, while Bynum can’t even run the floor. Also, have you not seen the damage Roy Hibbert does to other teams in the playoffs especially the Heat? On top of that Bynum is constantly out of shape and prone to injury. Wow, I’ve never seen Hibbert’s talent so over looked!

    • JustTheStr8Facts says:

      Nonsense post of the year. Grats (I guess).

    • justsayin says:

      Say what? Hibbert’s anchoring one of the best defenses in a long time – in running for DPOY and willing to sacrifice offense for teammates. Guarantee this move isn’t to overthrow him. It would ruin team chemistry.

      This is a move thats big for their bench – and Bynums either on the bandwagon or simply not interested in starting. Cause he could have had starter mins elsewhere if he wanted them.

    • I doubt whether Deng stick around says:

      much longer. I think he’d be in demand by alot of teams lookin for a forward who can do about everything. Even LaLa Land could make a move for Deng.. but then agagin, he’d just be stuck with another bum team.

      • justsayin says:

        I don’t know – he might just be the exact kind of guy Doc Rivers is looking for at SF.

        Willing to work and D up. Depends if they can afford him.

    • MC says:

      Hibbert is less risky and more dependable in the long run than Bynum. Although Larry Bird doesn’t want to admit it, the biggest plus of Bynum playing (or sitting) for the Pacers is that he’s not playing for someone else, say, Miami.

  22. dustydreamnz says:

    Miles Plumlee isn’t a rookie but he should have been playing for the Sophomores. I agree lets hear more about the Suns, they’re now up to 6th in the West.
    Sounds like the Cavs have serious problems off the court, I knew there was problems but wow. Feel sorry for Deng.
    I don’t like the Bynum trade, I think it’s high risk by a team that doesn’t need his baggage. Forget the contract. We will see.
    I think Stephenson should have been an All Star.

  23. some dude says:

    I feel bad for the cavs… sounds like they still need to make some major moves and get a new coaching staff while at it… I would trade Kyrie because his character and lack of leadership seems to be rubbing off on his teammates. With his high talent level he could probably excel in a strong system like spurs or pacers, where locker room accountability exists. I hate people who talk about firing coaches whenever there’s a problem, but this year I find myself thinking I would do just that in many instances. Specifically Cleveland and NY….

    • Celtics Fan says:

      You should feel worse on their players cause Cavs is one of the worst basketball organization in the league. and I don’t blame Lebron for leaving that team

    • It's called "tanking" says:

      ..and by the looks of it, they’re doing a pretty good job of it.

  24. JadenX says:

    Although a lot of changes have happened to Cavs’ personnel, I sort of feel that it served them right to not being able to keep Lebron…

  25. kevin says:

    glad my blazers are doing better…but Damian lillard hes got a good game but lack of character and with his ever growing ego..i hope he don’t drag Portland down to the cellar of the west…

  26. BasedonStats says:

    The disrespect towards Stephon Marbury is criminal. His maturity or lack there of does not negate his talent. He was every bit as good as a Damian Liliard in his day for a long time.

  27. clockwork says:

    steppx miles plumlee isnt a rookie…

  28. Bob Slydell says:

    steppx – The Suns have been a historically successful franchise that (aside from last year) have been pretty darn good for a decade now. nobody cares

  29. The Money Shot says:

    And Lebron James is going to go back to that Cleveland mess?!? Bwahahahaha

  30. B Radd says:

    Man, with bigs the likes of Hibbert, West, Bynum and Scola. This is now a formidable frontline. I have no words!

  31. Now what? says:

    I have to laugh about this. Everyone got hyped up when the Cavs got Deng, including some NBA writers. Automatically the Cavs would became a play off team, they said. And now what?

  32. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    lol the Cavs are BUMS!

  33. okc2014 says:

    We will see if Larry Bird is being honest about snagging Bynum just so that nobody else can have him. And we will also see how that works out for him and the Pacers when he says: “I don’t judge people by what other’s say, I like to see for myself”. I’m skeptical. So In about 7-8 days, will be looking for Bynum to suit up and play, even if for 5 minutes. And then I’m marking my calendar. If Bynum comes back with those cornrows, if he disappears into oblivion, and if the Pacers come up with a random statement like: “Bynum has been excused form team activities to handle personal issues”, my intuitions will be correct.

    • OKC says:

      I’d trust Larry Bird’s intuition over yours any day… and like they said its a low risk high reward move for a team looking to win now.

    • JustTheStr8Facts says:

      You know what Larry Bird thinks about your opinion and your calender one way or the other?

      (crickets)

    • okc2014. you schmuck says:

      Larry Bird has better judgement in his pinky than you’ve got in your entire body. He’s an NBA legend and has the management skills to back up his HOF NBA career. What have you done lately, you bum?

    • gg says:

      pacers don’t have extra cash to waste on somebody who will just sit on the bench, he probably does want bynum to contribute, but at the same time mentally prepared for bynum to be useless as always

    • jer-Boo says:

      Bynum still have lots to offer and a professional organization like Indiana can maximize his potential. Judging from what Deng said about Cleveland’s locker room, it may not be Bynum’s fault that he was excused. Bynum’s is a ticking time bomb, but a good management system to keep him focused. Thibs could have made him an all-star again had Chicago keep him, he won’t have that chance in Indiana but his career will definitely revive.

  34. steppx says:

    what do you guys have against the Suns? The hottest team in the league right now, and Dragic playing better than any point guard in the league. Should be talked about a bit more. The miracle in phoenix. Picked to finish last…..vegas had them at 20 wins…i know, i won some money on that one. Miles plumlee left off rising starts, dragic left off the all star team….why does phoenix get so little love?