NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Report: Suns halt Pau trade talks; Gasol needs more time to heal up– For now, it seems, the Pau Gasol-to-Phoenix trade is off the table. The Los Angeles Lakers big man had a hot topic of late as interest in a trade between the two teams heated up over the last few days. However, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Suns are pulling out of the deal because they feel the Lakers are asking too much for Gasol:
The Phoenix Suns have stopped talks to acquire Pau Gasol because they feel the Lakers want too much for the veteran post player, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Phoenix could own four picks in the June draft, and the Lakers coveted one of the more valuable two — the pick the Suns could potentially get from Minnesota or the one they might receive from Washington.
Both of those picks are protected and will revert back to Washington and Minnesota if they stumble. The Wizards’ pick is top-12 protected, so the Suns technically own it at this point (17th overall before Tuesday’s games), while the Timberwolves’ pick is top-13 protected, meaning Minnesota holds it right now (12th overall before Tuesday).
Phoenix also has its own pick (22nd overall as of Tuesday afternoon) and Indiana’s pick (currently 30th) in the draft, which is considered one of the best in years.
The talks could, of course, resume before the Feb. 20 trade deadline but the Lakers were reluctant to deal Gasol without receiving what they felt was adequate compensation.
Gasol is currently sidelined about two weeks because of a strained groin, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said Tuesday. Gasol received a platelet-rich plasma injection Monday to help the healing process.
That healing process may take a little longer than expected, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, who says Gasol could miss two more weeks:
The Los Angeles Lakers extended the expected return timeline for injured forward Pau Gasol on Tuesday. Gasol, who received a PRP injection to his strained right groin from Dr. Steven Yoon in Los Angeles on Monday, will now be sidelined at least two weeks, according to the team.
Gasol, originally expected to miss one week after aggravating his groin in the Lakers’ 110-100 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats last week, did not accompany the Lakers on their three-game road trip through Minnesota, Cleveland and Philadelphia. He will now miss an additional three games at least — at home against Chicago, Utah and Oklahoma City — before being re-evaluated sometime during All-Star weekend.
The Lakers and Phoenix Suns are currently entrenched in trade talks involving Gasol, according to ESPN.com. The Suns have expressed concern with Gasol’s health, according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne. The Lakers have one game between the All-Star break and the league’s Feb. 20 trade deadline, at home against the Houston Rockets on Feb. 19, so if cleared, Gasol could theoretically prove his condition level in time for a deal to still be facilitated.
No. 2: Report: Bobcats show interest in Turner – As we mentioned around here yesterday, Sixers swingman Evan Turner is seeing his name bandied about more and more in the trade rumors. One team that has shown interest in him — to go along with the Suns and Thunder, reportedly — is the Charlotte Bobcats. While no deal appears imminent for Philly’s leading scorer, writes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, there is interest in him on the Charlotte side:
The Philadelphia 76ers are open to trading forward Evan Turner and the Charlotte Bobcats have looked into acquiring him, an NBA source confirmed to the Observer Monday.
Turner, a 6-foot-7 forward, averages 18.1 points and six rebounds this season for the 76ers. He could potentially add the scoring punch the Bobcats need to reach the playoffs for only the second time in their decade-long history.
The question becomes what the Bobcats would be willing to offer, considering Turner would become a restricted free agent this summer. The team with his rights would have to make Turner a qualifying offer of about $8.7 million to restrict him.
As far as making a Turner trade work under the salary cap, the Bobcats have Ben Gordon’s expiring contract, worth $13.2 million in cap value this season.
Nothing about the Bobcats’ interest appears imminent to making a deal.
No. 3: Stoudemire: Woodson keeping me off court – New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire is averaging 18.9 mpg, his lowest total since 2005-06 (when a knee injury limited him to just three games that season). He has played 30 minutes or more just three times this season and of late, is averaging 16.3 mpg over his last six games. Stoudemire insists he his healthy and ready to take on a bigger role, but says coach Mike Woodson is keeping him from doing so. ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk has more:
Amar’e Stoudemire says there aren’t any medical limitations on how much he can play right now.
The veteran forward said his playing time is decided by Mike Woodson. And the proud Stoudemire clearly would like to play more, starting Wednesday night at home against Portland.
“From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been limitations since the first week of the season,” Stoudemire said when asked if he wanted to throw out any minutes limitations in an effort to help the New York Knicks make the playoffs. “So we can’t keep saying limitations — that’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day.
“I feel great,” he continued. “I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not.”
Stoudemire was asked if he is getting back to where he was before injuring his ankle.
“I feel great man,” Stoudemire said following Knicks practice after Woodson had already spoken with reporters. “It don’t take much for me. I have been playing at a high level my entire career. I know what it takes to get back to the top of the game.
“I know what it takes to feel confident,” he continued. “That’s never going to go away. It’s just a matter of how the coach is going to play me. I am available if they need me. If not, then we go with that.”
Woodson typically likes to play Carmelo Anthony at power forward and Tyson Chandler at center. Still, Stoudemire says he has let Woodson know that he wants to play more.
“Yeah, I talk to Coach all the time about it,” Stoudemire said. “He knows I am ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: If you missed it last night, Sixers rookie Pierre Jackson scored a NBA D-League record 58 points … Good in-depth look at what’s wrong with the Cavs’ offense … Bulls GM Gar Forman was disappointed Carlos Boozer didn’t his complaints about playing time in-house … Tracy McGrady‘s dream of playing a little baseball is getting closer to reality, perhaps … Wolves are looking forward to opening their new practice facility …
ICYMI of the Night: Lakers fans have had a drama-filled season, but getting Steve Nash back on the court last night made things a little more pleasant …