Morning shootaround — Feb. 20

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Bosh hospitalized for lung tests | Bucks add more wingspan | Buyer’s remorse on Rondo? | Wolves: Not buying buyouts

No. 1: Bosh hospitalized for lung tests — The genuine surprise and excitement over the Miami Heat’s acquisition of Phoenix guard Goran Dragic had fans in South Florida focused on what might be some renewed postseason ambitions. But those good vibes got undercut later Thursday with the news that veteran forward Chris Bosh had been admitted to a local hospital to underdog testing of his lungs. Here are details from the Miami Herald:

Bosh was “under the weather” on Wednesday when he reported to practice, according to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, and team trainers sent Bosh to see a doctor. He did not attend practice Thursday and was instead admitted to the hospital.

Initial tests on Bosh, 30, were inconclusive, according to a team spokesman. An independent source confirmed for the Miami Herald that the initial tests were on Bosh’s lungs.

While in New York over the weekend for the All-Star Game, Bosh complained of pain in his side near his rib cage. He then traveled to Haiti during Carnival with his wife, Adrienne, and Dwyane Wade and Wade’s wife, actress Gabrielle Union.

Asked on Thursday after practice whether Bosh was sick in Haiti, Wade said, “I don’t know if he was sick. I’m not a doctor. I just know he wasn’t feeling good. He wasn’t coughing or throwing up, but he just wasn’t feeling good. So I don’t know when it happened. It could have happened in New York.”

Although Bosh noted discomfort in his side last Friday, he appeared healthy. On Saturday, he won the All-Star Shooting Stars competition at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and on Sunday, Bosh played 11 minutes in the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden.

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No. 2: Bucks add more wingspan — Another surprise move – among the 12 trades by 17 teams involving 39 players, according to official NBA bookkeeping – was Milwaukee’s decision to cut ties with guard Brandon Knight, who is due for a hefty raise in restricted free agency beyond what the Bucks apparently felt he was worth to them. Flipped into Knight’s spot now will be former Philadelphia guard Michael Carter-Williams, last season’s Rookie of the Year obtained in a deal that also delivered Phoenix’s Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee. Carter-Williams has his fans and detractors, but he fits the current Milwaukee model as one of coach Jason Kidd‘s young charges in a notable way: Wingspan. That’s the prism through which SBNation considered Carter-Williams’ move, adding him to a pterodactyl lineup that when healthy can feature Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, John Henson and Khris Middleton:

The defensive evolution of the Bucks under Kidd has been nothing short of remarkable. This was a team that finished as the second-worst defense in the NBA last year. This season, they’re second best. Carter-Williams arrives with the second-best defense regularized adjusted plus minus among point guards in the NBA (Knight was No. 39).

Much like the rest of Milwaukee’s roster, he has long arms and forces a ton of turnovers.

The construction of this roster might remind you of the only team ahead of Milwaukee in defensive efficiency right now: the Golden State Warriors. Golden State made its own jump up the defensive rankings by placing an emphasis on wingspan and athleticism over pure height. David Lee was out, Draymond Green was in. At 6’7, Green is woefully undersized to defend NBA power forwards, but he has a 7’1 wingspan, bountiful athleticism and a fearlessness that belies his lack of height.

Golden State is the closest a team has come to achieving the fever dream of the modern NBA: a squad that can switch every assignment defensively and smother the opposition with long arms reaching from every part of the court. Milwaukee is just taking that one step further.

As for bailing on Knight, the Bucks’ leading scorer who nearly claimed a reserve spot on the East All-Star squad, Kidd didn’t sound worried about any disruptions to the team’s encouragingly successful season (30-23) as the deadline approached, so he’s unlikely to fret about that now:

“Nope,” Kidd [told reporters wondering about a chemistry change] “Just be professional. That’s what it is about. That’s who we are. There’s small print saying you can always be traded or fired. You have to accept that.

“This is a special group. Everybody is talking about the trade deadline and making moves, but sometimes it is all right to not make a move. Or it is all right to add a piece. The chemistry here is nothing that can be broken.”

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No. 3: Buyer’s remorse on Rondo? — With all the point guards on the move Thursday, folks following the Dallas Mavericks had to wonder if their team jumped the gun when it acquired former Celtics guard Rajon Rondo two months before the trade deadline. Based on Rondo’s lackluster play since joining the Mavs, guys like Dragic, Knight and Reggie Jackson were looking better to some fans than the proven All-Star and playmaker for the 2008 NBA champions. Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com kicked that idea around some after Rondo shot 2-of-9 – one of several Mavericks to struggle Thursday – in the team’s loss at Oklahoma City:

That isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to the goggles-wearing Rondo struggling in his return after missing six games due to facial fractures. There were plenty of doubts about Rondo’s fit in Dallas before he was dominated by All-Star MVP Westbrook, who lit it up for 34 points and 10 assists, compared to Rondo’s five-point, six-dime performance.

“He looks healthy,” coach Rick Carlisle said when asked to assess Rondo’s outing. “He was a little tired because he wasn’t playing. I know he didn’t shoot well, but it’s one game.”

Well, it’s a lot more than one game. Rondo always has been a subpar jump shooter, and he’s not been nearly as dangerous off the dribble since his comeback from a serious knee injury, with his field goal percentage hovering just over 40 percent the past two seasons.

The presence of Rondo usually has served as clutter for what was the NBA’s best offense since his arrival. It’s an issue Rondo is determined to improve — working with Nowitzki’s longtime shot doctor Holger Geschwindner — but the reality is he’s at least a summer away from being even a respectable NBA shooter.

The Mavs have been a much better defensive team with Rondo, but their improvement on that end of the floor hasn’t been as drastic as their offensive drop-off. And it’s hard to be real fired up about Rondo as a defensive stopper in the wake of [Russell] Westbrook essentially doing whatever he wanted.

The Mavs made the trade for Rondo because they felt they were nothing but first-round fodder with Jameer Nelson as their starting point guard. But Rondo hasn’t made them better. They are 12-9 with him, not counting a win in Orlando when he was hurt 98 seconds into the game. That projects to a 47-win pace, which might not be good enough even to make the playoffs in the West.

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No. 4: Wolves: Not buying buyouts — Minnesota brought back the best player in its history Thursday, Kevin Garnett, who at 38 is twice as old as he was when he first wore a Timberwolves uniform. But they didn’t shed any of the veterans whose names had been bandied about as the trade deadline neared, such as Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger and Gary Neal (Garnett was acquired for forward Thaddeus Young). From the sound of it, buyouts aren’t likely to thin Minnesota’s roster much, either, because it’s not something team president and head coach Flip Saunders likes to do. Neal might get one but that probably would be it, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Saunders maintained he wouldn’t trade Martin because his scoring ability, veteran sense and efficiency made him too valuable to do so. And he didn’t, even though national reports said he was on the market.

“Flip and I had good laughs about what was being said,” Martin said. “I was pretty certain I wasn’t being traded from talking with him. He just told me I had a better chance getting hit by a car walking across the street.”

One report suggested the Wolves would buy out Martin if they didn’t trade him. He has two years and nearly $14 million left on his contract.

Not happening.

“Thanks to Miley Cyrus, I guess ignorant things still go viral,” Martin said.

“I’m not into buyouts,” Saunders said. “I’m not into paying a guy to play for someone else. It has to make sense for the team, not just the player.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Golden State coach Steve Kerr likes the sound of that “restricted” label in front of Draymond Green‘s free agency. … The Clippers tried to make a move but failed, as Doc Rivers reminded everyone games are not played on paper. … He had been through it before. But hearing his name bandied about had Clippers’ sixth man Jamal Crawford feeling a little rattled. … Boston’s Danny Ainge sounded as if his deals with Phoenix and Detroit dropped into his lap. … Ty Lawson patches things up in Denver after his post-All-Star practice, unexcused absence … The Spurs talked sadly about their fallen friend, Jerome Kersey.

2 Comments

  1. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    I would take Rondo over all those point guards who were traded.

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Let’s face it, nobody not even Rondo, has an answer for Russell Westbrook.