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Morning shootaround — Feb. 24


VIDEO: Highlights from Tuesday’s games

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Whiteside, Heat not intimidated by Warriors | Report: Sixers nearly traded for Schroeder | Rambis wants players ‘angry’ over losing

No. 1: Whiteside, Heat not intimidated by Warriors — Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been in an on-and-off war of words with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green in the past. He’s really not looking to get into that again. But as the Heat ready to host the Warriors tonight (7:30 ET, League Pass), Whiteside is undoubtedly looking forward to proving himself to his past foil and the team at large thinks it may have a decent shot against the defending champs tonight, writes Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:

Knee soreness kept Hassan Whiteside out of the Miami’s Heat lineup the first go-around against Golden State.

It’s hard to imagine anything other than being struck by a freight train would keep the 7-foot, 265-pound center from playing in Wednesday night’s rematch at AmericanAirlines Arena.

He has a score to settle with Draymond Green. Well, a Twitter feud to be exact.

“He basically said he’s got more money than me and that I play in the D-League,” Whiteside said Tuesday of his war of words from last August with the 6-7, 230-pound power forward over small ball and whether it would work against a traditional center.

“I just said, ‘Small ball only works when you’ve only got big guys that don’t score.’ I wasn’t even talking about him. Then fans starting [sending him those Twitter messages] saying, ‘Hassan is talking about you.’ He was like, ‘Can you score?’ I was like, ‘If you guard me you’ll find out.’ [Then he said], ‘I got $80 million reasons to flop. The D-League is not one.’ I don’t know what the money has to do with it. But I guess, OK.”

Whiteside, 26, and Green, 25, deleted those tweets long ago. But the exchange still obviously means something to Whiteside — and fans who have kept the talk going — and will be one of the more interesting subplots when the 50-5 defending NBA champions take the court Wednesday.

Whiteside, 26, and Green, 25, deleted those tweets long ago. But the exchange still obviously means something to Whiteside — and fans who have kept the talk going — and will be one of the more interesting subplots when the 50-5 defending NBA champions take the court Wednesday.

The Warriors — chasing Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls for the NBA record of 72 wins — behind league MVP Steph Curry, three-point master Klay Thompson and the do-it-all Green haven’t changed since the Heat last saw them. Dwyane Wade, who led Miami with 20 points and 11 assists in that loss, said Tuesday it will take a near-perfect game to beat them.

But this Heat team — playing without captain and leading scorer Chris Bosh — is different than the one the Warriors last saw.

Spoelstra has essentially stopped running plays for three-point shooters (Miami ranked next-to-last in scoring and 28th in three-point shooting before the All-Star break) and keeping his small forwards and power forwards out on the wings.

Behind point guard Goran Dragic, Miami — 3-0 since the All-Star break — has turned into a fast-paced, uptempo team that relies heavily on Dragic, Luol Deng and Justise Winslow to cut and drive to the basket, and for Whiteside to lead the charge in winning the rebounding battle and keeping opponents out of the paint.

Before the All-Star break, the Heat was 14-15 against teams slated to make the playoffs and 3-8 against the six best teams in the league. After a blowout loss to the Spurs before the break, Wade and Bosh said they didn’t think the Heat was ready to play with the league elite just yet.

Is the Heat ready to take down one of the league’s best teams now?

“No one in this locker room is intimidated by them,” Winslow said. “I mean, we respect them. In the end, it’s all about earning respect, giving it. But no one is intimidated.”


VIDEO: Wade, Heat looking forward to Warriors matchup

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No. 2:Report: Sixers nearly pulled off trade with Hawks — The Atlanta Hawks had some big names in the trade rumors a week ago, foremost among them being star center Al Horford and star point guard Jeff Teague. Atlanta ended up not making a deal at the deadline, but according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers were working on a deal with the Hawks to pick up Teague’s backup, Dennis Schroder:

The 76ers were prepared to make major changes to their roster to get the point guard they covet at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

The team offered a packages that included shooting guard Nik Stauskas, point guard Ish Smith, and a 2016 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to several league sources. The Sixers also considered adding a player with an expiring contract, the sources say.

Former Sixer JaKarr Sampson was said to be player with the expiring contract in the deal. The Sixers were able to package Smith in the deal, even though he was acquired less than 60 days before, because the team was below the salary-cap floor.

The uncertainty surrounding the re-signing of Smith this summer was a holdup for the Hawks, according to one of the sources. The point guard, whose stock rose this season, is expected to have plenty of suitors when he becomes a free agent this summer.

“I feel like at trade deadline, if the right deal comes, everyone is at risk of being traded. That’s just the way this business goes,” Stauskas said. “There’s nothing to take personally about it. There’s nothing to get upset about. If anything, it’s a compliment that the other team wants you. That’s the way I look at it.

“At the end of the day, no trades were made. So rumors and rumors, people are going to talk. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie does not comment about trades. Sixers coach Brett Brown disputed the possible trade Tuesday during his media availability before the home game against the Orlando Magic. According to Stauskas, Brown laughed when he told him about the report.

“But I think just in general, you just ignore it,” Brown said of having his players deal with trade talks. “And tell them long before it starts to happen that it’s going to be a part of your world with me or with others.”

But league source are adamant that the Sixers offered those players in a trade.

Schroder is signed until the end of the 2016-17 season. The Hawks have the option to give him a qualifying offer of $3.8 million in 2017-18. A source said that the Sixers were expected to sign Schroder to a lucrative deal.

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No. 3: Rambis wants players ‘angry’ over losing — Yesterday in this space, we brought you news that after the New York Knicks’ loss on Monday to the Toronto Raptors, star Carmelo Anthony was in some ways questioning his teammates’ desire. That message apparently got across to interim Knicks coach Kurt Rambis, who not only backed what Anthony had to say, but added on to it. ESPN.com’s Ian Bagley has more:

Carmelo Anthony isn’t the only member of the New York Knicks who is frustrated with the team’s recent struggles.

“We’re all frustrated,” interim coach Kurt Rambis said Tuesday. “We can’t accept this. For the organization, for our team, ourselves as individuals, the coaching staff. We can’t accept losing. I want players to be angry. I want players to be frustrated. That’s the right attitude to have.”

Anthony expressed his frustration following the Knicks’ 27-point loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday. He said after the game that he hoped teammates hadn’t started to accept losing.

“You don’t want to get used to losing,” he said.

New York has lost 12 of 14 and is 1-3 since Rambis took over for the fired Derek Fisher. Rambis on Tuesday said he might consider tweaking the starting lineup.

“We’re considering a lot of things; we’ll see,” Rambis said. “We’ll have some conversations with the coaching staff, management and players. We’ve got to find a way to play at a much higher level, and more intense level and for longer periods of time.”

Rambis has said several times that his “No. 1” goal with the club is to qualify for the postseason. He and the Knicks face long odds to reach that goal.

New York will enter Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers 6½ games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 24 games remaining. According to ESPN’s playoff odds tracker, the Knicks have a 0.1 percent chance of making the playoffs.


VIDEO: Kurt Rambis talks after Tuesday’s practice

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Golden State Warriors already love having Anderson Varejao around in the locker room and on the team … The Los Angeles Lakers may shut down rookie Larry Nance Jr. (knee) for the season … Detroit Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson (shoulder) is likely out for two weeks … The Washington Wizards are reportedly close to signing J.J. Hickson … New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik could be out two weeks with an ankle sprainA telling look at the Morris twins … A handful of teams may be interested in adding Michael Beasley for the stretch run …

One Comment

  1. Well, in my opinion, I don’t think Shroeder, if he was traded to the 76ers, would have been as successful as say, Reggie Jackson. He needs one more year off the bench. I like him (and Big League Teague too) as a Hawks fan, so I’m glad he (they) didn’t get traded. Let’s Go Hawks!!!!!!!


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