2012 Trade Deadline

Bynum Out 3 Weeks With Bone Bruise

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Andrew Bynum‘s first training camp with the Philadelphia 76ers will get a late start. In fact, Bynum will miss 21 straight days of basketball activity due to a bone bruise in his right knee. He had a surgical procedure performed on both knees in Germany during the offseason.

The Sixers announced Monday that he would be allowed to continue “low-impact conditioning drills.” Bynum had injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees. The Sixers said last week he was cleared to play in camp.

Bynum went to Germany for the same Orkothine therapy procedure that former teammate Kobe Bryant had done before last season. He’s had issues with both of his knees in the past. He dislocated his left knee cap in 2007-08 and had arthroscopic surgery after the regular season ended. He also has surgery on his right knee after the 2009-10 season.

The Skinny: Whatever time Bynum misses in training camp will be well worth it to ensure that the Sixers get a full 82 games, or as close to it as possible, out of a player set to become a restricted free agent at season’s end. The prized big man acquired in that blockbuster, four-team deals that also sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers and Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, will still be around his new teammates during camp and whatever chemistry they forge then should be sufficient. But this latest injury issue does raise a bit of a red flag for skeptics who wonder whether Bynum is ready for his role as the face of a franchise.

Ekpe Udoh: Difference-Maker

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks are probably pretty happy with Tuesday’s trade after their team’s 120-98 win in Golden State on Friday. Monta Ellis helped his new team score 120 points on his old team and keep pace with the New York Knicks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Ellis is the biggest name from the five-player deal that got the trade season started. Andrew Bogut, if healthy, is the best player. But the other guy the Bucks got (not the expiring contract of Kwame Brown) in the deal was the one with the best numbers.

No, I’m not talking about points, rebounds or assists.

Ekpe Udoh averaged just 4.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 96 games for Golden State. But the Warriors, who were 45-51 in games Udoh played, outscored their opponents by an incredible 255 points in Udoh’s 1,856 minutes, and were outscored by 512 in his 3,944 minutes on the bench.

The advanced numbers show that Golden State was much better on both ends of the floor when Udoh was in the game.

Warriors efficiency with Udoh on and off the floor, last two seasons (prior to trade)

Udoh on/off floor MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
On floor 1,856 94.7 107.8 99.6 +8.2 +255
Off floor 3,944 97.3 103.5 109.6 -6.1 -512

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Ellis was the Warrior teammate who shared the floor most with Udoh. The two were a plus-179 in 1,270 minutes together. Without Udoh, Ellis was a minus-465 in 3,322 minutes with the Warriors over the last two seasons. (more…)

Lakers, Clippers Vie for Trade Grade

Beating 28 other teams for an NBA championship no longer is enough for the Los Angeles Lakers. Beating their Staples Center roommates, the Los Angeles Clippers, is of utmost importance now, too, in a way that it never was prior to the Clippers’ big intra-arena triumph in the Chris Paul Sweepstakes back in December.

So every opportunity for the two franchises to joust on the same battleground provides a chance to assess winners and losers. Or in the case of Thursday’s moves and non-moves: Which L.A. team won on NBA trade deadline day?

The Clippers, as third team in on the Denver-Washington deal that swapped Nene and JaVale McGee, acquired Wizards shooting guard Nick Young. Long considered to be a conscienceless gunner whose greatest fame came earlier this month when he hoisted a layup attempt completely over the backboard, Young was dumped by Washington in its attempt to appear more serious. But he could end up starting for the Clippers and he came at a bargain price (Brian Cook and a second-round pick). Here’s a snipped of what Helene Elliott wrote for the Los Angeles Times:

“You’re not going to replace a Chauncey Billups, his experience and his leadership and what he brings to the court,” Coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I think Nick will give us another explosive scorer out there.”

The deal wasn’t finalized until two hours before the Clippers squandered a 17-point lead over the Steve Nash-less Phoenix Suns in a 91-87 loss at Staples Center that left them 9-11 since Billups exited the lineup. Young, who averaged 16.6 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting for the woeful Wizards, isn’t expected to make his Clippers debut until Tuesday.

That delay postpones the thorny decision on how Del Negro will handle an even bigger glut of guards alongside Paul. “A good problem to have,” [GM Neil] Olshey said. For now, it looks like Young will start and Randy Foye will go back to the bench.

“Of course that’s the biggest issue, managing the personnel, managing the minutes and trying to make it all work in terms of chemistry,” Del Negro said. “And this group is just getting together. We’ll see how it all comes together. I’m not sure there’s a perfect game plan now.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, added guard Ramon Sessions, dumped veteran Derek Fisher and failed to do anything else capable of moving their needle, be it trading Pau Gasol for something flashy or taking a chance on Michael Beasley’s potential. Sessions is a young, athletic player who has been available pretty much constantly, and Fisher is a sentimental fan’s favorite for his long service and clutch shooting who is closing in on his 38th birthday.

L.A. moved Fisher to Houston with a first-round pick for backup big man Jordan Hill, and they sent out Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and a 2012 first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Sessions and guard Christian Eyenga. Not all that exciting, done as much to dump salary (Fisher is due $3.4 million next season, Walton more than $6 million) and minimize luxury-tax liabilities.

But Sessions is expected to fit well in coach Mike Brown’s pick-and-roll sets and, within a narrow range of options, can create scoring plays for himself. Hill could provide some help up front. And there’s one more thing to consider before giving the Clippers the better trade grade from Thursday.

After getting singed by the Phoenix Suns Thursday night, blowing a 17-point lead in the process, the Clippers had a closed-door meeting that lasted more than an hour. There was speculation about an altercation between guard Mo Williams and Del Negro, and L.A. Times beat writer Broderick Turner wrote:

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who finally had one of his better games (11 points, nine rebounds) for a change, was sarcastic with the media after the meeting, saying they were “waiting” for the media to enter, which finally happened at 11:05 p.m. Thursday.

Kenyon Martin joked about the NCAA tournament.

What wasn’t a joke was the Clippers blowing a 17-point lead to a Suns team that didn’t play starters Steve Nash or Grant Hill because Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry wanted to rest his stars because the team was playing the second of back-to-back-to-back games.

“It was very productive,” Blake Griffin said about the meeting. “And it wasn’t a point-the-finger-at-somebody meeting. It was good. … But it wasn’t about guys trying to get their feelings hurt, guys trying to hurt people’s feelings. It was about this is real. We’ve got a good team and we’ve got to do better.”

The glut of guards, the chemistry questions and Del Negro’s own history from his time in Chicago (he had an altercation with Bulls VP John Paxson two years ago) make it hard, then, to stamp “winners” on the Clippers. Even in the L.A. competition, even just on trade day.

Nets Pick Up Pieces Left Behind By Dwight

ORLANDO — It was a schedule-maker’s cruel idea, putting the Nets in Orlando the day after Dwight Howard officially broke their hearts. But there they were, unloading themselves from the team bus for the morning practice, stepping inside Amway Center feeling a bit emptier, and certainly in no hurry to see Howard on the home bench later in the evening.

“We’ll survive,” said Nets coach Avery Johnson.

Had Dwight had a change of heart for the 4,576th time Thursday and refused to return to Orlando for at least one more year, the scene at the Amway Center would be totally different. The building, not even two years old yet, would resemble … well, Prudential Center in Newark, the soon-to-be vacated home of the Nets. Without Dwight, the energy surely would’ve been sucked from a team that’s sitting in third place in the East, and a franchise that’s one of the best-run in the NBA.

Basically, the Magic would’ve turned into the Nets.

One player made all the difference. (more…)

Contenders Doze At Trade Deadline

In Miami, crickets. In Chicago, the gentle whoosh of wind on an eerie 80-degree day in mid-March (take that, Dwight Howard). In Oklahoma City, tumbleweeds.

While so many others throughout the league scrambled at the NBA trade deadline to plug holes or add pieces that might aid in getting after a championship three months from now, the very best teams did nothing. Given what little time remains to adapt to significant changes, the shortage of practice days to acclimate or road trips to bond, doing nothing seems like a wise non-maneuver for top contenders.

The Heat still need size but figure they can find someone on the scrap heap of buyouts now that deadline day has passed. The Bulls have most of the answers in-house, though unfortunately also in the trainers room. The Thunder have been set for a while and weren’t interested, either, in change for change’s or for headlines’ sake. Only San Antonio did anything, and they took the past-is-now route by trading for Stephen Jackson.

Then there was Philadelphia, which didn’t want to mess with a winning formula but managed to upgrade nonetheless, acquiring swingman Sam Young from Memphis for the rights to center Ricky Sanchez, a player it had no use for. Young, a career 6.9 ppg guy and 45.5 percent shooter whose numbers are down this season, was available primarily because Memphis had some salary-cap housekeeping to do. According to Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Sixers might have stumbled upon that rare occurrence when a deal that seems too good to be true actually is pretty darn good:

Young is a 6-6, 220-pound bulldog who weighs as much as Sanchez and who doesn’t care if you know his name. He will be a selfless bench player who can give Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala breaks. Occasionally, he will get all Joe Dumars on annoying hybrid players like, oh, LeBron James.

“Sam’s overall skill set can be a valuable asset to our team and he adds to our depth at two positions,” team president Rod Thorn said in a statement.

“We needed to add some toughness,” said Sixers coach and chemist Doug Collins, who clearly is wary of altering the delicate formula that has his young squad atop the Atlantic Division. “There was nothing out there that you would say you would change your team for.”

Will Young get the Sixers into the No. 1 or No. 2 spots in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket? Not likely. He probably won’t do much, if anything, to stop Miami’s dominance over Philadelphia in the short term; the Heat takes a nine-game winning streak in the series into Friday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center and has won 11 of the past 13 meetings.

But Sam Young is addition without subtraction, a helpful piece now and for offseason planning, and the sort of things the less-desperate, more-serious teams prefer when a season is getting short and things mostly are going well.

Spurs turn to Old Jack city for help

Some romances make no sense, in that Sandra Bullock-with-Jesse James, Lisa Marie-and-Michael way. Same with bro-mances, or in the most immediate NBA terms, Stephen Jackson and Gregg Popovich down in San Antonio.

On the surface, these two would seem to have all the compatibility of Deion Sanders and Vince Lombardi, Latrell Sprewell and P.J. Carlesimo. Or rice paper and a thunderstorm. Yet here they are – one of the league’s most incorrigible players and one of its leading practitioners of my-way-or-highway team management – getting together again, reprising a relationship that worked out well enough nine years ago, when Jackson was a valuable 25-year-old contributor (third in scoring, fourth in minutes) on the Spurs’ 2003 championship team. (more…)

Teardown & Teardrops In Portland

Greg Oden, they hardly knew ye. No longer a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, the hobbled center and ill-fated No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft was released by the team Thursday and goes off to seek cures – surgical, emotional, inspirational – for what ails him, with the best-case scenario of a Roy Hobbs-like return to the NBA someday. Hopefully, it should be added, before Oden grows as old as he always has looked.

The Oden era ended for Portland soon after the NBA’s trade deadline passed, but then, so did the Gerald Wallace era, the Marcus Camby era and most of all the Nate McMillan era. The Trail Blazers folded Thursday and immediately stepped to the front of the humiliation line, ready for their tarring, their feathering and their smearing on a clown grease paint as they got about getting a whole lot worse before they can get much better.


Trade Deadline Newswire

  • The latest breaking news, rumors and analysis from Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

> Nuggets send Nene to Wizards in three-team swap
The Denver Nuggets traded Nene to Washington for JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf, with the Clippers helping facilitate the deal by sending Brian Cook and a future second-round draft pick to Washington for Nick Young.

> Reports: Blazers Fire McMillan
After 7 1/2 seasons on the job in Portland, Nate McMillan is out as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple reports. Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the move, which was confirmed by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

> End Of A Lakers Era For Derek Fisher
The Lakers have parted way with longtime point guard Derek Fisher, according to multiple reports, trading him to the Houston Rockets just before the NBA’s 3 p.m. trade deadline on Thursday.

> Trail Blazers Send Camby To Houston
Veteran center Marcus Camby is on the move again, this time to Houston to join the Houston that continues the Portland Trail Blazers’ roster trade deadline roster makeover. The deal was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

> Stephen Jackson And The Spurs?
The Golden State Warriors are trying to use Stephen Jackson to land a first round pick and Richard Jefferson from the San Antonio Spurs, according to league sources.

> Lakers Shore Up Backcourt
With a point guard corps that includes championship-tested veteran (and starter) Derek Fisher and his veteran backup, Steve Blake, the Lakers were looking to add a younger body in the backcourt that perhaps provides the best of both players’ skills. L.A. got exactly that by swinging at trade with Cleveland for point guard Ramon Sessions.

> Report: Nets Get Wallace From Blazers
Dwight Howard waiving his early termination option took him off the trade market and out of the free-agency pool for 2011-12. That put a kink in the rebuilding plans for New Jersey, which was on Howard’s preseason draft “wish list”. The Nets didn’t leave trade deadline day empty handed though, as they swung a deal for Gerald Wallace from the Blazers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!Sports.

> Dwight Will Stay … For Now Anyway
OK, it’s over. Move along. Nothing more to see here. Dwight Howard went from being the face of the trade deadline to being an innocent bystander. He signed away his Early Termination Option, meaning he’ll be with the Magic at least until the summer of 2013 (at a cost to Orlando of $19.4 million).

> Clippers Figure To Stand Pat
After weeks of window shopping for a new shooting guard to replace the injured Chauncey Billups, the Clippers will let the trade deadline pass, barring an unexpected late development in the final hours.

> Gasol Doesn’t Expect To Be Traded
After hearing his name tossed around in trade rumors for months Pau Gasol does not expect to be traded by the Los Angeles Lakers today, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

> Pacers Get Barbosa
The Indiana Pacers, looking to augment their reserves for the stretch run, will acquire veteran guard Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors for a second-round pick, according to a league source.

> Sixers land Young in trade with Grizz

The Memphis Grizzlies have traded swingman Sam Young to the Philadelphia 76ers for future considerations, according to a source.

> Magic Waiting On Dwight’s Signature
The Orlando Magic are now “expecting to get” a signed “opt in” amendment from Dwight Howard and his agent this morning that will keep the All-Star center in Orlando for the 2012-13 season, according to two sources.

> Report: Celtics Interested In Kaman
The Celtics have been hard up on the frontline of late, what with Jermaine O’Neal nursing a wrist injury for the last 10 games and then, the recent disturbing news about reserve big man Chris Wilcox, who faces surgery for an enlarged aorta and will miss the rest of the season.

> Arenas On Grizzlies’ Radar
In their season-long pursuit of another long-range shooter, the Memphis Grizzlies have turned their attention to free agent option Gilbert Arenas, according to the Commercial Appeal.

> Beasley, Crawford on the move
Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley could be on the move today with the trade deadline just hours away. So could Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford.

> Yet Another Reversal: Howard To Opt In For 2012-13 In Orlando?
In one of the wildest 24 hour stretches of NBA trade deadline history, Dwight Howard has finally changed his mind about changing his mind one last time and will reportedly not leave the Orlando Magic via trade today or free agency this summer.

— This post is updated by NBA.com staff

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Nuggets Swap Nene For McGee

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In a day filled with moves both major and minor, obvious and perhaps not so obvious, one complex deal stood out above the crowd here at the hideout.

The Denver Nuggets traded Nene to Washington for JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf, with the Clippers helping facilitate the deal by sending Brian Cook and a future second-round draft pick to Washington for Nick Young.

The Clippers clearly got what they needed in Young, a scoring machine who can play alongside Chris Paul in the backcourt but also has the size to work at small forward as well. But what the Nuggets and Wizards get out of this deal remains a little a murky at this point.

McGee is a talented but enigmatic player who has struggled to put it all together in Washington, But he does offer the Nuggets some size, athleticism and big-time defensive potential for a very reasonable price. Toss in the fact that he’s a restricted free agent after this season, the salary-cap relief alone provided the Nuggets with a financial opportunity they simply could not pass up.

But it throws their December signing of Nene to a five-year, $67 million deal onto the top of the buyer’s remorse pile. Apparently Nene’s injury history and struggles this season overshadowed his value (13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds) to a Nuggets team in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.

On paper it seems to make good sense, but is Nene the low-post anchor the Wizards needs to help point guard John Wall come into his own? And does McGee, even in the short-term and at such a discount compared to Nene, really make the Nuggets better in a playoff series in the rugged Western Conference?

There simply are not definitive answers to either one of those questions right now. That’s not acceptable for the Nuggets, a team that has to mind its money in the wake of their work at the trade deadline last season, when they sent Carmelo Anthony to New York in a blockbuster deal that many observers feared would decimate their team.

What’s not clear is what impact rookie Kenneth Faried‘s play had on the Nuggets’ decision. He’s played so well as of late (11 points and 8 rebounds in his last 10 games and scored a career-high 20 points to go with 12 boards in 34 minutes Monday in a 119-116 overtime win over the Kings), the front office has to take notice and wonder if they could get the same sort of production from Faried as they have from Nene.

If this deal for the Nuggets was more about the future of Faried than anything else, then it makes much more sense for the Nuggets. Because for all of the dollars they might have saved by trading Nene, they also needed a deal that makes sense for a team that’s already a playoff squad.

Reports: Blazers Fire McMillan

NBA.com Staff Reports

After 7 1/2 seasons on the job in Portland, Nate McMillan is out as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple reports. Yahoo! SportsAdrian Wojnarowski first reported the move, which was confirmed by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. McMillan compiled a 266-269 record and made the playoffs three straight seasons, all of which ended in first-round losses for the Blazers.

The Trail Blazers, who started 7-2, are 20-23 and coming off an embarrassing 121-79 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday. The front office shook up the roster earlier Thursday before the league’s trade deadline, trading center Marcus Camby and forward Gerald Wallace.

Portland had been sacked in recent years by the injury bug, most notably to former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden and then last season with former All-Star guard Brandon Roy. Although Roy did return for the playoffs and had a monster performance in Game 4 against Dallas last season, his troublesome knees forced him into retirement and Portland used the NBA’s salary amnesty provision on his contract before the season.

Wojnarowski reports that Portland assistant Kaleb Canales would take over the coaching duties on an interim basis.