Posts Tagged ‘Chris Duhon’

Baby Steps For Nash, Lakers In Debut





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It’s still a bit strange seeing him in purple and gold.

We know, we know, get over it already.

But just like it’s taking Steve Nash time to transition into his role as the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard, it’s taking a little time for us to figure out exactly how this grand experiment is going to work.

Without the benefit of seeing Dwight Howard out there with them, and with Kobe Bryant in limited doses during the preseason, imaginations to tend to run a bit wild with the possibilities.

A preseason loss to the Warriors where we don’t see enough of the Lakers’ core group together for long stretches makes it hard to make a true evaluation of what they are working with. Everyone knows what sort of potential is there. Waiting to see it, though, has to be a bit nerve-wracking for Lakers fans.

It’s tough for the rest of us, hoops voyeurs who are just curious to see this what the league’s big top circus will look like when it comes to our respective towns.

There were, however, positive signs. Folks who observe the Lakers’ every move saw traces of the powerhouse that could be, of the cohesiveness we all know is needed if the Lakers are to compete at the championship level expected:

Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Times Results don’t matter in preseason games. So don’t suddenly demand the Lakers should blow up their roster after losing to Golden State without center Andrew Bogut and shooting guard Stephen Curry. But when the Lakers played with their starters in the first half, they showed that their chemistry looks strong. Steve Nash (five points, three assists) looked unbelievable throwing a cross-court no-look pass to Kobe Bryant, who then connected with Pau Gasol on an alley oop play. Nash also broke some ankles by shaking Jarrett Jack with a crossover that nearly made him fall before nailing an open three-pointer.

The Lakers also ran the revamped offense that includes elements of the Princeton system with fluidity. Rarely did the Lakers ever go into isolation sets. Each player appeared intent on following Steve Nash’s lead (five points, three assists) and finding the open player for a shot. Kobe Bryant, who posted 10 points on two of seven shooting and three assists, appeared intent on facilitating. The Lakers set strong screens and actually played off of them.

They routinely covered for each other on defense. The floor spacing gave plenty of room for Metta World Peace to operate outside and score 10 points on three-of-six shooting. It’s fair to say that this reflects how much calmer and easier it’s been for the Lakers to absorb Brown’s teaching concepts with more time and a solidified roster. As a result, the Lakers look a lot more exciting and fluid on offense than last year’s disaster.

The two names you need to lock in on are Mike Brown and Metta World Peace. As important Kobe, Nash, Howard and Gasol are, the two guys who could very well hold the key to this season for the Lakers are the coach and the wild card personality on the roster.

(more…)

Dwight update: Not close to a trade with Rockets




Friday came and went, and just like all the other days that have passed since June 24, 2004, Dwight Howard was still a member of the Orlando Magic.

Despite the Houston Rockets using the amnesty provision to waive forward Luis Scola, there was no trade of Howard from Orlando to Houston, and sources briefed on the talks between the two sides said the teams weren’t nearly as close to a trade as many have speculated. That can change in an instant, of course, but late Friday, there was no deal.

Talks between the two sides are “not active,” one source said Friday.

“There’s nothing happening,” another source said.

The Rockets, according to a league source briefed on the discussions, are willing to take one bad contract back from the Magic, not two or three, as has been speculated. And in return, Houston will give up one of the their three first-round picks in last month’s Draft– Jeremy Lamb, Royce White or Terrence Jones –but only one.

The Rockets would be willing to send a future draft pick to Orlando –presumably the Lottery-protected first-rounder Houston received this week from Toronto for guard Kyle Lowry — and send a veteran player to the Magic, helping Orlando clear $10 to $15 million worth of cap room, in exchange for the six-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

(more…)

Rosen’s Report: New York at Orlando




Jeremy Lin is down for the count and who knows when/if Amar’e Stoudemire will return to action. That means what’s left of the Knicks’ roster will have to carry New York for the duration. While the Knicks are still battling for the last playoff slot, they also have their sights set on the No. 6 seed in order to play Orlando in the opening round instead of either Miami or Chicago. And on the heels of last week’s trampling of the Magic, a repeat performance would not only greatly enhance the achievement of both of these goals, but also make Orlando shiver in anticipation of encountering New York in the money season. After their fourth-quarter meltdown in Indiana on Tuesday, the Knicks also has to prove that they do have a necessary killer instinct.

On the flip side, the Magic need the win to demonstrate that their humiliating performance in New York was a fluke, and that they are indeed legitimate championship contenders.

HOW THE KNICKS CAN WIN

  • Forget about LeBron, Kobe and/or Kevin DurantCarmelo Anthony is the most versatile scorer in the game. If KD is a better long-distant dialer, Anthony’s 3-point shooting is more reliable than the other two elite scorers. The difference is ‘Melo’s dynamic post-up game. With Stoudemire out, Anthony is now filling the power forward slot, which makes his offense even more unstoppable (plus he’s a better rebounder than his predecessor). There’s certainly no way that either Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson (if he makes a miraculous recovery from a freshly sprained ankle), or Glen Davis can put up any meaningful defensive resistance without considerable help. The problem is the Knicks’ spacing forces defenders to come a long way to double Anthony. And should Anthony bring his A-game into the last period, the Magic will run out of tricks.
  • Assuming that Dwight Howard has recuperated from the infamous phantom punch, Tyson Chandler has the length and the defensive chops to make him labor mightily to score in the low post.  In addition, Howard gets flustered when he’s doubled on the move and tends to force shots, make wayward passes, or simply commit turnovers.  Chandler’s timely dive-cuts on high screen/rolls should also put him in dunk city. (more…)

Report: Magic won’t trade Dwight

UPDATE, 2:54 p.m. ET: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Magic have ended all trade talks for Dwight Howard. Stay tuned to NBA.com for more on this story.

* * *

For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU – Could Dwight Howard be traded before Chris Paul? A few days ago, the answer would have been “no way.” But with Paul talks in somewhat of a holding pattern, the Howard rumors reached a fever pitch in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the report

Talks between the Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets for a Dwight Howard blockbuster trade have gathered momentum over the past several days, and the framework of a possible four-team deal has taken shape, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Front office sources say Nets general manager Billy King has aggressively pursued the necessary players and picks to try and satisfy Orlando’s demands for Howard, one of the league’s most dominating and popular players.

New Jersey and Orlando are working toward a core deal that would send center Brook Lopez and another significant player obtained elsewhere to the Magic for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, sources said.

The Magic are listening, but there is still real doubt about their willingness to completely give up hope on convincing Howard to re-sign with them after he opts out of his contract in July. Howard has been willing to sign extensions with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, but the Nets’ future in Brooklyn has been most intriguing to him.

What other teams could be involved? You would have to imagine they’d be in the Western Conference, where GMs would have motivation to keep Howard in the East and away from the Los Angeles Lakers.

In fact, a surprising candidate is involved in the talks, according to Marc Stein and Chad Ford over at ESPN.com:

The New Jersey Nets have entered into serious talks with the Orlando Magic on a multiteam trade scenario that would bring Dwight Howard to the Nets, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told ESPN.com that the most active proposal discussed by the teams would send Portland Trail Blazers swingman Gerald Wallace to the Magic along with Nets center Brook Lopez as two of the main pieces Orlando would receive in exchange for Howard.

As part of such a trade, which could be expanded to include a fourth team, sources say Orlando would also shed the long-term contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon — both absorbed by New Jersey — while also potentially receiving future draft considerations.

Other players would have to be added to the deal to make the salary-cap math work, but sources said Portland would receive multiple first-round picks as part of the exchange for surrendering Wallace and facilitating the trade.

Yet it remains to be seen if the Brooklyn-bound Nets can convince the Magic to indeed go through with trading Howard before the season starts. Earlier this week, one source familiar with the Magic’s thinking insisted to ESPN.com that they were not yet prepared to trade Howard away, clinging to the hope that he can be talked into staying.

Howard himself is known for changing his views on the matter on a near-daily basis, torn by his desire to move to a more glamorous market like Brooklyn or Los Angeles and the prospect of staying with the team that drafted him and delivering the championship to Orlando that Shaquille O’Neal could not.

One source said that the Nets were moving “aggressively” in their pursuit of Howard after Nene — New Jersey’s top free-agent target — agreed to terms Tuesday night on a five-year, $67 million deal to return to the Denver Nuggets.

Could a blockbuster involving the second-best player in the league go down before the season starts? That’s Orlando’s decision, but a deal would be much easier to pull off before the Nets spend money on free agents, even if they’re only handing out one-year deals to preserve their 2012 cap space.

Labor Talks: 72-Game Season Or Bust

– For labor updates, follow: @daldridgetnt | @AschNBA

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The choice seems rather simple from here, it’s either the 72-game season or bust. Take the deal and start the season in roughly a month or blow it all up.

And this time, it’s all on the players.

They asked for the owners to move a bit, show a little flexibility and come off that ultimatum talk that freaked everybody out earlier this week. Well, you got what you asked for and the proposal is in your hands (for review by the player reps from each team by Monday or Tuesday at the latest).

If time is what the union needs, that is what they will get with the weekend. Look it over, soak it in, chew on the details and think long and hard about what you do next, because if we’re this close to seeing the 2011-12 season and it somehow slips away between now and early next week … there will be no mercy from the masses.

NBA Commissioner David Stern made it clear late last night that there will be no better offer from the owners. This is it. Best offer on the table. Take it or leave it.

***

Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated: On the 133rd day of the lockout, commissioner David Stern called the players’ bluff: Are you going to accept the new era for the NBA, or are you going to decertify? It is now time for everyone at the table to show his cards. Players finished 23 collective hours of negotiation Thursday with a final offer from the owners that Stern hoped would end the lockout with minimal damage to the season. On Monday or Tuesday, the union representatives from all 30 teams will meet to decide whether they should put this offer to the entire membership for a vote. Should the players accept, Stern said they will be able to salvage a 72-game season starting Dec. 15, with the playoffs and the NBA Finals starting one week later than normal. The final offer comes amid a swelling movement among the players to pursue decertification. They had been hoping to force the owners to compromise in negotiations by threatening to take the union’s case to court. Union executive director Billy Hunter acknowledged this week that as many as 200 players were prepared to sign a petition that would send the union down a path of 45 days or longer to potential decertification. Now the players face a hard choice of gambling on the courts and the uncertain bargaining leverage of decertifying, or instead embracing the certainty of a proposal that Stern insists is the best deal they’ll ever see. Union president Derek Fisher declined to assess the quality of the offer, other than to acknowledge it wasn’t good enough to earn his outright approval. Hunter said he was going to leave it up to the player representatives. “It’s not the greatest proposal in the world, but I have an obligation to at least present it to our membership,” said Hunter. “So that’s what we’re going to do.”

(more…)

Point made, Raymond Felton

Amar’e Stoudemire is the toast of the big town, and that’s probably appropriate, but New York should really save a little bubbly for the other new guy.

Raymond Felton is really having a satisfying season, lost amid all the fuss about Stoudemire’s MVP candidacy. He’s a refreshing change from a ghastly string of point guards that inhabited the Garden over the last decade. Maybe we shouldn’t even list their names and bring back bad memories. Oh, well, why not. Here are some of the starters, full-time and part-time, who kept the seat cold for Felton over the last dozen years:

Chris Duhon: Really, really foul shooter.

Nate Robinson: Frank Isola, the fine beat writer for the Daily News, nicknamed him “Lil Him” because that’s who Nate played for, himself.

Steve Francis: Stevie Blunder was the symbol of the brief and treacherous Isiah Thomas-Larry Brown era.

Stephon Marbury: Oh, do we have to go there?

Howard Eisley: Not only did Scott Layden give this guy a big contract while they were in Utah, he also brought him to New York.

Mark Jackson, Part II: Nothing like Part I.

Charlie Ward: Not bad; just a better point guard on the football field.

Chris Childs: A tough guy who loved New York. The nightclubs, that is.

Felton has quickly developed a bond with Stoudemire, not Steve Nash-like, but close enough. He’s averaging career highs of 18.7 points and nine assists since signing as a free agent from the Bobcats. Thank you very much, Michael Jordan. If he keeps this up, don’t be surprised if Felton gets some love from Eastern coaches when it comes time to fill out the All-Star reserves.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the Knicks’ universe from wishing for Chris Paul. So maybe all Felton is doing is keeping the seat warm for the next guy.

Getting the Magic point

Posted by Fran Blinebury

Complete Summer League coverage on NBA.com
ORLANDO –
Turns out that while most of the NBA seemed to be camped out on the doorstep of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when the free agency period opened on July 1, Magic general manager Otis Smith was ringing the bell of Chris Duhon.

“It came down to he liked us and we liked him, weren’t courting other people and he wasn’t courting other people,” Smith said of the point guard who agreed to a four-year, $15-million deal with the Magic. “It just made sense.”

Smith made his first public comments on the deal just a few minutes after Orlando’s summer league team dropped to 0-2 after a 78-73 loss to Utah.

“When you look at Chris, I think you look at a guy who defends the position,” Smith said. “And defend the position well. Also, you have to look at the guy who could possibly start for you in the event you have an injury for that position. You also have to do your due diligence in that area.”

Smith said the Magic will use part of the mid-level exception to sign Duhon. He also said the move does not affect any plans the club has for free agents Matt Barnes and Jason Williams.