Posts Tagged ‘Joe Smith’

Horford’s Playoff Return Up In The Air





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Just because he was cleared to return to the practice floor last week did not mean that Hawks All-Star center Al Horford was definitely coming back for the first round of the playoffs.

It only meant there was a chance he might return from the torn pectoral muscle injury and surgery that cost him all but 11 games during this abbreviated regular season. And that chances appears to be slipping away.

In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports this afternoon, Horford pushed back on the idea of returning for the Hawks’ first round series:

“I don’t feel like it is realistic that I can play for the playoffs. Obviously, if we advance and start going we will see. But as of right now the way I feel I think I am out for the playoffs.”

There have been rumblings all along that a potential return for Horford was being blown way out of proportion and that he wasn’t nearly as comfortable with returning after this type of injury as some within the organization were.

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Taking the D train to Houston

HOUSTON – The last time the Nets sent Terrence Williams packing it was off to Springfield, Mass. for a two-week stint in the NBA D-League that was supposed to change his attitude and his perspective.

This time the 6-foot-6 swingman got a more permanent change of address as he was sent to the Rockets as part of a reported three-team trade that has Joe Smith going to the Lakers and Sasha Vujacic to the Nets.

Vujacic was the fifth guard in L.A. coach Phil Jackson’s four-guard rotation and had seen his playing time drop significantly this season. The 35-year-old Smith was averaging just 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in New Jersey and, with a decent mid-range shot, will give the Lakers a few minutes on their frontline.

The deal gets the Nets two first-round draft choices (Lakers 2011, Rockets 2012) and brings their total of first-rounders in the next two seasons up to five, which they hope will strengthen their hand in a bid to pry loose Carmelo Anthony from Denver.

For the Rockets, who entered the season talking about being a contender for home-court advantage in the Western Conference playoffs and a player in any deals for big-name stars before stumbling to a 10-14 start, are now looking desperate and figure they’re taking a flyer on a 23-year-old with plenty of potential despite a nose for discontent.

Williams was clearly happy to be getting a new start. Early Tuesday evening he tweeted: “Welcome welcome, to all my Jersey fans an people it’s been real I love y’all an thanks, to HOUSTON what uppppp “go Rockets” lol.”

The Nets’ 2009 first round pick had just returned last week from his time in the D-League, which came after habitual lateness to practices, shootarounds and team meetings. He played 10 games for the Nets this season, averaging 6.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

All in all, a Rockets team that could sorely use another slashing scorer who can run the court figures this is a low-risk move that could pay off if they can somehow get through to Williams and find a sense of professionalism. And, of course, the D-League is never far away.

Nets Are Serious About ‘Melo

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If Carmelo Anthony does end up relocating to the New York area, the New Jersey Nets want him to cross the river.

They showed just how much they want to make that happen this evening when they agreed in principle to a three-team deal that sends Terrence Williams to Houston, Joe Smith to the Lakers and Sasha Vujacic and two first round draft picks (one each from the Rockets and Lakers), a deal first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

With five draft picks over the next two years, the Nets have built a war chest that allows them to present the Nuggets with an offer they can’t refuse. It’s been common knowledge since the summer that Anthony had his sights set on joining the Knicks, either via trade or as a free agent.

The Rockets, as always, find a way to get in the mix and sneak away with what could turn out to be a gem in Williams, the lottery pick turned NBA D-Leaguer who is now headed for Texas. A solid veteran presence, Smith helps the Lakers beef up their frontline while also helping the Lakers ease their luxury tax burden — his $1.35 million salary this season is scraps compared to Vujacic’s expiring $5.5 million.

The big winner in this whole affair could be the Nets. But that hinges on whether or not they are able to lure Anthony away from the Knicks, the reported leader in the Anthony sweepstakes.

An ESPN.com report earlier this week said Anthony would only sign $65 million contract extension if he was moved to the Knicks, a report Anthony refuted later.

The Nets clearly have the most colorful assortment of assets to bring to the bargaining table, all those draft picks as well as a coveted young talent in rookie big man Derrick Favors. The task of convincing ‘Melo to sign on for the long haul with the Nets is something coach Avery Johnson and billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov surely would relish, especially if it means they keep him from the rival Knicks.

If his denial is legit and he doesn’t have a Knicks-or-nothing stance at the negotiating table, the Nets are in business. If not, this could wind up being a whole lot of running in place for the Nets.

We’re two months away from the trade deadline, but the drama is already building!

Nets Try to Focus on Basketball

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – What’s been lost in the Carmelo Anthony news is that the New Jersey Nets began training camp on Saturday, holding two-a-day sessions over the weekend. So while we wonder where Anthony is going and how he could possibly face the Denver media on Monday, Avery Johnson‘s trying to get his team focused on basketball.

With a new coaching staff and 13 new players in the gym, every practice is important. There’s a new offense, new defensive principles and new teammates to learn.

Johnson won’t discuss any rumors, so while his team was in the middle of Sunday’s morning session, Nets general manager Billy King answered questions from the media. Unable to talk about any specific players or teams, King didn’t have much to say.

“We’re exploring everything, but there is no deal,” King said.

Multiple reports in the last 24 hours have the reported four-way trade either on hold or falling apart. But King characterized all the news that is out there as “comical.”

“When you’re in the know of any situation and you read or hear, it’s comical where it all goes, and all the different directions,” he said.

Still, it’s very possible that the Nets will begin the season with their current roster. And it sounded like King was preparing for that possibility.

“I’m going to plug away at this and other things to make us better,” King said, “but I’m also going to focus on what’s going on on the court, because what’s going on on the court has been pretty good the last couple of days.”

And when he was asked if he would have the same roster on Monday as he did this morning, King said only, “Could be.”

Johnson admitted that this is not the ideal way to start training camp.

“That’s the thing about coaching and playing,” the coach said. “You’ve got to be able to adjust. Things happen. Guys get phone calls.”

Devin Harris has dealt with trade rumors before. The trade that brought him to New Jersey from Dallas went back and forth for several days before it became finalized.

Derrick Favors, however, is just 19 years old, having yet to play a minute of NBA basketball. So he’s going into every practice wondering if it will be his last with the Nets. Johnson said he spoke to the rookie before practice and that Favors is “in the right frame of mind.”

Fifteen-year veteran Joe Smith is here to advise the rookie, but says that Favors “hasn’t said anything about it.”

“These guys are being professional about it,” Smith said of his new team. “There hasn’t been too much talk in our locker room.”

Brook Lopez apparently isn’t checking twitter and the web for the latest.

“I, for one, have no idea what’s going on,” Lopez said.

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Around the League

Jon the Intern checking in with this week’s team site video round-up.

We’ll start in Atlanta, where Hawks forward Joe Smith reveals his passion for music. And this is no Redick/Battier karaoke video.  Smith actually has some legitimate talent. Apparently enough for his Hawks Theme to be played in the stadium before every home game.

Take a look at Smith, AKA Joe Beast, talk about his hip-hop career:

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In Minnesota, the T-Wolves posted a hilarious video in which forward Corey Brewer plays the part of a “Barista-in-training” at a local Caribou Coffee. The cameos of team personnel and other Wolves players adds to the slapstick nature of the video.

This will keep you smiling. Take a look:

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Even with the worst record in the NBA, the Nets still give their fans something to smile about.

Well not the actually players themselves, but their halftime act the “Dunkin’ Divas.” It’s always nice to see the guys throw it down, but its even nicer to see cheerleaders do it…even if it is off a trampoline.

Check out Katie at the one minute mark put it between her legs Vince Carter style: