Posts Tagged ‘Louis Amundson’

Morning shootaround — Jan. 11


VIDEO: Highlights of the games played Jan. 10

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Will the Nets move Lopez? | Break up the Sixers | Boston’s drafty future | Amundson joins elite club

No. 1: Will the Nets move Lopez? — Last night’s 98-93 loss to the Detroit Pistons dropped the Brooklyn Nets to 16-21 on the season. And while their NYC neighbor the New York Knicks are in full-on rebuilding mode, the Nets are trying to battle through injuries and still make the playoffs. But as Alex Raskin points out in the Wall Street Journal, the Nets may be open to trading All-Star center Brook Lopez, which could be their best hope of strengthening the roster as the playoffs loom…

Only now, with the Nets’ playoff hopes clinging to a thinning backcourt, the time may finally be right. The emergence of second-year center Mason Plumlee has relegated him to the bench, and not because Lopez has played particularly poorly.

Despite undergoing right-foot and left-ankle surgery over the off-season, Lopez appears to be healthy, even after some December back issues. In fact, Lopez has played two of his better games in recent memory over the last two weeks, scoring 29 points in a spot start against Chicago on Dec. 30 and a 22-point performance in Monday’s loss to Dallas in which he briefly outscored the Mavericks, 18-17.

And on Friday, Lopez played well for the most part, scoring 18 points and hitting a game-tying hook shot with 25 seconds left. However, Hollins did pull Lopez in favor of backup Jerome Jordan for a significant portion of the fourth.

They might be motivated sellers, but the Nets still think Lopez could fetch valuable players in a trade, according to one league source. His history of foot problems notwithstanding, the biggest issue in moving Lopez ahead of the Feb. 19 trade deadline has nothing to do with his health.

Rather, it’s the $16.7 million Lopez is owed next season, since trading him would normally mean taking back a significant amount of salary.

The Nets, according to multiple sources, are willing to deal Lopez, but they are against taking on expensive or lengthy deals in order to do so.

Instead, the Nets are looking to accomplish the rare feat of shedding a bit of salary while remaining competitive in the East, where sub-.500 teams will have a chance to earn a seventh seed. (The Nets are currently in seventh place).

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No. 2: Break up the Sixers — The Philadelphia 76ers began this season with a historic 17-game losing streak. Everyone knew the Sixers were rebuilding, but nobody thought they would be as catastrophically bad as they were at the start of the season. But since that streak, the Sixers have gone 7-12, and yesterday’s win over the Pacers was their second in a row and makes wins in three of their four games. As Keith Pompey writes in the Inquirer, the Sixers are gaining confidence by the day…

The Sixers take a 7-29 record into their home matchup Tuesday against the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks. Saturday’s win enabled the Sixers to post wins on consecutive nights for the first time since road victories over the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings on Jan. 1 and 2, 2014.

The Pacers dropped to 15-24.

“This win definitely takes a bad taste out of our mouth,” Nerlens Noel said about the start to the season. “We feel good about the position we are in now and the progress we’ve made.

“We are proving to people that we are a team that is going to fight hard every night.”

Noel had six points, nine rebounds, and a game-high five blocks. Michael Carter-Williams, a second-year point guard, finished with 15 points to go with nine assists. Backup point guard Tony Wroten led the Sixers with 20 points and nine assists.

West had a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds.

“This win definitely builds confidence,” Carter-Williams said. “For us to be in games and to come up clutch in clutch moments is great.”

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No. 3: Boston’s drafty future — The Celtics have been in rebuilding mode going on two years now, and as part of that project, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been stockpiling future draft picks as he trades away veteran players. Their latest move, swapping Jeff Green, just adds picks to the war chest. And while they continue playing games with a roster whittled by attrition, looming in the future is a remarkable wealth of picks. Brian Robb of boston.com has a look at what’s ahead

The Celtics would reportedly acquire a future first round pick and Tayshaun Prince in exchange for Green, if the current deal holds. Boston’s small forward was pulled off the floor before Friday night’s loss to the Indiana Pacers and could be dealt as soon as Monday, the earliest any trade can become official.

As a result of these trades, the Celtics added a few new selections to their incredible stockpile of draft picks over the next several years. Here’s a list of what picks the Celtics are likely to own as the focus turns to the future.

2015: 2 first-round picks; 3 second-round picks
2016: 4 first-round picks; 4 second-round picks
2017: 1 first-round pick; 2 second-round picks
2018: 2 first-round picks; 1 second-round pick
2019: 2 first-round picks; 1 second-round pick

All in all, the Celtics are likely to own 11 first-round picks and 11 second-round picks over the next five NBA Drafts once the Green deal becomes official. With the trade deadline still more than a month away, Danny Ainge still has plenty of time to add to this stockpile, as he prepares for plenty of wheeling and dealing this offseason.

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No. 4: Amundson joins elite club — When the Knicks traded J.R. Smith to the Cavaliers, they received veteran center Louis Amundson in return. After waiving Amundson, they re-signed him to a 10-day contract which, as ESPN’s Marc Stein points out, puts Amundson in select company: Amundson is one of a dozen players to play for at least 10 different teams…

Below are the only 12 players in league history to have played for at least 10 different teams:

12 teams: Chucky Brown, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Joe Smith.
11 teams: Mike James and Kevin Ollie.
10 teams: Lou Amundson, Earl Boykins, Mark Bryant, Drew Gooden, Damon Jones and Aaron Williams.

Of those, only Amundson and Washington’s Gooden are active, although veteran guard Mike James is on the hunt for potentially his 12th different NBA employer if he can land a D-League call-up. James, 39, is currently playing for the Texas Legends in the D-League.

Amundson is still only 32 years old, which means he theoretically has plenty of time to add to his total of teams and potentially become the NBA’s first 13-team player. But he’s not the youngest player to get to 10 teams. That would be current Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Damon Jones, who was just 29 when he hit the 10-team mark before spending the next three seasons in Cleveland and then returning to Milwaukee to finish his career.

Amundson’s 358 career regular-season games, though, are by far the fewest of anyone on the list. His longest stay in one spot in terms of games played was Phoenix, where he played 155 games over two full seasons. His travels around the league include a two-minute stint in Utah, three minutes with the Bulls spread over two stops and his 12-game cameo with the Cavs this season. Those travels technically do not include the Sacramento Kings, who were the first NBA team to sign him out of UNLV but let Amundson go before the start of the 2006-07 regular season.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: During yesterday’s Dallas/Clippers game, longtime referee Joey Crawford went down with a knee injury. They finished playing the game with just two referees … LeBron James helped the Ohio State football team get free headphones, which is not an NCAA violationKevin Seraphin joined Nic Batum in wearing a t-shirt to pay tribute to the French attack victims …

California Love?

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — For a team that didn’t pile up many wins last season, the Golden State Warriors certainly racked up their share of highlight plays.

When you start with the dynamite backcourt tandem of Monta Ellis and Steph Curry, that should be expected.

But much has changed for this team since we saw them last.

New owners, new uniforms, plenty of new faces and maybe some renewed vigor for a team that has never had to worry about the passion of its immense fan base.

With training camp just days away, we’re still trying to figure out how coach Don Nelson is going to integrate eight new faces — All-Star forward David Lee, Dorrell Wright, Louis Amundson, Rodney Carney, Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric and rookies Ekpe Udoh and Jeremy Lin — into the Warriors’ mix.

But Nelson is the league’s resident mad scientist, so if anyone is capable of cooking up something, it should be him. And he’ll be coaching (for as long as the new ownership group will have him) the sort of motley crew that should be easy to show some California love for all those Warriors diehards in the Bay Area.

Whether or not this team will inspire any reaction beyond their home base, however, remains to be seen.

(more…)

Amundson signing with Warriors

The Warriors beefed up their frontcourt by coming to terms with free agent Louis Amundson, his agent told NBA.com on Monday. Amundson, 27, was one of the last quality big men on the market. He joins Golden State to provide depth behind David Lee and Andris Biedrins.

The deal is for two years at slightly less than $5 million. The second year is a player option.

“It was obviously a long process and he had a number of teams pursuing him,” agent Mark Bartelstein said. “We ultimately felt this was a huge decision in his career. He’s made great strides the last few years and to get to where he wants to go, and he needed to pick the right place. Golden State was that place.”

Amundson spent the last two seasons with Phoenix, becoming a valuable cog on one of the deepest benches around. He averaged career highs in points (4.7) points, rebounds (4.4) and minutes (14.8), while shooting 55.1 percent from the floor.

Amundson was also known for his dogged defense and hustle, becoming a favorite with fans and inside the Suns locker room. The undrafted four-year veteran out of UNLV spent the first two years of his career with Utah and Philadelphia.

Warriors general manager Larry Riley targeted signing Amundson as a top priority to round out the team’s frontcourt. New Orleans, Indiana, Toronto and Charlotte also reportedly had interest in Amundson.

“He brings energy and a physical presence that we needed, plus he is an experienced player who has played in a system similar to the Warriors,” Riley said. “He is a tireless worker on both ends of the floor.”

NBA.com recently profiled Amundson’s difficulty landing a gig this offseason.

Prices Rising For Big Men

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Phoenix Suns might not be in Amar’e Stoudemire’s future plans, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have to pay to keep their frontcourt rotation intact.

Channing Frye has already agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal — as massive upgrade from what he earned this season. Another reserve big man, Louis Amundson, appears to be the object of nearly a dozen team’s desire, such is life for an affordable and extremely productive role player of his size.

As much as this is the summer of big names like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, things are coming together rather beautifully for big men like Toronto’s Amir Johnson (5 years, $33 million), Milwaukee’s Drew Gooden (5 years, $30 million) and Minnesota’s Darko Milicic (4 years, $20 million).

It’s good to be tall this summer!

Suns’ Vibe Starts At The Top

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Posted by Sekou Smith

PHOENIX — When they lost Mike D’Antoni two years ago, Suns fans thought it was the end of an era.

And for a good while, most of Terry Porter‘s tenure as D’Antoni’s replacement, that’s exactly what it looked like. The Suns watched the playoffs from home last year, not knowing if and when they’d get things right and get back to playing at the breakneck pace that made them crowd favorites at the US Airways Center and beyond.

Then along came Alvin Gentry, a man who ranks fourth on the list of high-profile coaches still working this season. The Lakers’ Phil Jackson, the Celtics’ Doc Rivers and even the Magic’s Stan Van Gundy all have bigger names and have all coached teams to the NBA Finals.

But are any of them doing as good a job, to this point, of guiding their team?

Praise the Suns’ bench all you want for their handy work in that Game 4 win over the Lakers. Just remember that it was Gentry that showed the trust in them all season, and especially during that crucial nine-minute stretch in the fourth quarter when they snatched control of the game from Kobe Bryant and carried the Suns to even in these Western Conference finals at 2-2.

It was Gentry that opened the door for the likes of Jared Dudley, Goran Dragic, Louis Amundson and Channing Frye to play with the freedom we all saw Tuesday night.

Leandro Barbosa called this the “best bench” he’s played on since he’s been with the Suns. That’s a telling statement since for a long time Barbosa was the Suns’ bench.

But he’s part of a five-game rotation now that’s capable of driving these Suns for long stretches in crucial situations. That kind of chemistry and confidence for a second unit cannot be without the empowerment of a head coach willing to risk his own hide for the sake of the collective.

Gentry’s not just coaching his starters and stars, a fault of so many of his peers around the league. He’s coaching them all.

You didn’t even know Dudley’s name when he played in Charlotte. Now he’s a specialist any team in the league would love to have wearing their colors.

What coach would keep going to Frye after he missed 19 straight shots before finally making one in the second quarter Tuesday night? (Frye and Barbosa scored 14 points each as the Suns’ bench combined to outscore the Lakers’ reserves 54-20.)

Not many coaches could call his All-Star center “ridiculous” (for calling Lamar Odom‘s work in Game 1 “lucky”) and then coax a 42-point, 11-rebound effort out of him after that.

Give the man the credit he deserves for molding this team into a cohesive unit tight enough to bounce back properly during a postseason when so many other outfits rolled over and played dead when they got down.

The Suns didn’t lose two heartbreakers at the buzzer in Games 1 and 2 in Los Angeles. They got handled by a team that looked superior in every way. And yet Gentry didn’t leave Staples Center with a sense of despair. He vowed that his team would come home, regroup and come back with a renewed sense of purpose for Games 3 and 4.

Gentry wasn’t afraid to use that zone, the defense he called “girly,” to try to rattle the Lakers (a tactic that doesn’t look good when you consider the Lakers have shot the ball at 48 percent or better in every game, but one that’s actually worked pretty well in conjunction with the Suns’ improved play).

He didn’t have to remind his players, one through 14, that he believes in them.

They already know. They also believe in themselves. And the Suns believe in each other.

“In a way, ” Suns veteran Grant Hill said, “they’re really the ones who have given us our identity.”

You can tell from all the fun they have on those team flights and the way they carry on in the locker room after big wins.

You can tell by they way the All-Star starters and even the two-time MVP (Steve Nash) root wildly for them when they are in the midst of changing games.

And you can certainly tell by the way Gentry embraces them and the role he makes sure they play on his team.

Make no mistake about it, this all starts with Gentry!

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