Posts Tagged ‘Luke Walton’

Morning Shootaround — Jan. 30

Missed a game last night? Wondering what the latest news around the NBA is this morning? The Morning Shootaround is here to try to meet those needs and keep you up on what’s happened around the league since the day turned.

The one recap to watch: If you missed Mavs-Blazers last night … well … go get that League Pass fired up and watch it again! Aside from LaMarcus Aldridge‘s heroics at the buzzer, there were some great clutch shots down the stretch by Darren Collison, Dirk Nowitzki and, heck, even Sasha Pavlovic. It’s a must-see highlight if nothing else.

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News of the morning

Rondo wants second opinion | Pau not happy after win | Aldridge loves seeing the Mavs | Will Oden end up with Cavs? | Frank, Stuckey patch things up | Jazz corner market on youth? | Walton a mentor to Cavs

Rondo seeking second opinion on ACLA. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com reports that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who was found to have a torn ACL on Sunday, will meet with several other doctors — including the famed Dr. James Andrews — as well as players from other sports to get a second opinion on the severity and recovery process from his injury:

“He (Dr. Andrews) is one that we’re definitely considering,” Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy, told CSNNE.com. “If he’s No. 1, there’s a couple 1As and 1Bs we’re looking at as well.”

Duffy said the second opinion on Rondo’s knee will not be made for at least another four or five days in order to allow the swelling to go down.

In addition, Duffy said they are in the process of setting up meetings with other athletes who have had similar injuries.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is among those that Rondo’s camp hopes to speak with very soon.

Peterson suffered a torn left ACL and MCL injury on Christmas Eve in 2011, and was back on the field for the season opener in September – less than nine months after the injury.

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose suffered a torn left ACL injury during the first round of the playoffs against Philadelphia on April 28th last year, with  his return likely to be shortly after the all-star break next month.

Duffy said Rondo’s trying to be as positive as he can about his injury.

“He’s distraught but he understands what he has to do,” Duffy said. “We have to have him channel all that energy into getting stronger and healthy as soon as possible.”

Pau Gasol unhappy about role?A day after telling CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger that he’d accept — but not be pleased with — a bench role this season, Gasol told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin that he wasn’t pleased to sit out the entire fourth quarter of last night’s victory against the Hornets:

“I’m a competitor, I’m a guy that thinks I bring a lot to the table, and not being on the floor is something that I don’t like, I don’t appreciate,” Gasol said.

Gasol had seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 21 minutes as the Lakers built an 83-73 lead through the first three quarters.

“It’s a challenge,” Gasol said when asked about toeing the line and accepting D’Antoni’s decision so that he doesn’t take away from the team while still defending his personal ability. “We’re challenged every day, and I’m challenged every day to keep my calm and keep my peace and not let my emotions take over my words.”

Speaking out after a win against the Hornets might seem like poor timing from Gasol, but even while begrudgingly accepting a bench role, he stated his desire to continue to play in crunch time.

“I think the finishing is more important (than starting),” Gasol said recently. “I think the best players should finish off games. That’s just the way it’s got to be. When the game is on the line, you want to be on the floor. That’s more important.”

It was the same sentiment that led Gasol to be upset Tuesday.

“It’s fun to win but when a team comes back on you the way the Hornets did tonight and you are not there as a high-quality player and as a competitor, it’s frustrating,” Gasol said.

Aldridge always happy to see DallasNot surprisingly, LaMarcus Aldridge‘s phone was blowing up after his game-winning turnaround shot to sink the Mavs last night. What’s interesting, as The Columbian’s Candace Buckner points out, is that the former prep and college standout from Texas seems to particularly enjoy tormenting his hometown team:

LaMarcus Aldridge, a Dallas native, saved his best to down his hometown team, hitting the game-winning jump shot as time expired for the Trail Blazers’ 106-104 victory.

With a well-executed inbounds play, a flick of the wrist and a perfect jump shot, the Blazers (23-22) shook off a large second-half deficit after the Mavericks pulled ahead by 21 points. So by the time Aldridge returned to the Blazers locker room, his phone had over 20 messages on it. Just a glance and he could tell that his mother, Georgia, was about to make his cell phone battery die.

“She’s watching (the game),” said Aldridge, who finished with a game-high 29 points and also contributed 13 rebounds. “She texted me like five or six times.”

The family celebrated, the 18,888 in the Rose Garden rejoiced and even Aldridge – who so often just describes this whole NBA thing as a “job” – beamed broadly as teammates bum rushed him near the Dallas bench.

“He was smiling like a rookie after his first NBA game,” Nicolas Batum said, describing Aldridge.

He seems to be happiest devastating the hometown team.

Last April at the American Airlines Arena, Aldridge carried the Blazers to the 99-97 victory over the Mavericks with a step-back jumper at the buzzer. Then, Terry Stotts watched from the other sideline as a Dallas assistant coach. Surely, from Stotts’ perspective, this Aldridge game-winner felt a bit better.

“People can think what they want to think, but LaMarcus, there’s no question in my mind that he’s an All-Star,” Stotts said. “He didn’t have to make that shot to prove he’s an All-Star. He proves it every night.”

He also happens to prove it whenever he plays against Dallas.

Aldridge scores 21.2 points per game against the Mavericks, according to basketball-reference.com and the figure ranks as second highest in his career against any NBA team. Through the last four games versus Dallas, Aldridge has averaged 26.7 points and 11 rebounds.

Oden wants back in NBA; Cavs next?Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden is readying himself for an NBA return and the Heat and Cavs are reportedly on the top of his destination list. How likely is it he’ll be a Cav? Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer digs in:

Former Ohio State star Greg Oden is confident he will return to the NBA after his many knee injuries, but he would not venture a guess about whether he’ll wind up in Cleveland.

“I’m worried about the knee,” he told The Plain Dealer when asked if the Cavs could be a destination for him. “That’s it.”

Oden was in Columbus to take in the Buckeyes’ 58-49 victory over Wisconsin. He has been living in Columbus and taking classes, but he said now that he’s working out in his hometown of Indianapolis and splitting time between the cities.

Asked if he was playing at all, Oden said, “I’m just getting my knee ready so when things do happen I’ll be ready to play next year.

“I’m still in the rehab process, but I’m it taking slow. I could possibly be playing at this point, but I’ve done that before and I got injured before, so I’d rather take everything I am doing slow. Right now I’m just doing strength stuff with my knees.”

He said he was confident he would return to the NBA.

“I like how my knee is going, the way it’s going,” he said. “I still like the time I’m taking, just to make sure nothing happens. You can’t predict the future. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m happy.”

Stuckey, Frank mend fencesPistons guard Rodney Stuckey and coach Lawrence Frank have had a touch-and-go relationship the last few days. But Terry Foster of the Detroit News reports that’s all behind both men now:

There’s peace again at The Palace. That’s if you believe Pistons coach Lawrence Frank and reserve guard Rodney Stuckey.

Frank ended the one-game benching of Stuckey in time for Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Palace. But Stuckey was a non-factor during the Pistons’ 117-90 blowout loss to the Bucks at The Palace. He played 27 minutes and finished with just seven points.

Stuckey admitted the men clashed before the Pistons’ game Sunday in Orlando. Frank punished Stuckey by benching him for that game and refused to tell the media why. Frank was mostly close-mouthed again but he equated to a family squabble.

“Things happen every single day,” Frank said. “You deal with it and you move on. There are no grudges. Made a decision and we move on today. During the course of the season you are going to have a bunch of disagreements.”

Neither man would say what happened but it is believed they had a disagreement during practice.

Jazz corner market on youth? The West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder often get a lot of credit for the way their youthful, lottery-picked duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has helped them develop into a contender. But you’d likely be surprised to learn that the Thunder don’t have the most under-25 ex-lottery picks on their roster. According to Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News, that honor belongs to Utah:

Remember the NBA list of the 50 greatest players ever that came out about 15 years ago? Of those 50 players, all but a handful were top-10 selections and 32 of them were top-5 picks. Of the players who have played since that list came out, those that would be considered among the all-time greats — James, Duncan, Kevin Durant — most have been high draft picks.

That brings us to the Utah Jazz.

While five teams have more total lottery picks on their rosters (New York has the most with nine, but four are 38 years or older), no team has more under the age of 25. And the Jazz has the most under the age of 22 with Gordon Hayward (22), Derrick Favors (21), Alec Burks (21) and Enes Kanter (20).

One of the teams closest to the Jazz in terms of young, high lottery picks is Wednesday night’s opponent, New Orleans, which has three under the age of 22 in 19-year-old Anthony Davis, 20-year-old Austin Rivers and 22-year-old Al-Farouq Aminu.

Other teams with three lottery picks under age 22 include Washington (John Wall, Bradley Beal, Jan Vesely), Charlotte (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, Bismarck Biyombo) and Cleveland (Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson).

Walton takes on mentoring roleEx-Laker Luke Walton wasn’t sure what his role would be when he was traded to the Cavs at last season’s trade deadline. But it’s become clear that the one-time starter in L.A. is embracing his role as a coach of sorts for Cleveland’s young big men Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, writes Stephen Brotherson of HoopsWorld.com:

“At the beginning of the year, the coaches [told] me, you got to [help Thompson and Zeller],” Walton said. “So I knew that was going to be part of my role this year whether it was while I was playing or while I was not playing. I had a lot of good vets that had taught me a lot about this game, so when I am out there playing with these young talented big guys, if I see something that they are doing or I see something that would be more effective for them during a timeout, I will let them know or if we are in the game together, I will try to point it out so we can do it because if we do it in a game, it will reinforce it. They are both such great kids. They want to learn. They want to get better. It has been a lot of fun doing that.”

Thompson and Zeller have enjoyed playing with Walton this season. The veteran has been showing them how to be a facilitator and setting them up when they get open.

“[Walton is] fun,” Zeller said. “You know he is going to find you if you are open and he can make a lot of great plays. We have a lot of confidence in him that he can score, pass and defend. He is really a great all-around player.”

“He is a great passer,” Thompson said. “He keeps the offense flowing. He sees the court. He might not be the most athletic big guy or the tallest guy, but he is so smart that he knows where the ball needs to go, what works and what doesn’t work. We are blessed to have him on our team.”

“It’s awesome,” Walton said. “Obviously losing is very hard, but just being back out there on the court and being able to help some younger players, now having the opportunity to play again and play the way basketball is meant to be played with sharing the ball and passing, I am having a blast right now.”

ICYMI of the night: Before we all get a little too excited over the Lakers’ three-game win streak, let’s not forget there are still more kinks to work out … as this play below illustrates:

Dwight Update: Clippers In the Mix As Fourth Team In Trade Talks




Amid several reports that a deal to send Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets is close, a source directly involved in the discussions said Monday that the Nets are exploring offers from other teams that want to get involved in the Howard talks besides the Cleveland Cavaliers — the third team that is reportedly the conduit to take on players and Draft picks to enable Brooklyn to get Howard while sending players and picks to the Magic.

While the structure of a deal involving the Nets, Magic, Cavaliers and at least one other team is in place, involving numerous players, the moving parts involved in that scenario are a long way from being resolved. For example, Brooklyn created the structure of the deal, which would include sending forward Kris Humphries to the Cavaliers as part of the trade. However, Humphries, being a free agent, would have to agree to the terms of a sign-and-trade deal first.

And since Humphries played on a one-year deal for the Nets last season, he’s reluctant to do it again, looking for a multi-year deal. Under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Humphries could only sign up to a four-year deal if he was part of a sign-and-trade. But the Cavaliers are reluctant to sign Humphries to a long-term deal, preferring to use him as a trade chip to amass additional assets or to only take up cap space for a year. (Being well under the salary cap, Cleveland could just sign Humphries using its room if it was interested in him, and wouldn’t have to give up anything.)

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Dwight Update: Many Bodies Involved





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Any trade involving Dwight Howard is a big trade. But if the Brooklyn Nets acquire the three-time DPOY in the next couple of days, it will be a big trade in more ways than one.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! writes, this may end up being a four-team trade involving 10 players, four first-round draft picks and $3 million in cash…

In the proposed deal, Howard, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark would be sent to Brooklyn, and the Magic would receive the Nets’ Brook Lopez, Damion James, Shelden Williams, Cleveland’s Luke Walton and three future first-round picks, sources said. Cleveland would receive Orlando’s Quentin Richardson, Brooklyn’s Sundiata Gaines, Kris Humphries (on a one-year guaranteed deal), a first-round pick and $3 million from the Nets. Brooklyn also would send [MarShon] Brooks to a fourth team to get them an additional first-round pick to send to the Magic.

Trades that big aren’t easy to put together. And to further complicate things, five of the six guys that that Nets would be sending out have to agree to new contracts and new locations.

James, Williams and Gaines might be happy to just have another year in the league, but Humphries and Lopez will surely have some say in whether or not this trade goes down. Humphries’ willingness to sign a deal with just one guaranteed season is reportedly a potential hang-up, so stay tuned…

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.

Lakers Shore Up Backcourt

NBA.com Staff Reports



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. may have gotten exactly that by swinging a trade with Cleveland for point guard Ramon Sessions, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Also moving to Los Angeles in the deal is athletic swingman Christian Eyenga, who has appeared in just six games for the Cavs this season and has mostly been in the NBA D-League. Here are the gritty details:

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a multi-player deal that will bring the Cavs the Lakers’ 2012 first-round pick, according to league sources.

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The Gym Is Open: The NBA Unleashed

 

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

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The doors are open. The players are back in gyms around the NBA. And so too are the rumors that make this time of year unlike any other on the calendar, even if it is a few months late.

Outside of the trade deadline, there is no better time to soak in the sort of drama we’re experiencing in these days leading up to the union being reformed, the new collective bargaining agreement being finalized and the start of training camp and free agency. All we need is a big top and a ringmaster to conduct the ceremony of this player or that player being sent here or there. This is the circus that is the NBA unleashed from its 149-day lockout.

Today’s version offers more theories on some of the players mentioned in this space yesterday and some interesting, high-profile additions to the list. The fun never stops …

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CHANDLER HEADED ELSEWHERE?

Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN.com: In a surprise development on the first day that NBA teams and agents could start talking about new contracts, Tyson Chandler came away convinced that his time with the Dallas Mavericks is coming to an end. “I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com in a telephone interview Wednesday night. “I’m really taking a hard look at all of my options, trying to see what best suits me.” Chandler’s doubts about the Mavericks’ willingness to re-sign him to a lucrative long-term deal are bound to be welcome news for the teams already courting him in these early stages of free agency. Chandler and Denver center Nene rank as the two most coveted unrestricted free agents in the 2011 class, but the overwhelming sentiment in many front offices has been that Chandler’s return to Dallas was essentially a lock after the 7-footer’s role in helping the Mavericks win their first championship. Chandler, though, insisted Wednesday that such assumptions are a misnomer and admitted for the first time that he’s disappointed by the club’s decision not to offer him a contract extension after he was widely credited — most notably by Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki — for changing the team’s defensive culture after three first-round exits in the previous four years.

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TEAMS IN HOT PURSUIT OF NENE

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: The Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers were among the teams that reached out to Nene’s representatives Wednesday, the first day teams were allowed to contact agents to discuss potential deals. Once the offers arrive, it could take more than $13 million annually to sign Nene. While the market is still developing for him and the rest of a thin free-agent class, he’s clearly the focus for every team with cap space and the need for an inside presence. The Nuggets are pressed to keep him, and would likely have to pay significantly more than would’ve been necessary if they had worked a deal with him prior to his opting out this summer. The Nets could be the major threat for Nene because of their combination of salary-cap space and desire to surround point guard Deron Williams with as much talent as possible to convince him to sign an extension. Privately, Williams has made it clear that he’s far less inclined to re-sign a long-term deal with the Nets if they don’t immediately improve their roster. New Jersey can also gather assets and still stay in position to make trade offers to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard.

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METTA WORLD PEACE AN AMNESTY CANDIDATE?

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: Achieving world peace comes with a hefty price tag. The Lakers might feel the same way about another form of World Peace, this one the goofy 6-foot-7 Lakers forward who flexes his biceps, makes the Staples Center crowd gasp every time he shoots and goes by the first name Metta. The Times’ Mike Bresnahan has reported that the Lakers might waive the player formerly known as Ron Artest via the league’s amnesty clause. Such a move could move somewhat risky considering that Artest’s defense remains strong and waiving World Peace would make it necessary for the Lakers acquire a defensive stalwart to replace him. But the thought process makes sense for basketball and monetary reasons. World Peace averaged a career-low 8.5 points last season and appears, at 32, to be on the decline in maintaining the lateral movement and quickness that have made him a top defender. By shedding World Peace’s three-year, $21.5-million contract, Bresnahan estimated that the Lakers could save as much as $27 millon in salary and taxes in 2013-14 under the new rules, should the Lakers remain between $10 million and $15 million over the tax threshold. That would prove more beneficial than even cutting forward Luke Walton (two years, $11.46 million).  That’s why it’s important World Peace understands and embraces the need to temper his antics, ranging from his Twitter rants to his on-court goofiness and his name himself.

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Lakers Eyeing The Replacements

DALLAS – One by one the Los Angeles Lakers sat before us earlier this week, and to a man professed their allegiance (in so many words) to Brian Shaw as the obvious and reasonable replacement for Phil Jackson.

Everyone from Kobe Bryant to Luke Walton made it clear that they would like Shaw as their next coach. Yet his is just one name that has popped up on the early (and unofficial) list of replacements for the legendary Jackson, whose 11 NBA titles present humongous shoes to fill for any coach.

In addition to Shaw, names like Rick Adelman and Jeff Van Gundy  (per ESPNLosAngeles.com) and Mike Dunleavy (Los Angeles Times) are on the early short list.

I’m with the Lakers’ players. Shaw seems like the obvious choice to us here at HT, and apparently to the folks in Golden State as well, considering they’ve received permission to speak with him about their opening.

Forgive me for not being terribly excited about those retreads, but has anyone noticed that new-school coaches like Tom Thibodeau and Erik Spoelstra, and either Scott Brooks or Lionel Hollins will be coaching teams in the NBA’s version of the Final Four?

Shaw would seem to be cut from that same mold. In addition, Shaw played on three of the Lakers’ championship teams in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and was an assistant coach on the 2009 and 2010 championship teams. (more…)