Posts Tagged ‘Raja Bell’

Morning Shootaround — Trade Deadline Edition

As today’s trade deadline approaches at 3 p.m., we’ll have coverage throughout the day on all the latest buzz and Twitter chatter. Here’s your dose of what’s buzzing as deadline day rolls along:

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3:10 P.M. UPDATE

3:03 P.M. UPDATE

2:59 P.M. UPDATE

2:52 P.M. UPDATE

2:25 P.M. UPDATE

1:50 P.M. UPDATE

1:22 P.M. UPDATE

1:14 P.M. UPDATE

12:57 P.M. UPDATE

12:40 P.M. UPDATE

Spurs miss out on Redick? – As of trade deadline day, the Spurs were one of several teams hot on the trail of Magic guard J.J. Redick. But despite a push to acquire him, it looks like San Antonio can forget about adding another shooter to the league’s best team, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.

11:55 A.M. UPDATE

A couple more quick hits from the world of Twitter …

10:44 A.M. UPDATE

A few quick hits from around the world of Twitter (which you can keep up with via our Twitter Reacts post, BTW)

And a quick note from Memphis, too …

Small move — or no move at all — likely for Grizz Unless someone pulls off a major blockbuster between now and the 3 p.m. finish line, the Memphis Grizzlies will be the team on record in 2012-13 for pulling off the biggest trade after they shipped out Rudy Gay on Jan. 30. That said, it doesn’t look likely that Memphis will pull off another big deal, but a minor one may be in the cards. Ronald Tillery of the The Commercial-Appeal has more on what the Grizz may do:

The reality is that Griz brass is trying to be opportunistic today in hopes of getting something for nothing at the 11th hour (Orlando has made it clear J.J. Redick can’t be had for anything less than a first-round pick). As of this morning, the Griz were looking at their exceptions one of three ways: 1) acquiring a guard/swingman they like from the end of another team’s bench 2) grabbing an established big man only if he’s accompanied by a second-round pick 3) not using the exception at all.

The Griz need more size and could always use more shooting. However, they don’t want to acquire a guard who has no shot at cracking the rotation. It’s been difficult enough for Austin Daye to get minutes now that Quincy Pondexter is healthy.

So don’t be too surprised if the Griz did something minor today or nothing at all. But as is the case at the trade deadline, you can always expect the unexpected. Doing nothing would mean the team would likely pick up a D-League player they like to occupy the 13th roster spot. (more…)

Marion: D’Antoni’s System Title-Worthy, But Will It Work With Lakers’ Roster?

DALLAS – Shawn Marion is definitive on the subject: The 2005-06 Phoenix Suns, even with Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined basically the entire season, should have won it all.

But they didn’t, succumbing to the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the West finals. The next season, the infamous Steve Nash bloody nose and Robert Horry hip-check more or less blew up the championship aspirations of the Mike D’Antoni-era Suns, the 7-seconds-or-less bullet train that had rocked the league and produced a two-time MVP in Nash … but ultimately couldn’t completely bust down the door of NBA conformity.

And so the skepticism came ringing on cue when the Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly pulled a Heisman on Phil Jackson and hired D’Antoni.

Is it just that simple? Is D’Antoni’s style a blueprint for postseason failure? Or can age, added wisdom and a dominant defensive center turn close calls into a championship?

“Yeah,” Marion said, flashing a bewildered look as if the question was not worthy of an answer. “Hell yeah.”

But just then, Marion — who was with the Suns for all five of D’Antoni’s seasons — started thinking about D’Antoni’s new team in contrast to his old ones.

“We had guys that could spread the floor,” Marion said. “In D’Antoni’s system, 1 (point guard) through 4 (power forward) shot 3s, and the 5-man rolled and set screens and popped. It’s different. You’ve got two big men now (Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard), two solid big men down low. It’s a little different. I don’t know what kind of sets he’s going to run. He might change it. We were young and fast. It’s all about matchups and personnel. With him going to the Lakers, it’s a big team.”

Cyberspace is crammed with debates about which Lakers will benefit and which won’t from D’Antoni’s system. Marion’s take on the 3-point shot is especially noteworthy. Those Suns flung it: The ’05-’06 team launched 2,097 3-pointers. Nash, Marion and Raja Bell put up 1,078 by themselves. Last season’s Lakers, albeit in a 66-game schedule, shot 1,112 as a team, and 1,487 the season before.

These Lakers — with Nash out all but 1 1/2 games — rank 12th both in 3s attempted per game (20.7) and made (6.9). Reserve Jodie Meeks is as close to a long-ranger sharpshooter as they possess, but he’s off to an awful start.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is a big D’Antoni fan and didn’t hesitate to suggest that he will scheme to the strengths of his personnel. In 2007, when Carlisle was out of a coaching job and working as an analyst for ESPN, he visited Suns training camp to pick up on D’Antoni’s system.

“Everybody has incorporated some of those concepts, and it’s held the test of time,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the smartest basketball people I’ve ever known and he’ll adjust well to their personnel, too.”

But those are offensive concepts. What about all the defensive criticism?

“They played a high-possession style and their defensive numbers were much better than people realized,” Carlisle said. “The fact opponents scored a little more points than some of the other well-known possession defensive teams was a function of the number of possessions in the game, but he always was very good at getting (the opponent) to do things you didn’t want to do, and some of the time it was playing fast.”

There are obviously contrasting opinions on the subject. Marion dismisses criticism suggesting those Suns teams were collectively deficient on the defensive end or even ill-prepared to make crunch-time stops. Although the Lakers have struggled defensively this season, Marion noted a backbone of Howard, Kobe and Metta World Peace gives D’Antoni a core that should be quite capable of defending and running with Nash.

“Definitely. You’ve got Dwight Howard as your anchor,” said Marion, who does give pause to the Lakers’ older roster compared to the young legs of his Suns team in making a seamless transition.

“It’s not up to me to decide if they’re going to be good or not. Right now, the thing is with these teams, everybody is so young and athletic, different things are going on, different matchups. Everybody is trying to take advantage of mismatches they got so if you got mismatches at certain positions and you’re able to take advantage of certain things, you can’t hide it.

“It’s going to be interesting.”

Dirty Is As Dirty Does, NBA-Style Too

Team USA was shocked – shocked! – when Argentina point guard Facundo Campazzo turned Carmelo Anthony’s 3-point jump shot into a close-out cheap shot, hitting the New York Knicks’ shooter in the groin in the third quarter of the U.S. team’s 126-97 victory Monday at the 2012 London Olympics.

Puh-leeeze.

Frankly, the most shocking thing about the play and the furor it ignited in the moment and afterward was that Campazzo didn’t explain to reporters that he learned his technique by watching NBA global telecasts. Where better to learn some of the game’s dirtier tricks than from the those who not only have mastered them but elevated them to high art and, in some cases, deployed them all the way to Springfield, Mass.?

While Anthony briefly writhed on the floor, center Tyson Chandler, coach Mike Krzyzewski and others barked and glared at Campazzo and the Argentina team, including Suns forward Luis Scola. All of these guys, though, know their way around such cheap-shot maneuvers because those are prevalent, rampant even, in the league in which they play stateside. (Coach K? He had a guy who once stepped on a fallen player’s chest.)

Some of the greatest players in NBA history have been on the dark side of sainthood if an elbow here, a shove there or a slap where it really hurts could tilt defeat into triumph. Michael Jordan never met a rule he didn’t try to bend. Karl Malone and John Stockton were known to apply impact to opponents’ various nether regions, especially when cutting through the lane. And Tim Duncan and David Robinson were more than happy to win rings while teammate Bruce Bowen stepped repeatedly underneath descending shooters’ feet and ankles. (more…)

Clippers Figure to Stand Pat

HANG TIME LOS ANGELES BUREAU — 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.

They considered Jamal Crawford and Courtney Lee, discussions for Ray Allen never gained much traction, and reports of conversations with the Jazz about Raja Bell were wrong. In the end, the Clippers do not appear to have come close to a deal that would likely have required parting with second-year point guard Eric Bledsoe, at least one other player to make salaries match and perhaps even a first-round pick.

The Clippers are in win-now mode and Bledsoe is their best trade lure in getting some help. But their logic in holding off is understandable: No one in trade discussions would have been a major upgrade. They can re-consider options with Bledsoe heading toward the June 28 Draft, which is said to have a very weak point-guard class. L.A. is hoping an opponent will need to address the position, see no help is coming in the Draft and make a move for Bledsoe then.

Randy Foye has been starting at shooting guard.

Labor Talks: Time To Make A Move

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

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having a hard time keeping up. Most of us are in the same spot, trying to figure out who is for what as the clock ticks down to the league’s 5 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline for the players to either take or dismiss the league’s 50-50 proposal.

Some players are all for making a deal, as Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports:

“We need for the two sides to get together again before Wednesday, because we’re too close to getting a deal done,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. “We need to iron out the last system items and save this from spiraling into a nuclear winter.”

Some others are not. Some of the owners are for it and apparently, per ESPN.com‘s sources, some others are not. It’s high time someone made a move, the right move to get the 2011-12 season up and running.

But when the sides can’t come to a consensus within their own caucuses, it’s tough to see some sort of breakthrough if and when the sides come together again to try and hash out the final details of a new collective bargaining agreement.

With the union representatives from all 30 teams set to meet today in New York, in advance of Wednesday’s end-of-business deadline, plenty of observers are a little nervous about what type of movement could emerge from the gathering. The players have limited options at this point. They can take a vote on the proposal and decide to take the deal, bowing to the league’s “ultimatum,” as union president Derek Fisher called it over the weekend, and breathe life into a season and the NBA fan base. Or they can refuse to even consider it, as Fisher insisted in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s bargaining session, and push this affair into an even darker corner.

Fair or not, the players will own the next 36 hours of this mess.

(more…)

Suns’ Dudley won’t be dealt

A team source tells TNT’s David Aldridge that the Phoenix Suns will not trade forward Jared Dudley before today’s deadline. Several teams gave been trying to get Dudley, including the Celtics and Rockets.

Dudley, a fan favorite in Phoenix, signed a four-year, $17 million deal with a player option for a fifth season back in early November. He came to Phoenix along with Jason Richardson in a 2010 trade that sent Boris Diaw and Raja Bell to the Charlotte Bobcats. Though his scoring average has increased to a career-high 9.6 ppg this season, his 3-point shooting is down from 45.8 percent last season to 39.1 percent this season.

Sagging Jazz?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If we didn’t know better and hadn’t looked at the standings, we’d think the Utah Jazz had a one way ticket to the draft lottery this season.

The doomsday talk surrounding the Jazz these days is a bit overboard for a team that has struggled recently but is certainly still a factor in the Western Conference at 24-12.

But if you listen to the Jazz or their many faithful, we’re seeing the first signs of the demise of a longstanding league power (we do not agree). The Jazz, 9-7 in their last 16 games with just one win over a team .500 or better during that span, certainly sound like a team unsure of themselves.

After the Hawks fattened their lips Wednesday night, smoking the Jazz by 23 points at EnergySolutions Arena, Jazz All-Star and captain Deron Williams sounded the alarm to the Salt Lake Tribune:

“Obviously we’re struggling, then,” said Williams, when asked about Utah’s mark against winning clubs. “We’re not beating the caliber of teams that we’re going to be playing in the playoffs — if we get to the playoffs.”

If we get to the playoffs?

Now you see what I mean. Is it time to maybe rethink our summer predictions of the Jazz being a contender in the Western Conference? Well, maybe. They have had to deal with an assortment of injury issues and we might have underestimated the severity of all the personnel they lost from last season and overestimated the addition of Al Jefferson.

But they are still a playoff team.

Do they have issues? Absolutely. But what team doesn’t this time of year? At least the Jazz have a problem that can be solved without someone losing a job or a franchise being ripped apart.

The Prime Minister is the biggest Jazz fan/critic we know of and he broke it down for us like this: “The problem is simple. No one on the team other than D-Will is able to consistently make a perimeter shot. From Paul Millsap to Raja Bell and everyone else in between, it’s can be an adventure when someone shoots from beyond the paint.”

Sounds like a trade for a quality shooting guard is in order. Why the Pistons and Jazz haven’t figured out a way to send Rip Hamilton to Salt Lake City already is beyond us.

Rip would be the ideal fit alongside Williams and under Jerry Sloan, who would surely relish having a scrappy scorer like Hamilton around to help win now and groom some of the Jazz youngsters on how to compete properly against the best of the best.