Posts Tagged ‘Rich DeVos’

Morning Shootaround — May 28


VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played May 27

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Sense of deja vu for Spurs? | Bosh reaffirms he wants to stay with Heat| What’s going on in Minnesota? | Report: Lakers interview ex-coach Rambis

No. 1: It’s like 2012 all over again for Thunder — Just a week ago, San Antonio was on the easy path (it seemed) to a second straight Western Conference championship and trip to The NBA Finals. The Oklahoma City have had other ideas since then, though, as the emotional boost of Serge Ibaka‘s return from injury and the performances of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have knotted the series 2-2. Our Fran Blinebury was on hand last night in OKC and saw a lot of the 2012 Thunder-Spurs West finals series in that game (for those of you who forgot, OKC climbed from an 0-2 hole that year to reach its first Finals):

This is no longer a matter of simply asking Tony Parker to play better. It’s about finding a way for the Spurs to regain their poise and effectiveness against an OKC team that in the last two games has come at them like a rolling bundle of butcher knives.

There have been four games played now and four blowouts. But no matter what the series score sheet says, it doesn’t feel like the Western Conference finals are tied at 2-2.

You could say the Spurs have been put back on their heels, if it didn’t look like they were flat on their backs. It’s looking just like two years ago, when the Thunder spotted San Antonio a 2-0 lead and then roared back for a reverse sweep.

Remember Games 1 and 2 in San Antonio when the Thunder front line of Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha put up just nine combined points? It pushed Thunder coach Scott Brooks to make a lineup change to get Reggie Jackson on the floor with the starters and Jeremy Lamb into the rotation.

Here was Duncan (nine points) Tiago Splitter (3) and Danny Green (3) managing to squeeze out just a few more drops and the solution is hardly to sound the trumpet for more of Cory Joseph, Matt Bonner and the Desperation Cavalry.

With the young arms and legs of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Lamb and Jackson cutting off angles and jumping into passing lanes, the Thunder have smothered San Antonio’s offense.

With their driving, relentless aggressiveness, OKC has also overwhelmed the Spurs’ defense. Of Westbrook’s 40 points and Durant’s 31, a lion’s share came with them going to hoop and making the Spurs look helpless to do anything about it.

Since the 2012 conference finals, the Spurs have an NBA-best road record of 62-33 against 28 other teams. But they’re also 0-9 in OKC since then, too.

“I think we should not think like that,” Parker said. “Each game is different, each series, each year.”

So how come it feels like 2012 and we already know how the election and everything else turned out?

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No Need For a PJax Comeback!





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – He has to take the calls and at least entertain the possibility of coming back, especially when teams are offering the ridiculous amounts of money and power you know they are to legendary coach Phil Jackson.

We’re hoping Jackson has the restraint that others in his shoes, living legends in their particular field with absolutely nothing left to prove, uses the power of Zen to resist any urge to come back. It’s not that we don’t love having him around, because the league is infinitely more interesting with him in front of the microphone and sitting in that high chair on the sideline somewhere.

But there is simply no need for a comeback, certainly not as a coach. Any lingering sting at the way he went out, Jackson’s Lakers were swept in the Western Conference semifinals last season by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks, should pale in comparison to the historic mountain of accomplishments Jackson piled up during his coaching career.

You would hope that the 11 rings, countless memories and his status as arguably the greatest coach of all time (in the NBA and anywhere else), would be enough to satisfy Jackson’s basketball jones.

But if we are to believe Thursday rumblings that Jackson bowed out of an opportunity to take over in some capacity in Orlando, maybe  a lifetime spent in the winner’s circle is not enough for Jackson.

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Report: Back Surgery Will Sideline Magic’s Howard For Rest Of Season





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The lasting image of All-Star center Dwight Howard from this season might very well be that scene at shootaround practice where he and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy did their “what did he say” tango.

Howard’s season has reportedly come to an end due to back surgery. The word came down just minutes ago, from ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher:

…  Howard will undergo back surgery Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Howard’s agent said Thursday night.

Howard has been complaining of back problems since early March, but it wasn’t until Los Angeles-based spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins examined him last week that the herniated disk was discovered.

Howard received an epidural to alleviate the pain at that time and the plan was that he’d rest and rehabilitate his back for 10-14 days before deciding if he could return to play or further treatment might be necessary.

But his back has worsened and both Watkins and the Magic’s medical staff determined that surgery is necessary.

Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, said he hopes this development debunks any thoughts that Howard’s back problem was not serious and that he was utilizing it as an excuse not to play.

A report out of Orlando said that Howard told Magic owner Rich DeVos in a recent phone call that he did not intend to play again for Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who put Howard in an awkward situation by announcing that management informed him his All-Star center had asked that he be fired. Fegan, along with other sources, have disputed that report.

As devastating as Howard’s loss is for the Magic, who have already clinched a playoff berth, it’s just as devastating for the Olympic team. There are other options at center, but no one on Howard’s level and with his experience playing with the national team.

Stay tuned for more details …

Trade Chatter: Orlando’s ‘Dwight Howard Watch’ Continues





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The countdown clock is ticking … and on the Orlando Sentinel‘s Dwight Howard Watch page, it’s literally ticking … down to next Thursday’s trade deadline with no guarantees as to what’s going to happen to the Magic’s superstar center and the city and franchise that don’t want to lose him.

A week away from what could be doomsday for Magic fans if Howard is dealt and no one is quite sure what’s going to change in Orlando.

There is a strong belief that the Magic will call Howard’s trade request bluff and keep him on the roster with no chance of getting anything for him if he leaves via free agency this summer, as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein makes clear here:

I’m sure some of the “Magic resolve” chatter that’s been gaining traction in recent days about how increasingly determined they are to keep him beyond the deadline is at least partly designed as a means of trying to improve the offers that come in before the deadline. Yet it seems evident that the stronger belief in the Magic Kingdom is that it’s better to keep Dwight and face the worst-case-scenario consequences of losing him for nothing if there’s so much as a 10 percent chance of him changing his mind.

The vibe coming from the Magic is that owner Rich DeVos prefers that scenario, frightening as it is, to what Orlando can get for Dwight in a trade today. Fortunately we have only about a week more to wait to find out whether Orlando’s bravery has staying power … or whether the claim that it’ll take its chances with mere salary-cap space should Dwight bolt was just posturing.

It’s strange, with all of the wild and crazy rumors that were flying around a week ago this time you’d expect we’d have more of the same. But instead, rumors are being shot down with increasing frequency.

Take a spin around the league and see all of the guys who were supposed to be on the block who are no longer considered to be in that mix, and that includes the likes of Rajon Rondo, Pau Gasol and a few of our other trade rumor faves:

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How Does Lopez Injury Affect Howard?





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Deron Williams scored an NBA season-high 57 points Sunday night in Charlotte, but the bigger story coming out of the Nets’ win was an injury to Brook Lopez, who would be the centerpiece of a trade for Dwight Howard.

The Nets said Monday that Lopez suffered a sprained right ankle and will be out for three weeks. The bad news is that the trade deadline is in just 10 days, and after playing every single game in his first three seasons, Lopez has suffered two injuries with his team’s sights set on Howard.

The good news is that the injury, though it’s the same foot, is unrelated to the broken bone that forced Lopez to miss the first 32 games of the season. No injuries are good, but this one isn’t too bad.

So does it affect the Nets’ ability to acquire Howard before the deadline? Not really.

Whether or not Howard gets traded still comes down to Magic owner Rich DeVos and president Alex Martins. If they decide in the next 10 days that they can convince Howard to stay in Orlando beyond this season, they’re not going to trade for Lopez, healthy or not.

But if the Magic realize that Howard’s time in Orlando is definitely coming to an end, they have no choice but to make a deal, so that they can get what they can (players, picks and cap relief) for their star. And if Howard and agent Dan Fegan make it clear that Howard will be playing in Brooklyn no matter what next season, the Magic have little choice but to make a deal with the Nets.

Even with Lopez hobbled, the Nets can still offer a decent package. In addition to Lopez (there’s no restriction on trading for an injured player), they have rookie MarShon Brooks, a bevy of first-round picks, and enough expiring contracts to absorb the contract of Hedo Turkoglu (owed at least $17.8 million after this season) or Glen Davis ($19.4 million) in a trade. The ability to offer Orlando salary relief is an asset in itself, one that New Jersey has been sure to maintain as it has struggled through a 12-26 season.

If Orlando decides to keep Howard, the Nets will wait, hoping to sign him as a free agent in July, an option that would allow them to keep Lopez and their other assets. But they’d surely jump at the chance to trade for Howard in the next 10 days.

Lopez’s latest injury shouldn’t really affect that scenario, because the possibility of a trade is really about what the Magic believe regarding Howard’s long-term intentions, and not about Lopez’s short-term health.

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