Posts Tagged ‘Sam Amick’

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 81) With Sam Amick of SI.com

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – With seasons on the line in the Eastern and Western conference finals, the draft lottery just hours away and coaching and front office searches going on around the league, things couldn’t be busier in the NBA.

That’s why we tracked down one of the best newshounds in the business, good friend of the program Sam Amick of SI.com, to help us sort through all of the mess.

We talk Dwight Howard, Vinny Del Negro, Anthony Davis, the Trail Blazers’ general manager search, Thunder, Spurs, Heat, Celtics and a whole lot more in Episode 81 of the Hang Time Podcast.

We’re doing our best not to get ahead of ourselves where the playoffs are concerned, but that Spurs-Heat matchup in The Finals is closer to reality than ever with the Spurs up 2-0 on the Thunder in the Western Conference finals and the Heat hours away from the chance to do same against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

Dive into that and more on Episode 81 of the Hang Time Podcast:

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog and the best engineer in the business, Jarrell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Trail Blazers Trade Chatter On Fire





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Both Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton have been here before during their careers. So the roller coaster ride that is the NBA trade deadline rumor mill should be nothing new to the Portland Trail Blazers’ veteran guards.

With the March 15 trade deadline looming and the Trail Blazers stuck in neutral, losers of three in a row and currently on the outside looking at the Western Conference playoff picture, the speculation is that either one or both of them could be moved by the deadline.

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Arenas Ready For The Comeback?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We asked a last week if it was time for the Los Angeles Lakers to consider signing Gilbert Arenas to help shore up their point guard deficiencies and the response was overwhelmingly (84 percent) in favor of the Lakers doing exactly that.

But other than the reports that Arenas was in Los Angeles for a workout that was attended by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack, among others, we had no idea what the full scope of a potential comeback attempt by Arenas entailed.

We have a much better idea now after reading this detailed interview with Arenas, courtesy of our main man Sam Amick of SI.com, who delves deep into the psyche of the man formerly known as Agent Zero.

Arenas goes places in the interview that he hasn’t publicly in the past, delving into his time in Washington and later Orlando, and also detailing some of the issues that led to his infamous beard and explores the factors that contributed to his fall from grace. He also talked plenty of basketball and whether or not he’s ready for a reunion with the NBA game.

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Is Jerry Sloan Itching To Return?

HANG TIME, TEXAS – Some things are just natural. Painters paint, writers write, singers sing, coaches coach.

Jerry Sloan is a coach.

So how much longer will be it before the 69-year-old Hall of Famer and former fixture with the Jazz is back on an NBA sideline?

According to Sam Amick of SI.com, maybe sooner than you think.

“I think if the right situation came along, whatever that is,” he said before pausing to ponder. “I don’t know what the right situation is. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.”

He’ll be waiting for the phone to ring again at his home in Utah, where he became the NBA’s third-most winningest coach of all time (1,221-803) before abruptly stepping down last February. After 23 seasons, the job became too taxing for the longest tenured coach in league history.

Back when he first walked away from the Jazz, Sloan wasn’t mentally and physically ready to jump right back in and set up camp on another sideline. But anyone who has ever spent time around him could hardly see Sloan permanently adopting the lifestyle of the gentleman farmer back on his spread in McLeansboro, Ill.
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Kings’ Cousins Demands Trade


HANG TIME CALIFORNIA BUREAU – 
In a strange moment even by the standards of their relationship that has tested the limits of patience, the Kings announced Sunday that problem-child DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for that night’s game against the Hornets and that Cousins has “demanded” to be traded.

It is not known whether the second-year center was suspended without pay or told to stay away in the latest attempt to impose discipline on a prospect so lacking in structure. It is also not known for certain whether Cousins actually demanded, asked, hinted or used a Ouija board to ask for a trade – his agent, John Grieg, denied there was any such request, according to Sam Amick of SportsIllustrated.com, and said “Maybe Westphal is just feeling the heat early this season.”

Whatever the impetus of the latest breakdown, a lot of front offices around the league are knowingly nodding their heads. Cousins was the second-best talent in the 2010 draft, at worst, and maybe equal or ahead of No. 1 pick John Wall, but went fifth to Sacramento because of issues that ranged from attitude to inability to always play hard. Cousins had the talent to reach the All-Star game but the personality and approach to get some GM fired.

The Kings took the risk with the understanding a lot of patience would be required, then got exactly the rookie season and opening weeks to the second campaign that should have been expected: Cousins had some good moments that were countered by a level of immaturity that could make him one of the great underachievers.

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As Superman Turns …

NBA.com staff reports

Want to know how we got where we are with Dwight Howard and his future? Just turn the calendar back two days …

It all started with reports of a meeting between Howard, his associates and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King in Miami on Thursday night. ESPN.com reported the meeting and if such a discussion did take place, it was a clear violation of NBA tampering rules.

By lunchtime on the East coast (and well before teams opened training camp doors), news had already come out (courtesy of our own tireless David Aldridge) that the Magic might file tampering charges against two unnamed teams for illegally talking with its star big man. By the end of the night on free-agency’s first full day, Howard’s status in Orlando (or elsewhere for that matter) remained squarely in the crosshairs.

ESPN.com reported earlier Friday that Howard would soon request a trade to New Jersey. Later that same day, Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, denied that his client had illegal contact with teams in an interview with ESPN The Magazine. Worth noting, too, is that Magic GM Otis Smith said he granted Fegan permission to speak to the Nets about a deal involving Howard. Fegan didn’t deny that he and Howard had spoken over the phone with the Nets, but did deny any face-to-face meetings. We’ll let Fegan speak for himself, as he did to The Magazine and other media outlets:

“I read reports today of a meeting between Dwight Howard, his representatives and the New Jersey Nets which claimed, according to the story’s anonymous sources, that such a meeting violated the NBA’s tampering policies. This story is clearly inaccurate with respect to tampering claims and other facts. Tampering doesn’t apply once a team grants permission for a player and/or his representatives to make contact with another team. The Magic have given us permission to have contact with several teams in order for Dwight to explore his options. I most definitely had contact with the teams I was granted permission to speak with. Since we had permission to have contact with several teams the report of possible tampering is undeniably false.

“In addition, the report that Dwight was supposed to be traded today is also inaccurate. In fact, so many of the facts reported in today’s story are inaccurate, it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction, so I’m not even going to bother to address the other inaccuracies.”

King, for his part, denied the meeting with Howard.

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Is The Trade Back On?

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

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Hold on to your high tops, folks.

Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the previously nixed three-team deal between Lakers, Hornets and Rockets is being discussed again by all parties.

Sam Amick of SI.com confirmed that story, tweeting:

Sources confirm New Orleans is talking Chris Paul deals again. 3-team deal w/ Lakers, Hou might still have hope, but others discussed too.

This helps explain why Lamar Odom reportedly showed up to Lakers’ training camp late, didn’t work out with the team and left without practicing.

Whether or not this deal is full revived remains to be seen, especially after NBA Commissioner David Stern clarified the league’s position earlier with this statement:

“Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner’s Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling. All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.”

Focus your eyes on that last line and notice the words, “that trade.” Maybe the deal was nixed in Thursday night form because Stern or someone else felt like the Hornets didn’t get enough?

We shall see.

Stay tuned …

Buckle Up For Free Agent-Palooza

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

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We apologize in advance for the conflicting reports you’re going to hear in the days and weeks ahead about basically any and every NBA player, free agent or not, being pursued by this team or that team.

Hey, it’s that time of year, just a few months later than normal.

The avalanche of rumors kicked off in earnest Tuesday afternoon, before the news broke that NBA facilities would be reopening for players Thursday and that team officials and agents could begin their free agent dance this morning, though no deals could be agreed to until Dec. 9.

If it seems like a shock to the system, it should. The lockout lasted 149 days, depriving us of the ritual of our usual free agent-palooza we swim in every summer, among other things. The fact is, we haven’t been immersed in this sort of rumor crush since the lockout began July 1. And now that the union is being reformed and both sides are on the road to polishing the details of the new collective bargaining agreement, it’s time to get your game face on and get back into the regular flow of things.

Of course, with a condensed free agency period/training camp all rolled into one, things are going to be a little wilder and crazier than usual. So again, be prepared to hear any and everything and just remember that until at least Dec. 9, it’s all talk …

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PACERS CHASING RONDO?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports As Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge aggressively pursues possible deals for Rajon Rondo, the Indiana Pacers have emerged as an intriguing suitor for the point guard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. For the past few days, Pacers officials – and third-party surrogates – have been making calls and gathering information and insight into Rondo’s reputation as a teammate and leader, sources said. The Pacers and Celtics have discussed the preliminary framework of a deal, but two sources said Indiana would need a third team to provide Boston with the talent it wants to do a deal. The Celtics are likely trying to gather the necessary pieces to make a bid for Ainge’s ultimate target: New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, sources said. It was unclear if the Pacers had begun to reach out to broaden discussions, but there was an expectation they would do so. The Celtics have been gauging Rondo’s trade value for more than a year, and have held discussions with teams about him across the past few trade deadlines and NBA drafts. There have long been divides within Boston’s front office, coaching staff and locker room about Rondo. He can be moody, difficult and stubborn, and several league sources were dubious if the Pacers’ young coach, Frank Vogel, would have the stature to deal with Rondo.

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NETS READYING OFFER FOR DWIGHT HOWARD

Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com: The New Jersey Nets are prepared to offer a trade package featuring Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to acquire Dwight Howard before the Orlando Magic center becomes a free agent in July 2012, according to sources close to the situation. Sources told ESPN.com this week that, to sweeten the proposal, New Jersey would likewise offer to take back the contract of Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who has three seasons left on his contract worth just under $35 million. Absorbing Turkoglu’s remaining salary would become financially feasible for the Nets after the expected release of swingman Travis Outlaw through the amnesty clause that will be included in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement and by including another smaller contract or two in the deal. No trade deadline for the 2011-12 season has been set in stone yet by the league office, but many team executives believe it will fall in March. Once the league officially re-opens for business, Howard’s future in Orlando is sure to be one of the season’s dominant story lines, along with Chris Paul’s future in New Orleans and the Nets’ attempts to secure a long-term commitment from star guard Deron Williams. It’s been an open secret around the league that the Nets’ dream scenario is pairing Howard with Williams, after they followed up their failed pursuit of Carmelo Anthony last season by trading for Williams just before the February trade deadline. It remains to be seen whether Howard will regard the Nets as a prime destination on par with the New York Knicks, even after they move out of New Jersey, but sources say that Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov has long believed that teaming them up would convince both Team USA stars to commit their long-term future to the Brooklyn-bound Nets.

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Much Ado About The Amnesty Rule …

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

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Rarely have so few words received so much scrutiny.

But if we didn’t know any better, the amnesty provision in the NBA’s new labor proposal (and that’s all it remains at this point, until the untangling process is complete) would appear to be the most important piece of the pending collective bargaining agreement.

It seems strange that something that will be utilized by such a small number of teams would be the focus of everyone’s attention. Yet when you realize the names that could potentially be impacted by the rule — Brandon Roy, Rashard Lewis, Baron Davis, Richard Jefferson, Mehmet Okur, Gilbert Arenas and several others — the intense examination of how the rule works makes much more sense.

Folks in Portland have already singled out Roy as one of the certain casualties of the amnesty rule, with John Canzano of the Oregonian providing the background for how and why it will go down:

The whisper at One Center Court is that Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen won’t bother to take one last look at Brandon Roy before he goes amnesty clause on the guy who won all those games for him.

Here’s hoping Allen does. And that the longest look is into Roy’s eyes.

“Brandon’s out,” a league executive told me Monday. “Don’t know the exact details, but everyone around the league knows it’s way, way done. Paul and Bert (Kolde) are calling the shots on this one.”

While the amnesty provision seems like the hot topic of the day, there are other items in the tentative labor agreement, outlined in a letter from Billy Hunter to the players, a copy of which was obtained by SI.com‘s Sam Amick, that require more attention.

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Labor Talks: Bleak Outlook Ahead

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

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You knew it was strictly a matter of time before these things began percolating again, the much-feared exodus of NBA players to overseas playing options during the lockout.

The only semi-surprising part of this latest wave is the names of the players involved.

Heat star Dwayne Wade has finally added his name to the list of players weighing the merits of an international excursion while this process plays itself out:

“I told my agent to just take a peek,” Wade said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s time. There’s a possibility that we’re not going to have a season. We’ve got to see what’s out there, what the possibilities are. I want to play competitive basketball this year. I’ve missed a year of basketball in my life before. I’m not trying to miss another. I don’t have too many years of basketball left.”

Word came a little later from SI.com’s Sam Amick that Kevin Durant‘s agent, Aaron Goodwin, is in discussions with a team in Germany (one that would allow him the flexibility to return to the states if and whenever an abbreviated NBA season begins), one of several options, about the Thunder star potentially making the trek for a temporary stint:

“We’re just discussing it,” Goodwin said. “We’re in discussions and it’s definitely a consideration, but we’re not in the final stages.”

Disturbing news?

Sure.

No one want to see some mass exodus of NBA stars at such a crucial time in these labor talks, and despite all of the legal proceedings going on around the country on behalf of both sides, we very much consider this an ongoing situation.

But we agree with most optimistic fringe in the belief that there is more than enough time on the calendar to turn this thing around and salvage some sort of an abbreviated season.

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