Posts Tagged ‘Troy Murphy’

Mavs’ Carlisle Rolls With Plan B, Revolving Roster


 Rick Carlisle earned his reputation as one of the game’s top coaches by bending, flexing and adjusting all the way to a six-game championship take-down of the Miami Heat in 2011.

Recall 5-foot-10 point guard J.J. Barea as an NBA Finals starting shooting guard?

The Dallas Mavericks have since gone 77-72 and haven’t won another playoff game. And despite a roster that’s read like a well-worn Rolodex, Carlisle has seemed only to enhance his image as an elite tactician and motivator. Carlisle’s agility will be put to the test again this season in guiding a team that again barely resembles the one that preceded it.

From the 2010-11 championship team only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain. From the revamped squad insufficiently stocked to defend the title, add only Brandan Wright and Vince Carter as keepers. And from last season, add draft picks Jae Crowder and Bernard James. It’s doubtful any coach, especially one that won a ring with the same franchise just three Junes ago, has witnessed such roster upheaval in three consecutive offseasons, and particularly so in these back-to-back summers.

“Back-to-back, probably not,” Carlisle admitted. “But look, we’re living in a different time. We’re living in a time now where there’s going to be more one-year deals, there’s going to be more turnover, so everybody adjusts to the dynamics of the new CBA, and I don’t know that that’s going to happen for another year or two, at least. That said, if you’re going to be a head coach in this league you’ve got to be very open-minded, you’ve got to be open to change and adaptation. You always want continuity, but you’re not always going to have it.”

The Mavs suffered the indignity of a lockout and the ratification of a game-changing collective bargaining agreement on the heels of their championship parade. On the fly, owner Mark Cuban championed new roster-building strategies that entailed allowing key members of his title team to walk. Plan A, to create cap space and lure max-dollar free agents to crowbar Nowitzki’s championship window, hasn’t panned out and Dallas has instead scrambled the last two summers to produce competitive rosters.

That can be a disheartening road for a coach who is just one of four currently in the league with a ring. Carlisle, though, has consistently endorsed his boss’ decisions. Entering his sixth season in Dallas and the second year of his second four-year contract, Carlisle seems to embrace the challenges he inherits under Plan B. Of the four active championship coaches — including Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers, now in charge of the Clippers — Carlisle’s task is by far fraught with the most uncertainties.

“I just made a conscious decision that I’m not going to be a coach that’s limited to a certain system,” Carlisle said. “I’m hanging my hat on my ability to adapt each year to potentially a roster that’s quite different, and with the new CBA we’re going to have more of that in this league. I’ve done a lot of it in my career leading up to now anyway, so it’s always challenging in those situations, but it’s also exciting.”

Just look at the players that have come through Dallas since the lockout ended: Kalenna Azubuike, Yi Jianlian, Lamar Odom, Delonte WestSean Williams, Eddy Curry, Troy Murphy, Elton Brand, Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Jared Cunningham, Derek Fisher, Mike James, Dahntay Jones, Anthony Morrow, Chris Wright, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Justin Dentmon and Josh Akognon.

And here’s the players new to Dallas for this season: Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, Gal Mekel, plus draft picks Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo.

Last week Cuban set the bar for this team: The playoffs, and capable of doing damage once there. Carlisle didn’t flinch.

“I think you have to view it that way,” Carlisle said. “And, you’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to eliminate the external noise and the doubters and the naysayers and all that kind of stuff. You’ve got to have just a real positive enthusiasm and focus on your group, and you’ve got to see in your mind how they can get better. Then you’ve got to facilitate that.”

Among Dallas media, at least, Carlisle was hailed as a Coach of the Year candidate for guiding last season’s mismatched squad out of a 13-23 hole, one dug mostly without Nowitzki. Dallas finished 28-18 and was in the thick of the playoff chase almost until the end.

“Actually, I think Rick’s system is just very comprehensive and he lets the players pick up as much of it as they can and so I think rather than try to force-feed things that they might not be able to do, Rick, I think, is more accommodating,” Cuban said. “But I don’t think he really changes his system, per se, or changes what he does. I think he just recognizes the skill set of his players. Like, he went from calling plays to just playing ‘flow’ all the time [with Jason Kidd]. That’s his preference more than anything else, just let guys play basketball, and hopefully that’s what we’re going to be able to do a lot more of whereas last year we had to call plays every possession. This year I don’t think we’ll have to.”

Last season’s backcourt of Collison, who couldn’t hold down the starting job, and Mayo never clicked. Fisher ditched the team after a month and James was erratic. Cuban believes this team offers Carlisle more raw material with which to work.

He believes it will be collectively smarter and less turnover-pron with Calderon at the controls, Harris backing him up and the speedy Ellis being able to get to the hole with a frequency the Mavs just haven’t seen. All that, Cuban surmises, should play into the hands of a healthy and motivated Nowitzki.

“Each team is different, each team has different needs, each team develops differently and has to make different kinds of adjustments mid-stream,” Carlisle said. “All that stuff is one of the real intriguing things about coaching. It’s one of the reasons I love it. And one of the reasons I love working in this organization is we’ve got an owner with a fertile mind that likes the right kind of change.

“I’m down with that.”

Early Run Of Injuries Taking Its Toll

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — The Dallas Mavericks signed journeyman big man Eddy Curry out of desperation at the center position with Chris Kaman injured. When he returned, Dallas cut Curry and signed out-of-work Troy Murphy because power forward took top billing on the depth chart with Dirk Nowitzki rehabbing from surgery.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, down four starters and six rotation players to injury, signed Josh Howard off the street Thursday. The Toronto Raptors are reportedly looking into unemployed 3-point shooter Mickael Pietrus to plug into their injury-depleted roster.

Entering just the third week of the 2012-13 season, injuries — many to some of the game’s biggest and brightest stars — are the overwhelming story line as overworked team medical staffs are on 24-hour notice.

Both conferences can field a veritable All-Star team, position-by-position, of players that have recently returned from injury, were injured prior to the season or are injured now.

The West: Steve Nash, Ricky Rubio, Eric Gordon, Shawn Marion, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Love, Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut.

The East: Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Dwyane Wade, Danny Granger, Amar’e StoudemireAndrew Bynum, Nene.

Yet that’s hardly all of the NBA’s wounded. Here’s more of those who have been, still are or just got injured: Gerald Wallace, Gerald Henderson, Mario ChalmersDevin Harris, A.J. PriceNikola Pekovic, Kirk HinrichGrant Hill, J.J. Barea, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Anthony Davis, Steve Blake, Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Channing Frye, Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert, Alan Anderson, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Avery Bradley.

When Minnesota came to Dallas earlier this week with five players out (and Pekovic’s sprained ankle in the third quarter would make it six), coach Rick Adelman engaged in something of a “Who’s on First” rapid-fire Q & A with beat writer Jerry Zgoda.

Jerry: Who’s your backup 3 and your backup 2?

Rick: We don’t have a backup 3. I’m going to start Malcolm (Lee) tonight at the 2 and bring Alexey (Shved) off the bench at both spots. And then at the 3, I don’t know, we’re going to slide somebody there.

Jerry: Have to play AK (Andrei Kirilenko) 48 minutes?

Rick: I don’t want to do to that. We don’t need to wear him out, too.

Jerry: Can you get five or six (minutes) out of (assistant coach Terry) Porter?

Rick: I don’t think so.

A year ago, the worry around the league was how an abbreviated training camp following the hasty resolution to the lockout and then a compacted, 66-game schedule would affect player health. With a full, month-long camp this time around and a complete slate of eight preseason games, this spate of injuries is as unexpected as unfortunate.

Entering this weekend’s games, only the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder among the league’s 30 teams boast clean injury reports, and 22 list more than one injured player.

When the Mavericks play the Indiana Pacers tonight, they expect to get Marion back after a five-game absence with a sprained left knee. Nowitzki will remain out as will Indiana’s Granger. For Dallas, it’s been a strange run of not only playing shorthanded, but facing teams with at least one starter sidelined. They played, in order: Toronto (Lowry), New York (Stoudemire), Charlotte (Henderson), Minnesota (Love, Rubio, Roy, Budinger) and Washington (Wall, Nene).

“The league’s not going to stop and wait for you,” Adelman said the other night about his team’s rash of injuries. “A lot teams are having the same issues with major injuries. As a coaching staff you can’t coach the people that aren’t there. You only can coach the people that are there.”

And so it goes in a very strange first month in the NBA.

Elton Brand Looking To Get His Minutes Back Up, Shot To Go Down

DALLAS — As if the ignominy of being an amnesty casualty out of Philly wasn’t hurtful enough, Elton Brand‘s new coach in Dallas dealt him the injustice of benching him during crunch time at Charlotte while the five Mavericks on the floor keystone-copped their way out of a certain victory.

Two nights later at home against the injury-depleted Minnesota Timberwolves, Brand played just 17 minutes total and not one measly tick of the fourth quarter of an ugly 90-82 loss, the Mavs’ third in a row. After the game, Brand was visibly miffed by Rick Carlisle‘s rotation choice to stick with Troy Murphy instead, but Brand played it cool.

The next day at the end of practice, Brand was running end-to-end sprints with the low-minute guys, a ritual most vets, saying nothing of one with an All-Star pedigree, would avoid like jock itch.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been different,” Brand said of his first nine games in Dallas. “Like I say, coach is still evaluating. We’re still learning about each other. Coach is still learning about us.”

So it hasn’t been a seamless transition for Brand and the Mavs, who are paying just $2.1 million of his $18 million salary thanks to the CBA-instituted amnesty program.

But, really how could it have been?

Brand came to a team with initially eight new players. Before training camp ended, Delonte West had been suspended twice and waived, Dirk Nowitzki went under the knife, former Clippers teammate Chris Kaman dealt with a back injury and was nursing a calf injury into the regular season, Eddy Curry became the ninth new player before he was cut to make way for a 10th newbie in Murphy, who, for at least those two games, took over Brand’s position in the fourth quarter.

And during it all, Brand’s wife was in the final stages of pregnancy and delivered their second child, a daughter, between a Wednesday game in Dallas that he missed to fly home, and a Friday night game at New York against the Knicks, which he played.

None of the above is an excuse or necessarily even a reason as to why the 33-year-old power forward is struggling to hone his shooting range. Brand’s 36.8 field-goal percentage is well off his 50 percent career average, and although the career 18.2-point-a-game scorer has seen his scoring average dip in each of the last five seasons, he’s averaging a remarkably low 7.0 points.

His mid-range shooting has gone haywire, down to 32 percent, according to with his hallmark free-throw line jumper more often spinning out than splashing down. And from inside the lane, it gets worse. Brand is 4-for-14 (29 percent) in the paint.

“I feel good, body feels good, still learning the offense,” said Brand, who quickly learned that Carlisle isn’t afraid to yank anyone not producing. “Like I said, I think I can produce whenever I get the minutes. You get three or four shots in 16 minutes you can’t do much — at all.”

So maybe Wednesday’s breathless victory over Washington, a game Dallas nearly blew a 22-point third-quarter lead, is the start of better things for Brand, who has been a bit breathless himself, granted permission by Carlisle to sneak a quick trip back home on the East Coast to visit wife and baby before the homestand.

Brand responded with his first double-double of the season (11 points, 12 rebounds) in 30 minutes, his high minute mark since the season opener. He was just 4-of-10 from the floor, but grabbed four offensive rebounds in more then eight minutes of crucial fourth-quarter time.

“I’m just glad coach had the confidence to have me out there late in the game,” Brand said. “I didn’t get to play at the end of that Charlotte game and only 17 minutes last game, so I wanted to be out there and help the team win, do whatever I could.”

Raptors’ Calderon Finds Opportunity As Stars Align (Off The Floor)

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Tonight in Dallas, where the Mavericks will face the Toronto Raptors, the list of players that won’t be in uniform is actually more impressive than the best of the rest.

Let’s start with the Raptors one night after getting run off the floor at Oklahoma City. Point guard Kyle Lowry is listed as doubtful, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Lowry has been tremendous for the Raptors so far, averaging a team-high 18.3 points on sizzling 54.5 percent shooting from the floor and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. Lowry, averaging 6.3 assists and 3.0 steals, sprained his right ankle Tuesday and needed to be helped off the floor.

The injury opens the door for trade candidate Jose Calderon, the team’s longtime starter only to be replaced by Lowry this season, to get back into the starting lineup and increase his stock. Calderon, averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 assists in 20.3 minutes a game off the bench, wasn’t happy about losing his starting job. Toronto and Calderon, who has averaged 9.8 points and 7.1 assists in his career, were reportedly working together to make a trade happen over the summer, but one never materialized.’s Marc Stein reported in July that the Mavs had interest in trading for the Spaniard, who has spent his entire seven-year career in Toronto, but Dallas was waiting to make other moves with its salary cap space. The Raptors had no interest in releasing Calderon through the amnesty waiver clause.

The severity of Lowry’s sprained ankle or how long he might be out is uncertain. Short-term or long-term, Calderon suddenly finds an opportunity in front of him.

As for the Mavs, Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) remains out likely for another couple of weeks. Small forward and leading rebounder Shawn Marion (sprained right MCL) will be scratched at least the next three games and power forward Elton Brand, Dallas’ second-leading rebounder flew to New York to be with his wife for the birth of their child.

Dallas is hopeful backup point guard Rodrigue Beaubois will play after he missed the last two games with a twisted ankle. He is a game-time decision.

The absences up front leave the already rebounding-deficient Mavs (28th in the league in rebounding differential at -8.3 and dead last in offensive rebounds allowed) with a rotation that will potentially include Chris Kaman starting at center, Brandan Wright at power forward and rookie Jae Crowder at small forward. Reserves include wings Vince Carter, Dahntay Jones, recently acquired power forward Troy Murphy and rookie center Bernard James.

Curry Is Out; Mavs Hope Kaman Is In

DALLAS — The Eddy Curry experience in Dallas didn’t last long. Eight less-than exhilarating days to be exact. The Mavericks now optimistically turn to Chris Kaman time.

The Mavericks will waive the 7-foot Curry on Friday to make room on the 15-man roster for another recent basketball vagabond, power forward Troy Murphy, (neither transaction is official yet, but coach Rick Carlisle and players talked about the moves after Friday’s practice), an indication of just how badly the Mavs need scoring and rebounding at the position with Dirk Nowitzki out at least another week and possibly as many as four following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

It’s been musical chairs in Dallas with erratic combo guard Delonte West being the first out the door, waived on Monday after twice being suspended for behavioral issues. He remains without a job.

The question in front of Curry is if another team will toss him a life-preserver and try yet again to rescue his overwhelmingly disappointing career. The Spurs released the 2001 fourth overall draft pick before the Mavs provided him a short-lived shot. Curry played 25 minutes in the Mavs’ first two regular-season games. He was decent on the offensive end; awful on the defensive end.

Dallas now turns optimistically to Kaman. He’s hopeful of playing in the home opener Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. The oft-injured Kaman missed the last four preseason games and the first two real games this week nursing a strained right calf.

“That’s my goal,” Kaman said after Friday’s practice. “I can’t guarantee it at this point, I’ve got to see how I feel. I’m off the medication now. Hopefully everything feels good and the swelling stays down.” (more…)

At This Age, Kobe Can’t Do It By Himself

When he was a lot younger and had a lot fewer knee surgeries, Kobe Bryant thought he could go one-on-three and win that battle. Crazy thing was, most times, he did.

He also adopted that mentality because of the help, or lack of it, around him. Basically, Kobe didn’t trust his teammates much in the post-Shaq, pre-Pau Gasol period. Even now, he’ll take a shot at Smush Parker, just to revisit bad memories.

Surely you saw Kobe in the Lakers opener, on the last possession, when he lapsed into 2004 mode and waved everybody off. Perhaps it was a reflex reaction to Derrick Rose putting the Bulls up with a running hook that eventually became the game-winner. Whatever, Kobe had the ball and everyone else was getting out of the way, for better or worse. And so he dribbled to his right, attracting a swarm of Bulls, ignored Derek Fisher standing all alone at the 3-point line, and then elevated.

His elevation only reached the fourth floor. Three Bulls — Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng — challenged him and Kobe’s shot never really had a chance before it was swatted by Deng. Welcome to the a new era, then, that might begin to look familiar fairly soon if the Lakers don’t get Dwight Howard, pronto.

In the possession before, Kobe was trapped with the ball, tried to pass it, and had it stolen. So it’s not like Kobe isn’t looking for someone, anyone. But even then, he didn’t think about giving up the ball until he was forced to do so by the Bulls. It’s yet another hint that Kobe, after a short preseason, needs to be sold on this Laker team. He’ll get Andrew Bynum back in a few days, with Bynum still serving out a suspension for clubbing J.J. Barea last spring, but is that enough?


Dunleavy Is Finally Free

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If you’re talking about active players that have been in the NBA the longest without so much as sniffing the playoffs, leave Mike Dunleavy out of it.

He’s free now.

The Pacers forward will make his playoff debut Saturday when he and his teammates travel to Chicago for Game 1 of their first round series against the Bulls. It’s going to be a glorious day for Dunleavy, whose playoff drought lasted a staggering nine years. More from my main man Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:

After nine years, 627 regular-season games and a major knee operation, Dunleavy will make his playoff debut when he comes off the bench in Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at United Center.

“It felt like a long time in some regards, but in some ways it’s gone fast,” said Dunleavy, who trailed only former Pacer Troy Murphy for most games without reaching the postseason. “Realistically, looking back, I don’t feel like I’ve been on a playoff team.”


StatsCube: Celtics’ Offense in a Funk

For the second straight season, the Boston Celtics are slumping down the stretch. They’ve lost six of their last 10 games, completely losing their grip on the top seed in the Eastern Conference in the process. Now, they’re just a game in the loss column ahead of the Miami Heat for second in the East, facing the prospect of starting a conference semifinals matchup in Miami, instead of at home.

When the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins, the fear was that their defense would suffer. Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic are good players and should make Boston’s offense more potent, but neither is known for their prowess on the defensive end of the floor.

And yes, the Boston defense did give up 30 fourth-quarter points to the Charlotte Bobcats (the fifth worst offensive team in the league) on Friday, turning a 13-point lead into a two-point loss. But in general, it’s been the Celtics’ offense that has really struggled of late.

Celtics efficiency, 2010-11

Timeframe Rec. Pace Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Diff.
Pre-trade 41-14 93.0 105.2 97.4 +7.8
Post-trade 9-7 91.9 100.3 97.0 +3.3
Last 10 4-6 89.8 98.0 95.2 +2.9

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions
Def. Eff. = Points allowed per 100 possessions

So, since the trade, the Celtics’ defense has basically been performing at the same level as it was before the deal. The numbers are a little skewed by a game in which they held the Bucks to 56 points, but they have held nine of their 16 opponents under a point per possession, and their only bad defensive game since the trade was a 108-103 loss to the Clippers on March 9.

Side note: In contrast, it was the Celtics’ defense that suffered more at the end of last season, allowing 104.3 points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break and 111.8 over their last nine games.

The Celtics are grabbing fewer offensive rebounds since the trade, but they’re also getting to the line more often and turning the ball over a little less. So they’re actually getting more shots per possession than they were before the trade. And they’re even shooting their free throws better.

Essentially, the Celtics’ offensive drop-off is completely a result of poor shooting from the field.

Celtics’ shooting

Timeframe 2P% 3P% EFG%
Pre-trade 0.522 0.374 0.530
Post-trade 0.479 0.330 0.482
Last 10 0.467 0.301 0.464

EFG% = (FGM + (.5*3PM)) / FGA

Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are all shooting worse from the field since the trade, and the Celtics’ offense has suffered as a result. With the Big Four on the floor together, they’re scoring 105.8 points per 100 possessions since the trade (despite a hot start), as opposed to 111.8 before it.

But when the big four aren’t all on the floor is when the Celtics’ offense really struggles, scoring just 94.1 points per 100 possessions since the trade, which is downright dreadful.

Celtics’ efficiency since trade with player on floor

Player GP MIN Off. Eff.
Rajon Rondo 16 581 102.7
Ray Allen 16 575 103.1
Paul Pierce 16 535 102.9
Kevin Garnett 16 512 105.0
Nenad Krstic 15 384 106.4
Jeff Green 15 344 97.0
Glen Davis 12 340 95.2
Delonte West 8 150 92.1
Troy Murphy 11 114 82.1
Carlos Arroyo 8 102 96.2

Off. Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions

You can see why Doc Rivers has gone to an eight-man rotation in a couple of those games.

For a veteran team that was able to flip the switch when the playoffs began last year, it’s easy to theorize that the Celtics’ problems stem from boredom, complacency or a broken ubuntu. And perhaps it’s just a matter of time for the new guys in the rotation to get going.

No matter what the underlying issue is, the shots aren’t falling.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Bulletin: It’s July in March in NBA!

As swiftly as the transactions have come Monday and so far on Tuesday – extensions, releases, buyouts, signings, renewed tremors of franchise relocation —  it would seem only fair to clear some air space in prime time this evening to provide a roundup of the frenzied activity.

But no, this isn’t July. This is March 1 and there are eight games on the docket tonight. So instead of an hour-long special to await and dissect one man’s move from Cleveland to Miami, we’re getting maybe 90 seconds or so to learn of, process and re-Tweet each of a half-dozen or more significant NBA moves occurring in broad daylight.

Carlos Arroyo released? Mike Bibby stepping into his chalk outline down Horatio’s way near South Beach? Troy (Dropkick) Murphy shipping up to Boston? Kendrick Perkins and the Maloof Brothers both getting juicy extensions? There’s enough programming there for an NBA TV post-trading deadline special.

It’s enough to make those of us who recall old-fashioned newspaper newsrooms (apologies for the obvious redundancy in that) long for the days before we did all our work on somebody’s mother’s couch in the proverbial basement. Y’know, when the wire-service machine would clack and click and spit out an actual ribbon of paper, with a bell to announce the arrival of breaking news.

Thing would be on the verge of blowing a gasket today. Forget that “In like a lion” chatter about March – this one has come in like a velociraptor.

Here are the news items and some quickie reaction:

  • G Carlos Arroyo was released by Miami in anticipation of the Heat adding bought-out Mike Bibby.

Hang Time’s reaction: We’ll take this one point guard at a time. No one can blame Miami for wanting to upgrade a position that has been a weakness all season. This is like Achilles deciding that, yeah, maybe chukka boots would be a better footwear choice than sandals – gotta protect the heel, y’know. It’s unclear how much Bibby has left, but with Mario Chalmers on the depth chart, it’s not like he’ll have to outplay guys named Rose, Rondo, Billups, Williams, Nelson or Jennings every day in practice. On game nights? Well, there is that.

There’s also this: Miami is adding a lifetime 15.4 ppg and 5.7 apg game guy. Bibby is a legit deep shooter who will spread the floor. But in kicking Arroyo to the curb, the Heat also has sent a reminder to all those players who might see an easy path to a championship in south Florida: You will be expected to sacrifice salary and job security, but we won’t sacrifice anything if there’s a shot at upgrading. As soon as President Pat Riley can snag someone better, you will be out the door faster than a brain-cramped contestant on Jeopardy!

Hang Time’s reaction: This was a double-whammy, of course, with the Celtics adding frontcourt help and blocking Miami from doing the same. The 6-foot-10 pick-and-pop specialist was looking at five playoff-bound teams as a way to break his league-high streak of 639 games without a postseason appearance. Boston probably needed Murphy more, considering Udonis Haslem‘s coming return from foot surgery, though it will take awhile to know how much his game atrophied from his Tim Thomas-like exile from New Jersey’s plans. But Murphy averaged 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, kept former Pacers coach Jim O’Brien happy in Indiana and, what the heck, is named “Murphy” and figures to look right at home in Celtics green.

Hang Time’s reaction: Brewer’s defense, energy and attitude has rightfully made him a desirable pickup among the buyout bunch. The Knicks prefer Jeffries’ 6-foot-11 size for defense inside but Brewer’s inclination and ability to harass people on the perimeter has attracted  interest – according to our man David Aldridge – from the likes of San Antonio, Miami, Dallas and New Orleans. Boston and even the Lakers are said to be interested, too, although Chicago among the contenders is hungrier for outside shooting (not the former Florida draft pick’s strength at all). Meanwhile, Cleveland, which lost forward Antawn Jamison to pinkie surgery for the rest of the season, is trying to push defense now and reportedly was claiming Brewer off waivers. Good to see the Cavs get a little feisty and pro-active. As for folks who focus only on Brewer’s offense as a reason not to like him, they are missing 75 percent of what this guy brings. Every night.

Hang Time’s reaction: So now we know the dollar amount that was too much for the Celtics in keeping Perkins around for a championship run this spring and for multiple years beginning in 2011-12. Boston had been thinking more in the ballpark of $22 million over four years, which in relative terms is like Fenway Park compared to Jerry Jones‘ Cowboys Stadium. Perkins’ defense and size has perked up Thunder fans, who have the NBA’s lone small-market-team-in-the-wilderness not wringing its hands about financial doom and gloom heading into the CBA talks. Extending Perkins was a no-brainer but getting it done now, at a reasonable price (assuming he stays healthy) is another master stroke by GM Sam Presti. Not so much for Danny Ainge and the Celtics, who are almost guaranteed to miss Perkins in the middle during this postseason.

Hang Time’s reaction: It’s difficult to imagine three NBA franchises sharing the market in southern California. But then it was hard to see how the Corleones could divvy up New York with the Tattaglias, the Barzinis the Cuneos and the Straccis. If the fan base is big enough and the pockets deep enough and the TV/radio rights fees hefty enough, anything is possible. The extension pushes the deadline past the Board of Governors meeting on April 14-15, so in a sense this seems merely procedural.

But the climate in the NBA has changed, with commissioner David Stern no longer taking tremors of relocation as some personal failure or betrayal. He views it as business, period. And NBA business, while very good right now on the court, is likely to have a dramatically different look to it once the owner-union CBA talks are done.

The Kings staying in Sacramento? Would you lay odds on that in a Maloof casino?

Surprise! Nets Land D-Will

Did Mikhail Prokhorov just trump the Knicks?

A source close to the situation has confirmed reports from The Record and Yahoo! that the New Jersey Nets have reached an agreement with the Utah Jazz on a trade that will bring point guard Deron Williams to New Jersey for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first round picks. The trade call is expected to happen “within the hour,” says the source.

So basically, the Nets got (arguably) a better player than Carmelo Anthony for less than what they were offering the Denver Nuggets for Melo.

Jazz-Nets trade
Who went where in the Deron Williams trade:
Nets get:
G Deron Williams
Jazz get:
G Devin Harris
F Derrick Favors
2011 first-round pick (from Nets)
2012 first-round pick (Nets via Warriors)

The picks are the Nets’ unprotected pick this year and the Warriors pick next year (protected 1-7).

The Nets may also send, in a separate deal, Troy Murphy to the Golden State Warriors for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright. New Jersey doesn’t play until Friday (in San Antonio), so they’ve got time to get their new players situated before they play.

Of course, this prompts so many questions …

Will the Nets now target Dwight Howard in 2012?

Could the Knicks have gotten Williams instead of Anthony?

Will Williams, who can choose to become a free agent in 2012, be happy playing for Avery Johnson?

Did the Jazz know that they weren’t keeping Williams beyond next season?

And how did this happen so quickly?


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.