Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ford Chat:

ESPN NBA insider Chad Ford hosted his weekly chat last Tuesday. Here are some rumors he brought up:

  • Tyreke Evans is likely the Kings' shooting guard of the future, meaning it's more than probable that a Kevin Martin trade is on the horizon. Evans has mostly played point guard in his rookie season.
  • The Knicks are giving Eddy Curry playing time right now because Donnie Walsh wants to see if he can revert to his old skills enough that he is worth an expiring contract. Curry has a player option worth $11.2 million next year that he is guaranteed to accept.
  • Andres Nocioni of the Kings has caught the Celtics interest. They may try to get a deal done if they can center it around Tony Allen.
  • Ford recommends that the Wizards try to trade Gilbert Arenas.
  • Danny Granger needs to step up as the leader of the Pacers. Indiana also might want to unload Troy Murphy, who is tired of sharing minutes with Tyler Hansbrough.
  • The top three general managers are the Spurs' RC Buford, the Pistons' Joe Dumars and Kevin O'Connor of the Jazz, according to Ford.
  • Kevin Durant has likely found a home with the Thunder, but don't count on Chris Paul staying with New Orleans.
  • The 76er's should trade Elton Brand. Any takers?

Iverson's possible return overblown, coach says

  • 76er's coach Eddie Jordan says he hasn't talked about Allen Iverson with the team, according to Paul J. Weber of the Associated Press. "It's something that's probably more in the media than it actually is," Jordan said.
  • Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala, Iverson's former teammate, would welcome his return. But the article does not mention whether or not he has discussed it with the team.
  • Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer is against an Iverson signing, arguing that it would be counterproductive for the young nucleus.
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe takes an objective look at Iverson's controversial career, explaining fans' and teams' countering viewpoints.

Wade picks Howard over James

Apologies for no link, but you need to pay to access New York Times articles online. This is an article in the sports section today.

Dwyane Wade would rather play with Dwight Howard than any other player: "If I could pick one player in the league today to play with, and most people think I'd say LeBron James, I would pick Dwight...People who say it couldn't happen, they don't know. I've learned in this league that anything is possible."

If Wade were to sign with the Magic, they should be given the 2011 championship and just play for 70 wins. However, this is merely a pipe dream.

The Magic payroll is $78 million next year, above the luxury tax. The only way they could sign Wade is by cutting significant salary (which is harder than it sounds with the NBA's trade restrictions) or if Wade signs for $2 million or less (never happening).

It's a nice thought, but at least Wade won't have much trouble looking for work elsewhere.

Frank fired as Nets coach, Vandeweghe the interim

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that the Nets will fire coach Lawrence Frank this week after the team's 0-16 start. General manager Kiki Vandeweghe put Frank on the hot seat, but didn't fire him earlier because there was indecision as to who would be the interim coach, and they wanted to wait for key players to return from injury such as Devin Harris and Courtney Lee.

Vandeweghe will be the interim coach even though he has no head coaching experience. The loss of Vince Carter, key injuries, a league-worst offensive rating (92.8 points per 100 possessions, with 92.8 possessions per game) and a crumbling locker room prompted a so-far winless season.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eastern Conference Updates: Sunday 11/29

Atlanta Hawks: Injury has held back Mike Bibby up to this point. He was uncertain in Friday's game against the 76er's, but finished with 21 points in the Hawks' 100-86 win.

Boston Celtics: Glen Davis is getting ready to return to the court after sitting out so far. He will remove his cast on December 2.

Charlotte Bobcats: Look out for the Bobcats. They have won four straight, and they're winning with the league's best defensive rating.

Chicago Bulls: Jerry Sloan praised Joakim Noah's rebounding. He is averaging 11.9 per game. Vinny del Negro says those rebounds are key "so we can get out in the open court."

Cleveland Cavaliers: Should LeBron James sign with the Knicks? Vote on the poll. 45% say yes.

Detroit Pistons: Austin Daye got his first start, taking the place of the injured Ben Gordon. Nothing notable, but 13 points is nothing to sneeze at for a first career start.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers are starting to regain their health. Mike Dunleavy played his first game this season Friday, and Granger is starting again.

Miami Heat:
Eric Spoelstra said the Heat will quicken the pace in order to win more games. Dwyane Wade said teams would often trap him when defending him. If this helps the Heat win, it could aid them in attempting to re-sign Wade.

Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Redd is out with a soar knee again. His continuing injuries add to the already-injured Andrew Bogut and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

New Jersey Nets:
The Nets' first win will be winning at losing. Unless they beat the Lakers, they will have tied the all-time record for losses to start a season with 17.

New York Knicks: Mike D'Antoni will consider starting Nate Robinson over Chris Duhon.

Orlando Magic:
Is Jameer Nelson overrated?

Philadelphia 76er's: Enough about Allen Iverson. Elton Brand didn't start for the second straight game. He's not completely healthy yet after a season-ending injury last year.

Toronto Raptors: Re-signing Chris Bosh might necessitate trading Andrea Bargnani.

Washington Wizards: Erick Blasco, a top NBA writer for Bleacher Report, gives a breakdown of the Wizards.

The Wizards will never get anywhere, and here's why

Caron Butler is a workhorse with no name, and he will stay until he gets his career on track. Butler has the ability to do something great. In at least one season, he has lead the Wizards in points per game, assists, steals, and he's come close in rebounds. But this has led him nowhere but to two trips to the All-Star game.

However, it's not his fault. Since arriving to the Wizards, Butler has exhibited a boatload of talent, but the Wizards over-rely on him to demonstrate his abilities.

Nobody can tell who Butler truly is. A scorer? A playmaker? A defensive specialist? A combination of all three?

Washington relies on him to be a combination of all three, but few swingmen truly are. Kobe Bryant is all three. LeBron James is all three. Dwyane Wade is all three. The Wizards must realize that they cannot make him into one of those players.

The problem lies in the coaching. Eddie Jordan, the predominant head coach in Butler's tenure with the Washington, has been a players' coach. He has done everything in his power to help his players reach their potentials.

Jordan transformed Butler and Gilbert Arenas from scrubs to all-stars since they arrived with the Wizards, also helping Antawn Jamison improve his shooting and rebounding to create one of the NBA's most talented trios.

That's all fine and dandy, but the Wizards haven't won a round of playoff action since 2005, the year before they traded for Butler. The X factor in the team's disappointments lies in the chemistry.

Jordan made Arenas and Butler into household names, but Arenas became a shoot-first combo guard and Butler has never had enough energy to lead both the offense and defense, despite the Wizards' beliefs.

The Wizards players have reached their potential as individuals, but they have never reached their potential as a cohesive unit.

New coach Flip Saunders isn't going to change that, because like Jordan, he's a players' coach.

With the Pistons, he made four players into all-stars in his first season, but after Larry Brown led the team to two straight NBA Finals, Saunders couldn't lead the team to the promised land in three years with the team.

Now Brown coaches the Bobcats, and tonight he reminded Saunders again why he's the superior coach.

Charlotte may be the least talented team in the NBA. Gerald Wallace is the leader, but he would likely be the fourth best player on a championship team.

But Brown has made his impact in just over a year with the Bobcats. The message is clear: Defense wins. The Bobcats have started the season first in defensive rating, which has kept them out of the basement of the Southeast Division.

That's where the Wizards are. The Bobcats beat them 92-76, holding the Wizards to 38.5 percent shooting.

Butler had another good game. He scored 19 and held Wallace and Stephen Jackson to 25 combined points. The rest of his team couldn't follow through.

If Butler had reached his potential as a teammate, he could have helped the Wizards when they were struggling.

Maybe then a team with three all-stars wouldn't have been blown out by one of the NBA's least talented teams.

But Butler will feel deja vu all over again under Saunders' control. The Wizards have a great group of players, but that will never be evident in their winning until they are taught to play the game correctly.

Allen Iverson: Back to Philadelphia?

  • Bobcats coach Larry Brown advised Iverson not to retire, according to Yong Kim of the Philadelphia Daily News. Brown coached Iverson and the 76er's from 1997-2003.
  • Lou Williams' injury could inspire an Iverson reunion with Philadelphia, says David Aldrige of Iverson left the 76er's with a bad taste in his mouth, but if chairman Ed Snider gives the team his blessing, the team is likely to inquire. Williams is out for eight weeks with a broken jaw.
  • Ken Berger of CBS Sports says "a person with knowledge of the situation" told him that Iverson has considered returning to the 76er's. His chances of reuniting are 50/50.
  • Williams told 76er's executives that he is OK with an Iverson signing, according to the Daily Philadelphian.