Archive for September 29th, 2009

Suns to run again

steve nash

The Phoenix Suns were a fun, super-fast, run-and-gun team back in the not-so-distant past. Then they made a bunch of trades, added Shaquille O’Neal, and became a regular squad that fast-breaked about as much as anyone else.

Now, Shaq is gone and Steve Nash has guys like Jason Richardson, Amar’e Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa to toss the rock to. Guys with quickness and athletic ability.

What this means is, the fun Suns may reappear.

The AP reports:

The Suns begin training camp with “a clear vision of how we’re going to play,” Steve Nash said at the team’s media day on Monday.

That would be fast and furious, just like in the days when Mike D’Antoni was coach.

“This year I think it’s going to be much clearer as to who we are and how we’re going to play,” Nash said, “and that’s going to allow us to build a chemistry and believe in one another.”

It’ll be interesting to see how aging Steve Nash performs in 2009-10.

Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge wants a contract extension, and apparently the team isn’t quite ready to offer what he may feel he’s worth.

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports:

lamarcus _aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge expressed displeasure and confusion Monday afternoon at the unresolved status of his contract negotiations with the Trail Blazers.

Speaking publicly for the first time since negotiations started in July, Aldridge said at the team’s annual media day that he was stunned the Blazers had not signed him to a long-term contract, particularly considering the prominent role he has played in helping transform the franchise into a Western Conference power.

“I didn’t think it would take this long,” Aldridge said. “I thought that after what we did last year, having 54 wins and after the big change that’s happened … here, I just felt like it wouldn’t be this hard to get it done. But it is. I can’t say that I’m happy about it.”

Nothing really to worry about just yet.

Chris Paul may play fewer minutes

chris paul

Star point guard Chris Paul is the heart and soul of the New Orleans Hornets. While reducing his minutes during the season to keep him fresh for the playoffs and healthy long-term has been a regular goal, it’s been hard to do.

But maybe this is the season CP3 gets preserved a bit.

John DeShazier of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

“I think so,” Byron Scott said Monday at the New Orleans Arena hours before the team trekked to Lafayette to hold the first week of training camp, beginning today. “I’m really comfortable and more confident this year that I’ll be able to do it with Bobby (Brown) and Darren (Collison). They’re going to be fighting it out for the backup role.

“Both of those guys have had their moments in the scrimmages the last couple of weeks. So I feel really good that I’m going to be able to cut (Paul’s) minutes down to what I think he should be playing, which is about 34 to 35 minutes, not 39 minutes.”

Seeing Paul a bit less on the floor may not please his biggest fans live as the game happens, but perhaps they’ll get to enjoy his career a few extra seasons down the road as a result.

Return of the Wizards

Remember the Washington Wizards? They were pretty good a while back, when Gilbert Arenas and various other key guys were fully healthy. The team has been forgotten about in recent seasons but they hope to place themselves back on the map in 2009-10.

Mike Jones of the Washington Times reports:

gilbert_arenas

From new coach Flip Saunders to three-time All-Star/three-time surgery survivor Gilbert Arenas to free-agent-to-be Brendan Haywood down to aging backup point guard Mike James, every member of the Wizards has some individual criticism, fault or doubt to disprove.

But when the Wizards’ players held court during media day Monday at Verizon Center, the common theme - as cliche as it may sound - was Just win.

DeShawn Stevenson and offseason acquisitions Mike Miller and Randy Foye will compete for the starting spot at shooting guard, but all three said they’ll accept whomever Saunders chooses to start and do their part to contribute.

On paper, the Wizards should qualify for the playoffs in the East. Whether they’re a first-round-and-out team or something better remains to be seen.

Glancing at Eddy Curry

eddy_curry

Eddy Curry showed nice potential offensively as an inside force with the Chicago Bulls and early on with the New York Knicks, but things have gone downhill since 2006-07. In 2007-08 Curry played just 59 games and averaged an unimpressive 13.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. Last season he didn’t really exist, registering a mere three games played and spending the season an injured, out of shape mess.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports:

Curry is also one of the highest-paid Knicks despite never appearing in a playoff game. He has two years left on his contract and his future in New York is shaky at best. Curry was never in shape last season and quickly fell out of favor with D’Antoni. It began when he missed camp with a stomach virus. His year was further derailed by a series of events off the court, including the murder of his infant daughter, which set him back emotionally as well.

Curry dropped 40 pounds but he’s not 100% fit. He already has injured his left hamstring and right calf during scrimmages last week but plans to practice with his teammates today at Skidmore College. It’s not much but it’s something.

The Knicks, in full rebuild mode, still look to deal Curry for expiring contracts.

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