Rockets will extend contract of coach Rick Adelman

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports:

With the Rockets ending the year surprisingly in the thick of playoff contention, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said Thursday he was going to extend the contract of Rockets coach Rick Adelman in the coming weeks.

Adelman, whose winning percentage with the Rockets is better than any coach in franchise history, had gone into his third season with the Rockets in the final guaranteed of year of his contract, with the Rockets intending to address his contract situation in the off-season.

“I’m going to pick up his option,” Alexander said. “We’re going to do it soon, relatively soon.

“I think he’s done a terrific job. He’s taken a team that has lost two key starters and he melded the team and he’s won. That’s what we want here. He’s very self-effacing. He only cares about — which I love — is the team and winning.”

Manu Ginobili regaining form

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Nearly 24 hours after the fact, the Spurs still were buzzing about the way Manu Ginobili turned Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves into a personal time machine that transported him back to his days as one of the NBA’s most electrifying players.

Ginobili came to training camp after a summer of enforced inactivity designed to assure complete recovery from a stress fracture of the right ankle. He lately has been reintroducing bits and pieces of the unique game that made him one of the league’s best players.

Tuesday night’s near-triple double was the latest evidence he is getting closer to being the real Manu Ginobili.

Up next: The confidence that will allow him to attack the basket when he believes his legs have regained the explosiveness that once made him a human highlight reel.

LeBron unleashes 48-point massacre on Hawks

Wednesday in Cleveland the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks, 106-101. In the win, Cavs forward LeBron James, who turned 25 years old today, shot 15-of-23 (4-of-6 three-pointers) and hit 14-of-16 free throws for 48 points. He also had 10 rebounds, six assists (three turnovers), two steals and two blocks in 43 minutes.

The AP reports:

lebron james scores 48 points on hawks

With the score tied at 101 and the shot clock down to its final tick, Mo Williams  passed the ball to Anderson Varejao on the left wing. The 6-foot-11 forward, who missed his first 18 career 3-pointers, stepped up and drilled his long shot just before the horn sounded.

When he ran to the other end of the floor, James rushed into his arms.

“I saw that Mo got kind of tied up and I just tried to get open,” Varejao said. “I just shot it.”

A birthday swish for James.

“That’s what I told him,” Varejao said. “Happy birthday.”

After a not-so-impressive start to the season, Cleveland has steadily come along and winning nonstop lately.

Blazers sign Shavlik Randolph

Blazers sign Shavlik Randolph

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Shavlik Randolph, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

Randolph, 26, rejoins the Trail Blazers after averaging 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.7 minutes in 10 games with Portland last season.

Portland was allowed to sign Randolph and bring its roster to 16 players after the NBA awarded the team its second hardship exemption of the season on Tuesday.

The Duke University product has career averages of 2.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 8.3 minutes in 91 games (seven starts) with Philadelphia, Portland and Miami.

Randolph (6-10, 240) appeared in two games for Miami this season, netting two points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 23 minutes before being waived on Dec. 14.

He will wear No. 42 with the Trail Blazers.

Knicks interested in Tracy McGrady

Marc Berman of the New York Post report:

Mike D’Antoni threw the Knicks’ hat into the ring in the Tracy McGrady sweepstakes.

D’Antoni acknowledged for the first time publicly the Knicks are interested in pursuing the former superstar, McGrady, saying the Rockets swingman has enough left in the tank to be a leading man and calling the issue “an intriguing thing that will be evaluated in-depth.”

“It’s a name Donnie [Walsh] I’m sure will analyze and look at and see if it makes sense,” D’Antoni said. “I think you always have to be intrigued with someone like McGrady and Allen Iverson. It’s up to Donnie to evaluate it and sit down and talk about it and see what the other side of the coin is. I don’t know what it entails. I’m sure the antennae goes up and there will be discussions.”

Wizards coach Flip Saunders frustrated by bad defense

Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. the Wizards lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-98.

The Thunder shot 54.4 percent from the field in the win, and nailed 10-of-18 from three-point range.

Wizards coach Flip Saunders is tired of his team’s inability to play defense.

Mike Jones of the Washington Times reports:

“This team needs a mindset change. This team for the last five years has been known as one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and until we make a commitment…” Saunders said, stopping himself short before hunkering down in front of the microphone. “We couldn’t stop anybody out there. We could’ve taken five guys out of this room and they would’ve had a chance. …

“[Oklahoma City] is playing a lot better, but that is not the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Los Angeles Lakers or one of those teams yet. Until they score on you and it hurts, we’re kidding ourselves.” …

The Wizards had primarily used a zone defense to slow the Thunder in the second quarter, but in the third Oklahoma City found a way around it to make 10 of its 19 field goal attempts – further stoking Saunders’ frustrations.

“Zone got us back in the game, and we did well playing some zone. And then guys want to come out of the zone and play man-to-man, but they can’t guard anybody!” the coach fumed. “I could go out there on that floor and take anyone on our team one-on-one at [54] years old and drive around them.”

It’s tough to say what Saunders can do. Other than Russell Westbrook, who was slightly off, virtually every member of the Thunder who played real minutes shot well last night.

It may be time for the Wizards to break up the Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison core.

What would the NBA fine be if…

NBA players must obey certain rules and often face fines if they do things they aren’t supposed to do.

So, just joking around here, but what would the fine be if a player:

1) Pulled a cellphone out while on the court during a game.

2) Started posting on his blog and on Twitter

3) Demanded a trade, while criticizing the refs

4) Then used his cellphone to strike another player

Suns trade Alando Tucker to Wolves for Jason Hart, then waive Hart

The Phoenix Suns today traded swingman Alando Tucker, a future conditional second-round pick and cash considerations to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for guard Jason Hart, the team announced.  The Suns have waived Hart.

“We want to thank Alando for his service to our organization,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “He is a high-character person who has been a good teammate and a hard worker since arriving in Phoenix and we appreciate all of his efforts.  We wish him well in Minnesota.”

“I want to thank Jason Hart for being a consummate professional with us,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “This was a very hard trade to make precisely because Jason has been so helpful to our team both on and off the court. We wish him well… “We are eager to have Alando join us this week. Everything we know about him is that he is a hard working young man who has not had the opportunity for significant playing time.”

The 6-6, 205-pound Tucker was originally selected by the Suns with the 29th overall pick (first round) in the 2007 NBA Draft.  In two-plus seasons in Phoenix, the Wisconsin product has appeared in 47 games with the Suns, including 11 appearances in 2009-10 in which he averaged 3.9 points in 6.5 minutes. The Lockport, Ill.-native owns career NBA averages of 4.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.5 minutes.

Coming off a 15-point win over the NBA-leading LA Lakers, the Suns (20-12) return to action Wednesday night, hosting the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics (23-7) at US Airways Center at 7 p.m. Phoenix time.  The game can be seen locally on FOX Sports Arizona and heard on Sports 620 KTAR.

Read fan reaction and share your own opinion in this forum topic.

Trail Blazers waive Anthony Tolliver, send Patty Mills to D-League

In a pair of roster moves, the Portland Trail Blazers waived forward Anthony Tolliver and assigned guard Patty Mills to the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

Tolliver appeared in two games for the Trail Blazers, grabbing a rebound in four minutes. He was called up from the Stampede on Dec. 17 after the NBA awarded Portland a hardship exemption.

Mills, selected by the Trail Blazers with the 55th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, will join the Stampede on Wednesday. The Australian national fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during an NBA Summer League practice session July 9. He underwent surgery on July 13 and recently completed a successful rehabilitation.

The Trail Blazers’ roster now stands at 15.

Tracy McGrady inactive as Rockets seek trade

Tracy McGrady inactive as Rockets seek trade

The Houston Rockets are actively seeking a trade for guard Tracy McGrady, who will remain inactive until it happens.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey issued the following statement today regarding the team’s agreement with McGrady to seek a trade: “After multiple conversations with Tracy and his representatives, we have agreed to look into trade opportunities and have granted him an indefinite leave from team activities.”

After playing just 66 games in 2007-08 and 35 last season, McGrady in 2009-10 has logged just 45 minutes in six games.

Houston has also been without injured center Yao Ming this season.

Despite their two top stars not being on the court, the Rockets have an 18-13 record. If the regular season ended today, they’d be the Western conference 7th seed for the playoffs.

McGrady is the highest paid player in the entire league this year. His contract is expiring, so if the Rockets can’t find a suitable trade that actually helps their team, it’s quite possible T-Mac simply remains inactive all season.

It’s also possible that the team doesn’t find a trade for McGrady and the two sides someday make amends. Perhaps we’ll still actually see McGrady on the court wearing a Rockets jersey weeks or months from now.

But for now, the team will actively seek a trade — but only one that helps them, of course.

— Jeff Lenchiner

Fans have been discussing the T-Mac ordeal in this forum topic.