Archive for February 19th, 2013

pau gasol

Pau Gasol slowly but surely made his way to the interview table.

That’s because he’s used crutches ever since tearing the plantar fascia of his right foot during the Lakers’ win two weeks ago against Brooklyn, an injury that will keep him out for at least an additional four to six weeks.

Such a timetable means Gasol could return as early as March 22 when the Lakers host the Washington Wizards at Staples Center. At that point, the Lakers would have 13 games remaining on their schedule.

How optimistic does Gasol feel that he could return before the season ends?

“I hope,” Gasol said. “It’s a thing you take one day at a time and you go with the symptoms and see how well they go and quick the body is able to heal with a simple injury. It varies from different individuals.”

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said Tuesday that while the debate over whether LeBron James is a better basketball player than Michael Jordan is hardly settled, James is probably the better athlete.

“They’re both great players, and they’re both great in their eras,” Thomas told “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on WMVP-AM 1000.  “In my era, we hadn’t seen an athlete quite like Michael Jordan. He jumped higher than everyone else. He was a little faster than everyone else and he was just the best athlete.

“LeBron James is the best athlete of today, and he’s probably a better athlete than Michael Jordan was. He’s bigger, he’s faster, he’s stronger.”

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

elton brand

Elton Brand, one of the players who must shoulder the load when it comes to rebounding, understands the situation. He said the numbers make it clear why they have struggled.

“We play great defense for about 20 seconds,” Brand said Tuesday. “But there are all kinds of stats these days. And the stats say we’re one of the worst teams in the league defensively, 29th, in the last four seconds. So we’re not contesting shots right at the end.

“And the next step is, stopping the offensive rebounds. If you play good defense and don’t get the rebound — that’s cost us games.

“In these last 30 games, we have to take pride in that. We have to get stops and we have to come away with the ball. That’s why Sarge [Bernard James] is out there with his energy and Shawn [Marion], who’s athletic, is there. We got to do it by committee. We have to find a way to get those balls.”

– Reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News

Marreese Speights

In Marreese Speights’ five years in the NBA, the 6-foot-10 forward/center has been on three teams. He has played for four coaches and has been traded twice.

So, whatever happens Thursday at 3 p.m., the NBA’s trade deadline, Speights is ready.

“It’s out of my control,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve heard a lot of things in my career. It’s up to the front office. Whatever they do Thursday, we’ll see what happens.”

The Cavaliers acquired Speights this season to help fill the void created when they lost Anderson Varejao to a quad injury. Speights has been a solid addition from the moment he set foot in Cleveland, averaging 13 points and 6.4 rebounds in 10 games. He’s come off the bench throughout that span, though he’s been solid enough that Byron Scott has had to fend off questions about whether he’ll be moved into the starting lineup in place of up-and-down rookie Tyler Zeller.

– Reported by Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

kobe bryant

Kobe Bryant a Piston?

It could’ve happened before the 2007-08 season, if Bryant would’ve waived his no-trade clause, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Pistons and Lakers agreed in principle on a deal but Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who passed away early Monday, and Bryant, who wanted out of Los Angeles but Detroit wasn’t one of his preferred destinations, passed.

A source confirmed the Pistons and Lakers agreed on a deal, which most likely included Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Amir Johnson and a future first-round pick for Bryant, who wound up being the 2007-08 MVP.

Another league source said former Piston Grant Hill, who was a free agent that summer as a member of the Orlando Magic, would’ve likely returned to the Pistons to fill Prince’s void at small forward.

– Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Sidney Lowe arrested on tax charges

Former North Carolina State basketball coach Sidney Lowe was arrested Monday and charged with failing to file his North Carolina state income taxes for three years.

Lowe, currently an assistant with the NBA’s Utah Jazz, didn’t file returns in 2009, 2010 and 2011 — the last three years he coached the Wolfpack, according to the state Department of Revenue. He was booked at the Wake County jail Monday and released on a $10,000 unsecured bond on the misdemeanor charges.

Lowe was not with the Jazz when they returned to practice Monday night after the All-Star break, but head coach Tyrone Corbin said Lowe would be with the team Tuesday when it faces Golden State in Salt Lake City.

“It’s a personal matter,” said Corbin, who indicated he had spoken with Lowe. “We’ll deal with it. He’ll make a statement at some point, but it’s a personal matter.” …

At N.C. State, Lowe was paid a base salary of around $210,000 per year. That was boosted to $760,000 with television and radio commitments, and with bonuses and endorsements could have been up to $900,000 a year. A contract settlement after his 2011 resignation was expected to pay Lowe around $900,000, athletic director Debbie Yow said then.

– Reported by the Associated Press

derrick rose

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose participated in five-on-five drills Monday, the latest step in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after practice that Rose “did what everyone else did.”

Rose has been sidelined since he was hurt in last season’s playoff-opening win over the 76ers. The top-seeded Bulls wound up losing that series.

Rose caused a stir last week when he said he was prepared to miss the whole season rather than return too soon.

– Reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer

larry sanders

Larry Sanders has emerged as a dominant defensive player in his third pro season.

And it’s clear the Milwaukee Bucks missed their big man while he sat out four games with a bruised lower back.

So it was a relief for interim coach Jim Boylan to see Sanders running freely up and down the court during Monday’s practice as the team returned from the four-day NBA all-star break.

Sanders sported a wide smile after practice and termed his chances to return Tuesday night against Brooklyn at “70-30.”

“With this team I put the defense on my shoulders,” Sanders said. “I’m ready to return. I’m ready to lock that paint down and get this ball back rolling.”

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

lebron james

Considering the way James left Cleveland in 2010, the idea of him returning less than five years later once seemed preposterous. But while James has shot down every question regarding his future, he has never ruled out a return to Cleveland. In fact, James began attempting to smooth things over with Cleveland last year.

“It would be fun to play in front of these fans again,” James said in February of 2012 before a road game at Cleveland. “I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. … I’m here as a Miami Heat player, and I’m happy where I am now, but I don’t rule that out in no sense.

“And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”

The Heat will be major contenders to keep James in the summer of 2014 when he can first opt out of his contract, but All-Star Weekend added yet another chapter to the ongoing narrative that James loves the young Cleveland guard’s game.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

andrew bynum

When [Coach Doug] Collins mentions getting healthy, he is referring to center Andrew Bynum, who has been sidelined all season. Bynum is expected to make his debut with the team in the final 31 games, 19 of which will be played away from the Wells Fargo Center.

Bynum, recovering from bone bruises and what he calls weakened cartilage in both knees, has said he would play for the team after the all-star break. On Monday, when reporters were permitted to watch the Sixers practice, Bynum was on the floor participating in non-contact drills with his teammates.

Still, Collins spoke cautiously about Bynum’s return.

“He’s s still where he’s been, so there’s nothing that’s changed with that,” Collins said of Bynum, whom all-star Jrue Holiday described as looking like “a beast.”

“The question is just going to be at some point and time with him getting out there,” Collins said, “and right now he’s not done anything with contact.”

– Reported by John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer

rasheed wallace

Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler return today from Houston, and Rasheed Wallace returns from oblivion.

The Knicks reconvene for the first time since the All-Star break, with their defensive power forward expected to participate in practice for the first time since suffering a stress reaction in his left foot in mid-December.

Wallace will not be ready to play tomorrow in Indiana, and how long he’s able to stay healthy is anyone’s guess. In the best-case scenario, he becomes the final piece to the Knicks’ championship push. If Wallace suffers a setback and breaks his foot, the Knicks could cut him and sign a free-agent forward, such as Kenyon Martin or Lou Amundson.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

deron williams

Deron Williams admits his ankle injuries have hindered him and hurt him to the point he can’t even dunk. And after undergoing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment and sitting out last week, the Nets’ star guard acknowledges he needs more time to fully recover — time he won’t take, insisting he’ll play tonight against the Bucks at Barclays Center.

“They said a week was sufficient, so I trust the doctors,” said Williams, who hasn’t played since Feb. 10 against the Spurs and had PRP injections the next day to reduce ankle joint lining inflammation. “I definitely need more rest than a week for it to get back to normal, but I don’t have time right now.

“Yeah, it’s definitely affected me a lot. I can’t jump. I haven’t dunked. I can’t dunk. Even if I tried off one leg, I can’t dunk. So it’s definitely affected me. You think about it, when I’m going into the lane and make a move, a hard jump-stop hurts. Any hard impact, or hard move, it hurts … It’s definitely been a concern, that’s a big reason I did the PRP.’’

– Reported by Brian Lewis of the New York Post

Terrence Williams

An NBA source told the Globe that the Celtics have signed swingman Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract — and there’s a chance that Williams, who is heading here from China, could be in uniform when the Celtics face the Nuggets Tuesday.

Williams wasn’t with the team during its practice Monday. He is awaiting a clearance letter from the team he was playing for in China before he flies here, the source said.

Rivers said he wasn’t sure if Williams, who has played for three NBA teams, would be with the Celtics for their shootaround Tuesday morning. He did say that Williams worked out with the Celtics during the summer and that he “did a pretty good job.”

What impressed Rivers from that workout?

“He’s been in the league; that’s what impressed me,” said Rivers, who downplayed his comments on Williams because the signing isn’t official.

– Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe

Lakers owner Jerry Buss dies

Jerry Buss had been a chemist and a mathematician long before he bought the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. The self-made millionaire with a head for business and an impresario’s heart assailed the NBA with every skill he acquired along the way.

With his personal alchemy and charisma, he blended two generations of marquee basketball stars and big-name coaches into 10 championship teams. His financial wizardry allowed him to pay top dollar to get the best players and keep them together without a huge personal fortune.

Buss built a glittering life for himself and the Lakers, playing a huge role in the NBA’s move from a second-tier pro sport into can’t-miss Hollywood entertainment while polishing his oddly nicknamed franchise into a glamorous global brand.

Magic, Kareem and Big Game James. Kobe, Shaq and Pau.

They were the stars, but Buss created Showtime.

The applause still hasn’t died down.

Buss, who shepherded the Lakers from their 1980s dynasty through the current Kobe Bryant era while becoming one of the most important and successful owners in pro sports, died Monday. He was 80.

”Jerry Buss was more than just an owner. He was one of the great innovators that any sport has ever encountered,” said Pat Riley, who coached four of Buss’ 10 title teams. ”He was a true visionary, and it was obvious with the Lakers in the ’80s that ‘Showtime’ was more than just Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was really the vision of a man who saw something that connected with a community.”

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press

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