Archive for January 30th, 2014

The first thing to remember about NBA All-Star selections and players being “snubbed” is, players that didn’t make the team have to actually be more deserving of a spot than at least one of the players who actually did make it. Or else it isn’t really a “snub.”

Does Kyrie Irving want to leave the Cavs? Well, probably. They simply don’t have a competitive roster. But he’s still their building block. They’re not trading him. That’s that, for now.

I’m not writing Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett off yet. Haven’t seen him play enough to do that. Put him out there for 30 minutes a game for a couple weeks and then I’ll judge. But yeah, of course being the No. 1 pick in the entire 2013 NBA Draft, he’s certainly been a disappointment so far.

Tim Hardaway Jr is one of my favorite Knicks, on a per-minute basis. Athletic, cuts, moves without the ball smartly, hustles, runs the fast break, finishes like a baller. And hits three-pointers. His future appears bright.

Best thing during NBA game timeouts — other than the dance team performing — is the Dance Cam. As far as sheer excitement goes, of course the t-shirt toss wins.

David Stern is retiring as NBA commissioner soon. Adam Silver takes over. I really hope Stern stays involved, visibly. When Silver does press conferences, it would just feel right to at least see Stern in the back of the room, maybe off to the side, giving an occasional head-nod of approval. Just to remind us that we’re safe, and the future is bright, and everything is going to be OK.

2014 NBA All-Star game reserves

Dirk Nowitzki

The Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh headline the list of 14 players that have been selected by the coaches as reserves for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, the NBA announced today. Nowitzki earns his 12th selection, which ties him for sixth all-time with nine players, while Bosh secures his ninth trip to the All-Star Game in 11 NBA seasons.

The 63rd NBA All-Star Game will be exclusively televised on TNT from New Orleans Arena on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The All-Star Game, also broadcast live on ESPN Radio, will collectively reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Three first-time All-Stars join Bosh as reserves in the East: DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks) and John Wall (Washington Wizards). The Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson earns his seventh selection, while the Indiana Pacers’ Roy Hibbert and the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah are All-Stars for the second time in their careers.

Joining Nowitzki as reserves in the West are LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Dwight Howard (Rockets), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs) and Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers). It’s the eighth selection for Howard, in his first season with the Rockets, while teammate Harden earns his second straight trip to the All-Star Game. Paul garners his seventh All-Star nod, while Parker is an All-Star for the sixth time in his career. Aldridge captures his third All-Star berth, while teammate Lillard is the lone first-time All-Star among West reserves.

Selected to start in the East – through NBA All-Star Balloting 2014 presented by Sprint – were Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Heat), LeBron James (Heat), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and Paul George (Pacers). Voted to start in the West were Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Blake Griffin (Clippers) and Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves).

The NBA Commissioner will select the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game. If the injured player is a starter, the head coach of that team will determine who replaces him in the starting lineup.

The 14 reserves were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences – two guards, three frontcourt players and two players regardless of position. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.

The East and West All-Star coaches and coaching staffs were determined by the best record in the conference through games played Sunday, Feb. 2. Indiana’s Frank Vogel and his staff will coach the East, with Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks and staff leading the West. The Heat’s Erik Spoelstra and the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich coached the East and West squads, respectively, last season and were ineligible for the honor this year.

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who for whatever reason isn’t interested in urging other good players to join his team:

Derrick Rose says he will not recruit for the Bulls

Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson said Wednesday he would never ask Derrick Rose to recruit and doesn’t believe the star guard’s reluctance to do so will prevent the team from landing free agents.

“I personally would not have been comfortable doing that as a player. That was me, so I expect and appreciate where Derrick is coming from,” Paxson said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000.

“I would never tell a player, I don’t think [owner] Jerry Reinsdorf or [general manager] Gar [Forman] would tell a player, ‘Look, you have to do this.’ If a player wants to do it, great. If he doesn’t, that’s his choice.”

Paxson said players being around Rose during offseason workouts offers an indirect way to sell them on the Bulls…

“I don’t recruit. If anyone wants to play with me, I don’t mind playing with, it could be anyone in the NBA, but as far as recruiting, I never did and never will,” Rose told rappler.com, a social news network.

Kevin Durant free agency will be fun

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the eventual Kevin Durant free agency. Like every other team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets wouldn’t mind landing him:

On Friday, the Nets will chase Kevin Durant around the Barclays Center court, hoping to contain the NBA’s most dynamic scorer. And some two years from now, they likely will be joining the crucial chase for his signature on a contract.

The impending Durant free agency bonanza should start picking up steam next season and will undoubtedly engulf the NBA in the summer of 2016. And make no mistake: the Nets are targeting Durant, the 25-year-old offensive juggernaut, even if it’s too early to predict their odds.

The Nets could be committed to no salary when Durant becomes a free agent, depending on whether Deron Williams picks up his one-year option for the 2016-17 season. Everybody else is off the books.

Durant, who hired former Nets minority owner Jay Z as his agent last year, plays in one of the NBA’s smallest markets, if not the smallest, with a dedicated fan base and an owner who has been intent on avoiding the luxury tax.

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting fun stuff on Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is a great quote when he’s actually willing to really speak his mind:

gregg popovich

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich dislikes employing a “Hack-a-Shaq” type fouling strategy, but he’s going to do it anyway.

Popovich, who ordered his team to foul Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard seven straight times in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s 97-90 loss, is not a fan of sending guys to the line — but concedes it’s part of the game.

“I hate it,” Popovich said of the strategy before Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls. “I think it’s awful. I hate doing it. Seriously. I think it’s a pain in the neck, fans don’t like it, I don’t like it, nobody likes it. It disrupts the flow of the game. If there’s an equitable way to get rid of it, I’m all for it.

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