Archive for January, 2018

Like you, like me, like everybody, Blake Griffin wants to be wanted. The Pistons appear to want Griffin. That they traded for him is a good indication of this. After you contemplate our impressive detective work, read the Detroit News report below:

After a couple days to think about the trade and his new fit in Detroit, Griffin kept it positive, focusing on the opportunity with the Pistons. With such a mega-contract, Griffin didn’t negotiate a no-trade clause, which left him open to a trade.

“I want to play for an organization that wants me to play there — and clearly this is an organization that wants me to play here,” Griffin said. “The stuff with the no-trade clause, it was something that was brought up, but not something we went about, obviously.

“This is where I want to be. This is the place that wants me and that’s the type of organization that I want to play for. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a place that wasn’t working.”

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Knicks guard Ron Baker injured

Knicks backup guard Ron Baker will be out indefinitely after an MRI revealed a shoulder dislocation and torn labrum, the team announced Wednesday.

Baker had played 38 seconds in the Knicks’ 111-95 win over the Nets on Tuesday when he was inadvertently kicked by DeMarre Carroll.

NY Newsday

Joakim Noah future with Knicks uncertain

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The Knicks (22-28) have the 10th best record in the Eastern conference through Monday’s games. Their success this season has been limited, but the team is focused more on the future than the present. Veteran center Joakim Noah appears to mostly be part of the team’s past. He’s played in just seven games this season, getting just 5.7 minutes per outing of court time. And it’s unclear when he’ll be utilized again. For the latest, here’s the NY Post:

Exiled Knicks center Joakim Noah will not be with the team Wednesday in Boston, according to coach Jeff Hornacek, and indications are he may not be back with the team until after the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

The Post reported the Knicks have ramped up their trade efforts to see if they can find a taker for Noah’s contract — perhaps in a larger deal. To date, they only have had interest from teams wanting their 2018 first-round pick attached.

The Knicks had believed Noah could rejoin the team Thursday in Milwaukee, but that is now unlikely.

In fact, there’s a growing sense — if they are unable to make a trade — to not bring Noah back at all.

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The Lakers (19-30) have been without point guard Lonzo Ball (10.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 7.1 apg) recently, and that’ll continue for a bit longer as the talented rookie isn’t ready to return from injury just yet. Here’s the OC Register reporting:

Lonzo Ball will miss his eighth consecutive game Wednesday after doing little during the team’s practice on Tuesday.

“Basketball-wise, you are looking at it,” Walton said, while Ball shot on a hoop at the far end of the court. “He started shooting toward the end of practice. He was in the weight room doing some rehab stuff.

Walton said Ball has started to work on lateral movement with the team’s trainers, but that he is early in that process.

“He’s got to start with them (the trainers),” Walton said, “but nothing to the extent of what it would take to be able to play basketball, move laterally and change direction, full speed, hit somebody, those type of drills. He has not done that. He is slowly doing that in a controlled setting.”

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LeBron James had an interesting reaction to the news that the Clippers traded Blake Griffin to the Pistons. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Cavaliers star LeBron James said he was shocked when he woke up from a nap Monday to learn that the Los Angeles Clippers had traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons.

Griffin, a five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection, signed a five-year, $171 million contract with the Clippers last summer and had been the face of the franchise.

“I was like, a little bit in shock when I first saw it. But it’s a business. As unfortunate as it looks, I know the business so it is what it is,” James said before shootaround Tuesday for the Cavs game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.

Asked why he thought it was unfortunate, James said, “Because he spent his last nine years there. He signed a multi-year deal there this summer, so that’s unfortunate. But that’s the business side of it. It works both sides, though.”

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Blake Griffin traded to Pistons

 

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The Clippers are shaking up the entire foundation and future of their franchise, by reportedly agreeing to trade Blake Griffin to the Pistons. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

They acquired All-Star forward Blake Griffins from the Los Angeles Clippers for a package of players and draft picks, according to various reports.

The Pistons sent foward Tobias Harris, guarfd Avery Bradley, center Bob Marjanovic and a first- and second-round draft pick to the Clippers, ESPN reports. The Clippers also sent Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to Detroit.

According to ESPN, protections on Detroit’s 2018 first-round pick include 1-4 in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and unprotected in 2021.

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Fred VanVleet playing well for Raptors

 

 

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The Raptors (33-15) have the second best record in the Eastern conference and have raised their overall both-ends-of-floor play this season. They’ve stumbled a bit recently, winning just five of their last 10 games, but overall are having an excellent season. They’ve also enjoyed solid play off the bench from guard Fred VanVleet, who in 18.0 minutes per game is putting up 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per outing. Here’s the Toronto Star with more on his play:

Undrafted out of Wichita State after four years with the Shockers, a kid who made the most of a Summer League internship in 2016 to make the Raptors’ 15-man roster last season, VanVleet has become an indispensible cog on a 33-15 team — its backup point guard, which allows Delon Wright to harass bigger defenders as a shooting guard, a 40 per cent three-point shooter, and maybe the toughest guy on the team.

“That kid gets hit every time he goes in there . . . he hits the floor, gets up, gets back in the play. He’s not down there while the play’s going back,” Casey said of the 23-year-old native of Rockford, Ill., who missed practice Monday after the birth of his child.

“He’s an important part of what we do just because of his toughness. Size to him is nothing. He goes in there and challenges people.”

It is VanVleet’s fearlessness that impresses his teammates; they see a smallish guard not afraid to challenge big men at the rim, often ending with VanVleet crashing to the floor.

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Andre Roberson out for rest of season

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The Thunder, who this season have relied primarily on defense to get their wins, will be without their main defensive stopper at the guard/forward spot, Andre Roberson, for the remainder of the season. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson underwent successful knee surgery Sunday, the team announced. The Thunder expect him to miss the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

Roberson ruptured his left patellar tendon during the third quarter of Saturday’s 121-108 win over the Detroit Pistons. The injury occurred when he planted his left leg awkwardly while trying to jump for an alley-oop from Russell Westbrook. Instead of receiving the ball and finishing the play, he flipped in the air and landed hard on his backside. After a few minutes on the ground with trainers and teammates around him, Roberson left the court on a stretcher.

The Thunder’s defensive stopper missed eight games because of left patellar tendinitis from Dec. 31 to Jan. 17. Rookie wing Terrance Ferguson started in his place during seven of those. Ferguson started once again Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Roberson also received plasma injections in his knee during the offseason.

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DeMarcus Cousins has suffered a nasty injury that will end his season.

He’s on the Pelicans, a Western conference team.

So, his replacement on the Team LeBron 2018 NBA All-Star team has to be from the West as well.

Adam Silver has made his decision. It’ll be OKC Thunder forward Paul George.

For more info, read this: Paul George named NBA All-Star game injury replacement for DeMarcus Cousins

Agent Henry Thomas has died

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel with some very sad news:

Henry Thomas, arguably the most impactful player agent in the Miami Heat’s 30 seasons, died Saturday in Chicago, with Heat forward Udonis Haslem and former Heat guard Dwyane Wade among those who left their teams to travel to Chicago amid Thomas’ failing health.

Thomas, 64, represented Wade, Haslem, Chris Bosh, Tim Hardaway and several other Heat players, a particularly strong influence with the organization since the arrival of Pat Riley as Heat president in 1995.

The Heat paid tribute with a moment of silence before Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Thomas’ negotiations with the Heat included a unique conditioning-based contract for Hardaway that included regular weigh-ins after the two sides reached an impasse and then several concessions from Wade over the years to accommodate the contracts of other Heat players.

Thomas was a particularly influential presence in the Heat’s formation of the Big Three championship core in 2010, representing both Bosh and Wade at the time, while also part of the agency that represented LeBron James.

Full article

And here’s Cleveland.com with more:

Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dwyane Wade stepped away from the team, missing Friday’s win against the Indiana Pacers, to mourn the death of his agent Henry Thomas — a man Wade viewed as a “father figure,” according to sources close to him.

Wade wrote a heartfelt Instagram message about Thomas on Saturday, complete with a picture of the two shortly after Wade was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2003.

“I’m writing this letter to you as I cry both tears of SADNESS and tears of JOY,” Wade said. “I know — i know — I can hear your voice saying, ‘Come on my man. You got this!’ I can picture your face and feel your hugs in so so many moments in my life. Whether it’s you hugging me and saying how proud you are of me or congrats on winning a NBA championship or you hugging me and saying everything’s gonna be alright — we will get thru this. I can’t thank you enough for these last 15 years.”

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Mike Conley out for remainder of season

 

 

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The Memphis Grizzlies are just 17-31 but are playing decent basketball lately, winning five of their last 10 games. But their journey this season will continue without point guard Mike Conley, who won’t play again until 2017-18.

The Grizzlies announced today that Conley will undergo surgery to smooth a small bone protrusion in his left heel that continues to cause pain and soreness. The team says they expect he’ll a full recovery prior to 2018-19 training camp.

Other Grizzlies Injury News

Chandler Parsons has made progress this week in alleviating soreness in his right knee after overcoming an illness that temporarily slowed his recovery. He remains day-to-day.

JaMychal Green continues to recover from a right ankle sprain and is expected to return within the next week.

James Ennis III continues to recover from a right calf strain and is expected to return within the next week.

Rudy Gay may return after All-Star break

 

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The Spurs are 32-19 this season. An impressive record, especially taking into account their injuries, which have removed Rudy Gay from action for a big chunk of the season so far, and have limited Kawhi Leonard for the majority of play so far. Gay isn’t ready to return to action yet, but may finally do so in mid February, after the All-Star break. This according to the San Antonio Express-News (via the Houston Chronicle website):

League sources tell the Express-News Gay is expected to return to the lineup after the All-Star break as he continues to recover from right heel bursitis he suffered last month.

According to sources, Gay, who has missed the last 15 games due to the injury, was aiming to return next week, possibly against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. After consulting with doctors, a mutual decision was made to allow Gay more time to heal.

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Being named to All Star weekend teams and events matters. To the players who make it, to those who don’t, and to their fans who support them. It’s great exposure, and for the bigger events, it’s a real honor. In this case, the Heat were rooting for their own, for Bam Adebayo not to make an All-Star team — he’s nowhere near that — but to be added to the Rising Stars game, which includes the rookies and sophomores worth watching. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

For the most part, the Heat brushed off the fact they won’t be represented in this year’s All-Star Game. But when rookie Bam Adebayo’s name was not on the list of players voted into the Rising Stars Challenge, the Heat were surprised.

“That’s crazy. I really didn’t see that coming,” Udonis Haslem said in advance of Thursday’s game against the Kings. “There was no doubt in my mind Bam was definitely going to have a chance to represent the Heat in the rookie game. That’s very unfortunate.

“It’s hard to understand what those things come down to. I don’t know how they pick it. I don’t know if it’s popularity. But the body of work that Bam has put in when [Hassan Whiteside] was out and even with the opportunity he gets when H is in, he’s had a heck of an impact on us and this run that we’ve made. We couldn’t have been able to do it without Bam.”

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Russell Westbrook has been chosen as a reserve for this year’s NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday. With Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams falling short of making the team, Westbrook is the only Oklahoma City Thunder player to be named a reserve. No Thunder players will start.

This will be the seventh All-Star appearance of Westbrook’s career. The last time he missed out on the game, excluding his injury-ridden 2013-14, was during 2010, his second season.

Westbrook was averaging 24.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and a league-leading 10.1 assists heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, bringing him close to a triple-double average for what would be a second consecutive season. He became the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double last year.

“If I make it, then that’ll be a blessing,” Westbrook said of All-Star last week. “If I don’t, then I’ll go on vacation with my family.”

Norman Transcript

Point guard Dejounte Murray made NBA history Tuesday night with an outstanding performance that helped the Spurs beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-102 and also solidified his hold on the starting point guard job.

Murray finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in 30 minutes.

According to the Spurs, the second-year pro became just the second player in league history to record at least 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in 30 minutes or less. Fat Lever was the first to do it with 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight steals in 28 minutes in 1987.

Houston Chronicle

The Dallas Mavericks have signed guard Kyle Collinsworth to a second 10-day contract.

Collinsworth (6-6, 210) originally signed a two-way contract with Dallas on Dec. 19 but was waived by the team on Jan. 10 after appearing in four games. He then signed a 10-day contract with the club on Jan. 13.

The former BYU guard has appeared in six games for Dallas this season, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game. On the final day of his first 10-day contract (Jan. 22), he recorded four points (2-2 FGs), four rebounds, three assists and two steals in Dallas’ 98-75 win over Washington.

Collinsworth has also played in 55 games (34 starts) for the Mavericks’ G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, over the past two seasons (2016-18). In 19 games (18 starts) for the Legends in 2017-18, he averaged 11.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 35.7 minutes per game.

After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, Collinsworth competed for Dallas at the 2016 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He spent the 2016 preseason with the Mavericks before being waived by the team on Oct. 22, 2016.

A native of Provo, Utah, Collinsworth played four years at BYU and averaged 12.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 30.9 minutes per game in 140 games. He was a three-time First Team All-WCC selection (2014-16) and set the NCAA career triple-double record with 12.

Dion Waiters has season-ending ankle surgery

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters underwent surgery yesterday to fix instability in his left ankle. The Heat say that a preexisting navicular bone fracture was also repaired.

Waiters is done for the season.

Waiters this year played in 30 games, as a starter in all 30 games, averaging 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per outing.

Timberwolves to host Flip Saunders Night on Feb. 15, 2018

The Minnesota Timberwolves will host “Flip Saunders Night” at home in Target Center on Thursday, February 15. The visiting team for that game is the Lakers.

That night, the Timberwolves will unveil a permanent banner in Target Center to honor the memory of Flip.

“Flip meant so much to our organization as a coach, but he meant so much more to all of us as a friend,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “His impact on our organization and what he meant to the Minnesota basketball community is something that will always be with us. It is appropriate that we honor the man who meant so much to us with of a banner in our home arena that will forever fortify his memory.”

All fans in attendance will receive a Flip Saunders commemorative coin. The back story behind giving a coin is this: One of Flip’s trademarks during his tenure with the Wolves was to create a new team coin each season for players and front office staff, then randomly give them to people he would encounter as a way to include fans on that season’s journey.

“Minnesota has always been our family’s home”, said Debbie Saunders, widow of Flip Saunders. “Flip not only had a passion for the Timberwolves but for basketball in the State of Minnesota. We are incredibly grateful to the Timberwolves for memorializing Flip in such a moving way and having his memory live on inside Target Center forever.”

Saunders compiled an overall record of 427-392 (.521) in 12 seasons covering two different stints with the organization.

Lakers free throws are a struggle

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Hitting free throws is generally the easiest part of an NBA game. There is no defense. It’s just the player, unguarded, standing at the same place every time, shooting at a basket that doesn’t move or anything. But for whatever reason, there will always be pro players who find free throw shooting to be a struggle. And this season, many of those players are on the Lakers. Here’s the OC Register reporting:

When the Lakers were merely a bad free throw shooting team, Luke Walton insisted they would improve through repetition. The foul shots they made in practice would eventually start falling in games.

After Friday’s 2-for-14 debacle, the Lakers coach is ready to pull out the big guns.

“We have another meditation scheduled on the books for when we get back from this road trip,” Walton said…

The Lakers 68.8 percent percentage from the line is the worst in the NBA. Oklahoma City, which ranks 29th, shoots nearly 2 points better, at 70.4 percent.

“It is very confusing,” Walton said. “Free throws are more mental than anything. We talk about it, we work on it.”

Full article

Thunder score 148 points vs Cavs

The Thunder offense has been disappointing most of this season. But the Cavs defense has been absolutely miserable, and it only seems to be getting worse, at least via the eye test. With Kevin Love playing just three minutes due to illness, LeBron and the rest of the Cavs put up 124 points Saturday afternoon, yet still lost by 24. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

The third quarter started, and LeBron James, seeking an illustrious mark, was stuck on nine points.

James was isolated against Paul George — who was nearly a Cleveland player last summer until trade talks broke down between the Cavs and Pacers. George expertly stayed in front of the driving James, with him and Steven Adams meeting James at the rim. Another miss, James’ fourth within six feet of the rim.

Nothing came easy for the king in a 148-124 Thunder blowout.

James needed 25 points to become the seventh player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points. Instead, James was subbed out with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter and the Thunder ahead by 26.

James finished with 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting, 0-of-4 from 3-point range.

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