Posted on: March 2, 2012 1:52 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 2:58 pm
By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, Ken Berger talks about how you should evaluate trade rumors, if anyone will ever touch Wilt's 100-point-game, and how David Stern's legacy has evolved.
1. 50th Anniversary of Wilt scoring 100 this week. There's a lot of talk about whether it will happen again or not. Do you think if the NBA went through a hyper-scoring binge like we've seen in the past it could ever happen again, or be passed?
KB: Never. The game is too different, defenses are more sophisticated and the talent level is more equal than in 1962.
2. 'Tis the season, KB. What are the things fans should look for when judging the accuracy of a trade rumor?
KB: Excellent way to put it. You have to consider the source (who's reporting it and how many outlets are reporting it) and dissect the potential agendas that are at play. For example, is an agent trying to manufacture news because he wants his client out? Also, teams have dozens of conversations about possible trades at this time of year. The mere occurrence of dialogue isn't news; serious discussions, with details of proposals that have been exchanged, perhaps rising to the ownership level, should be valued above the garden variety, "Team X is shopping player Y." As Ricky Watters once said, "For who? For what?" Details are proof. Finally, most teams have several people in the front office who are authorized and in position to discuss possible trades, which clouds the inevitable denial of those discussions. When a GM or coach says, "I've never even spoken with that team," or, "I've never even had a conversation about Player X," that doesn't mean someone else in the organization who's authorized to have those discussions didn't do so. In short, it's a tangled web we weave in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
3. Steve Nash is both the most adamant he doesn't want to be traded and one of the most involved in trade rumors. Do the Suns know exactly what they want to do with him, considering their public statements of "Nash now, Nash forever?"
KB: The key question is, what does Nash want? He doesn't want to be out there publicly lobbying for a trade, but if he decides it's time to move on, I believe the Suns will try to oblige.
4. Michael Beasley's another name out there on the wire. Are coaches receptive to dealing with his... er... eccentricities?
KB: For a contender that needs versatile scoring punch (Lakers, Celtics, Magic), Beasley would be the ideal fit. The questions will become, can he be had for a second-round pick? And if not, will a team -- particularly the Lakers, who have two first-rounders -- become so desperate to upgrade that they'll part with one?
5. David Stern said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel he can't be concerned with his legacy because it will impact his ability to do his job. What do you think Stern's legacy is today, given the events of the past 12 months?
KB: Any time you discuss legacy, it has to be a big-picture, textured discussion. Though the lockout, lost games and hard-ball negotiating tactics are fresh in our minds, those things can't move ahead of certain undeniable accomplishments like dramatically increasing national TV exposure and revenue and globalizing the brand. But depending on how things work out in New Orleans and Sacramento, Stern is in danger of having his legacy tarnished by franchise relocation. The financial circumstances in markets like those and Milwaukee, Charlotte and Memphis are grim. If the problems can't be solved by revenue sharing, then what? So Stern can't retire yet simply because he achieved a new collective bargaining agreement. He can't leave the NBA until he's leaving all 30 franchises (or however many there are when he leaves) on sound footing competitively and economically. So that part of his legacy, which includes over-expansion, is still to be determined.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:25 am
Posted by Royce Young
Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:22 am
Posted by Royce Young
The Suns may want to re-sign Steve Nash, but that doesn't mean the trade rumors are going to go away. And it also doesn't mean they're not going to answer the phone when someone calls about him.
There's already the rumor of Lamar Odom being talked about for Nash, but here's one with some larger implications: Nash to the Magic. Via HoopsWorld:
The Orlando Magic has made offers for Nash in the past and sources close to the situation say that they’ll attempt to acquire the 16-year veteran in the next two weeks. Dwight Howard has asked the front office to pursue Nash and sources close to Howard believe he won’t exercise his early termination option if the team is able to acquire Nash and re-sign him this summer.That... would be interesting. And it makes a decent amount of sense. Something a lot of us aren't thinking about is that Howard's not technically a free agent this summer. He just had the option to terminate his contract early and become one. So if the Magic were doing good things or he felt like he wanted to give them more time, he could just stick around and make us all go through this again in 2013.
Bringing in Nash would certainly make him reconsider though. You're talking a Hall of Fame point guard to pair with the best big man in basketball. That's a pretty good combination. The Magic would almost certainly have to take on some money in this deal as the Suns aren't going to let Nash go for nothing. But GM Otis Smith has shown a willingness in the past to mix things up in an effort to win, so I'm sure every single player on the roster would be available, except Howard.
As we near closer to the March 15 deadline, I think you'll see one of two things happen with Orlando. A) They trade Howard or B) they keep him and make an aggressive trade to try and win this year, while also convincing him to stick around later.
Nash has refused to ask for a trade from the Suns, but this deal would be good for him as he tries to compete for a title in the twilight of his career. The Suns aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so pairing Nash with Howard would at least give the Magic a relative shot. Would they be able to beat the Heat or Bulls in a series? It would be tough. But it's not just about this year, but the bigger picture. And if Howard wants Nash and Smith delivers, that could go a long ways to keeping No. 12 in Orlando.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 10:43 pm
Steve Nash has said a hundred times he doesn't want to be traded, and the Suns say they want to extend him. Lamar Odom isn't even with the Mavericks, as he's away on personal reasons (though Mark Cuban denies that he is considering missing the rest of the season). But there's a rumor being discussed which involves a swap for the two. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
The word on the streets is that the Mavs may trade Lamar Odom to Phoenix for Steve Nash. That will get Odom closer to his home in LA.via Twitter / @DwainPrice: The word on the streets is ....
There are a lot of trade rumors which seem particularly stupid. This one transcends that and goes into its own world. This is the kind of trade rumor you hear on an absinthe binge. It is the "Fear and Loathing at the Trade Deadline" of trade rumors. I'm sure the talk on the street is legit, but there's just no way this trade gets constructed unless it's part of a much larger deal.
First off, if the Suns are finally, after all this time, going to move their franchise player, former-two-time-MVP, all-world point guard and leader, are they going to do so for Odom's remaining salary when he's understandably struggled with personal issues and conditioning after being traded from L.A. which he clearly did not want to leave. There would have to be more involved, but the Mavericks aren't really in a position to add considerably more for Nash. There's Rodrigue Beaubois, and Dominique Jones, and sure, the Mavericks might give Marion back to clear space for a big 2012 free agent, but that's just it. If they're clearing space, they're going to want to clear space for both Deron Williams and Howard.
This could be being talked about, but it's missing a bunch of much bigger components if so.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 3:16 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 3:16 pm
By every account, whether it's NBA insiders, the Suns or Steve Nash himself, the ageless Phoenix point guard isn't getting traded.
Question is, why? He's 38 years old, the Suns aren't going anywhere in the near future and you'd think Nash would want a shot at chasing a title somewhere. Here's a surprising reason via ESPN.com -- because the Suns would actually like to re-sign Nash.
Because Suns owner Robert Sarver, according to sources close to the situation, continues to hold out hope that he can convince Nash to re-sign this summer for at least two seasons.The second question is, why would Nash re-sign with the Suns though? Loyalty is one thing, but unless something drastic changes within that organization, the Suns aren't going to be resurfacing as a Western contender soon. Nash would be an unrestricted free agent this summer and with teams like the Knicks and probably Mavericks ready to come calling, two teams with contending capabilities, it would make sense that Nash leave Phoenix.
But just because the Suns would like to re-sign Nash doesn't mean it won't eventually make sense to deal him. His value is certainly as high as it'll ever be right now and there would likely be a few teams ready to step up. One being the Portland Trail Blazers who according to the report "has been interested in Nash for a while."
The Suns reportedly aren't getting big-time offers for Nash though, presumably because of his advanced age. Still, you can't deny his production which has been at an incredibly efficient level. Nash is too much of a class act to demand a trade, but you know he doesn't want to spend the twilight of his career plodding along on a mediocre team. He wants to chase a title. It might just a matter of who that will be with.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:03 pm
By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, Ken Berger discusses Linsanity, Bulls minutes, and who's on the trade block headed into All-Star Weekend. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. So, hey, that Jeremy Lin kid's pretty good. We've beaten the subject into the ground here at CBSSports.com this week, but it bears opening the Friday 5 nonetheless. Let's forget about how Melo fits in, or D'Antoni, or even Lin's play directly. Is the best thing for the Knicks about this run that it's brought the locker room together and they're having fun again?
Ken Berger: Well, I think that's a by-product of what Lin has brought to the table. Among the many elements of this perfect storm was the fact that the Knicks were running the most point guard-dependent offense in the sport and had some of the worst point-guard play anyone had ever seen. Plug in a competent point guard, and the Knicks would've played better. Plug in someone performing as well as Lin has performed, and you have the makings of something special. So it started with Lin's production, which has instilled confidence in the locker room and made everyone relax in an environment that can be extremely high on stress. The Knicks now believe they can win, and confidence is a big part of the battle.
2. You wrote in Post-Ups this week about the Heat flying under the radar. How good is that for them to avoid the spotlight for a few weeks?
KB: Who? Oh, the Heat. I'm not sure it's either good or bad for them. I think it's great for the league as a whole that people are captivated by something other that how LeBron and Wade are getting along or playing together on any given day. And the fact that people are captivated by basketball being played the right way, an enjoyable way, is a pleasing diversion from the usual poisoned brew of trade demands, coaches getting fired, agent agendas, egos colliding and the like.
3. I've been critical of Tom Thibodeau and his approach to minutes with Luol Deng and Derrick Rose with various injuries considering the long-term goals of the Bulls in this insane schedule. But I'm not a doctor and I'm not a trainer. In your mind, if the doc's say it's fine and the trainers say it's fine, should Thibodeau just disregard the notion of exhaustion, and if so, is it because they really do need that top seed?
KB: I'm not a doctor or a trainer, either. And Thibodeau presumably learned how to manage minutes from one of the masters in that department, Doc Rivers. I think the time off due to back spasms will do Rose some good. But to a degree, when he's healthy, he's going to be on the floor for 38-plus minutes. Same goes for Deng, especially if you're in a close game and the opponent (like the Celtics, for example, with Paul Pierce) has an elite wing scorer who needs to be dealt with. It's a fine line with this schedule for coaches between resting their stars and winning as many games as possible. To get where they want to go, the Bulls need homecourt advantage. Once they secure that, Rose and Deng and anybody else who needs to put themselves back together for the playoffs can have as many minutes off as they need.
4. Ken, I know you've enjoyed writing about actual basketball for the past few weeks. But trade season's back, bro. Who are you expecting to be chattering next weekend in Orlando?
KB: Well, of course there will be the Dwight-fest. After that, I think the biggest name being discussed will be Steve Nash. A point guard could make all the difference in the world to the Lakers and Magic. For the same reason, Ramon Sessions will be on the radar.
5. With J.R. Smith joining the Knicks, what was the driving force behind his decision and what should the Knicks be concerned about with him, if anything?
KB: J.R. seemed to enjoying the process of being recruited, and will wind up with more money at the end of the day by joining the Knicks. The way Lin has the Knicks' offense humming, J.R. could see a lot of future dollar signs swishing through the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Even off the bench, he could be an electrifying scorer in Mike D'Antoni's offense. Plus, he's played with Anthony before, so there's a comfort level there, and Knicks official Mark Warkentien was a big supporter of Smith when both were in Denver. Concerns? What concerns? Oh, yeah, J.R. is a knucklehead. But he's a knucklehead who can make a jump shot. So the risk-reward is pretty heavily in the Knicks' favor.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 3:29 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 3:30 pm
Steve Nash is 38 years old. He's on an expiring contract. And he's playing on a pretty average team.
Common sense might say that Nash would prefer to get out of Phoenix and head to a contender to play out his NBA twilight chasing a ring. Or that the Suns would like to move Nash for a couple of draft picks and young assets to start a rebuild. But so far, neither of those things have happened, nor does it sound like they will.
"I have no idea what the club will eventually do if a bunch of offers are thrown in their face," Nash told SI.com, "but I feel like I'm not nervous about [the trade deadline] and I'm not thinking about -- what's the word? -- I'm not anticipating anything to happen. I feel like I made a commitment and I feel like I owe it to my teammates -- the city, the fans, the club -- to play it out and to play as hard as I can."
Nash has already said he wouldn't request a trade from the Suns. He's loyal, he's committed and he wants to play somewhere he fits. That doesn't mean he might try and look elsewhere next season as a free agent.
But the thing with Nash is, despite being 38, he's having a ridiculous season. He's an All-Star, shooting 56.3 percent from the field and averaging 10.3 assists a game. He's defying age and reason by having maybe his most efficient season yet. And that's without Amar'e Stoudemire or other gifted offensive players. If there was any remaining debate about who made who better, Nash is the constant.
But would the Suns pull the trigger even if Nash is committed? Maybe. And they might actually be getting closer.
One executive whose team has had serious interest in Nash in the past told SI.com that the Suns are "as close as they've ever been" to realizing that they need to seriously consider pulling the trigger on a trade if a young star is offered in return. Still, it appears the greater likelihood is that he remains.Nash said he wants to keep playing another couple of years and why wouldn't he? If he's this good at 38, think how good he'll be at 40. Nash is like fine wine -- just better the older it gets.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:23 am
Posted by Royce Young
It was a pretty wild Wednesday in the NBA with some close games, some massive blowouts, some top teams losing and some big stat lines. Let's grade the action.
What a game from Oklahoma City's paint protector. Ibaka set a franchise record with 10 blocks and finished with an unconventional double-double with 11 rebounds to go with it. He only had four points, which is a shame because a points-rebounds-blocks triple-double is pretty awesome. But Ibaka's impact in the Thunder's win over Dallas can't be understated.
Nash went for 30 and 11 assists but that's not the best thing from his game against the Hornets. He also became the Suns all-time assists leader with 6,522 passing Kevin Johnson's mark of 6,518. Oh, and the Suns won, scoring 120 points. Just the way it should've happened for Nash.
Overlooked East teams
The Pacers beat the Timberwolves by 10 in Minneapolis and the 76ers beat the Bulls in Philadelphia. Two big wins for teams that are in the top half of the East, but that don't command the same kind of respect or attention as the Bulls or Heat. Andre Iguodala was fantastic defensively on Derrick Rose and Danny Granger poured in 36 for Indiana.
With co-star Kevin Durant struggling a bit, Westbrook took over for the Thunder scoring 33 points to go with four assists and six rebounds. As he tends to do, Westbrook hit a dagger 3 with a minute left to ice the game for Oklahoma City. The six turnovers though were the only blemish in his line, but he had a fantastic game and showed why his scoring can often be incredibly valuable to the Thunder in close games against good teams.
The Bucks won and Jennings scored 31. So why a C? Because he went 9-25 from the field and quite frankly, I was having trouble finding a C tonight. Jennings was pretty good though. He hit seven 3s, dished out eight assists and didn't turn the ball over once. He loved to shoot and does it without conscience, so the 31 points on 25 shots shouldn't really come as any kind of surprise.
Top East teams
While the Pacers and Sixers won, the Heat and Bulls both lost. Miami wasted a 40-point effort from LeBron and 23 from Dwyane Wade as Chris Bosh didn't provide much help at all with only nine points as the Heat lost to the Bucks. A Bucks team missing Andrew Bogut, mind you. Those type of games happen to everybody, but both the Bulls and the Heat definitely revealed a few dings in their armor. Neither executed well offensively and neither were able to consitently find baskets whether in transition or the halfcourt.
Credit the Thunder defense, but the Mavericks were absolutely awful shooting the ball Wednesday. Dallas shot only 35.7 percent from the field and went just 8-38 from the floor in the second half. Dirk Nowitzki clearly isn't entirely right as he went just 2-15 from the field. Dallas was without Jason Kidd and Lamar Odom, but that doesn't matter if you only hit 35 percent of your shots. Ten of those shots though never had a chance as Serge Ibaka was blocking them, but still.
Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats
The Suns scored 120 points. The Raptors and Bobcats combined for 132. The Raptors lost 100-64 to the Celtics and the Bobcats lost 112-68 to the Blazers. Scoring has been ugly on some nights in the NBA this season, but good grief, those are some major league whippings right there. The Bobcats and Raptors aren't good to start with, but an NBA team should be losing by 40 or 44.