Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Denver Nuggets
Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:01 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 10:16 am
 

J.R. Smith to the Knicks

J.R. Smith will join the Knicks and Linsanity. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The long, enduring process of bringing J.R. Smith to the Knicks has ended. Smith announced on Twitter Friday he'd chosen the New York Knicks.


After reports indicated earlier this week that Smith's decision was down to the Knicks or Clippers, and then that the Knicks had taken the upper hand, reports Friday indicated that the decision has been made. The New York Post reported that Smith would sign Friday with the Knicks, and will be in uniform Sunday when Linsanity faces another tough test against the Dallas Mavericks in Madison Square Garden. 

Smith confirmed to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld Thursday that he was close to a deal with the Knicks, though he did not confirm it was done. Meanwhile, the Oregonian reports of the insane lengths both the Clippers and Knicks are going through to try and sign Smith, including sending a representative to meet Smith when he got off the plane. From the Oregonian: 
Things got so interesting Thursday that Smith hopped a plane from China to LAX, arriving at the airport in the late afternoon, where he was intercepted, his camp said, by a representative for the Knicks. Smith was apparently headed later in the evening to Las Vegas, and according to a source in Smith's family, the Knicks bought a ticket for their guy and sent him along, too.

New York apparently hoped to sign Smith as he cleared Customs, and I can't say I blame them after what I heard Del Negro promised Smith.

Get this: Smith was told via text message from Del Negro, in what feels like a desperate, last-ditch effort, that he'd be -- a starter -- for the Clippers.

Start? Smith? Really?

"What I text to J.R. is between J.R. and me," Del Negro said. "We're just trying to make our team better. I think everyone on our team understands that."
via Canzano: Fight for J.R. Smith offers warnings for Trail Blazers | OregonLive.com.

So that's a little insane. 

Can we take a second to note that J.R. Smith has been back in the states for less than 12 hours and was headed to Vegas? How can you not love the NBA?

Smith joining the Knicks helps bolster their depth considerably. Being able to play a second lineup of Toney Douglas/Mike Bibby, Iman Shumper, Landry Fields, and a big to pair with Amar'e Stoudemire or Tyson Chandler means the dropoff won't be as big, and the ability to keep a scorer on the floor with Melo or, ahem, Jeremy Lin on the bench helps considerably in the backcourt.

It also means the Clippers will have to go elsewhere to try and recover their scoring lost when Chauncey Billups tore his Achilles.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:59 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:41 pm
 

Report: J.R. Smith to pick Knicks over Clippers?

Is it down to the Knicks or Clippers for J.R. Smith? (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

There appeared to be two finalists in the recruitment of unrestricted free agent guard J.R. Smith, and one seems to have emerged..

Smith, recently returned from China where he signed to play during the lockout without an NBA opt-out clause, had reportedly narrowed his final two choices to the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPNLA.com.

The New York Daily News reported that the Knicks have emerged as the leaders.
The Knicks are closing in on a deal to sign free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith, the Daily News has learned. Smith began the season in China, but has been eyeing a return to the NBA once the lockout ended.

Smith's agent, Leon Rose, met with Garden Chairman James Dolan following Wednesday's Knicks' win over Sacramento to finalize a contract.
Other teams linked to Smith over the last few weeks have included the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers, among others. 

Smith has connections with both the Knicks and the Clippers, and both have expressed serious interest in his services. New York has Smith's former teammate with the Denver Nuggets, All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, as well as his former Nuggets boss, Mark Warkentien, a noted advocate of Smith's game. Los Angeles has Smith's former New Orleans Hornets teammate Chris Paul as well as his former Nuggets teammate Kenyon Martin, himself recently returned from China.

Given the unusual timing of his clearance from China, Smith's financial options are limited. New York is able to offer him a $2.5 million room exception; the Clippers are limited to the veteran's minimum. More important than the dollar figure for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season is his ability to play on a large stage. Playing big minutes and getting plenty of shots for a playoff team will help maximize his value for a big free agency pay day this summer. 

Smith averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.9 minutes per game off of Denver's bench during the 2010-2011 season. At 26, he is entering his prime earning years as a player. Even though his 2011-2012 season will only be a few months long, it will be an important stretch for him to re-introduce himself to the NBA's chief decision-makers to ensure he receives the pay day he is eventually expecting.

In New York, he would fill out a backcourt rotation that includes global sensation Jeremy Lin, global non-sensation Baron Davis, rookie Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas. There should be plenty of minutes available there, and Lin's orchestration of New York's offense recently offers some promise that Smith can find his touches too. That group, coupled with All-Stars in Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, plus Tyson Chandler in the middle, could potentially win a playoff series.

In Los Angeles, the presence of Paul guarantees he will get touches, and a season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups opens up all the minutes he can handle. He would join Paul, Mo Williams and Randy Foye in what would be a very solid rotation. Whether or not the Clippers add Smith, they expect to make a deep playoff run this year. 

Either way, Smith really can't lose.
Posted on: February 11, 2012 5:46 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 2:12 pm
 

J.R. Smith to return to USA from China this week

J. R. Smith expects to return from China this week. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Get ready, America, he's about to be our problem again.

Former Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith, now an unrestricted free agent, said this weekend that he will return to the United States, after playing in the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout, on Wednesday.

Smith announced the news on his @TheRealJRSmith Twitter account: "Ladies [and] Gentleman I am happy to tell you my return to the United States is [official]! I will be home [February] 15, 2012! #Hyped!"

An explosive scorer and fearless shot-taker, Smith, 26, averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.9 minutes per game off of Denver's bench last season. 

Smith signed to play for the Zhejiang Wanma Cyclones during the lockout, inking a 1-year deal worth a reported $3 million back in September. The contract did not include an NBA opt-out, meaning Smith was stuck with Zhejiang until their season ended.

According to Asia-Basket.com, Smith is averaging 35.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Zhejiang this season. Smith's scoring average was tops in the CBA this season but multiple incidents involving his sister and girlfriend getting into altercations with fans at his games became major international headlines.

Sportando.net reported this week that Zhejiang is now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in the CBA, so all of that is in the past. Had Smith's team qualified for the 3-round playoff format, he could have been stuck in China through the end of March.

Smith's Twitter profile description now includes a list of NBA teams he could sign with: the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers. The Knicks are generally considered the odds-on favorites to land him but he's been linked to a bunch of teams in rumors.

On Friday night, Smith tweeted: "Got a few interesting texts after the NY vs LA game!" The Knicks, thanks to a career-high 38 points from guard Jeremy Lin, defeated the Lakers, 92-85, at Madison Square Garden.

Hat tip: HoopsHype.com
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:39 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:48 am
 

Report Card: Bynum and Gasol dominate Boston

Posted by Royce Young

 Bynum is an All-Star and Gasol got snubbed, but played like one anyway against the Celtics. (Getty Images)

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.

Bynum and Gasol
The Lakers needed something from their terrific interior duo and they got it, as Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined for 41 points and 31 rebounds. They gave the Lakers just enough inside and on the glass to overcome a rough night and beat the Celtics. Plus, Gasol had the game-winning block of a Boston layup.
Houston bench
 The Rockets bench combined for 57 points and here were their plus/minus numbers in a win over the Suns: +18, +27, +25, +17. +22.
Sacramento Kings
The Kings deserve a whole lot of credit for beating the Thunder in their only national television appearance. They closed the game on a 19-6 run, "forced" 23 turnovers and have now won four of five and are a two-point loss to the Wolves away from winning five straight. Still, it wasn't a clean performance and you could tell the Kings weren't entirely sure where to go for points late but caught OKC in a couple bad rotations as Marcus Thornton hit two big 3s. The team still has work to do.
The Lakers-Celtics game in general A close overtime game, featuring the biggest rivalry in the NBA, but it was mostly ugly for about 47 minutes. There were some big shots and some big plays, but both teams shot under 40 percent and both teams looked old and out of sync at times.
Houston starters
The Rockets starting five combined for 39 points and here were their plus/minus numbers: -15, -13, -16, -16, -14.
Denver Nuggets The Nuggets have dropped six of seven after working themselves into the conversation of the best in the West. The Warriors did the work, behind 36 from Stephen Curry who had 36, but the Nuggets aren't looking like the elite team we all thought they were going to be. It could be just a bump in the road, as they're without some key players, but it could mean something more as well.
Thunder ball security
Oklahoma City blew a chance to lock up Scott Brooks' coaching the Western All-Stars with a 106-101 loss to the Kings. But what killed the Thunder most was 23 turnovers and 17 Sacramento rebounds. That added up to 22 more shots for the Kings and a loss for OKC.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 8:52 am
 

Wilson Chandler wants to re-sign with Denver

Wilson Chandler's agent says he wants to re-sign with Denver when he returns from China. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Wilson Chandler has been in China, after choosing to bail during the lockout assuming the season would wind up more protracted than it is. As a result of a Chinese Basketball Association rule enacted this summer, he is unable to get out of his deal until his team's season is over. Which will be shortly. Chandler is a restricted free agent for the Nuggets, and there was talk Denver might not re-sign him or that he would prefer a return to New York. But Yahoo Sports reports that Chandler's preference is to re-join the Nuggets for their playoff push: 
Chandler is drawing “significant interest” from other NBA teams, Chandler’s agent, Chris Luchey said, but he wants to re-sign with the Nuggets for either the rest or the season or a longer-term deal.

Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri acknowledged the team’s interest in re-signing Chandler. The Nuggets have the right to match any offer Chandler receives from another NBA team.

“Wilson likes their direction and the stabilization of their roster in Denver with the young talent,” Luchey said in a phone interview from China. “He wants to see how they develop as a team. It’s a unique situation. The ball is in their court. If Wilson is comfortable, he will be a part of their core group.”
via Wilson Chandler intends to sign with Nuggets - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Chandler joining the Nuggets would just be adding more depth to arguably the deepest team in the league, when healthy. He's a versatile scorer that would join a 2-3 rotation of Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Fernandez, and Corey Brewer, providing a five-man rotation entirely made of athletic wings that can get out in transition and hit from the perimeter. Chandler has the ability to fill up the scoreboard in any game, and is an underrated defender.

It'll be key to see what kind of condition Chandler has been playing in in China (his numbers suggest pretty great), and if there's a struggle to adapt to NBA speed. But as the Nuggets gear up for a late-season playoff run, getting Chandler will only make a good depth situation better for Denver.

With all their injuries, they just have to survive until then.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:21 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:13 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 8

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Clippers have their hands full over the next six weeks. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the eighth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 6. This isn't really a knock against the current ranking, which is right in line with their performance to date, but a prediction of the certain trouble to come. The Clippers continue to have played well more home games (13) than road games (9) and that will catch up with them. The good news is that they are off to a nice start on their current road trip, having won the first two games, but things will get tougher with match-ups in Philadelphia and in Dallas and the loss of Chauncey Billups casts a big shadow over what will be a brutal March, when the Clips will play 20 games in 31 days, including six back-to-backs plus a back-to-back-to-back. Mo Williams is great, but he's only one man. In other words, just sell your stock in them now. There's nowhere to go but down. And Blake Griffin would do very well to keep his All-Star Weekend participation to a minimum. -- BG 

2. Too Low: San Antonio Spurs at No. 7. Here are the last five games for the Spurs: Memphis, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Memphis again -- all wins. The Spurs have climbed to the West's third seed and have done it with Manu Ginobili just a week or so away from returning. So to have them behind the Clippers, a team that potentially just lost their starting 2-guard for the season, doesn't seem right. The Spurs are playing like a top five team and are probably just finally getting stretched out. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Orlando Magic at No. 13. I don't really care what the Magic do right now or what their record is. The sins of the past couple weeks are way too fresh in my mind to give them a top 15 ranking. They've scored in the 60s three times this season. Yeah, they won three of four last week but two of those included wins against Cleveland and Washington. The Magic will make the playoffs, assuming Dwight Howard doesn't get dealt, but this isn't a team to fear. There are simply too many issues. Good enough to beat the bad teams, average enough to beat some mediocre teams but not anywhere close to elite to beat the great teams consistently. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 18. The Grizzlies have fallen a game under .500 and out of the West's top eight, but their losses in the past week were respectable. They whipped the Hawks but came up just short against OKC and San Antonio while the Celtics handled them. It's easy to completely start disregarding Memphis because of their record, but this team had a lot of preseason buzz for a reason. They need Zach Randolph back badly and when they get him, that's a group nobody will want to play in the postseason. Assuming they can do enough to get there. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Indiana Pacers at No. 5. Through 24 games, the Pacers are right on track for their best case scenario. They're sitting pretty with potential homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference and they're right there in the mix for the No. 2 spot on the East charts. They'll likely fall somewhere in the 3-6 range but they've got a well-balanced roster that is going to make for a very tough out in the playoffs. Is Darren Collison the weak link? Expect more discussion to surround him. The Paul George / Danny Granger / David West combination could really be something come the postseason. -- BG

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 10. Once the West's No. 2 seed, the Nuggets are on a 3-game skid and just got the news they will be without forward Danilo Gallinari for a month. That's a big blow. The tough part in the West is that it doesn't take too many 3-game skids before you've dropped a number of playoff seeds, given how tightly things are wrapped up betwen spots four and 11. The really brutal news for the Nuggets is that 10 of their remaining 11 games in February are against Western Conference teams, including the Mavericks twice, the Grizzlies, the Thunder, the Clippers, the Spurs and the Blazers. Oof. -- BG
Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:01 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 1:05 am
 

Monday, bloody Monday strikes the NBA

Chauncey Billups was one of several players to go down with injuries Monday. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

If there was a tipping point for when the compacted schedule would really start to take a significant toll on the league through injury, you have to wonder if it was Monday night. Here's a rundown of the M*A*S*H* unit the league turned into Monday night in a torrent of injuries. 

  • The Hornets announced Jason Smith is out one week with a concussion he sustained Saturday against the  Pistons. 
  • Elton Brand was held out of the Sixers' game against the Lakers with a thumb injury. 

 That's one night of action and we haven't even gotten the random trickle-down injuries from the late games yet. Usually we'd be about a week away from the All-Star Game but since we haven't actually gotten through that many games due to the late start following the lockout, there's another three weeks before the All-Star break provides some relief. Vince Carter said last week that this year was about survival and you can tell how much that has an impact on teams' approaches. It's just a rough year for all teams in terms of managing wear and tear with this schedule, and Monday night was one in which a lot of teams lost that battle.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:03 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:48 pm
 

Gallinari (ankle chip fracture) out 1 month

Danilo Gallinari suffered a chip fracture in his left ankle Monday. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver 

Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari suffered an ankle injury in the first half against the Houston Rockets. An X-ray taken at the arena confirmed a chip fracture of his left ankle

An MRI conducted on Tuesday determined that the chip will sideline Gallinari for "at least a month," according to the Denver Post. The Nuggets released this statement.

CT and MRI today determined that the chip fracture was from a prior injury probably before professional career began. He will remain in a walking boot for 3 to 5 days. Treatment will be for a significant ankle sprain.

His status is undetermined at this time.

Losing Gallinari is devastating for a Nuggets team, despite theirdepth. They're already dealing with injuries to Nene, Arron Afflalo, and Timofey Mozgov, but Gallo has been the Nuggets' best overall player, performin at a near-All-Star level. Between injuries and a brutal schedule period, the Nuggets have lost five of their past six games.  

Without Gallinari, it means more time for Rudy Fernandez who also has had injury issues this season. The Nuggets had been one of the hottest teams in the league in the opening month, but injuries have taken their toll, damaging their biggest strength in depth.

Gallinari is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 33 minutes per game this season with a 20.1 PER.

The No. 6 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft inked a 4-year, $42 million extension in January.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com