Tag:Los Angeles Clippers
Posted on: February 14, 2012 2:16 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 2:33 pm
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Report: Cuban bashes Stern for Chris Paul trade

Mark Cuban questions David Stern's Chris Paul trade. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

The Los Angeles Clippers added Chris Paul and became an instant contender; the New Orleans Hornets traded away Chris Paul and have the worst record in the Western Conference, by far.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants the world to know that the league-owned Hornets, with NBA commissioner David Stern calling the shots as de-facto owner, screwed up in making that trade.

ESPNDallas.com provides Cuban's trade analysis, in which he argues the Hornets should have simply held on to Paul for the duration of his current contract rather than trade him away to the Clippers after previously discussing a 3-way deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets.
"You're better off just taking the cap room, or whatever," Cuban said.

"I don't think it was about the Lakers, per se," Cuban said before the game. "I think it was just the way they did the deal, which was ridiculous. I don't think it was about which team. I think it was the fact that, even with the Clippers, we just went through this whole (collective bargaining agreement) and said the incumbent team still has the advantage and then the team the league owns (wimps) out. And look how it's worked out for them.

"Bad management gets you bad results."

It's impossible to believe that Cuban actually believes his own cap room argument but it's an absolute certainty that he enjoys reading the "Cuban blasts Stern over management decision" headline on every NBA website. That's probably endless amusement for him.

The recent case studies in handling disgruntled superstars all point to getting maximum value in trade rather than risking flight in free agency. Ask the Toronto Raptors if they could re-do the Chris Bosh departure. Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers if they could re-do the LeBron James departure. Ask the Utah Jazz if they are pleased with the return they got for Deron Williams, who is holding up the future of the New Jersey Nets as he contemplates his next move. Ask the Denver Nuggets if they're constant with the ransom they got for Carmelo Anthony at last year's trade deadline.

There's no question that Stern was operating from the right playbook in moving Paul, who had clearly had enough with the dysfunction and ownership questions in New Orleans. Look no further than the Cavaliers for additional proof. Do you think owner Dan Gilbert is happier with getting nothing but a trade exception in James' departure or getting the No. 1 overall pick and Kyrie Irving, his next franchise player, by trading guard Mo Williams to the Clippers last season? Obviously, getting the rebuilding value back is key for a struggling team that needs to drastically change course.

In addition to a likely lottery pick coming over from the Clippers, the Hornets still hold matching rights on Eric Gordon, who has star potential, and they will have a top-5 pick based on their own performance. That's a potential up-and-coming "Big 3" in New Orleans as soon as next season, depending on what happens with Gordon in free agency and how the lottery balls fall. Al-Farouq Aminu, also acquired in the trade, isn't worth writing home about, but he's probably worth at least a mention here. Meanwhile, if Paul walks, all New Orleans has is its own pick plus cap space to chase free agents that don't want to play for the Western Conference's worst team. The choice is here.

If Cuban's larger argument was that the management decision to trade a superstar for parts continues a bad precedent that was supposed to be fixed during the lockout labor negotiations, he's right, of course. The system was changed but it wasn't entirely overhauled, and Stern and the Hornets had to act in their own self-interest, not take a stand for the greater good of the league. The risk/reward calculus was crystal clear given Paul's years of frustration and the weak Hornets roster that would have surrounded him this year. He had to go as soon as possible. 

The conclusion that Cuban likely wants you to take from his comments is not that Stern, the owner, is an idiot for the trade. It's that the NBA's system is still broken because not even Stern, the commissioner, trusts its new mechanisms for retaining franchise-player talent. That's an excellent point, although everyone seems to have been acting under that assumption since the first day that the lockout was lifted.


Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:09 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 4:06 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 9

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Spurs have plenty to smile about as they ride a 7-game winning streak. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the ninth 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. 4. You might be thinking, "Didn't I already read this before?" The Clippers were too high last week and the Spurs too low. And wouldn't you know it, they both moved up this week. The Clippers are a fine team in the West, but fourth best in the league? Even after losing Chauncey Billups for the year? I mean, Kenyon Martin was a nice pickup but not THAT nice. It just doesn't make sense to me to place the Clippers above the Spurs, or really even the Mavericks for that matter, especially after losing a top starter. -- RY

2. Too Low: San Antonio Spurs at No. 5. The Spurs have won seven straight, risen to second in the West and are getting maybe their best player back. It's not that they're too low, it's that they should be in the conversation for the top three right now. Putting them at No. 5 is fine, I suppose, but having them behind the Clippers is criminal. I wouldn't even argue with you if you wanted to bump them ahead of Oklahoma City right now. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 19. It's not easy to be considered overrated when you're ranked No. 19 out of 30 but that's the case when you're the ninth best team in an Eastern Conference which goes -- maybe -- five teams deep. The Brandon Jennings distraction, the Stephen Jackson distraction, the Andrew Bogut injury, it's all bad. The Bucks are just outside the playoff picture, but would be the third worst team in the Western Conference right now, better only than the New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings. By season's end, the Kings would probably pass them. 2-5 for their last seven, Milwaukee's recent wins have come against the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. The March schedule will kill this team. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Dallas Mavericks at No. 9. A 4-game winning streak over Western Conference foes -- highlighted by a late Dirk Nowitzki winner against the Portland Trail Blazers in double overtime -- was all the reminder anyone needed that this team will be a major factor come playoff time. Expect them to keep getting overlooked. They might just have the toughest lead-up to the All-Star break of anyone in the league coming up -- with games against the Nuggets, 76ers, Knicks, Celtics and Lakers over the next eight days -- so there's a good chance they don't separate from the West pack until March or April. Even if the breakout never comes, this will be a feared first round match-up and the early-season questions will be a thing of the distant past. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 3. How do you know that you're a really good team? You spend your week on a ridiculous road-trip that includes four games in five nights in some of the toughest buildings the NBA has to offer. You emerge 3-1 -- with wins over Portland, Golden State and Utah -- and yet all anyone wants to talk about is the loss, a close one to Sacramento on national television, with the fanbase fighting to keep its franchise in town. Watching those four Western Conference teams get up for the Thunder made it clear that OKC's reputation as the team to beat in the West is firmly established and agreed upon. Watching OKC match energy with energy on the road only underscored the point. -- BG  

6. Wild Card: New York Knicks at No. 15. So, about that whole Linsanity thing. The funny thing about it is, the Knicks have now won five straight and are back in the Eastern playoff picture. And that's with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony returning. Which is what makes them so intriguing. Are they going to lose their mojo? Will Lin get marginalized? Or will it all be a perfect marriage? The Knicks could be rocketing up to the top 10, or the bottom could fall out any second. -- RY
Posted on: February 14, 2012 12:23 am
Edited on: February 14, 2012 12:36 am
 

Gordon to have arthroscopic knee surgery

By Matt Moore 

The New Orleans Hornets announced Monday night that their best player, Eric Gordon will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday and will be out up to an additional six more weeks. Gordon, who has missed all but two games since being traded for the Clippers, has had repeated setbacks with the knee injury this year.

There was some concern going into the trade of Chris Paul for the package that  the  Hornets received in return concerning Gordon being injury prone. This only further complicates the Hornets' decision making this summer when they attempt to sign Gordon in restricted free agency at a reasonable value. 

A team statement from Hornets GM Dell Demps, who's pretty much having the worst professional year possible, reads:

“After consulting with our medical staff, we concluded that surgery was the best route and in the best interest of Eric for the long term. We had hoped with rest and rehab, Eric's knee would have healed.” General Manager Dell Demps said. “Eric is eager to return to the court and we are confident Hornet Fans will get to see him soon.”

The Hornets are 5-23 this season after a win over the Jazz Monday night.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:39 pm
 

Mo Williams is frustrated with the Clippers

Mo Williams wants the Clippers to tell him they love him. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

After the Clippers acquired Chris Paul, the obvious assumption was that Mo Williams was instant trade bait. The Clips just picked up CP3, just signed Chauncey Billups and had youngster Eric Bledsoe as a third option.

But the Clippers held on to Williams and it has paid off big time. He's having a Sixth Man Award caliber year off the L.A. bench and even has gotten a little chatter to be named an All-Star. He's been nothing short of terrific and a big part of the Clipper rotation.

And he wants to be recognized for it. As he told T.J. Simers of the L.A. Times, he just wants "to know where I stand with the Clippers." Which is another way of saying, "Pay me."
"I want to play," he says in explaining his attitude, but what he really means to say is, he wants to start. But aren't Paul and Billups better players?

"I'll let you decide," Williams says. "They are teammates of mine, so I won't say."

I help him out: They are much better than you are. Now Billups is out, and Coach Vinny Del Negro is going with Randy Foye as his starter instead of Williams. Obvious question for Williams: Are you upset about this?

"For this team I have a role," he says, "whether I accept it or not."

And does he accept it, his job still to come off the bench and provide energy and scoring?

"Like I said, I'm playing basketball," he says.
Williams has two years left on his deal pay him $8.5 million a season. The Clippers have said they don't see him as simply trade bait and with the injury to Billups, that will likely be true. But he still wants an extension and he wants a better role.
"The way they tell you they love you every day is by signing you to a contract extension," Williams says.

[...]

"This has nothing to do with money," Williams says.

Any time an athlete says it has nothing to do with the money, it has everything to do with money.

"You misinterpreted what I said," Williams says. "This has nothing to do with money; I just don't know where I stand.

"I could be traded tomorrow. I could be traded next week or before March 15, [the trade deadline], or before next season. They aren't going to trade Blake Griffin."

I help him out again. "You are not in the same class as Blake Griffin," and he seems surprised.

"I'm not looking for anything," he says. "I'll approach every day the same and be prepared to play, but in a month I could be gone. I'm just answering your questions now."
For a guy that's had a bit of a rebirth on a team most didn't see being this good before the CP3 trade, he sure does seem a bit disgruntled. Selfish, even. He has a role, is playing a lot and doing his job well. He's getting paid well and the Clippers have said they aren't going to trade him. What more does he want? A contract extension? Who doesn't want one? Financial security is wonderful, but worry about that later. Focus on doing your job every night and that'll take care of itself.

The Clippers need Williams more than ever now. Without Billups, Williams is as important a player as they have, not named Blake or Chris. He's their top option off the bench and a major part of their success. If he doesn't realize that or needs the Clippers to tell him that in the form of a contract extension, then I'd just say he's got his priorities mixed up.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:42 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:58 am
 

Report Card 2.9.12: Linsanity strikes again

Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to their third straight win in his second start. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

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.

Complete Linsanity He did it. Again. In NBA history, there have been four players to post 20+points and 8+ assists in their first two career starts. Jeremy Lin became the fifth Wednesday night, with 23 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, just two turnovers and 9-14 shooting. Once again an opponent opted to go over the screen, to dare him to drive and/or pass off the pick and roll, and once again Lin destroyed a team. The dream continues. An amazing ride. Also, this happened, which is Landry Fields and Lin's new handshake, in which they open a book flip through it, put on glasses, and then slip on pocket protectors:

Orlando Magic Orlando did not stomp the Heat. But they did throw them up against the lockers, shook their lunch money out, and bloodied their clothes a bit. The Magic essentially had a two step process. Challenge the Heat at mid-range in face-up and passinsg situations defensively, and hit a metric ton of threes. It's nothing we haven't seen from Orlando before, just against a very good team. The occasional lapse to let the Heat back in it, even as good as Miami is, keeps them from an A, but a very solid performance for Orlando and a huge win.
Memphis Grizzlies The Grizzlies beat the Wolves by just five (though it was really a seven-point lead before a needless foul and so-what three), when they were without Kevin Love. Scoring just 85 points isn't going to get it done. Memphis passes with a win over a quality team with or without Love, but fails to show anything that suggest they have resolved their myriad problems.
Los Angeles Clippers The Cavaliers were without their best player in Kyrie Irving and still ran the Clippers out throughout the game. Not the comforting start to the post-Billups era you would hope for, particularly letting Ramon Sessions have his way to the tune of 24 and 13.
New Orleans Hornets What do you want to go with, here? Scoring just 67 points? 14 points in the first period, causing an awkard situation when the crowd didn't get to sit down for five-plus minutes to start the game waiting for the first bucket? Such a wide range of sad failure for the Hornets. Anthony Davis, Hornets fans. Anthony Davis.


E FOR EFFORT
Jeremy Lin (23 points, 10 assists, Linsanity)
Tony Parker (37 points and 8 assists, validating All-Star reserve status if selected)
Dwight Howard (25 points and 24 boards in win over Heat)
Posted on: February 8, 2012 11:54 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 12:04 pm
 

Perkins slams LeBron about his tweet on Griffin

Perkins didn't mind getting dunked on, he just didn't like the reaction. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

For almost 24 hours after Blake Griffin detonated a dunk over him, Kendrick Perkins trended worldwide on Twitter. Griffin's dunk changed Perkins' reputation from the tough guy in the paint to the guy that got posterized.

No bother to him though, he says. Via Yahoo! Sports:
"If I was in the same position, in the same rotation, I’m going to jump again and again and again,” Perkins told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t care. A lot of people are afraid of humiliation or don’t know how to handle embarrassment or would even get embarrassed. I don’t care.

“I’m the same Perk you’re going to see. I’m still going to sign autographs the same way. I ain’t going to change. The people that move out the way and stuff are the people who have insecurity problems.

“That’s my job. How will my teammates look at me if next time I just back out the way and just let him dunk when I’m supposed to be defensive-minded, a shot-blocker? That would be a coward move on me. He’d just have to dunk on me again.”

One thing that did bother Perk though? LeBron James' reaction to Griffin's dunk. Specifically, his excited tweet about it that said, "Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I’m No. 2 now. Move over #6.” LeBron of course talking about his dunk over John Lucas III.

Said Perkins:
"You don’t see Kobe [Bryant] tweeting,” Perkins said. “You don’t see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you. At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play.

“They also are not tweeting about themselves talking about going down to No. 2. I just feel [James] is always looking for attention and he wants the world to like him.”

One thing to note: I think the reason you don't see Kobe or Michael Jordan tweeting is because they aren't on Twitter. Just a theory.

But Perk's sour grapes here about LeBron seems a bit petty to me. A lot of players tweeted about Griffin's dunk, including Chris Paul, Magic Johnson and Kevin Love. I do see Perk's point though in that the way LeBron's tweet was worded makes it seem like LeBron is a tad vain.

The Heat play the Thunder March 25. That game was already must-watch, but it's got another storyline with it now. I think LeBron might try to Mosgov and Lucas Perkins all that the same time.

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 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:04 am
 

Clippers can and must move on without Billups

Chauncey Billups will miss at least eight months after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

You have to wonder how angry at fate Chauncey Billups is. 

Billups was traded from Detroit to his hometown of Denver. He was part of a winning team there, advancing to the Conference Finals and giving the Lakers a fight. Things were headed in a good direction for him to finish his career as part of a contender.

Less than 24 months later, facing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, there has to be a lot of confusion and resentment over how things got to this point.

After all, it wasn't Billups who wished to leave Denver. He had his agent leak that he would be unhappy being part of any move made. But the Carmelo Anthony saga was bigger than Billups, bigger than any of the other nearly dozen players involved. Billups was sucked up into it and shipped to New York. And Billups went along with it. He was a pro. He tried working in a system that was not suited to his needs, dealt with having his pride damaged by essentially being a tag-a-long to the gunner star Melo and his reality television wife. Here was a player who had a title to his name suffering to the whims of a superstar without jewelry. But he went along with it.

The Knicks were looking at moves. Billups asked them to not trade him. Then the Knicks started talking about bringing in Tyson Chandler, which would mean they'd need to amnesty Billups. Fine with him, he'd still get paid. But the way the amnesty structure was set up in a CBA (which Billups likely did not want but was willing to take like the rest of the players just to end the lockout), another team could claim him off waivers for a portion of his salary. For Billups, that was enough. He'd dealt with being traded like meat, that comes with part of the business. He'd dealt with being baggage to the Melo circus, again, part of the business. He'd done his best in New York like a professional. But if he was going to be waived, he was not going to wind up on a cellar-dweller. 

So he made it known. A professional his whole career, a locker-room leader and NBA champion, he had to openly threaten teams with disrupting their teams if they tried to bring him into a rebuilder.

The Clippers took him anyway.

And Billups was not happy about it, but in the end, his professionalism won out. He didn't show up surly. He didn't show up angry. Even when once again he became a part of a freakshow with the trade of Chris Paul, he did his thing. They wanted him to move to shooting guard. Sure thing.

And now, this.

Maybe he would have gotten injured anyway. Maybe his Achilles was a ticking time bomb. And he still gets paid, after all. The full amount of his contract. But consider that it's likely that Billups' career ends this way:

He suffered a potentially career-ending injury playing for a team who signed him off amnesty waivers after he specifically asked them not to using a clause in the CBA which he did not want from a team he didn't want to be sent to in the first place due the Melo drama which had nothing to do with him.

His season is over. He will not play for Team USA this summer. His career may be over. 

It is not difficult to come to the conclusion that Chauncey Billups deserved better than this. 

-----------------------------------
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As for the Clippers, many will begin talks that this damages their team irreparably. But a quick look at the roster confirms that the Clippers are in as good a position to survive this as any team can be. They have a number of options. Observe: 

1. Move Caron Butler to shooting guard, start Ryan Gomes. Butler has flourished in the small forward position, stretching the floor. But he can just as easily move to two-guard. Ryan Gomes can fill the gap at small forward and from there out, the Clippers employ a large number of three-guard lineups anyway.

2. Start Randy Foye, keep Mo Williams off the bench, Butler stays at the three. This is what the Clippers have done when Billups has missed games due to a myriad of injuries. Foye is not at all Billups, but he is younger and more athletic. What's more, Foye is less likely to force the issue and try and score on his own, more likely to facilitate both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin along with Butler.

3. Start Mo Williams, bring Foye off the bench. Mo Williams has been a potential sixth man of the year candidate this season and has played exceptionally well. He would likely welcome a move to the starting lineup for his pride's sake and despite not having Billups' size, can work just fine next to Paul as a shooter. Williams is a scoring point regardless, and with the Clippers using Paul as a decoy on many possessions anyway, Williams can create with Griffin and DeAndre Jordan just as well.

4. Sign J.R. Smith, use either he or Mo Williams off the bench. Smith is due to be released from this obligations with the Chinese Basketball Association sometime in the next three to six weeks depending on playoffs. The Clippers are being heavily discussed as a suitor for him, and it would be a natural fit. They don't have the cap space to offer him a long term deal, but he could come in immediately, be given as many shot as he can find room for, and play for a team in contention. This scenario makes the most sense, whether it's him or or Williams off the bench.

The Clippers will miss Billups' on-floor leadership, his scoring, his defense, and his experience. But Billups also hasn't been a very productive player due to age. He fit well on the Clippers, but with their guard depth, they're well-suited to withstand this blow in time. It doesn't make it any better, but it's still a huge loss, but it's not one that creates a crisis in their backcourt. This team has too much talent left and too much at stake not to press forward.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com