Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: December 27, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 12:06 am

Video: Eric Gordon hits game-winner for Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

Meet your new star, New Orleans.

With the Hornets down a point with 14.7 seconds left in their opener against the Suns, the ball was in Eric Gordon's hands. It used to be in Chris Paul's at this moment, with a good chance it was going to go to David West at the top of the key.

Instead, it was a new look for New Orleans with Gordon left to make it happen on his own. Isolated at the top of the key and boom, he drilled a 20-footer to win one for his new team. Now you can see why the Clippers were so reluctant to give him up. And why David Stern and the league wanted him so badly.
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:53 pm

Pietrus headed to Celtics?

Posted by Royce Young

The Celtics have had a rough go this offseason, missing out on players they thought they'd get and losing another to heart surgery. They need some depth badly, and so they're likely turning to a player recently waived by the Suns.

According to NBA.com, the Celtics will likely sign Mickael Pietrus after he clears waivers Saturday, who was just bought out by Phoenix.

Last season splitting time between Orlando and Phoenix Pietrus averaged 7.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. He's a sizeable defender, can shoot the 3 and will definitely help the Celtics out immensely.

Especially considering that Paul Pierce could be battling a heel injury, adding Pietrus is something the Celtics are in desperate need of and that's even before the Jeff Green thing happened. Behind Ray Allen is Keyon Dooling, behind Pierce is Marquis Daniels and behind him is Sasha Pavlovic. So Pietrus will likely step in and really help Boston right away.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 8:15 pm

Suns waive Mickael Pietrus in buyout

By Matt Moore pietrus-suns

The Phoenix Suns waived guard/forward Mickael Pietrus Thursday. They did not exercise their amnesty clause, instead opting to simply swallow the $5.3 million remaining salary on the wing acquired last season from Orlando. 

ESPN reports that the Suns and Pietrus agreed to a buyout on the remainder of his contract which will allow him to become a free agent once he clears waivers. Pietrus is expected to attempt to join a contender in pursuit of a championship. 

The 29-year old French shooter hit 34 percent from long range in Phoenix last season and is a career 36 percent 3-point shooter. The Suns rescinded an offer to Pietrus following examination of his knee which caused him to miss significant time last season. The usual suspect list of championship contender teams should be in pursuit, Chicago, Miami, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, depending on how much Pietrus wants. 

His future in Phoenix was dim with the youth movement the Suns are slowly working towards and due to his lack of effort on both ends at times. Surprisingly, the gunner did not fit well into Alvin Gentry's run-and-gun system. 

Pietrus averaged 7.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game last season for the Suns.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:26 pm

Pop Quiz: Who takes the 7 & 8 spots in the West?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... Wait, we're almost to winter. What happened? Who cares, there's a season! The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a couple weeks. To get you ready for the season, we've put together some pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who gets the last two seeds in the West?

The Western Conference is wide, wide open. And I don't just mean at the top. There are a pretty set top six teams in the West -- Oklahoma City, Memphis, Dallas, San Antonio, the Clippers and the Lakers. Nobody's really going to argue too much with that.

But my question is, what is going to happen with spots seven and eight? Here are the remaining teams: Minnesota, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Utah, New Orleans, Houston, Golden State and Sacramento. Two of those have to go to the playoffs (assuming of course the top six go as planned). Who, I mean who, has the edge there?

The Veterans

Let's start with teams that were there last postseason. That includes Portland, New Orleans and Denver. Obviously you can cross the Hornets right off, but of those nine teams vying for the two spots, you'd have to think Denver and Portland have the best shot. The Blazers took a massive hit with Brandon Roy's retirement, but that team made the playoffs pretty much without him anyway last year. And with Jamal Crawford coming in, Craig Smith beefing them up a little inside, Ray Felton running the show (as long as he's not 300 pounds), Gerald Wallace doing all the little things and a legit star in LaMarcus Aldridge, I'd say Portland will probably punch one of those spots.

The Nuggets? That's iffy. Bringing back Nene to go team with Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson gives Denver a solid core, but this team was ravaged by the lockout. J.R. Smith -- gone. Wilson Chandler -- gone. Kenyon Martin -- gone. It wasn't a guarantee those guys were coming back anyway, but Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer aren't really ideal replacements. Plus, this team is breaking in a lot of new stuff and with just 66 games, there's not a lot of time to get it sorted out. But among the contenders for No. 8, Denver will definitely be in the mix.

The Middle Class

The teams that are consistently solid, have a star or at least a quality roster and can compete with pretty much anyone on a night-to-night basis. I'd put Phoenix, Houston and Golden State in this group. Steve Nash gives Phoenix a chance every night, Houston went 43-39 last season and if the Rockets can add a big man -- granted, only Samuel Dalembert is really left -- they could be a solid seven or eight-seed and Golden State has too much offense to ignore.

It's a question with the Suns whether or not Nash can hold up in this schedule, if the Rockets will in fact get that big body they need and if the Warriors will just be themselevs and only play on one side of the floor. But any of these three could make a run one of those two spots and it wouldn't surprise me.

The Bottom

The Hornets are intentionally lowering their bar, despite getting a decent haul of talent from the Clippers. Really, Jarrett Jack, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Emeka Okafor and Chris Kaman isn't a horrible core. But not being horrible doesn't mean you won't still struggle against the depth of the West. Because the Hornets currently have six or seven D-Leaguers on the roster, all with a pretty good shot at the final team. That's not good.

The Jazz just aren't there yet either. They need a scorer badly. Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors give them a nice frontcourt, but Devin Harris, C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward aren't really going to light it up.

I like what the Jazz are doing, but they are built entirely around four frontcourt players. They need to dump Mehmet Okur and maybe even Millsap or Jefferson to get a scorer (Danny Granger?) unless they aren't sold on their lottery pick Enes Kanter. It's a rebuild post-Sloan and post-Deron and they're likely to be a whipping boy this season.

The Sleepers

By process of elimination, you can figure out who are leftover and I'm even scaring myself with this. But the Kings and Timberwolves could both be set up for a quiet playoff push this year.

Start with the Kings. Tyreke Evans is finally healthy. He's finally in a real position playing shooting guard. Who knows what Jimmer will bring, but if all that fails, Evans can take over handling duties and bring Marcus Thornton in, who is instant offense. DeMarcus Cousins could be dominant if he keeps his head straight, Chuck Hayes is a classic scrapper, Jason Thompson and J.J. Hickson give them some depth. Who knows, in a 66-game schedule where crazy things happen, maybe the Kings start hot taking advantage of teams that didn't get a full camp together and use their youth to stay fresh through the crammed season. I could see it happening.

The Wolves? It's time for them to show some sign of improvement. It has to happen. Rick Adelman is a major addition because he's going to get these young players at least focused on a system and structure. David Kahn has built a mess of a roster but give him credit for one thing: It's got talent. There's a big if in Ricky Rubio and how much of a contributor Derrick Williams will be, but Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley -- I can't believe I'm saying it, but I don't completely hate this roster.

It's all about Adelman though. I'm really believing that he makes a difference in figuring out how the pieces fit. Because if not, the Wolves could win 15 games. But if things click a bit and Rubio and Luke Ridnour run the Adelman offense well, could this team win 30 games? And with the back end of the West looking so iffy, could it be enough to sneak in? I'm not saying I believe it, but I could see it.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:54 am

2011-12 NBA Season: Pacific Division Preview

By Matt Moore

We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Pacific Division.

2011 Standings:

Los Angeles Lakers, 57-25, lost 4-0 to Dallas Mavericks in 2nd round of Western Conference Playoffs
Phoenix Suns, 42-42, NBA Draft lottery
Golden State Warriors,36-46, NBA Draft lottery
Los Angeles Clippers, 32-50, NBA Draft lottery
Sacramento Kings, 24-58, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Well, see, the thing is... Chris Paul (UPDATE: TIE- LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)

Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night. Even with the Lakers unable to obtain Paul, the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is probably enough to take the honors here. But with Paul joining Blake Griffin, even without Eric Gordon, the additions of Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and re-signing DeAndre Jordan make as tough of a team to face as any. Griffin's impact next to Chris Paul is nearly incalculable.

The Lakers may still have the edge, but after the loss of Odom, everything is up in the air as far as who runs Staples now. The reality is that Paul landing in the city of L.A. will shift the division in one direction or another for the next half-decade at least.

Worst team: Sacramento Kings

The Kings are tricky. They have a convoluted backcourt. Tyreke Evans took a step back last season and it remains to be seen if it was all injury-related or not. There's no telling how Jimmer Fredette will adjust to the pro level. Marcus Thornton will struggle for minutes despite his all-around ability. John Salmons is floating around. There were huge chemistry questions last season and the players struggled against coach Paul Westphal at times.

If things don't improve, if DeMarcus Cousins doesn't mature, if Chuck Hayes can't protect the rim enough with his diminutive stature, things could get bad. And yet...

Biggest surprise: Sacramento Kings

There's so much firepower in that backcourt. Untangling it is complicated but they have everything. Shooting, athleticism, size, range, explosiveness, savvy, handle, everything. They have too much ability to not be effective in some ways. Cousins was a beast last season and even a small amount of maturity and development means he could be a near-All-Star (in the East, the West is too stacked). They have young talented bigs and Hayes who provides savvy and veteran knowledge.

The pieces are there. They're going to be exciting, even if they're struggling with an identity.

Three Best Players: Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Paul

Update: With Paul joining the division, he instantly becomes one of the three best players. The best pure point guard in the league, with excellent shooting touch, terrific defense, and a supreme will to win? He leap-frogs both Pau and Nash. 

Kobe Bryant needs no explanation, even at his age. The end.

Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league and the first player in a few years for people to say he could legitimately be the best player in the league at one point. His explosiveness and rebounding is unmatched, his mid-range jumper isn't lightyears away and his defense will get there. Already, Griffin is a force to be reckoned with. What happens when he gets better?

Gasol vs. Nash? Gasol was an early season MVP candidate. He is arguably the most skilled big man in the league (as opposed to Dwight Howard, the most dominant and most talented). And yet his collapse in the 2011 playoffs is the stuff of legend. It was such a complete failure at both ends, when the Lakers needed him most, it's damning. Gasol could very well be the second best player in this division this year. He could also slide back with age.

Nash? Ho-hum, another 50-40-90 season (got to round up for once, but still). His weighted assists, factoring three-pointers assisted on, left him at 13, which means combined with his 15 points per game, he contributed 41 points per game to the Suns. That's absurd. It's also not the highest in the league for a point guard, but it's still an example of how good Nash is. He's flat-out old in relative terms of the league, and yet is in the best shape he possibly could be thanks to conditioning. Nash is still elite, an therefore neither he nor Gasol can be exempted.

Biggest Question: Can Golden State change its stripes?

Mark Jackson has to completely turn what the Warriors know as their identity inside out. They have to commit to defensive principles. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, these players are not known for this, at all. It's going to take a miracle. If Jackson can get them to buy in and if his system is good enough, the Warriors could make a jump. Kwame Brown helps down low (don't laugh, he's become a quality defender). But there's so much to be done in terms of changing this team's indentity, the Warriors could be in for rocky seas.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Posted on: December 12, 2011 8:41 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 8:53 pm

Mavericks sign Vince Carter, Delonte West

Posted by Ben Gollivervince-carter

Vince Carter has found another new NBA home. Delonte West is once again an NBA employee! And both have arrived in the same destination: the Dallas Mavericks.

The defending champs announced the signing of Carter, a 34-year-old 8-time NBA All-Star, on Monday. Terms of the details were not disclosed by the team but ESPNDallas.com reports that Carter signed a mini Mid-Level Exception deal worth $9 million over three years. Carter was bought out by the Phoenix Suns last week. Carter averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Suns last season.

West, a 28-year-old free agent guard who spent the offseason applying for a job at Home Depot, contemplating selling knivesworking for a furniture store and fretting about his lack of health insurance, has reportedly signed a 1-year contract with the Mavericks.

SlamOnline.com and Yahoo Sports report that West, 28, will join the defending champs. A 7-year NBA vet, West spent last season playing for the Boston Celtics, where he averaged 5.6 points and 2.7 assists per game.

Dallas is now loaded in the backcourt, bringing back Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and Corey Brewer and having traded for Rudy Fernandez prior to the lockout. Second year guards Dominique Jones and Andy Rautins, recently acquired from the New York Knicks, are also currently on the roster too with Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom also fighting for playing time on the wing.

Together, West and Cater make the tenth and eleventh player who will fight for minutes at the one, two or three position for Dallas. Surely some additional roster balancing or trimming moves are coming.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:29 pm

Grant Hill signs one-year deal with Suns

Posted by Royce Young

Whether it be their magical trainers or just because he wants to return, Grant Hill will stay with the Phoenix Suns with a one-year, $6.5 million deal, according to the Arizona Republic.

The Knicks struck out on Hill as they were rumored to have Hill "leaning" their way. But maybe it was those trainers that have extended Hill's career or the fact he loves playing with Steve Nash, he decided to stay put.

This is obviously important for Phoenix who desperately needs Hill's leadership and toughness. He's quietly had a couple really solid seasons, while staying healthy which has always been his issue.

But it's one more year for Hill and then another go-around next season. I must say, $6.5 million is quite a bit for a 39-year-old, but Hill's proven to be able to handle things at his advanced age. No reason to think he won't be ready again.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 2:57 pm

Report: Shannon Brown to sign with Phoenix

Posted by Royce Young

This is what happens when your backup point guard is stuck in China, I guess. According to Yahoo! Sports, Shannon Brown will sign a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Phoenix Suns Friday.

The Suns are in need of a backup to Steve Nash because their current backup, Aaron Brooks, is currently in China after signing there during the lockout. If you recall, players that signed in China weren't given NBA opt-out clauses.

So Phoenix is left to add another piece and while Brown isn't quite the caliber player Brooks is, he's still a quality backup. Brown has been coming off the bench in Los Angeles for the last few years after making a jump from the D-League.

Playing backup to Steve Nash in Phoenix is a big role as the aging two-time MVP often has injuries pop up at times. Brown could be thrust into the starting role at times and with Nash likely trying to keep his minutes in check during this crammed season, Brown could play a pretty heavy role.

The Suns will be Brown's sixth team, but sixth in seven years. He's had two stops in Cleveland as well as two stops in Los Angeles. Last season with the Lakers he averaged 8.7 points and 1.2 assists in 19.1 minutes per game backing up Derek Fisher.

Speaking of, how does this impact the Lakers? Well, they already have another backup in place in Steve Blake, but liked Brown because of his versatility. The Lakers drafted Andrew Goudelock out of Charleston in June in the second round and could easily plug him in as their third point guard. He's a big guard at 6-3 and was really highly rated by a lot of scouts before the draft. Senior, crafty and smart. Sort of like a bigger Derek Fisher, I guess.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com