Tag:Matt Moore
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:32 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:42 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Teams looking to make a move

Dwight Howard faces the most uncertain trade deadline of his career. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The winds are filled with whispers and disinformation. Fans are rattling trade machines and scouring salary lists. And most of the players in the league have a heightened anxiety while telling everyone they're oblivious to what's going on.

It's trade season.

With the deadline a week away, talks are ramping up, and while this is the most difficult trade deadline in years to predict in the way of volume of deals, the chatter is going to be the same as ever. Teams are at the point in the season where it's time to either head in a different direction, try and get over the hump, move towards the future, add that final piece, blow the whole thing up, or try and stay the course.

Some teams are above the fray. The rest will be on the phone. And some desperately need to get a deal done in the next seven days. With that, we present the Deadline Urgent Care Report, for teams that need to make a move now. It's time to trade or get off the block.


1. Orlando Magic: There's so much going on with this situation that no one really wants to talk about. It gets boiled down to a handful of narratives. "You have to rebuild if you're going to lose Dwight Howard." "You don't trade Dwight Howard until you absolutely have to." "You can't make decisions based on emotions." "Who really wants to rebuild around Brook Lopez?"

There's so much more going on. The health of their owner. Dwight's complex relationship with the city, with ownership, with Otis Smith, with Stan Van Gundy. To be sure, there's an impression given that Howard thinks he's beyond all of them at this stage in his career. But there's part of him that knows Smith took a chance on him. He knows Stan Van Gundy helped make him into the Defensive Player of the Year that he is. He knows Orlando has embraced him. This isn't an easy scenario in back and white lines.

But the reality remains. The Magic have to trade Howard if he is unable to give them a solid indication he wants to stay. Yes, Cleveland has rebuilt well without trading LeBron James. But it's less about what you get in return than it is about clearing space. Letting Howard go in free agency means you have a terrible team that's expensive. Trading him means the possibility of moving Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, or Glen Davis to alleviate the contract situation.

The Magic need to be looking to the future, trying to pull in as many young viable could-be-stars as possible, not bringing in veterans with large contracts or injury issues. They need to scrap it and start over. It's the quickest and most logical way back to title contention. Currently the odds are a pick 'em for if they'll trade him or not. At some point, despite how complicated the situation is, you have to move forward. Otherwise you're not saving yourself, you're just waiting to die.

Targets: Distributing wing creator, point guard upgrade.
Movable assets: Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson


2. Los Angeles Lakers
: It's pretty simple stuff, really. This team, as constructed, will most likey win a title. They can, but they probably will not. And that is not how the Los Angeles Lakers operate. They have movable stars, are willing to take on salary, and are in need of a face-saving move to try and redeem the decisions of the front office.

The trick for the Lakers is determining trade value. Pau Gasol was thought of as the best big man in basketball a year and a half ago. Now, he's a sidekick delicate shooter who fell apart in the playoffs. Andrew Bynum was a project with upside who you could still rationalize moving for something less than elite return. Now he's an All-Star who finally looks healthy. Do you see the problem? Gasol is better than his current value will allow in return and Bynum's current value is so high as to make it difficult to net equal return.

Furthermore, they need a star to put next to Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard is there, but that situation has been temperamental. And it doesn't address their issues. A trade for Howard means they still have weaknesses at point guard and small forward. If the Lakers are going to do a deal, they need to pull in other teams to get some auxiliary talent back.

Targets: Dominant superstar option B, point guard upgrade, small forward who can hit water falling out of a boat.
Movable assets: Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum (?), Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes.


3. Boston Celtics:
It's. Over.

The run was good. It wasn't great, just one championship, two Finals, and for a collection of Hall of Famers, it's disappointing. But the reality remains, it's time for Boston to move on. Every indication is that Danny Ainge isn't looking to try and win a title this year through trade. He's aiming for down the line. The idea is to be in a position to make a big move should one come available, not try an force one with the older players currently on roster.

And still, a change is needed. They can definitely re-stock in free agency when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett's deals come off the books. But considering the value of both players, it would make sense to shop either or both in an attempt to get something of value now. Again, the idea is not to find players to win a title now, since they're not in that position. But to get players that will have value later to then move for those big pieces.

And then there's Rondo.

The enigmatic, temperamental shrouded in mystery and a faint air of disgust who drops triple-doubles to boggle the mind continues to be at the center of the Celtics' uncertainty. The Celtics took to the offensive last week to shoot down rumors they were looking at moving Rondo. But he's been discussed as a potential trade target for far longer than the past two weeks. Rondo has trouble scoring efficiently. He also possesses arguably the best vision of any point guard in the league, including Chris Paul. Can you build around him? Is his success a product of playing with three Hall of Famers? Is he limited by the Celtics' pace and lack of speed? The questions about Rondo have implications beyond whether to trade him or not. They also deal with how to build a team around him going forward if they don't trade him.

Targets: Versatile wings, on-ball creators, anything resembling a legitimate center.
Movable assets: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce (?), Chris Wilcox, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O'Neal (expiring contract).


4. Atlanta Hawks:
Josh Smith still wants out. The roster is stale. Marvin Williams is movable, finally. Jeff Teague makes Kirk Hinrich expendable. There's every reason for the Hawks to be big players at the deadline, but as always, their ownership situation makes things complicated. Still, the Hawks have repeatedly made moves at the deadline over the years and Smith should get a high amount of offers.

Targets: Clearing salary, legitimate center, back-up scoring guard.
Movable assets: Josh Smith, Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson.


5. Golden State Warriors:
The Warriors' new ownership has made big noise about change and bringing in stars, changing the culture. Instead they're largely the same team they have been for the past few years. They want to make a big splash. They have all the components to do so, it just matters how desperate they are. Expiring contracts, young stars on good contracts, versatility and depth. They have everything but a good roster. Fixing it will take more than a quick fix, but if they want to make a splash, the time is now.

Targets: Legitimate star, legitimate center, defensive backcourt and frontcourt upgrades.
Movable assets: Literally every player on roster.


6. Milwaukee Bucks:
Stephen Jackson has a huge contract, a bad attitude and a declining skill set. So clearly the market should be strong for him. The Bucks have wandered into no-man's land, not bad enough to land a star in the lottery, not good enough to make progress. But how do you remake a roster like this with a very specific outline for a blueprint? Brandon Jenning is the franchise player... is that a good thing? If Andrew Bogut can stay healthy they're a force... can he? They have depth that plays exceptionally well, is it worth selling high on them? It's a complex situation in Milwaukee.

Targets: Scoring, versatility, multi-dimensional impact.
Movable assets: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Brandon Jennings (?), Andrew Bogut (?), Stephen Jackson.


7. New Jersey Nets:
They can wait on Dwight. But that's the kind of gamble that puts the fear of God in you. It's like telling your spouse, "Don't worry, honey. I've lost our car, our couch, our refrigerator, our bed and our life savings the last five times I've tried this gamble, but this time it's going to be different!" Nets supporters often point out that Billy King has made a number of four and five team trades. What they do not mention is how seldom his teams have gotten the better end of those deals. Not that his teams come out worse. But it's not like we're dealing with a stellar record.

The Nets have young players, but they're not very good. It's unlikely they'll panic should Howard stay put in Orlando, but it's going to make them break out the scotch. Expect their phone lines to be busy for the next week.

Targets: Dwight Howard. Pieces necessary to get Dwight Howard.
Movable assets: Anyone but Deron Williams.


8. Houston Rockets:
The Rockets are where they always are. Trying to get a star and building up assets to get a star they can never seem to land which makes them build up more assets to try and get a star. It's like an M.C. Escher painting.

Targets: Superstar to build around, low-post scorer.
Movable assets: Anyone for the right price.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:32 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 9:39 am
 

Report: Lakers considering offensive mutiny

The Lakers are facing serious problems on the road. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The Lakers' loss to the lowly Wizards isn't causing panic. But it's definitely got the Nation of Lakerland in an uproar, inside and out. The Lakers' inability to win on the road where they are now 6-14 on the season is a huge black mark on their championship-caliber record. It makes two losses in two nights to lottery teams, with the Wizards truly one of the league's worst teams. It involved a 21-point blown-lead, a dagger from Nick Young, and Kobe Bryant shooting 31 times. Thirty-one-times for thirty points. 

So in this time of trouble, Mother Laker has of course came to them, speaking words of wisdom: "throw your coach under the bus and try and run the offense you want on your own." From ESPN.com: 
Bynum publicly invited the bulk of the responsibility for the Lakers' second straight loss to a lottery-bound straggler from the Eastern Conference, but sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com this week that there is growing concern among some Lakers players as to whether first-year coach Mike Brown and his staff have the X-and-O wherewithal to fix a Lakers offense that is averaging its lowest per-game point total (94) since before the advent of the 24-second shot clock in 1954-55.

Brown's effect on the Lakers' defense has been undeniable, but sources say the team's ongoing struggles on the road -- with L.A. dropping to 6-14 away from Staples Center following a loss in Detroit and blowing a 21-point lead to the undisciplined Wizards -- have some veterans longing for a return to the trusty Triangle offense preferred by Brown's predecessor, Phil Jackson.
via Sources: Los Angeles Lakers players have concerns over coach Mike Brown's X's and O's - ESPN Los Angeles.

The report goes on to say:  
Sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com that multiple players have continued to meet privately since the initial team meeting to discuss running elements of the Triangle offense again.

"The players want to unify," one source with knowledge of the situation said. "They know how to win, and they want to fix this. I don't know if they can, though. "
via Sources: Los Angeles Lakers players have concerns over coach Mike Brown's X's and O's - ESPN Los Angeles.

Yes, because clearly, when I think about who should be organizing an offense behind their coach's back, I think of Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace, Andrew Bynum, and Steve Blake.

If the report's on target, that's an abject disaster for Brown and Lakers' management. Players considering overthrowing a coach's offense in favor of what they want to do, which happens to be one of the most complex offenses to run? It should be noted that no coach outside of Phil Jackson, with either Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant in his prime, or Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, have been successful with the system. So basically this is a terrible idea.

This kind of talks is what comprises a coach losing his team, so the report's pretty volatile. It's been less than a full season for Brown and with the players unrest showing in both their effort and talks like this, the Lakers' most drama-filled season since Kobe Bryant's trade demand in 2007 is threatening to break apart one of the most dominant teams of the last half-decade.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:12 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:12 pm
 

Wednesday Night Game-Winner Power Rankings

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver  


Wednesday night was one of those nights in the NBA. Multiple game winners, so many that we decided we need to break them down, power rankings style. 


1. Rose does MJ: Derrick Rose's game winner had to be the best of the night for pure elegance. It had everything we look for from a winner: at the buzzer, walk off, isolation, high degree of difficulty, total calm, nothing but net. So much was going on in this one. He read the defense patiently, unleashed some crippling dribble moves, created and took the exact shot he wanted and even had large swaths of a road crowd cheering for him. Watch that thing and try not to think Michael Jordan.



2. Kyrie Irving's end-to-end. Irving's dash to the rim for what would be the game winner wasn't 94 feet of basketball brilliance, but it was as close as you want it to be. The fact that Byron Scott had the confidence in Irving to navigate all that space and the tactical knowledge to know the Nuggets wouldn't expect Irving to just get a running start and barrel to the basket deserves some points, while Irving's approach to switch hands on approach shows off his handle. That kid is something special. 



3. Isaiah Thomas read-and-react. Thomas, at his best, is the type of undersized guard that just makes you marvel. That he was the 2011 NBA Draft's "Mr. Irrelevant" just makes the story that much better. Thomas was at his best on Wednesday night, intercepting an idiotic entry pass at full stretch and with perfect timing. Thomas' game is all action/reaction/action and he made an incredibly heady play to move the ball forward to a streaking John Salmons, hitting him in stride. No second-guessing, no covering the ball to allow the defense to react. Just pure open court instinct in a very unusual game situation. The only downside is that it wasn't a walk off winner, or the Power Balance Pavilion might have stormed the court. Thomas' growing reputation for putting smiles on faces continues to grow.

 

4. DWill trusts Farmar. What? Why aren't people flipping out over Deron Williams passing up the crucial shot in the Nets' win over the Clippers like they did with LeBron James? Regardless, Williams made a great play and Farmar didn't get too excited or go hero-mode. He just lined up and knocked down the open jumper. You know, the right basketball play. On the opposite end of the spectrum,CP3 was never going to take that pass, and gambling on it meant he couldn't run Farmar off. Big mistake as Farmar's been en fuego from the outside this year.  



5. Nick Young has daggers on daggers.  If this was later in the game, it would be a top-three candidate. After all, Young did rise and fear to knock off the master of rise and fire. But alas, we had more free throws and missed Kobe Bryant threes to get through before it was said and done. But make no mistake, Nick Young's dagger to punch the Lakers' comeback attempt was the game winner in the Wizards' stunner over L.A.. 

Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:52 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 11:00 am
 

Heat make pitch for Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is being lobbied by NBA players. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore

Dwyane Wade lobbied to bring in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami in 2010. Now, Wade and James are trying to bring in another superstar to Miami: Peyton Manning. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“I’m just sayin’,” LeBron said. “Dolphins need a quarterback, and Peyton’s available.”Later, I asked LeBron if he was trying to recruit Manning to Miami.

“Oh, you guys heard me?” he said with a smile. “I gave my pitch, my one and only pitch. We’ll see what happens.”

Are the two superstars friends?

“No, not a friend of mine,” LeBron said. “But I’m a Miami Heat player, and I want Miami sports to be great: The U, the Dolphins, the Marlins, the Heat, of course.

“Peyton Manning is a great player,” LeBron continued. “No matter what happened this past year, his resume speaks for itself and it would be great to have him down here.”
via LeBron makes his one and only pitch for Manning to be a Dolphin - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

 And from the Palm Beach Post:
“I’m already working on that,” Haslem said. “I’m thinking Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. If we can work that out, we’ve got big Brandon Marshall, then we’re on our way. We got a solid defense. So, if you all hear me, Peyton and Reggie, you know what I mean, wink, wink, make it happen.”
via Ready to share spotlight: Heat stars pushing for Peyton | Heat Zone blog: Miami Heat & NBA news | The Palm Beach Post.

And from the Twitter account of Dwyane Wade himself:  
I'm just gonna put it out thr..peyton that number 18 wld look gr8 in a dolphins uniform..steve ross let's go.. marlins & heat style..All in
via Twitter / @DwyaneWade: I'm just gonna put it out ....

It says something about the immense power of the NFL that a quarterback returning from multiple neck surgeries is being publicly courted by NBA players. There's obviously no concern of tampering since the players are unconnected to any NFL team. But if Manning were to head to Miami to play for the Dolphins, that would be a lot of star power in what is not considered a large market. 

Manning is clearly the biggest story in sports right now after parting ways with the Colts as they get set to move forwards with Andrew Luck. You could say Luck is the Colts' Kyrie Irving. Except the Colts wanted to move on and the Cavs were left devastated. Also, when Manning left the Colts on national television, the Colts agreed with it and saw it coming.

Should Manning elect to join the Dolphins, there's going to be even more dislike for South Beach as a sports city. In that regard, maybe it's a match made in heaven, the Triad and Manning.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:23 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 12:25 am
 

Video: Kyrie Irving end-to-end game winner

By Matt Moore

With 15 seconds left, down 1 to the Nuggets, the Cavaliers inbounded from their own basket, eschewing advancing the ball to half-court in favor of getting Kyrie Irving at full-speed going to the rim. The Nuggets essentially only needed to get in front of him as he was the Cavs' whole offense down the stretch. Instead...

 

Ty Lawson would miss a driving layup and the Cavaliers hang on to win, 100-99. 

You have to give credit to Byron Scott for trusting Irving in that situation and for getting him the room to operate by inbounding full-court. It goes against traditional thought and involves trusting a rookie to go basically 94 feet against a defender. For Denver, what in the world were they thinking letting him get all the way to the rim? Unbelievable let down by the Denver bigs who needed to step up to help there. 

Irving is 19 years old. Wrap your head around that.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:11 am
 

Nick Young daggers the Lakers



And that's how the Wizards downed the Lakers, sending them to their second loss in two nights to bottom-feeder lottery teams, after their big win Sunday against Miami. The Wizards were down 21 points in the third quarter, before rallying to close it within one possession by the start of the fourth. 

Kobe Bryant was 9-31 for 30 points in the loss. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol had 19 shots combined. The loss comes a day after Rodney Stuckey crossed over Bryant for a late-game bucket and now Young drains this one. The Lakers looked like one of the elite teams in the league on Sunday. Four days later, they're taking on water again. The trade deadline is one week away. 

For the Wizards, it's their best win of the season, and something for Randy Wittman to hang his hat on. Trevor Booker was the player you need your bigs to be, John Wall managed the offense even on a bad night, and his team got the win. In a long, dark season, it's nice to have nights like this. 
 
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:56 am
 

Report: Wolves want league to be nicer to Rubio

Ricky Rubio is getting a lot of body from defenders. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

When Ricky Rubio was drafted, the questions were about how he would deal with the tougher defense of the NBA. Not in terms of acumen, the Euro leagues provide plenty of defense. But the players are so much bigger, so much more toned, so much stronger, that his wispy frame was considered an issue. Then he came over and lit the league on fire and it wasn't considered an issue. But it's gotten tougher and tougher as the season has gone on, and now the Wolves have decided to pull the "mom who finds out her son is being bullied and goes to the principle" approach. 
Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said the team has sent video to the NBA , seeking to call attention to what Kahn and the team's coaches believe are opponents being overly physical with rookie guard Ricky Rubio.

The team sent many examples of what it deems are fouls never called against defenders who have decided the best way to play the skinny rookie is to muscle him.

"All our young guys are learning that, Ricky especially," coach Rick Adelman said about opposing defenses adjusting to stop the Wolves' offense. "They're putting bigger guys on him...They’re beating the hell out of him right now. The league has figured out you have to be physical with him. And he’s kind of learning on the fly.’’
via Wolves send Rubio footage to league, looking for some protection | StarTribune.com.

Thing is, that's what parents should do. Will it bring more Heat on the kid in the short term? Sure. But in the long-run it's better to establish an awareness of the issue. They should notify school officials. It's certainly true that kids have to stand up for themselves, but to make sure situations don't become dangerous, they need to give the school a heads up it's a problem. 

That said, this is just part of it for Rubio. It's not like it's significantly impacted his game, and he's still producing, the Wolvesare still winning. But he's going to see more and more of this. He's made a name for himself, and teams will target ways to stop that. The easiest way is to attack him physically. Rubio won't get special treatment, but it may help in cutting off excessively hard fouls that could cause injury.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:56 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 2:40 pm
 

Sixers deny report regarding Turner issue

Evan Turner struggled off the bench in his first start this week. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Update: Shock of all shocks, the Sixers and Turner deny any such problem to WIP Sports Radio. It seemed weird given that Turner's honestly played pretty well this season, but in either case, we've got the Sixers official take on the situation.

-----------------------

I know that headline is pretty much the vaguest thing you're ever going to read, but that's really the best way to describe this from CBS Philly: 
Stan Hochman, long-time writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, says that there’s a reason for Turner’s troubles. “There’s an explanation for Turner’s inconsistent play. One of these days, the team, with Turner’s permission, will reveal it. And then the criticism will back off,” he said during an interview with 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team on Wednesday.

Hochman indicated that the information was given to him with the knowledge that he would not reveal exactly what the problem is. He said that at some point this season, he believes it will be made public.
via Evan Turner's Mystery Problem « CBS Philly.

Turner shot 1-12 in his first starting spot this week, despite having played really well off the bench. Now it could have just been one of those games. It could have been a shock to the system for him to start. Turner has shown without a doubt he's going to be a quality player in the league after a rough start to his rookie season, but this kind of vague talk is at least a little concerning.

Now, this could be an exaggeration. Teasing something like that requires no risk for the writer and paints a picture without signing your name at the bottom. Then fans and media.... like this blog, take it and interpret it in ways which are in no way relevant to what's actually going on. But if nothing else it serves as a reminder that we like to look at players' efforts to being isolated to on-court matters, and that in reality, as with anyone's life, there are a number of factors, personal, professional, and medical playing into each player's performance.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com