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Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:29 pm
 

Report: Warriors still chasing Dwight

The Warriors reportedly continue to pursue Dwight Howard. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The Warriors, reportedly, are not messing around.

Golden State has long been rumored to be chasing Dwight Howard, despite his exclusion of the Warriors from his team of preferred trade destinations (read: places he will consider re-signing with). What's more, Golden State has been rumored to be interested in trading for Howard without assurances he'll stay. That's the ultimate Russian Roulette gamble. If you miss out with convincing Howard, you will have traded everything you have and have nothing to show for it. Talks had died down in the din of Nets chatter that continues. But a report today from NBA.com says that the Warriors aren't done chasing the rabbit down the hole.

From Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com on Twitter:
Warriors continuing push for Dwight Howard deal even without DH commitment to re-signing. Not backing off from risky move, source says.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Warriors continuing push f ....
Biedrins has zero trade value, so GSW offer has to be 3-4 key pieces. Imagine moving Monta, Klay, others and DH walks. But Dubs staying in.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Biedrins has zero trade va ....

Monta Ellis is a very good player, if not a "star" or "superstar." Klay Thompson looks to be a great rookie. They have Ekpe Udoh as a talented young big man along with Biedrins' expiring contract. The Magic have reportedly wanted to stay in the playoff hunt, which means they want talented veterans, though,and outside of Ellis, the Warriors are short on that. That's what makes the Magic request so baffling, that they wouldn't be trying to work away to get Stephen Curry, draft picks, and Udoh out of Golden State. 

And all of this for a situation in which Howard could vanish outright. It's a monstrous gamble. But let's look at the best-case, worst-case scenario here.

Best-case: Howard and Ellis/Curry click. Howard finally has a co-star worthy of his stature while he's also clearly the alpha dog. The Bay Area market allows for him to cash in on endorsements and media opportunities, while enjoying the California weather, even if it's a bit colder and ranier than southern California. Mark Jackson gets the defensive rock he covets, ownership gets a star to build everything around. Shooters plus creator plus Dwight = success. They hold his bird rights which means Howard has to walk away from the $30-million-plus afforded him in re-signing with his current team in free agency. That's a big stone to hold. 

Worst-case: Howard leaves, and the gap from the assets traded for him creates an unbalanced roster full of misfits who have to be traded off. Meanwhile, the organization clears over $15 million in cap space and has the ability to clean house on a team that has been fundamentally flawed for the past decade, cycling in the same style of players. A clean slate erupts, with the worst part being a potentially unhappy Curry/Ellis but the Warriors now have unlimited flexibility to retool their roster.

Is drastic change that bad of a worst-case scenario? If Howard and Ellis/Curry works, he could very well stay, and that's great. If it doesn't, he leaves anyway and the Warriors start over again which they've needed to do forever, and that's great. It would look bad, and would create a painful rebuilding process. But if you want to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. A move like this would prove the new ownership really is the kind of bold leadership they say they are, unwilling to stand on the sidelines while other teams make the franchise-changing moves.

It's just a question of how brave are they, and if Orlando will finally bite the bullet for their offer.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 5:42 pm
 

Antawn Jamison, the consummate pro

With his career winding down, Antawn Jamison is still a consummate pro. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

I've called for Antawn Jamison to be traded, to be benched, to be removed from the Cavaliers by any means necessary. I have an extraordinary quick trigger with rebuilding projects. Lose your best player? Trade absolutely everyone not on a rookie contract for picks and space, bring in D-League guys to try and find a diamond in the rough (like, you know, the Knicks found in Jeremy Lin, because they were lacking in star power). There's no point in veterans on a team like that, no value to their contrct taking up space, their consistent if unspectacular play drowning out younger players. Jamison has no long-term future with the Cavs, is shooting 42 percent from the field, and his usage is tied for fourth higest in his career. 

But beyond all that, you still have to be in the locker room, to talk to these guys to understand why players get the time they do, why Antawn has the role he still has on the Cavaliers (outside of his 19.2 points per 36 minutes and 17.9 PER). Ohio sports blog Waiting for Next Year did a phenomenal post on Jamison and his role with the Cavaliers. A few things struck me:

  • Jamison, despite the God-awful torrent of the past two years of his life which have included the Gilbert-Arenas-gun-fiasco, failing to be the piece to help LeBron get a ring in Cleveland, the 26-consecutive-losses debacle a year ago, and the fact that he started this season horribly, still talks after the game, still goes in depth on every loss like it's something new. That doesn't mean much to fans because, well, who cares about a guy making the media's job easier? Everyone hates the media. But Jamison isn't helping the media, he's taking the responsibility for the team, he's not ducking away or hiding. That takes some brass.
  • He worked out over the summer with Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow during the lockout in North Carolina. There are so many guys in this league who do nothing to pay forward the help and mentorship they received from older players, so to hear Jamison taking that kind of role in his offseason along with working hard to develop a brotherly relationship with Tristan Thompson is really pretty incredible. 
  • Byron Scott is hard on rookies, like a lot of coaches. The fact that he can count on Jamison to do what he's supposed to is pretty vital. Scot has given Kyrie Irving a shot to lead this team, to take the reins of the franchise. The fact that Jamison is still doing enough to provide support for that and isn't causing issues, like, say, Stephen Jackson is remarkable. (It should be noted Jackson is a reknown teammate and emotional leader for guys.)
  • His story only serves to make the fact that the Cavaliers couldn't win a title that much worse. Boston was such a tough matchup for that team, and was on a such an unlikely and desperate roll. That Cavs team is considered such a failure, but it really was good for most of the year, even if Jamison was still learning to fit in.  
It's worth realizing in this story that there are reasons players aren't traded that have little to do with on-court performance. Jamison's minutes are going to go somewhere, why not to a veteran who creates a positive locker room enviornment? Why not to a leader who does as his coach asks? There will be time for Tristan Thompson, there will be time for others, and Jamison will take that demotion in stride like he did last year when J.J. Hickson (!) replaced him in the starting lineup. 

But maybe it's OK that teams don't run for the hills of youthful failure at warp speed. Maybe there's still room in this superstar, ego-driven league for players like Jamison, good guys who just do their job.  

(Via WFNY
Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Paul George on dunk contest: 'It was a joke'

Even Paul George wasn't a fan of the dunk contest. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

The 2012 Dunk Contest? Not exactly a smashing success. Kind of hard to be when pretty much everyone is using it in a sentence with words like "worst" and "ever."

Kevin Durant sounded off saying stars need to participate as well as a bunch of other players saying things about how rough it was. One person that maybe you didn't expect to say it wasn't great though? One of the participants. But here's what Paul George told the Indy Star:
“(Not to) take nothing away from the dunk contest, (but) it was a joke,” George said. “I guess whoever had the biggest celebrity involved in their dunk was going to be the winner. I guess I should have tried to reach out to some people.

“If you leave it up to fans, they probably wouldn’t have known who Larry was. I think I was destined to lose it.”

George only used one gimmick in the contest, and it was a pretty good one. His human glowstick dunk was creative, original and pretty spectacular. For the others, he jumped over 7-2 Roy Hibbert and put a sticker of Larry Bird on the backboard.

His frustration stems from the winner, Jeremy Evans, using comedian Kevin Hart in his Mailman dunk. Evans won the contest despite having maybe the worst dunk in contest history, one that used a camera and was completely boring.  

George agreed with Durant too:

“I agree, you have to have the faces of the league come back and get involved in it,” George said. “That’s what really made it big back in the day when you had Jordan and Dominique going at it. That was the All Stars and the guys that were the men in the league. That’s what fans want to see.”

I wouldn't mind seeing George again. If he had made that sticker dunk, he would've had a solid night. Coming up with three inventive dunks isn't easy and we're all way too critical of the contest. But I agree -- get the celebrities and stuff out of it. It's a copout instead of using creativity and skill.

Via I Am A GM
Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:56 pm
 

'All He Does Is Lin' remix by DJ Steve Porter

Posted by Royce Young

If you've been looking for probably the definitive Jeremy Lin tribute video, it's here. DJ Steve Porter, most famous for his work with Allen Iverson, has put out a remix for KnicksNow.com called "All He Does Is Lin." And as you might expect, it's terrific.

Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Wade says he sent 'a message' of apology to Kobe

Posted by Royce Young



Pretty much everyone had the same reaction to Dwyane Wade's oddly hard foul on Kobe Bryant Sunday during the All-Star Game. What the crap was up with that?

In a regular game nobody would've batted an eye, but in the relaxed, fun setting of an All-Star Game, it definitely appeared out of place. Wade explained it afterward by saying he didn't mean to draw blood and was just getting Kobe back for some fouls on the other end.

But what ended up happening was that Kobe broke his nose, suffered a mild concussion and has to wear a mask for a little bit. So Wade feels a little bad now. And would like to say he's sorry. Via the Sun Sentinel, Wade says he sent "a message" of apology to Kobe for the broken nose and stressed he didn't mean any harm.
"I sent him a message, with my apologies. Unfortunate that happened to him, but that's all I could do," Wade said following Tuesday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena, the first time he has commented on the incident since Sunday. "He knows it's no ill intent on me to do that. Did I take a foul? Yes, I took a foul. So, talk about me for taking a foul. But I never wanted that kind of outcome."

[...]

"It's unfortunate, obviously," he said. "You don't never want to hurt nobody, anybody in this game, especially on a freak play like that. So, you know it's unfortunate.

"I sent my apologies. But, you know, not intentional. If it's something I did intentionally, it's a different story. So it's unfortunate."
Wade really didn't have to apologize like that. It's basketball. Bloody noses, busted lips and black eyes happen all the time. When it does, you say, "My bad" and keep moving on. This only became something bigger because in the traditional manner of the All-Star Game, you don't see things like that. Wade said he was just "taking a foul" to stop play so he could talk to the ref about two calls he didn't get on the other end. It was an accident, end of story. It might've looked funny, but the fact Kobe got his nose broken wasn't the intention.

Still, people like TNT's Reggie Miller were extremely critical of Wade's foul on Kobe and called for him to apologize publicly. Wade isn't into that.
"Reggie don't know what was said," Wade said. "When I saw his blood, obviously I didn't try to do that. I don't know if anybody wants me to get down on my knees in front of the world and do it. I don't have to do that.

"Like I said, everyone has an opinion, everyone uses their opinion. Like I said, I sent my apologies to Kobe and I move on from it. It's unfortunate. It was not nothing that was ill intent, in a sense. But this will be the last time I talk about it from this point on."

And guess what, you guys? The Heat play the Lakers on Sunday. So that should be a little more fun now. If Andrew Bynum clotheslines Wade on a drive to the basket, I think you'll know why.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:12 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 4:14 pm
 

Brandon Roy considering an NBA comeback?

Could Brandon Roy be trying to make a comeback? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

In professional basketball terms, the story of Brandon Roy is as close to sad as it gets. An All-Star caliber player, a max-level franchise cornerstone, a guy that could potentially lead a team deep into the postseason that had his career tragically cut short because his knees betrayed him.

But maybe, just maybe, he's thinking about giving it another shot. Via international basketball site US Basket, Roy is considering it. Referring to himself in the third person, Roy said, "It’s hard being away from the game. Don’t be surprised if you see Brandon Roy make his way back to the court…”

Plus this:

According to sources close to the player, regardless of his knee problems, Roy’s decision to retire wasn’t all health related. “There’s something to it, but it’s not the right time for me to get into it right now,” Roy said. “I’ve been doing some treatment and I’m trying to leave the window open to returning to basketball.”

When met with skepticism regarding his comeback, Roy explained, “It’s the truth. It’s really hard being so far away from the game. I spend time watching Jamal (Crawford) and following all of his games; Will (Conroy) and Tre (Simmons) are both doing their thing, so it’s driving me to wanna come back out there. If the treatment I’ve been looking into can work, I believe there’s a good chance you will see Brandon Roy back hoopin’."

As quite a large fan of Roy's that would be terrific news. But only terrific news with a catch: He needs to be healthy enough to do it. He really does. Because late last season when he was fighting against his knees and still trying to convince himself he was the same player, it just wasn't fair to himself.

Who knows what kind of treatment he's referencing -- maybe it's the same Kobe Bryant got -- but Roy has a major uphill battle if he's to return to the NBA. He's still young at just 27, which is in his favor. But again, when it's your knees and the lack of cartilage in them that you're fighting against, that's like climbing Everest. It's a long way back from there.

But I'm rooting for him. Roy was a wonderful basketball player and even if he hasn't to reinvent himself as a shooter or just play limited minutes, I'm all for him giving it a shot.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Podcast: Greg Anthony of CBS Sports, NBATV

By Matt Moore 

On this edition of the CBSSports.com NBA Podcast, former New York Knick and CBS Sports and NBATV analyst Greg Anthony joins us to wrap up All-Star Weekend. We look back on Dwyane Wade's hard foul on Kobe Bryant, and ask whether the players actually get any rest during All-Star Weekend. 

We also discuss Dwight Howard and whether fans and the media oversimplify Dwight Howard's situation regarding a potential trade and being on the fence about leaving Orlando. Anthony talks about how many factors weigh into Dwight's decision and how fluid it can be. We tend to make the situation only about winning, or Orlando's history, or marketing, or playing with stars, or family. And in reality it's a constantly-evolving situation with no clear answer. Great conversation with Greg Anthony, check it out. 

You can also subscribe on iTunes, if that's your kind of thing. 

 
Posted on: February 28, 2012 12:37 pm
 

Jeremy Lin and the difference for a breakthrough

Jeremy Lin put in more than physical work to succeed. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

There have been two big questions asked in regards to the Jeremy Lin Phenomenon which has lead the two-year-fringe-player to the heights of NBA stardom and reinvigorated the Knicks' season. They are two separate questions that appear dependent on how you view players in the NBA. 

1. How did so many people miss out on what this kid can do?

2. Where did this kid come from?

In the former, there's a sentiment that Lin was always capable of doing this and just didn't get a chance to play. That somehow, basketball ability is not a developed skill, it simply is or is not. And that makes sense in a lot of ways in terms of today's NBA environment. Stars are largely self-evident, and you can tell they will be stars long before they're even drafted. LeBron James was going to be the No.1 pick in the draft form the time he was 16 (maybe earlier). The idea is that players can play, and all that's left is the basketball intelligence of the assessing personnel. In short, the idea is that the Warriors and Rockets are "idiots for whiffing on Jeremy Lin."

To take this approach is a lot like working backwards with circular logic. Jeremy Lin is good, so Jeremy Lin has always been good.

This isn't the case.

In a painstaking article from over the weekend, Howard Beck of the New York Times wrote a comprehensive account of Lin's path from high school to Harvard to the Warriors to D-League to the Knicks. It breaks down the entire process and talks to several coaches involved in his basketball development. The NBA, especially its elder statesmen, tend to shy away from the idea of development. Even Red Auerbach often (but not always) held the opinion of basically "the kid can play or he can't play." It's an easy approach. But with AAU, the shortened college tenure, the higher number of players and teams, the higher level of skill and the more developed playsets and schemes at the NBA level, lost is the fact that there are good players who need the right course of developmento get where they are. Lin has credited his coaches at every level, including his time spent in the D-League, with getting where he is now, on top of the world (unless that Heat game proves to be the end of the ride).

But lots of teams center on development. A lot of players get the same kind of help Lin did, often more. So what is it that made Lin make it through the process and come out on the other side a starting point guard on the World's Biggest Stage? 

There's a mental aspect. From the Beck piece in the New York Times
Lin’s perfectionist tendencies came out in a 3-point-shooting drill called “beat the ghost,” in which Lin earned 1 point for every shot he made at the arc and the “ghost” earned 3 points for every shot Lin missed.

On one occasion, Lin made 17 3-pointers but lost 21-17, then kicked the ball in anger, Scheppler recalled with a chuckle. He refused to stop until he beat the ghost. It took 14 games. When Scheppler tallied up all of the scores for the day, Lin had converted 71 percent of his shots from the arc. “That’s the beauty of Jeremy Lin,” Scheppler said. “It’s not about moral victories. It’s ‘I have to win.’ ”
via Jeremy Lin’s Evolution - NYTimes.com.

It's not enough to have the physical tools to improve upon. Players have to be checked in and want to improve, they have to want to dedicate themselves. Players need to look at the D-League, at extra coaching, at offseason workouts as imperative. It's not enough to just be superior athletes or talented shooters. There has to be a drive to make the most of potential and opportunities. Otherwise, you're only going to go as far as your natural talent takes you.

Should the Warriors or Rockets, both of whom let Lin go, have recognized that drive? Yes and no. Being a hard worker shows itself, but there are lots of hard workers who don't have the ability. You have to recognize not only their drive and ability, but be able to recognize that they are a good fit with a development plan. Ego gets in the way of that a lot of times.

You can't blame the Rockets, and you can't entirely credit the Knicks. It takes the right combination of events to occur for the situation to be right for something like Lin's rise to happen. But the one person you can credit is Lin. He's the one that put in the work.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com