Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:36 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Jeremy Lin hasn't had the chance to hit the talk show circuit quite yet, seeing as he's got a basketball season going on and all. So he got the next best thing: A top 10 dedicated to him.
On Wednesday's Late Show with David Letterman, the top 10 "worst Jeremy Lin puns" were unveiled. No. 1? "You gotta be Lin-it, to Lin-it." My favorite though was "Lin-termittent windshield wiper." I've got to work on getting that into a story at some point.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:58 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:09 pm
Jeremy Lin seems to have overcome potentially the first obstacle in toning down Linsanity as he and Amar'e Stoudemire appear to be getting along quite well on the court.
It's the next addition back to the Knicks lineup that people are worried about. But Carmelo Anthony wants you to know something: He's not selfish. Via ESPN New York:
"That's like a slap in the face," Anthony said during an interview with Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter on Wednesday night. "None of my teammates I've ever played with would say that I was a selfish player. Nobody."
I think there's an easy distinction though between "selfish" and "someone who likes to shoot and have the ball in their hands a lot." Selfish means you're just out there for yourself and your own numbers. I don't think that's ever been Melo. The guy wants to win. He wants to be a good teammate. But in his mind, the best way for him to do both of those things is to shoot and score a lot.
For example, what about Lin's game-winner? What would've happened if Melo were on the floor too?"Of course I want to take the last shot, let's be quite frank: I've been doing for nine years already, and I've made a ton of them," Anthony said.
And that's where some fear a problem will arise. Not that Lin has become some alpha dog closer because of one shot or a couple good games, but will Carmelo's desire to own the ball late completely disrupt the New York offense? It's a legit question.
Here's the thing: Lin would be the first guy to tell you that he doesn't really want to be averaging 25 points a game, nor should he be next to Melo and Stoudemire. He wants to be a good point guard that leads a winning team. Much in the way he did in New York's 100-85 win over the Kings where Lin dished out 13 assists. In fact, that's exactly what he said after last night's game.
"I think it's my job to get people in rhythm and get people scoring," Lin told reporters. "Hopefully, especially when Melo comes back, another lethal scorer, my shots will go down and my assists will go up."
Melo is a bit of a ball stopper, which is why he's never exactly fit into Mike D'Antoni's pick-and-roll oriented offense. Melo likes to catch the ball and work his own move, isolated from the offense. It's something he's absolutely terrific at, but not something that necessarily fits the players and coach he's playing with. So that's going to be the challenge for him. It's not selfishness. It's fit.
There are going to be some growing pains and some fit issues, but that's natural. I would advise everyone to not freak out if after a couple of games it's not going perfectly, but come on, we know that's not going to happen. It's the vicious cycle of the media hype game. Something gets built way up and then we just wait for it to come crashing back down. Unfortunately for Melo, if that happens, he might be shouldering the blame.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:44 pm
Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:25 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 12:04 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The 2012 dunk contest participants will be Paul George of the Pacers, Derrick Williams of the Timberwolves, Iman Shumpert of the Knicks and Chase Budinger of the Rockets, the NBA announced Thursday.
But that's not all. I guess in an effort to spice up the field as well as find a way to work Linsanity into All-Star Weekend, Jeremy Lin will also be playing a part. According to ESPN.com, Lin will be "assisting" Shumpert in some way, much in the same way Baron Davis helped out Blake Griffin at last year's contest.
The New York Daily News also reported that Lin would be part of the "Shooting Stars" competition, meaning he'd already be in the arena for All-Star Saturday night. David Stern has already said that Lin would not be a late addition to the Rising Stars game.
There will be a revamped format that will feature only one round and be voted on only by the fans. There no longer will be judges in the event, which also will be reduced to one round. Each contestant will execute three dunks. Fans will determine the champion by voting on NBA.com, Twitter or through text messaging. The format in recent years was two rounds, with a panel of judges voting on the first round before fan voting in the second.
As for the actual contest, it's a pretty weak field with no big name stars. Actually, when you really look it over, it might the weakest there's ever been. No disrespect to the participants, but none are exactly well known players to the casual NBA fan. Maybe Williams, just because the was the No. 2 overall pick.
Last year featured Blake Griffin, JaVale McGee, Serge Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan, four fairly well known players. This year has two rookies and two role players. Not exactly an eye-popping group. But let's break the field down anyway.
I'd say the early favorite has to be Williams, who is a bit in the Griffin mold of a big man with freakish leaping ability. He can always employ his teammate Ricky Rubio, who surely could zip a fancy pass Williams' way. Paul George is long and can jump. Budinger participated in the McDonald's All-American dunk contest in high school and has always been known as a big leaper.
But it might be hard to top Shumpert. Not because he's some fantastic dunker, but because of this being a fan vote thing and if he indeed brings along Lin, the people will likely speak on the side of the not just the Knicks, but of Lin.
I suppose the NBA is banking on Lin's "assisting" star power to give this contest a bump. Players are less and less inclined to participate in the event for the risk of injury and just the fact it's a stressful thing to add to an already busy weekend. Plus, the league sees it as an opportunity to welcome new faces to the casual fan with the possibility one of the guys does something unexpected and amazing. Vince Carter was a rising star, but he exploded as a household name after his dunk contest performance.
It might be a weak group lacking big names, but we'll all be watching anyway. And if you've watched much Paul George or Derrick Williams, you know that those two can fly. Who knows, we might be in for a pleasant surprise.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:16 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 4:10 pm
Posted by Royce Young
If you build it, maybe the NBA will come. At least that's the first step in bringing an NBA team back to Seattle. It's not happening otherwise.
And after almost a decade of trying to get a new arena in Seattle, it looks like it finally might be happening, according to King 5 in Seattle:
Back in December, Hansen’s Valiant Partners of San Francisco reportedly purchased a three acre piece of property south of Safeco Field, for $21 million.
Once an arena is built, or even an official deal is in place, the focus will all turn squarely on getting a team. Because that's the whole idea here. They aren't building an arena just to have for concerts and WNBA games. The Kings are the obvious option are they're situation in Sacramento is very much up in the air. Which would be ironic that the city of Seattle would take away a team that another city is desperately trying to keep.
The other obvious option, which makes so much more sense, is to move the New Orleans Hornets to Seattle. First, the Hornets are in horrible shape in New Orleans. But second, with the NBA owning the Hornets, it would almost be a way for David Stern to extend an olive branch for being part of the group that allowed the Sonics to leave for Oklahoma City. This option probably isn't happening as Stern is looking for a local New Orleans buyer that will keep the team there, but still, that one makes a lot more sense than poaching the Kings.
But before the NBA even arrives, it could be an NHL team that finds its way to Seattle's new arena. CBSSports.com's Brian Stubits took a long look at Seattle as a hockey market and the conclusion is, it could work. Really well.
And having the potential for a full-time tenant could be almost as important as the arena itself. Because that makes the arena a valuable asset and makes it a worthwhile build. So really, the NHL might be the the path for the NBA returning to Seattle. How about that?
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:43 am
The Heat are not through trying to build their roster. FoxSports.com reports that the Heat are attempting to acquire Chris Kaman, should he be bought out of his contract after the trade deadline.
Heat officials, including president Pat Riley, have been calling people who know Kaman to ask about him, a source told FOXSports.com on Wednesday.via Miami Heat Chris Kaman Minnesota Timberwolves Pau Gasol Los Angeles Lakers trade 021512 - NBA News | FOX Sports on MSN.
A trade isn't feasible due to the very little flexibility the Heat have on their roster to make salaries match. Kaman was put on the block in January and even allowed to stay away from the team while a trade was negotiated, but a deal wasn't found. After a week the Hornets actually publicly announced they were taking him off the block and he rejoined the team. So the odds of another team swooping in to snatch him up are very low.
The Heat would be a great fit for Kaman, allowing him to compete for a title and giving the Heat a legitimate center down low. In stunning news, Eddy Curry has failed to make an impact and the Heat face the same problem they had last season with size down low. Joel Anthony is a skilled defender and has made great strides offensively this season but still lacks the bulk to make an impact down low. If Kaman were to agree to a deal for the veteran minimum, which doesn't seem likely, it would mean the Heat would start four current or former All-Stars. Which is just kind of ridiculous.
It's no guarantee the Hornets will buy Kaman out, nor is it likely he'll lean towards the Heat if bought out. It's entirely another team, like the Boston Celtics could make a similar offer, or a team with more cap room could make an offer. Kaman would have to agree to a buyout in the first place, and there's been no indication either way of Kaman's feelings on that front.
It's a scary thought for the rest of the league that the Heat could wind up with Kaman, and you'd have to think that puts separation between them and the rest of the league in terms of who is the best team in the league by shoring up their biggest weakness.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:40 am
The Lakers already tried to trade Pau Gasol once this season. So they aren't completely married to their Spanish power forward. The Lakers appear to be a team shopping at the trade deadline, especially with that nice trade exception they got in the Lamar Odom deal.
But that doesn't mean the Lakers are just going to do anything. So are ready for a trade rumor that almost certainly will not happen, but is pretty fun to think about anyway? Via FoxSports.com:
In other news involving NBA big men, a source said Wednesday that Minnesota continues to pursue a possible trade for Lakers forward Pau Gasol, dangling rookie Derrick Williams, who is from the Los Angeles area, and draft choices.The two biggest reasons this isn't happening:
1) No way Kobe Bryant would at all be cool with this, considering he's not exactly of the mind for the Lakers to start a rebuilding youth movement as he chases a sixth ring. If you want to upset Kobe, trade Gasol for someone not named Dwight.
2) Actually, that first reason is probably enough.
Then again, maybe there's one reason it would. Maybe the Lakers have visions of using Williams in a package with Andrew Bynum to have a go at Dwight Howard. Maybe the Gasol/Bynum thing isn't what Orlando is looking for and instead wants to get younger, get some picks and get some talent back. That, I can buy.
From the Minnesota perspective, I'm actually a little curious as to why the Wolves would want to go down that path. Gasol is more of a 4 than a 5 and they already have Kevin Love playing power forward. And Nikola Pekovic is coming on strong right now at center. It's understandable if they see Williams not fitting in anywhere, but Gasol's not exactly a major need player for them either.
Either way, there's a month until the trade deadline and I'm pretty sure this isn't the last trade rumor you're going to hear Gasol's name get dropped in. The Lakers want, and probably need, to make a deal. And Gasol's a pretty big piece to dangle out there.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:59 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:41 pm
There appeared to be two finalists in the recruitment of unrestricted free agent guard J.R. Smith, and one seems to have emerged..
Smith, recently returned from China where he signed to play during the lockout without an NBA opt-out clause, had reportedly narrowed his final two choices to the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPNLA.com.
The New York Daily News reported that the Knicks have emerged as the leaders.
The Knicks are closing in on a deal to sign free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith, the Daily News has learned. Smith began the season in China, but has been eyeing a return to the NBA once the lockout ended.Other teams linked to Smith over the last few weeks have included the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers, among others.
Smith has connections with both the Knicks and the Clippers, and both have expressed serious interest in his services. New York has Smith's former teammate with the Denver Nuggets, All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, as well as his former Nuggets boss, Mark Warkentien, a noted advocate of Smith's game. Los Angeles has Smith's former New Orleans Hornets teammate Chris Paul as well as his former Nuggets teammate Kenyon Martin, himself recently returned from China.
Given the unusual timing of his clearance from China, Smith's financial options are limited. New York is able to offer him a $2.5 million room exception; the Clippers are limited to the veteran's minimum. More important than the dollar figure for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season is his ability to play on a large stage. Playing big minutes and getting plenty of shots for a playoff team will help maximize his value for a big free agency pay day this summer.
Smith averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.9 minutes per game off of Denver's bench during the 2010-2011 season. At 26, he is entering his prime earning years as a player. Even though his 2011-2012 season will only be a few months long, it will be an important stretch for him to re-introduce himself to the NBA's chief decision-makers to ensure he receives the pay day he is eventually expecting.
In New York, he would fill out a backcourt rotation that includes global sensation Jeremy Lin, global non-sensation Baron Davis, rookie Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas. There should be plenty of minutes available there, and Lin's orchestration of New York's offense recently offers some promise that Smith can find his touches too. That group, coupled with All-Stars in Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, plus Tyson Chandler in the middle, could potentially win a playoff series.
In Los Angeles, the presence of Paul guarantees he will get touches, and a season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups opens up all the minutes he can handle. He would join Paul, Mo Williams and Randy Foye in what would be a very solid rotation. Whether or not the Clippers add Smith, they expect to make a deep playoff run this year.
Either way, Smith really can't lose.