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Tag:Denver Nuggets
Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:03 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:37 pm
 

Clippers sign Kenyon Martin

Posted by Ben Golliver 
Kenyon Martin is reportedly headed to Lob City. (Getty Images)

Update: The Los Angeles Clippers officially announced the signing of free agent forward Kenyon Martin on Friday.

“Kenyon is the ultimate competitor and a key acquisition," said Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey in a press release. “We expect that he will provide additional experience, passion and professionalism, as well as some important depth to our front court."

The Clippers report that Martin is expected to join the team on their current road trip in Orlando and will wear uniform No. 2.

Original Post: K-Mart is back from China and reportedly ready to open up shop in Lob City.

The Los Angeles Times reports that free agent forward Kenyon Martin, who played for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association during the lockout, has agreed to a contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. 
The Clippers and free-agent forward Kenyon Martin have agreed on a mini-midlevel deal that will be finalized as soon as Martin passes a physical, according to an NBA individual familiar with the negotiations.

Other teams that had been interested in Martin were the Lakers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.
A mini-midlevel contract is worth $2.5 million per year for up to two years. It's a new contract offer under the collective bargaining agreement available to teams who are over the salary cap. 

Yahoo Sports confirms that the Clippers and Martin have reached agreement on a 1-year deal for $2.5 million.

Martin, 34, is an 11-year NBA veteran, spending the last seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets. Last season, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds as a starting power forward for the Nuggets.

He brings a no-nonsense, physical style of play and represents a badly-needed addition to the Clippers' thin frontcourt. After the exciting starting duo of All-Star forward Blake Griffin and starting center DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers' pickings are pretty slim. They've made due with the likes of Reggie Evans and Brian Cook, but Martin plugs in nicely as a third big man.

Martin's signed with Xinjiang for a reported $3 million back in September, in the thick of stalled labor negotiations. It was reportedly the largest deal in Chinese Basketball History. In December, Martin reached a buyout with Xinjiang and returned to the United States.

Martin's NBA eligibility has been in question recently. On Thursday, a report surfaced that Martin had received clearance from FIBA to return to the NBA prior to the end of the Chinese Basketball Association's season. Later Thursday, Yahoo Sports reported that China was pushing back against FIBA regarding the clearance. It's still not yet completely clear when Martin will be available to play for the Clippers, but more details should be known soon.
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:53 am
 

Report Card: Derrick Rose rolls over Knicks

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Derrick Rose carved up the Knicks on Thursday. (Getty Images)

Here's a quick rundown of Thursday night's NBA action. it was a light schedule, with just six games on the docket.

Derrick Rose

32 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 turnovers. It was an interesting situation on Thursday night where the power of one scorer/distributor was greater than the power of two scorers. Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for 60 points but took 53 shots to get it done,  and while Rose didn't shoot out of this world himself -- 12-for-26 -- his ball distribution made sure Chicago was above 50 percent as a team. He found Joakim Noah for a number of easy dunks with well-timed passes. Here's Ken Berger of CBSSports.com from Madison Square Garden on Rose's huge night. 

Denver Nuggets

A 21-point road win over L.A., even if the Clippers were on the back-to-back, is worth writing home about. Sometimes everything goes right. When Danilo Gallinari doesn't miss any of his five 3-point atempts and Timofey Mozgov doesn't miss a shot -- 5-for-5 -- while holding his own against L.A.'s frontline, Denver won't lose many games. For a team that shoots roughly league average from deep, they sure make 12-21 from outside look easy. Their reward is sole possession of the West's No. 2 seed.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings snapped a 5-game losing streak so it probably feels like an A+. This wasn't a perfect effort thanks to some porous first half defense, but Sacramento made a strong fourth quarter push, a run that proved there's enough room, in the right situation, for Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons. Evans, who has struggled against Portland this season, compensated for a slow start with some physical drives late, and Thornton made up for an off shooting night by getting to the free throw line 12 times. Portland folded hard down the stretch but that doesn't much matter to Sacramento, who is happy to get February off to a winning start. Don't overlook the 13 points and 12 rebounds from Jason Thompson, who struggled to defend LaMarcus Aldridge but made sure to get some back on the other end.

Amar'e Stoudemire

When Amar'e Stoudemire flipped in a running left-handed scoop after drawing contact, it seemed like Thursday night just might be his night. He finished with 34 points and shot 16-for-27 from the field. New York's supporting cast is such that you don't raise your eyes too much at the shot attempt number these days, especially against an elite defense like Chicago's. Live and die by your best offensive weapons. What dragged Stoudemire down was his ill-advised late 3-pointer off of an inbounds play. A career 25.9 percent shooter, that was an inexcusable decision. Then again, maybe Thursday wasn't the night to nitpick his game, seeing as how it was the first time all season he scored more than 25 points.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks got hit with your typical "lockout" game, which is strange because they had a day off to prepare. Regardless all the signs were there: poor shooting, getting killed on the glass, lots of turnovers and an inability to get to the free throw line. Who played well in this one for Atlanta? Not Joe Johnson (-27 and 4-for-10 shooting). Not Jeff Teague (-20 on 2-for-7 shooting). Not anyone, really. Memphis crushed Atlanta, 58-38, in the paint and Marc Gasol finished with a whopping +40 on the night and Tony Allen wasn't far behind, with a +36. That's a steamroll right there.

Portland Trail Blazers

You might think that Portland's 3-9 road record speaks for itself but the nature of the losses is as damning as the final number. Fully in control of Thursday's game against Sacramento at the half, the Blazers fed LaMarcus Aldridge, who pounded the Kings' bigs mercilessly. Once Sacramento started doubling Aldridge, though, Portland's shooters couldn't hit a fish in a barrel. Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton combined to shoot 3-16 from deep. Blazers coach Nate McMillan seems unable to generate any other offense late in games. If this team plans to live or die by the three, it will be dying quite a bit.
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:42 am
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Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:28 pm
 

Who's contending and who's pretending?

Posted by Royce Young

Are the Lakers and Celtics challengers for a championship, or for just a postseason appearance? (Getty Images)

Almost every team has played 20 games so far this season, which is a pretty nice sample size to make a semi-educated judgment on just how good some are. We know there are a lot of competitive teams in each conference. Teams that have a quality roster, a decent record and a chance at the postseason.

But what's coming into focus more and more is who is for real and who is for fake. Not in the sense of who is actually good and who is fool's gold, but what teams should we be really watching for to make a push at a championship?

In the same way there's no reason to waste time saying the Wizards and Hornets are not contenders, I don't need to tell you that the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are obvious contenders. They aren't just contenders, they're the title favorites as of now. Those three teams have clearly separated themselves a bit from the pack, but that doesn't mean that there isn't another team lingering as a potential title threat. This time last season nobody was really looking at the Mavericks as a team poised to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

So let's break down the current field of playoff contending teams and separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Orlando Magic

After an 11-4 start, a good number of people kind of came around from "They have to trade Dwight Howard right now" to "Maybe they should keep him and make a run at it." Now, after a week of complete stinkage, maybe it's time to take another good look at blowing the hinges off the organization and starting over. If you're consistently having trouble getting out of the 60s, you're not going to win a seven-game series against a good team.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Philadelphia 76ers

A 15-6 record and the best point differential in the league is not something to be ignored. A 4-4 road record indicates that maybe the Sixers aren't quite ready to step into the conversation of competing for the East. I'm going to choose to ignore that. The Bulls and Heat are clearly the class of the East, but it's not hard for me to picture the Sixers taking down one in a seven-game series. Their depth, defense and determination will have them right in any game they play.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Utah Jazz

Rewind to last season. Jerry Sloan had resigned and Deron Williams was traded. It was understandable that the Jazz would finish out the season in the lottery. That was the plan. Get younger, find some cap flexibility and plan for the future. Except that didn't work out. The Jazz aren't a franchise that deal with losing much so this season wasn't just going to be one of tanking. But they're overachieving. They have some nice wins on the resume, but a core of Paul Millsap, Al Jefferon and Gordon Hayward aren't making a title push.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Indiana Pacers

I want to believe. I really do. The Pacers are a fun team and their resurgence over the past two seasons has been something else. David West was a nice addition and Roy Hibbert is playing really well. They've built up their resume with some good wins over the past couple weeks, but I don't see how they improved in the area that killed them last postseason -- fourth quarter execution. Danny Granger is a good player but can't shoulder the load of getting tough, key baskets in crunchtime. I can't see them beating the Bulls, Heat or even 76ers.

Verdict: PRETENDER

New York Knicks

I almost didn't even include them in this list. And not for the reason the Bulls, Heat and Thunder aren't in it. Unless Baron Davis has a superpower in that beard, the Knicks aren't getting out of the first round, and that's if they even get there. Serious obstacles are going to have to be overcome before this team actually competes for a championship.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Dallas Mavericks

It appears the championship hangover is finally wearing off. But for a while there, the defending champs had us concerned. They looked flat, uninterested and worst of all, not as good after losing J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson. But the Mavs are finding their form a bit and if Lamar Odom can ever finally wake up, Dallas goes eight deep with a nice rotation. And as long as that tall German guy is on the roster, they're a tough matchup for anyone.

Verdict CONTENDER

Houston Rockets

As I was writing down the teams I needed to mention for this, I didn't have the Rockets. And then I looked at the West standings and their record and said, "Whoa, the Rockets are 12-9? When did that happen?" I think they're going to be players at the trade deadline, but as the team stands now, they're position in the West's top eight will probably be short lived.

Verdict: PRETENDER

San Antonio Spurs

Could the Los Angeles Clippers -- the Clippers -- really be contenders? (Getty Images)
You just wait. Gregg Popovich knows what he's doing. Manu Ginobili will be healthy soon and the Spurs are going to go on a run of games in late February or March where they win like 14 of 16 and rocket up to third in the West. It's coming. I know it is.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Clippers

I picked the Clippers to finish second in the West but also wrote that they weren't a contender. I'm confused about the Clippers. But they definitely showed a little something this past week with a win in Denver and a win against the Thunder. Part of the reason many doubted that the Clips were ready to contend was it looked like they needed another piece for some depth. But they may already have it as Mo Williams is making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year. Two top 15 players, a monster rim protector inside, a solid identity and veteran leadership -- the Clips kind of have it all. Only two things are holding them back -- Vinny Del Negro and a 35-year history filled with miserable failure.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Atlanta Hawks

I'll put it simply: The Hawks made no dramatic improvements to a team that's basically been the definition of pretender and then their best player was injured for pretty much the rest of the season. Their winning record without Al Horford has been a bit of a mirage as they've fortunately found a soft spot in the schedule at the worst time. Playoff team, yes. Title contender? Nah.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Portland Trail Blazers

For about five minutes, the Blazers had everyone talking about them as the prime contender to challenge Oklahoma City in the West. And then they lost their next five of eight and have slipped out of the top eight in the West. There's really not that much distinguishing this Blazer team from the one the was eliminated in last season's opening round. Is Ray Felton an upgrade over Andre Miller? Jamal Crawford an upgrade over Brandon Roy? LaMarcus Aldridge has become a legit superstar, but I don't see him carrying this roster to the Western Finals.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Memphis Grizzlies

I fear the Grizzlies were that classic chic preseason pick that everyone kind of likes that ends up going down in flames. Some would call that the "Houston Texans Disease." But Memphis didn't stumble into the second round of the postseason by accident. They upended the Spurs and then were a seventh game on the road away from advancing to the Western Finals. They're an enigma right now without Zach Randolph, but if he comes back healthy, the Grizzlies could be a nightmare matchup for teams in the playoffs.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Boston Celtics

After all of that, the Celtics are back to .500. They're 10-10 and have eased some of the fears that they might miss the playoffs. But they haven't been able to restore confidence that they're a team that's dangerous in the postseason. Kevin Garnett can't jump, which is a problem. Their offense completely fizzles for long stretches. They're actually relying on key production from guys like Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox. The Celtics aren't bad, but I think ubuntu is on life support.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Denver Nuggets

Can team ball really win? Well, it's winning now and looking pretty darn good doing it. The Nuggets ran into a bad matchup last postseason and the Thunder took care of them in five games. I wouldn't say they necessarily improved this offseason after losing Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith while adding Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller, but Al Harrington is playing wonderful basketball, Ty Lawson is blossoming and Danilo Gallinari shows flashes of being a star. Winning this way isn't easy, but I wouldn't rule the Nuggets out.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are 2-7 on the road. They've only scored 100 points three times this season. For any other team, we'd say that's a major red flashing sign that they aren't for real. For any other team, we'd look at their offensive struggles, their chemistry issues and the fact they're looking older than ever and easily write them off. But this is the Lakers, the home of Kobe Bryant and you don't do that. But I'm going to. Point guard is a massive issue, they have no depth inside and I still have absolutely no idea why they traded Lamar Odom for nothing. This team subtracted a key piece from a group that got swept out of the playoffs by the Mavericks and they expect that adding Josh McRoberts and a new coach is going to push them over the top? Unless the Lakers have a big trade coming down the pipe, the Lakers as currently constructed aren't going anywhere.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:34 am
 

Report Card 1.31.12: Grizz major in grind

Memphis storms back to get a big win over Nuggets and stop a losing streak. (Getty Images)

Your nightly report card wraps up the performances of the NBA night and provides grades on a curve. Tuesday night the Knicks found the cure for a night, the Grizzlies GrizzGrinded their way to a comeback, and the Celtics passed... barely. 

By Matt Moore

Memphis Grizzlies


The Grizzlies were lost for much of the first half, but got back to the constant effort and continual pressure that makes them a dangerous team. All of a sudden their offense began to click, Rudy Gay started to get it going in steals, threes, and dunks, and O.J. Mayo began making plays as well as scoring. Throw in some tremendous defense by Tony Allen, and the Grizzlies steal a key game from Denver to get back on track. The Nuggets kept hammering them with offense, and the Grizzlies needed every single second in this one to get th win. Memphis pulls up out of its tailspin of late.

New York Knicks


(by Ken Berger, CBSSports.com)

I grade them on a curve because they're playing, you know, the Pistons. But the time off (in addition to lack of defense) did wonders for Melo. The Knicks moved the ball better than they have in a while and got good (mostly uncontested) shots as a result.




Boston Celtics


They won. And outside of very few exceptions, if you win, you get a C- or better. So The Celtics get a C-, no better. They won, against a tough, gritty, feisty, whatever cliche term you want to use Cavs team. But the fourth quarter collapse was in effect again. Kyrie Irving gets two more shots that were awful close to drop and the Celtics are staring at their second meltdown against the Cavs in three days. Their offense gets out of control, their defense is the bigger concern. They continually have issues with defending inside in the last minutes of a game against pressure. They got the win. But there are problems still in Boston.

Danilo Gallinari

You've got to wonder if Gallo is injured. He simply did not have any part of his game working. Dribble, shooting, defense, rebounding, anything. If Gallinari plays any better the Nuggets likely win this game comfortably. Also wound up forcing other players to contribute more minutes, adding to exaustion with a tough schedule coming up.



Detroit Pistons



The Detroit Pistons, good for what ails you. Even the Knicks.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Report: J.R. Smith's sister in 2nd fight in China

Posted by Ben Golliver 

J.R. Smith's sister and girlfriend reportedly got into another brouhaha in China. (Deadspin.com)

Someone get the embassy on the phone, we've got another international incident on our hands.

History has reportedly repeated itself just weeks after former NBA player J.R. Smith's sister got into a fight with fans in China during one of Smith's games back in early January.

Deadspin.com reports that this time Smith's sister and girlfriend were involved in another in-game melee while Smith continues to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association.
I can't speak for the state of Sino-American talocrural relations, but I can report that Smith's sister and girlfriend are once again implicated in a fight that broke out last night during a game between J.R.'s Zhejiang squad and the host Tianjin. According to Chinese news sources, conflict erupted after Tianjin fans heckled J.R. Smith as he went to the line late in the third quarter. After what I believe to be Thunderstix were thrown onto the court by a spectator, Smith's girlfriend got into a shoving match with Tianjin fans while his sister flipped the crowd the double-bird. 

Stephanie Smith claims on her Twitter that she didn't start the fight "this time," and we can understand her description of the incident being different from Chinese sources that describe her as "a ton of bricks." We invite her side of the story—and of the previous incident, if she wants to share. 

Smith signed a deal with Zhejiang that did not include an opt-out clause back in September during the lockout. In November, he suffered a knee injury and the club's general manager told the Chinese media that he was faking the injury.

Smith, 26, is a talented and troubled score-first guard who will be eligible for an NBA return upon the completion of the Chinese Basketball Association's regular season. He averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.9 minutes per game for the Nuggets last year. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 9:57 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 9:58 pm
 

Rudy Fernandez tip beats buzzer video

Posted by Ben Golliver

Denver Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez hit the most creative buzzer-beater of the year, tipping in a halfcourt heave by teammate Corey Brewer over his own head to score a bucket to close the third quarter of a Sunday night game against the Los Angeles Clippers. What's more, Fernandez scored the basket with his left hand.

The score put the Nuggets up, 83-77, to enter the fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center.

Here's the video of Rudy Fernandez's incredible tip in to beat the buzzer against the Los Angeles Clippers.


Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Nuggets extend Gallinari to 4-years, $42 mil deal

Gallinari has expanded his game and the Nuggets have inked him to a four-year extension (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver and Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports the Denver Nuggets have signed forward Danilo Gallinari to a 4-year contract extension

Gallinari, 23, was the crown jewel of a trade package the Nuggets acquired from the New York Knicks for All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony at the 2011 trade deadline. A long, smooth forward, Gallinari was the No. 6 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

This season, he's averaging 17.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game, all career-highs.  

The reported terms are more than reasonable. Gallinari is a solid second-tier player from his class, a clear cut below the max performers (Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love) but certainly no slouch.  He's currently ranked No. 35 in the league in player efficiency and he poses a match-up problem for opponents on most nights given his perimeter skills as a 6-foot-10 forward. The $10.5 million annual salary puts him in line with the likes of Andrea Bargnani.

Gallinari is a native of Italy, where he was a standout as a teenager for Olimpia Milano. His first season and a half with the Knicks was spent primarily as an outside shooter. But as the Denver Postreported this week, that's changed dramatically this year as a "New Gallo" has emerged. 
The Nuggets’ coaching staff has put the ball in Gallinari’s hands more than ever. In fact, Gallinari has not been this big a part of the overall look of any offense since before he came to America. He is shifted most often between the power forward and small forward slots. The biggest difference between the two in the Nuggets’ scheme is that the power forward has more screening responsibilities and plays in the pick-and-roll a bit more than the small forward.

Other than that, Gallinari said, “it’s pretty much similar – running and try to score fast.”

Karl admitted the coaching staff was “a little leery” of making the decision to experiment with moving Gallinari around from position to position.

“Moving him around and using him in different ways, it sounds good on paper,” Karl said. “But sometimes it messes with a player.”
via Danilo Gallinari’s responsibility shift sparking his breakout season | Nuggets Ink — Denver Nuggets news — The Denver Post.

Amazingly, as Gallo has taken on more of a ball-handling role in the pick and roll and other sets, his turnover percentage has actually dropped. His assists per game and per minute have nearly doubled. All this and he hasn't' really locked down his 3-pointer yet. There's nothing broken with his shooting form, his shot's just not falling, down to 31 percent from 37 percent last season. When that comes in, Gallo's all-around offense is going to be a nightmare for opponents. With the Nuggets' superb team passing in place, Gallo won't have to bear the brundt of being the sole producer offensively, and his salary leaves room for the team to continue to build around him. 

In short, that Melo trade continues to work out just about as well as can be imagined for Denver.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com