Posted on: December 29, 2010 10:23 am

Shootaround 12.29.10: 5-Hour Tuff Juice

Kings don't want Ming, Camby doesn't want out, and a really weird Mavs video, all in today's Shootaround. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Vince Carter is expected to make his Suns debut tonight. The Suns' training staff is excited to take on their biggest challenge yet. Keeping Carter on the floor for more than five minutes at a time. 

Marcus Camby has had just about enough of being bounced around and is feeling very "Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon." He may be too old for this stuff. He's making noise that were he to be traded to a bottom-feeder like Charlotte, he may just retire instead. He doesn't need the cash and has talked about retirement for a few years now. 

Since when did Kobe Bryant feel the need to get into it with third year players like George Hill?

And since when did Pau Gasol feel the need to call out the Lakers' lack of inside presence without taking on the responsibility himself for not establishing post position? Gasol did respond to suggestions that the Lakers' bigs needed to call for the ball more, but didn't comment on his post position.

The Heat's intro video is really silly.

The Magic have shot 47.4% from the arc since the big trade two weeks ago. So much of that is having more weapons on the floor and guys who understand spacing. The guys they shipped out had simply lost that with age. 

Corey Maggette is making all sorts of bad noise in Milwaukee about the team, the coaches, everything. Bad mojo on the horizon. 

The Kings are not interested in any trade for Yao Ming. Which is bizarre because anything else they would get back from Houston would be better than what they have now. 

Then there's this. Whatever this is. 

Posted on: December 28, 2010 10:10 am
Edited on: December 28, 2010 10:10 am

Shootaround 12.28.10: Tweaked

Rose having a tough time in the mid-range, Dirk and Horford to get scans, Bynum still brimming, and Steve Francis bids ... whatever the Chinese word for goodbye is to China. All this and more in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Derrick Rose is having a hard time in the midrange game, mostly because he doesn't trust his jumper yet, even though it's improved. He's especially improved in 3-point shooting, but continues to try floaters from mid-range. 

Dirk Nowitzki will have an MRI this morning on his injured knee. So try not to scare your Maverick fan friends too much this morning.  They're going to be a little jumpy.

Al Horford will also have an MRI on his hand this morning. We'll keep you updated on both of their statuses. 

Andrew Bynum is still "brimming with potential" apparently. At this point I think it's better to say he's brimming with disappointment. Or, "brimming with doctor's appointments."

And just like that... Steve Francis was gone. From China.

Fan sensation Jeremy Lin will likely spend some time in the D-League. 

The sixth-man who was traded for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar now is a restaurant mogul

One thing of vital importance to the Celtics? Transition defense, because it's feast or famine for them.

The Rockets and Bobcats are both in talks with Houston about acquiring the Yao Ming salary dump. 

Nets blog Nets Are Scorching asks the question: "LeBron James: Evil or Stupid?"

Posted on: December 27, 2010 9:31 am

Shootaround 12.27.10: Hornets are selling tickets

Posted by Royce Young
  • Is Jason Williams' career winding down?: "It's not getting any better," head coach Stan Van Gundy tells the Orlando Sentinel. "J-Will gets on it and he has a hard time pushing off that foot. He's staying behind. He wants to know what's going on. I think he's a little nervous about it right now."
  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "The Spurs took care of business Sunday night, as you would expect from a league power against a cellar-dwelling team. But their 94-80 victory over Washington might be their last easy breath for the next couple of weeks as they approach their toughest scheduling gauntlet of the season. The Spurs will face the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night, followed by games Thursday in Dallas, Saturday against Oklahoma City, Jan. 4 at Boston and Jan. 5 at New York."
  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: "Avery Johnson didn't hear LeBron James throw the Nets under the contraction bus, so he didn't feel the need to defend his Brooklyn-bound franchise on the upswing. But Johnson did take exception to James' belief that the league would be better off without the Nets and Timberwolves. 'I disagree,' Johnson said Sunday. 'Maybe the league would be better if we didn't have three stars on one team.' Speaking to the media prior to Miami's game Thursday against the Phoenix Suns, James said the NBA was better in the 1980s when 'three or four superstars were on one team.' He singled out perennial bottom-feeders New Jersey and Minnesota as candidates for contraction."
  • Michael Schwartz: " It’s always disappointing to drop a game against a losing team like the Clippers, especially considering how bad the Suns played in that first half. This is a game they should have won, and now they’re three games under .500 for the first time all season thanks to the loss."
  • John Reid The Times-Picayune: "For the second consecutive home game, the Hornets attracted a crowd larger than 15,000. The announced crowd Sunday night at the Arena was 15,626, the second largest crowd of the season. The announced crowd for Wednesday’s game against New Jersey was 15,423. The Hornets are expected to have a sellout for Wednesday’s game against the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu have pushed for increased fan support because the Hornets can opt of their lease agreement with the state if they don’t average 14,735 at the Arena for a period ending Jan. 31."
Posted on: December 25, 2010 1:27 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2010 4:13 pm

Dwyane Wade plans to play against Lakers

Miami Heat star limited by knee, plans to play against Lakers.
Posted by Matt Moore

After missing the Heat's victory over Phoenix Thursday, Dwyane Wade said his "plan is to play" when the Heat meet the Lakers Thursday. Wade talked about the injury after practice on Friday. Via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: 
"My thought is always to play," he said, as ice was applied to the knee. "We want to face the Lakers with as many pieces as possible."

But he also cautioned a return might not come at 100 percent.

"There's still swelling," he said. "It doesn't feel great, but it feels better than yesterday."
via Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade hopeful of return from knee injury against Los Angeles Lakers - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com .

Wade tweeted Saturday morning that it was "a great day for basketball ."

The legion of people who loathe the Heat will cry that Wade is simply creating excuses in the face of a huge game, but it's not like Wade doesn't have a history of playing through injuries. And the Heat will need him at whatever percent they can get him. His impact defensively isn't as important because, honestly, if Kobe Bryant is feeling it, it doesn't really matter what you do. But the Heat are a vastly superior offensive team with Wade on the floor. Even with LeBron James on the floor, you need Wade to be the tip of the spear.

But limited by a knee is going to be problematic,as they need his penetration ability and speed on the perimeter. Without him, the Heat are going to be falling into the trap of pass-pass-pass mid-range-jumper. And that's not how you beat LA, ever. Wade is definitely the storyline to watch when the Heat and Lakers meet this afternoon. Ken Berger will have more from the game this afternoon.
Posted on: December 21, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2010 5:40 pm

Rockets will pursue player exception for Yao

Due to injured center's status, Rockets seek exception to enable signing or trade.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Houston Rockets will seek a disabled-player exception from the league in light of Yao Ming's ankle fracture keeping him out for the remainder of the season. The exception will grant them the ability to acquire a player up to the mid-level exception of $5.765 million. Combined with the $6.33 million exception they were granted from the trade of Trevor Ariza for Courtney Lee, the Rockets have all the pieces in place to make a move. 

But they don't have the pull. 

The Rockets have been on the waiting list for Carmelo Anthony since word started coming out about his desire to move on. But no reports have surfaced showing Melo's interest in joining Daryl Morey's merry bunch of overachievers (or underachievers, depending on how you look at it). The Rockets might choose to pursue using the exception to sign a replacement center, though who that will be remains unclear. With Erick Dampier off the slate, solid centers are at an even bigger premium.  

Should the Rockets elect to make a move, they may seek to work their way into a three-way deal. They have to execute the exception within the next 40 days though (45 from the day they uncovered the injury, last Thursday). A few names the Rockets could elect to pursue are Andre Iguodala, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and of course... Carmelo Anthony.
The wheels keep spinning without traction for Daryl Morey
Posted on: December 21, 2010 12:51 pm

Vince Carter considering knee surgery

New Suns guard considering arthroscopic knee surgery. Posted by Matt Moore

Vince Carter is considering arthroscopic knee surgery which would sideline him for a month, less than 48 hours after being traded to Phoenix. The Arizona Republic reports: 

The stellar play of Grant Hill, Jared Dudley and Josh Childress is all the more important with the Suns and Carter considering arthroscopic surgery for Carter's troublesome left knee that could put him out for up to a month.
via Phoenix Suns once again short-handed in 118-110 loss to streaking San Antonio Spurs.

This probably won't help the prevailing winds that say Carter tends to flop out when needed with injuries. The surgery obviously isn't 100% necessary as he's only considering the surgery. The Suns need him for wing scoring, no matter how they did against the Spurs last night. But hey, that's Vince. 

On the other hand, Carter's in a contract year, looking for his final contract next season, and needs to be able to secure his future.  He's going from a contending team to a struggling team that doesn't know if it's coming or going, and there's no way of knowing how he'll fit in. But there's still no doubt that there are better ways to start off your time in Phoenix than on the shelf. It would explain why Carter's looking slower and less explosive than in year's past, beyond the normal loss due to time and age. 
Expect the Suns to respond to the news if Carter does decide to have surgery to be "We're not trading Steve Nash."
Posted on: December 17, 2010 4:31 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 5:13 pm

The wheels are coming off in Portland

As news comes of Roy missing games, we explore how Portland is headed for major change. 
Posted by Matt Moore

I see a bad moon rising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightning. I see a bad time today. And it's all in Portland. 

Earlier this week, Brandon Roy spouted off to the media about Andre Miller, and not in the "I love my teammate" way. He threw his teammate under the bus. From the Oregonian  earlier this week:
"I dont know how people want us to play, because this is the personnel we have," Roy said. "I wasnt that slow until you put a guy who is kind of slow next to me. Ive always been kind of slow ... not to be controversial at all, but I was slow my rookie year, and now its ..."
Frustrated, Roy shook his head.
via Memphis 86, Portland 73: Late swoon sinks Blazers again | OregonLive.com .

In case that wasn't clear, the "slow" guy is Andre Miller, starting point guard and the Blazers' big free agent acquisition. That's a pretty clear shot across the bow for a guy who's always been known as the stand-up star in Portland. But as Roy's health has deteriorated, he's become progressively more abrasive. He's not okay with who he is at this point, which is natural. He's been robbed of his game, his explosiveness, of his abilities, and that tends to set you back, emotionally. He's still able to hit that step-back jumper, can still be an assassin. But it's every time down the floor, the percentages keep dropping. 

Now, we find that Roy is out three games and will be evaluated after that. This comes the day after an ESPN report of a conversation between Roy and management about it not working  with Miller. It should be noted that report is about as hearsay-ey and a report can get. Taken alone, it's just one of the usual blips in a season. But this is not an isolated incident. There's a pattern forming here. One that spells the end of this Blazer team as currently constructed, and leads to the idea that this team is likely headed for a pre-deadline blow-up. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the team is considering ditching its veterans and going young, moving Marcus Camby and Andre Miller. It would mean a total and complete blowup of a team that just a few years ago was considered to be on its way towards a championship. Since that time, Greg Oden has gotten hurt 1,700 times, Kevin Pritchard has been fired along with Tom Penn, and now Brandon Roy is on the shelf, for what rumors say may be a longer stint than expected. This was a team that with Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Nicolas Batum, Oden, Roy, and Przybilla was legitimately looked at as a team that would contend in a few years. Oden was the first domino to fall, and in a mixing of metaphors, Roy may be the nail in the coffin. Even with a scrappy playoff appearance last year and a push of eventual Western Conference Finalist Phoenix, the book has been out on Portland for a while. They simply have not had the fortune you need to build a contender. You can have the talent, the vision,the coaching, but you have to get lucky with injuries, and Portland has not, to say the least. 

In the meantime, Portland and its fans are left to wonder how this all went down this way, and how it all came undone so quickly. That Roy is outspoken is not such a concern, but that he's been so forthcoming and emotional is a bad sign. It's not just that Roy's going through a hard time right now, it's that he's going through such a hard time he can't hide it from the media or people in the community. And while people there have a soft spot in their heart for him for his terrific play, at the end of the day, the team and its fans want to move towards a championship. And if Roy's unable to get it done, complaining about his backcourt partner isn't exactly going to endear him to either of those contingents. 

So this is Roy, from franchise savior to malcontent, from cold blooded assassin to bench warmer. The body, this sport, is cruel and that's the way it goes. The only question will be if Roy remains in Portland once the foundation is reformed.  With Wesley Matthews taking on the role of the franchise's go-to scorer, and a management group looking to go younger, not only could Roy conceivably be moved to someone willing to take a chance on his knees (consider Philly with Elton Brand or either team that signed Grant Hill after Detroit), but also gone could be his biggest advocate, head coach Nate McMillan. 2007 is now ancient history. And Brandon Roy's not quite ready to catch up to the times.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 4:24 pm

Yi Jianlian could miss 2-4 weeks with MCL sprain

Posted by Royce Young

According to the Washington Post,
after an MRI Wednesday Yi Jianlian will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained right MCL.

Already this season, Yi Jianlian has missed nine games already this season due to a right knee injury. And after playing in December, Yi's right knee is having issues again. Against the Lakers Tuesday is when Yi hurt the knee.

The Wizards are dealing with some injuries with Andray Blatche also currently out due to injury. So coach Flip Saunders will likely use Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin at power forward for the time being. Plus with John Wall suffering some knee pain because of tendonitis.

In 14 games this season, Yi 6.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com