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Tag:New Orleans Hornets
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 5:36 pm

Hornets F David West tears ACL, done for year

New Orleans Hornets forward David West has torn his left ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Update (Friday): The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports: "Sources say David West has torn left ACL and is out for season." WVUE in New Orleans reports that the "Hornets confirm PF David West has a torn left ACL and is out for the season." Yahoo! Sports sets the initial recovery timeline at "six months of rehab." Clearly, this was the worst case scenario discussed below.

The Hornets released the following statement: "'Obviously we are very saddened by this news,' Hornets General Manager Dell Demps said. 'David is the ultimate warrior and competitor, but an even better person and we know that he will bounce back in time.'" reports that the Hornets will sign Patrick Ewing Jr. from the D-League's Sioux Falls SkyForce to a 10-day contract to fill out their frontcourt. 

For more on how the Hornets will cope in West's absence, check out Royce Young's breakdown here.

Original Post (Thursday): With the Utah Jazz leading the New Orleans Hornets 103-101 in the closing seconds of regulation, Hornets forward David West attacked the basket from the left. West reached the rim and, as he attempted a dunk, absorbed contact from Jazz forward Paul Millsap. West completed the dunk, to tie the score at 103, but was thrown off balance by the collision, forcing him to land awkwardly on his left foot. 

West's left leg buckled and he immediately crumpled to the ground underneath the hoop, clutching his left leg. After being tended to by New Orleans' medical staff, West left the court in a wheelchair. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reported: "Hornets say West has left knee trauma. X-rays negative. Will wait for MRI to make official announcement." The paper also noted that Jazz big man Al Jefferson "said he hopes he's wrong, but he thinks West's injury is major. Compared it to when he tore ACL with Minnesota." The Times-Picayune reported that a "large immobilizing splint and crutches [were] brought into the Hornets dressing room" after the game.

Here's video of the play.

West, New Orleans' leading scorer this season and an All-Star in 2008 and 2009, is averaging 18.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season. 

The Hornets went on to beat the Jazz in overtime, 121-117, improving to 41-31. The Hornets sit in the Western Conference's No. 7 seed, one game up on the Memphis Grizzlies, who are in 8th, and 3 games up on the Houston Rockets, who are in 9th. Without West, the Hornets wouldn't have a go-to interior scorer to complement Chris Paul and would be a severe disadvantage against all of their potential playoff opponents -- the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks -- because of it. With 11 games remaining in their season, it' s possible that West's injury could drop them out of the playoff picture.

To make matters worse, West has a player option for next season, worth $7.5 million, but indications were that he was planning to test the free agency waters this summer. It's possible, if not likely, that the severity of the injury will have millions of dollars worth of implications for both team and player.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 7:53 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Road to the Finals: Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are struggling through March but will that mean anything come playoff time? Posted by Ben Golliver. dirk-cheer

The Dallas Mavericks have the consistency thing down pat: 2010-2011 will mark the team's 11th straight 50+ win season and 11th consecutive trip to the playoffs. Being "consistently above average but not great" can be uniquely frustrating as Mavericks fans know all too well, as Dallas has enjoyed just one playoff series victory in the last four seasons. The question this season is whether enough has changed to push Dallas over the top that might lead to a deep playoff run.

Minus a stretch without star forward Dirk Nowitzki, this season has been as promising as any in recent memory. This is a tested, cohesive group: Nowitzki has fought through knee pain to emerge as an MVP candidate, Jason Terry becomes even more Jason Terry by the day and the old guard of Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion continue to find ways to get it done. As Tom Haberstroh of noted Wednesday, the Mavericks' 47-19 record sells their performance short, as it includes a 2-7 stretch that Dallas played without Nowitzki, when their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers couldn't have been more different than what they have posted when Nowitzki had laced them up. 

There have been some speedbumps recently. In the last 10 days, Dallas has dropped games to four Western Conference playoff teams: the Memphis Grizzlies, the New Orleans Hornets (who played without all-star point guard Chris Paul), the Los Angeles Lakers (who watched Kobe Bryant go down to an ankle sprain) and the Portland Trail Blazers (who are still working Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby back into the rotation after arthroscopic knee surgeries). None of the losses were due to off nights from Nowitzki. Indeed, Nowitzki tallied at or above his average of 23 points per game in each game and he even shot above 50% from the field in all four defeats.  

Instead, the struggles trace back to the old bugaboos: interior defense and rebounding. Andrew Bynum dominated the Mavericks, notching 22 and 15, while Pau Gasol went along for the ride with 18 points and 5 rebounds. David West got 16 and 10 while Carl Landry, off the bench, tacked on 15 points and four rebounds. For Memphis, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 43 points and 19 rebounds, shooting an uber-efficient 16-22. And, on Tuesday, LaMarcus Aldridge exploded on the Mavericks for the third time this season, finishing with a game-high 30 points and adding eight rebounds, muscling around and through Dallas's defenders seemingly at will.

About this time of year, analysts start looking to forecast first round upset specials and Dallas has started to find itself as a hot button team in this discussion. These losses have raised some eyebrows; are the Mavericks suddenly vulnerable?

Truth be told, I like the Mavericks over all three of their most likely first round playoff opponents. On the season, the Mavericks are 12th in defensive efficiency and 13th in overall rebound rate, so recent results against top competition aren't totally representative of their overall resume. To knock Dallas out of the playoffs, then, you must play above average or better defense to counter their experience and cohesion, and either have multiple interior options that can exploit Dallas's questions in the middle or execute your own offensive system so well that you can win both a shootout or a slow-down execution battle, depending on the circumstances. Memphis, Portland and New Orleans just don't fit that formula.

Road To The Finals
The Grizzlies, should they hang around, will enter the playoffs facing all the obvious questions about how they'll do when push comes to shove, how well they'll be able to play as a team and how well they'll execute when things matter. Most likely, their offense, when tested, will become a lot of one-on-one play, which, in a seven-game series, isn't going to allow you to keep pace with the Mavericks. On paper, Memphis is fairly well equipped defensively to match Dallas piece-for-piece, but will their team defense stand up to Dallas' ability to execute late in games? Will their focus remain intact when Nowitzki and Terry go on one of their back-breaking second half tears? Without having seen this group do it before, it's difficult to envision. Also, Jason Kidd: 121 career playoff games. Mike Conley: 0 career playoff games.

The Hornets, though, have both the defensive chops -- 6th in the NBA in efficiency -- and the playoff experience to stand toe-to-toe with the Mavericks. The question for New Orleans will be who, if anyone, will emerge as consistent offensive options outside of Paul and West. While Dallas isn't excellent defensively, they are above average, and they'll do a reasonable job of forcing your auxiliary options to make plays. Newsflash: Trevor Ariza still can't hit from deep, the Hornets' bench is still a hot mess and Emeka Okafor doesn't have Bynum's ability to become a true second interior threat to take some of the burden off of West. Short of a transformative series from Paul, something he's entirely capable of, New Orleans has all the makings of a relatively quick out, especially because they've hovered around .500 ball since a red hot start to the season. 

The Blazers, finally, might be the basketball fan's dream match-up for the Mavericks. Just as Dallas has become a trendy upset special pick, Portland has become a trendy underdog, with NBATV's Chris Webber predicting this week the Blazers will upset whomever they face in the first road. Back-and-forth the Blazers and Mavericks went on Tuesday night, until the game's final seconds, when Nowitzki's potential game-tying three-pointer rimmed out, sending Portland home winners. Who wouldn't watch that series? No one, that's who.

But while Aldridge is a clear and continuous problem that the Mavericks haven't been able to solve this season, the Blazers are not a consistently good defensive team -- merely average -- and they're also not yet a finished product due to injuries and a trade deadline move for Gerald Wallace. While the New York Times smartly noted the flexibility that is now at coach Nate McMillan's disposal, the flipside of flexibility is a lack of definition, something that has bitten the Blazers in recent playoff losses to the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns

Guard Brandon Roy's health also remains a big question mark as he continues to work his way back from dual arthroscopic knee surgeries. On Tuesday, his 21 points were the difference, but he made no future promises afterwards, stating that "the next game could be different." He then promptly sat out Portland's Wednesday practice with a sore back. His impact on Tuesday was unexpected and his struggles on defense were not exploited by Dallas as completely as they could be during a seven game series. It's unlikely Roy will perform to that level over the course of an entire series without Dallas being able to counter him more effectively than they did on Tuesday.

Portland's victory -- at home -- came not only with Roy playing his best ball of the season but also with guards Rudy Fernandez and Wesley Matthews hitting from outside. A major factor in Portland's lineup juggling has been the team's incredibly inconsistent shooting, something that figures to be the team's Achilles heel come playoff time. Meanwhile, Kidd was a no-show from deep and Terry was solid but not spectacular. If you're Dallas, you watch the game tape thinking that if any one of those five players had played more like himself -- if just one of the Blazers had shot slightly worse or one of the Mavericks had been more impactful -- the game swings the other direction. Over a seven-game series, with a time to prepare for Portland's lineups, that would seem to favor Dallas in a big way.

Aside from the individual match-ups, Dallas is not only better at home than all three teams, they're also better on the road this season than all three teams. On top of that, Portland (16-19), New Orleans (16-20) and Memphis (14-21) are all well below .500 when playing on the road. Memphis, it should be noted, did win both games against the Mavericks in Dallas this year, while Portland and New Orleans were a combined 0-3.

Put it all together and I think any mid-March panic in Dallas is a bit premature, especially in relation to the first round. Past that, however, Dallas' questions will loom much larger.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: March 15, 2011 11:12 am

Lousiana gives money to Hornets to help out

Posted by Royce Young

Most of the time, it's the other way around. Most times, a professional franchise will make a donation to the state whether it's for books, food or something else. But the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets aren't your typical  "most of the time" franchise.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said Monday that the state expects to make a payment of a little more than $7 million to the Hornets. Why? Because the franchise isn't projected to meet the benchmark revenue requirement in its lease agreement with the state.

Getting over the attendeace benchmark was a big victory for basketball in New Orleans, but this mark has gone mostly overlooked. The Hornets surpassed the attendance mark in January which was a previous requirement in their lease with the state.

But via the Times-Picayune, there also is a revenue benchmark included in the team’s amended lease agreement that "stipulates the state will have to pay the Hornets’ inducements not exceeding $7.5 million at the end of this season if the team doesn’t gross at least $43.6 million, which is 80 percent of their gross revenue for all potential ticket sales."

Jindal said the money is fully funded in the LSED budget.

Basically what you're looking at is a state willing to do what it takes to keep its team in place. The state of Louisiana doesn't want its team to walk to the next city and therefore, the Hornets are staying in place.

It's kind of a funny situation there with the league owning the team and the state making big payments for them. But it's what has to be done for a franchise in very unique circumstances. It's either this, or move them somewhere else. And David Stern and the NBA have already made their committment pretty clear that they want to keep the Hornets in New Orleans for as long as possible.

Also, the Hornets launched a bran new campaign Monday as well called "I'm In" in an effort to reach a new goal of 10,000 season ticket holders next season. Jac Sperling, who is the NBA's appointed man involved with the Hornets said he's just doing what the boss asked of him.

“I’m doing what the commissioner asked me to do, which is to make it attractive for a local buyer. And then even the last few trades, these are not signs the team is not thinking about trying to leave," Sperling said.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:02 pm

Hornets to San Jose talk picks up again

Could the Hornets wind up in San Jose? Could the Warriors help the Kings stay in Sacramento? The complex web of NBA ownership and relocation continues. 
Posted by Matt Moore

While Kings fans wait with fearful baited breath for the likely upcoming announcement of the King's application for relocation, the Hornets have settled into peaceful quiet after the uproar of the NBA's acquisition of their ownership last fall.  But the San Jose Mercury News reports that it's possible that Larry Ellison, who has reportedly made multiple bids for both the Warriors and Hornets, who may make yet another push to purchase the Hornets, and in the event of doing so, relocate them to San Jose, California. From the Mercury News

But the prospect of Ellison buying a struggling franchise and moving it to HP Pavilion is real enough to have spawned interested conversation at very high levels.

And if things break a certain way over the next year or two, this theoretically could happen in a relative snap -- and a flood of Ellison money.

The NBA/San Jose advantages: Ellison's billions, the handful of teams in financial distress, and the existence of HP Pavilion, which is NBA-ready.

In January, Ellison, one of the richest men in the world, confirmed that he bid on the New Orleans Hornets, but the league chose to take the team over at that time and said it was seeking local ownership.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Ellison had no comment on the matter.

But it's probably safe to assume the NBA will wait until after this summer's labor negotiations, then put the Hornets back up for sale.

In that scenario, would anybody expect Ellison quietly to end his efforts to own a sports franchise after he was surprisingly outbid for the Warriors last July?
via Kawakami: Larry Ellison buying and moving New Orleans Hornets to San Jose plausible and possible - San Jose Mercury News.

Kawakami goes on to say that the league considers such a move hypothetical, but all the elements are there. A ready arena, aggressive ownership, and a franchise which if local ownership does not step up to acquire it, will be put on the open market. The other NBA owners who are in possession of the Hornets won't allow the NBA to throw good money after bad. And in that case, Ellison looks very attractive. 

Additionally intriguing is a scenario mentioned by Kawakami in which Warriors ownership votes against approving relocation for the Kings to Anaheim, in an attempt to set a precedent against relocation in order to protect their market from a prospective competitor in San Jose.  Along with the Lakers and Clippers ownership looking to protect their market against the Kings staking a claim in southern California, and a group of smaller market owners, that might set up the possibility for the Kings to be stranded in Sacramento, buying time for local officials to come up with a new arena plan. It's a complicated scenario of big and small market politics, but one that definitely seems plausible from where we're at. 

Could Ellison's interest in the Hornets be what keeps the Kings in Sacramento? This whole situation continues to get stranger and stranger by the second as NBA ownership finances take a bigger role on the public stage. 
Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:01 pm

Chris Paul back at practice after concussion

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul returned to practice on Thursday after suffering a concussion on Sunday. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Back on Sunday, we noted that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul suffered a concussion against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Thursday, the Times-Picayune reported that Paul returned to participate in the team's non-contract practice and that coach Monty Williams said Paul would undergo testing on Friday to determine whether he is ready to return to the court.
 "We went through some offensive stuff and got a lot of shots, but we didn't do anything physical today," Williams said. "I just thought it would be prudent to get away from beating up on each other, and off that long road trip (last week), I just felt we needed a day to get acclimated to being at home. Today was a short day where we just walked through some things, got a ton of shots up and (Paul) participated in everything."
Williams said Paul was scheduled to undergo another neurological exam on Friday to determine whether he'd get clearance to play against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
"The test is scheduled for Friday and after that they can make a better evaluation," said Williams.
So far, Paul has missed Monday's loss to the Chicago Bulls and a dramatic win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. The Hornets next play on Saturday against the Sacramento Kings. The Hornets are currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, with a record of 38-29, 1.5 games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies.

On Wednesday, the NBA confirmed that it was considering adding a league-wide policy with regard to treating concussions, as six players in the last month have missed time due to concussions. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:14 am

NBA to add official policy on concussions?

The NBA is considering a formal policy on how the league handles concussions. Posted by Ben Golliver.

No one could forget the scary scene in Cleveland on Sunday night, when New Orleans point guard Chris Paul had to be carted off on a stretcher of the court and taken to the hospital after suffering a concussion. 

The scariest thing about that scene? It happens more often than we realize.

The Associated Press reports that six NBA players in the last month have missed time due to concussions and that, as a result, the NBA has confirmed it is considering instituting a mandated policy for how teams should handle players in that situation prior to the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. 
The NBA is consulting with an independent neurologist and may establish a league-wide policy for handling concussions by next season, The Associated Press has learned. NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the discussions Tuesday.
"The NBA Team Physicians Society has been studying the issue of concussion management for several years and each team follows its own treatment and return-to-play protocols," he said. "In addition, the league is working with a consulting neurologist concerning the possible adoption of a league-wide protocol."
The NBA and the players' union say they are tracking the number of head hits. Frank declined to name the neurologist involved with the league, but said they've been working on the issue extensively this season.
The NBA makes some pretty poor decisions, such as selling out its dunk contest to a manufacturer of cheap automobiles. But this is not only an excellent idea, it's really past due. 

The biggest issue with concussions is that players often aren't sure exactly what happened, and their first instinct is to chalk it up to their bell getting rung and to try to continue playing. Coaches, similarly, are more likely to defer to a player's judgment if he feels he can or can't go. NBA trainers are almost always on the spot immediately when a player hits the ground, but league protocal often allows players to shake the cobwebs out and remain in the game. Are there concussed players slipping through the cracks? It sure seems like a fairly easy thing to happen, even with the protections that are currently in place.

Concussions are not the most common occurrence during an NBA season, especially compared to full-contact sports, but they're certainly common enough for a formal policy. This is a classic "nothing to lose, everything to gain" situation and the league deserves applause for acting on the issue.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 6, 2011 8:26 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:44 am

Chris Paul suffers concussion

Chris Paul injures his head in collision with Cavaliers' Ramon Sessions, taken off floor on stretcher in neck brace. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Update 10:27 p.m. EST: A Hornets release says that Paul was placed on the stretcher as a precaution after complaining of neck pain. Tests results at the hospital were negative, and he has been diagnosed with a concussion.  He has been released, rejoined the team and is listed as "out." We'll keep you updated on his status for the Hornets going forward. 

Updated 8:56 p.m. EST: Chris Paul's older brother informs fans on Twitter that Paul's "ok." He says that Paul wanted to get off the stretcher and play. Everything's looking good for this situation. 

Update 8:41 p.m. EST: Ken Berger of reports that per a Hornets spokesperson, Paul did not lose feeling in his extremities due to the injury, another encouraging sign. The injury has been described as a head injury.

Update 8:29 p.m. EST : Paul was taken to the hospital but is responsive and aware of his surroundings. All good signs. 

Original report: Hornets guard Chris Paul suffered a potentially serious head injury Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the third quarter against the Cavs, Paul drove the lane, then lost the ball off his leg, as he turned to try and recover the ball in the lane, his head slammed into Ramon Sessions' shoulder and arm. Paul fell to the floor and lay motionless for several minutes. He was eventually removed from the floor via stretcher , and gave a brief thumbs up, indicating movement in his extremities, always a good sign.

Paul has been taken to a Cleveland hospital for examination . We'll keep you updated on his condition as more information becomes available. Sessions was not significantly injured in the incident. 
Posted on: March 6, 2011 3:43 pm

David West finds Nets 'interesting'

Posted by Royce Young

David West is an unrestricted free agent this summer and hasn't been shy about saying he wants to explore some options. The power forward has always been happy playing with the Hornets and Chris Paul, but is still going to look around a bit.

He was asked about the New Jersey Nets and told the Star Ledger that he finds them intriguing.

"I think that team, obviously, is a lot more interesting than they were," West said. "They were so young before they made that deal, and nobody saw that deal coming. I don't know. I know it's a team that has some (cap) space and a need, but it's ... like I said, when the time comes, we'll see what's out there. Again, at this point in my career, money won't really be the number one (criterion)."

The Nets are obviously committed to pulling in some big name, talented players to convince Deron Williams to stay. West would be a nice start for sure and someone that could fit in well next to Williams in the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop.

The question is whether or not the Nets would be willing to commit precious cap space to West, especially if they're serious about going after Dwight Howard in 2012. But like I said, the window won't stay open long to prove to Williams that the Nets are a worthy franchise to re-sign with. So going after a player like West might be absolutely necessary.

Currently Kris Humphries is New Jersey's starting power forward and while he's been solid, he's also on an expiring contract. He's probably better suited in a role off the bench and if West is an option, Humphries will quickly become an afterthought.

This summer is important for the Nets because they can't just stand pat with Williams. The move to Brooklyn is coming and the team needs to have a competitive group ready to go for the new town and new building. And for their new star, too.
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