By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, we look back on extensions week, ask if the Celtics are back, and of course, check in on Dwight Howard. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. After two games between Orlando and Boston this week, is Boston "back?"
Ken Berger: I still think they're going to be OK. What a difference when Pierce has it going. He's clearly getting his confidence back. What happened Thursday night was as much about the Magic's fragility as it was about the Celtics' resilience. But to come back like that on the road, without Rondo or Allen, is a great sign for Boston. The Celtics' bench is still way too thin, and they don't have enough size. But one thing they need more than anything is some young legs and youthful exuberance, not to mention those attributes coming with meaningful contributions. They got that Thursday night from E'Twaun Moore. A much needed jolt for Boston's elders.
2. What extension decision, signed or unsigned, surprised you the most?
Ken Berger: I don't know that any surprised me, but the most interesting case was Eric Gordon. Given his knee situation, it's difficult to make a largely unnecessary long-term commitment now. But clearly the Hornets can't afford to lose the most significant asset they received in the Chris Paul trade. But much like Kevin Love's shorter extension with Minnesota, this arrangement could work out in Gordon's favor. If he comes back healthy and continues to put up big numbers, he'll command a bigger deal as a restricted free agent. And New Orleans knows they control the situation because they can match.
3. The Pacers have an interest in Eric Gordon. With his future in the air, is there any chance teams make a run at him in trade at the deadline?
Ken Berger: It would be logical for Gordon, the IU product, to wind up only a short drive from Bloomington. But I don't expect the Hornets to entertain in-season trade offers for him. There's no reason to panic since they have the right to match next summer.
4. We hear a lot about the Magic waiting to make a decision on Dwight Howard. But how about the Lakers? Are they going to give this team a chance to gel or will they pounce at the first opportunity for improvement?
Ken Berger: It always depends on the deal. If Howard can be had for a price that's less than Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, then the dialogue could catch fire pretty quickly. But unless Orlando completely goes in the tank -- and they haven't been playing well lately -- I see no signs that Otis Smith and Alex Martins are going to consider anything less than an all-out blockbuster offer for Howard. There's one caveat: If the realization of losing Howard for nothing hits the Magic organization like a freight train on March 14, it's impossible to predict now how they'll react.
5. Explain why the Minnesota Timberwolves not signing Kevin Love for as many years as possible is in any way a good decision on their part, please.
Ken Berger: I got into this in Postups yesterday. Basically, it's a good deal for both sides. Love has three years to determine if the Wolves are, in fact, going in the right direction. The Wolves, in turn, get to preserve their five-year designated player extension for Ricky Rubio. But Minnesota also will be able to get Love on a five-year extension after he opts out of the fourth year of this deal. And Love will get more money, too. With seven-plus years of service at that point, he'd be eligible for 30 percent of the cap.