Tag:Hakim Warrick
Posted on: January 7, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Steve Nash sounds confident Suns won't trade him

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash has found his name in trade rumors, but he sounds confident that he won't be moved. steve-nash Posted by Ben Golliver.

While Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash has traded shoe companies, he sounds pretty confident that he won't be switching NBA teams prior to this year's trade deadline.

Earlier this week, we noted a report that said the Suns were "on the fence" about rebuilding, and a full-scale rebuild would involve moving Nash, who is earning $10.3 million this season and $11.7 next season. That number will make him the team's highest paid player in 2011-2012, assuming the Suns buy out the last year of Vince Carter's partially guaranteed contract as expected.

Asked by the Arizona Republic about the trade talk this week, Nash makes it sound like he's not going anywhere, and he cites conversations with Phoenix's GM, Lon Babby, as the reason.  
"He (Babby) told me a month ago when it first sprung up that he had no plans to move me," Nash said.
"I signed up for this," Nash said. "I'm committed to trying to build a team here. Obviously, last year was a phenomenal year. Tied 2-2 (in the conference finals), I thought we could win a championship. I genuinely believed we could and would win it. It's tough to be in this position six months later. I'm still committed to it. I love the guys. I think we've got potential but we've had so much change and haven't been able to put it together. If we want to point fingers, we've got to point some at ourselves and say, 'We haven't put it together.'
"I'm still happy."
Nash says he is still happy, but his on-court body language has often hinted to the contrary. That's no surprise: this season has been a huge letdown for the Suns and their fans, following last year's deep playoff run.

If Nash isn't on the block, though, Babby's hands are tied a lot tighter when it comes to possible trades. He already shipped out one summer acquisition -- forward Hedo Turkoglu -- and two others -- Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick -- haven't exactly worked out. What the market is for those two players is unclear, though, and it's doubtful that Phoenix has any other pieces that they would be willing to part with that anyone else would want.   

Still, Nash's words are surely comforting to the Phoenix faithful who, by and large, would prefer that he stays rather than goes. If it boils down to a choice between struggling with Nash and struggling without Nash, that's not a very difficult decision for Suns management and fans.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:53 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Shootaround 11.29.10: In and Out

Positional struggles, Heat bar losing dough, Westphal losing a lot, and the Lakers should have lost by more, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore
  • Two things about this interview with Sam Bowie about Greg Oden: 1. the point about Bowie being happier with his life than Jordan is something Oden really should focus on and 2. unfortunately Oden can't afford to do what Bowie suggests and give himself extra time. There's just too much pressure, especially with his contract situation.
  • The Miami bar that offered to pay a $25 bar tab if the Heat lost? Yeah, they've lost $30,000 so far . And while the publicity is great, you have to wonder if they're going to have to cut that out soon.
  • Is DeJuan Blair a bad fit for the Spurs as currently concocted? The idea is that he's a 5 and Duncan's a 5 and because his skills don't compliment Duncan, that limits him. I think he could probably survive with Duncan if his weakside rotations were better. Hard to imagine Greg Popovich is really concerned about his "clean-up" center shooting. Players who have played well in that role include Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas.
  • Marc Gasol is not healthy, and it's showing . I watched Memphis-Golden State over the holiday and Andris Biedrins absolutely destroyed Gasol. It wasn't even shiftiness or the system. He just shot over Gasol. For a normally terrific defender, it's bizarre to see him lacking in straigt-up man defense like this.
Posted on: October 25, 2010 5:47 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 10:44 am
 

Nash concedes PHX may be rebuilding, but why?

Posted by Royce Young

Nobody is more of a softspoken statesman whose words carry big sound than Steve Nash. He knows how to say just what he wants in order to get what he wants. And in an interview with SB Nation Arizona, Nash surprisingly conceded that the Suns may be ready to take a step back and rebuild. Or if he had money on this season, not to take the Suns.
"To be honest, if I was outside this picture and a betting man, I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs considering all the changes and the new guys."

"Maybe we need to take a step back, regroup, be a little bit more patient, build a really good team and see how good we can be later in the year instead of jumping out of the gate and be like, 'Oh, we've got to finish top two or three in the West and give ourselves a chance to win the West and go to the Finals.' That stuff can come if we really improve, but we can't put that type of pressure on ourselves right away because we are a new team."
Translation: We might not be that good. So please Suns fans, hang in there with us.

What's refreshing is that Nash understands this. He knows Hakim Warrick isn't Amar'e Stoudemire. He knows that Grant Hill aged another year. He knows that Hedo Turkoglu isn't the answer to anything but "Ball? Ball." He knows that though improved, Robin Lopez isn't any kind of franchise big man. Nash knows this. And he's not pretending to be leading a world-beating squad.

I don't know if there's any kind of subtle plan behind Nash's comments, or if he was just being honest about his team. Some players like Rodney Stuckey and Michael Beasley say things like, "On paper, we're the best evah!" and "Really, if you think super hard about it, we're probably the best team." Nash on the other hand says, "I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs." That's something new.

It is possible however that Nash has a plan with these types of comments. He is 36 years old and isn't getting any younger, despite what you hear about the Magic of the Suns training staff. Maybe he's worried about ending his career on a sour note. Maybe he's prodding management to go grab him some help. Or maybe he's just setting the fanbase up to lower their expectations.

It's easy to think that surely there's a motive here because in today's atmosphere of professional sports, who tells a fanbase their team might not be great? I don't deny that Nash set up fans for a lottery team for a reason. He did make a power play to get Shaq out of town and according to some, helped nudge Terry Porter out the door earlier than expected.

Most have been forecasting the Suns the set (GET IT?!) for a while now. Last season looked prime for it to happen, especially with the rumors of Stoudemire being dealt swirling all season. But they hung on to Stoudemire and made a surprising push into the third seed in the West and a conference finals run.

Now though, it looks like it might be time for Phoenix to fade. And their fearless leader knows it.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 2:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 2:37 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Phoenix Suns

Posted by Matt Moore

It's a season of change, and the Suns are dealing with some pretty big ones. They lost a huge part of their bench mob in Louis Amundson. They lost a pivotal speed player who's been there for years in Leandro Barbosa. And oh, yeah, they lost some Amar'e guy. So there's a lot for them to process as camp starts with new additions. Here's what's going on as the Suns try and adjust to Year 1, Post-STAT.


Training camp site:   San Diego, CA

Training camp starts:   Sept. 28 

Key additions: Josh Childress (free agency), Hedo Turkoglu (trade), Hakim Warrick (free agency), Gani Lawal (draft)

Key subtractions: Leandro Barbosa (trade), Amar'e Stoudemire (free agency)

Likely starting lineup: Steve Nash (PG), Jason Richardson (SG), Hedo Turkoglu (SF), Hakim Warrick (PF), Robin Lopez

Player to watch:   Hakim Warrick. Warrick has never really impressed anyone with his play. He's been good, he can dunk, but he's never blown anyone away. He's also never had Steve Nash working with him in the pick and roll. That's a huge step. He needs to work on his defense and finishing like Amar'e did with his athleticism if he wants to get a starting spot, because Turkoglu will likely get a lot of time there, as weird as that is. Warrick also needs to work on his mid-range game to be more of a threat all over the floor.

Chemistry check: This team likes one another, but there are a lot of new faces in the locker room, and some come with egos. With the loss of Louis Amundson and several players looking for extensions, you have to wonder if distractions will be a problem from the get-go.

Camp battles: The entire frontcourt. Robin Lopez probably has the biggest lock on the starting gig at center, but Channing Frye may push him as he did last year. Josh Childress, Grant Hill, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick, Jared Dudley, and Earl Clark will battle it out for the 3 and 4 slots (with Childress likely to spend a lot of time at backup shooting guard). They've got a lot of weapons, a lot of versatilty, and no clear-cut leaders at those positions. Should be a fun competition.

Biggest strength: They're still the Suns. Even with the Amar'e bullet out of the chamber, they've got athletic guys who can run, shoot, and score. They work hard and are lead by one of the best point guards in NBA history. The formula has proven to work. The pieces aren't huge downgrades outside of the loss of Stoudemire, and they're used to overcoming adversity. They'll also still be entertaining as all get-out.

Glaring weakness: Super-punch. They lack a superstar outside of Nash. That's going to be hard to compete with in the Western Conference. Someone has to make a huge step if they want to make the playoffs again.


Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: What teams might take a tumble?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

  What teams are set for a drop in success?

Maintaining excellence for an extended period of time in professional sports isn't easy. Even the big spending, big market clubs have to make the right moves, retain players and keep putting a product on the field or floor that can win.

There are ebbs and flows with teams every season and in the NBA this year, we might begin to see a little shuffling with some of the familiar successful faces moving down the line in the standings while others move up.

So who could be moving down? Who might be dropping off a bit in 2010-11? Here are four candidates:

Phoenix Suns
It seems like every year, we're all waiting for this to happen. But every year Steve Nash defies the laws of aging, has a terrific season and keeps the Suns moving. But there was a constant variable in all of those seasons the Suns saw success - Amar'e Stoudemire. For the first time in eight years the Suns will be without Stoudemire, a player that worked perfectly in Phoenix's up-tempo style and Nash's pick-and-roll ability. Now in 2005 the Suns were without Stoudemire who underwent microfracture surgery, but that was with Nash still in his prime and with a ton more depth.

This time, the Suns replace Stoudemire with Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, two capable players but obviously not to the caliber of Amar'e. If Phoenix intends to stay in the top tier of the West, a player with have to elevate his game. Maybe that's youngster Earl Clark. Maybe Robin Lopez continues his improvement. Maybe Warrick becomes the new Amar'e playing alongside Nash. Hedo Turkoglu is a new addition, but judging by his play in Toronto last year, he might not be a big help.

Phoenix will still be a good team and a likely playoff team, but with Nash's age and the downgrade in talent on the roster, the Suns might be looking at the beginning of the end.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Didn't they lose someone? Oh right, Delonte West and Shaquille O'Neal. Talk about starting over, you guys. Oh yeah, and that other guy too.

The Cavs are at an impasse they didn't see coming. Others might have seen the writing on the wall with LeBron, but The King's departure was a brick in the face to Cleveland fans everywhere. Any time you lose the face of your team, the face of the league and the best player on the planet, you're rebuilding by default.

The Cavs do have some quality players still, because instead of laying dynamite around the roster, the Cavs have decided to try and strive for mediocrity. And in the East, most of the time average is enough to get to the postseason. But this is a team that had won 60 games the last two seasons. The Cavs lost their star, their coach and their general manager. It's a time to start over for the Cavs and Anthony Parker and Joey Graham probably aren't going be the pieces that maintain the regular season excellence in Cleveland.

Toronto Raptors
Bryan Colangelo tried. He tried to shuffle things around and put together a respectable roster after the loss of Chris Bosh that could possibly stay where they were. But let's face it: Even with Bosh, the Raptors weren't exactly in the upper echelon of the East. With a failed trade for Tyson Chandler that would've moved Jose Calderon and a mishap in trying to sign Matt Barnes left the Raptors with a young roster that will struggle to win games.

Colangelo did do himself a favor by moving Turkoglu's contract, but he also gave Amir Johnson too much money and trading Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright doesn't do much for anyone. Toronto may be in the basement in the East and while it's not like they're falling from the top of the East, the Raptors are likely headed for a drop.

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets aren't actually on this list... yet. But they will be, if (or when) they lose Carmelo Anthony. Reality is, any time you trade a superstar, you never get an equal return. I mean, how could you? Who's going to give back a top 5-8 player in the league or three players that equal Anthony's ability?

If Denver hangs on to Anthony for the season, it'll be business as usual for the Nuggets. They'll be good, they'll make the playoffs and will have a chance to advance a few rounds. But if they lose 'Melo, then it'll likely be a trip into mediocrity for Denver. The team hasn't enough talent in Nene, Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin to stay afloat, but in the West where it's win 50 or stay home the last two weeks of April, it would be tough for the Nuggets to do that. And of course reports are that J.R. Smith might be moving out as well. The Nuggets are facing a potential restructure, and while the roster is in tip-top shape now, it likely won't be come November.

Posted on: August 24, 2010 9:31 am
 

Shootaround 8.24.10: Heisley goes Vesuvius

Heisley blows up, Bosh says no to loyalty, and Nate McMillan's on the hot seat in today's Shootaround...Posted by Matt Moore

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley went on the radio yesterday and had himself quite the little adventure. Among his more interesting answers, besides calling host Chris Vernon "partner," and "son" several times, Heisley admitted that he has not read the CBA, and was therefore previously unaware of the clause that allows for negotiating with rookies on incentive-based bonuses. This is toally okay for an owner who simply signs the check and directs the front-office, but not so much one who makes the majority of basketball decisions. Having listened to the whole interview, I can tell you it was, in fact, an abject trainwreck.

SI's been close with Chris Bosh, and did another interview with him this week. The soundbyte you'll want to take note of is that he thinks loyalty has no place in free agency. Which was, you know, kind of apparent to begin with.

Nets Are Scorching looks at how Derrick Favors could make the difference in the Nets breaching the playoffs. This is akin to looking at how your place kicker can help win you a Super Bowl.

Is there any player with a wider range of possible results this season outside of Greg Oden than Hakim Warrick? In Phoenix, in a system that produces great players beyond their talent alongside Nash, with a host of magical trainers, Warrick could make significant leaps forward. Or, he could be Hakim Warrick. At least he's excited and ready to work .

Blazers edge says this is a "make or break year" for Nate McMillan.

Beyond the Beat takes a look at players' reactions to the famous masks they've had to wear for facial injuries. That's nto a metaphor. We're talking actual masks.

Bucksketball is worried about chemistry with the Bucks. They have the talent, but the personalities is the concern.

Is Will Bynum going to wind up starting ? Really?
Posted on: August 6, 2010 3:38 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Pacific Division

Posted by Royce Young



Los Angeles Lakers

Added: Matt Barnes (free agency), Steve Blake (free agency), Shannon Brown (re-signed), Theo Ratliff (free agency)
Lost: Josh Powell (free agency), Jordan Farmar (free agency)

Philosophy: "Maintaining excellence."

The Lakers didn't accomplish a ton this offseason. But when you're already the best team and you got a little better, that means you done good. Matt Barnes is obviously an interesting addition because of his past relationship with Kobe. But if the Lakers had a chink in the armor, it was the bench. Sasha Vujacic is being actively shopped and Luke Walton is expected to miss most the season. So Barnes will see ample minutes off the bench.

Steve Blake is a brilliant signing because as we saw last postseason, Derek Fisher is getting older. He still produced, but can he put in another full 82? Blake is a reliable point guard that can shoot. Add in Brown who's a nice third point guard that can slide over to the 2 and the Laker bench got a lot stronger this offseason.

Despite what occurred in Miami, the Lakers didn't slip behind anyone. They are still a matchup nightmare for anyone and added pieces that fit, rather than brute talent.

Grade: A

Phoenix Suns

Added: Josh Childress (free agency), Gani Lawal (draft), Matt Janning (signed), Hedo Turkoglu (trade), Hakim Warrick (free agency)
Lost: Amar'e Stoudemire (free agency), Taylor Griffin (waived), Jarron Collins (free agency), Leandro Barbosa (trade), Lou Amundson (free agency),

Philosophy: "Hanging on."

Losing Amar'e Stoudemire was a blow. A big blow. The Suns have been hanging on by a thread to Stoudemire the last two seasons and finally lost him. They replace him with Hakim Warrick who is really Amar'e Lite. It's a worthy replacement, but nothing to the level of Stoudemire.

Trading Barbosa to grab Turkoglu helps the Suns positionally, as Barbosa was nothing more than a bench player and Turkoglu will play a larger role. Is he an improvement? Eh...

Josh Childress was a really solid player for Atlanta and was great overseas, but there's no telling how he'll integrate back into the NBA. The Suns had a difficult offseason because any time you lose a player the caliber of Stoudemire, it's tough to rebuild. They need someone, anyone, to step up and play better than expected. Maybe that's Earl Clark. Maybe Robin Lopez keeps improving. Maybe Nash makes Warrick look better than he is. They might survive this season on Nash alone, but rocky roads might be ahead for Phoenix.

Grade: C

Golden State Warriors

Added: David Lee (trade), Jeremy Lin (undrafted free agent), Ekpe Udoh (draft), Dorell Wright (free agency), Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade)
Lost: Anthony Randolph (trade), Corey Maggette (trade), Anthony Morrow (free agency), Chris Hunter (free agency), Anthony Tolliver (free agency), Devean George (free agency), C.J. Watson (free agency), Ronny Turiaf (trade)

Philosophy: "Crossroads."

The Warriors aren't a franchise that the NBA needs to do well. It can survive just fine without GSW booming. But it's certainly a franchise that when it's doing well, the NBA is more fun. And last season, they were the haven of D-League All-Stars and basically just ran in place all year.

The biggest move this organization made this offseason wasn't the acquisition of David Lee, albeit that's a significant move. Instead, it's the transfer in ownership from Chris Cohen to owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. By their talk, they plan on restoring the Warriors through smart, calculated moves. They're willing to spend and they want to win.

The Warriors had a nice draft taking Epke Udoh sixth, though he did hurt his wrist. But Udoh is a potential interior force with a gifted skillset. Adding him and David Lee really solidify a frontcourt that should be able to compete against most others in the West.

Honestly, one of my favorite moves the Warriors made was moving Anthony Randolph as well. Not for their sake, but for the sake of NBA fans everywhere. Hopefully now that Randolph is in a new situation, he can blossom into the talent we all thought he could be.

Grade: B+

Los Angeles Clippers

Added: Rasual Butler (re-signed), Al-Farouq Aminu (draft), Randy Foye (free agency), Ryan Gomes (free agency), Eric Bledsoe (draft), Brian Cook (free agency)
Lost: Travis Outlaw (free agency), Steve Blake (free agency), Mardy Collins (free agency), Steve Novak (free agency), Brian Skinner (free agency), Bobby Brown (free agency), Drew Gooden (free agency)

Philosophy: "OK, for real this time."

Last season, the Clippers made a chic pick for a turnaround season. Then top pick Blake Griffin got hurt, Baron Davis didn't play as well and Mike Dunleavy coached the first half of the season.

And while hopes were high last year, the Clippers didn't do a ton to improve. They basically just took a step sideways and hope to NOW make that improvement with virtually the same roster. They won 29 games last year and while Griffin is obviously a great talent, is he really going to be a 10 or 15 win improvement?

They didn't lose a ton and didn't add anything other than a shooting guard to play behind Eric Gordon, a lottery pick at small forward (which was a huge need though), and a backup to Baron Davis. Bledsoe and Aminu are really nice draft picks, but this team boasted about being on its way back sooner than later. Right now, it appears the Clips are still building rather than being ready to make actual noise.

Grade: C

Sacramento Kings

Added: Samuel Dalembert (trade), Hassan Whiteside (draft), DeMarcus Cousins (draft), Pooh Jeter (undrafted free agent), Antoine Wright (free agency)
Lost: Andres Nocioni (free agency), Jon Brockman (trade), Sean May (free agency), Ime Udoka (free agency), Dominic McGuire (free agency)

Philosophy: "Small transitions."

The Kings are a roster in transition. They basically tore the building down and are now re-constructing the frame. The core, long-term pieces are being placed, but now it's filling out a roster that complements those pieces.

The big move was drafting DeMarcus Cousins fourth overall. A player many considered to be the most talented player in the draft, the Kings are prepared to weather some potential character flaws because of talent.

They also traded for Samuel Dalembert, giving the Kings a formidable frontcourt. Cousins, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Dalembert make for a nice lineup.  But other than the frontcourt moves, Sacramento basically held firm on waiting for Tyreke Evans' eventual leap into stardom. This is an improved roster, but it's not there yet.

Grade: B-
Posted on: July 27, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Video: Offseason review - Central Division

Posted by Royce Young

The Central was the center of free agency this offseason. LeBron's decision, the Bulls multiple moves and plus, some other interesting transactions. It's all been graded and broken down , plus here's some talking about it as well.


 
 
 
 
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