Tag:Jared Dudley
Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:57 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 1:16 am
 

Las Vegas 'Lockout League' Week 1 notebook

Posted by Ben Golliver

impact-basketball

Thursday night marked the end of Week 1 of the Las Vegas "Lockout League" at Impact Basketball. The fourth day of games was probably the week's most spirited, with some new faces upping the talent level and some technical fouls and trash talk livening up the week-long basketball marathon. Here's a quick look back at the week that was and a recap of the day's highlights.

Telfair eyes contender

At 26, Sebastian Telfair is now a decade removed from being one of the most hyped high school players of all time. His superstar trajectory never materiaized;  Telfair just concluded his seventh NBA season, has yet to make a single playoff appearance and has only played in more than 60 games once in the last four years. A free agent, Telfair hopes all that changes next season.

"I sure do have a list of teams in my mind," Telfair said. "Those teams being one of the teams to make a run for a championship or the teams that are fighting every year for a championship. Seeing Dallas win a championship, congratulations to them, but I'm jealous. I'm extremely jealous. Dallas is definitely on my list. They've got the gold right now. It's not a bad thing in this league to want to go where the gold is. If you can compete and help the team win a championship, that's one of the main focuses in the NBA.

Aside from the Mavericks, Telfair clammed up a little bit as to who was on his radar. "The obvious teams," he finally allowed. "I won't say any teams in particular, but the obvious teams."

Asked what he would bring to a championship contender at this stage of his career, Telfair didn't hesitate or elaborate: "I bring myself. I bring Sebastian Telfair."

Dudley addresses low turnout 

As noted earlier Thursday, only 35 to 40 players attended the National Basketball Players Association regional meeting at the Vdara Hotel. That was roughly half of estimates offered earlier in the week. Phoenix Suns guard Jared Dudley said people shouldn't rush to conclude that the low turnout number represents dissension, disinterest or disunity among the players.

"To me, does it matter? You can spin it that way. At the end of the day, I wasn't in a couple of the meetings in New York. Does that mean I'm not unified? I think that would be wrong to write that. At the end of the day, we all have to write papers, we all have to write stuff."

Modest, but worthwhile, improvements

There is plenty of good news for those considering checking out the "Lockout League" play next week. First, there are plenty of tickets available. Second, Impact Basketball has shown itself to be very flexible in making improvements to the series.

On Thursday, Impact added an in-game emcee to help narrate the action. This is a particularly fan-friendly addition because the players are playing in jerseys that do not bear their names and sometimes rotate from team to team throughout the week. There's also no large scoreboard or video replay, so it can get a bit confusing keeping track of everyone, especially for the non-diehards. Many of the players in attendance are not particularly recognizable or well-known, either, so the emcee was a thoughtful improvement. 

On Wednesday, Impact also cut back from four games per day to three games per day. While you might think at first that this would be less basketball for your money, the move actually improved the games considerably. Less was more here. The change allowed the games to be standardized to 10-minute quarters and rosters were condensed so that each team had seven or eight players instead of the five-a-side that was the norm during the four games per day earlier in the week. That meant each player could go harder, each guy could get breathers if necessary and the threat of a single injury stopping play was no longer a problem. Perhaps most importantly, it cut down on the total number of hours a fan would need to devote to seeing all the best players play. Instead of being in the gym from 1:30 p.m.to 9:30 p.m., fans could leave closer to 7:30 p.m. 

The new presence of bigger-name players like Al Harrington, Stephen Curry and Rudy Gay (who watched from the sideline) on Thursday didn't hurt either.

Hijinks 

In this no-frills environment there was bound to be edgier player behavior. Profanity from the court and from the pre-game soundtrack was the norm at Impact; the sterilization that you find at the NBA in that regard was not present. 

With only a few exceptions, the players, who were not forced by anyone to conduct interviews or interact with media or fans, were thoughtful and kind on and off the court. Of course, the exceptions are far more entertaining than the rule, so here are a few highlights.

Melvin Ely, who is reportedly heading to China, crumpled to the ground after taking a blow to his face. In some fairly serious pain, Ely was escorted to a training area away from the court, where he was attended to by medical personnel. On his way there, though, he took a quick detour to upend a large gatorade bucket in frustration, crashing the contents behind one of the team's benches. Players chuckled and media members raised their eyebrows.

On Thursday, Denver Nuggets forward Al Harrington made his debut with a bang, earning two technical fouls in one game for disputing calls. The first time, he merely shouted at one of the referees; the second time, he chucked a ball so far off the court it hit a brick wall some 20 or 30 feet behind one of the baskets. Harrington was not ejected after receiving his second technical, although free throws were awarded on both violations.

The best trash talk exchange of the week occurred on Thursday, when Indiana Pacers forward Dahntay Jones and Detroit Pistons forward Austin Daye got into an entertaining back-and-forth. Jones, as you might expect, was the Impact Basketball king of the hard foul, sending player after player crashing to the hardwood in an effort to prevent lay-ups. He also was quick to chat too.

Daye found himself arguing a call while waiting to rebound a free throw attempt. Jones, who was in the backcourt, piped up to let Daye know that he was "soft" and that he should end his argument. Daye, an exceptionally skinny man for an NBA player, took real exception to Jones' label, raising his arms up to gesture towards the media section located behind the basket.

"You've got the worst game in here, ask any of them," Daye told Jones twice. Jones responded by mocking Daye's arm motions and sarcastically mimicking his aggravated tone. Play eventually resumed. 

'When you work out with guys for three or four months," Dudley explained, "they get under your skin. You're tired, you want to go home."

Top scorer

Houston Rockets guard Kyle Lowry had the high point scoring game of the week, notching 56 points in a heated Thursday contest.
 
Team play

Probably the most entertaining team to watch was a late-arriving Golden State Warriors crew that made its debut on Thursday. Curry, David Lee, Jeremy Lin, Ekpe Udoh, Jeremy Tyler, Klay Thompson, Lou Amundson, Charles Jenkins and Dorell Wright all got some run in. There were so many Warriors they actually had to be split up into two squads. What was great about Golden State was that you could see real chemistry at work rather than the slapped together teamwork that you usually see in summer exhibitions. Lots of communication and instruction. Lee hollered across the court at Lin, instructing him to stay in the weakside corner and serve as an outlet whenever he drew interior defenders on a drive. Thompson got a feel for establishing an inside-outside game with Lee, and lit it up from deep, draining jumper after jumper. 

Undersized Thomas feels he has a leg up 

Of the incoming rookie class of 2011, Isaiah Thomas, the draft's final pick by the Sacramento Kings, stood out for how comfortable he looked against more seasoned competition. Thomas is an undersized scoring guard who will struggle to defend at the NBA level. But he's also exceedingly quick, confident and able to create his own shot, a nice combination for a reserve, change of pace guard.

Thomas said he fit in right away at Impact because of his previous experience playing against professional players in Seattle, where he attended the University of Washington. 

"It's a blessing because not everybody in my position has that [experience]," Thomas said. "We've got guys like Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and the list goes on. Jason Terry. They really look out for the younger guys, the guy like Brandon Roy is such a great guy, he gives me input before games, after games, even when we workout together up in Seattle. He's a great guy and I learn from things like that.

He said he feels like he has a leg up on many other rookies in his position, both on and off the court, because of that guidance.

"It makes the transition smoother. Every guy up in Seattle has been through the situation I'm about to go through, but in different ways. If I can ask them about practice is going, what to expect, what's the business side of things. They all got different input, I take that all in. They are just trying to help, they are never going to steer me in the wrong direction."

As the last man selected in the draft and with a nonguaranteed contract likely in his future, Thomas realizes he will have to get in where he fits in with the Kings. "Play hard, play every possession like it's my last," Thomas explained. "Do whatever that want me to do. Score, get others involved, get on loose balls, play defense, I just want to play. After the draft, the Kings said, 'Keep doing what you're doing. We're excited when the time comes.'"
Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:17 am
 

Turns out this isn't entirely about the money

By Matt Moore

Back in July when the lockout began, there were a number of standard phrases being tossed around. Chief among them is "this is all about the money." The idea was that the players and owners weren't really unmovable, it was just a matter of dollars and cents. Basically, if the BRI could be figured out, compromised on, all the rest of this would just work itself out. 

Not so much.

I was on a radio call shortly after the lockout began and expressed my concerns for everything I'd heard and read. Because what I'd gathered was that the dispute went far beyond both sides scrapping over dollars. It had turned ideological. The NBA and its owners wanted to reverse decades of precedence in guaranteed contracts, implement a hard cap, eliminate exceptions, limit player flexibility and control, and they wanted the increase in their cut of the BRI to a 50/50 split. Most people thought that was ridiculous. There was no way the owners expected all that. The thought was that while there may be games missed, if there are, it will be because the players refuse to give up enough in BRI. 

Again, not so much.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week:
Neither side would say how far the players moved economically, but a person with knowledge of the negotiations said they expressed a willingness to move lower than the 54.3 percent of basketball-related income they last proposed on June 30 as a starting point in a six-year deal. Stern disputed the players' contention that the owners haven't made an economic move since the day before the lockout was imposed. Nobody outside the room knows how many millions the two sides shaved off the gap, but it hardly matters since everyone seemed willing to concede that they've at least dipped their toes on common ground when it comes to dollars.
via Despite posturing, owners and players near resolving money issue - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

That's extended by these comments from Jared Dudley to the Salt Lake City Tribune Wednesday:
How much was the NBPA willing to concede in basketball-related income during a collective bargaining agreement meeting Tuesday in New York: I think they offered 53, 54 [percent]. We're at 57. They're looking more in the 40s. That's a huge jump — that's over 10 percent. That's where $800 million becomes a big gap. I think we have offered $300 million and they wanted more than that.
via Suns' Jared Dudley says ball's in Billy Hunter's court as NBPA returns to square one during NBA lockout | Utah Jazz Notes | The Salt Lake Tribune.

More from Dudley:
I think [the NBPA] even went down, to be honest with you, to 53 [percent]. I talked to Roger Mason -- 53 percent. And you know what, let's say they went down to 52, 51. If that gets the season done, I guarantee you we would have the season if that's what it takes. But it's not just that, it's a lot. And right now, the owners want a lot and they're willing to sit out. Some are losing money, some are making money.
 



53 percent down from 57, and that's a starting point. Where the owners to respond with 51 or 52 percent, they could likely get somewhere within baby's breath of the 50/50 split. Probably not right at it, but no one gets everything that they want, right?

Not so much. The owners, understanding their considerable leverage, do want everything they want and expect to get it. Except that goes far beyond the 50/50 cut. This hasn't been offered, but the new standing feeling from multiple media sources is that the players could offer up the 50/50 and the owners would likely still be pursuing the hard cap.  If anything, the owners seem more entrenched the more the players seem to surrrender. It's only getting worse. 

If the concern is over the yearly losses the owners are taking in, and the players are offering to give back up to 4 percent of their take right now before negotiations even get serious, what is it that the owners do want? What's the target of all this hard-line insistence? What's the end point?

In short, it boils down to toddlers baby-proofing the house. The league's owners are looking to be able to remove themselves from the burden of bad contracts which they themselves provide. A bad contract sinks a franchise like nothing else. It's an albatross, an anchor, and a curse at the same time. It stands as a mark of their own impudence. There are exceptions of bad luck, where no one could have foreseen the injuries that would come. But for each of those there is a player who the franchise could not bear to see go, and paid despite reservations. The Blazers knew about Brandon Roy's knee condition when they offered him his extension. The Hawks were aware that Joe Johnson would be in his early-to-mid-30's when his final year of his contract is paying him over $20 million. It goes on and on, and even the smaller deals are ones they want to be able to remove themselves from.  Much of this is dictated by the market, and almost all of it is dictated not by the players, but by their agents. Consider what Rashard Lewis, one of the players under a contract that is considered dead weight, told ESPN earlier this week, and a point made by ESPN's J.A. Adande:
Just keep in mind how we got to this point: After the players agreed to a salary cap, a rookie wage scale, a maximum player salary and a luxury tax designed to slow the escalating contracts, can they really be expected to just say no to whatever money the owners kept offering?

Or, as Lewis puts it, "You sign me to a deal, you think I'm going to say, 'No, I deserve $50 [million] instead of $80 [million]?' I'm like, 'Hell, yeah.' I'm not going to turn it down. You can't blame the players. If anything, we don't negotiate the deal. We've got agents that negotiate the deals with the team. Y'all need to go talk to the teams and the agents."
via Rashard Lewis is what this lockout is all about - ESPN.

But the owners simply want to cut the agents' power off at the knees. Instead of bargaining better, they want to remove that hold. Now, in many ways, this is actually a very reasonable request. Even the players will tell you that. Dudley, once more (you really should read the entire interview with the Tribune, it's quite extensive, particularly regarding decertification):
I understand that the common thing is they don't want players that make a lot of money not playing. Look, if you were a business or you were a restaurant, you don't pay someone that you think's not [working]. We're not going to put it all on the owners. We're going to take some of the blame. But, hey, we're willing to work on it. We're just not willing to give up guaranteed contracts and $800 million.
 And yet that's what the owners are asking for. Both. Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe reported Thursday morning that the players have said that if the owners were to theoretically turn the conversation to how much BRI the players would want to accept a hard cap, the players would want 65 percent, an eight percentage points increase from their current number of 57. That's a lot of dough. That's what it would take to get a deal for the season to start. Unfortunately, the owners would never accept that because while the systemic changes they want are extremely important to their belief in what is necessary for the league to profitable and to increase competitiveness (despite any number of challenges to the idea that a hard cap would result in such competitive balance), they still do want the money. It's not that they want one more than the other, it's that they want their cake, to eat it, too, and to have the players bring them as many slices as they want until they are full. And if that means it takes until January, or an entire season to force the players to accept both conditions, that's what they're willing to do at this moment. 

There's been a lot of talk since Tuesday's "sky is falling" meeting reaction about how things are actually progressing. And there's a certain element of that. The players gave ground, and still didn't get what they want, a resolution. So now the standard for negotiations has shifted. The new status quo is working off the assumption the players will surrender that percentage of the BRI, and the owners are now working to see what else they can get. If the hard liners on the owners' side of the table maintain control, it will be until they squeeze every drop they can from the players that we get a season. If the moderates manage to reclaim the gavel, a reasonable shift with a harder while not "hard" cap and the salary rollbacks could be agreed upon in time to start the season or shortly thereafter. 

And that's where we return to the fundamental psychology involved here. If this is a business negotiation, there's progress to be made, a system to create, a season to save. If this remains ideological from the owners' side, the only reasonable prediction is for an equally extremist reaction from the players. Talks broke down because the owners have kept to that ideological divide. And the only way this whole God forsaken thing ends is if the two sides are talking. 

Meanwhile, the agents wait in the forest like wolves waiting for the right time to attack, and if that happens and decertification is the plan, everything is thrown into the air as this enters the courts. Things only get worse from there. There's definitely a chance talks could resume and the two sides could find enough common ground to spearhead things into a blossoming agreement that gets things started in time for the season without a single game lost. But in reality?

Not so much. 
Posted on: September 15, 2011 12:24 am
Edited on: September 15, 2011 1:42 am
 

'Lockout League' shows NBA's power over players

Posted by Ben Golliver

john-wall-small

LAS VEGAS -- The Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series -- better known as the "Lockout League" -- had its first signature moment of the week, thanks to a big name guest on Wednesday. Washington Wizards point guard John Wall -- suiting up with NBA teammates like JaVale McGee, Jordan Crawford and Rashard Lewis -- put on a show like he has been all summer, tossing in acrobatic lay-ups, slamming a blocked shot against the backboard, unleashing a variety of dribble moves and, most fearsomely, gobbling up defenders in transition as only he can on his way to 42 points. There were two exclamation points. The first: a pull-back dribble move and jumper that made Coby Karl fall to the ground. The second: another jumper, more routine, that led Wall to scream towards the crowd that this was what getting better in the summer was all about. It was great to hear a young player, a future perennial All-Star no less, so focused on improving the most glaring weakness in his game.

The only problem? His yells of pride fell on deaf ears and empty seats. 

Wall's appearance roughly tripled the average number of ticket-paying customers at Impact, but that number still fell short of 100 people. It is an astonishing number, considering Wall's popularity in college, his strong rookie season, the inherent marketability of his game and his fan-friendly personality. He stole the show in this very same town in the Summer of 2010, providing highlight reel play after highlight reel play during the annual Las Vegas Summer League.

The lesson here? Well, it's more of a reminder than a revelation. Wall might be irreplaceable on the hardwood, but he doesn't promote the games, he doesn't market the league and his team, he doesn't cultivate years-long relationships with corporate partners, he doesn't create season ticketholder retention plans, he doesn't sign the television deals, he doesn't design the jerseys, he doesn't conduct market studies on the ideal in-game experience to maximize fan happiness and he doesn't own or operate the building.

Give Wall a stage and a supporting cast and he will star. Ask him to star and hope that everything else falls into place? It just doesn't work like that.

There are a handful of NBA players that are recognizable and famous enough that their presence alone could sell out an NBA arena on a moment's notice. But even second or third tier stars like Wall need the NBA and the structure it provides far more than we probably realized when the lockout went into effect on July 1. The training staff at Impact Basketball couldn't be more knowledgable, professional and experienced. The media relations personnel couldn't be more accomodating. Everyone involved in the "Lockout League" is as passionate a fan of hoops as you will find in any NBA office or at any NBA arena. But to compare what the players are doing here to the NBA is like David and Goliath, to put it kindly. There are high school football games drawing significantly larger crowds in all 50 states this week.

This summer we've learned, or been reminded, that the labor negotiations aren't just millionaire players versus billionaire owners. Rather, it's the players against owners, the thirty established brands they've created and managed, the league's infrastructure, marketing prowess and distribution capabilities, and its established corporate partner relationships and season ticket holder fanbases. It's easy to take the side of the little guy in any labor dispute. It's far more difficult to calculate how valuable any one of the individual little guys is to the entire machine in a corporate structure that rewards its employees so handsomely.

A common refrain from players assembled in Las Vegas this week is that they want to get back to work as soon as possible. They love the game and that the league's growing popularity is evidence that harm will be done if games are missed. That's certainly all true. But a vast majority of players always have and always will cycle through teams, in and out of the NBA in a relative blink of the eye. The brands and franchises, ultimately, are the bedrock of the NBA. Individual players, especially superstars, can bring new fans and convert casual fans into diehards. But only a select few -- not even one player per team -- can have a transformative effect. That kind of ratio simply isn't a business model. It takes a lot more to make the whole thing work.

I suspect that's why the players who are gathered in Las Vegas keep using words like "urgency" and "frustration" and "anger" when describing the lack of progress in the labor talks. Their career clocks are ticking. Their individual earning power decreases by the day. Their opportunity to achieve their wildest dreams slips slowly like sand in an hourglass. It's easy to lose sight of all of this during the middle of a whirlwind NBA season, with eight games a night and constant television programming that distorts perspective.

But that reality is inescapable when Wall performs a move that would be water cooler fodder nationwide if it happened under the NBA Playoffs spotlight, and it's not even met with audible cheers or gasps of awe, and is only captured on a handful of cameraphones and the most dedicated independent basketball video mixtape websites. The NBA and its owners -- as profit-hungry as they might be -- don't look nearly as bad compared to the "If an NBA player falls in the woods during the lockout, does he make a sound?" alternative that's been on display here. 

The loss of time and opportunity is starting to feel very, very real. New York Knicks guard Roger Mason, Jr. admitted on Wednesday that there is "absolutely" the possibility that the entire 2011-2012 season will be lost. Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley acknowledged that the owners have the leverage and even wondered aloud Wednesday night whether decertification might as well happen now rather than waiting a few months, if it's an option that's currently on the table. Free agents and undrafted players here generally don't seem to concern themselves too much with the specifics of the negotiations, they just want to know where their next deal is coming from and when they'll be able to take the court.  

In other words, I don't envy Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher right now. While the crowd at the "Lockout League" games has been almost eerily silent, the behind-closed-doors NBPA meeting on Thursday, in which the players' next negotiating steps are to be discussed, should be plenty loud.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Players decline to offer owners counter-proposal

Posted by EOB Staff.

The situation, as Ken Berger put it so eloquently, is thus: "In other words, as Kurt Vonnegut would say, the excrement has hit the air conditioning."

The owners and players met Friday in an effort to make progress off of the owners' seemingly concilliatory last offer. The natural step in a negotiation is for the players to respond with another counter-proposal as the two move closer together. But after everyone thought the owners' proposal was a great step forward, the union went ballistic over it.

 The result? Beger reports that Jared Dudley told media Friday after the meeting that the players elected to not offer a counter-proposal, saying the two sides were "too far apart." With a Board of Governor's meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Berger reports that he players expect the owners to vote for the lockout at that meeting. 

It's been a long time coming, and we have a week to go with NBA players and owners agreeing to a "smaller bargaining session" on next Wednesday or Thursday, but the reality is here.

We're headed for an NBA lockout, without question.

If you're looking for subtext here, imagine that the goal is to get a plank balanced on a post. Both sides want as much weight added to their side of the plank while keeping it balanced up in the air. They add things the players want (and have) like guaranteed contracts and things the owners want (like restrictions) to try and get things balanced. After the owners' very Cold-War approach to negotiations for the last, really two years, their last proposal seemed like a move towards progress. But the players feel that the owners have simply moved the post far enough and counter-weighted their side to make it look like it's balanced. In reality, the players feel they's simply moved the post and gotten  more of what they want, by managing the story. 

The players' abrasive and ultimately toxic approach Friday represents the line in the sand. They're not going any further, and they're not going to let the ownership dictate terms any more. The players have been concilliatory about BRI, exceptions, revenue sharing, the works throughout this process. Now that the owners have tossed them what they feel are bread crumbs and called it progress,  the players have elected to throw the bread back in their face and walk out the door.

Berger reports Stern characterized his reaction to the decision as "disappointed."  I characterize his chracterization as "the work of Captain Obvious." 

Perhaps you're wondering why it's taken until a week before the end date of the current CBA to reach this point, why they couldn't have negotiated seriously earlier, to reach this point and then push through it instead of running up against the cliff. 

Welcome to the club.

There's almost no escaping it now. Barring a miracle or a significant coup among the owners by the voices of reason, it's game over.

Professional basketball stops on a dime at midnight Thursday night.
Posted on: May 29, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: May 30, 2011 7:15 am
 

Steve Nash: A gay NBA player would be no big deal

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash says it wouldn't be a big deal if an NBA player revealed himself to be gay. Posted by Ben Golliver. steve-nash

No question about it: The Phoenix Suns have been at the forefront of advocating tolerance toward and acceptance of homosexuals in the past month.

Suns forwards Grant Hill and Jared Dudley released a public service announcement warning kids against using the word "gay" in a negative way. Suns guard Steve Nash issued a video testimony in favor of a New York gay marriage proposition. And, of course, Suns president Rick Welts revealed that he was gay, becoming the first male major professional sports executive to do so, saying that he hoped to serve as an example for younger people.

In an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, Nash was asked directly whether the NBA is ready for an openly gay active player.
If a player in the locker room came out, it would come and go quickly, too. I really don’t think it’s a big issue anymore. I think it would be surprisingly accepted, and a shorter shelf life than maybe we would imagine. I think the time has come when it should happen soon. I think it will be something that won’t take on this life of its own. It won’t be the O. J. trial.
Nash's comments are similar to those made recently by commentator and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who said that every NBA player has played with gay teammates and that he cares far more about a player's ability level than a player's sexuality.  

Is Nash correct in his analysis?

There is definitely some logic to the "shorter shelf life" line of thinking. Controversies and hot button issues seem to come and go must faster these days than they did even two or three years ago, as the latest rumor or gossip of the day is always pressing fast to make today's news outdated.

It's impossible to know if Nash has accurately gauged the tolerance of the NBA climate until a player does come out. But his honest and straightforward comments, which read as accepting and understanding, only help break the taboo of what has long been seen as a dicey or uncomfortable situation. 

Posted on: December 28, 2010 2:05 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Video: Best fantasy hoops waiver wire pickups

CBSSports.com is back with another episode of fantasy hoops analysis, focusing this week on who you might pick up off of the waiver wire. Posted by Ben Golliver CBSSports.com's Sergio Gonzalez always brings the Heat when it comes to fantasy hoops advice, and this week is no exception. In an interview with Lauren Shehadi, Gonzalez breaks down which NBA players might be available on your waiver wire and should be considered for a pickup. Just click here or watch the video below. Gonzalez listed Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, Milwaukee Bucks guards Earl Boykins and Keyon Dooling, Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza, Phoenix Suns wing Jared Dudley and center Marcin Gortat, and Sacramento Kings big man Samuel Dalembert.  Also this week, Gonzalez and Shehadi break down who you should start and sit in your fantasy lineups
Posted on: December 16, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:37 pm
 

The Game Changer: Dirk downs Portland

The Mavericks put away the Blazers, the Celtics escape the Knicks, Nate Robinson stumbles, the Suns are elated, the Denver television reporter that blew the Carmelo Anthony story 'fesses up, and plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: DALLAS LOOKING LEGIT

On Wednesday, after the Celtics were done breaking the Knicks' heart, the Dallas Mavericks stepped onto the ESPN stage and staked their claim to the title, "legit title contender."  The Mavericks are among the league leaders in stability, we've been watching this game core group for at least 46 years now, and, in related news, they are near the top of the leaderboard in, "Well, that was bound to happen," moments for their opposition. Wednesday night was just another one to tack onto that track record. Championship-quality teams pull out wins on their off nights, and that's exactly what happened in Texas, as the Mavericks staved off a Portland rally in the fourth quarter. A struggling Dirk Nowitzki proved for the 12,000th time that he is essentially unguardable down the stretch, scoring eight of his 21 points on an array of post moves in the final 2:24, overcoming a season-best performance from Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds. The Mavs caught some breaks,  a crucial no-call on Jason Terry during an Andre Miller drive swung momentum late and some poor clock management and slow fouling from the Blazers made the endgame easier for Dallas.  Another key against the Blazers, and a major x-factor in assessing the Mavericks' legitimacy as a title contender, was the play of Caron Butler. He was very effective, especially going to the basket, and his solid all-around night -- 23 points, seven rebonds and four assists -- helped provide the winning margin. His production on the year is still below his career numbers, but the total output is less important than the fit. If Dallas has things clicking and Butler is able to provide an auxiliary offensive threat alongside Nowitzki, this team will be an extremely tough out come playoff time.  The Mavericks are 20-5 on the season, and NBA.com notes that is the second best 25-game stretch in franchise history. The Western Conference -- with Dallas, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers all off to solid starts -- is shaping up to be a familiar three horse race.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Paul Pierce: 32 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a game-winner in 41 minutes in a Boston Celtics road win over the New York Knicks. Amar'e Stoudemire: 39 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks in 42 minutes in a New York Knicks home loss to the Boston Celtics. Carlos Boozer: 34 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block in 26 minutes in a Chicago Bulls road win over the Toronto Raptors. Blake Griffin: 20 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block in 39 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers road loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Steve Nash: 11 points, 19 assists, two rebounds in 31 minutes in a Phoenix Suns home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

DON'T MISS:

GET INTO IT:

The Phoenix Suns survived a crazy game with the Minnesota Timberwolves in Arizona on Wednesday night, cashing in 15 three-pointers on their way to a 128-122 victory. Check out this great shot of guard Jared Dudley, who nailed three treys himself, making it rain cheers. jared-dudley

OWNING UP:

The Denver television station that reported on Tuesday night Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony had been traded to the New Jersey Nets ridiculously "stood by its story" Wednesday, prompting CBSSports.com's Ken Berger to set them straight.  On Wednesday night, the station's sports reporter Lionel Bienvenu admitted on Twitter that the station hadn't gotten it right. "We jumped the gun with a tweet that wasn't worded correctly. we never reported the trade was done. just the tweet," Bienvenu tweeted.  As any media professional should know, a good chunk of NBA breaking news is, in fact, reported on Twitter. That imaginary barrier was crossed years ago. To attempt to distinguish between a report on television and a report on Twitter is ridiculous. At this point, we should expect nothing less.  

WHIMSY:

Via Twitter superstar Jose3030 and SB Nation, comes this hypnotizing graphic of Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson celebrating Paul Pierce's game-winner. Robinson leaps in the air not once but twice, and then comes crashing back to Earth in painful fashion. nate-rob

FOR THE WIN:

In case you missed it, there was an epic finish in New York between the Knicks and Celtics. Paul Pierce didn't hit the only game-winner Wednesday night, as San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili took a break from seeing UFOs to down the Milwaukee Bucks.  But did he travel? Watch the video from letreeman on YouTube and decide for yourself. Rob Mahoney investigates the "Was it a travel?" question here.

FINAL THOUGHT:

The Miami Heat won again, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-95 on Wednesday, to extend their winning streak to 10 consecutive games. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 65 points, 23 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block. Good lord.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:16 am
 

Jared Dudley signs 5-year, $22 million extension

Suns forward signs 5-year, $22.5 million extension.Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the agent for Jared Dudley confirms the Suns star will get the payday he's been hoping for. Berger reports that Dudley tonight signed a 5-year, $22.5 million extension. Dudley had been hopeful, but pessimistic of getting the extension. The Suns forward averaged 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per 40 minutes last season, which is nothing to write home about, but was a huge part of the Suns' bench mob which helped them to the Western Conference Finals.

Defense is where Dudley makes his money, and last year, according to Synergy Sports, he held opponents to 36% shooting in the post with a 20% turnover rate (!) and 40% in isolation. That's good work. 5-years and $22.5 million isn't bad for a do-it-all forward, but you have to wonder if the Suns will regret the length of that contract in a few years when Steve Nash is gone. But hey, maybe the CBA will wipe it out anyway.

Dudley, on his part, is pretty excited.


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