Tag:Aaron Brooks
Posted on: February 24, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 6:28 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Suns look to future with Brooks

Posted by Royce Young

Any other deadline day, Aaron Brooks going to Phoenix would feel like really big news. But in week where roughly 10 percent of the league was traded, included something like eight All-Stars, it sort of got overlooked.

The Rockets have been talking about moving Brooks for some time as he's kind of soured in Houston. They're fine with handing the team to Kyle Lowry and heck, maybe even Dragic now who is a pretty good point guard. They also get a nice first-round pick from Phoenix, which is always an added bonus.

Houston was itching to make some kind of deal the entire deadline. For whatever reason, Daryl Morey wanted to move some pieces around. The Rockets kept trying to say they weren't moving Brooks, but the closer things got, the more obvious it was getting. Houston wasn't committing to him long-term, he was souring in his role with the team and wasn't getting along with Rick Adelman.

Strike one, two and three.

The Suns on the other hand, get last season's Most Improved winner and a decent heir to Steve Nash's throne. Of course Brooks is a restricted free agent so something will have to be settled there, but Phoenix likely didn't make this deal just to let Brooks walk. At some point they will need a new point guard and Brooks looks to be their man.


Again, the key is figuring out how Brooks fits in long-term. If Phoenix isn't willing to pay him, then all they ended up with was two months of backup duty and a small improvement over Dragic at that position.

So it's clear the the Suns will do everything necessary to keep him. He should fit well into the up-and-down system Alvin Gentry runs and as a scoring point guard, will likely enjoy his role. He's got to get back to the player he was in 2009-10 though. He has to find the confidence and playmaking ability that won him the Most Improved trophy.

The Rockets didn't get any worse with the trade, but definitely didn't improve. The pick is the nice part for them. Phoenix on the other hand may have gotten a steal, but that's only if they can find the old Aaron Brooks.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 12:03 am
 

NBA Trade Deadline: Ten Most Wanted

With the NBA trade deadline approaching, we take a look at the league's ten most wanted players for acquisition before Thursday afternoon.
Posted by Matt Moore

The NBA trade deadline is just three days away (Thursday, February 24th at 3 p.m. EST). The Melo trade has held up a lot of movement but there's a lot of talk bubbling beneath it. With it expected to be resolved in the next 24 to 48 hours (like we've said about ten times, but bear with us), it's going to be a fast and furious final trade season under the current CBA agreement.  Many are predicting a toned down deadline due to the CBA, but there are enough buyers (Houston, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey) and enough sellers (Portland, Indiana, Charlotte) to make for some interesting developments as we head down the stretch. But who are the players that everyone's clamoring for? And why are they worth that much?

Saddle up, partner. Here's the true grit behind our NBA Trade Deadline 10 Most Wanted. 

1. Carmelo Anthony: Melo, naturally, is the most wanted. It's not just the vast history of all this nonsense; it's how it's come down to the wire. Two teams, both of which will be located in New York in 2012, with rich, eccentric owners, throwing out asset after asset to try and acquire the All-Star. Anthony's worth it. Even with his defensive issues and relative inefficiency compared to his fellow elite players, Anthony can score anytime, anywhere, anyway. He's a clutch performer who can take over a ballgame and having a 1-2 punch between him and either Amar'e Stoudemire or Brook Lopez would significantly boost the Knicks' or Nets' hopes for the future. His agents have kept the pressure on since July, and Denver has been slowly losing their resolve to keep him. The odds are heavily favored that Anthony will be moved sometime this week and it will kick off a series of deals with the other front offices around the league. And then the New York/New Jersey circus will really kick off. 

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports Monday that that the Nets may actually be trying to get two of the assets the Nuggets would get in a deal with the Knicks for two first rounders. If that works out, the Knicks and Nets will combine to give Denver two starters and three picks. It's not the loaded deal the Nets were offering for Anthony, but it's still an insane wagon-full of assets. If they wind up with Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and three first-round picks in exchange for just Melo and Billups, they've still lost because they lost an All-Star. But they also will have successfully set the team up to immediately turn around and compete right off the bat. They'll still be able to move J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and have Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo to build around along with Nene. This is the dream scenario for the Nugget if they have to trade with New York. 

2. Andre Iguodala: Iggy has been on the market for literally years. He's the consummate supporting player, able to pass, rebound, and score. He's never played alongside a top-flight point guard (sorry Philly fans, Jrue Holiday's not there yet), and has had to play the part of the primary offensive option, which he's ill-suited for. The Sixers have recently made quite a bit of noise about him not going anywhere, which frankly, baffles us. They have Evan Turner who has shown significant signs of progress as the season has progressed, and his value on the market trumps his value to the team as it tries to build a new core. But he has $44 million left on his contract, which is a big price tag to swallow for a guy who should probably be no more than third option on offense. That's not a knock on Iguodala, as we've come to understand the things he does defensively and in support for the system are nearly invaluable, and that's before we factor in his locker room leadership. If a team decides it wants to make a big move and has young assets to spend, Iguodala is a prime target for a late push.

The real answer to whether Iguodala will be moved is whether Rod Thorn and coach Doug Collins think that he's able to co-exist with Evan Turner, and if they think Iguodala can continue to be the face of the franchise with so much young talent around him. Jrue Holiday, Turner, an improved season from Thaddeus Young, and even with Elton Brand performing better than expected. At the same time, the Sixers are right in the playoff hunt, in an underwhelming middle of the Eastern Conference, and a great shot at making a run this season. However, the Sixers would be foolish to commit to Iguodala, turning down a good offer for him just to make the playoffs and get run out of the building in the first round. Part of putting your team in a position to win championships isn't just figuring out what will work, but what won't. Iguodala will continue to elicit calls right up until the deadline, big contract or no.

3. Andre Miller:  Old man game in the house!  Miller is an aging, veteran point guard who has proven he can still drop 40 every once in a while. You know exactly what you're getting with Miller. He is a consistent, reliable scorer who lacks upside and athleticism, but always manages to find a way to get it done. He's a relative steal at $3.6 million (prorated) for this season and $7.8 million non-guaranteed for next season. That means two different types of teams can vie for him: those seeking a veteran point guard upgrade to push them over the top, and those looking to dump salary next year while giving their team a reliable fill in for the remainder of the year. The Blazers have been so-so on Miller since he arrived as a free agent in 2009, clashing with Nate McMillan. But those problems were resolved quickly and he's grown to be a strong force in the locker room, the steady hand on a ship filled to the brim with the injured. Yet, he's 34 and the Blazers look to go younger. Miller has repeatedly been listed as a target in a potential Devin Harris trade, among others.  The Blazers may look to keep him order to push for the playoff income, especially given his ability to connect with LaMarcus Aldridge, but if Rich Cho elects for a full-scale revamp for the long-term, Miller will be one of the first assets put on the block, and one of the first to attract multiple offers. 

Miller's attitude may be a huge factor. He doesn't want to leave the Blazers, but is also tired of being discussed under trade talk. Moving to a rebuilding project, however, would be extremely difficult for him at this point in his career and could create an ugly situation with any team that trades for him who isn't on the up and up. On the flip side, he's a perfect option for a contending team looking to acquire a capable back-up point guard to get them over the top. While there's been little noise about this, Orlando would be one team you'd think might be giving Portland a call to inquire about Miller, should the Nets not immediately move Harris for Miller in the next few days, either through Denver or independently.

4. Marcus Camby: Speaking of the Blazers, they've got another aged, talented, productive player starting for them, and he too could be on the move. Camby has a little less than $17 million (prorated) left on his contract. He's a versatile, talented defensive center who can impact a game at both ends, is reliable and capable. He's a seasoned veteran who does his job, has an expiring contract after 2012, and can push a contender over the top. The only problem? He doesn't want to leave. Sources have said he would "contemplate retirement" if he was traded to a rebuilding situation, and his agent has talked strongly about how much he wants to stay in Portland, where he's moved his family. We've seen this before, as older players really love the atmosphere and lifestyle of raising their families in Portland, on a team with a loving fanbase that always tries to contend. Still, Camby can't control what happens, and if presented with an opportunity to win a ring, he would likely welcome the opportunity wholeheartedly. 

The same problem exists for Rich Cho with Camby as it does with Miller. They're both huge reasons why the Blazers are still in the playoff hunt and moving them would almost certainly result in a drop to the lottery. The Blazers are likely aiming to get a deal that frees them up long-term while still taking on players of a solid caliber. They know it will be difficult to improve with a trade for Camby, but they may be able to move his conract while still adding talent to keep them in the same place. Houston has been mentioned by CBSSports.com's Ken Berger as a possible destination for Camby.

5. O.J. Mayo:  Talk about a bad year. In Summer League, the Grizzlies pressed O.J. Mayo to play point guard, resulting in some terrible, turnover-filled performances after which he was yanked following a handful of performances. He was cut from Team USA despite their need for perimeter shooting. In preseason, Lionel Hollins questioned him publicly. He started the year in a shooting slump, so significant that Hollins decided to move him to the bench, in order to improve their bench scoring, the first time Mayo has come off the bench in organized ball in his life, mostly likely. His name started to appear in trade rumors. He watched as Mike Conley got a $40 million extension, with Lionel Hollins backing him for two years despite his struggles, while Mayo was yanked to the bench at the first sign of a slump. He got into a fight with Tony Allen on a team flight over a gambling dispute and got his lights knocked out. And then he got busted for a performance-enhancing drug, earning him a ten-game suspension. 

So why then is Mayo then such a popular trade prospect? Because he's very good. In his first two years in the league he was a high-level perimeter threat, able to score both in spot-up situations and off the dribble. He has a ways to go on defense, particularly against larger two guards where he's almost always undersized, but he shows great quickness and anticipation. He's still on his rookie contract and will be an RFA under the newly modified CBA next summer, meaning he's not a risk to depart a team that acquires him. And he's one of the few players who is truly capable of dropping 30 on a given night when he's hot. He's everything you want in a trade prospect. Unwanted by his team, available for affordable extension, talented, still with upside, and with low trade value due to off-the-court issues and team decisions which don't signify long-term problems. The Grizzlies have consistently said publicly that they plan to re-sign Mayo and not trade him. But there have been suggestions across the league that teams have inquired about him and received positive feedback that he can be had for the right price, though that's expected to possibly be too high. Mayo is teetering on the very edge of a move. If a GM gets itchy to acquire a player of that ilk, he's likely to go. 

6. Aaron Brooks: Seems like only yesterday he was carving up the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs, prompting L.A. fans abroad to ask "Who IS this guy?!" Now he's an upcoming free agent without an extension, disgruntled and unhappy as the Rockets have done what they usually do. Get the most out of a player's ability without ever over-committing to a contract they would regret later. They did the same thing with Carl Landry, eventually signing him on the cheap, then trading him to Sacramento for Kevin Martin. Now they face a similar situation with Brooks, only he represents an expiring contract, increasing his trade value. 

Brooks' value on the open market isn't sky high. He's an undersized point guard who's not particularly efficient. He doesn't have insane athleticism, nor does he possession tremendous vision .He's just a good, solid, young point guard who can be had for a reasonable price. And even with the depth of the point guard position, those are still valuable. Brooks has incredible speed and is a tremendous finisher at the basket. He's had some trouble with Adelman but this season has been the first where he's struggled with team issues. What's more, the Rockets won't horde him, trying to get the most value out of him. Instead, he can be had in a combination package with some of the rest of the Rockets' young talent. But Brooks can be used as the centerpiece in the deal. A team looking for a backup point guard to provide scoring will likely look to Brooks first when they go to market. 

7. Andrei Kirilenko: It's baffling that in the midst of what seems more and more like a disastrous season for the Utah Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko's name hasn't started foaming from sources' mouths like the sources have Russian Freak Wing Rabies. Kirilenko is 29 with several good years still left in him, averages 13, 6, and 3, with 1 steal and 1 block in 32 minutes per game. But biggest of all? He has a $17.8 million expiring contract. Close to $18 million coming off the books. There's been a lot of talk that expiring contracts won't hold as much value this year with the CBA coming up, which doesn't make a lot of sense. For starters, the new CBA likely won't affect luxury tax payments for this season. Next, even if the cap is decreased significantly, and even if it is made into a hard cap, space under that cap will still be valuable. Especially for teams looking to park contracts like Kirilenko's to get rid of their players and change things up. Kirilenko isn't the star the Jazz hoped he would be when they signed him to his last contract. But he's still a tall, strong, veteran player who can contribute to a contending team, or help a rebuilding franchise transition. Kirilenko will likely start popping up in rumors as the deadline draws nearer. 

The problem is that even by paying for a rental with Kirilenko, you don't know what you're going to get. His time with Utah has been described with significant high points and low points. He's been a big reason for the Jazz' continued success, but has also never taken the next step that management thought he would when the signed him to the extension. Teams trading for him have little way to tell how he would react in another locker room, and that's a big gamble for the remainder of his $17.8 million contract. 


8. Devin Harris: Harris was thought to be the building block of the Nets' rebuilding project when they traded Jason Kidd for him. But he's only been above average, never great, especially after that first season. When the Nets were in the lead for the John Wall sweepstakes last year, which of course they lost, there was rampant talk that the Nets would trade Harris once assured of the No.1 pick. We never got to find out the answer to that as the Nets wound up with Derrick Favors, instead. Harris isn't as young as some folks think, turning 28 three days after the deadline. But he's in his prime, and still able to run an offense, has little injury history, good explosiveness, nice scoring ability and good vision. Which is why he's been a part of the Nets' talks for Melo since the beginning, and why should a deal fall through for Anthony, he's likely on his way out anyway. 

Harris has suffered with poor teammates but the thoughts from several front office officials is that he could produce were he on a contending team. It's difficult to go from a playoff team like Dallas to a rebuilding project, especially when his second season in New Jersey was historically bad. Throw in the weight of trade rumors hovering overhead and there's enough to cloud the issue of Harris' performance. But the Nets will have to capitalize while that value is still in effect or they'll wind up with nothing for him. Portland has expressed interest several times, including the aforementioned deal for Andre Miller, and Dallas has shown similar interest. 

9. Stephen Jackson / Gerald Wallace: One of them will probably go. Not both, most likely, but one. The Bobcats need to cut salary. They're looking at an uphill climb to the playoffs, and even then the odds of any progress there are nonexistent. They need to get rid of some of the older players on large, sizeable contracts, and these two represent their biggest sale items for such a move. Jackson has been involved in more talks. He's a veteran scorer who can drop 30 regularly, has played on a championship team (Spurs 2003), has led the most unlikely upset in NBA playoff history with the Warriors, and is respected across the league as a fierce competitor and locker-room leader. 

Sure, he's a little nuts, but who isn't? Jackson's off the court issues have vanished with age, and now his biggest liability is his contract. Golden State surrendered a massive extension to him that leaves over $20 million still left on his contract over the next two and a half years, all guaranteed. Jackson will be 35 when his contract expires. That's a pretty old player with a less-than-elite ceiling to be paying over $10 million to. But considering the possibility of CBA rollbacks on current contracts, and the chance for Jackson to contribute to a winner, he's likely going to be high on the list. The Mavericks have been most prominently discussed as a viable buyer, with Caron Butler's expiring as bait.

Wallace on the other hand was an All-Star last season, is only 28, and is a high-price addition. He's got $21 million left on his deal over three-years, and a player option for the third year. But Wallace could contribute immediately to a contender. He's a wing that can rebound, provide assists and scoring, and is an elite defender. He's reliable and has no discernibly blatant weaknesses in his game, despite a low ceiling for performance. Wallace isn't going to drop 40 on you, but he is going to stuff the stat sheet every night. Jackson has received more attention, but it's Wallace who may wind up getting stronger offers he can't refuse as the deadline nears.

10. Ramon Sessions: Sessions was drafted in the second round, spent time in the D-League, then showed up with the Bucks and  immediately showed promise. But he was then buried by Scott Skiles, and wound up signing an offer sheet with Minnesota, who of course, mishandled him, then traded him to Cleveland. Sessions has played for most of the season as the starting point guard for the team who lost the most consecutive games in history (with Mo Williams missing significant time due to injury). So why are so many teams interested in him?

Because he's talented, consistent, and efficient. Sessions has a strong ability to attack the basket, good handle, and is cheap. He's got just $10 million left on his deal over three years with a player option in the third year. He has a 19 PER and has proven to be coachable, talented, and has considerable growth potential. He's simply been passed from one bad team to the next. On a good team he could wind up as a serious addition off the bench. Which is why the Knicks and Hawks have both made inquiries about him. Sessions is the kind of player who deserves a fresh start. Maybe he'll get one to get off this disaster of a Cavs team. Either way, expect a lot of talk about him before Thursday afternoon.

(All salary info courtesy of ShamSports .)

Posted on: February 9, 2011 2:03 am
Edited on: February 9, 2011 2:09 am
 

Game Changer: Pacers choke against Heat

The Miami Heat get an easy one thanks to a late-game meltdown by the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James gets way up, Blake Griffin throws down the Alley Oop and Chauncey Billups looks cold. Plus, plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver.

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

THE BIG ONE: PACERS CHOKE AGAINST HEAT

The Indiana Pacers and their new teenage-looking coach Frank Vogel are hard to root against, as the sacking of Jim O'Brien immediately produced a four-game winning streak for a team that had only won four games in the month prior to his dismissal. 

The winning came to an end -- and Vogel's undefeated head coaching record was finally tarnished -- on Tuesday night as the Pacers lost to the mighty Miami Heat on the road, 117-112. 
  The ending to this one was not only bizarre, it was fairly rare. Allow me set the scene.

With 8.9 seconds left, the Pacers have the ball on a side inbounds play in the frontcourt, trailing by three points, 115-112. The Pacers stacked four players in the middle of the court with guard Dahntay Jones inbounding the ball. Even without strong initial pressure on the ball, Jones couldn't find anyone, and he watched as Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. fired across the top of the key, as point guard Darren Collison shot into the near corner and as forward Danny Granger came directly to the ball. The only non-shooter on the court for Indiana, big man Jeff Foster, just stood stunned in the paint watching this car wreck unfold. 

With all three possible options exhausted, Jones finally threw a bounce pass in to Granger, only to have the referee blow his whistle, signalling for a five second violation.

Man alive. How often do you see a five second violation on a potential game-winning, last second play? Not often. 

Credit goes to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who had a small-ball defensive lineup in with guards Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade and a trio of forwards: LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller to defend against the obvious three-point attempt. Chalmers didn't initially pressure the ball that hard, but as the clock started ticking he does move up, obscuring Jones' vision. Miller and James simply did their jobs, shadowing their men and not getting hung up on screens. Dwyane Wade probably had the largest role in causing the violation, sticking to Granger like glue, forcing Jones' delay and indecision because he was worried about a Wade steal from behind.

But we shouldn't go overboard in praising Miami. This wasn't a difficult to time catch-and-shoot situation. This was a standard late-game entry pass that the Pacers simply couldn't execute. Get. The. Ball. In. Bounds. They couldn't do it.

Miami cashed in on the mistake as the Pacers were forced to foul immediately and that was the ball game. Take a look at the play. Admire the meltdown.


GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

LeBron James:  41 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists on 15-of-23 shooting in 42 minutes in a Miami Heat home win over the Indiana Pacers.

Dwight Howard:  22 points, 20 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, +30 (!) on 7-of-13 shooting in 37 minutes in an Orlando Magic home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Zach Randolph:   31 points, 13 rebounds, four assists on 11-of-19 shooting in 47 minutes in a Memphis Grizzlies road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

DON'T MISS:

SNAPSHOT:

Blake Griffin might put more people on posters, but nobody dunks in more photographic fashion than LeBron James. Watch out, below. My goodness. Two of his 41 points. 

lebron-dunk

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

This is just a Blake Griffin dunk every single day, you know how I do it. Here Griffin catches the alley oop lob pass and dunks over Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson, much like he dunked over Kyle Korver recently. Griffin struggled on the night, scoring just 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 35 minutes of action in a 101-85 loss to Orlando.



WHIMSY:

Per Denver Nuggets team policy, Chauncey Billups does not charge baggage handling fees. Boy, he looks cold.
chauncey-billups-snow

FINAL THOUGHT:

I, for one, am glad that Kevin Durant made the three-point contest even if he is the only one of the contestants to shoot below league-average from deep.  Given his competitive desire, overall talent level and ability to rise to the occasion, Durant not only makes a great candidate, he serves as an excellent foil for the field. He gets to take on a Larry Bird role here, the intimidating all-NBA gunner who the specialists can try to take down. I love it. What better script is there for a three-point contest?
Posted on: February 8, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Report: Rockets not interested in moving Brooks

Posted by Royce Young

Monday, there was news that the Houston Rockets were "going to try hard" to move guard Aaron Brooks before the trade deadline. And with that was word that the Knicks were interested.

According to the Houston Chronicle, only half of that is correct.

A report in New York had the Rockets eager to dump Aaron Brooks, and that the Knicks were mulling a deal.

The primary point of the report, that the Knicks are interested in Brooks, is entirely accurate.

According to two individuals with knowledge of the Rockets' thinking, the Rockets are not mulling a deal because so far there is not one to consider, and the Rockets are not looking to dump Brooks. Not even close.

He could be moved by the deadline, which has been true for most of the Rockets roster since Yao Ming started limping Nov. 10, long before Brooks stalked off the floor on Saturday. The Rockets, however, are not in talks to deal him and really don't want to.

Again, Brooks is a restricted free agent and has some clashes with both the front office and the coaching staff. His role has been altered in Houston and by all appearances, he's a bit unhappy.

But as the report says, just because Brooks has pouted a bit lately doesn't mean the Rockets are going to jump up and move him. Professional athletes have emotions but they also get over things. Whatever the case, as the deadline approaches, Brooks' situation is one to keep an eye on.

Posted on: February 7, 2011 9:55 pm
 

Rockets trying to move Brooks, Knicks involved?

Posted by Royce Young

Things can change quickly in professional sports. One minute you're the star of a team, a building block for the future. The next, you're on the trade block.

That appears to be the story for Rockets guard Aaron Brooks as Newsday reports that Houston is "going to try hard" to move Brooks before the Feb. 24 deadline. The report also says the Knicks are interested in acquiring Brooks.

Brooks is a restricted free agent after this season, so that will bring down the price tag. He's making $2 million this season. As pointed out by Posting and Toasting, a potential trade could include Kelenna Azubuike's expiring deal ($3.3 million) that is eligible to have 80 percent covered by insurance.

The Rockets have a pretty good stable of guards with Kyle Lowry who has taken over the starting duties at point, Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee. Rookie Ishmael Smith has moved between the Rockets and the D-League, but he'll likely find a permanent spot if Brooks is moved.

Brooks of course had a recent issue with the Rockets as he was suspended for Monday's game for leaving the floor after being substituted in a game over the weekend. But the issues with the team go back to before the season too as he was vocal about wanting an extension with the team though general manager Daryl Morey said the team had a "policy" about not giving them out.

I guess you can kind of see why Morey held off now. It's why he's one of the smartest out there. Other GMs would've hit Brooks with a five-year, $50 million deal the second he asked for it.

Things haven't gone well recently in Houston for last season's Most Improved winner, with him losing playing time and even his starting spot. He battled an ankle injury early on but since his return hasn't performed up to expectation. Brooks, 26, is averaging 12.2 points and 4.1 assists per game this season after his career-best 19.6 points and 5.3 assists in 2009-10.

The Knicks have been after a backup point guard for Raymond Felton for some time, but to me it seems like Brooks might be a little too good for that role. If Brooks isn't happy about his minutes in Houston, why would he all of a sudden be happy in New York behind Felton?
Posted on: February 6, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Aaron Brooks suspended for walking off court

Posted by Royce Young

About halfway through the fourth quarter of Houston's overtime win against the Grizzlies Saturday, Rick Adelman subbed for Aaron Brooks. No big deal, just a substitution, right?

Wrong. Brooks, apparently not liking the swap, walked straight past the Rocket bench and into the locker room. Not because he needed some treatment or was injured. Nope, he was just mad about the substitution.

As a result, the Rockets have suspended Brooks for a game, according to the Houston Chronicle. He'll be sitting out Monday's game against the Nuggets and did not travel with the team.

Brooks, who battled injury early on during the season after winning Most Improved last year, has been relagated to a backup role for the Rockets. The reason though is simply because he hasn't played that well at all this year. He's forcing horrible shots and trying to do way too much. Two things that definitely don't fit into Adleman's share-the-ball system.

This type of stuff happens with players. They have egos. They have emotion. Brooks is obviously frustrated with the situation but surely is most frustrated with himself and his play. In the long run, this will be a good thing for him and probably for the Rockets. The team has underachieved and when that sort of thing happens, emotions boil over.

That doesn't excuse it, but it at least makes it understandable.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Game Changer 1.11.11: Rose goes airborne

Game Changer, where Derrick Rose got up, got on up. 

Posted by Matt Moore

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.  

SWEET MAMMAJAMMA: Derrick Rose and the infinite oop-ness

Let us begin with this ending-of-all-life-as-we-know-it dunk from Derrick Rose. 





Note that Rose makes the pass then immediately calls for the alley-oop. For whatever reason, no Pistons give their teammate a heads up on it. Either they didn't see it or couldn't react fast enough. Certainly understandable, considering Rose moves at approximately the speed of sound. 




29 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block for Rose in the win.

THE BIG ONE: Boston struggles against the high-speed offense again

Remember when we told you that Boston has issues with high-pace offenses ? Houston is fourth in the league in pace. Again, the Boston defense was unable to clamp down on a team that worked early in the shot clock. The obvious excuse is that Boston was without Kevin Garnett. But Boston had its chances and couldn't quite get a grip on a team who is likely unsympathetic to injury concerns in their own right. 

Aaron Brooks was able to hit a series of tough shots to keep the lead extended, and in the meantime, Paul Pierce struggled in the clutch once again. Most perplexing was a pull-up transition three with Glen Davis setting the screen right in front of him. Rondo missed a screen-splitting Ray Allen on a key possession late and threw it out of bounds. When you look at all the things Celtics normally do, they did almost none of them. 

For the Rockets, Kyle Lowry is really showing his value, even playing at off-guard in the absence of Kevin Martin. Patrick Patterson very quietly had a good game with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, along with one very well-timed block on Pierce in the fourth. Chase Budinger was huge as a spot-up shooter, which for some reason the Celtics were fine with granting him.

For the Celtics? Marquis Daniels was brilliant, attacking and taking Rockets off the dribble using his length. But too often the Celtics wound up with trusting Glen Davis to hit jumpers. And while Davis has proven he can hit that mid-range, it's not something you want to trust in as many times as the Celtics did. The Celtics also could have used more of Shaquille O'Neal to slow the Rockets down, considering they had no way of stopping him. But the big fella only played twenty minutes and was a -8 in that time regardless. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Derrick Rose: 29 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers

RUNNER-UP:

Luis Scola: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Posted on: December 22, 2010 4:36 pm
 

Melo is foolish not to consider Houston

Carmelo Anthony seems dead set on New York, ignoring overtures from Houston and Dallas. We don't think that's quite so smart a plan.
Posted by Matt Moore

Carmelo Anthony has been weighing his options for months. This whole, convoluted process started because Melo started examining his options.  But he's kept his preference limited to New York. He's been ambivalent about New Jersey, mostly because they're the only ones to make an offer to peak the Nuggets' interest. Otherwise, he's shown no real interest in headed to Newark, before Brooklyn. Dallas is considering acquiring him regardless of his extension-status. For whatever reason, Melo's not itching to head to Dallas, despite it being a huge market with considerable endorsement opportunities. But what's more perplexing? 

Why won't Melo consider Houston?

For months, Houston's been in pursuit of a star, as General Manager Daryl Morey has more than once recognized publicly that you need such stars to win in the NBA. Melo's been on the list for as long as he's been on the market, but still, there's been no word of Melo's interest in Houston. And if it's true that Melo simply doesn't have any interest in the Rockets, that makes him a fool. 

The Rockets certainly aren't a contender this year. They're improving with each game, but they're not a top team in their conference, and aren't locked in for the playoffs. Houston isn't the same kind of market as New York. There aren't the same kind of opportunities for endorsements or parties as there are in LA. But Houston does provide the right set of circumstances to get him out of Denver without losing too much, and most importantly, an organization committed to winning. 

Daryl Morey has made significant moves every year he's been with the Rockets, and his success rate has been pretty high, considering the injuries to Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. Outside of the overspending on Trevor Ariza, largely acquired due to a nice playoff run on a stacked team in LA, Morey's been on point. More important, though,  is the organizational approach. Morey almost never shackles himself to long-term assets, seizes opportunities to improve his roster (as he did with Ron Artest), drafts well, and if something isn't working, will move to improve it. He supports his head coach Rick Adelman and works in conjunction with him, as opposed to autonomously.

The Rockets have the pieces to acquire Anthony without giving up the farm for him, as New Jersey is backed into a corner about. The Nets keep offering up more and more assets, and have been acquiring more to try and sweeten the deal. But what's left if they send all that? The only thing assured to be waiting on Melo in Jersey is Brook Lopez, who hasn't been having as good of a season as he normally does. 

Meanwhile, the Rockets can package Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, any number of combinations of reasonable solid players to acquire Melo, and will still have either the expiring contract of Yao Ming to trade, or the money this summer once Yao comes off the books. Should they elect to move Martin, they may be able to pull in another A+ player depending on who or what pick they choose to package with him. Should they keep him, they'll have a legit scoring 2-guard to put next to Melo. 

And as a core element, they have Luis Scola. Scola is a top power forward in the West this year. He has ability to play in the post, can defend out to mid-range as well as down low, and rebounds well. Even at 30 years old, he's a piece worth building around, especially at only $16 million over the next two years. 

Melo's wife La La Vasquez may want the bright lights of New York.  But if Anthony really wants to contend, he needs to hitch his wagon to a management and ownership group who is willing to work to make sure he has a contender each year, and will pounce on opportunities to make the team better. Daryl Morey offers that, and without the baggage that New York is still struggling through without draft picks. Mark Cuban's Mavericks are in a similar situation, but with Houston, there's no Dirk-Nowitzki-type player who Melo would have to share the spotlight and ball with. He'd have free reign to be the man, have a legitimate chance at winning, and an organization committed to success. 

A player's legacy isn't forged in commercials and cocktail parties. Houston's not the most glamorous city in the league. But ask Hakeem Olajuwon what playing there did for him. 
 
 
 
 
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