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Tag:Yao Ming
Posted on: April 6, 2011 10:08 am
 

The context of Rick Adelman's possible hot seat

Rick Adelman's Rockets are over .500 and he's one of the most respected coaches in the league. So how could he possibly be out after this season?
Posted by Matt Moore




There was a time, way back when, when winning more games than you lost as a head coach earned you some modicum of job security. Those days are through. Now everything about your job performance is contextual. Win tons of games but fail in the playoffs? Canned. Win less than half your games but show promise and development year after year? Keep your gig! Fall prone to a roster compromised by severe injury after severe injury and still manage to win more games than you lose? 

Ask Rick Adelman how that works out. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports in his weekly Post-Ups that Adelman could be swept out once his contract expires at the end of this season. Adelman's Rockets are currently three games out of the 8th seed in the West held by Memphis with four games remaining. They are four games over .500. From KB: 
Everyones contract is up in Houston, including Adelman's. Theres no doubt he's one of the games finest coaches. But with Yao Ming's future up in the air, it could be time for Adelman to move on. When Portland gave Nate McMillan an extension last month, it opened the door for the Rockets to do the same with Adelman. But sources say communication and trust aren't great between Adelman and owner Leslie Alexander, who may conclude that its time for a different direction. Then there is the uncertain future of GM Daryl Morey, whose contract also is up and whose status was described by one industry source as "questionable."
via Post-Ups: Important MVP race deserves hard consideration - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

Adelman has a career .606 winning percentage, and is 191-133 for a .589 percentage with Houston. This, despite Yao Ming missing 187 of the 324 games Adelman has coached for the Rockets. The Rockets have made the playoffs twice during his tenure and will, in all likelihood, have finished 9th the past two seasons in a crowded West. To put it in perspective, the Rockets would have been the 8th seed in the East last year, bouncing the Bulls, and would be the sixth seed in the East currently, above the Sixers and Knicks.  

But of course, again, things must be judged in context. The Rockets had a substantial core of talent this season even without Yao Ming. Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and the emergence of Kyle Lowry as a big time player shows that the potential was there. The big collapse for the Rockets this year was on defense. Until two midseason trades, the Rockets had been one of the worst defensive teams in the league. They've made terrific adjustments during this late season run, but that inability to get stops falls on the coach. 

Even then, however, you have to wonder if Adelman wouldn't have a doubt about his situation had Daryl Morey been able to translate his considerable ingenuity and roster management skills into a star player. That's what Houston misses so dearly, the guy you can turn to to make a play for you on either side of the ball. But it didn't happen, and now Adelman's looking at the possibility of his contract not being re-upped. 

There are reasons for Alexander to hold, however. The Rockets are on the books for just $48 million next season. Even in a revamped CBA structure, they'll have some wiggle room. Daryl Morey has never had as much financial freedom as he's about to have. If he were to whiff again, or if Adelman was unable to translate an upgraded roster into victories with a healthy club, it would definitely be time for a change. But to let loose one of the more respected general managers, even after a bad run, and one of the more respected coaches, even after some bad defense, in the face of them winning more games than they've lost? 

Patience is a virtue, but then, everything has to be put into context. 
 

Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Rockets C Yao Ming will attempt comeback

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming discusses the progress of his rehabilitation from a foot injury and his desire to come back to the court. Posted byyao-mingBen Golliver.

Back in December, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming suffered a stress fracture of his ankle that required season-ending surgery and threatened to end his career.

On Thursday, Yao met with media members to provide an update on his progress and to make it clear he is working towards a comeback to the court. NBA.com has video of his comments.

"I've been doing well," Yao told reporters. "Once in awhile, seeing the doctors, checking to see how things are going. I'm happy about the progress and [I'm going to] try to make it back. They said I probably need another 10 weeks before I can start running on the court. That's as far as I know."

Later, he added, "I still have very limited workouts. I cannot walk with my full weight." 

Yao, a free agent this summer, said he was unable to give a firm estimate on when he might return to the court and hadn't yet thought about his future, which may or may not come with the Rockets. "Right now it's more focused on my injury. About the future, it all depends on this foot." He did say that he enjoys playing in Houston. "I like it here. I'm used to playing here. I'm really, really comfortable."

He also said it was too early to tell whether he would be the same player he has been in the past. "The foot will tell me how much I can get back," Yao said. Asked whether he would be disappointed if wasn't able to play again, Yao said: "That's a sad question, first of all. If there's a possibility that I'm not going to come back to play, I'm going to tell myself I already did everything I can."

Asked when a decision about his future might come, Yao said, "After the lockout, I guess." He then caught himself and laughed, "We're not allowed to talk about this."

As Yao was only able to appear in five games this season, the Rockets have made due with a small frontline that includes Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes and Jordan Hill. Houston also traded for project center Hasheem Thabeet at the deadline, but Rockets coach Rick Adelman has expressed concern about Thabeet's role going forward given his lack of experience. Meanwhile, the 33-33 Rockets are in the basement of the Southwest Division and on pace to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

In other words, the Rockets still badly need a center. However, they need one now and may not be able to wait indefinitely to check on Yao's progress. Persistent injuries have kept Yao from the court for major portions of four of the last five seasons and it may be time for the Rockets to go a different direction. Yao was rumored to be on the block prior to the trade deadline, as his massive $17.7 million expiring contract could have allowed a rebuilding team to shed long-term salary committments. 

The Rockets didn't move him, however, so his future, and his future in Houston, remains up in the air.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Tim Duncan: NBA All-Star elder, feeling young

San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan is the oldest member of the 2011 NBA's Western Conference All-Star team, but he's fighting back againsttim-duncan Father Time. Posted by Ben Golliver.

LOS ANGELES -- At 34 years old, San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan now officially stands as the old guard NBA All-Star, the senior member of the 2011 West’s team and the second oldest All-Star overall.

But if there was a year for Duncan to feel younger than his age this would be it. After getting bounced in the second round last year and the first round the year before, his Spurs entered the All-Star break with a league-best record of 46-10, all while Duncan has seen his role reduced to the point that he’s playing under thirty minutes for the first time in his career. 

That combination of winning and a lighter load had Duncan in a jovial mood on All-Star Friday, even as he sat one table over from Carmelo Anthony, his small, mostly local media contingent dwarfed by the media madhouse jockeying for the latest from the Denver's All-Star with the uncertain future. 

Casually dressed, Duncan surveyed the madness with a shake of the head, looking glad that he wasn't in the middle of it and a touch annoyed that he had been seated next to it. It didn't bother him for long, though, and he went back to fiddling with his iPhone like his 20-something teammates (“My wife is more important than you guys”) and played along when a reporter joked that he must have threatened to walk out on the rest of the season if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t name him as a replacement for Yao Ming in the West’s starting lineup on Sunday ("That got out?”).

You don’t play more than 1,000 career games and 170 career playoff games without developing a perspective that favors drama-free steadiness and experience, and Duncan settled back into that role quickly, repeatedly pointing to the importance of his team’s health and making it clear the Spurs are focused on making a title run in a crowded field of elders this year.

“A lot of the best teams in the league right now have an older core,” Duncan said. “If we’re healthy enough and we’re able to stay healthy I think we have a good chance to be a contender. We’ve been blessed enough to be healthy with our starting lineup, the core of our team, and it’s shown. We went through a bit of a rough one last year but we had a lot of the same core guys and that experience is paying off a bunch right now … I feel as healthy as I have been in 3, 4, 5 years.”

Given his reduced role, Duncan has averaged career-lows in points (13.4) and rebounds (9.2) this season. Despite the statistical decline, he made a convincing case that he can still reach top speed when necessary. “I do believe I can double-double any time. I can do 20-10 just about … well, not any time, but I can get those kinds of numbers on some nights. That’s not what I’m being asked to do right now. My role has changed, I’m kind of a different player. I’m working with what I’ve got.”

What Duncan’s got also includes experience going through an NBA labor negotiation, and he said he feels an obligation to the league’s younger players to get involved, although he wouldn’t commit to specific plans. “We went through the lockout when I was in my second year in the league. A lot of the older guys kind of stepped up and knew what it was about, and I want to make sure I can do that for the future generation of NBA players. Stepping up and doing my part in that respect.”

That stuff, it was clear, remains on his personal back burner for the moment, as he's focused on seeing through his team's best start in memory. “All we ever worry about are the chances right in front of us. We’re not worrying about the years in the future or the years past. This year, right in front us, we’re playing great. It’s the opportunity we have to focus on right now.”

And don’t for a second thing Duncan is totally resigned to Father Time just yet. He still feels like he’s got some time left before midnight.

“It’s been our ‘last chance’ for our last three, four or five years. That’s what everybody keeps telling us. I can’t say it’s our last chance, but it’s as good a chance as we’ve had in years.”

Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:50 am
 

The Rockets are certainly being active

Posted by Royce Young

The Rockets have been somewhat of a disappointment this season. As a result, general manager Daryl Morey has constantly been reassuring fans that he and the front office have been furiously working to get the team where it should be.

And according to the Houston Chronicle, they absolutely have been.

His team needs talent, size, defense and rebounding. Carmelo Anthony appears to be at the top of his wish list, and Morey would trade for him without any guarantee of signing him to a long-term contract.

He knows Anthony wants to play for the Knicks, but at this point will take his chances. Morey also has asked about Chris Paul, Josh Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Anderson Varejao and a long list of others.

Everyone on the Rockets' roster is available as the NBA's February 24th trading deadline approaches, but some are more likely to go than others.

That's interesting right there. Everyone is available on the Rockets' roster. That means Morey has been saying things like, "OK, how about Kevin Martin and Luis Scola for Chris Paul?"

And all of this starts adding up with the reports mentioning Aaron Brooks' availability. One day, the Rockets were "trying hard" to move him. The next, that was refuted. Hard to really know, but it sounds like the team is listening to any and all offers.

The Rockets certainly have a good number of pieces that other teams would love to acquire. Shane Battier is a perfect veteran to have for a playoff run. Yao Ming's contract of course is something a rebuilding team would love to have coming off the books this summer. Patrick Patterson and Chase Budinger are two young players that teams probably would go after. There assets in the cupboard right now for the Rockets.

Morey has proven he's not shy about making moves. His deal for Kevin Martin last season was an aggressive one. His dealing of Tracy McGrady for picks, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries was too as well as the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to New Orleans. He's definitely willing to make a deal if it's out there.

The Rockets are four games back of the eight-seed in the West. As they're currently built, they don't look ready to realistically challenge for that spot. So Morey has to decide if he's trying to improve for now, or for later. By the sounds of it, he's keeping his head in the present.
Posted on: February 4, 2011 7:40 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 8:04 pm
 

David Stern names Kevin Love to NBA All-Star team

NBA commissioner David Stern has added Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love to the 2011 NBA All-Star team as an injury replacementyao-ming-kevin-lovefor Yao Ming. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Silly NBA fans: you voted Houston Rockets center Yao Ming into the Western Conference's starting lineup for the 2011 NBA All-Star game, even though he has only appeared in five games this season and is currently sidelined with a season-ending injury.

Thank goodness for NBA commissioner David Stern who stepped in to make things on Friday right by adding Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love to the team, in place of Yao.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has been named by NBA Commissioner David Stern to replace injured West All-Star center Yao Ming (stress fracture, left ankle) of the Houston Rockets in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. This is Love’s first All-Star Game selection. 
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who earned the right to coach the West squad by virtue of the Spurs clinching the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 6, will determine who replaces Yao in the starting lineup. 
As we noted yesterday, Love was one of the most high-profile snubs left off the original All-Star reserve lists. And, as we noted this morning, Love was pretty disappointed that he had been left off the list.

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash was reportedly one of the favorites to replace Yao, and Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis and Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph were also said to have been finalists.

The Timberwolves actively campaigned on Love's behalf, releasing a viral campaign video with a cologne theme, entitled "Numb#rs."

Love, a third-year forward out of UCLA, is averaging 21.4 points and an NBA-best 15.5 rebounds per game. 

The 2011 NBA All-Star game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 20.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 12:23 am
 

All-Star teams announced; how do they look?

Posted by Royce Young

The starting five for the East and West All-Star teams were announced Thursday night and nothing jumped out as a huge surprise. Kobe Bryant was the top vote-getter overall, with Dwight Howard leading the East.

There weren't any major surprises since the last batch of results were releaed a few weeks ago. The East has Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard while the West features Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum (Yao Ming was the top vote-getter, but of course is injured).

The question though that always comes with these sort of things when fans have the power is, did they get it right?

EAST

G: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Rajon Rondo was really the only other candidate and Rose only recently took him over for the starting spot. But with the numbers Rose has put up plus the with just how exciting he is, he's the correct choice. Rondo would've been a fine pick, but Rose is emerging as an MVP candidate and is the only player in the league averaging 24 points and eight assists a game. Rose is the game's youngest starter by a few days over Kevin Durant. 

G: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Wade is one of those guys that really will be a starter for life. Some worried when he teamed up with LeBron that his numbers might dip. They haven't. Wade's still awesome. So again, a good pick by the fans.

F: LeBron James, Miami Heat

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Let me tell you, these Eastern voters are smart people. But then again, it's not hard to be when all the top players are also the biggest fan favorites. It helps in the East that there really wasn't an alternative either though. LeBron hasn't suffered any kind of drop-off in popularity or production, pulling in a huge number of votes while also making yet another All-Star team as a starter.

F: Amar'e Stoudemie, New York Knicks

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Stoudemire becomes the first Knick starter since 1997 when Patrick Ewing was named to the team. This is really the most debatable position in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Garnett was on top for a good part of the year but Amar'e overtook him in January. Tough call really and neither guy is a bad pick. But Stoudemire has helped restore basketball in New York has put up huge numbers and is establishing himself as an MVP candidate. Garnett, while excellent, was injured for a few weeks and doesn't have the same numbers as Stoudemire.

C: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Did the fans get it right? Yes. When your other options are Shaquille O'Neal an injured Andrew Bogut and I don't know Nazr Mohammed (seriously, who else is there?) Howard is a pretty easy pick. He's got this spot locked up for a while and as his total votes showed, he's one the league's biggest names around the world.

WEST

G: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

Did the fans get it right? Yes. This was a close one. The Western guards is the deepest position in the league. Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Monta Ellis and on and on. But Paul has been good all season and across the board in statistical categories, Paul is at the top or very near it.

G: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Did the fans get it right? Yes. Kobe led the way in votes again and anchors the West squad. There's no question that as long as he's still bouncing a ball that he's earned a spot in this game. And with the biggest name across the world in terms of basketball, he'll have a starting spot for a long time too.

F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Did the fans get it right? Yes. The league's leading scorer and the youngest starter for the West. At just 22, Durant is probably just now starting a very, very long run as an All-Star starter. A lot of people wondered that if in small-town Oklahoma City that he'd gain the national recognition needed to become a big-name star, but evidently that wasn't a problem. Durant was the second-leading vote-getter in the West behind Kobe.

F: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Did the fans get it right? No. A tough call but first of all, Melo isn't really a power forward. And since Durant beat him out in the forward vote, Carmelo is the one that's cut. No doubt Melo is having a nice season, but with Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Kevin Love playing the ACTUAL position, it's hard to justify Melo being a starter. One of those guys is more deserving of this spot based on what they've done this year.

C: Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

Did the fans get it right? Um, no. Yao has only played in five games and trust me, he wasn't that amazing in those five games. Yao is the poster child for what's wrong with fan voting. Other than Yao, you can really make the case that the other nine starters are justified. But because of China, Yao is voted in again while other more deserving players sit behind him. The commissioner will fill this spot and it'll likely be with the runner-up Andrew Bynum, a pick that's still not that good.

Posted on: January 27, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 7:15 pm
 

NBA announces 2011 East, West All-Star starters

The National Basketball Association has officially announced the starters for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The NBA officially announced the Eastern Conference and Western Conference starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on Thursday.

For the Eastern Conference: Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Miami Heat forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire, and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

For the Western Conference: New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Houston Rockets Yao Ming.

Of the 10 names selected, there were no real surprises, as all had established themselves fairly strongly during the balloting process. The biggest snubs? For the East: probably Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, although Rose is difficult to argue. For the West: Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki should be there, as should every center that actually played more than five games this season.

Bryant was the leading vote-getter for the Western Conference; Howard was the leading vote-getter for the Eastern Conference.

Here's a look at the jerseys this year's All-Stars will be wearing. 

The 2011 All-Star game will be played in Los Angeles, California, at the Staples Center on February 20.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 7:33 pm
 

Rockets get Yao Ming disabled player exception

The NBA has awarded the Houston Rockets a disabled player exception for center Yao Ming. Posted by Ben Golliver. yao-ming

Back in December, we noted that Houston Rockets center Yao Ming suffered a left ankle stress fracture that required season-ending surgery. While Yao's expiring contract has come up in trade talks in the interim, the Rockets have received another potentially valuable trade asset as a result of Yao's injury. 

The Associated Press reports that the NBA has awarded the Rockets a disabled player exception for Yao's extended absence due to injury. 
The disabled player exception allows the Rockets to acquire a free agent, or trade for a player without having to match salaries, up to the value of the midlevel exception (about $5.765 million). KRIV-TV first reported that the Rockets had been granted the exception. Houston must use it by Jan. 31 or it will expire.
We noted back on Dec. 21 that the Rockets would pursue this exception, which requires approval of the league office.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Rockets also possess a separate trade exception worth more than $6 million that doesn't expire until the summer. While the exceptions cannot be combined, they can each be used to accept salary in an unbalanced trade, allowing the Rockets to receive a player's contract without necessarily sending out a player in return.

While the clock is ticking for Rockets, with just two weeks to go before the exception expires, they have found themselves linked to a number of trade scenarios recently, including the Carmelo Anthony trade talks.  At 17-22, in last place in the Southwest Division, the Rockets are surely tempted to explore all their options with this exception. In addition to their two exceptions and Yao's expiring contract, the Rockets also possess the expiring contracts of Shane Battier ($7.4 million) and Jared Jeffries ($6.8 million). If GM Daryl Morey is compelled to mix things up, he certainly has some flexibility and options. 

Here's one thing to keep in mind, though: the Rockets are currently on track to be luxury tax payers, so using this exception simply to take on additional salary without moving out any of their current players is unlikely, as any new incoming salary would wind up costing owner Les Alexander double. Lottery-bound teams don't often make that type of financial commitment mid-season, unless it's as part of a blockbuster-type move.

Earlier this season, the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers also received disabled player exceptions for forward Udonis Haslem and center Greg Oden, respectively, but both teams allowed their exceptions to expire. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com