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Tag:Blazers
Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:28 am
 

Shootaround 10.7.10: Thinkin' 'Bout Things

Bulls thinkin' 'bout Dampier, Wizards thinkin' 'bout a name change, and Kidd thinkin' 'bout playing till he's 40, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Peja Stojakovic says health will determine if he plays past this season , the final year of his contract. He wants to get through just one year pain free. It's something we rarely consider with these players, treating injuries like they're some sort of outside clamp that prevents them from playing instead of actual pain the players are experiencing.

With Boozer on the shelf, the Bulls are taking a long look at Erick Dampier, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com . The Bulls waived Chris Richard this week, which is surprising considering their lack of frontcourt depth and the job Richard did in limited minutes.

Marcin Gortat is not going to suddenly get quiet about the issue: he wants a bigger role, now. Unfortunately for him, the Magic are pretty much like "Deal with it, baldy ." Gortat signed a huge contract with the Mavericks last summer but the Magic matched it in restricted free agenc and here we are. For some reason the Magic think having a severely disgruntled Polish guy called "The Hammer" on their team is a good idea.

So this is pretty awesome. Ted Leonsis, the new Wizards owner, posted 101 things the Wizards have put in play to try and improve the fan experience at Wizards games. Some of the smallest details are covered, like how fresh the hot dog buns are. But hidden in there is the following: Changing the name back to the Bullets. Status? "Under consideration." Hold your breath, Bullets fans.

The Hawks exercised their option on Jeff Teague, which should surprise absolutely no one. Teague's locked up through next year, if there is a next year.

Kevin Garnett "went to a dark place " after last year's Finals, which is just classic over-the-top Garnett talk. He was pretty much a wreck after losing that series, leaving you to wonder how he deals with life in any sort of way whatsoever.

Rudy Ferandez' agent went absolutely psycho-hose-beast on local radio, basically pulling a "Leave Britney alone" speech for Fernandez. The kicker is when asked why Rudy wants to go home: "There's friends, there's family, he's a shy guy. He's special." And also a Fraggle, apparently.

Josh McRoberts had an outstanding line last night and the bandwagon is starting to Heat up. McRoberts has already filled into the starting PF spot for the Pacers, and with little competition, will probably hold onto it. A star is born? Maybe?

Jason Kidd wants to play until he's 40 , which is just ridiculous and yet completely believable on all fronts. Oddly, he's already a defensive liability, but the Mavs are thinking about moving him to shooting guard. Which could end up disastrous, but hey, you never know with Kidd. Dude's a survivor. He's going to make it. He's going to work harder. Keep on survivin'. What ?

This Nets-Knicks rivalry gets more entertaining every day .
Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2010 1:45 pm
 

McMillan going without extension

Blazers coach flying without extension net this season.
Posted by Matt Moore


Almost everyone wants job security. You want to be know where you'll be next year, two years from now, four years from now. It's best for you and for your family. But apparently Nate McMillan is totally okay with being out on the ledge without a vine. The Portland Tribune had a discussion with McMillan about his contract expiring after this year and found something surprising. McMillan is totally fine with it. The Blazers exercised their option for this season on McMillan last year. But McMillan himself is the one who decided to go ahead and let his contract expire at the end of this season.

Get this. He says the team should be able to judge his performance after this season and decide if they want him to continue coaching in Portland.
“I believe the organization should be in a position to look at where this team is going and make that decision. Me not talking about an extension, please don’t read into it that it’s a sign I don’t want to be here. I do.”
Does. Not. Compute.

So McMillan wants to stay in Portland, but wants to give the Blazers the year to evaluate his job and see if they want to retain him. That's nuts.
“My agent (Lonnie Cooper) asks the same thing,” McMillan says, grinning slightly. “He says, ‘You talk crazy.'"
While it's certainly a noble enterprise McMillan has taken on, you also have to wonder if the removal of former general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn have anything to do with McMillan's approach. There's a lot of instability in an organization that looked rock solid just a few years ago, and it's not hard to imagine McMillan wanting to prove to owner Paul Allen and Vulcan that he's worth the money, without question.

McMillan is definitely focused on this season, and as good as he was last year, navigating injury and chemistry concerns, it's possible he could outdo himself with a fully healthy roster (fingers crossed!). That would settle him in Portland for the long-run. On the other hand, he's leaving himself open to the possibility if things do fall apart that the Blazers have an easy out to ditch him. Gotta love NBA coaching gigs.
Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2010 1:45 pm
 

McMillan going without extension

Blazers coach flying without extension net this season.
Posted by Matt Moore


Almost everyone wants job security. You want to be know where you'll be next year, two years from now, four years from now. It's best for you and for your family. But apparently Nate McMillan is totally okay with being out on the ledge without a vine. The Portland Tribune had a discussion with McMillan about his contract expiring after this year and found something surprising. McMillan is totally fine with it. The Blazers exercised their option for this season on McMillan last year. But McMillan himself is the one who decided to go ahead and let his contract expire at the end of this season.

Get this. He says the team should be able to judge his performance after this season and decide if they want him to continue coaching in Portland.
“I believe the organization should be in a position to look at where this team is going and make that decision. Me not talking about an extension, please don’t read into it that it’s a sign I don’t want to be here. I do.”
Does. Not. Compute.

So McMillan wants to stay in Portland, but wants to give the Blazers the year to evaluate his job and see if they want to retain him. That's nuts.
“My agent (Lonnie Cooper) asks the same thing,” McMillan says, grinning slightly. “He says, ‘You talk crazy.'"
While it's certainly a noble enterprise McMillan has taken on, you also have to wonder if the removal of former general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn have anything to do with McMillan's approach. There's a lot of instability in an organization that looked rock solid just a few years ago, and it's not hard to imagine McMillan wanting to prove to owner Paul Allen and Vulcan that he's worth the money, without question.

McMillan is definitely focused on this season, and as good as he was last year, navigating injury and chemistry concerns, it's possible he could outdo himself with a fully healthy roster (fingers crossed!). That would settle him in Portland for the long-run. On the other hand, he's leaving himself open to the possibility if things do fall apart that the Blazers have an easy out to ditch him. Gotta love NBA coaching gigs.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 9:36 am
 

Shootaround 9.27.10: Taking and Giving

Jazz will take back Fesenko, Conley has to take charge, Dampier will take his time, and Shaq giving quotes as usual, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


It's Fesenko time! ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported via Twitter last night that Kyrylo Fesenko had elected to turn down an offer from the Rockets and return to the Jazz for a one-year, $1-million deal. NBA FanHouse's Sam Sam Amick confirmed that same report . Funny thing is, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports that while Fesenko's made up his mind, discussions haven't begun with Utah to finalize. So we're in the 90% range but not a done deal. If you're wondering why you care, take a look around the Western Conference to see how big the West is. Every center matters.

The Commercial Appeal 's Ron Tillery has a look at five things to watch during Grizzlies training camp, and Mike Conley is the big one. The Grizzlies have eliminated all competition for the point guard job in an effort to give him the confidence to be the player they need him to be. Which isn't really the player he's been for the duration of his career.

Guyism has an awesome run-down of the new technical foul violations , as demonstrated by Rasheed Wallace. Here's a question: How's the league going to make up for the loss of revenue with 'Sheed retiring? That's a lot of fine money going out the door. Could it be that's the reason for the expanded tech rules? Conspiracy! (Note: Not a real conspiracy.)

Sam Amick at FanHouse has another interesting story, as he spoke with Erick Dampier and found out Damp has expanded his list of prospective teams , with Portland, Toronto, and Milwaukee joining the list of teams he's considering. Portland's an interesting option, considering they have Greg Oden, Marcus Camby, and Joel Przybilla on roster, even with the injuries to the first two. Would be quite a statement if Portland brought in Dampier.

NIUBall.com, which covers the Chinese leagues, reports via HoopChina.com that either Von Wafer, Rafer Alston, or both could be headed to China . You realize Rafer Alston was starting for a Finals team a year and a half ago? Geez, talk about a plummet.

Among the many, many quotes that Shaq gave ESPN Boston , he says that this is the first time in his career he doesn't have to hold anyone's hand, nor have anyone hold his. Which is kind of ridiculous considering the level to which Dwyane Wade shouldered the load in Miami, having already made the playoffs. And I think it's hard to argue he had to hold James' hand. And he actually damaged Amar'e Stoudemire's confidence to a large degree. But hey, whatever makes the big guy feel good about himself. Also, apparently Glen "Big Baby" Davis is considered a "great player" by O'Neal. ... 'Kay.

Kwame Brown was injured in a pickup game and will be out 4-6 weeks. The Bobcats are going to be insanely short on centers. Bloggers will be insanely long on jokes about this situation.

Primoz Brezec is playing in Russia this season, according to ... himself . Again, see shot #1 here for why that's relevant.

Don't get Brook Lopez started on comic books .... you'll be there for a while.

Disney is now sponsoring Amway Arena , where the Magic now play. ESPN is owned by Disney. Maybe now you'll see Orlando getting the kind of attention respect that Boston and Cleveland have enjoyed from ESPN for... "BREAKING NEWS! The Miami Heat have gone to dinner together! We take you there live!"

Posted on: September 20, 2010 9:04 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 10:06 am
 

Preseason Primer: Portland Trail Blazers

Portland loathes expectations. Expected to compete for the West title? Down in a burning wreckage of knee bones and perimeter shooting. Unable to hold on to the playoffs? Say hi to a massive winning streak to glide into the playoffs. They are never predictable, that's for certain. As we continue our Preseason Primers , we take a look at the noble hope of the Northwest, and if this is finally the season when things don't go wrong for the Blazers.

Portland Trailblazers

Training camp site: Portland, OR

Training camp starts:   Sept. 28 

Key additions:  Wesley  Matthews (free agent)

Key subtractions:   Juwan Howard (free agent), Martell Webster (trade), Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Andre Miller, PG; Brandon Roy, SG; Nicolas Batum, SF, LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Marcus Camby, C 

Player to watch:   Greg Oden. Guy's gotta get healthy sometime, right? Oden has been and remains the missing piece of the puzzle for the Blazers, even with the addition of Marcus Camby. If Oden can reach a significant portion of his massive untapped potential, he could be a difference maker for the Blazers, completing the team that's been constructed over the past five years. It's unknown if Oden will even be available for camp, or how much he'll be participating. But even that says something. Oden's got to bounce back hard, and get back to where he showed flashes last year prior to the injury. That's the only way the Blazers can make the jump they need to this year. 

Chemistry quiz:   Who's the ticking time bomb? That's the question, and it's multiple choice, with several "A and B and C" type choices. Last year, Andre Miller and Nat McMillan blew up at one another during a low point. The two reconciled things and seem to be on better ground, but there's been consistent trade chatter involving Miller since he was signed as a marquee free agent in 2009. And that's just the start! Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake, two longtime Blazers were traded last year, along with Martell Webster before this year's draft. And, oh, yeah, Rudy Fernandez is involved in a messy, gross situation where he's demanding a trade and talking about sitting out the next season , even after rejecting a trade to New Orleans. This is all before we get into LaMarcus Aldridge's longterm problems with the club, and the attention showered on Greg Oden constantly. That said, McMillan has done a tremendous job keeping the team together and helped lead them to the playoffs last year. If he can keep them together this year, it'll be another award-worthy performance.

Injury watch:   Ha. Ha ha ha. Hahahahahaha. Sorry. That's mean.

Well, let's see. Brandon Roy struggled with an ankle towards the end of last year, but that should be fine. Greg Oden is recovering from a broken patella, slowly. Joel Przybilla also broke his patella and tore ligaments, then reinjued it in the shower. Marcus Camby is no spring chicken. This team is one bad turn, a helicopter and a few tents from becoming a M*A*S*H* unit. If any team is worthy of karmic bonuses resulting in a clean bill of health this year, it's Portland.

Camp battles:   Center's going to be a big one throughout the year, but with Oden not near 100% by any stretch of the imagination, Camby has it on lockdown. Nicolas Batum continues to be one of the better developing small forwards in the league, and his overall play should keep him locked in above the rookie Babbitt. An interesting one? Point guard. Miller was terrific at points last year for the Blazers, but when he wasn't, Jerryd Bayless was increasingly better. Bayless is a fierce competitor. If he were to make a significant jump, that one could get ugly really quick.

Biggest strength:   Depth and Brandon Roy. That's the formula, which is why the injuries const them so much last year. Additionally, Brandon Roy's going to have to climb back out of the pool and onto the pavement of great players after a downturn last season. The Blazers absolutely must have Roy as a top ten player in the league if they're going to compete for the Western Conference Finals, along with all the other things they need to happen. But Roy has shown he can do it, and they still have considerable depth, arguably more, with Matthews to give Roy a breather, and young talent mixed in with the vets.

Glaring weakness:   You mean, besides spending more times on their backs than Luke Walton? (You thought I was going for a sex joke there, didn't you?) The team's gotta stay healthy, which isn't something they can avoid, outside of moving to Phoenix and hiring their training staff. On the floor, the offense can stagnate considerably when Roy's not on the floor outside of the handful of nights where Miller goes nova. The other players need to develop into go-to scorers, at least a few. LaMarcus Aldridge in particular has had low expectations which he's exceeded yet not received credit for the last few years, but now he's going to have to be a big-time power forward for the Blazers. If he doesn't show he can get to the next level, he may find himself on the block as the Blazers look for the missing piece.

Posted on: September 17, 2010 9:51 am
Edited on: September 17, 2010 10:27 am
 

Shootaround 9.17.10: La-Z-Boys are awesome

Landry's La-Z-Boys, Duncan's slim fit, and Ainge's cliff in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Of all the endorsement opportunities you can get, I don't want Nike. Nor do I want Pepsi or Coke or McDonalds. No, I want the same endorsement op that Carl Landry just got. La-Z-Boy . Now that's a quality endorsement. I bet he has a La-Z-Boy in each and every room in his house. I wonder if he gets the ones with the cupholders and refrigerators underneath. Are they custom-sized for his frame? So many questions.

There were a lot of questions about the Bobcat's decision to waive Erick Dampier's crazy valuable $13 million expiring non-guaranteed contract. Turns out the contract is guaranteed if Dampier is injured , which means the Bobcats would be on the hook for the $13 million, and that was a risk they simply couldn't afford to take.

Tim Duncan is getting up there in years. That impacts his ability to stay on the floor, especially given how many games he's played with playoffs included. But it appears he's reacted that situation by losing some weight, as Greg Popovich told reporters Thursday that Duncan has shown up for camp slimmer and faster than in years past, this after showing up last year 15 lbs. lighter. That move could partially be based on the improved depth the Spurs have, which means Duncan doesn't have to play the part of traditional big-man center, especially with Tiago Splitter on board. It's possible Duncan could be playing more in traditional power forward sets for the Spurs this year.

Jon Scheyer is going to camp with the Jazz. This concludes your "most appropriate undrafted free agent signing" of the week.

Monta Ellis wants to make things work with Stephen Curry, and regrets his comments about the rook last year. There's a thought that the two can coexist, but if that's going to happen, someone's going to have to determine a pecking order. And the better Ellis gets, the more complicated that issue comes, and that's before we factor in David Lee. Still, it's good to see Ellis recognizes his failure to lead last year.

The Celtics opted for the status quo this year , but they had options. It's a difficult question that Danny Ainge faces, the question of when exactly to pull the plug and begin the move towards the future. That's a cliff no one wants to jump off, which is why so many are shoved off.

Greg Oden is like some sort of really powerful Magic The Gathering card . I tend to think of him more like one of those really difficult to unlock video game secrets that when you unlock it, really isn't that cool anyway. It's cool, it's just not worth the work you did to get there.

Let's all have a giggle at the idea of Derrick Favors starting to begin the season .

An image of the Cleveland skyline will replace the "We Are All Witnesses" banner in Cleveland. That's still going to sting fans that look at it each night.

The jerks in Sacramento defaced the Casspi mural again . Sigh.
Posted on: August 24, 2010 9:31 am
 

Shootaround 8.24.10: Heisley goes Vesuvius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Will Bynum going to wind up starting ? Really?
Posted on: August 19, 2010 7:11 pm
 

Fernandez fined $25k for comments

Blazers forward fined $25,000 for comments by agent about wanting out of Portland.
Posted by Matt Moore


The path out of a guaranteed contract in the NBA is a messy, and often expensive, affair. Rudy Fernandez is getting a head-start on what that kind of divorce looks like.

The NBA today fined Fernandez $25,000 for "public statements detrimental to the NBA" according to an NBA release. It's assumed that Fernandez was fined for comments made by his agent regarding a desire to end his time in the NBA and return to Europe. Fernandez' agent spoke with both Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports and HoopsHype.com about Fernandez' desire for a split with the Blazers. Via HoopsHype:

“The impression I’m getting more and more is that he’s lost interest in playing in the NBA, quite frankly,” Miller said. “It’s my impression that Rudy would prefer to be in Europe rather than the NBA at this point.”

The fine is a pretty standard reaction from the league, which automatically fines a player that makes a public trade or release request. Granted the multiple reports which have indicated both Carmelo Anthoney and Chris Paul requesting trades make for an easy loophole, but it's an important distinction. You have to provide the league and your team with plausible deniability. Your agent going on record about you wanting out doesn't exactly provide a lot of wiggle room.

For what it's worth, Rich Cho, the new GM of the Blazers told Spears that they're not in any hurry to do anything about Fernandez. Fernandez' situation is particular, but GMs are always wary of setting precdents which could lead to other situations. The cold hard truth is that Fernandez is under contract with the NBA. If the Blazers don't want to let him go, they don't have to. And if he doesn't play, he doesn't get paid. Unlike the other superstars looking for a new zipcode this summer, Fernandez doesn't have much in the way of leverage.

And the NBA certainly isn't going to be helping him out.
 
 
 
 
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