Category:NBA
Posted on: March 2, 2012 2:54 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 3:21 pm
 

Silver says Jordan is 'trying hard' with Bobcats

By Matt Moore 

Michael Jordan wants to work harder as an NBA owner. (Getty)
BOSTON-- At the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Friday morning, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about the impact of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and how it's impacting the smaller market teams, specifically the Charlotte Bobcats. His response was telling about both the Bobcats and the new CBA in regards to how the league has sold the deal to him. Specifically, Silver pointed to ownership and the role it plays in market dynamics.

"Michael (Jordan) has assured us that he's working harder than he ever has in his life & playing less golf," Silver said. Jordan's Bobcats are 4-29 and approaching historic levels of failure. Jordan has often been criticized for heading to the links and taking a passive approach first as minority owner and then later as majority owner. 

Silver noted that the new CBA has put teams in a better position to succeed with good management. Rich Cho is in his first year as GM and the rebuilding plan is very early in its infancy. Having a dedicated staff and ownership working in unison is the only way they're going to escape the gravity of their mediocrity which has only yielded one playoff appearance in team history. 

Silver also referenced the attendance success when the Hornets were located in Charlotte as evidence that the market is viable, while also admitting that small market teams will continue to struggle due to the alignment of market factors. Contraction is talked about a lot in regards to the Bobcats, but every indication from the league is that both the current and former Charlotte franchises (the Hornets) are both safe for the time being. 



Posted on: March 2, 2012 1:52 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 2:58 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Trade season approaches

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5,
Ken Berger talks about how you should evaluate trade rumors, if anyone will ever touch Wilt's 100-point-game, and how David Stern's legacy has evolved. 

1. 50th Anniversary of Wilt scoring 100 this week. There's a lot of talk about whether it will happen again or not. Do you think if the NBA went through a hyper-scoring binge like we've seen in the past it could ever happen again, or be passed?

KB: Never. The game is too different, defenses are more sophisticated and the talent level is more equal than in 1962.

2. 'Tis the season, KB. What are the things fans should look for when judging the accuracy of a trade rumor?

KB: Excellent way to put it. You have to consider the source (who's reporting it and how many outlets are reporting it) and dissect the potential agendas that are at play. For example, is an agent trying to manufacture news because he wants his client out? Also, teams have dozens of conversations about possible trades at this time of year. The mere occurrence of dialogue isn't news; serious discussions, with details of proposals that have been exchanged, perhaps rising to the ownership level, should be valued above the garden variety, "Team X is shopping player Y." As Ricky Watters once said, "For who? For what?" Details are proof. Finally, most teams have several people in the front office who are authorized and in position to discuss possible trades, which clouds the inevitable denial of those discussions. When a GM or coach says, "I've never even spoken with that team," or, "I've never even had a conversation about Player X," that doesn't mean someone else in the organization who's authorized to have those discussions didn't do so. In short, it's a tangled web we weave in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

3. Steve Nash is both the most adamant he doesn't want to be traded and one of the most involved in trade rumors. Do the Suns know exactly what they want to do with him, considering their public statements of "Nash now, Nash forever?"

KB: The key question is, what does Nash want? He doesn't want to be out there publicly lobbying for a trade, but if he decides it's time to move on, I believe the Suns will try to oblige.

4. Michael Beasley's another name out there on the wire. Are coaches receptive to dealing with his... er... eccentricities?
 
KB: For a contender that needs versatile scoring punch (Lakers, Celtics, Magic), Beasley would be the ideal fit. The questions will become, can he be had for a second-round pick? And if not, will a team -- particularly the Lakers, who have two first-rounders -- become so desperate to upgrade that they'll part with one?

5. David Stern said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel he can't be concerned with his legacy because it will impact his ability to do his job. What do you think Stern's legacy is today, given the events of the past 12 months?

KB: Any time you discuss legacy, it has to be a big-picture, textured discussion. Though the lockout, lost games and hard-ball negotiating tactics are fresh in our minds, those things can't move ahead of certain undeniable accomplishments like dramatically increasing national TV exposure and revenue and globalizing the brand. But depending on how things work out in New Orleans and Sacramento, Stern is in danger of having his legacy tarnished by franchise relocation. The financial circumstances in markets like those and Milwaukee, Charlotte and Memphis are grim. If the problems can't be solved by revenue sharing, then what? So Stern can't retire yet simply because he achieved a new collective bargaining agreement. He can't leave the NBA until he's leaving all 30 franchises (or however many there are when he leaves) on sound footing competitively and economically. So that part of his legacy, which includes over-expansion, is still to be determined.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:59 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 1:04 pm
 

Celtics eyeing Josh Smith?

Could Smith be shipping up to Boston soon? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Any day now. Any day, we're going to all be talking about the big trade the Celtics just made. Because there's just too much smoke for there not to be a fire.

There's the Rajon Rondo stuff, which is complicated. But there's also been chatter about the Celtics shopping their other core members. Including this from the New York Daily News:
"Ainge is trying to land Atlanta's Josh Smith and other young studs, while offering up Kevin Garnett. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can also be had, for young players and draft picks. Rajon Rondo might be leaving, too, with the Lakers and Utah seen as possible destinations."
Two deals there are interesting: 1) Rondo for Smith straight up. The Celtics get a younger player to be a cornerstone for the future inside, while the Hawks get what they desperately need, a point guard to orchestrate the offense.

And 2) Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen for Smith, Kirk Hinrich and Zaza Pachulia.  The Celtics cut ties with their core and bring in a completely capable power forward to replace Garnett, while the Hawks, a team stuck in neutral, get Garnett and Allen giving them the chance to maybe make an actual run for once. While at the same time opening up some cap flexibility in the future.

Did I just spend 20 minutes playing with the Trade Machine to come up with those? Yes, yes I did.

Point is, the Celtics are looking at maybe shaking everything up. It's hard to see them moving Paul Pierce as he's been a part of that organization for so long as still appears to have good years left, but it might be time to finally break away from Ubuntu and start making moves. Because this Celtics team isn't winning anything any time soon. Heck, it's a question as to if they're making the playoffs right now.

Ainge tried to get younger in acquiring Jeff Green lasts season, but obviously that backfired. And he's certainly looking at doing the same this year too. He doesn't want to go through a total rebuild, not after all these good years. He wants to restock and retool the team by grabbing some young talent. And the only way to do that is to rip the bandaid right off and make a tough call on your key players.

Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:38 pm
 

Manu Ginobili possibly returning Friday

Posted by Royce Young

The Spurs might be fully operational once again soon.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Manu Ginobili practiced Thursday and could potentially return Friday against the Bobcats. Right now, Ginobili is listed as a game-time decision.

Ginobili strained an oblique muscle right after returning from a broken hand. The Spurs have survived without him, rising to second in the West with a 24-11 record. But obviously getting him back means they're all the more dangerous.
Ginobili, 34, is averaging 12.1 pooints, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per game in 9 appearances this season. He was named to the 2011 All-Star team and All-NBA third team last season.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:07 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 12:06 pm
 

Podcast: Will the Celtics blow it up?

Rajon Rondo (Getty)
By Matt Moore 

The Celtics are facing a huge upheaval, and aren't being quiet about it. Rumors continue to swirl regarding the end of the Big 3 era, as the team looks to the future. Rajon Rondo has been the subject of the majority of talks, despite being the best player on the team at this point, and despite Doc Rivers' insistence to the contrary. But how has this affected the Celtics? Is it bothering them at all? More importantly is it time to blow this thing up?

We talked to WEEI columnist Paul Flannery about the feel from players right now and where the organization stands as the precipice of a rebuild rapidly approaches.

 


So since we did that interview, we've posted on the Celtics being interested in Michael Beasley and Doc Rivers vehemently denying that they are shopping Rondo. All this talk of what the Celtics are or are not doing reasserts what Flannery says regarding how the Celtics are constantly looking to improve.

The fact that Ainge is so unsentimental about the Celtics has always been a strange offset to the team's unity among its players, dating back to the "Ubuntu" philosophy from 2008. But Ainge has been looking forward since last year's trade of Kendrick Perkins, and while Rondo is their best player, it's clear that the Celtics won't be closing any doors. And as long as they're open to making moves, those convesations will wind up in the media.

The drama continues to unfold in Boston.

Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:57 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 12:14 pm
 

Silver touts transparency in lockout tactics

By Matt Moore 

Adam Silver could be pulling the strings at the next CBA negotiations. (Getty)
BOSTON -- Adam Silver appeared Friday as a panelist for the opening session of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. During the conversation on the panel of "In the Best Interest of the Game: The Evolution of Sports Leagues" Silver was asked about the keys to the league's success in the recent labor negotiations, and referenced "transparency" as a key. Which is kind of interesting.

Silver specifically said that the league's opening of their books to the players was crucial to the league's approach. Personally, I thought starving the players off their paychecks for two months was helpful, too, but sure, whatever. That issue was hugely contested throughout the lockout, as the league continuously held back releasing its figures. When the league later did "open the books," the players heavily disputed how their figures regarding losses were calculated. A Forbes report also disputed the NBA's conclusions. The league went on the offensive to defend their assertions of losses and presented a compelling case in some of the most open discussion about the realities of the league's financials we've seen.

Why is this relevant?

We're nearly four months out of the lockout, and the battle is still being waged with the same talking points. Silver referenced the possibility of being back at the table in six years, when both the NBA and NBPA have an opt-out which could drag professional basketball back into lockout hell once again. Silver repeated the same tenets we heard throughout the lockout from Silver, but in this session, there wasn't the edginess we saw after the tense hours at the negotiating table over the summer and fall. Silver impressed with his command of the talking points while also conveying something we hadn't seen from the league in several months, empathy, for the owners, players, and fans.

Silver noted that after the lockout's resolution, there seemed to be "very little acrimony" between the owners and players.

We'll see how true that is in six years, when it could be Silver leading the league for the first time as both its head negotiator and public face. If Friday is any indication, the players should be prepared for an even tougher opponent should that acrimony miraculously return.

Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:10 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 11:54 am
 

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Posted by Royce Young



In what world has 81 ever been better than 100? Maybe when you're talking about temperature, but not much after that.

But here's a time that 81 was greater than 100: Kobe Bryant's epic scoring night matched against Wilt Chamberlain's all-time point barrage.

Never would I imply that what Chamberlain did 50 years ago wasn't impressive. Scoring 100 points in a game isn't just impressive. It's drinking-a-gallon-of-milk impressive. It's something that's darn near impossible to do and takes a special, near superhuman individual to pull it off.

Still, Kobe's 81 was better.

Why? You could almost make a strong case that Chamberlain's hundred should include an asterisk. First, and this is unfair to Chamberlain, but none of us saw it happen. We don't know what it looked like, what it felt like, how that game went. There's no footage of it at all, only a little audio of him scoring the hundredth point.

Actually, it might be a good thing we never saw it. Because from accounts of how it went down, the Warriors spent almost the entire fourth quarter fouling to get the ball back and force-feeding Chamberlain the ball. New York coach Eddie Donovan said, "The game was a farce. They would foul us and we would foul them." Chamberlain's shot attempts by quarter: 14, 12, 16, 21. You think in a blowout in today's game that a team would keeping feeding their star like that?

Plus, the pace of the game in 1962 was far faster than was Kobe was playing with in 2006. Chamberlain had more possessions in the up-and-down game. There were 316 combined points in that game. It would take today's Lakers almost a month to score that many. (I kid, I kid.)

Then you have to consider that Chamberlain's points came easier. He was a post player that could be fed the ball and overwhelm his opponents. Kobe is a perimeter player that had to handle it and score by creating his own either off the dribble or with a jumper. Chamberlain overpowered smaller teams and smaller players. At times, it was like a college guy playing against middle school kids. Truly a man among boys. Chamberlain could just have his way.

It's no coincidence that when you browse the top point totals in a game, Wilt's name litters the list. It was a long time coming that he'd finally top the century mark. He scored at will because there was only one other player in the game -- Bill Russell -- that could really stop him. The guy that played most of the night against him -- Darrall Imhoff -- stood no chance. Not to discredit the talent pool in the 60s, but Chamberlain wasn't exactly facing elite big men every night.

Nobody will ever match what Chamberlain did though. Like DiMaggio's hit streak or Favre's consecutive games streak, it's one of those unbreakable records. The reason mainly is because nobody would have the gall to do what the Warriors did to get him there. Playing out the game in a blowout, blatantly running up the score, fouling to get the ball back -- can you imagine what would happen if someone did that today?

Say LeBron was going off and had 75 points after three quarters. The Heat are up 30. Erik Spoelstra leaves LeBron out there to pound the opponent, all while Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier take fouls so LeBron gets more shots. There would be week long panels devoted to ripping the team that did it. I think the Hall of Fame might have to make room for a new exhibit honoring the most explosive media backlash in professional sport history.

Kobe's 81 had everything going for it. It was a close game and Bryant just completely took over. The Lakers were down 71-53 and Kobe brought them back. He wasn't ever intentionally fouled, and he team didn't do much of anything other than give him the ball and get out of the wya. He played until the end, checking out with just a few seconds remaining. And despite playing a darn near perfect game with all the factors lining up, Kobe was still 19 points short. Consider this: After Kobe, the next highest total is 78 by Chamberlain, then 73 by David Thompson and Chamberlain. Even the greatest ever, Michael Jordan, topped out at 69. There's just no chance of anyone ever sniffing 100 points in a game again.

Still, Kobe's 81 was better.

The Mamba took 17 fewer shots, 12 fewer free throws, didn't have his team fouling to get him the ball, had fewer possessions and still only came up 19 short of Wilt. He scored 55 points after halftime. That's only 14 short of Jordan's career-high. Forget what math and maybe common sense tells you. Eight-one is greater than 100.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:25 am
 

Report Card: Flying fast breaks rule

Posted by Royce Young

 No-look oop? No big.

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


Kevin Durant
How's this: Durant: 18 points on 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter. Orlando, 21 points on 8-of-25 shooting. The Magic had Oklahoma City beat, but that KD guy hit a couple tough shots, one impossible shot and closed out Orlando, finishing with 38 total. It's really no coincidence that the Thunder are 29-7. They just figure out how to win.
Awesome fast breaks
The two best fastbreaking teams in the league both put up nominees for "Fast break oop of the night." The Heat's (above) included a Dwyane Wade no-look lob to a flying LeBron. The Thunder's featured a no-dribble break that went Durant-Westbrook-Durant for a soaring finish. Take your pick. Both were awesome.
Steve Nash
The ageless one piled up 17 assists to go with 13 points as the Suns took down Minnesota. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, how about eight rebounds too. I really don't know how Nash is doing it. At this point, if you told me he'd be averaging a double-double when he's 58, I'd believe you.
Jimmer Fredette
The Kings lost, but there were small flashes of brilliance from Jimmer. It's March, so it might be Jimmer Time. He scored only 11 points, but hit 3-of-4 from 3 and started to play with a little of that BYU swag that made him such a scoring machine.
Dwight Howard
Howard finished with 33 points on 20 shots, but was a non-factor as the Orlando offense sputtered to a halt late in the game. Howard only got a couple of baskets -- a lob, a putback dunk, another cutting dunk and a couple free throws. He wants to be a part of the late game offense, but it's really hard to see how he can be. The Thunder used Kendrick Perkins on Howard one-on-one in the post and Perkins basically stopped him.
Orlando Magic's fourth quarter As mentioned above, the Magic scored only 21 points in the fourth. The problem with that being Oklahoma City had 35. Orlando blew an 11-point lead as the Thunder came back and took a tough one from the Magic. The offense had no idea where to look for baskets outside of just chucking a deep 3 and hoping Howard could clean up the glass.
Beasley and Williams
A night after going for a combined 54 on 20-25 shooting, Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams combined for nine points on 3-15 shooting.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com