HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Raymond Felton Weathering Trade Rumors
By Stephen Litel
Things have been interesting for Raymond Felton during his first season with the Portland Trailblazers. His new team had—and continues to have—high expectations for this lockout-shortened season, but Felton finds himself averaging career lows in nearly every statistical category after being one of the best young point guards in recent years.
“A lot of ups and downs,” Felton told HOOPSWORLD. “I came in and really didn’t have a lot of time to get used to these guys, to grow a bond on the court and off the court. Coming to a new team with six or seven new guys, losing Brandon (Roy) and losing Greg (Oden) again, it’s tough. It’s one of those things where I didn’t really come in the way that I normally would shape-wise because you have them telling you, ‘We might start in January. Nope, we’ll start in February.’ All of a sudden, they tell you that you have to report to your team within a week and it’s one of those seasons where you can’t control it, you can’t do anything about it.”
Mostly due to the struggles of this season, Felton has heard his name in trade rumors again. This is the time of year that can drive players, media and fans to madness with the amount of speculation and “sources” flying around each day, but as a professional, Felton knows how to deal with this trying time.
Raptors Contemplate Trade Possibilities
By Stephen Brotherston
The NBA trade deadline is only a week away and the Toronto Raptors have already made their first move, albeit a very small one. Surprisingly, the normally secretive team has been fairly open about their trade plans: Don’t expect to be bowled over by a roster overhaul during the next few days.
“We know where we are in our program and what we are trying to do and what is going on with the big picture plan,” said head coach Dwane Casey. “I know what our needs are, we know what our needs are, and Bryan has a great plan. We have flexibility and we are going to have to be selective as far as what we get and how we go after it and make sure we execute it. It’s a big off season for us to go along with the growth of some of the guys that we have.”
“I don’t foresee anything,” continued Casey about the trade deadline. “That’s out of my department but I don’t foresee any of it as far as any moves – major moves or minor moves. Maybe minor, but I don’t see anything major as far as anyone in the locker room.”
As Jeremy Lin Rises, Toney Douglas Falls
By Derek Page
While Jeremy Lin has been the story of the year for the New York Knicks, the player he replaced has been forgotten about at the end of the bench.
The point guard that started the first seven games of the season (nine overall) for the Knicks, Toney Douglas, has played a total of seven minutes over the past month. In the last 13 games, Douglas has not touched the court in 12 of those — including eight straight DNP-Coach’s Decision overall.
“His role’s defined,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said of Douglas, literally laughing as the words came out of his mouth. “He’s probably the only one that knows what he’s doing [every game].”
When I asked D’Antoni if there was any shot Douglas could break his way back into the rotation, the Knicks coach’s answer was grim.
Hawks’ Zaza Pachulia Off The Trading Block?
By Lang Greene
NBA franchises sometimes don’t know what kind of assets they possess on their roster until they’re gone out of the door.
Whether it’s the high scoring franchise player who receives the majority of the headlines or the reserve big man who consistently contributes the things found outside of the nightly box score each guy on truly successful teams play a pivotal role.
This theory fully applies to the 2012 Atlanta Hawks who lost All-Star center Al Horford for the remainder of the season just eleven games into the current campaign.
Usually this type of long term injury would be a fatal blow to a team’s playoff aspirations, but Horford’s replacement, Zaza Pachulia, has filled in admirably by averaging 8.1 points and 8 rebounds on 52 percent shooting as a full-time starter this season.
Will Chicago Bulls Trade For A Scorer?
By Joel Brigham
Think of the two weeks before the trade deadline as the twenty minutes or so before dinner’s ready; everybody’s hungry for something and the closer it gets to go-time, the less they care what they’re served.
In the case of Chicago Bulls fans, who got their first taste of success in over a decade last season, the hunger is ravaging. All season long there have been calls to make a move for Dwight Howard or, perhaps more often, a starting two guard that can give the team a legitimate chance in a seven-game series against the Miami HEAT.
The truth is this: Chicago is much more likely to stand pat at the March 15 trade deadline than they are to make a move. The Bulls’ front office is notoriously conservative, and considering how well they’ve played this season despite so much missed time by Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and especially Richard Hamilton, they’ve actually got some reason to be. Why blow up something that’s working so well, even when it’s incomplete?