NBA AM: Evan Turner Still Not Starting
Turner Still Not Starting: Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins has raved about how hard second year guard Evan Turner has worked in training camp, leading many to believe Turner would finally get a starters spot.
Collins revealed this week that while Turner was much improved, he’d be staying with the second unit, at least for now.
“Evan’s been very aggressive, he’s been looking to score,” Collins said to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News.. “He’s in a very good place. I spoke to Evan the other day, in front of the team, and I said, ‘Evan, you probably have been our hardest worker in the off season with one goal in mind, to be a starter on this team.’ And I said, ‘You are a starter. As one of our better players, you’re a starter. But what you do for our team, with Thad [Young] and Lou [Williams], is if I were to put Jodie in your spot and put you in his, we’re not as good a team right now because Jodie would get lost with Lou and Thad. I know you [media] get hit all the time about, ‘Why isn’t he starting, being the No. 2 pick in the draft?’ To me, he is a starter.
“We’ve got eight guys on this team who are capable of starting. It’s up to me to put the puzzle together and to do that, you have to have people who trust you enough that you’re doing it for the right reasons. Thad and Lou did that last year. Thad was rewarded with a nice contract and our team won. I hold them up every single day as guys who star in their roles. When more people star in their roles it gives us a better chance to win.”
There has been a belief that with Turner starting to look more like the player the 76ers coveted with the second overall pick in 2010, that the team would look to move some of its excess in trade especially on the heels of signing Thaddeus Young to a new five-year $42 million contract.
76ers sources continue to say there is zero pressure from ownership to trim costs, and with a payroll clocking in at $68.1 million for the current season it seems the 76ers plan to stay the course with all of their current guys.
If things go badly, you might see a change in direction, but for those looking for an Andre Iguodala trade, that’s not been discussed at all according to 76er sources and the team as constructed is the team that will open the first month of the season.
Pietrus And The Celtics?: The Phoenix Suns bought out the final year of Mickael Pietrus’ contract agreeing to pay him $4.2 million of the $5.3 million remaining on his deal. The Suns had tried to trade Pietrus to the Toronto Raptors when free agency opened however a swollen knee during a physical with the Raptors nixed the deal.
Pietrus is expected to clear waivers and then be free to choose his next team as an unrestricted free agent.
Pietrus’ agent Bill McCandless told A. Sherrod Blakely of csne.com that his client has heard from several teams including the Celtics.
“He’s only 29, so he’s not like Charles Barkley or some other older players running around, chasing a championship,” McCandless said. “But he wants to be with a playoff team, and have a chance to contribute.”
There had been reports that the New York Knicks were in the mix for Pietrus, however of the half dozen teams that inquired, the Knicks were not said to be one of them.
Pietrus left $1.1 million on the table in Phoenix and as an eight year veteran is eligible to sign an NBA minimum deal starting at $1,223,166.
The Celtics, Lakers and Knicks have been called the front runners for Pietrus once he clears waivers. All three have the ability to add him at the veterans minimum.
Jackson Tabling Contract Talks: Bucks guard Stephen Jackson has made no secret of the fact that he wants a contract extension; however, with the Bucks seemingly unwilling to engage Jackson on the subject in a serious way, Jackson says he is tabling the talks for a later date.
“I’m going to go ahead and let it die down,” Jackson said to Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times. “Right now, I know it’s not the time to talk about contracts or anything like that. It’s about focusing on getting to the playoffs.”
“I don’t want it to be a distraction to the team,” Jackson said. “We have a great team. We have a chance to do something great.”
“This is probably the last time I’m going to address it,” Jackson said about his contract demands. “We’ll see how this plays out.
“It would be good to finish up here, I’ll tell you that. I love it here.
“Like they say, ‘You play good, they pay good.’ ”
Jackson also clued reporters in on his bothersome back, revealing that he has some pretty serious issues going on, but none that should stop him from playing.
“I just have to play with it,” said Jackson. “Surgery is not an option.”
“The trainers and doctors are doing a great job of keeping my back loose. Hopefully, I won’t have to have surgery or any shots.”
“I got bone spurs in my back,” explained Jackson. “My bottom disc is completely gone. It’s normal, though. It’s not abnormal. It’s normal wear and tear from playing so long.”
“It ain’t that serious. I can still play for the next five years. See, I said five years. That’s all I got. I’ll be 38.”
Jackson currently has this year ($9.256 million) and next year ($10.059 million) left on his deal. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement would allow for an additional two years to be added to Jackson’s contract something he has been pushing for since arriving in Milwaukee.
Sources say it was Jackson’s contract demands that ultimately got him traded out of Charlotte on draft day.
The Bucks say they have zero interest in moving Jackson, but if he grows feisty about his contract that could change.
Jackson will be 34 in April and has played 11 seasons in the NBA logging over 25,000 game minutes in that span.
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