NBA RUMOR MILL – Wally The Leader
The Rumor Mill is updated every week, and covers the latest NBA trade rumors, NBA news and commentary from in and around the National Basketball Association.¿0a¿0a
RUMOR HAS IT…
In this week’s section geared exclusively towards the latest rumors floating around… “Rumor Has It…” ¿0a
The Magic’s Pinstripes: So it was just before the Magic game against the Bucks, Magic equipment manager Rodney Powell decided to change things up and pulled out the old Magic Pinstripe uniforms. The Magic had agreed to wear them some 12 times this season, but the Bucks game was not one of them. The Magic won the game in surprising fashion, so they chose to wear them again against the Knicks – again a win. The Magic wore them a third consecutive time against the Timberwolves and got yet another win – now surely the guys at Mitchell & Ness are loving this – but apparently the NBA cautioned the Magic to go back to their standard uniforms, or they could face a fine. Magic head coach Brian Hill would not comment if the team had been fined – but hinted at it, and no one in the organization would confirm it – but the rumor is the Magic did get fined for wearing the wrong uniforms, and a Magic source says if this is the cost of a winning record at home, they will find a way to absorb the fines, so expect to see more of the Pinstripes.¿0a
Ron Artest Update: There are three teams in the running for Ron Artest – The Timberwolves, who have moved to the front of the pack (at the urging of Kevin Garnett) – it seems Michael Olowokandi’s ending contract will be the meat of the deal, that may also include a young player (Rashad McCants or Bracey Wright) and a couple of future draft picks. The Nuggets still have a hat in this dance, but need Atlanta or Seattle to step in and help trigger a deal. The Nuggets are not offering anything Indiana wants, but could swing a three-way deal to nab Artest; they are considered the long shot. The Warriors remain in the hunt; but they too have backed away from any meat in their offer – Adonal Foyle is not going to get it done for the Pacers, unless Golden State takes on Austin Croshere. The Pacers apparently think the Clippers would be a good home for Artest, they seem to have locked in on a Chris Wilcox based deal, but wanted the Clips to sweeten the offer, and the Clips have at this point backed away when Shaun Livingston’s name surfaced, and the Clippers now seem like an even longer shot than Denver.¿0a
The Knicks: You know the story – Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury are not on the same page (or even in the same book) – no surprise, what you don’t know is the rookies – On the road Nate Robinson, Channing Frye and David Lee all have lockers next to each other. They are all very close, and do almost everything together. Channing and Nate are very tight, and are each others support system – they are all on Larry Brown’s page, they all understand what they need to do on the floor and they work hard at making him happy – so when you hear “rumors” that Robinson, Frye or Lee could be dealt – not gonna happen, and more importantly when you think about where the Knicks will go under Larry Brown – it will be where Eddy Curry, Nate Robinson, Channing Frye and David Lee take them – everyone else is expendable. ¿0a
Wally The Leader: This an interesting observation about the Minnesota Timberwolves – have you noticed who’s calling plays on the floor for Minnesota? It’s not Marko Jaric or Kevin Garnett, it’s been Wally Szczerbiak – the same guy everyone believes is not on Kevin Garnett’s favorite person list, it’s the same guy who used to complain about shots and minutes. Wally has become the go-to guy on the floor for the Wolves. The sad part is beyond Wally and KG, there isn’t much else that’s been consistent for Minnesota, and they have become a two man team, with almost no consistent depth. When you ask yourself, why would Minnesota want Ron Artest? Because they gave away all of their depth this summer, and are desperate for a third consistent option, no matter what his name is.¿0a
Trouble in Oakland: Poor Mike Dunleavy Jr. The home fans are booing him, and he is becoming the center of attention in Oakland, and is likely going to be one of the 1st guys in this new Warriors group traded. The good news is Ike Diogu is starting for the Warriors now in place of Adonal Foyle, and getting the job done. “All-Energy” Ike is exactly the catalyst the Warriors need to get back in a groove and as he gets his feel for starting, the Warriors should be a better team for it. Don’t be surprised if Mike Jr. and Adonal become a package deal, as the Warriors try to separate themselves in a very crowed Pacific division. ¿0a
Bosh, Villanueva And Sow
A lot has been made about Chris Bosh’s future in Toronto, and about whether the Raptors can retain him long term when his contract expires in two seasons – yes it’s early to be talking about the summer of 2007, but the talk has taken place in the Toronto media regardless. What has gone unnoticed is not that fact that Bosh and Villanueva are similar players that excel in the 4 spot, its that they play very well together, and actually present some pretty interesting match up problems when on the floor at the same time – introduce Pape Sow (the young guy taking the D-League by storm) at the 5 spot – which is coming – and Toronto all of a sudden has a front court that is young and developing and likely one of the more potent point/rebound combinations in the league. Villanueva will tell you he has absolutely no problem playing whatever spot on the floor necessary to win, and if that means he starts at the 5 or has to guard opposing 5’s he’ll gladly do it, and both Bosh and Charlie will tell you they like playing with each other and see Toronto’s future as very bright with both of them together – having two 6’10 plus versatile scorers that can rebound with the best of them is a luxury few teams have and if you believe for a second that Toronto is gonna force the issue by trading one of them – put away the pipe dreams, its not gonna happen. The future in Toronto is Chris Bosh and Charlie Villanueva – Pape Sow is just the icing on a front court that will turn heads next season – they did a number on Indiana on Friday, ask the Pacers if they believe those two can’t play together.
Rick Adelman may have been saved in Sacramento – the ticking has stopped and the Kings are playing more “energized” basketball. For weeks sources near the Kings said the players had basically quit on Adelman, they tuned him out in practice, they did their own thing and Rick simply was calling plays and going through the motions, but no one seemed to be listening – then the injuries hit, Peja Stojakovic is out, Bonzi Wells is out, now Shareef Abdur Rahim is out – most teams would crumble after losing three starters to injury – not the Kings, they have won 5 of their last 10 games, and are on a 2 game winning streak – why? Because Adelman has gone to his young guys, who are listening to the coach and proving the problems prior to the injuries where not about coaching – but more about players – Adelman’s guys are “coachable” now and the success is coming as a result – Kevin Martin has been the anchor for the Kings, he’s averaged 21 points in the 2 wins this week, and has been a decent rebounders as well. Rookie Francisco Garcia is doing a decent job as well, and with the injuries, Brad Miller has stepped up his game also – the problems in Sac-Town were not about Rick Adelman, and now that he’s got guys on the floor that will listen, the Kings are a team worth watching again.
Here are some of the random stories from the week…
- GRIZZ IN THE MARKET: Damon Stoudemire’s season is over, he ruptured his patellar tendon in his right knee against Portland, this week and now the Grizz are shopping for a replacement “veteran” point guard. Grizz VP Jerry West indicated the team would explore all the options, looking at available free agents first, but acknowledged that a trade was more likely and that a deal would need to be made soon. Several players mentioned around Memphis include Washington’s Chucky Atkins and New Jersey’s Jeff McInnis – both have expressed unhappiness in their current situations and both want to start.
- DANNY IS SHOPPING: The Boston Celtics have been on a slide, and despite the best efforts of Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis, the team needs help and Danny Ainge is supposedly turning over rocks trying to find some help – the Celtics pledge that Peirce is not going to be traded, but there continues to be speculation that if the right combination of younger more coachable players were presented the Celtics might come off Paul and it could happen this year. Its more likely than not the Celtics trigger a smaller deal, but don’t be surprised as the trade deadline approaches that Paul’s name comes up again.