NBA RUMOR MILL – Who’s Calling The Shots
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 a this weeks section geared exclusively towards the latest rumors floating around… “Rumor Has It…” ¿0a
George Lynch: According to source inside the Hornets, Lynch’s trade demands are steadfast – he apparently has no interest in playing for Byron Scott and does not feel the team will be competitive. He has not only “demanded” a trade, but apparently refuses to report to any team function until traded – The Hornets have grounds to fine Lynch, but are trying to keep their house in order after firing/releasing GM Alan Bristow two weeks ago – Lynch is rehabbing an injury in Dallas and is obviously not with the team – a league source said there is surprisingly little interest in Lynch, just goes to show that more and more teams are souring on guys that make public demands…¿0a
Eddy Curry: For whatever reason Bull’s General Manager John Paxson feels it necessary to keep talking about what he felt he “had to do” with regards to Eddy Curry – Curry who is still struggling to get in game shape with the Knicks was apparently verbally angry when informed of Paxson’s comments to Sports Illustrated about last season’s training camp chest pains. There is rumor that Curry was advised to pursue legal action against Paxson for publicly disclosing confidential medical information to the press – it’s also believed the Bulls issued internal warnings baring staffers from discussing Eddy’s health…¿0a
Jerome James: With the arrival of Eddy Curry, the Knicks were rumored to have explored trading Jerome James to at least one western conference team last week. James who was expected to start at center for the Knicks this off season is now the odd man out. The Knicks’ company line is they will keep both players in the rotation, but more and more people around the team say James is being shopped, and could be dealt sooner than later, especially once Eddy Curry rounds into shape… The Knicks also have reportedly begun fining Antonio Davis – in a minor way – he was told he needed to report and is expected in uniform tonight…¿0a
Rasho Nesterovic: The Spurs deny that they are looking to unload Rasho Nesterovic, yet several teams have told inquiring media that they talked at least once this off season about deals involving Rasho at a deeply discounted “we’d like him off the roster” price. The Spurs say Rasho is part of their team and their plan going forward, but don’t be surprised if he’s dealt at the deadline, they shopped him aggressively last year. With 4 years and roughly $39 million left on his deal, the Spurs have their work cut out for them …¿0a
Corey Maggette: The Rumors of Corey’s demise have been greatly exaggerated – the obvious source of the trade rumors involving Corey is the arrival of highly paid free agent Cuttino Mobley, but Clippers sources say unless Corey can yield at top 15 player, he’ll be a Clipper for the balance of his contract. It’s not out of the question Corey gets traded, but the rumors of the Clippers actively shopping Corey are being over-hyped. It is expected Corey will have a slightly lesser role, but they Clipper see that as a chance to keep Corey healthy for what the Clippers expect to be a playoff run…¿0a
AMARE AND THE SUNS
Its not often the media is accurate in their read on how a team will respond to injury, and its no more evident than the Suns’ announcement this week that Amare Stoudemire would be shelved until late February to Mid-March, which resulted in the outcry that the Suns were dead and would not make the playoffs. Admittedly, Amare Stoudemire was a huge part of the Suns success last year, but while Amare was the guy hammering home the amazingly plays, it was Steve Nash that set the tone. Not trying to suggest that Nash was the only reason for the Suns amazing success, but Nash is a guy that can make those around him better – like say turning Kurt Thomas into an offensive weapon, or getting Brian Grant the ball in a position to do something with it. Shawn Marion is the X-Factor, last year he complained about his lesser role – this year he’ll need to be the Matrix again, and Steve Nash will have to find him too. The Suns’ are not dead because of the injury – their road will be a little tougher – but the Suns spent their off season adding depth and defense, they will simply have to use it earlier that expected and Mike D’Antoni will have to really coach this team this year, not watch from the sideline.
IN RELATED: Amare Stoudemire’s knee was not a surprise to the Sun’s, in fact Amare was getting treatment of the knee when he negotiated and signed his $73 million extension. Virtually every player in the NBA has sore knees, some more than others. The Suns explained to media this week that they did not view the knee issue as a concern until it started to worsen in training camp. The decision to scope the knee was after all reasonable treatment was exhausted, and the microfracture surgery was deemed more of a “preventative” measure than anything else. The Doctor that performed the surgery told media that unlike older players such as Penny Hardaway, Chris Webber and Jason Kidd who had 16 to 18 month recovery windows, Amare’s window would be smaller, because he had a much smaller procedure done – it still takes time for the procedure to set, but its expected because Amare’s “defect” was very small that the “clotting” action needed to repair the “defect” is small, his healthy return should happen inside of 4 months, as early as All-Star – no timetable has been established.¿0a
THE CLIPS AND THE WARRIORS
There are two teams in the Western Conference that are on the rise. The 1st is the Clippers – you can joke about their past, but this Clippers team is the real deal – they have a nice savvy veteran core, and Mike Dunleavy has them on his page. Barring injury, which is a constant concern with Elton Brand and Corey Maggette – The Clippers should be a playoff team. The other team out west is the Warriors. After the Baron Davis trade last year the Warriors became a substantially better team. For the Warriors this year, their future is going to be tied to the health of Baron Davis – he has not played a full 82-game schedule in the last three seasons, and has had back and knee problems. The Warriors will go as far as Baron leads them and with Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy on the floor, Baron has some options. Ike Diogu recently broke his hand in practice, but once he returns the Warriors not only have a nice starting five, they have some interesting depth, anchored by some strong young big men like Diogu, Chris Taft and high schooler Monta Ellis.
WHOS CALLING THE SHOTS
The Orlando Magic have taken some hits over the past few seasons… admittedly most of them have been self-inflicted. The team let Doc Rivers make too many “judgment” calls on personnel in the summer of 2003, he gained too much power within the organization and then GM John Gabriel simply let Doc have his way – that cost both of them their jobs, and left the Magic looking at the top pick in the lottery and horrible21 win season. The Magic handed the team over to John Weisbrod, who had no NBA experience, and he in turn compounded bad decisions with his hard handed style which led to the trading away of Tracy McGrady (which at the time was smarter for both parties), he kept Johnny Davis around as head coach, a great assistant coach, but had no business in the head coaches office. The Magic ended up with another disappointing non-playoff season, and found themselves again looking for a head coach – rumors of an internal struggle over who should coach the team, ended with Brian Hill a face from the past being brought back against Weisbrod’s recommendation – he re-signed from the team and is now a pro scout for the NHL’s Dallas Star’s. The Magic basically split the General Manager duties between Dave Twardzik and Otis Smith. The thought was both had strengths and weaknesses and they complimented each other well enough to share the job – their first key decision was drafting Fran Vasquez, who turned on the team and elected to stay in Spain signing a multi-year contract insuring the Magic do not see results from that 1st round draft pick for several years. Their second key decision was signing Keyon Dooling to a $10 million contract – While Key is a nice player, that can bury big shots – but his addition brings into question the value of Jameer Nelson to the team. Instead of bringing this team together in a unified way, the team really isn’t in any better shape with two GM’s than it was with one bad GM… The Magic have taken some hits – admittedly of their own doing – its likely because whoever is really calling the shots, is picking the wrong guys to make the decisions.
Here are some of the random stories from the week…
- WEST IS NICELY REWARDED: The Memphis Grizzles have re-signed Jerry West to a two-year contract extension, worth a reported $7 million per year. West has been the face and architect of the Grizzlies for the past few years. He was given the choice on the number of years the extension could be for, he chose two more years, and apparently left the door open for a future beyond that.
- NO DEAL FOR TAYSHAUN: It was rumored that the Pistons would sign Tayshaun Prince to a 5 year $50 million contract extension this week. After meeting with the Pistons; Tayshaun’s agent Bill Duffy emerged without a deal. It seems the sticking point is not $50 million, its closer to $60 million over 5-years a number the Pistons are not comfortable with – in part because they know they will have to MAX out Ben Wallace next summer, and with Rasheed Wallace already taking up massive amounts of cap space – Tayshaun’s deal has be a little easier to swallow. Tayshaun hoped they could get some thing done in the next two weeks, before the window to extend his deal closes. If no deal is reached Tayshaun would be eligible to be a restricted free agent next summer.