Monday, January 24, 2011
Getting a deal done soon is impractical, according to Fisher, because of the difficulty of negotiating while games are being played.
"Getting the process started as early as we did has been a great thing, and even though there hasn't been much movement. I still think we're in a much better position in regards to what happens over the next few months going into the offseason when a lot of the heavier work will be done," Fisher told NBA.com's Art Garcia.
"Unfortunately that leaves the NBA with a decision in terms of locking out or not on June 30th. It's a tough proposition during the season to make a lot of headway, but we're working hard and we'll keep trying to do the best job we can do."
The union would prefer the league keep operating as usual as long as progress is being made in negotiations.
It isn't known how the league would feel about continuing activities like the Summer League with no definitive agreement in place.
The two sides remain far apart on most core issues, despite both the league and the union trading proposals over the last 11 months.
The players rejected a proposal submitted by the league during last season's All-Star Break that called for an overhaul of the economic system that includes a reduction in salaries of $750-800 million, a hard cap, the elimination of guaranteed contracts and revenue sharing.
The union countered this past summer with a plan that would reduce the percentage of revenues guaranteed to players, currently at 57 percent, without suggesting what that lower percentage would be.
Fisher maintained the players are committed to avoid the second work stoppage in league history to threaten regular-season games.
"I don't think that's any different than before," said Fisher. "Not just during this round of negotiations, but any round of negotiations. It's never been the Players Association's desire to have a lockout, but at the same time we have a responsibility to do what's right for everybody in the NBA in terms of players. We have to stick to those principles."
Peja Stojakovic arrived in Dallas on Sunday, but it remains to be seen when the Mavericks will actually sign the veteran forward.
Multiple sources believe he will clear waivers on Monday, after which Dallas will move to sign him.
Before the Mavericks can do that, the NBA will have to sign off on the trade of Alexis Ajinca to Toronto.
The Trail Blazers have been hit with injuries this season and fans have dubbed them the "Frail Blazers."
Yet somehow they've won a season-high five games to improve to 25-20, also a season-high in games over .500.
"We've got nothing to lose," Wesley Matthews said after Portland overcame a 16-point deficit against Indiana on Saturday night.
In the last week, both Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby underwent knee surgeries.
"Every time you suit up and you hear a key guy's not playing, it's like, 'Man, what are we going to do now?' " LaMarcus Aldridge asked.
Last season, Portland players missed a combined 311 regular-season games because of injury, second only to the Warriors and most among playoff teams.
"I think a lot of people were counting them out and not talking much about them," Roy said. "(But) they're doing a great job of just sticking together and going out there and putting together wins."
Pistons coach John Kuester says he has reached out to Richard Hamilton, who has been held out of the team's last seven games.
He didn't say how or when, but Kuester told the media that he tried to make a connection with Hamilton.
"We made overtures and one of the things that's important is he is somebody that's on our team now," said Kuester.
"We know that and we've reached out to him. I'll tell you this right now, like what I said before; we're searching and we've got a nice run right now with the players that we have and they've done a real good job and unfortunately somebody had to probably be out of the mix right now. But that doesn't mean you're going to totally be out of the mix."
Hamilton might be needed and Kuester will need to mend fences with Detroit's injuries and a trade not on the horizon.
Theo Ratliff, who on Nov. 17 underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to perform a partial meniscectomy on his left knee, returned to practice on Sunday.
Ratliff hasn't played since Nov. 9.
In eight games, he's averaging 0.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks a game.
"He was out there for most of the practice. Because we have four centers he wasn't on the floor all the time, but he did pretty well," coach Phil Jackson said.
"Everything everyone else did. We played some full court, played some half court, we ran some transition things. He did pretty good."
Friday, January 21, 2011
Phil Jackson still intends to retire at the end of the season, according to Lakers vice president Jeanie Buss, who is also Jackson's longtime girlfriend.
"No. This will be his last year with the Lakers," Buss said when asked by the New York Times if Jackson has waived at all in his decision.
"He wants to make sure that the players know that so that they don't leave anything out there because there's nothing worse for a player than living with regrets. 'What could have been had we just made the right decision or done the right thing.' So he wanted to make sure they knew, this is our last time together.
"Now, what Phil does after this, only Phil knows. I don't know if he's going to retire. Me and my opinion? I can't see him being retired. I don't know what's going to keep him occupied. He's so competitive. He's so good at coaching. Can I see him coaching another team in the NBA? Yes. Can I see him having his own cooking show? Yes. He's a person that is very productive, but he's going to have to decide what he's going to do."
Larry Brown is starting to get bored and says that he wants to coach again.
Brown, who lives in Philadelphia, visited Villanova's practice on Thursday.
"He's allowing me to hang around," Brown said of Wildcats coach Jay Wright, "and get my basketball fix."
Villanova players and coaches took turns talking to Brown and shaking hands.
"I would like to" coach again, Brown said. "I don't want to end the way this one ended. Right now, the most important thing is I'm getting time with my family."
It wasn't the Denver Nuggets that broke off talks that would have sent Carmelo Anthony(notes) and Chauncey Billups(notes) to the New Jersey Nets. It was the Nets who decided to call things off, so the veteran point guard Billups isn't heaving a sigh of relief.
"It still stings," Billups said, according to the Denver Post. The Denver native said his mind hasn't eased and he knows he still might be dealt, the paper reports.
The 34-year-old has been in the league since 1997 and has played for six teams: the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Nuggets. This season, he's averaging 16 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
The Golden State Warriors are currently 18-23 and in 12th place in the Western Conference. Co-owner Joe Lacob is ready to make some big changes, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
"I'm certainly biased toward doing something -- strongly," Lacob told the paper. "What I would really love to do is to pull off the deal to get a superstar. There's one or two of them out there."
Two players he loves having together offensively in his backcourt are Monta Ellis(notes) and Stephen Curry(notes). But he isn't committed to keeping them together. "I really like those guys as individuals, and I like them as players," Lacob told the Mercury News. "But I have to be honest, it depends. If we got offered a great situation, would I break it up? Yes."
When Allen Iverson(notes) returned to the states from Turkey to deal with an injury recently, many believed the veteran guard would finally be announcing his retirement.
But Iverson isn't going to do any such thing for a while, it now appears. "He's determined," said his manger, Gary Moore, according to ESPN. "He wants to play several more years."
Iverson has an "undetermined growth in his right calf" that a specialist will remove on Tuesday, ESPN reports. Then Iverson will return to his team in Turkey, Besiktas, and plans to be back on the court in four to six weeks.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The NBA and its players' association will meet during the All-Star break as they try to make progress on a new collective bargaining agreement.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Thursday that the sides will have a negotiating session during the Feb. 18-20 weekend in Los Angeles.
No meeting had been scheduled as recently as last week.
Now that the New Jersey Nets have dropped out of the Carmelo Anthony(notes) trade talks, the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and Chicago Bulls remain as possible destinations.
Anthony does not want to be a free agent when a possible lockout occurs this summer. Not when he could be making the $65 million over three years that is currently on the table from the Denver Nuggets.
A source told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that Anthony's representatives are engaging the Chicago Bulls "with hopes of pushing them into becoming a serious bidder."
Wojnarowski notes that Anthony's agents are under pressure to make a deal happen for an increasingly unhappy client. "The Nuggets need to agree on a package with a team in which Anthony's willing to sign a contract extension," Wojnarowski writes.
Meanwhile, Anthony's points per game (23.5) are down from last season when he scored 28.2 points per game, but his rebounds per game (8.1) are up from 6.6 last season.
There may be a few veteran players around the league who aren't particularly fond of Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin(notes) because of his thunderous dunks, dramatic rebounds and physical play. But there is one person in the league who is absolutely loving him: Clippers GM Neil Olshey.
Griffin is under contract till 2014, but Olshey is already saying that there is no way the Clippers will let him go anywhere else. "I can guarantee you he will only ever be a Clipper," Olshey said, according to ESPN Los Angeles. "If [Oklahoma City Thunder general manager] Sam Presti arrived on Kevin Durant's(notes) doorstep at midnight on July 1st with an extension, understand that Blake Griffin lives two blocks away from me in Manhattan Beach so it's going to be a much shorter commute for me. When it comes time for him to be a free agent, we won't be losing."
The Clips have won 10 of their last 14. The 6-10 Griffin, a 21-year-old out of Oklahoma, is averaging 22.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game this season.
"The future looks pretty good," Olshey said, the site reports.
Mikhail Prokhorov can unfurl his portrait murals on the sides of Manhattan skyscrapers and marvel over the construction of his new basketball palace in Brooklyn. The Russian billionaire can promise championship parades within five seasons and employ exhaustive research to dispose of the Nets moniker and unwrap something new to call his franchise.
Only, there’s no scrubbing away the residue of decades of dysfunction and disarray with the fresh paint job. There’s no scrubbing it all away with carefully orchestrated news magazine profiles. Prokhorov isn’t the NBA’s most mysterious man, but one more clumsy, clueless creation of the commissioner’s endless failure to resurrect this franchise. All his money and clout and global reach, and yet Prokhorov and his posse look like one more incompetent ownership group killing time and brain cells until the lockout.
It was a stunning, senseless and perfectly fitting performance for Prokhorov on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center: As full-of-it grandstanding ploys go, Prokhorov was brilliant. Once he sensed the Nets couldn’t convince Carmelo Anthony(notes) to sign a contract extension, that his trip to the Rockies would be met with one more failure as owner, he made a dramatic declaration the Nets were done recruiting a deal and out of the running for Anthony.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Spurs guard Gary Neal has been a major contributor off the bench this season.
After spending three seasons playing basketball in Europe, the 26-year-old rookie hopes to never wake up from his NBA dream.
"I couldn't have written a script that would have been better than this is right now," Neal said.
"As far as the team goes, we've got the best record in the NBA, and as far as me playing, I'm playing more, and better, than I thought I could play."
He is averaging 8.7 points in 18.7 minutes per game.
While he would love to participate in the Rookie-Sophomore game scheduled for All-Star weekend, he isn't getting ahead of himself.
"To be honest with you, we have 15 games before then, and anything could happen between now and then," Neal said. "The rotation could change, or anything. I just take it day to day, one game at a time."
Brandon Jennings has been out since Dec. 20 following surgery on his left foot, but his return is getting closer.
Milwaukee's game in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Jan. 31 is a potential return date for the L.A. native.
"I wish (I could play) tomorrow," Jennings said. "Hopefully, when I go back to L.A. so I can play at home against the Clippers. I want to play at home at least one time. Or maybe get one or two games in before we hit L.A."
The original estimate following the injury was that he'd miss four to six weeks.
If all this endless turmoil and drama end up with the New Jersey Nets not actually netting Carmelo Anthony(notes) from the Denver Nuggets, team owner Mikhail Prokhorov does have a Plan B.
The New York Daily News reports that Prokhorov has his vision set on Utah Jazz small forward (and fellow Russian) Andrei Kirilenko(notes), who becomes a free agent this summer.
The paper notes that Kirilenko and Prokhorov used to have dinners together when Kirilenko would go home during his summer break from the NBA. If the Anthony plan doesn't work out, the pair may get to eat together a lot more often.
The 29-year-old, who was taken in the first round of the 1999 draft by Utah, is averaging 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game so far this season.
Things are getting really crowded on the Portland Trail Blazers' disabled list. The Oregonian reports that starting center Marcus Camby(notes) has a partial tear in the meniscus in his left knee. He'll have surgery later this week.
So now the Blazers have Camby, Greg Oden(notes), Brandon Roy(notes), Elliot Williams(notes), and Jeff Pendergraph(notes) all recovering. The Oregonian reports that last year the team lost a combined 311 games to injury.
The 36-year-old Camby, whose name had come up in recent trade rumors, hurt his knee on Monday when the Blazers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-102. Camby had an MRI Tuesday morning that the team said was negative, the paper reports, but the team's athletic trainer, Jay Jensen, didn't like the look of Camby's limp after Tuesday's practice and further exploration led to the diagnosis.
In mid-December, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah(notes) underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb. Bulls.com reports that the pin is set to come out on Jan. 25 and Noah hopes to be back in the lineup by Feb. 24 when his team takes on the Miami Heat.
"It's been long and sometimes frustrating not being able to be out there with my teammates," Noah said Monday, according to the site. "Physically, I feel pretty good. I've been doing a lot of cardio and working out. I feel strong and I'll be ready to get back and help the team."
The Bulls have been doing pretty well even without the 6-11 25-year-old center, who was averaging 14 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game before the injury. The Bulls have gone 7-3 in the last 10 games, are undefeated in division games, and are in third place in the Eastern Conference with an overall record of 28-13.
"I'm just trying to control what I can control right now," Noah said. "I'm all about getting this pin out of my finger and getting my hand back to 100 percent. Hopefully it's before that because I would love to play in that game."
Josh Smith(notes) made a go-ahead layup with 34.7 seconds left in overtime, Joe Johnson(notes) scored 19 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat Miami 93-89 on Tuesday night to send the Heat to a fourth straight loss.
Johnson had a game-tying layup with 25.4 seconds left in regulation and two game-sealing free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining in overtime. Jamal Crawford(notes) also scored 19 for Atlanta.
LeBron James(notes) scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Miami, but missed a long three-pointer at the end of regulation and another 28-foot try as the shot clock was expiring late in overtime and the Heat down by two.
Dwyane Wade(notes) finished with 27 points for the Heat, who got 16 rebounds — with no shot attempts — from Joel Anthony(notes).
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau defended Omer Asik after the backup center was criticized by Chris Bosh.
The Heat forward blamed his ankle injury on Asik.
Chasing after a loose ball in the third quarter, Asik dove on the floor and rolled over Bosh's ankle.
"C'mon, that is how guys get hurt, that is how serious injuries happen," Bosh said after the game. "You've got to watch people's legs. I know guys want to hustle and everything but we all want to play and provide for our families and have a job.
"We all want to be healthy and that is very important," he said. "If it is by somebody's leg, don't dive for the ball, it's too close."
Thibodeau didn't agree with Bosh's comments.
"I didn't see it that way," the coach said.
"I saw it as a great hustle play. Omer's not that type of guy. He's not going to ever try to take somebody out. He plays hard, he plays clean. He wants to win. Sometimes people say things [in the] heat of the moment after a game so ... And Chris is a tough player. Actually, he hit the floor in the first half in a similar play with Derrick, so I didn't see it that way."
Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Monday on both knees, it was announced by General Manager Rich Cho.
Dr. Don Roberts performed the surgery in Vancouver, Wash. No timetable has been set for Roy's recovery.
"We’re hopeful today’s procedure will help alleviate some of the pain Brandon has been experiencing in his knees and allow him to get back to playing basketball again,” said Cho.
Roy, 26, has missed 18 games this season with a sore left knee.
Derrick Rose had a triple-double, the first of his career, in Chicago's 96-84 victory over Memphis on Monday.
Rose collected his 10th rebound on Chicago's final shot attempt of the game.
He scored 22 points (on 7-for-20 shooting) and dished 12 assists against just one turnover.
One of the reasons the New Jersey Nets have been thought to have a better chance of getting Carmelo Anthony(notes) from the Denver Nuggets is because the team has two first-round picks that it can send to the Mile High City. But the New York Knicks have been thought to be Anthony's preferred destination.
Now Knicks president Donnie Walsh claims he can get his hands on two first-round picks for trading if he needs to, according to ESPN.
"I could probably get more than one, but I'm not going to say how many," Walsh said yesterday, according to the site. "But I'm confident I can get a first-round pick."
ESPN notes that this info "is certain to move the needle in the unending Carmelo Anthony trade watch."
The New Jersey Nets had strutted around so full of themselves: big talk, blustery billboards and puffed-up promises. Even so, no one bought into the myth of Mikhail Prokhorov the way they did within that forlorn franchise. The Nets treat the Russian owner like some deity, like a Euro Mark Cuban, when he’s little more than an absentee landlord cutting big checks and delivering delusional proclamations of championship parades inside of five seasons.
If the Nets truly need to sell Carmelo Anthony(notes) on accepting the trade and signing a contract extension, they’re a bigger lost cause than they’ve ever been. The Nets can’t let Prokhorov and Jay-Z get on a jet and go sell that now because this process has already cost them too much credibility – and because billionaires aren’t supposed to beg. Make no mistake: The manufactured aura of this ownership dream team will be obliterated with a ’Melo rejection.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Amid a 2-8 slide that coincided with injuries to Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler, the Mavericks have continued to assess trade options through discussions with numerous teams.
Dallas, however, would prefer to see how the team looks with a healthy Nowitzki, who returned over the weekend, before they decide if they need to make a deal to replace Butler, who is out for the season.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com lists, Stephen Jackson, Tayshaun Prince, J.R. Smith, Corey Maggette and Devin Harris as possible options for the Mavericks.
Harris would only be a possibility if he lands in Denver as part of the three-team trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey.
The Bulls will not have Carlos Boozer on Monday when they face the Grizzlies.
Boozer injured his ankle in the final seconds of Chicago's victory over Miami on Saturday night. He reportedly left the United Center in a walking boot.
He missed the first 15 games of the season because of a broken finger, but is averaging 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds since.
In a post-game interview on Sunday night, Carmelo Anthony expressed no interest in meeting with New Jersey's top officials, who want a face-to-face discussion with Anthony to convince him to sign a contract extension with the Nets.
Anthony said contact with the Nets should be made by Denver's front office.
"I don’t want to talk to nobody. I let the front office handle that type of stuff."
Reports are swirling that the Nuggets have granted the Nets permission to speak with Anthony as the final details of a three-team trade are apparently being hammered out.
Anthony elaborated on his statement, saying that he does not want to get involved with speaking to any team, specifically mentioning the Knicks too. However, it is widely believed that the Nets will need a meeting with Anthony to sell him on joining their team.
"Definitely," Jamison said in an interview with FanHouse when asked if retirement was a possibility.
"I've done a lot, man. This is my 13th year and next year will be my 14th year. A lot of people don't get the opportunity to say that they've played for that many years. And to know that I've left everything I throw on the court has been a blessing for me."
Jamison, making $13.36 million this season and $15.08 million next season, says he could sign for an additional year but that would be it.
"I know the window of opportunity is closing in ... for my career," said Jamison. "Physically, I can play the game for another five or six years. Mentally, I got another one or two years in me. I can live with that. I've enjoyed my career and done a lot of things. The only thing I got to do is to win a championship. But I got one more year left on my contract. If nothing happens by then, I can be happy with it being a career unless an opportunity comes up to play for one year after that.
"But I got four kids (ranging in age from 1 to 10 with wife Ione). I've been away from home a long time. There's nothing wrong with being daddy day care and just enjoy life with them. I can actually see myself doing that (after next season). ... I'll go to PTA meetings."
Tim Duncan knows titles aren't won in January, but he told NBA.com that the Spurs were looking to get off to a hot start this season in hopes of securing homecourt advantage when the playoffs do roll around.
"We just want to continue to play," Duncan said. "It's great to get off to this start and we wanted to get off to a fast start coming into this year. We want to be able to have homecourt advantage, if at all possible, in the playoffs."
San Antonio is currently on pace to win 70 games and they have a 5 1/2 game lead over the Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Despite the team's hot start, Gregg Popovich continues to insist his team isn't the conference's best right now. He's imparted that belief onto his players.
"The Lakers are right on our tail in terms of record, they're the three-time conference champs, two-time NBA champs and to start talking NBA Finals is early," Richard Jefferson said.
"The only thing we can talk about is trying to get the No. 1 seed. I think that's the only thing as far as looking to the future that would even be respectable."
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace(notes) could be changing jerseys soon. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the 'Cats have discussed trading Wallace to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wallace has two years and $22 million left on his contract after this season.
The Cavs have a $14.5 million trade exception that it picked up during the LeBron James sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat last summer that it would use in the deal, Wojnarowski notes.
Wallace is averaging 16.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season for the 15-21 Bobcats.
The New York Knicks are supposedly the team that Carmelo Anthony(notes) really wants to play for, but the word has always been that the New Jersey Nets have far more quality to offer in a deal than the Knicks.
The New York Post reports that the Knicks have "reached out" to the Memphis Grizzlies to see if they would be agreeable to including O.J. Mayo(notes) in a three-way trade with the Denver Nuggets for Anthony.
A Knicks exec told the Post, however, that "it is not a serious discussion and Denver has not even been brought into it."
Mayo, of course, is the second-year shooting guard who was picked third overall in the 2008 draft out of USC. He's averaging 12.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this season.
The Heat lost their third-straight game on Saturday night while LeBron James rested his sore ankle.
To make matters worse, Chris Bosh hurt his ankle in the third quarter of Miami's 99-96 loss to Chicago.
Bosh suffered the injury in the third quarter and returned only briefly in the fourth before leaving for good.
"I couldn't push off it. I thought I could at first," Bosh said. "As bad as I wanted to play, you have to keep the big picture in mind. I was finally getting a rhythm. I can't wait to play these guys again."
Before the three-game losing streak, Miami had won 22 of their previous 23 games.
Kevin Garnett is expected to return to the Celtics for Monday's game against the Magic.
He has been out since late December with a calf injury.
"Obviously, the game changes from a communication standpoint to the pick-and-roll," Rajon Rondo said of Garnett's presence. "He changes the game a lot. He's definitely a low-post presence, as well.
"We definitely miss him. I wanted him back a couple games ago, but he has to take care of his body, be conscious. Same as he told me when I was down — be smart. We just try to hold them down as much as possible until he comes back."
Garnett, who is averaging 15 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, missed nine games with the injury.
Carmelo Anthony says the opportunity to win an NBA title is more important to him than money.
That is why Anthony has held off on signing a three-year, $65 million extension, which the Nuggets offered him last summer.
He is still weighing his options as rumors linking him to the Nets continue to run wild.
On Saturday, Anthony said he will only sign an extension with a team that gives him a chance to win a championship.
"I'm going into my ninth season. I have no time to waste right now," Anthony said. "I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel in my future. That light is a championship."
Anthony added that bringing a title to Denver has always been his dream, but that it may be fading.
"If I feel I can't do it here, I don't think this is the right thing to do," the forward said. "It's just the uncertainty in the future of the organization. It's a lot of things that come into play, contracts, not knowing what's going to happen in the future."
He later reiterated that no contract extension will be about the money.
"At first, a lot of people were saying it's a money situation. It has nothing to do with no type of money," Anthony said. "I don't care about the money. My ultimate at the end of the day is to win and win a championship. Whether I feel like I can do that here, whether I feel like I need to go somewhere else and do it, that's my own ultimate decision.
"You have to have a decision what's best for you and best for your career. Right now, whatever decision I make is going to be the best decision for me."