Asik up for trade

The Houston Rockets are telling some other teams that they plan to trade disgruntled center Omer Asik by Dec. 19, according to sources acquainted with the team's programs.

Resources told that the Rockets began calling potential trade partners Fri to tell them they intend to offer Asik between Dec. 15 and Dec. 19.

[+] EnlargeOmar Asik

Scott Halleran/Getty PicturesThe Rockets tried playing Omer Asik and Dwight Howard jointly and were initially hesitant to entertain business gives for the Turkish large man.

The importance of this type of specific windowpane is two-fold. Dec. 15 may be the first day players who signed new contracts in the offseason could be plugged into trades, and Dec. 19 may be the last day time any player acquired by Houston in an Asik deal could be repackaged with some other players before the league's Feb. 20 trade deadline.

The calls made by the Rockets on Fri are reminiscent of their strategy with Thomas Robinson during the draft in June.

It had been an open magic formula that the Rockets were going to trade Robinson to greatly help clear salary-cap room for their pursuit of Dwight Howard. Having this task with Asik now could be in essence an attempt to persuade potential suitors to put their best offer on the table quickly given that the Rockets have established such an exact time frame for trying to complete a industry.

Asik offers wanted a new address from the moment Howard found its way to July and contains privately requested a industry numerous times in the several weeks since, sources mentioned.

The Rockets tried playing Howard and Asik jointly and were at first hesitant to entertain industry offers for the Turkish big man on the premise that the blissful luxury of experiencing either Howard or Asik on the courtroom at all times was too valuable to surrender so rapidly.

But Asik's angry reaction last month to becoming dropped out from the beginning lineup by Rockets coach Kevin McHale changed the powerful.

Group officials are now aggressively looking for a workable industry that won't only recreate a worthy asset for a player of Asik's caliber as a defensive anchor and rebounder but one that also happens quickly plenty of to ensure that Houston – known as among the league's most active teams trade-wise – maintains flexibility to make subsequent progresses deadline time.

Asik has repeatedly declined to touch upon his trade request, realizing that any public discussion of the problem would subject him to an excellent from the league office.

The 27-year-old began his first 90 video games as a Rocket after signing as a free of charge agent in the summertime of 2012 before declaring himself unavailable to have fun with the Knicks in New York on Nov. 14 to snap a streak of 239 consecutive video games played in the standard season.

Asik had been shelved this week by the Rockets with what is outlined as a thigh contusion. He's averaging a mere 18.3 minutes per game, down from final season's career high of 30.0 mpg, and averaging just 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Asik is owed $15 million in salary next period in a balloon transaction in the ultimate year of his contract that only counts against the income cap at $8.4 million but could still dissuade some bidders.


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Carter: Howard’s a ‘crybaby’


Vince Carter apologized Wednesday night. (USATSI) Vince Carter thinks Dwight Howard is a child. (USATSI)

Dwight Howard has been called quite a lot of issues over the previous couple years, but Vince Carter is taking his turn at it now.


Via ESPN Dallas, Carter exchanged words with Howard in the course of the Mavericks’ 123-120 win over the Rockets on Wednesday, telling the Houston big man he was “the most important crybaby I know.”

And Carter did not lay off when asked about it postgame.

“On a regular basis,” Carter stated when asked about Howard’s complaining. “He always talks about how I am a crybaby. I used to be like, ‘Yo, you’re the most important crybaby I know.’ And then later, he is like, ‘Yo, why’d you say that to me?’ However I know Dwight. It’s all good, but he’s [a crybaby].

“I imply, he takes numerous punishment, but I am like, ‘Yo, c’mon Dwight, c’mon. You elbowed, you are sitting within the paint the entire time. What are you whining about?’ He instructed me to cease crying. I was like, ‘What? Are you serious?’”

Hey, in a whole lot of ways “crybaby” is an improvement from a few of the stuff Howard has been known as recently.

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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings- Week 3


With just about 3 full weeks of NBA action in the books after the conclusion of Tuesday night’s games… let’s take a look the latest Power Rankings as some teams continue to surprise and others continue to fall. Indiana, the last of the unbeatens suffered their first loss at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.


San Antonio and Indiana are playing like the two best teams in the league while early top 10 Philadelphia is falling fast.


Teams 1-30 with records and last weeks rankings in parentheses are as followed:


1 Indiana Pacers (9-1 LW 1)- They lost to Bulls on the second of a back-to-back. Danny Granger expected back soon.


2 San Antonio Spurs (9-1 LW 2)- The Spurs have won 7 straight while Tim Duncan is averaging career-lows of 12 points and 39.4 percent shooting.


3 Miami Heat (7-3 LW 5)- LeBron James is averaging 34 points per game during the Heat’s three game win streak.


4 Los Angeles Clippers (7-3 LW 7)- The Clippers have won four straight while Blake Griffin is averaging a double-double with 22.9 points and 10.9 boards.


5 Golden State Warriors (7-3 LW 8)- Warriors have won three straight while suffering through injuries.


6 Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4 LW 4)- Kevin Love and Kevin Martin have formed the league’s highest scoring-duo in the season’s opening month.


7 Portland Trailblazers (8-2 LW 13)- One of the league’s early surprises…. the Blazers have won six straight.


8 Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3 LW 3)- Thunder will be looking for revenge against the Clippers on Thursday night.


9 Houston Rockets (7-4 LW 10)- Back up center Omer Asik wants out of Houston and has been benched the last two games since his request.


10 Chicago Bulls (5-3 LW 12)- Derrick Rose hits six 3’s in their big win against Indiana on Saturday night.


11 Dallas Mavericks (6-4 LW 11)- Mavs look to get back on track when Dwight Howard and the Rockets visit Wednesday night.


12 Phoenix Suns (5-4 LW 6)- Suns have dropped three straight by an average 2 points.


13 Atlanta Hawks (6-4 LW 17) Another early surprise team is getting it done with Al Horford, Ronnie Millsap and the return of Lou Williams.


14 Memphis Grizzles (5-5 LW 9)- They continue to struggle and have the Clippers and Warriors on the road coming up.


15 Charlotte Bobcats (5-5 LW 16)- Continue to surprise with Al Jefferson still nursing a bad ankle. Have five of their next six games at home.


16 Philadelphia 76ers (5-6 LW 14)- Back to losing but still in first place in a bad Atlantic Division.


17 Denver Nuggets (4-5 LW 28)- Have won of four but have OKC, Chicago and back-to-back against Dallas coming up.


18 New Orleans Pelicans (4-6 LW 15)- Ryan Anderson lit it up with six 3’s against the Sixers… can he continue?


19 Los Angeles Lakers (5-7 LW 19)- Steve Nash is still out… but good news is Kobe Bryant has begun practicing.


20 Cleveland Cavaliers (4-7 LW 20) As Kyrie Irving goes, so do the Cavs. Averaging 27.5 in wins and 17.7 in losses.


21 Orlando Magic (4-7, LW 25)- Will Aaron Afflalo be traded? He’s averaging 21.7 points per game and playing well.


22 Toronto Raptors (4-7 LW 24)- Have lost three of four and still only getting scoring from Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.


23 Brooklyn Nets (3-6)- Too much talent to be struggling but dealing with various injuries.


24 New York Knicks (3-6 LW 23)- Disappointing start and Carmelo Anthony is unhappy.


25 Boston Celtics (4-7 LW 26)- Started 0-4, won four in a row now has lost three straight.


26 Washington Wizards (2-7 LW 22)- Turning into a major disappointment early on… not was expected.


27 Detroit Pistons (3-6 LW 18)- Josh Smith makes his return to Atlanta on Wednesday night.


28 Milwaukee Bucks (2-7 LW 27)- No Brandon Knight, no Caron Butler… now have lost five straight.


29 Sacramento Kings (2-7 LW 29)- Only one win in November and three of next four is on the road.


30 Utah Jazz (1-10 LW 30)- Avoided tying their worst start in franchise history by beating the Pelicans.





By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter




Report: Big man Asik asks Rockets to trade him

Omer Asik says he isn't unhappy, but he doesn't seem happy either. (USATSI)
Omer Asik needs out. (USATSI)

Since Dwight Howard made his decision to head to Houston, it seemed like Omer Asik’s days had been numbered with the Rockets.

And having seen his starting job taken and his minutes reduce, he is finally asking for a method out.

In keeping with the Houston Chronicle, Asik has formally requested that the Rockets commerce him.

The Rockets don’t have any commerce involving Asik within the works, with one individual saying a deal is extra possible in months than in days.

Asik declined comment, referring questions to his agent, Andy Miller. Miller also would not touch upon any commerce request.

“I would say the state of affairs is very frustrating right now and we’re trying to work by means of it,” Miller stated. “For Omer, the target has at all times been to continue to develop and grow as a participant. That’s why we got here to Houston within the first place. If that objective cannot be met, if we can’t get the appropriate platform to grow and contribute as a player, it’s actually frustrating.”

Asik performed solely 4 minutes in opposition to the 76ers on Wednesday, an additional time loss. He began each recreation for them final season and was an integral half within the staff that pushed the Thunder to 6 video games within the opening round.

However with Howard’s presence and Kevin McHale’s desire to play small, there just hasn’t been a lot room for him on the ground.

When Howard signed with the Rockets this summer, there have been rumblings Asik would ask out, with a rumored deal involving him going to New Orleans for Ryan Anderson.

Asik is making $8.3 million this season and with the Rockets over the cap, they would want to either match salaries with another workforce, or commerce with someone below the cap to create a trade exception.

Asik, 27, is averaging simply 5.6 factors and 8.1 rebounds this season in 22.1 minutes.

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Report: Big man Asik asks Rockets to trade him


Omer Asik says he isn't unhappy, but he doesn't seem happy either. (USATSI) Omer Asik wants out. (USATSI)


Since Dwight Howard made his decision to move to Houston, it seemed like Omer Asik’s days were numbered with the Rockets.

And having seen his starting job taken and his minutes reduce, he is finally asking for a way out.

Based on the Houston Chronicle, Asik has formally requested that the Rockets commerce him.

The Rockets haven’t any trade involving Asik in the works, with one individual saying a deal is extra possible in months than in days.

Asik declined remark, referring questions to his agent, Andy Miller. Miller also wouldn’t comment on any commerce request.

“I might say the state of affairs could be very frustrating right now and we’re trying to work by it,” Miller said. “For Omer, the objective has at all times been to proceed to develop and grow as a participant. That’s why we came to Houston in the first place. If that objective cannot be met, if we won’t get the precise platform to develop and contribute as a player, it’s certainly irritating.”

Asik performed solely 4 minutes towards the 76ers on Wednesday, an extra time loss. He started each sport for them last season and was an integral half within the crew that pushed the Thunder to 6 video games in the opening round.

But with Howard’s presence and Kevin McHale’s desire to play small, there simply hasn’t been much room for him on the ground.

When Howard signed with the Rockets this summer time, there have been rumblings Asik would ask out, with a rumored deal involving him going to New Orleans for Ryan Anderson.

Asik is making $8.three million this season and with the Rockets over the cap, they would want to either match salaries with one other staff, or commerce with somebody underneath the cap to create a trade exception.

Asik, 27, is averaging just 5.6 points and 8.1 rebounds this season in 22.1 minutes.

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Rockets’ Howard wants to fight in the UFC for $10,000,000


Float like a butterfly, sting like a Rocket? (USATSI) Float like a butterfly, sting like a Rocket?. (USATSI)


Rockets heart Dwight Howard recently advised UFC head Dana White that he’d step into the cage for a fight for the very affordable value of $10 million. From For The Win:

Throughout a backstage go to at a UFC fight in Houston, the Rockets’ huge man informed UFC president Dana White recently that he’d be keen to go into the cage … for $10 million.

“I might get up there and battle. If I get knocked out, I get knocked out,” Howard stated. “I will get again up one day.”

White immediately interjected. “I need to do that pay-per-view while you’re prepared, man,” he stated.

through Dwight Howard would do a UFC combat for $10 million | For The Win.

You may see Howard’s full feedback here (warning: NSFW.

With gangly limbs, a wide physique, and a again injury, this seems like a great idea, even when Howard did it after his playing days had been over. Getting knee strikes on him would seem like an issue, though.

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NBA Power Rankings- Week 1

NBA power rankings

NBA Power Rankings for Week 1 of the games


With the conclusion of Tuesday nights NBA games, let’s take a look at the Power Rankings going into the Week 2 with the Philadelphia 76ers 3-1 start shocking everyone who were expected to contend for the worst record in NBA history.


1. Indiana Pacers (4-0)- Guard Paul George is healthy and ready to lead the charge.


2. Houston Rockets (4-1)- So far the Dwight Howard and James Harden duo is working.


3. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1)- A healthy Kevin Love (29.6 points 14.6 rebounds) can do wonders for a team.


4. Miami Heat (3-2)- LeBron James admits to maybe minor chemistry problems on the team… we shall see the effects.


5. Los Angeles Clippers (3-1)- Gave a beat down to the Rockets on Monday night.


6. San Antonio Spurs (3-1)- Welcome back Tim Duncan and a resurgent Manu Ginoboli.


7. Golden State Warriors (3-1)- It’s the Stephen Curry 3-point show on pace for 437 triples!


8. Dallas Mavericks (3-1)- Dirk Nowitski and Monte Ellis getting it done so far.


9. Oklahoma Thunder (2-1)- With PG Russell Westbrook back sooner then expected, expect them to start climbing up the rankings.


10. Philadelphia 76ers (3-1)- They were ranked last to start the season, but thanks to some quality wins, they deserve a Top 10 ranking for now.


11. Brooklyn Nets (2-2)- They need a Miami like performance every night if they want to contend for top billing in the East.


12. Chicago Bulls (1-2)- Derrick Rose will continue to improve but the Bulls need more scoring.


13. Memphis Grizzles (2-2)- Both road losses were on the road to San Antonio and Dallas.


14. Phoenix Suns (3-1)- Eric Bledsoe is shinning bright in the desert sun.


15. Portland Trailblazers (2-2)- Big home win against the Spurs with Tim Duncan back in the lineup, but spanked at home by the Rockets.


16. Detroit Pistons (2-2)- Brandon Jennings is back from his injury early and ready to lead.


17. Orlando Magic (2-2)- Young and ready to play with rookie Victor Oladipo.


18. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2)- Did we mention Andrew Bynum is playing this year?


19. Los Angeles Lakers (2-3)- Still young, still athletic, still Kobe-less. When Kobe, when? Xavier Henry looking great early.


20. Toronto Raptors (2-2)- It’s Rudy Gay’s team now.


21. Charlotte Bobcats (2-2)- Can Al Jefferson shake off his ankle problems?


22. Atlanta Hawks (2-2)- Safe to say the Hawks miss Josh Smith. PG Jeff Teague has been a bright spot.


23. New York Knicks (1-3)- The Knicks are hearing the boos already at home after Bobcats beat them.


24. Milwaukee Bucks (1-2)- Center Zaza Pachulia is averaging 13 points and 7.7 boards a game so far.


25. New Orleans Pelicans (1-3)- Second-year center Anthony Davis the lone bright spot with averages of 23.7 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks his first week.


26. Washington Wizards (0-3)- And to think everybody was talking a playoff team before the season. It’s early but win one first.


27. Sacramento Kings (1-3)- DeMarcus Cousins needs help and G Isaiah Thomas may be the answer averaging 19 points and 4.7 assists.


28.Denver Nuggets (0-3)- Not what we expected from a team that made the playoffs last year.


29. Utah Jazz (0-4)- Desperately need a point guard.


30. Boston Celtics (0-4)- Due to play the winless Jazz Wednesday night. 



Cuban: Howard wrong for going to Rockets

DALLAS – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lost the recruiting battle for Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets, but Cuban believes that is because the massive man made a bad resolution.

“Clearly, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said Thursday, a bit of more than 24 hours before the Mavericks play Howard’s Rockets in Houston. “Do I blame him? No, that is what younger youngsters do. They make mistakes in judgment.”

The Mavs and Rockets had been two of the five teams that made pitches to Howard and his brokers in Los Angeles this summer season. Cuban thinks Howard, 27, had already made up his mind to sign with the Rockets and staff up with 24-yr-old rising famous person shooting guard James Harden.

Cuban Clearly, he made a mistake in judgment. Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make errors in judgment.

- Mavs owner Mark Cuban,
on Dwight Howard’s decision
to signal with the Rockets

Mavs famous person Dirk Nowitzki is 35, but Cuban considers it foolish to decide in free agency primarily based totally on the age of potential co-stars.

“You select teams. You do not select players,” Cuban mentioned. “If he made a selection off of a person participant, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose groups. You choose organizations. You select coaches. And it’s simply not relative to Houston. That is simply the way I look at it, because if he is that good, then the right organization …

“Put apart Dwight. Any young superstar trying to make a transfer, in case you’re that good, then the suitable organization gets all the best pieces round you. So it’s not about you’d relatively play with this man. In the event you’re that good and you’ve got [wage-cap] flexibility, the precise organization will put the suitable pieces round you and get you there.”

The Dallas front workplace’s observe report of success was a big a part of the Mavs’ pitch to Howard. Dallas had a streak of 11 50-win seasons, which included two journeys to the NBA Finals and a championship in 2011, snapped within the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign after Cuban opted to let Tyson Chandler and others leave in free company as a result of he wanted the wage-cap area to chase a celebrity in free company. The Mavs’ streak of 12 playoff seasons ended last season, as Nowitzki handled injuries whereas being surrounded by a supporting forged consisting primarily of one-12 months rental players.

The Rockets, who pulled off a surprising blockbuster trade to land Harden earlier than final season, have received one playoff series in the past 17 seasons.

Nowitzki, nevertheless, would not blame Howard for deciding that Houston was the best vacation spot for him.

“Houston clearly is an up-and-coming team,” Nowitzki instructed “[Chandler] Parsons to me is a phenomenal participant, an up-and-coming player, and Harden is one of the best within the league at getting to the basket and scoring. They are going to be a handful.”

Dwight HowardDwight Howard tied a profession excessive with 26 rebounds in his Rockets debut on Wednesday evening.

Cuban stated he thought the Mavs have been an extended shot going into their assembly with Howard and his representatives because of his feeling that Howard was leaning heavily to Houston. Nonetheless, Cuban left the assembly believing that the Mavs had a legit chance, as did Nowitzki.

“I really thought it went great, however the issue with those meetings is they don’t really let on how it went or what they preferred,” Nowitzki mentioned. “They went out of the room, came back in, had a few extra questions for us. We answered these. I assumed Cuban was improbable in his presentation, even offered among the advertising stuff we could have completed right here. So I believed we were really prepared.

“I believed it went properly. But if you ask the other four teams – or Houston acquired him, but the other three that didn’t get him – they’d in all probability say the same. It’s a little deceptive in those meetings. However we gave it our greatest shot. It did not work out our way, and we moved on as a franchise.”

The Mavs moved on by signing several free agents, a crop headlined by guards Jose Calderon (4 years, $29 million) and Monta Ellis (three years, $25 million). The Mavs, who acknowledged that they have been making an attempt to promote Howard on a two-yr rebuilding plan, wouldn’t have been capable of afford both player if they’d signed Howard to a max contract except they made different major roster moves.

Pleased with Plan B – and it’s truly Plan D contemplating the Mavs’ hopes to land Deron Williams or Chris Paul when the original choice was made to strip down the title roster – Cuban insists he’ll have no wonders about what could have been whereas watching Howard play towards the Mavs.

“None. Not even somewhat bit, because I believe we got here out fairly good,” Cuban stated. “If we were caught, then perhaps. However like I say about each different staff, I hope they suck.

“I say that every year. It is nothing private. I nonetheless like Dwight as a person. However I still want the Rockets, like every other staff, to have a horrible season. It is nothing personal. I just need them to suck.”

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D’Antoni says Kobe like great Secretariat

Kobe Bryant is used to hearing comparisons to the NBA’s all-time greats, to everybody from Michael Jordan to Elgin Baylor, however Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni referenced not only a different sport but a special species in describing Bryant on Tuesday.

“Kobe is a singular particular person and he’s very headstrong,” D’Antoni instructed “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio. “And one of the the reason why he’s been the perfect within the game, and will likely be and is, is that he is that way.

“You are undoubtedly not dealing with him, you are attempting to work with him. And he has sure ideas and you take that away from him after which he turns into slightly bit extra regular. And he’s something but normal. So it’s a problem on the identical time.

“It is most likely like using Secretariat. I imply, you rise up there, there’s numerous instances all you might be doing is using. He’s carrying you. And Kobe’s carrying us rather a lot. Obviously you want to sure things to melt up, however you’ll be able to’t take away his spirit.”

Secretariat, after all, is the thoroughbred racehorse that gained the Triple Crown in 1973 and captivated the nation.

Bryant, in the meantime, is lacking opening night time for the first time since 2006 as he recovers from Achilles surgical procedure on his left leg. D’Antoni confirmed after the shootaround that Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Shawne Williams and Pau Gasol have been the Lakers’ starters in opposition to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Bryant played a median of 45.7 minutes in the seven video games main as much as suffering the Achilles tear on April 12 and later suggested it was his resolution to play as much as he did and that D’Antoni couldn’t have benched him even when the coach had tried.

D’Antoni was asked if a extra aggressive teaching model would be better suited for dealing with the headstrong Bryant.

“I better carry around an elephant gun or something,” D’Antoni joked. “Previous coaches, I think everyone will inform you, you got to be who you are, since you try to be any person you are not and it will get you. It’d work for 5 minutes nevertheless it’s not going to work in the long term. I attempt to stick to who I am and attempt to make it work. I believe the underside line, although there are some bumps and bruises right here and there, is Kobe will lead you to victories.

“And sometimes it’s a must to swallow your pleasure a little bit bit. You may’t get into a ‘put him in a corner, put me in a nook’ form of match. You do not get that far. Generally it takes simply attempting to determine it out collectively. Finally he desires to do the identical thing I do. He wants to be nice and win. And I would like him to be nice and win. So we just received to try to figure it out.”

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers stated Tuesday he want to see Bryant play in the remaining three Lakers-Clippers video games this season.

“I’ve two sides to that. The competitive aspect of me says ‘sure,’ ” Rivers mentioned. “The rational facet of me thinks different things. I mean, he will be back. I would like him to be again, I really do. I feel Kobe is important to L.A. I feel he’s important to the NBA and I believe we must always cherish him as long as he’s going to play and I really consider that. I couldn’t stand playing in opposition to him in Boston.

“I can’t get pleasure from playing against him right here, however I do like seeing him on the ground. He is a uncommon one. He’s a one percenter. There may be only a few guys to ever play like Kobe Bryant and I believe all of us, every time we get an opportunity, we should always take that chance and watch him play.”

Within the meantime, the Lakers will try to figure out find out how to win without Bryant, who’s sidelined indefinitely as he continues the rehabilitation course of.

With Bryant out, Dwight Howard with the Houston Rockets and the rest of the Lakers’ roster revolving round growing old superstars in Nash and Gasol, D’Antoni acknowledged that making the postseason might be a tall job.

“I can perceive why ESPN, I feel they picked us 12th and I understand that,” D’Antoni stated, referencing the NBA Summer time Forecast that predicted the Lakers would end twelfth in the Western Conference. “If my producer instructed me, ‘OK, make them 12th,’ I could put out a case there why they’re 12th.

“But when my producer says, ‘Make them a playoff workforce,’ right here you go: Kobe will get effectively, Steve Nash has a very good 12 months, Pau Gasol is without doubt one of the finest centers within the league, they put it together, a couple of the young guys reach the potential that they haven’t but, and that is what we have now to do.

“Maybe I have about six eventualities and 4 of them should work out. You recognize, Xavier Henry has to have a really, really good yr – thus far he has bounced around somewhat bit – so simply so many issues like that that we’re working on, and if that happens, then yeah, we’ll make the playoffs.”

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NBA Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Lakers Prediction


NBA Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Lakers Prediction


Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers 10/29- 10:30PM EST


The Los Angeles Lakers will take to the court Tuesday night at Staples Center against their in-house rival Los Angeles Clippers with one lingering question on their minds… when will Kobe Bryant return?


The Lakers after a 2012-13 season filled with high expectations of another championship title, instead became a season filled with injuries after injuries with some turmoil thrown in… Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and the worse injury of them all, a torn Achilles tendon by Kobe Bryant that all but sealed their chance of another NBA title.


Once the Lakers disappointing season was over, Dwight Howard decided to pack his bags for Houston and away from the L.A. spotlight.


There is still no exact timetable set on Kobe’s return despite him being ahead of schedule.


The new look Lakers of 2013-14 appear to be more athletic under second-year coach Mike D’Antoni and ready to right-the-ship under the leadership of veterans Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.


It’s really important for us to embrace these low expectations, try to find a chemistry and build ourselves into a team that has some confidence,” said Nash.


New additions through free-agency that will look to run a lot more under Mike D’Antoni’s system will be Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams and the return of Jordan Farmar.


We may not be as talented at the top like last year, but I think we got younger, more athletic with more shooters who can space the floor,” Nash said.


As for the Clippers, they have Doc Rivers as their new coach now as he looks to instill a new mental and physical toughness along with a new identity to his Clipper team who seem to lack the fortitude to put teams away and close out a playoff series.


Last year, they held a 2-0 lead over the Memphis Grizzles before bowing-out.


We have higher expectations for ourselves than anybody else,” forward Blake Griffin said. “We don’t feel we’ve arrived until we win a championship.”


Clipper point guard Chris Paul likes the championship mentality coach Rivers has brought to the organization.


You always want someone to push you and motivate you,” said Paul. “In our first meeting, he told me I hadn’t really done anything in this league, and he’s right.”


The Clippers feel they have also upgraded their team with added depth shooters to their roster with the likes of J.J Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison, who can spell Paul for a breather or two.


Last season the Clippers swept the Lakers winning all four games by an average of 13.2 points and I expect to the Clippers to take advantage of a Kobe-less Lakers team and win Tuesday night.


PICK: Los Angeles Clippers

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By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter

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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14

Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14


With the 2013/14 NBA season upon us starting Tuesday night…. Let’s take a look at the Power Rankings of all 30 teams to begin the season.


1. Miami Heat- The defending champion Heat will be looking to three-peat with Lebron James in the final year of his contract.


2. San Antonio Spurs- With all the pieces still intact, the Western Conference champs are still the team to beat out west.


3. Chicago Bulls- After sitting out all of last season… Derrick Rose is back and ready to lead his team to challenge the Heat.


4. Indiana Pacers- Last years team was good, now with Danny Granger back and the addition of Luis Scola… they will be even better.


5. Los Angeles Clippers- Can new coach Doc Rivers instill the mental and physical toughness that has been lacking with the Clippers in seasons past?


6. Houston Rockets- Can the tag team of Dwight Howard/James Harden co-exist and get them to the promise land?


7. Golden State Warriors- Will one more year of experience under their belt make up for the lack of depth at the point guard and center positions? Key addition with Andre Iguodala.


8. Oklahoma City Thunder- Still no Russell Westbrook until December… until then, can they keep it together?


9. Memphis Grizzles- The addition of Mike Miller should help with a team depleted with shooters.


10. Brooklyn Nets- Can an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce be the difference that Deron Williams and new coach Jason Kidd need to contend?


11. New York Knicks- J.R Smith is still on the shelve and Amar’e and Kenyon Martin are not quite ready for back-to-backs yet.


12. Minnesota Timberwolves- A full year of a healthy Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio can finally make the Wolves a playoff contender after a drought of nine seasons.


13. Denver Nuggets- Andre Iguodala is now with Golden State and no Danilo Gallinari until at least December.


14. Washington Wizards- Key addition with Marcin Gortat to fill in a true center position and move Nene to his natural forward position.


15. New Orleans Pelicans- New team nickname and two nice additions will help the Pelicans improve… Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.


16. Dallas Mavericks- Monte Ellis was added to help give Dirk Nowitski an offensive boost… but it’s the defense I’m worried about.


17. Portland Trailblazers- LaMarcus Aldridge vows this years Blazers team will make the playoffs.


18. Detroit Pistons- Two big additions with the face of the franchise now Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.


19. Los Angeles Lakers- Much more athletic team then last year’s team, however their season still rides on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant’s return.


20. Cleveland Cavaliers- When will Andrew Bynum play? Oh yeah #1 pick Anthony Bennett has a sleeping disorder.


21. Atlanta Hawks- No Josh Smith… it’s Al Horford’s team now.


22. Toronto Raptors- Andrea Bargnani is now a Knick.


23. Charlotte Bobcats- Should improve in the win column with new center Al Jefferson.


24. Sacramento Kings- Will DeMarcus Cousins live up to hype of a max-contract deal.


25. Utah Jazz- Young talent is nice, but no quality point guard to dish the rock.


26. Milwaukee Bucks- Can new coach Larry Drew keep the rebuilding Bucks together?


27. Boston Celtics- New coach, new faces and no Rajon Rondo.


28. Orlando Magic- Another rebuilding year.. looking towards the 2014 NBA Draft.


29. Phoenix Suns- Traded away their best player Marcin Gortat.


30. Philadelphia 76ers- Many are predicting the Sixers to challenge for the all-time worst record of 9-73 (1972-73 Sixers).

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

Would you like to show off your writing skills? opinions? for the sports world to see? If so feel free to contribute and we will publish your stories and reviews

By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter

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Mainly NBA Notes: Wall So Tough


John Wall is able to ball (USAT)

I’ve at all times been a fan of John Wall, however he’s typically been a bit overrated in fantasy phrases, thanks primarily to his lack of three-point capturing capacity. Actually, despite averaging 16.4 ppg, eight.2 apg, 1.6 spg and zero.7 bpg over his first two seasons in the league, he ranked a centesimal and 87th in fantasy annually, respectively (high turnovers have been additionally an issue). After taking pictures a paltry 29.6 percent from downtown in his rookie marketing campaign, he completed an virtually unfathomable 2-for-forty two from behind the arc throughout his sophomore season. Last yr on the surface doesn’t look significantly better from downtown (12-for-45), but it’s no less than worth noting he made eleven of these over the final 22 video games. The surface shot is regularly the very last thing to develop, especially relating to tremendous athletic level guards like Wall. Remember, Derrick Rose went from making just 16 triples in every of his first two years to 128 throughout his third season. In fact, it could be foolish to expect that form of soar from Wall, but he’s trending in the suitable direction and continued to work on his shot over the summer (he even tried six three-pointers during a recent exhibition sport).

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Wall revealed the form of upside he possesses the additional he was faraway from his knee harm last season. Over the final 21 games, he averaged 24.three factors, 5.1 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.5 steals. Wall could simply lead all point guards in both free throw makes an attempt and blocks, which is a reasonably rare combination, and let’s not neglect he’s younger than Damian Lillard. Let’s hope final year’s traits of fewer turnovers and more three-pointers continue moving ahead, because the rest of Wall’s potential is frightening good.

Right here’s Tim Duncan realizing he has arms.

Right here’s “Jeopardy” taking a shot at Dwight Howard.

Imply Tweets – NBA Edition.

Ricky Rubio is another younger level guard whose capturing capability is the only factor preventing fantasy stardom. Like Wall, Rubio impressed the further he was removed from his knee injury final season, as he led the NBA in assists and steals after the All-Star break. He also added 5.2 rpg and shot 81.7 percent from the line over that span, and while still not nice, he made 0.eight 3pt in comparison with simply 0.1 earlier than the ASB. Rubio just turned 23 years outdated Monday and might be operating an offense that might be sneaky good ought to they stay healthy for as soon as. Man, the league really is loaded with young, exciting point guards right now.

Here’s one-handed Zach Hodskins balling (he lately dedicated to Florida).

Right here’s Kyrie Irving displaying some above common ball-dealing with abilities.

Nikola Vucevic acquired off to a little bit of a sluggish begin throughout his first month after taking up as Orlando’s beginning center with Dwight Howard’s departure, but the younger big man was incredible the rest of the way in which. Over the ultimate month of 2012/13, Vucevic averaged 18.5 factors, 15.three rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 50.eight percent from the floor. He additionally shot seventy three.7 percent from the road over that span, which is hardly a problem for a center. We in all probability shouldn’t expect related manufacturing this season that he put up over that remaining month, when he ranked as fantasy’s 15th most worthy participant, but it’s additionally secure to say the 23-yr-old is already an elite fantasy middle. Among those that performed in more than 25 games final season, solely Howard averaged extra rebounds (12.5) than Vucevic (eleven.9), and that came throughout the first time he was given vital motion within the league. There’s still loads of room for growth. Vucevic enters 2012/thirteen as a top-25 fantasy option.

Await the shock ending to this cat video.

Gordon Hayward ranked because the 89th most precious fantasy participant final year, however there are many reasons to expect him to complete a lot greater this season. Hayward noticed a modest 29:eleven mpg in 2012/thirteen, beginning simply 27 games, and his Usage Fee was a lowly 94th in the NBA. But Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Mo Williams are all gone, and that trio averaged 38.6 pictures per sport final season, and while Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, who’re additionally each terrific fantasy targets, will shoulder extra of the load, it’s clear Hayward goes to be a much greater a part of Utah’s offense. Hayward shot p.c from behind the arc after the All-Star break last yr and looks primed to make a true leap in 2013/14. He seems to be like a steal where he’s usually being drafted (94.1 ADP).

Headlines of the Week: Exploding Bathroom Leaves Brooklyn Man With Shrapnel Wounds, Afraid to Flush…You’re Nonetheless Legally Dead, Decide Tells Fostoria Man…Tuscaloosa Man Scores 28-inch Curly Fry at Arby’s…Lost 72-Yr-Previous Survived 18 Days in Woods by Eating Squirrels, Snakes…Fast-Meals Buyer Irate Over Ranch Dip Charge.

Returning to the courtroom for the first time in additional than a year, Jeff Inexperienced managed to play in 81 video games last season. His fantasy production was modest, however throughout Green’s 17 begins on the finish of the season, he received 20.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, zero.9 spg, 1.1 bpg and 1.6 3pt while taking pictures 52.3 % from the sector. Not solely will he be a fixture in Boston’s starting 5 in 2013/14, he’ll be the workforce’s No. 1 scoring possibility by far on such a depleted roster with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce now in Brooklyn. Curiously, Inexperienced shot far better (forty eight%) with Rajon Rondo off the courtroom than with him on it (38%) – h/t Matt Buser, so Inexperienced’s fantasy house owners shouldn’t necessarily be rooting for the purpose guard’s fast return. Inexperienced is going to be given every opportunity to shed any bust label the former No. 5 general pick has previously been tagged with, and it’d be shocking if he doesn’t reply with profession-highs throughout the board.

Track of the Week: Arcade Fireplace – “Afterlife.”

Evan Turner has failed to live up to expectations as a former No. 2 total pick and may still be traded by Philadelphia this yr, but he enters 2013/14 with legitimate fantasy upside. The 76ers might wrestle to win double digit video games as they are clearly more involved about getting a high draft decide subsequent yr than anything, which will benefit Turner, who’s out of the blue the workforce’s offensive centerpiece (well, him and Thad Young). Turner might see extra time at taking pictures guard this season, the place he averaged 7.6 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.1 spg and 0.5 bpg last 12 months, albeit over only a 12-game sample. Turner has never been much of a fantasy asset, but he’s improved his scoring, rebounding and assists each year he’s been in the league and may easily set a career-high in Usage Price in 2013/14. At the least the opportunity might be there and hopefully he can take advantage of it.

Headlines of the Week Part Two: Hollywood-Type Sting Nabs Alleged Pirate Kingpin…18-Foot-Long Sea Creature Discovered Off California Coast…Man Survives Botched Hanging; Iran Vows To Try Once more…33-Yr-Old Man Spends Nearly $100,000 for Plastic Surgical procedure to Look Like Justin Beiber…Gunman in Clown Swimsuit Kills Senior Mexican Drug Cartel Member.

Kawhi Leonard was the 23rd most valuable fantasy player final 12 months despite seeing solely 31:eleven mpg and having just the fifth-highest Usage Price on his personal workforce. Leonard helps across the board whereas hurting you nowhere, and it’s remarkable just how much the 22-12 months-old has improved his capturing. Throughout the NBA Finals, Gregg Popovich thrust Leonard right into a much bigger function, resulting in 14.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg and a couple spg to go together with his usual share goodness and few turnovers. In truth, Leonard usually appeared like the second best player on the court docket throughout the Finals, and he’s solely going to get higher from here on out. Not solely will his game continue to evolve, that may even coincide with San Antonio giving him much more accountability, because the group’s corps gamers are among the many oldest within the league (and so they have only a few options at small ahead). Obviously, Leonard is hardly a fantasy secret, however there’s an argument for him to be taken as a prime-20 decide.

Police Blotter: Psychic Discovered Guilty of Stealing $138,000 From Purchasers…Drunk Driver Led Cops on Chase so he Would Have Enough Time to Finish His Big Mac…Man Referred to as 911 Over One Cent Beer Overcharge…Substitute Instructor Confesses to Heroin Use After Passing Out in Class…Man Was “Playing Round” When he Shot Neighbor Via Her Residence Ceiling…NYPD Cops Confused Jolly Rancher Candies for Crystal Meth…This is horrible. Right here’s a teen being punished for being a chosen driver.

Jimmy Butler averaged 14.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals, zero.6 bpg and 1.1 3pt while taking pictures forty five.7 p.c from the ground and committing just 1.5 tpg during his 20 starts final season. Most got here on the finish of the year, when he ranked as fantasy hoops’ twenty ninth most dear player over the final month. Butler is locked in a starting role at capturing guard this season, and while there can be loads of mouths to feed with Derrick Rose back, Butler is clearly one of many greater breakout candidates of 2013/14. It will be pretty superior to see what Chicago could do if their starting five by some means stayed wholesome this season.

Longread of the Week: “Good Cop, Bad Cop, An Oral History of “The Shield.”

Fast Hits: I’m hardly the only one expecting massive issues from Anthony Davis, but I say he goes totally nuts and finishes as a prime-five fantasy participant this 12 months…After finishing with the best TEMPO within the NBA last season, it’s going to be very fascinating to see how the Rockets offense operates after including Dwight Howard. Additionally, free Omer Asik!…Listed here are some sleepers sometimes available later in drafts: Kris Humphries (it wouldn’t be shocking if he went back to averaging a double/double with a new opportunity in Boston), Shaun Livingston (he’s looking good this preseason and is a Deron Williams injury away from fantasy relevance. At minimum, DWill house owners should stash him), Samuel Dalembert (he’s going to be given all of the run he can deal with as Dallas’ starting heart), DeAndre Jordan (seemingly thriving in Doc Rivers’ system, he’s somebody to target late for those who want blocks), Mike Miller (he’ll likely get hurt but when you want threes, he’ll be an extremely low-cost source of them when he’s taking part in now back in Memphis), Markieff Morris (averaged 1.four spg and 1.5 bpg in April and is the favorite to begin at PF this 12 months with Luis Scola gone) and Caron Butler (boring previous veteran nobody will want, however he’s going to have a much elevated function now starting in Milwaukee)…Michael Carter-Williams is going to contribute throughout the board, but he’s going to kill your field objective percentage whereas doing so (I’ll put the over/under at 36.5%). Victor Oladipo will win Rookie of the Yr and will easily be essentially the most worthwhile fantasy first year player as well.

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

Would you like to show off your writing skills? opinions? for the sports world to see? If so feel free to contribute and we will publish your stories and reviews

By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter

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He’s Number 1: LeBron’s jersey is top NBA seller


PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – LeBron James has the world’s best-promoting NBA jersey.

The Miami Warmth star and four-time league MVP tops the NBA’s global record of jersey gross sales for this previous season, in keeping with numbers launched Tuesday. James – who additionally has the highest-promoting jersey in the United States – outsold Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Warmth teammate Dwyane Wade for the No. 1 spot.

James stated having the world’s high-selling jersey “means everything” to him.

“To know that so many people look up to me, so many kids, that is what means greater than anything, that I continue to encourage the youth and so they have a look at me as a job mannequin,” James said after studying the news at Heat coaching camp in the Bahamas. “I understand, whenever you put on someone’s jersey, you actually like consider in them. You imagine they will do supernatural issues. It is like an extension of our household, and I really admire that.”

The league unveiled the rankings – primarily based on adidas’ global gross sales for the previous season – just days before the start of NBA World Games 2013-14, which includes eight preseason video games in seven countries, then regular-season games in Mexico City on Dec. 4 and London on Jan. sixteen.

Most of the top names on the global-sales checklist – together with Rose, Bryant and Durant – are on teams participating on this season’s worldwide matchups.

Carmelo Anthony is sixth on the global-sales record, adopted by Dwight Howard (his now-former Lakers jersey), Deron Williams, Blake Griffin and Rajon Rondo to round out the top 10. In U.S. gross sales, James is adopted by Rose, Bryant, Durant, Anthony, Wade, Howard, Williams, Griffin and Rondo.

Despite missing all of final season with a knee injury, Rose had the top-promoting jersey in China, Latin America and Europe. James had the top vendor within the Philippines.

To James, finishing atop these rankings further signified how things have modified since he made his choice to signal with Miami in 2010 after spending the primary seven seasons of his profession in Cleveland.

“I’ve come a good distance,” James said. “I’ve come a great distance. I’ve grown as a basketball player and as an individual off the floor in each side since 2010. I am undoubtedly humbled by it, appreciative. You all the time hear me say that I’m only a child from Akron, and to be able to have this stature and that accomplishment, I feel that’s pretty cool.”


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Rockets’ Lin hopes lower profile will aid him

HOUSTON – Jeremy Lin mentioned he failed in handling the huge expectations that have been positioned on him following his breakout season with the New York Knicks and hopes a lower profile in his second season with the now star-studded Houston Rockets will assist him.

[+] EnlargeDwight Howard and Jeremy LinAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillJeremy Lin stated it takes time to discover ways to handle expectations.

A yr in the past, Lin was the focus when the Rockets opened the season after they signed him away from the Knicks. However he struggled in his first full season as a starting point guard, and the Rockets have traded for James Harden and signed Dwight Howard since Lin’s signing. That has made the crew a contender and taken among the burden off Lin.

“Learning to manage and take care of expectations and which voices to tune out takes time,” Lin said at Rockets media day Friday. “It’s a must to fail at it to get to where you need to get to.”

Lin was incessantly vital of his efficiency last season, when he started all eighty two games and averaged thirteen.4 factors and 6.1 assists a sport. He was constantly chasing his 5-week run in 2012 in New York and the famed “Linsanity.”

With Howard and Harden, Lin is now extra targeted on being the function player he ended up changing into when the Rockets made the playoffs last season.

“From a personal standpoint, there’s a lot less strain this season,” Lin said. “I’ve had such a wide spectrum of literally no expectations to having each expectation. Now it is form of going back all the way down to some lower expectations.”

Lin isn’t the only Rocket who has a different view a year into his tenure. Heart Omer Asik, who like Lin was a major free-agent addition in 2012, was not pleased when the Rockets signed Howard. He requested to be traded, a wish the Rockets have to this point declined as they plan to experiment with taking part in Howard and Asik together.

Over the past two months, as many as 10 Rockets gamers acquired together for workouts in Los Angeles and Aspen, Colo., but Asik was not amongst them. He spent the summer enjoying for the Turkish national workforce. Friday was the primary day he had been with his teammates because the Howard signing.

“I’ve no touch upon [the commerce demand]. I am simply here to do my job, that is all I can say,” Asik said. “I feel [Howard] is the very best middle in the league and he’s a fantastic addition for the Houston Rockets, and we’ll see how it goes. I’m a basketball participant, and I am going to do regardless of the coaches say.”

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The 10-man rotation, starring Isaiah Thomas, who had a way better season than you might think

Which of those two point guards was better final year? Are you positive? (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Photographs)

A look across the league and the Web that covers it. It’s also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren’t always listed in order of significance. That’s for you, pricey reader, to figure out.

C: BBall Breakdown. In the technique of digging deep on Kyrie Irving, Coach Nick found one shocking title that saved popping up across the former No. 1 choose in a wide range of statistical categories — the former Mr. Irrelevant, diminutive Sacramento Kings level guard Isaiah Thomas. After taking a closer look at the sport tape and the numbers for each of the younger triggermen, he got here away thinking that the previous Washington Husky in all probability deserves a lot more attention than he will get.

PF: Concern the Sword. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances of making it back to the postseason may rely in large part on the kinds of contributions they get from their three 2013 draft picks — prime overall selection Anthony Bennett, first-spherical swingman Sergey Karasev and second-spherical ex-skater Carrick Felix. Which established professionals should the trio of rookies be learning to speed up their learning curves?

SF: SB Nation. Tom Ziller revisits his “Creation Ratio” metric to take an attention-grabbing have a look at how shot creation and shot utilization broke down among the many three finest offenses within the NBA last season, in hope of making an attempt to determine how successful units are constructed and how profitable defenses break them down.

SG: Sports activities on Earth. One other robust European hoops story from Flinder Boyd, who tells the story of Bo McCalebb, who went from undrafted Summer season League fodder to an iconic level of nationwide delight within the former Yugoslavic republic of Macedonia.

PG: Detroit Dangerous Boys. A EuroBasket-informed look at what Detroit Pistons fans may have the ability to count on once they get their first stateside take a look at lately signed former Italian League MVP Luigi Datome, one of the more intriguing gamers who’ll make his NBA debut this fall.

6th: Bullets Endlessly, SB Nation and Grantland. A trio of reactions to Wednesday’s bummerific harm information for the Washington Wizards, focusing on how Wizards coach Randy Wittman will look to restrict the fallout from shedding beginning center Emeka Okafor (and, to a lesser extent, reserve ahead Chris Singleton), how much the Okafor harm impacts the Wizards’ playoff possibilities and the way the Wizards are, regrettably, “the Jan Vesely of franchises.”

7th: The seven-hundred Degree. Amid studies that Andrew Bynum’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers lineup is a “fluid course of” with no set timetable, Philadelphia 76ers fan Andrew Unterberger asks his brethren: “What stage of misery do we wish on Cavs fans over the course of their group’s two-12 months, up to $24 million take care of Bynum?”

8th: The Two Man Sport. Kirk Henderson simply had the same again surgery that Dwight Howard had again in April 2012, and whereas he freely acknowledges that he isn’t about to be confused with a world-class athlete whose every waking/non-fart-booming second has been spent on getting in peak bodily situation, he nonetheless cannot shake one thought: “I can’t help but suppose that the Dwight Howard who lives in highlight reels and our collective memory could also be gone endlessly.”

9th: Sactown Royalty. On a Sacramento Kings staff that will want scoring, that mentioned goodbye to Tyreke Evans however added rookie Ben McLemore, and that brings again former first-round guard Jimmer Fredette, can undersized gunner Marcus Thornton dwell up to his group-high $eight.05 million 2013-14 price tag?

10th: NBA Couchside. Enjoyable with numbers: Kevin Ferrigan makes use of an adjusted model of the Wins Above Replacement Participant statistic to project the expertise level and sure win whole of the 2013-14 Minnesota Timberwolves: “This ‘Wolves squad has 45 win talent, with out context.” (Ah, sure, however context is the whole lot!)


The NBA, A-through-Z: ‘X,’ or, ‘players entering their tenth season.’

Dwight Howard, 10-12 months NBA veteran (Getty Photographs)

The free brokers have nearly all been signed up. The NBA is right down to a collection of Instagram photographs from moving yachts and crossed fingers from worried groups hoping their gamers stay protected in the summertime off. There’s nothing happening, save for that clock on the wall that’s ticking down to the 2013-14 season.

And it’s transferring SO SLOWLY.

This is why we’ve determined to choose 26 things we’re wanting forward to in 2013-14. Or, on the very least, 26 things that intrigue us as we wait out an offseason that feels prefer it has 1000’s of miles left to cross earlier than we will get to Halloween and opening week. As a result of there are 26 letters within the alphabet – you guessed, NBA A-by-Z.

We proceed with ‘X,’ or, ‘players entering their tenth season.’

Dwight Howard – The Superstar

Because of the quickness of his explicit resolution and, some would say, bravery of his alternative in deciding on the Houston Rockets as a free agent suitor, Howard’s repute took in a much-needed shot in the arm in early July. Even whereas debilitated by again and shoulder pain final season, and dealing with an ever-altering array in ball-dominating cohorts in Los Angeles (underneath a coach that didn’t also have a training camp), Howard nonetheless obtained 17 votes for All-NBA First Group, even if he didn’t deal with himself all that effectively professionally. With one more solely new system to adapt to in Houston, Howard would be the most ardently-adopted new face within the NBA in 2013-14. We hope he’s prepared for one more wholesome serving of exterior stress.

Emeka Okafor – The Respected Veteran

Passed over, in a shock to many that’s too-often forgotten practically a decade later, for Howard as the highest general choose within the 2004 draft, Okafor is on his third NBA staff, and looking to make up for his disastrous lone playoff showing from 2011. Emeka was one of the main lights for a Washington Wizards crew that break up its last 50 video games after a 4-28 begin to the 2012-13 season, serving to anchoring one of the league’s best defenses. Okafor has remained consistent, if unspectacular over the last four seasons, however he’s additionally nearing 31, and the Wizards aren’t exactly a lock for the East’s playoff bracket in 2013-14.

Shaun Livingston – The Survivor

It was Livingston – not Howard, and definitely not Okafor – that grew to become a darling of the NBA League Pass set throughout his temporary stretches of play during his first two seasons. His dimension, combined with a loping handle and sound inside court vision, made him a should-watch straight out of high school. Livingston wasn’t precisely slated for stardom halfway by means of his third season, but was anticipated to be a key cog in an up and coming Los Angeles Clippers crew before his crippling knee injury in 2007. The Brooklyn Nets backup is now on his seventh group (not counting second stints in Charlotte and Washington), and at age 27 Livingston managed to post the best Player Efficiency Ranking of his profession in 2012-thirteen. Coming into his prime, that is as good as comebacks get.

Josh Smith – The Enigma

For years, the wonder behind Josh Smith’s up and down play for the Atlanta Hawks at all times came all the way down to the setting. Was his inconsistency and at-occasions iffy shot selection a product of only realizing one system (mainly, unfold out over two head coaches), one workforce, and one city? Or was he to stay a project-type deep into his 30s? On a unique staff for the first time in his career, one that’s stuffed with players which have their very own mitigating criticisms, Smith now has a chance to show that those 20-footers were always someone else’s fault. Enjoy the ride, Detroit.

All coronary heart, grit, and grind. (Getty Pictures) Tony Allen – The Goofball

Some 4 and a half years ago, Allen ranked as public enemy number one by Boston Celtics followers. Tony played a skittish model of ball in the crew’s first round win over the Chicago Bulls, reportedly fearful over retribution for a Chicago-area taking pictures that occurred in 2005 for which Allen was round for, but not implicated in. Sent to Memphis to resurrect his career, he’s responded by turning into one of the league’s top defenders and … nicely, he’s nonetheless type of a large number on offense. Still, Allen’s effusive persona and hilarious Twitter web page have endeared him to local fans, and earned him a new free agent deal in 2013.

Kevin Martin – The Employed Gun

Martin’s ascension came at a time when a whole new era of NBA followers began to pay attention to issues like per-minute statistics, and general effectivity, which helped us recognize that the man who averaged simply 10.eight factors per recreation in his second 12 months might in some unspecified time in the future be able to a lot more. Like, “nearly two and a half times”-more, as evidenced by his 24.6 factors per contest for the Sacramento Kings in 2007-08. Dealt to Houston and then Oklahoma Metropolis to help shore up their offenses in the years since, Martin has now latched on in Minnesota, re-uniting with Rick Adelman – the coach that guided him during these adolescence.

Andris Biedrins – The Reclamation Project

After he practically averaged a double-double in only 27 minutes per sport at age 21 in 2007-08, main the NBA in shooting proportion alongside the way in which, Biedrins regarded like an actual comer for his Golden State Warriors. He performed just as well the following season, but completely misplaced religion in his always-awkward free throw stroke in the years since. Teams responded by fouling deliberately, and Biedrins started to play a timid fashion of ball, all while working on a boo-inducing six-year, $54 million contract. Traded to Utah over the summer season as a draft pick-gaining asset, and fewer of a enjoying asset, Biedrins will attempt to re-find the boldness that led him to change into one of many NBA’s greatest younger centers. With just 19 free throws made in seventy eight total tries since 2009, he has a long way to go.

Al Jefferson – The Go-To Guy

The low post demon has served as a force down low for a rebuilding Boston Celtics crew, a rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves workforce, and a mediocre Utah Jazz staff over the previous couple of years, all the time getting as many touches as he may handle with teams that were desperate for his scoring. Just 28, he’ll be requested to work in his prime for a suitably-desperate Charlotte Bobcats squad, one which finished 28th in offense final 12 months before throwing three years and over $forty million at Massive Al. One problem with that? Someway, the Bobcats fared even worse defensively last year, ranking last in the league, and Jefferson is more than conscious that he owns a reasonably poor status as a defender.

Andre Iguodala – The Respected One

Even although Iguodala doesn’t have the offensive juice needed to guide a team deep into the playoffs (Philadelphia’s 2012 trip, over a Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah-less Bulls squad and in opposition to an ancient Boston Celtics team, doesn’t rely), that doesn’t imply he isn’t one of the NBA’s most coveted throughout skills. Denver badly needed Dre before buying and selling for him last yr, and Golden State normal manager Bob Myers drove himself batty trying to clear cap area to put Iguodala on the Warriors this summer. Golden State has its offense in place, now they’re anticipating the defensive-minded Iguodala to put them excessive.

Kris Humphries – The Punchline

Known mostly for his sham of a marriage to a actuality tv present participant, his low (or, “least”) likability, and numerous d-baggy exploits, Kris Humphries will try and extricate himself from his persona and re-set up himself as a basketball player-first with the Boston Celtics this yr. At age 28, Humphries in all probability sees Boston as one final attempt to LOL I can’t even write this with a straight face. Sorry Boston followers, you deserve higher.


Dwight Howard stars in ‘The Next Next New Karate Kid’

Dwight Howard kicks it old school. (Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

I imply, I think you are going to have a pretty robust time topping “NBA participant Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets performs flying and leaping kicks during a recent clinic in South Korea,” however hey, perhaps this time round, fiction shall be stranger than truth. I’m on-board simply as long as the specific fiction I created up in the topic line doesn’t wind up in some way being true, as a result of I wouldn’t want anything to steal the thunder of Dwight’s other forthcoming feature-movie challenge (and also as a result of my eyes are already permarolling at the concept of Dwight and Jackie Chan working together).

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Best caption wins some good pointers for the right way to win fights whereas sitting on someone’s shoulders, courtesy of our forever indispensable Yahoo! Solutions service. Good luck.

In our final adventure: Nick Young recreates a few of his favorite scenes from the 2009 documentary, “Gamer.”

Just let him think it’s a touchscreen, guys. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Photographs) Winner, Dago: Nick Younger: “So this thing’s touch-display?”

Marines: “Yeah, man. Simply faucet them.”

Young: “So I just faucet the enemy? Cool.. Hey! Why won’t it shoot?”

Marines: *snicker*

Runner-up, Triple S: You already know its a online game when Nick Young will get Kobe to pass to him.

Second runner-up, Chuck: Nick Young: “Haha, look. This idiot has six straight seasons taking pictures decrease than 45 percent from the sphere. His identify is.. rattling.”


The 10-man rotation, starring Blake Griffin accepting that the Clippers’ hopes rest on him

The ball’s in Blake Griffin’s court docket now. (Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Pictures)

A look around the league and the Internet that covers it. It is also important to notice that the rotation order and beginning nods aren’t always listed so as of importance. That’s for you, expensive reader, to figure out.

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C: ESPN Los Angeles. In a current interview, Chris Paul said the Los Angeles Clippers will only go as far as power forward Blake Griffin — already a a number of-time All-Star at age 24, but with multiple holes nonetheless remaining in his sport — can take them. Griffin responds to his level guard’s feedback, and sounds able to take duty for L.A. making it previous the second round of the playoffs this coming season.

PF: RealGM. With 2010 No. 1 overall decide John Wall fresh off inking a max extension and several other classmates (Paul George, Larry Sanders, perhaps DeMarcus Cousins) looking more likely to be part of him, Jonathan Tjarks appears at seven ’10 draftees who find themselves with out an NBA employer as 2013 training camp approaches and tries to figure out where each went astray.

SF: SB Nation. Really sharp work from Scott Schroeder on the current historical past of “American draft-and-stash gamers” — those who have been drafted into the NBA within the second round out of high school, faculty or the D-League, who actually made their pro debuts abroad — and their considerably scattershot success rate, and what meaning for ’13 draftees Colton Iverson, Mike Muscala, Pierre Jackson, Erick Green, James Ennis, DeShaun Thomas and Alex Oriakhi, all of whom will start their pro careers outdoors the NBA this yr.

SG: The Two Man Recreation, in four parts. I dug Bryan Gutierrez’s fast-hit word-association breakdown of the complete Dallas Mavericks roster, summing up the roles gamers will be expected to play, the crew’s transferring and shaking this offseason, the challenges to be confronted in the season ahead and far more.

PG: HoopChalk. Jacob Frankel takes a look at how new head coach Mike Malone would possibly look to tighten up the Sacramento Kings’ league-worst choose-and-roll protection by using some of the techniques that helped the Golden State Warriors rise from the bottom of the NBA to the center of the pack over the past two seasons.

6th: Pro Hoops Historical past. Curtis Harris highlights Paul Johnson, “a very terrifying offensive drive” who led the NBA in scoring for 3 straight years in the mid-nineteen fifties but whom nobody remembers as a result of his peak fell between the eras of Mikan and Russell. I like how Harris puts it: “Dynasties get the glory, interregnums gets a shoulder shrug.”

7th: Grantland. Shea Serrano’s Textual content Messages to Dwight Howard might be the funniest running bit within the NBA writing game right now. I burst out laughing not less than once each installment.

8th: A Wolf Among Wolves. Steve McPherson teases out one strand from Jonathan Abrams’ nice profile on Jonny Flynn — which Our Fearless Leader mentioned earlier — into a longer meditation on how much it sucks when shifting from passion to occupation sucks the joy out of the thing you love. It is one thing to which I feel loads of us can relate, it doesn’t matter what our jobs or hobbies.

9th: r/NBA. These eight-bit headshots of five players from each NBA team are simply improbable.

10th: Scorching Hot Hoops. The Miami Warmth as soon as again look loaded and ready to make a run for a fourth straight NBA finals look and third consecutive championship, however given his shaky playoff performance and amid the slight shifts of their roster makeup — out goes Mike Miller, in comes Greg Oden — what sort of position can we count on Udonis Haslem to play this season?


Jim Buss says Dwight Howard was ‘never really a Laker,’ which is factually inaccurate

Jim and Jeanie Buss introduce non-Laker Dwight Howard to Lakers followers and reporters (Kevork Djansezian/ Getty).

New Houston Rockets heart Dwight Howard’s one season with the Los Angeles Lakers did not go very well. Confronted with massive expectations, the 2012-13 Lakers never appeared to find an id, with Howard struggling by way of injuries, complaining about what he perceived to be Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system, and customarily wanting uncomfortable with the strain of enjoying for a demanding fan base. While the Lakers cannot have been blissful to lose an All-Star in free company, the pain was likely alleviated by the truth that they wouldn’t must deal with the issues of an uneasy partnership.

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Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that their commerce for Howard in August 2012 was initially seen as a coup, the sort of transfer that would immediately return the Lakers to title rivalry and create a easy transition into the interval after Kobe Bryant’s retirement. It was an occasion in step with one perspective on Lakers historical past, in which their image and success creates a optimistic feedback loop and issues are inclined to go their method as a rule.

So it might be flawed to act as if Howard never fit with the franchise’s values or picture. But that is exactly what Lakers owner and executive vice chairman of participant personnel Jim Buss says in a new, huge-ranging piece by Ric Bucher for The Hollywood Reporter:

Jim insists he is simply following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a web page. As a substitute of Jim spending time with Howard, the crew launched a broadly derided media campaign that implored “Keep” on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t shocked or dismayed. “He was never actually a Laker,” says Jim. “He was simply passing by.”

Those close to Howard say the Lakers could have persuaded him to stay. Even [Jim’s sister and co-owner] Jeanie believes that if her father had not been sick, he would have sealed the deal like so many earlier than it. “It is disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,” she says. “I really feel like we failed him.”

As Bucher suggests and Jeanie Buss says, it might be incorrect to behave as if the Lakers did not need Howard round. From the moment they acquired him, the group’s executives and players spoke about Howard as if he would be round for a lot of seasons, constructing a private legacy and adding to the rich history of the NBA’s most constantly successful organization. It’s true that Howard didn’t obtain those goals, but the Lakers certainly imagined Howard in their colors right up until the second he determined to go to the Rockets. It appears as if Jim Buss is utilizing the unhappy conclusion to Howard’s season with the franchise to rewrite the terms of their relationship.

His comments wouldn’t be much of a narrative in the event that they did not connect with an increasingly common tendency of Lakers partisans. During Howard’s free agent recruitment period, it was often stated that he would select the Lakers if he wished to workforce up with a franchise of proven winners. But that argument never appeared totally related to realities during which the Rockets had a young core of improving players (in addition to a transparent organizational philosophy) and the Lakers spent an entire season with an uncertain sense of their on-courtroom structure. It was as if the Lakers believed their rich history conferred upon them magical powers, not admitting that their success (whereas definitely aided by luck) arose from pursuing new opportunities and by no means resting on the power of their image.

Claiming that Howard was “never actually a Laker” appears to purchase into that mystique without taking up-the-floor realities significantly. It is considerably reminiscent of New York Yankees’ fans insistence within the mid-2000s that the staff’s failure to win a World Sequence after a interval of dominance was a sign that common manager Brian Cashman wasn’t buying “True Yankees,” gamers like Paul O’Neill who apparently understood the mythic forces that animated the franchise’s success. Issues bought so ridiculous that one-time columnist Jay Mohr presented non-Yankees and future journeymen Chris Capuano and David DeJesus as lurking True Yankees who may hand the crew titles, if solely they were given the chance. In fact, it was way more accurate to say that big-title signings like Jason Giambi struggled with age, like many players, or that Main League Baseball’s brief-sequence playoff format caused some very good teams to get eliminated early.

The Lakers are not yet at this level of delusion, but it’d be finest to get off the trail as soon as doable. Howard played for the Lakers and was as soon as thought-about to be a franchise cornerstone. These info constitute proof that he was “really a Laker.” Saying otherwise presents a perception that a franchise might be immune from disappointment and the travails of building a winner in the fashionable NBA. Some teams have advantages, but all of them play by the same primary rules.


The 10-man rotation, starring the importance of getting Pau Gasol back in the post

More Pau on the block, please. (Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Pictures)

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It is also necessary to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren’t always listed so as of importance. That is for you, pricey reader, to figure out.

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C: Forum Blue and Gold. Darius Soriano hears you speaking about Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman complimenting each other well on offense, about how both of them can submit up and each of them can play outdoors, and he thinks that is all nicely and good. Now put Pau on the block, run the offense by way of him and figure out what to do with Kaman somewhere else, OK?

PF: Grantland, Half Court docket Press and SB Nation. Brett Koremenos looks on the Philadelphia 76ers’ decision to hire longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown as a “great match for a younger group.” J.P. Pelosi talks with Australian league legend Darryl McDonald about what the Sixers can anticipate from Brown, for whom McDonald played with the NBL’s North Melbourne Giants. Tom Ziller considers the chance that Brown actually makes it by means of all four years of his contract.

SF: The New York Occasions. A bittersweet appreciation of Zander Hollander, whose Complete Handbooks series of complete sports activities yearbooks “were almost holy objects to a sure sort of sports activities-crazed teen” within the years before Internet access leveled the knowledge-gathering enjoying subject, and whose work helped form the work of some pretty darn good writers who followed.

SG: The Mikan Drill. Joshua Riddell seems at whether merely changing J.J. Hickson with Robin Lopez will help the Portland Trail Blazers turn into a better defensive staff against the choose-and-roll, or whether or not some schematic changes is likely to be needed, as nicely.

PG: Mavs Moneyball. Engaged on the stats crew for an NBA sport — the individuals who keep the official rating of the game, operate the shot and sport clocks, and so on. — sounds like a reasonably hectic scenario.

6th: Grantland. More from Koremenos on the curious case of Omer Asik, and the way the Houston Rockets’ decision on easy methods to deploy last year’s starting center now that Dwight Howard’s in the combine could show to be the distinction between title contention and also-ran status.

7th: Roundball Mining Company. After trying on the Denver Nuggets’ offseason moves and the crew’s roster because it at present stands, Matt Cianfrone asks an attention-grabbing question about one of the best definition and true worth of “depth” in the NBA: “In spite of everything, what good is having a bunch of fine gamers if those gamers can’t translate into productive lineups? […] Are the Nuggets deep or do they only have a set of good players? Is there a difference?”

8th: Salt Metropolis Hoops. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter determine to be the first beneficiaries of the departures of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap from the Utah Jazz. However with offseason additions Rudy Gobert and Andris Biedrins filling out the frontcourt mix and a cluttered (if not awe-inspiring) wing rotation, is Dunk Contest/preseason standout Jeremy Evans again going to be the odd man out in Salt Lake Metropolis?

9th: The New York Instances. An excellent learn from Beckley Mason on something I touched on Friday — the lineup options that the signing of free-agent level guard Beno Udrih provides Mike Woodson and the probabilities that the New York Knicks head coach Woodson actually takes benefit of them.

10th: Knickerblogger. An argument for limiting Tyson Chandler’s minutes during the common season, despite the fact that to do so will weaken an already questionable Knicks protection.