Tag:Berger's Shootaround
Posted on: January 27, 2009 11:21 am

Tuesday Shootaround

* Things don't look good for Pistons coach Michael Curry. He felt compelled to defend himself in a phone interview with the Associated Press Monday. Now, beat writers are coming to his defense. These are not good signs -- nor is the fact that Detroit has lost seven of nine with the Celtics and Cavs coming to Auburn Hills this weekend. Things may have reached a boiling point in Auburn Hills.

* Vultures are circling in Chicago, trying to decide whether to feast on John Paxson or Vinny Del Negro first. Funny, the only reason Paxson still has a job is Chicago native Isiah Thomas, whom Paxson fleeced in the Eddy Curry trade a few years back.

* Speaking of Curry, Knicks president Donnie Walsh is giving him as much time as he needs to sort through the devastation of having his 3-year-old son witness the slaying of Curry's ex-girlfriend and her 9-month-old baby in Chicago. As he should. Nothing basketball-related takes precedence over something this serious. It has been an awful year for Curry -- unimaginable, really. From my experience with him, Curry has always been a kind-hearted guy who never has been able to harness his talent. At some point, we can get to the basketball side of this, as in Curry is one of two players (along with Jared Jeffries) that Walsh absolutely has to trade to have a shot at two big-time free agents in 2010. But not now. Now, Curry needs time to comfort his son. Simple as that.

* While we're on the Knicks, understand this about the Stephon Marbury situation. Walsh inherited a locker-room loser with a $20.8 millon expiring contract. In the NBA, that is known as an asset. It is Walsh's fiduciary duty to get as much for that asset as he possibly can. Walsh is a pro. He is as smart as they come, and he's traded the supposedly untradable before (see Artest, Ron; Harrington, Al (twice), and Jackson, Stephen). In this regard, I would have nominated Walsh for secretary of the treasury instead of this Geitner dude. Bottom line: No amount of Marbury interviews with the New York Post or supposed verbal agreements will compel Walsh to move off his negotiating position with respect to Marbury's buyout. He's still going to try to trade him, as he should. And worse assets have been and will be traded in the NBA. Walsh has always had all the leverage, and the more Marbury barks, the more leverage Walsh has.

* Nearly a quadruple-double for Chris Paul? Are you freakin kidding me?

* Thanks to TrueHoop for this link: Garry D. Howard of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is worried that Sen. Herb Kohl finally could be compelled to sell or move the Bucks. "Well, with the Bradley Center being close to the worst arena in the NBA as far as profitability is concerned and the economic landscape being what it is today, how much longer can Sen. Kohl keep up the charade that this city can afford an NBA team?"

* The Painted Area on why San Antonio, Denver, Detroit, Orlando, and New Orleans should be worried about their title chances. History says you need to outrebound your opponents by at least 1.0 rpg. The Celtics, Cavs, Lakers, and Rockets all qualify. "In the last 25 years, every NBA champion besides the two Rockets' title teams has had at least a +1 rebound per game margin in the regular season."

* From Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle: Corey Maggette is fine with coming off the bench.

* The case for Danny Granger as an All-Star reserve. According to Real GM (via Ballerblogger), Granger is the 22nd-ranked player in the NBA measured by the Floor Impact Counter. LeBron James is the only small forward rated higher.


Category: NBA
Posted on: January 26, 2009 12:10 pm

Monday Shootaround

* Scott Skiles says Michael Redd's season-ending knee injury will cause the Bucks to "find out what we're made of." My question is, will it compel G.M. John Hammond to expedite plans to trade either Charlie Villanueva or Ramon Sessions, or pull back?

* Speculation that the Kings could be involved as a third-party facilitator in the trade talks between Toronto and Miami involving Jermaine O'Neal and Shawn Marion. In this scenario, Sacramento would send Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas to Miami and take back Marion and his $17.2 million expiring contract.

* The trade deadline is almost here, so that means Allen Iverson must be on the trading block. A.I. watched the final 11 minutes of the Pistons' 108-105 loss to Houston from the bench.

* If he had it to do all over again, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would do the Jason Kidd trade again, with one exception: protecting the 2010 first-round pick that goes to New Jersey.

* Gerald Green doesn't want to be known as only a dunker, so he's passing on the slam-dunk contest at All-Star weekend.

* Greg Oden reached legal dunking age years ago. Now he blogs about turning 21 -- and about how everyone thinks he's in his 50s.

* Utah's injury woes never end. Andrei Kirilenko might need ankle surgery.

* Hey, Rick Barry: There wasn't anything wrong with LeBron's jump shot on this play.

* Top 10 NBA father-son duos of all time, from the Hoop Doctors.

* Empty the Bench still doesn't believe in the Orlando Magic.

* Worst of the Weekend from Basketbawful.

* A well-reasoned indictment of Steve Kerr.




Category: NBA
Posted on: January 16, 2009 11:10 am

Friday Shootaround

* The Magic play the Lakers Friday night. Dwight Howard says it's not necessarily the last time they play each other this season. (Link from TrueHoop.)

* No fine or suspension for the Nuggets' J.R. Smith, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban is still under review for the incident Tuesday night in which Cuban stormed onto the court to protest the officiating. Nuggets coach George Karl warns Cuban,"Stay away from my players." it was a toned-down version of the fightin' words Karl had for Isiah Thomas after the Knicks-Nuggets brawl a couple of years ago. What does Karl have against Indiana University grads? And does he hold the same grudge against me?

* Yao Ming denies he's stopped speaking with Tracy McGrady and wants him traded, calling the NBA.com report "fake." But Yao also said what happens in the Rockets' locker room "stays in there." Just like Vegas.

* Someone from the Andrea Bargnani camp tells the Toronto Globe and Mail they hope Toronto can trade Jermaine O'Neal. It'd be good for Bargnani, who has blossomed while O'Neal's been hurt. JO says he's OK with coming off the bench once he's healthy, and OK with getting traded, too.

* Nice win Thursday night for the Bulls over the Cavs. Now that the Bulls are healthy, is it no longer a stretch to say they might find their way into the playoffs?

* The Cavs didn't just lose the game; they lost Delonte West to a fractured right wrist. Mo Williams gets most of the credit for Cleveland's offensive success this season, but West has been a huge part of it, too.

* The Blazers' answer to losing point guard Steve Blaker for 7-10 days with a separated right shoulder? Jerryd Bayless.


Category: NBA
Posted on: January 14, 2009 10:22 am

Wednesday Shootaround

I'm on my way to an actual shootaround, so let's get to this:

* Monta Ellis completed his first full practice, did all the running and cutting and running his mouth you could want from a $66 million player. But Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle correctly points out that what Ellis said was just as important as what he did. "I'm making it known right now that I'm a Warrior," Ellis said Tuesday. "I love playing for Nellie, and I never said (otherwise), not one time. So you don't have to worry about that. ... Only thing I'm worried about is getting back on the basketball court."

* NBA record 23 3-pointers for the Magic Tuesday night? Wow.

* Must've been nice for Raymond Felton, the key piece of an agreed-upon three-team trade that's on hold for the time being, to hit such a big shot against the Pistons.

* Darius Miles saw his first action since rejoining Memphis. The city of Portland mourns. Meanwhile, the NBA won't take any punitive action against the Blazers or team president Larry Miller for firing off that threatening email lasty week. And LeBron James doesn't like how the Blazers handled the Miles situation, calling Darius a "good guy."

* Eddy Curry might want to make like an ostrich and put his head in the sand for awhile. I will say this: Ostriches run faster than Curry.

* This guy says the Memphis-Milwaukee talks involving Mike Conley for Ramon Sessions and Joe Alexander aren't dead. And he's right.

* Rip Hamilton is willing to come off the bench.

* Tracy McGrady says he's not washed up. Hurt all the time, yes. Washed up, no.


Category: NBA
Posted on: January 13, 2009 12:12 pm

Tuesday Shootaround

In a world filled with salacious sexual harassment scandals and bogus trade rumors, here's your speed read on, you know, basketball stuff that's going on in your favorite 5-on-5 association:

* Elton Brand is back at practice. Will that be good or bad for the 76ers? I guess we'll find out how good a coach Tony DiLeo is once EB returns to the lineup.

* Where did Brook Lopez come from with this? The rook dominated the paint against the flimsy Thunder with 31 points and 13 boards Monday night.

* The Celtics manned up for a 115-109 overtime victory over the Raptors. To me, though, the news was Paul Pierce scoring 39 points in 49 minutes on a bad knee. The injury bug is feastinng on the defending champs.

* Some solid links at Breakin Down The Game from D-Miz, who can't hide his anger at Gilbert Arenas. Agent Zero is indeed a zero in the eyes of the Breakin One for replying thusly when asked if he was going to come back from a knee injury this season: "I don't know. I mean, seven wins. Would you?"

* Latest from the rumor mill: Mike Conley from Memphis to Milwaukee for Joe Alexander and Ramon Sessions. A person familiar with the situation confirmed that the deal has been discussed, but said it's too early to predict whether it'll happen. Stay tuned.

* Word that Tracy McGrady will sit out two weeks to get his conditioning back and rest his left knee made perfect sense to one team executive who told me T-Mac has looked a step slow to him all season.


Category: NBA
Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:36 pm

Tuesday Shootaround

Orem, Utah -- As I convene with general managers and scouts here at the D-League Showcase -- a sort of midseason scouting combine that coincides with the beginning of the signing window for 10-day contracts -- at least a couple of teams could be in the market for a backup point guard.

The Miami Heat released Shaun Livingston in a luxury-tax move and also lost guard Daequan Cook to a bruised left knee Monday night. Among the guards who shined on the first day of the showcase were Trey Johnson of Bakersfield (34 points, 7 assists) and Joe Crawford of Los Angeles (16 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists). The Phoenix Suns, represented here by assistant GM David Griffin, released Dee Brown -- the winner of a recent tryout for the team's backup point guard position -- and could be in the market for a replacement at the four-day event at Utah Valley University.

One player got signed to a 10-day contract Monday; Jermareo Davidson of Idaho got picked up by Golden State. Cheikh Samb, acquired by Denver in the Allen Iverson trade and assigned to the Colorado 14ers, was traded to the Clippers for a 2015 pick that is 1-55 protected. Here's the rest of your Tuesday Shoot:

* Carmelo Anthony has a fractured finger on his right (shooting) hand and is undergoing tests Tuesday. Nuggets coach Geore Karl is concerned, and for good reason; Denver can't stay near the top of the Western Conference standings without Melo.

* Patrick Ewing Jr. signed with the D-League and was assigned to the Knicks' affiliate in Reno, a team running Mike D'Antoni's offensive system, in hopes of rejoining the Knicks when a roster spot becomes available. Ewing Jr. came off the bench Monday night with 16 points and 8 rebounds in 35:45. In the same game, Smush Parker looked completely and hopelessly lost with seven points on 3-for-10 shooting with EIGHT TURNOVERS.

*  Warriors president Robert Rowell says Don Nelson's job is safe, according to Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle. But which job? The job of head coach or de facto general manager? 

* Former Missouri coach Quin Snyder is enjoying coaching the San Antonio Spurs' D-League affiliate in Austin and doesn't have any plans -- or desire -- to return to the college sidelines. Snyder is sort of a roving member of Gregg Popovich's coaching staff and is in frequent communication with the Spurs' brass. With numerous NBA job to be available after the season, it isn't a stretch to say Snyder will get some consideration.

* Mark Cuban on how his bid to buy the Chicago Cubs, and why he'll never try to buy another sports franchise again.

* The top 10 Michael Jordan magazine covers, according to The Hoop Doctors.



Category: NBA
Posted on: December 31, 2008 10:49 am
Edited on: December 31, 2008 1:11 pm

Wednesday Shootaround

A lot can go wrong on a year-ending, four-game road trip -- even for a defending champion riding a 19-game losing winning streak. The Celtics, who appeared to be hurtling toward immortality only a week ago, suddenly have lost three out of four.

"It was an awful trip," coach Doc Rivers said.

Yup, sure was. When Rivers called this a "dangerous trip," he was right. The bump in the road only underscores how insanely difficult it is to win 70 games. And it turns out Lakers coach Phil Jackson was right: It's not so much the competition -- there are plenty of medicore teams to beat up on -- but rather the travel. What did the Celtics in more than anything was playing last Tuesday night against Philadelphia, then flying to L.A. to face the Lakers on Christmas Day and Golden State the next night (both losses). A blowout win at Sacramento was followed by a 91-86 loss at Portland Tuesday night with the Blazers missing Brandon Roy.

Now the Celtics (28-5) basically have to forget the last four games ever happened and regroup for what shoud be -- stress that, should be -- and easy one at home Friday against the Wizards.

LaMarcus Aldridge shedding the "soft" label and bringing the fight to Kevin Garnett was one of the notable developments in Portland's victory Tuesday night. A Blazers scribe went so far as to write that Garnett's never-ending trash talk and cheap shots are "bush league."

Another notable development: The Blazers scored a basket with six men on the court. Incredibly, the officials counted said basket but assessed a techical foul, thus awarding a foul shot to Boston. Rivers was perplexed -- and angry.

For those keeping score at home, the Celtics were still even witih the 1995-96 Bulls' 72-win pace after losing to the Lakers; both teams were 27-3 after 30 games. But Jordan's Bulls didn't lose their fifth game that season until Feb. 6, when a second consecutive loss dropped their record to an incredible 41-3. The Celtics are probably fortunate they don't have to worry about chasing that record anymore.

Here's the rest of your Morning Shoot, the last one of 2008:

* The next time the league wants to interview him about an on-court incident that led to a suspension, Dirk Nowitzki just might not call them back. Dirk and the Mavs took their aggression out on the Timberwolves, coming back from a 29-point deficit -- the biggest comeback in franchise history -- for a 107-100 victory Tuesday night.

* Charles Barkley out at 1:30 a.m. after a night of drinking? No surprise there. But behind the wheel of a car, Charles? Come one, you can't afford a driver? Everybody makes mistakes, and Barkley appears to have cooperated fully and will accept his punishment like a man. He does a lot of good for the league -- he's the star of TNT's popular "Inside the NBA" show -- but at some point there have to be repercussions. As far as I can tell, not much was done to hold Barkley accountable for his admission of rampant gambling at a time when the NBA was embroiled in a gambling scandal. I suspect nothing will be done to him this time, either.

* On a more important note: Even if Charles doesn't learn his lesson, you should, writes Spencer Hall of the Sporting Blog. If you're going to enjoy adult beverages this evening and need transportation, call a damn cab.

* Sounds like a big-time recruiting job by Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady persuaded Dikembe Mutombo to turn down more money from the Spurs and Celtics to join the Rockets' quest for a title.

* Paul Millsap extended his streak of double-doubles to 16 without even stepping on the court. A first-quarter tip-in credited to C.J. Miles on Dec. 23 was correctly adjusted to reflect that Millsap actually made the basket. But an alert reader of the Deseret News noticed that Millsap didn't get credit for the offensive rebound that went with it. The reader submitted a suggested statistical correction to the NBA, which adjusted Millsap's line for the game to 11 points, 10 rebounds. When Millsap returns from a sprained left knee, he'll still be riding the longest double-double streak since Kevin Garnett's 33-game ride in 2006.

* Somebody forgot to tell Steve Francis that it was the Memphis Grizzlies he was traded to, not the Vancouver Grizzlies. The team had to cancel a news conference introducing him before Tuesday night's game against Phoenix when Francis missed his flight to Memphis due to a "family issue."

* Stephon Marbury, blogging for the New York Post about his banishment from the Knicks: "If you don't want me, just pay me and let me go. I just want to play basketball."

And here I thought we could escape 2008 without another mention of Marbury.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and Marbury-free New Year.


Category: NBA
Posted on: December 30, 2008 11:26 am
Edited on: December 30, 2008 5:02 pm

Tuesday Shootaround (UPDATE)

* From the Tracy-McGrady-Is-Made-Out-Of-Paper files: No more back-to-backs (for now) for the Rockets' oft-injured off guard.

* Shaq is back. Averaging 24.5 points over the last six games, he insists that if the Suns just get him the ball, he'll produce. He did Monday night, scoring 28 in a 110-102 victory over the Oklahoma City Blunder.

* Lang Whitaker of SLAM offers his Eastern Conference All-Star team. One glaring ommission, IMHO: Rajon Rondo.

* Rockets G.M. Daryl Morey said he had a "good meeting" with the agent representing Dikembe Mutombo, but doesn't expect the semi-retired center to make a decision on his future for several more days.

UPDATE: Things evidently progressed more rapidly than Morey imagined; Mutombo has signed with the Rockets for the rest of the season.

* Ah, rumors. The lifeblood of basketball coverage. The latest (and I use that term loosely) had the Rockets, Lakers, and Bucks discussing a trade that would extricate Chris Mihm from L.A., ship Charlie Villanueva and Tyronn Lue out of Milwaukee, and pry Carl Landry from the Rockets. Only problem with that one was, the Bucks haven't had any trade discussions with either of those teams, a team executive with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com. Oh, well!

* Linas Kleiza wants to stay in Denver, according to Hoopsworld.com, despite recurring whispers that the Knicks have discussed a David Lee-for-Kleiza deal with the Nuggets. It's my understanding that those talks are dead, given Donnie Walsh's reluctance to part with Lee and George Karl's affinity for Kleiza. But for what it's worth, I happened to notice Kleiza in the stands after Sunday's game against the Knicks, having his photo taken by friends with the MSG court in the background. Just sayin.

* Doc Rivers is thinking about playing Kevin Garnett for no more than eight minutes at a time to preserve him for the stretch run.

* What's this, 20 wins for the Hawks before the end of December? Whoa.

* Brandon Jennings blogs about Christmas overseas.

* Accused inside-trade Mark Cuban is getting back in the market, investing heavily in a Georgia-based movie-theater chain that embraces digital technology.




Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com