A holiday for most of us, December 25th is one of the most eventful days of the year on the NBA calendar, with five marquee matchups lined up for Christmas Day. Two scuffling Atlantic Division contenders, the Celtics and Nets, are in action in Brooklyn, while the Lakers look to extend their winning streak to five games later this afternoon against the Knicks. A Finals rematch (Heat/Thunder), an inter-conference battle (Rockets/Bulls), and a Western Conference showdown (Clippers/Nuggets) are also on tap later in the day.
As we enjoy an action-packed slate of games and wish you happy holidays, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Despite Keith Smart's recent issues with DeMarcus Cousins, the Maloofs have "given every indication" that the Kings expect to keep Smart around for the duration of his contract, which runs through the 2013/14 season, according to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee.
- The Mavericks don't have any immediate plans to recall first-round pick Jared Cunningham from the D-League, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Cunningham was assigned to the Texas Legends two weeks ago.
- After losing Derek Fisher, the Mavericks figure to explore their options at point guard, but for now coach Rick Carlisle tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that Darren Collison, Dominique Jones, and Rodrigue Beaubois "are our guys."
- Rookie Alexey Shved has emerged as an important piece on a Timberwolves roster that has been hit hard by injuries, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- Shelden Williams, who signed with French club Elan Chalon this offseason, has been bought out by Fenerbahce Ulker and will join the Turkish team, according to a TrendBasket.net report.
- Jarvis Varnado, signed by the Celtics this week, tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com that he feels "blessed" by the opportunity.
- Nick Gibson of Ridiculous Upside examines the unique contract Gustavo Ayon had signed in Spain before he was bought out by the Hornets and eventually flipped in a sign-and-trade for Ryan Anderson.