Month: February 2017

Odds & Ends: Jefferson, Batum, Brand, Nene

In a busy NBA offseason, the Jazz haven't been talked about a great deal on a national level after adding Randy Foye and Marvin Williams to a talented young core.  However, big man Al Jefferson is certainly taking notice.  Referring to former General Manager Kevin O'Connor and current GM Dennis Lindsey, Jefferson said "The GMs did a hell of a job improving our team. I feel a lot better," tweets Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune.  Jefferson is also entering his walk year, but he says that he hasn't given it any thought (Twitter link).  Here's more from around the league as Sunday turns into Monday..

  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian looks at the biggest questions facing the Blazers this season.  Among them is whether Nicolas Batum can take the next big step and justify the $45MM contract he was given this summer.  Part of that leap will be an attitude adjustment as Batum often appears to look passive on the floor.
  • Mavericks forward Elton Brand says that he expects to serve as the club's enforcer in 2012/13, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.  Dallas claimed the former All-Star off of waivers back in July after he was amenstied by the 76ers.
  • If the Wizards hope to turn things around this year, they'll need a major contribution from forward Nene, writes Michael Lee of The Washington Post.  Nene, acquired at last year's deadline from Denver, has battled back from two major setbacks in his career and will have to stay healthy in order for the Wizards to stay competitive this season.

Poll: Who Has The Best Backcourt In The NBA?

The Nets had everything they needed for a clean slate heading into the 2012/13 season: a new locale, a massive state-of-the-art arena, and even a complete rebranding.  A sweet black-and-white color scheme and Calexico tacos in the concourse will only get you so far though.  General Manager Billy King & Co. made a handful of bold moves this summer, but none bigger than the trade that brought Joe Johnson into the fold.  The Nets were quick to introduce the sharpshooter to the press alongside star point guard Deron Williams.  At the presser, King didn't mince words when speaking about the potential of the pair.

"This is a great day, because we've put together what I call the best backcourt in the NBA," King said, according to Ben Couch of NBA.com. "There are a lot of good backcourts, but I don't think there are many where you've got two guys that can get 18-20 points every night and defend their positions."

There's no denying that the Nets are a stronger team after pairing one of the league's best one-guards with an elite scorer, but does that give them the top backcourt in the Association?  Lakers star Kobe Bryant and summer acquisition Steve Nash don't see it that way.  Bryant celebrated his 34th birthday in August and Nash will turn 39 before this year's All-Star break, but the two are still undeniably among the best at what they do.  And while Bryant was forced to carry the perimeter scoring burden at times last season, he'll now have Nash to help keep defenses honest.  Of course, it also helps that the pair will have the league's best center in the post to anchor everything.  Looking at the backcourt as a separate entity, do you have Bryant and Nash over Williams and Johnson?

Hoops Rumors Originals: 9/24/12 – 9/30/12

Here's a look back at the original analysis produced by the Hoops Rumors team this week..

Celtics Notes: Rondo, Offense, Rivers, Lee

As they head into the 2012/13 season as a re-tooled, legitimate championship contender, here are a few bits of news regarding the Boston Celtics.

Lee Turned Down Money To Sign With Celtics

New Celtics shooting guard Courtney Lee told reporters today that he turned down more money to sign with Boston in the offseason, writes the Associated Press. Lee was moved in a sign-and-trade deal from Houston that also involved the Trail Blazers. 

Lee said the likelihood of the Celtics winning a championship combined with his close relationship with Rajon Rondo made the decision to turn down more money an easy one. He is expected to begin the season as Boston's starting shooting guard as Avery Bradley recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. 

Week In Review: 9/24/12 – 9/30/12

Here's a look at all the NBA's news from the past week. 

Odds & Ends: James, Pacers, Odom, Evans

Here's some general news and notes from around the league. 

Atlantic Rumors: Calderon, Sixers, Darko, Nets

Each of the five teams in the Atlantic Division is arguably improved from last season, which might make it the league's best. That doesn't mean that the division's GMs are done moving, and there's news on transactions past and, perhaps, future.

Southeast Rumors: Hawks, Wallace, Lewis, Bobcats

There was plenty of change throughout the Southeast Division, as the Magic, Hawks and Wizards pulled off significant trades while the Heat upgraded with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. The Bobcats are banking heavily on No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to help turn the team around, and we have news on him and others from around the division.

  • Some in the Heat organization are concerned about the long-term health of Dwyane Wade, who could miss all of the team's preseason games as he hopes to get his ailing left knee ready for the regular season opener, writes Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald. The team will give Allen occasional off days during the regular season, as the Spurs have done with Tim Duncan, Goodman adds.

Earlier updates:

 

Josh Howard Unlikely To Sign With Knicks

Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com hears that the Knicks are probably out of the running for swingman Josh Howard (Twitter link). Zwerling's source believes Howard will find a better fit elsewhere, but all offers are likely to be for the minimum salary.

Howard met with the Spurs and Sixers this month, and Zwerling indicates the Jazz and Bobcats are potential destinations as well. This week Howard was said to be negotiating with four unknown teams, and the Knicks appeared to be one of them. That was the case even after Rasheed Wallace told the team he would come out of retirement to fill its final preseason roster spot, though signing both Wallace and Howard would have required New York to part ways with one of its training camp invitees.

Several teams have been linked to Howard at different points throughout the summer, with as many as five teams in the running when he was reportedly close to a deal in July. The 32-year-old former All-Star has remained on the shelf after a season in which he averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds with a 10.5 PER in 23.0 minutes per game for the Jazz. 

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