Odds & Ends: Jefferson, Mavs, Asik, George

Over his ten years in the league, Bobcats center Al Jefferson has been through a number of rebuilding projects with multiple teams, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.  “I have been playing [a pivotal] role since I left Boston,” Jefferson said. “Minnesota was rough. Utah, I had a little success and that’s what got me here. I like my team. We’ve got a great group of guys, guys who have been going through some trials and tribulations themselves the last couple of years. I want to help turn this thing around and I think the coaching staff is amazing and I think we have a chance to do that.”  Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..

  • One draft-conscious observer told Bob Finnan of the News-Herald there could have been as many as 13 first-round picks playing in the Champions Classic (featuring Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan St., and Duke) in Chicago on Tuesday.  Kentucky power forward Julius Randle and guards James Young and Andrew Harrison could be lottery picks along with Michigan State combo guard Gary Harris.  The second game was Duke vs. Kansas, which could have  three more lottery picks in Jayhawks small forward Andrew Wiggins, center Joel Embiid, and Duke small forward Jabari Parker.
  • Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is glad that the club went out and signed free agents to multi-year pacts rather than last summer where they inked nine one-year deals, writes Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld.  This offseason saw Dallas sign Monta Ellis to a three-year deal and Jose Calderon to a four-year contract.
  • More from Ingram, who writes that a trade of Omer Asik would be a bad move for both the Rockets and the center.  A trade demand makes it seem as though everyone hasn’t bought in to Houston’s philosophy, a bad sign for a team with championship aspirations.  Meanwhile, the trade request makes Asik look selfish since he appears to be putting himself above winning.
  • Pacers star Paul George can earn a pay hike by earning an MVP selection or making an All-NBA team, but he won’t get the maximum deal allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, explains HoopsWorld’s Eric Pincus.
  • Former player’s union official Joseph Lombardo faces 20 years in prison over fraud charges, according to the Associated Press.  Authorities say Lombardo used a stamp to forge the signature of a deceased general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association and another employee, a move that directed $3MM to his firm over five years.
  • The Knicks have fallen apart, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com.  Even if the Knicks could deal Shumpert for a big who plays with effort like a Kenneth Faried, it’s not going to solve all the Knicks’ problems, Youngmisuk opines.
  • Former NBA standout Grant Hill says that he’s proud of his career in retrospect and the way that he navigated through its ups-and-downs.  “I’m proud of coming back and my last [five] years in Phoenix, finding great joy and fulfillment in sort of reinventing yourself,” Hill told Michael Lee of the Washington Post. “I know, in retrospect, that’s not an easy thing to do, either.
  • Wolves president of basketball ops Flip Saunders is drawing upon his time as coaching adviser for the Celtics in 2012 as he finds his way through his new job, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.  “One of the things I really noticed is the way things worked between Danny (Ainge) and management and the coaching staff,” said Saunders. “I think it helped that Danny had been a coach, but I really like the way people there worked together.
  • Jared Jeffries fits in well with the Nuggets front office, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post.  The forward says that he’s glad to not be dealing with physical pain every day and seems content with his decision to retire and move on to a new chapter.

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