The trade deadline is a bit like multi-million dollar window shopping in that teams suddenly see and want things they never really knew they needed. Antawn Jamison becomes available, and all of a sudden every team in the league is desperate for his scoring at the 4. Caron Butler’s on the block, and everyone desperately wants his versatility and toughness, despite the fact that he’s having a down year. Even the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the best record in the league and the likely MVP, are looking to upgrade.
Indisputable talents like Jamison, Butler, Andre Iguodala, and Amar’e Stoudemire all make sense as trade bait. If your team is amassing talent or looking to bound over the top, those are the kinds of players you want on your squad. But one of the most popular names in trade rumors has been Indiana’s Troy Murphy, a sweet-shooting big man that seems to have shed the “soft” label from his Golden State days. Suddenly every team in the league covets Murphy’s combination of range and rebounding, and the Pacers seem to have their pick from at least several potential deals (even one from the Bucks).
But Murphy’s suitors aren’t strictly playoff-bound clubs. According to Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee, the Kings are also interested in adding Murphy to their core, despite being a good 10 games out of the playoff race. The potential deal would revolve around Kenny Thomas’ (woof!) expiring contract and one of Sacramento’s young, cheap talents.
The Kings may already have two solid bigs-in-training with Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes, but Murphy would provide a happy medium between the two. Though his shooting is much more reliable than Hawes, the Kings would be in a good place if Spencer could learn a thing or two from Murph on how to be an effective rebounder despite not being on the low block. Troy could form a pretty interesting three-man big rotation with Thompson and Hawes, in that he’s able to complement both players’ games well without stepping on anyone’s toes.
But the Kings acquiring Murphy is anything but a given; they’ll have to stave off a number of teams from around the league that are currently pursuing his services.
The Spurs are counting on Danny Green to regain his top-flight “3&D” form this season and give them another defender and weapon when they go up against that potential juggernaut out West. And the Clippers, too.
But that comeback is getting off to a slow start, the team announced Friday.
This likely means a little more run for Manu Ginobili and Kevin Martin to start the season, plus some funky lineups from Gregg Popovich.
Green played great defense last season but struggled from three (where 60 percent of his attempts are taken). Green shot 33.2 percent from deep on the season, which is well below his career average of 40.3 percent (and last year’s down numbers were buoyed by a red-hot January, he was much worse the rest of the season).
It’s something for Spurs fans to monitor, they need to get his legs right before his shot can return.
The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.
Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.
In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.
During the ProBasketballTalk podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown, you could hear the frustration in his voice. He has all these talented young front line players — Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor — but he can’t begin to figure out how they all fit together if he can’t get them on the court at the same time.
That problem just got worse.
The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:
During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.
The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.
That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.
This was flat out incredible.
After a back-and-forth, even series between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, it came down to the final seconds (although maybe it shouldn’t have, the WNBA admitted Friday the referees missed a call with 1:14 left, giving the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike a bucket on a shot after the shot clock expired).
The biggest stars took over at the end, as you can see in the video above: L.A.’s Candace Parker drives and scores with 19 seconds left putting the Sparks up 75-74; Minnesota responded with a Maya Moore jumper to take the lead back, then it came down to Ogwumike (the WNBA’s 2016 MVP) getting the ball after a block by Sylvia Fowles and following it up with a fadeaway bucket that gave Los Angeles the title.
Congrats to Candace Parker on the win, after how she’s been overlooked on the awards circuit in the WNBA this season, this is some sweet revenge.