One team not looking to make a move at the trade deadline

Leave a comment

It’s hard to resist the trade deadline’s appeal, whether you’re a lottery team looking to shed salary or a contender looking for that one final piece. After all, teams can always improve, and the deadline represents every team’s final chance to do so through external means this season. Chemistry, momentum, and internal development are tricky things to peg, but trading for a big-time scorer, a defensive presence, or even a solid glue guy? Those are very tangible assets that just about anyone can wrap their head around. Having that actual, distinct infusion of basketball talent gives troubled teams a new lease on life, as rotations, lineups, and team effectiveness can be drastically altered by a late-season move.

But despite all of the hoopla going into the deadline, the Orlando Magic appear content. From the Orlando Sentinel:

With the NBA trade deadline looming, Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith was asked the $82-million question (the team’s estimated payroll) after Tuesday’s practice: Are you good enough to win the championship with the team you have? “I think we have enough talent to win a title,” Smith told the Sentinel. “We have enough people here to go back [to the Finals].”…Smith realizes the deadline stirs interest and fans size up their team against moves made by a fellow contender. “Everybody always looks at the deadline like it’s a big deal, but for
me, we’ve been working toward it for a long time. We made our changes
in the offseason,” Smith said.

From Smith to head coach Stan Van Gundy to the players themselves, everyone appears to be on the same page. It makes sense; though the Magic have had a weirdly inconsistent season, they still have the second best record in the East and some incredibly depth on paper. Things just haven’t clicked mentally for this team at times, and though Orlando has rebounded nicely from some of their early struggles, this Magic team is not as prolific on defense as last season’s incarnation.

Which makes Smith’s approach perfect. The Magic don’t need another good defender to return their team D to highest heights. They just need more time to figure things out, work the rotations, and peg down and execute exactly what Van Gundy wants. There were so many new acquisitions in the off-season that there was bound to be a fall-off in some area, but the Magic are right to stay the course with their already impressive roster.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
Leave a comment

The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Leave a comment

Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.