Stoudemire may not have a foot out the door after all

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It’s been all but assumed that when free agency opens this summer, Amar’e Stoudemire will already be on a flight out of Phoenix headed toward another team. Maybe Miami, maybe not. But his future seemed set for any team with cap space that wasn’t the Suns, a move which would leave Steve Nash as the lone remnant of the ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ era.

But not so fast, perhaps. Nothing in the relationship between Stoudemire and the Suns necessitates a divorce; even through all of the trade rumors, all of the hurt feelings, and all of Amare’e’s up-and-down play, nothing has damaged the Stoudemire-Phoenix link beyond repair. From Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic:

…the moment of truth is approaching, for basketball fans and the organization.

After Tuesday’s practice, Stoudemire said he’d love to stay in Phoenix if the Suns meet his number. No hard feelings or hometown discounts, just good business moving forward. It’s shaping up as a decision with major consequences, and the Suns must wonder: What’s real? What’s temporary? And once Stoudemire gets his money, how long until his knees scream for a doctor?

This much is tangible: Stoudemire has grown considerably in 2009-10. He is no longer a lone wolf on the road. He is an engaged teammate who hangs out with the entire group, a noticeable change that began in training camp. The stoic manner in which he handled a recent wave of trade rumors earned him much respect in the locker room, turning him into an empathetic figure.

So Amar’e could be a Sun for quite awhile if the price is right. Then again, maybe that’s the big problem; Suns’ owner Robert Sarver has been notorious over the years for his penny-pinching (the most infamous examples of which involve trading away first round draft picks that manifested themselves as Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, and Rudy Fernandez), and if he’s been so reluctant to open up his wallet in the past, why would he do so for Stoudemire?

If the Suns were to lose Amar’e, they would struggle mightily. Steve Nash is still an absolute wizard, but having such a dominant force that can finish in the lane, run the floor, and space the offense with his shooting is damn near irreplaceable.

I just don’t see the Suns giving Stoudemire an offer on-par with the ones he’ll be receiving on the open market, and though the home team does have the advantage in terms of being able to sign Amar’e to six years rather than five, one can’t help but wonder if a six-year deal for Stoudemire is even a remote possibility for Sarver’s docket.

Stan Van Gundy to Reggie Jackson: “We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio”

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It was rumored this week that the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves were mulling a trade that would send Ricky Rubio to Michigan and Reggie Jackson to Minnesota. Now, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says that isn’t happening.

Nor was it a real offer that was even on the table.

In a video posted to the Detroit Free Press, Van Gundy went off on one of his classic fireside chats — the kind that involves profanity — on how he sees the NBA as it works.

Warning: NSFW language ahead.

While the whole thing is worth watching for the Van Gundyness of it all, here’s the meat you’re looking for:

All these rumors and stuff look I mean know it’s fun for everybody and you’ve got some source somewhere and it’s also all bullshit. Im not denying that discussion — they take place all the time – -that’s a lot different than considerations. Somebody says ‘Hey would you consider Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson that discussion might have taken pace. And clearly we didn’t make that move. We wanted to see if they’d go [Michael] Gbinije for LeBron.

Van Gundy said he didn’t know if the specific Jackson-for-Rubio discussion even happened, saying that Pistons president Jeff Bower only brings him trades they are actively considering.

Meanwhile, Van Gundy confirmed that he did text Jackson after his agent made contact with Bower.

“This is the crazy season. We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio,” said Van Gundy about his text to Jackson.

Report: After fining Wizards, league issues memo warning teams on bench etiquette

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The NBA league office fined Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe $5,000 — and the team an additional $15,000 — for his role in distracting a New York Knicks shooter during a game this last week.

Now, the league has issued a warning to teams: make sure you’re practicing good bench etiquette, or we’re coming for your wallets.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Saturday reminding them to remain on their own bench in accordance with league rules. Obviously that means no stepping onto active basketball courts:

So what are coaches needing to confine themselves to?

Official NBA rules state simply:

The coach’s position may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to go to the scorer’s table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.

Like we see with preseason points of emphasis, it’s possible we see additional fines in the weeks to come. Several coaches enjoy toeing the line (literally) to see what they can get away with and how far out on the court they can stand. Tom Thibodeau immediately springs to mind.

Or, it could go the other direction. Perhaps we see more coaches sitting back, respecting their distance?

Hopefully we just don’t see any more of them trying to close out on opposing shooters.

Joel Embiid wants the center position to return to the NBA All-Star ballot

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The NBA got rid of the center position on the All-Star ballot starting in 2013, thanks in part to some positional confusion around former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. But just a handful of years later, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid says it should make a comeback.

Embiid — who finished third in the Eastern Conference for forwards in All-Star fan voting — told CSN Philly that due to the plethora of talented big men in the NBA, the position should return.

Via CSN Philly:

“There’s a lot of talented big men in the league, especially at the center position,” Embiid said. “That’s something the NBA should think about, putting the center back on the All-Star ballot.”

There has been a resurgence of talented and burgeoning centers that have entered the league and are performing at a high level. Embiid is one of them, and so too is DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Hassan Whiteside, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Jahlil Okafor.

Adding the center position back might be a tough sell as having it doesn’t reduce eliminations from the roster. It’s much more free-flowing now, and there’s nothing keeping great centers off the All-Star team.

It would also be a little strange if center was added back but there wasn’t a point guard spot, too. ESPN’s Zach Lowe has suggested three categories for the roster in point guard, wing, and frontcourt. That idea is as good as adding the center position, perhaps moreso to many folks in the NBA.

I don’t think adding the center position will make a comeback any time soon. Meanwhile, we’re all just waiting to see if Embiid makes the All-Star reserves.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies for reverse alley-oop jam (VIDEO)

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Is Aaron Gordon a three or a four?

That’s a debate for another day. What we all know he can do is leap out of the building, and he showed off how that can be useful during a game Friday night — Jabari Parker actually defends this fairly well, Gordon can just go over the top of him and get it. With that, we get a highlight.

The Magic upset the Bucks 112-96, behind 20 from a resurgent Elfrid Payton. Parker had 25 for the Bucks.