UPDATE 2:48 pm: This has basically become official, with multiple sources confirming it now.
The deal is Yi Jianlian and $3 million cold hard cash to the Wizards for Quinton Ross. Yi and Blatche will compete for the starting job power forward job, with just-drafted rookie Trevor Booker trying to find some minutes in there. But I still want to see Blatche and Yi play together.
12:55 pm: How does an Andray Blatche/Yi Jianlian front line paired with John Wall sound? Not sure how good it will be, but it will be fun to watch.
According to the Bergen Record, the Nets are on the verge of sending Yi to the Wizards for cash and one player who makes “significantly less.” That could be a draft pick (not Wall) or Quinton Ross.
For the Nets, they save even more money under the cap, as Yi will make $4 million this year. That gives them more money to go after free agents, about $30 million, which is the only plan in Jersey.
For the Wizards, it gives them a talented forward who has never quite found his game in the NBA and battled injury problems. He gave the Nets 32 minutes and 12 points a game last year, but shot just 40 percent on the season. He’s a forward who shot just 51 percent at the rim and is all too happy to shoot the three. He’s an okay rebounder.
Washington is taking some risk based on potential. But they are building and risks are part of that process. At least smart ones.
John Wall is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA. J.R. Smith found that out the hard way on Tuesday night when Wall sent him flying with a behind-the-back dribble before making an easy layup.
The Wizards beat the Cavs, who are now 13-5 on the season.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.