Dwight Howard wants to win. He got a taste of it, he got to the doorstep of a title two years ago. Last year, there was Boston. The retooled — good bye Hedo, hello Vince — Magic could not match up. Jameer Nelson was back and the Magic did not get as far.
So Howard gave a list of players he wants the Magic to go out and get to GM Otis Smith, according to Ken Berger at CBSSports.com (via NBA Truth and Rumors blog).
Top of the list: Chris Paul.
Which is a scary combo — the best point guard and the best center walking the planet (well, unless Yao Ming is healthy) teamed up. Thunder and lightning. Paul coming off the pick then lobbing an ally-oop to Dwight Howard is an intimidating thought. The Magic would instantly be serious title contenders. Which they already are, but they become a more dynamic version.
New Orleans, however, does not want to trade Paul. Incoming owner Gary Chouest knows he is the franchise cornerstone — the best player, the guy in front on the marketing campaign, the guy who people pay to see play. He wants to build around Paul and float the other bad contracts around him out in the Gulf with all that oil.
Basically, Paul is not getting traded. Now now anyway — but if you’re Jameer Nelson right now, how do you feel? One season after an All-Star appearance, the leader of the franchise is throwing you under the bus. He wants an upgrade. Nelson had a good but not great season coming back from injuries, seemed to improve as the year went on then struggled against Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. For Dwight, apparently it is time for Nelson to go.
Pretty cold. Which is just how the Magic’s locker room may feel next year.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.