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