The Raptors reportedly don't want to deal anymore, could cut Bosh's list of suitors in twain

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On Wednesday, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo was enamored by the idea of a sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh, and as of today, he seems to have soured on the idea. Don’t you just love free agency?

Here’s the report from ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande:

Wherever Chris Bosh heads next, he’ll likely have to do so on his own — and at a slightly discounted rate. The Toronto Raptors have become increasingly disenchanted with the idea of helping Bosh obtain a maximum contract via a sign-and-trade deal, according to a league source.

…The right combination of players, manageable contracts, draft picks and a trade exception could have enticed the Raptors to accommodate Bosh. The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks are believed to have submitted trade proposals for Bosh to the Raptors, and apparently none has impressed Toronto.

Without the possibility of a sign-and-trade, only the teams with serious cap space — the Nets, Knicks, Heat, Clippers, and Bulls — could make bids for Bosh’s services. It also significantly slashes the already slim possibility of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all ending up in Miami together. A sign-and-trade of Bosh for Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley seemed a rather crucial component of that master plan, and if Colangelo has taken that option off the table, it’s even more of a pipe dream.

However, this is likely a ploy by the Raptors; with nothing else to do but take in offers and bide their time, Colangelo could simply be playing up his reluctance to deal as a way to entice more attractive proposals. By playing hard to get, the Raps could end up with an even more enticing package in return. One of the offers on the table might already provide the basic framework for an ideal transaction, or perhaps Colangelo hopes that this posturing will net an even better one.

Whether the Raptors want this or that, Bosh could always leave them high and dry if he gets the right offer from a team with the space to sign him. That’s why the five teams with wiggle room under the cap can make all of Colangelo’s maneuvering irrelevant. If one of them can give Chris the opportunity, salary, and teammates he’s looking for, then the Raptors will be left with nothing in return and the victims of their own smokescreen.

Dwight Howard’s offensive rebounding defies convention

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Hawks president/coach Mike Budenholzer has the authority to set the Hawks’ priorities.

“Organizationally, fundamentally,” Budenholzer said, “transition D is more important than anything.”

Dwight Howard challenges that daily.

Howard has already built a Hall of Fame résumé:

  • Eight-time All-NBA center, including five-time first teamer
  • Three-time Defensive Player of the Year
  • Five-time rebounding champ

But the big man is doing something he’s never done before: Grab 15.2% of available offensive rebounds.

And he’s doing it at age 31 in a league that has increasingly deemphasized offensive rebounding. The NBA will set a record this season for lowest offensive-rebounding percentage for the fourth straight year.

Teams have just figured getting back on defense trumps crashing the offensive glass, the strategy emanating most prominently from the Spurs. Budenholzer, a former San Antonio assistant coach, brought the plan straight to Atlanta. The Hawks ranked 28th, last and last in offensive-rebounding in his first three seasons — in part for philosophical reasons, in part because they’ve lacked the personnel to do better. They’ve also been a below-average defensive-rebounding team each season under Budenholzer.

Then Howard signed and forced Budenholzer to adjust.

Atlanta has become an above-average offensive-rebounding team and far better with Howard on the court – a helpful crutch with ace 3-point shooters Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague traded. The Hawks are ceding more transition opportunities, though they remain very good at defending those.

It’s an obvious tradeoff, says Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons coach who coached Howard with the Magic sees the center in the rare class of players who deserve full autonomy to chase offensive rebounds.

“You don’t limit those guys,” Van Gundy said.

Howard has made the most of his freedom to chase rebounds. His 15.2 offensive-rebounding percentage ranks second to only Kenneth Faried among qualified players.

And, again, Howard is 31. Offensive rebounding tends to be a young man’s game.

Here’s top 10 in offensive rebounding this season, plotted by age:

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Player Team Age Offensive-rebounding percentage
Kenneth Faried DEN 27 16.1
Dwight Howard ATL 31 15.4
Andre Drummond DET 23 15.2
JaVale McGee GSW 29 15
Tarik Black LAL 25 14.8
Tristan Thompson CLE 25 14
Rudy Gobert UTA 24 13.9
Enes Kanter OKC 24 13.9
Kyle O'Quinn NYK 26 13.9
Willy Hernangomez NYK 22 13.8

Howard’s previous career-high offensive-rebounding percentage was 13.8.

The only other players to set career-high offensive-rebounding rates north of 15% after their age-30 season: Dennis Rodman (20.8% at age 33 with the 1994-95 Spurs) and Alan Henderson (15.6% at age 32 with the 2004-05 Mavericks). Both Rodman (Cooke County Junior College and Southeastern Oklahoma State) and Henderson (Indiana) played four years of college basketball, giving them less wear and tear on their bodies and fewer opportunities to post career highs at a young age.

Howard jumped to the NBA straight from high school.

Yet, he’s having a resurgent year in his 13th season. How is he doing it?

“One, I’m not super old,” Howard said earlier this season. “Two, my body feels great. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff to take care of my body.”

Known for eating legendary amounts of candy earlier in his career, perhaps Howard has made a breakthrough. His defensive-rebounding percentage (31.8) is the second-best of his career and ranks fourth in the NBA. That has helped him anchor the league’s fourth-best defense.

Howard has been subject to widespread criticism, and last season with the Rockets was a low point. This year, Howard has recommitted to the basics: Rebounding, defending, scoring inside.

“He’s got a big personality, but I think we all knew that,” Budenholzer said. “But it’s all in the right place. He wants good things, and I’ve really enjoyed coaching him.”

So much so that Budenholzer has compromised a core basketball tenet for Howard.

And it has proved a worthwhile decision.

JaVale McGee misses open dunk (video)

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Shaquille O’Neal said he’d stop talking about JaVale McGee, who has featured prominently on Shaqtin A Fool.

This missed dunk, a low point in the Warriors’ otherwise-impressive win over the Spurs, will test Shaq’s sincerity.

Grizzlies’ James Ennis fouls out then hits half-court shot (video)

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Against the Pacers last night, James Ennis missed all three of his 3-point attempts… that counted. And he makes this one after fouling out?

Mike Conley more than picked up the slack to lead the Grizzlies to victory.

Pelicans’ Dante Cunningham jumps on scorer’s table, Anthony Davis jumps on him (video)

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The Pelicans are effectively out of the playoff race, but Dante Cunningham and Anthony Davis are still competing — even if it looks a little silly.

That tone and a big game from DeMarcus Cousins (29 points, 16 rebounds, six assists) led to a 121-118 win over the Mavericks.