Steve Nash

Tons of Steve Nash trade chatter, none of it from Phoenix

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Suddenly everybody wants to talk about where Steve Nash is going to end up, he is second on the “most discussed trade” hit parade, right behind Carmelo Anthony, and everyone is speculating about an end destination.

How about Phoenix?

For all the talk, there are a number of reasons that the Suns are just not likely to move Nash at all. At least not this year, maybe not ever. That list starts with they don’t really want to — look at Alvin Gentry’s quote today (via the twitter account of Paul Coro from the Arizona Republic).

“Steve’s not going to be traded, that I can tell you. If he’s traded, I’m going along with him, OK?”

There’s a lot of Nash chatter out there, but none of it is emanating from Phoenix. It’s front office, media and fans outside Arizona salivating at the thought of how Nash can help them. And you can see the logic because if the Suns are out of contention in the West they should get something for Nash while they can.

But the Suns just signed Nash to an extension, he is the face of the franchise. They are not just going to jettison him because they are having a slow start to the season — or even if that start continues. To trade Nash is to commit fully and totally to rebuilding, and while you may think the Suns should do that they will say they made it to the Western Conference finals last season, that this team is still coming together and it is too soon.

Even if the Suns do change their mind and decide to trade him, it’s not that easy. Zach Lowe over at the Point Forward lays out a litany of reasons.

For one, Nash is 37 with a history of back trouble — he’s still an elite point guard but there are risks. Because of those he is only going to a team that thinks they can win it all right now. The pool of teams that should really flip assets for him and a run at it all is not that large.

Then the question is what are you going to give the Suns — if they trade Nash then they would let Jefferson go at the end of the season and so they would already have plenty of salary cap space. The Suns will want players and picks, not just expiring deals.

What potentially contending teams is out there that has young assets to trade and doesn’t already have a quality point guard? Nash is a bad fit with the Lakers, the Celtics don’t need him, Miami doesn’t have the assets nor do they want to take the ball out of Wade and LeBron’s hands. The best fit for Nash might be Atlanta — finally they would finally run more — but you’re going to have to do better than just Marvin Williams to make it happen. Josh Smith? That’s a steep price.

If you’re not a contending team with Nash, what’s the point? He’s going to walk away from the game in a couple more years and when he leaves you will have lost him and some young talent sent away to get him. If you’re flipping young prospects you need to be all in for the now.

Knicks fans, what do you really have to offer? Raymond Felton, the bloated Eddie Curry contract the Suns don’t really need and Gallinari? That’s going to inspire them?

As Lowe points out, if you’re the Suns and you are going to go all in on rebuilding, then they are going to make you take the Hedo Turkoglu contract on as the price for getting Nash. That is the bad contract they want to shed. So, if you have to give up more pieces to get Hedo and watch him float through games, is it still worth trading the assets for Nash?

More likely? Nash retires a Sun. A trade would not be a shock, but first the Suns need to decide they want o do it then someone has to blow them away with an offer. And that combo just seems very unlikely.

Philadelphia has dropped record 27 in a row dating back to last season

Brett Brown
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We tend to think of record streaks having to be in one season, not broken up across two.

But if you can suspend that, the Philadelphia 76ers are now the owners of the longest losing streak in NBA — and major professional sports — history.

With their tough two-points loss to Houston Friday night, the Sixers have lost 27 in a row. The Sixers dropped their final 10 last season and with the loss to the Rockets are 0-17 to start this one.

That bests the 26-game losing streaks of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and these same Sixers from 2013-14. Looking across sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976-1977 also lost 26 in a row, which when you consider the length of the NFL season is pretty embarrassing.

The Sixers struggles are born from a plan by GM Sam Hinkie (and approved by ownership) to get better long-term by being bad now and hoarding draft picks. It’s a strategy that can work if Hinkie nails the draft picks (the book is out on how Hinkie is doing on that front). And they are committed to it through at least this draft.

But don’t think for a second the players and coach are trying to lose.

If you have watched the Sixers play their last few games you know the players are trying hard to get that victory (and almost have a couple of times). The effort is there, they are just outmatched and lack the kind of presence at the end of games to execute under pressure (something a couple of quality, regularly-playing veterans might help, but that’s another discussion). They have the point differential of a team that should have a couple wins; they just haven’t been fortunate. It happens. Go ahead and blame management if you think this plan is an abomination. Just don’t question the desire or effort of the players or coaches, that is not in doubt.

The Sixers play at the Grizzlies Sunday, then have maybe their best shot at a win for a while when they host the Lakers on Tuesday.



Byron Scott, is it time to bench Kobe Bryant? “That’s not an option.”

Kobe Bryant, D'Angelo Russell, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant‘s shooting woes this season have been well documented. Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up. Kobe is shooting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three, all while jacking up more threes than ever before. He was 1-of-14 shooting against Cleveland, and that’s as many shots as rookies D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle got combined.

If Kobe keeps shooting like this while dominating the ball, is it time to bench Kobe? Coach Byron Scott laughed at the idea, as reported by Baxter Holmes at ESPN.

“I would never, never, never do that,” Scott said after practice at the Lakers’ facility. “That’s not an option whatsoever. No, that’s not an option.”

It’s not an option because this is the guy the fans have paid to see, at home and on the road (the Lakers have still sold out every road game this season, the only team to have done so). Kobe is the draw, he’s going to play.

That doesn’t mean Scott is handling all this well, Kobe has no repercussions for his actions.

Byron Scott is an enabler with Kobe. In his mind Kobe has earned the right to play poorly because of his career, which is just hard to watch.

The real issue I have with Scott enabling Kobe is the double standard — minutes for Russell and the other young players get jerked around when they make mistakes. Scott sounds and acts like a guy with a couple rookies on a veteran team where the objective is to win as many games as possible.

This can’t be emphasized enough: the primary goal for the Lakers this season is to develop Russell, Randle, and Jordan Clarkson (and Larry Nance Jr., who has impressed). But Russell has sat a lot of fourth quarters, and when Scott is asked if playing in those blowout minutes might help develop the young point guard faster, he says, “Nah.” Scott has benched Clarkson at points and called him out in the media.

Reduction of minutes can be a valuable teaching tool with young players — if the conditions of them getting those minutes are precisely laid out. Clear rules with rewards and consequences. That is not the case in Los Angeles, where Russell has said Scott has not spoken to him much about what he’s doing wrong and why he’s spending the ends of games benched. That’s not coaching a guy up; that’s not player development. There need to be clear guidelines and structures for young players to follow.

The only guideline in LA seems to be “Kobe has carte blanche.”

Boston police now probing fight involving 76ers center Okafor

Jahlil Okafor

BOSTON (AP) — Boston police say a man has come forward saying he’s the victim in a fight involving Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor that was recorded and posted online.

Authorities say a man filed a police report Friday saying the fight outside a nightclub left him with stitches over his eye.

Police say the alleged victim reported the fight began after some of his female friends refused the advances of two men, including one believed to be Okafor. The man told police Okafor punched him and knocked him to the ground.

Okafor says he’s embarrassed about the scuffle and is dealing with the team and league on possible discipline.

The confrontation happened early Thursday morning after the 76ers fell to 0-16 on the season. The Sixers rookie said he was being heckled.

Previously, the police had said they were not investigating the incident.

Durant, Westbrook throw shade at Reggie Jackson after Thunder beat Pistons

Reggie Jackson
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Reggie Jackson‘s exit from Oklahoma City a year ago was not smooth or pretty. He wanted a bigger stage, he wanted out, and he let everyone know it. “We felt like everybody wanted to be here except for one guy,” Kevin Durant said after the trade that sent Jackson to Detroit.

The Pistons and Jackson were back in Oklahoma City Friday night. The fans let Jackson know they didn’t appreciate his words with plenty of boos. After the game, when asked about Jackson both Durant and Russell Westbrook threw shade at Jackson, as reported by Royce Young at Daily KD didn’t even mention Jackson among Detroit’s best players.

“Steven (Adams) did a great job on their best player and Andre (Roberson) did a great job on their second best player in (Kentavious Caldwell) Pope and Russ did his job,” Durant said…

“Who?” Westbrook said, after very clearly hearing who he was asked about.

Reggie Jackson.

“What happened?”

Those comments were more aggressive toward Jackson than the Thunder players seemed to be during the game, where he was treated as an afterthought.

Jackson has played well for Detroit this season — averaging 19.1 points and 5.9 assists per game, with a PER of 20.3 and real chemistry with Andre Drummond — but he was held in check against the Thunder. Spending much of the night battling foul trouble, Jackson had 15 points on 16 shots on the night.

Durant was the stud for the Thunder, with 34 points and 13 rebounds, and the Thunder won comfortably 103-87.