Terrence Williams

Terrence Williams’ time-out in the D-League is over

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As the story’s told, Nets swingman Terrence Williams ticked off his coach, and rather than actually deal with the problem (Williams’ great crime? Unpunctuality.) internally, Avery Johnson “punished” Williams with a stint in the D-League. That story has been qualified and rebuffed, but the initial report still stings.

An assignment in the D-League isn’t a “time-out” sentence. The D is a valuable asset to NBA teams for a number of reasons, but it isn’t a disciplinary tool for when Johnson doesn’t feel like addressing whatever he deems to be a significant problem. What’s worse: even if the reports indicating that Williams was assigned to the D-League for disciplinary reasons were exaggerated or misleading, the damage has been done. For some reason the story led to that particular conclusion, and though Williams was technically the one punished, it’s the D-League as a whole that suffers for this decision.

On the bright side, Williams’ unfortunate — but successful — stint with the D-League’s Springfield Armor has come to a close. According to John Schuhmann of NBA.com, Williams has been recalled by the Nets, but it’s not certain whether he’ll be available for New Jersey’s game against Atlanta tonight. Williams averaged 28 points (on 42.6% shooting), 10.7 rebounds and 10.7 assists during his three games with Springfield, showing off every bit of his considerable talent. There was never a question of Williams’ potential, and his NBA-level skills sliced and diced the D-League competition.

Still, Williams clearly hasn’t started the season on Avery Johnson’s good side, and he won’t see the same opportunities in New Jersey that he did with Springfield. His situation with the Nets is definitely worth watching this season. Things have gotten a bit rocky for Williams, and though his abilities are impressive, Johnson is exactly the kind of coach who would bury Williams in the rotation for not playing by his rules.

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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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 gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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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.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.