UPDATE SATURDAY 4:50 p.m. EST: Heat fans, you can exhale. An MRI came back negative for Wade’s elbow, and he’s listed as day-to-day. What that means for the Heat’s game against the Thunder Sunday is anyone’s guess, but at least it’s not time for abject panic.
So Dwyane Wade was ruled out of Friday night’s game against the Pistons, but that’s not the big concern.
No, the big concern is that team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick ordered an MRI on Wade for Saturday. The Heat say it’s just precautionary. But then, that’s like saying the rising blood pressure of Heat fans is pre-emptive. Losing Wade for any extended period of time could be the difference between homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs and being on the road from the second round on. And while the Heat’s fanbase isn’t exactly rabid, avoiding places like Boston or Orlando for a Game 7 is important.
Meanwhile, Chris Bosh remains out for another game with his ankle, and LeBron James gave them a scare in the second quarter after taking a knee to the head. This is a team dependent upon three players for 90% of their production. Losing one member is enough for things like “losing to the Knicks” to happen. But losing two of the Big 3 is desperately severe, though not severe enough for them to lose to the Pistons, apparently.
Again, the MRI is precautionary, but should Wade have anything significant, the full blown panic would be on in South Beach, and much joy would spread throughout the land of Heat haters. We’ll keep you updated.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.
DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.
So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.
Cousins, via TMZ:
“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”
These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.
Not whom I want to honor, either.