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Mark Cuban talks about the trade deadline and executives waiting too long

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You’ll start to notice a pattern, eventually. In the month leading up to the trade deadline, there will be a lot of talk about two possible eventualities.

A. “This trade deadline looks to be the most active in years, with several teams shopping star players!”


B. “This trade deadline looks unusually slow and I wouldn’t expect any major deals.”

This situation is always exacerbated by reporters getting quotes from GMs about how they’re definitely going to make a deal/not going to make a deal and fans who are simply unable to recognize that their team is headed for a rebuilding effort. This year’s winner is Portland, for example.

But in reality, the actual trade activity is somewhere in the middle. Mark Cuban, bastion of rational approach, talked about it with the Boston Globe:

“Relative to other years in terms of trade talk, I don’t think it’s really any different,’’ he said. “It always goes through the same process. There’s one or two early trades. We saw that with Orlando, and then everybody waits until the last possible second. And then you hit the trade deadline and they recognize it’s the last chance to save money or to do something. That’s when things happen.

“That’s one of the challenges and problems the league has is that a lot of GMs like to wait until the last second.’’

via In Utah, there is plenty of blame to go around – The Boston Globe

Amen, Cubes. Teams are always balking at offers, thinking their players definitely deserve to fetch more on the open market. They’re all waiting for that sweetheart of a deal that never comes (unless you’re the Lakers). Then the deadline approaches and they realize it’s their last opportunity to get a deal done. Take a look at just some of the teams with considerable reason to make a move:

Utah: Jerry Sloan’s gone, the situation is unstable, and Andrei Kirilenko remains a high-priced expiring contract for a player who can still actually produce.

Portland: Andre Miller remains on the block next to Marcus Camby, they have young pieces to add to a deal, and a strong set of reasons to go for a rebuilding project.

Phoenix: Still hovering in the playoff race, but Robert Sarver isn’t going to be okay with a high price tag on a lottery team. That’s not how he operates, upcoming CBA or no.

Charlotte: A dreadful team in need of a major makeover, a brash, impulsive owner, and a set of movable quality players like Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace.

Denver: Melo.

There are enough pieces just there to leave open the possibility of a few deals before you start looking at surprise entrants like Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, and the Clippers.

Maybe it’ll be as quiet as some are expecting with the upcoming lockout looming over everyone. But the odds, and history are with Cuban. It’s just going to take some time until the teams get desperate enough.


Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. Dukie@yahoo.com or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that MisterDukie@yahoo.com, MrDukie@yahoo.com or Mr.Dukie@yahoo.com. Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.

Breaking news: Leandro Barbosa dunked


The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start 16-0.

In the process of getting that record-breaking win over the Lakers, something nearly as historic happened.

Leandro Barbosa dunked.

The 32-year-old Golden State guard last jammed in January 2011.

For a little more perspective, look how Barbosa handled a breakaway layup earlier in the fourth quarter:

You think that man can still slam?

Yes. Yes, he can.

Magic benching Victor Oladipo, starting Channing Frye

Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo, Channing Frye
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Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic have started eight of the Magic’s 14 games, including the last three.

But after Orlando dropped two straight, Scott Skiles hinted at lineup changes.

The Magic coach will deliver against the Knicks tonight, swapping Channing Frye for Oladipo.

Skiles, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.

“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”

Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the

  • Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
  • New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8

The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.

I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.

If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.

At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.

This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.

Dwight Howard says he’s cleared to play back-to-backs

Dwight Howard
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The 5-9 Houston Rockets need some wins.

The Houston Rockets have a back-to-back coming up, Sunday against the Knicks then Monday against the Pistons (both on the road). Two teams with quality big men.

Combine those things and you end up with Dwight Howard being re-evaluated by team doctors and getting the training wheels taken off, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

This, plus a mini training camp the past few days, is part of new coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s effort to turn Houston’s season around.

Houston’s defense is 1.9 points per 100 possessions better this season when Howard is on the court and the Rockets are stronger on the glass. The problem is the offense is 7.8 points per 100 worse with Howard on the court. How much of that can be changed with some roster tweaks — like limiting the time James Harden and Ty Lawson share the court — and how much is due to Howard demanding touches and not doing enough with them we will find out quickly.