UPDATE 1:33 pm: It’s official, Dwight Howard has a three-peat as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
“I want to thank my teammates for allowing their men to get to the basket again, forcing me to block shots and pick up fouls, and sometimes technical fouls,” Howard joked at the press conference. Or half joked. Or maybe not joked at all.
Howard is the first player ever to win it three years in a row. He also got 114 of the 120 first place votes.
The rest of the voting: 2) Kevin Garnett; 3) Tyson Chandler; 4) Tony Allen; 5) Rajon Rondo; 6) Andrew Bogut; 7) Grant Hill; 8) Andre Iguodala; 9) LeBron James; 10) Luol Deng.
11:32 am: There’s a “major announcement” coming from the Orlando Magic at 1:30 pm Monday, following the team’s practice.
It has all the suspense of whether or not David Caruso will take off his glasses and deliver a cheesy line when they find the criminal on CSI:Miami.
Dwight Howard will be named Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
It’s well deserved. No player impacts the game defensively like Howard, who clogs the paint and allows the Magic defenders to be more aggressive out on the perimeter. What’s more, the Magic didn’t suffer a big defensive setback after their midseason trades to bring in weak defenders like Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. That’s all Howard. The Magic are 3 points per 100 possessions better on defense when Howard is on the floor, teams shoot 2 percent better when he sits and the Magic’s rebounding gets worse.
This likely will be the consolation prize for Howard, as Derrick Rose is almost certain to win the MVP, with Howard coming in second or third (LeBron James will be in the mix, too).
About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.
Have the two sides progressed since?
Nick Friedell of ESPN:
Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.
Expected by whom?
People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?
Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?
For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.
A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.
LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers
Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.
The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.
Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.
But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.
Mike Triplett of ESPN:
The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion
Suri is a Pelicans team physician.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.
Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.
But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.
So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.
But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.
Of course, the denials came quickly.
There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.
It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.
But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.
Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.
Neither possibility should be discounted.