Now that we are at DEFCON 1 with the NBA lockout, a lot of NBA players are having second thoughts about plans to play overseas. Players and agents are looking. With rosters largely full around the globe most players are not going to like what they see. That said, we are tracking the rumors for you. Because we care.
• Dwight Howard to Real Madrid? Up to now Howard has shot down all suggestions he is is planning to go overseas, so are a long way from that happening. But the Spanish League powerhouse has to do something to counter the possibility that Barcelona could land both Pau and Marc Gasol. So Madrid thinking big according to AS Sports (via Blazers Edge). Madrid would like to land both Howard and Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge (but think Aldridge might be the better fit). Again, this is all a bit of a longshot, but Madrid is going to go after some big names. They already have Serge Ibaka, Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez on the team.
• It looks like Argentinian big man Luis Scola will be going to Spain, signing with Caja Laboral (according to our guys at Sportando). Guys who have already played in Europe make better fits to go back, and Scola is one of them
• Tiago Splitter was rumored to return to Spain to play for Unicaja Malaga, but now it looks like Valencia is in the lead for his services.
• Linas Kleiza is “on the verge” of joining Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, reports lithuaniabasketball.com.
• Qingdao Double Star of the Chinese league let go of Jarron Collins to make way for Lester Hudson.
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.