Samuel Dalembert, Tony Battie

Wednesday morning one liners

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Our morning look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

If you want to be the smartest NBA fan on the block — or the virtual block — order the new Basketball Prospectus preview book that just came out. This is some of the smartest basketball writing you are going to find anywhere.

Samuel Dalembert is very close to landing back in Sacramento.

Catch a live stream of the Derrick Rose press conference where he rakes in the big bucks by following this link at noon eastern.

The Nets are in talks to land DeShawn Stevenson. That would be another nice short-term get.

If you can’t wait until next summer, here are your top free agents for 2012.

Baron Davis is keeping the beard in NYC. As he should.

Chris Paul’s debut with the Clippers set an NBATV ratings record for a preseason game. But yea, no way fans are coming back after the lockout.

Fewer people watched, but Richard Hamilton had a nice debut for the Bulls — 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting. I watched half of this game and Hamilton provided spacing the Bulls need. On one play the ball went into Joakim Noah in the post, Hamilton slid over to be an outlet and when his defender sagged off Noah hit Hamilton and a quick three was up and good.

Our line of the night goes to the Kings center DeMarcus Cousins: Six points, 10 rebounds, three steals — and nine turnovers.

E’Twaun Moore is making fans in Boston.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks hints James Harden may start this season, not be the sixth man. About time.

Corey Maggette is back practicing with the Bobcats, which is good for their offense since he is pretty much it.

What if, like with the English Permiere League, we let the free market determine where NBA teams can be located? (via TrueHoop)

It wasn’t all bad news Lakers fans, rookie PG Darius Morris looked good.

Robert Horry is not really fond of people calling him “Big Shot Bob” (or Rob), but he was cool with Barack Obama doing it.

Memphis has officially put in an offer sheet on Dante Cunningham.

Jannero Pargo is officially a Hawk. That should change everything.

Jerome Randle is making quite a push to get his way on to the Mavericks roster.

The Trail Blazers waived Earl Barron.

Former UConn star Jeff Adrien has signed a two-year contract with the Rockets. The first season is partially guaranteed, the second not at all.

Iranian Hamed Haddadi is expected to rejoin the Grizzlies, once his work visa is approved.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.

PBT Podcast: NBA All-Star Weekend talk, predictions with Sean Highkin

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NBA All-Star weekend descends upon frigid Toronto starting Friday, with everything from the Rookie/Sophomore… er, Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, the Dunk Contest/Three-Point Contest on Saturday, and the main event on Sunday.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk break it all down, from Pau Gasol replacing Jimmy Butler to predictions on the Dunk Contest and if anyone can knock off Zach LaVine. Plus, there is plenty of “why Sting?” talk.

PBT will be in Toronto with reports from the event all weekend, so come back early and often for all the latest (plus trade talk, as all the GMs get together in one city where it’s too cold for them to go outside).

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Pistons retire Chauncey Billups’ jersey at halftime (VIDEO)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Moments before his jersey went up to the rafters, Chauncey Billups spoke to the crowd about the night the Detroit Pistons wrapped up the 2004 NBA title by routing the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Finals.

“We had one motivation,” he said. “We wanted to win it here at home.”

Billups was the most valuable player in the Finals that year, and he had his No. 1 jersey retired by the Pistons on Wednesday night at halftime of their game against Denver.

He was the second player from that 2004 team honored by the Pistons this year. The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s jersey last month at a similar ceremony – in front of a packed house on a night Detroit beat Golden State.

There were some empty seats in the upper level Wednesday, but Billups wanted to be honored while the Pistons were playing the Nuggets. Billups is a Denver native and played for the Nuggets for two stints during his career.

“This was by design, only because there’s a lot of people that contributed to my success as a player and as a man, in Denver, my hometown,” Billups said before the game. “There were several dates that I could have chosen. This one obviously stuck out.”

Billups does have a mild regret about his run of success with the Pistons. He figures they could have won more titles.

“I felt like, two and maybe three championships – we were that good,” he said.

Ben Wallace was on hand Wednesday, and so were Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince from the 2004 champions. Pistons great Isiah Thomas was also at the Palace for the ceremony.

“This is what tradition looks like,” Thomas told the crowd. “This is what it feels like.”