Kentucky v Tennessee

March Madness: The other reason the trade market is slow


While there is a lot of talk — from the likely rumors about Jamal Crawford being moved out of Portland to the ridiculous ones about Rajon Rondo being moved out of Boston — there is not a lot of action, and it feels like less buzz than normal just a week before the NBA trade deadline.

Dwight Howard and the bottleneck behind his trade out of Orlando — or not — is certainly a big part of that. Kelly Dwyer explains it all very well over at Ball Don’t Lie. A lot of teams are keeping their powder dry waiting to see how the Howard situation plays out (and how that changes the market) then they will make their moves.

But there is another factor — March Madness.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski was on NBC’s SportsTalk recently (on the NBC Sports Network every afternoon at 6 ET — you should be watching this) and explained it this way:

“Because of the lockout the calendar got pushed back,” Wojnarowski said. “Usually the trade deadline is in February. What is happening now is a lot of the front office executives, almost all of them, they are going to be out scouting March Madness and conference tournament games. And it is harder to put together deals when you are scouting three or four games a day, and you need to crunch numbers, and really be at your big (draft) board.

“And because of that a lot of executives believe we will not see trades until right up against the deadline on March 15.”

There usually is a nice rhythm to things — All-Star Game, trade deadline a week later then NCAA Conference tournaments a week after that. But like so many things, the NBA lockout (and the desire of owners and players to cram in 66 games) has blown that up.

I still think we will see a flurry of trades this year, but with Orlando waiting until the last minute and March Madness, expect things to hold off until next Tuesday and Wednesday. Those days are going to be crazy.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.