There has been a handful of small roster moves in the last 48 hours the kind of things you want to know if it’s you’re team. Not difference making moves, but moves.
We thought we should bring them to you in bullet form.
• The Phoenix Suns have signed a deal with Jermaine O’Neal for the next season. This is a one-year, $1.4 million deal where he will back up Marcin Gortat. O’Neal had the Kobe/German/Orthokine knee procedure done this summer, and you combine that with the Suns’ miracle-working training staff and he should be able to give the Suns some quality minutes this year.
• To clear a roster spot, the Suns waived Brad Miller. He will retire from the game. And he will be missed, he had a solid NBA career.
• The Magic have re-signed guard Ishmael Smith – but everyone calls him Ish. This is a one-year deal where he will play sparingly behind Jameer Nelson. If you see a lot of him, it means the Magic’s season is going worse than already predicted. And it isn’t predicted to be good. Smith played 26 games last season split between Golden State and Orlando and average 9 minutes and 2.8 points per game.
• The Pistons have formally signed rookie forward Khris Middleton.
• The Suns also have waived guard Jerome Dyson.
• Former Raptor Alexis Ajinca has re-signed with SIG Strasbourg in France.
The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.
The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.
That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.
Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.
Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:
Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.
Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.
Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”
Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.
Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.
“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.
The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.
New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.
That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.
Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.
Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.
Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.
Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.
He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.
The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.
Smart move, Jimmy.