It’s my annual warning this time of year — when you hear a trade rumor think, “which team would benefit from that going public?” Usually that will lead you to where it was leaked. And no team is going to make a trade unless it benefits them — both sides need to see it as a win for a trade to happen (whether or not all of us on the outside think it’s a win, the team may).
A lot of rumors this time of year have little to no basis in reality — one team likes an idea and it gets floated publicly to see if that will help it gain some momentum. And some are just made up out of thin air.
Don’t believe that some are just made up? Look at what Nuggets coach George Karl told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
He admitted he once had a contest with coaching pals to see who could get an outlandish rumor into the newspaper first.
“We make up some trade that never was proposed in 100 years and suddenly it’s on ESPN,” he said, smiling.
And here’s the thing — if you’re a reporter and you get a rumor from George Karl (or any NBA coach or assistant coach) that’s a very solid source and you might well run with it. Even if it makes no sense, you got it from the coach.
So again, just be skeptical the next couple weeks. There will be trades — hello J.J. Redick — but when you hear a rumor this is a good time to start of cynical and go from there.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.