Samuel Dalembert

Rick Carlisle slams Dalembert for lack of conditioning

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If Dallas is going to creep up into one of those final couple playoff spots in the West, they are going to need Samuel Dalembert. Not his offense — he doesn’t have much and the team has more than enough guys who want the rock in their hands anyway (can’t wait for the Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis fireworks with Jose Calderon stuck in the middle).

Rather, with the backcourt they assembled the Mavericks are going to need a rim-protector in the frontcourt. They are going to need a lot of Samuel Dalembert.

Dallas played its first preseason game Monday night and after it Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle pulled no punches in how disappointed he was in Dalembert’s conditioning, as reported at ESPNDallas.com.

“I just told him in front of the whole team that he’s got to keep working,” said Carlisle, who mentioned Dalembert’s conditioning issues to the media without a question being asked about the center. “We need his minutes. They’re going to be very important to us. He’s a factor. When he’s in shape, he’s a factor as a rim protector and rebounder, and he gives you a big, active, athletic body in there.”

Not shockingly, Dalembert sees things differently. The veteran says he is battling injuries.

“It’s not that,” said Dalembert, who was fighting a relatively serious case of the sniffles. “The main thing that happened to me is I got hurt. I got hurt in the first practice of camp. Stupid me, my pride takes over and I wanted to practice. I didn’t want to take off, so that kind of slowed me down a little bit.”

Dalembert struggled in his rim protector role in Milwaukee last season (the Bucks allowed 5.4 more points per 100 possessions when he was on the court, according to 82games.com) but again injuries were a key issue — he played in just 47 games.

Which is to say Dalembert needs to get healthy, he needs to get in shape or Dallas is toing to have to resort to the Don Nelson days of just outscoring everyone to win.

Brandon Ingram posterizes Taj Gibson on alley-oop (video)

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The Lakers wouldn’t trade Brandon Ingram for DeMarcus Cousins, because they believe in Ingram (or because they couldn’t get on the same page about a deal, but let’s go with a belief in Ingram).

The Thunder traded for Taj Gibson because he provided, among other things, stellar rim protection.

One of those worked better than the other on this play.

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
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Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

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Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this: