Charlotte may not have planned to be in the playoff picture before the season started, but now that they are they want to stay there. Their home-and-home sweep of the Pistons the last two nights was a good start on that road, the Bobcats now have a 2.5 game cushion over the Pistons (3 games over the streaking Cavaliers and 3.5 over the Knicks). Heck, the Bobcats are just 1.5 games back of fifth-seed Washington.
Now Charlotte has some backcourt depth to help them hold on to a playoff spot and maybe climb the ladder a little.
The Charlotte Bobcats have acquired veteran guards Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien, something first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer and confirmed by other sources.
Sessions has been solid this season playing behind Kemba Walker, he was the kind of true professional veteran that was good to have in a young locker room (coach Steve Clifford raved about him). He will play well for the Bucks the rest of this season and get another deal somewhere for the season after that.
However, the combination of Neal and Ridnour gives Charlotte more. Neal is shooting 36 percent from three this season and the Bobcats needed a deep threat to open things up more for Al Jefferson inside and the slashing of Walker. Ridnour, like Sessions, is a solid and professional backup point guard who can play quality minutes nightly off the bench.
Milwaukee does this to save money — Neal hadn’t been a great fit for them (nobody is right now) and he is owed $3.5 million next season. That is off the Bucks’ books, and they get a quality guard in return.
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.