Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale on Rockets lackluster offseason: ‘We have to sign players’

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The Rockets were ambitious entering free agency, shooting for stars like Carmelo Anthony in hopes of adding a third piece alongside Dwight Howard and James Harden that would immediately vault them to the level of title-contenders.

Not only did they strike out with Anthony, but Houston ended up losing three key rotation players in the process.

Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik were each traded away in a move to dump salary in case Anthony were to decide to come, and Chandler Parsons was allowed to leave in restricted free agency after the Rockets chose not to match the lucrative offer he received from the Mavericks.

Kevin McHale was once a general manager, so he understands the reasons that the front office made these moves as well as anyone. But that doesn’t mean that he has to like it, especially in his current role as head coach.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“Well, I mean, hey I understand kind of why we did it,” McHale said. “I know they’re talking about flexibility. I like Chandler. He’s a big part of what we did and what we do. I’m going to miss having him, but that’s part of the business I guess. We got to replace not only Chandler, but we have to replace (Omer) Asik and we have to replace Jeremy (Lin) so we have a lot of work to do.

“We’ll see who we get. We have to sign players. We’re just going to keep grinding away. And we’re going to go out and play. I like Trevor. I think he can help us. He shot the 3-ball well last year. We’re going to need him to do that again. Defense. Leadership. We need some experience.”

And from Adam Wexler of CSNHouston.com:

When asked if he thought, as general manager Daryl Morey said recently, the Rockets would be a better team come playoff time this season than they were last season, he simply said, “We’ll find out.”

The Rockets did add Trevor Ariza, a more-than-solid two-way player who should help the defense while fitting into Houston’s uptempo offensive style. And, there are still lower-level guys out there in free agency who might be of additional assistance as Houston looks to shore up its roster.

You can’t blame the Rockets for taking chances and trying to go in another direction, because after all, they didn’t get Howard and Harden to lose first round matchups in the playoffs. But at the moment, there’s no arguing that Houston failed miserably this summer, and have only gotten worse.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.

Report: Doc Rivers says Clippers not interested in moving Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin, Jason Smith
Associated Press
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NBA general managers are vultures — if they see an opportunity to buy low on a player, they circle and hope to pick off a meal.

You can be sure Clippers’ GM Doc Rivers phone was full of those calls starting soon after the word leaked of Blake Griffin required surgery on his hand after punching a team employee. The vultures have called with lowball offers, and even when shot down some teams have made sure word of their call leaked out in a “look how hard we are working to get you a star” kind of way. It’s good for PR.

The Clippers are not looking to trade Blake Griffin. Right now, at least.

From Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.

Bolch expanded upon that in an article.

The Clippers have fielded calls involving various trade proposals but remain reluctant to part with a cornerstone of their franchise and a player who, at age 26, was having possibly his best season before he was sidelined by a quadriceps injury the day after Christmas and subsequently a broken hand sustained in a scuffle with assistant equipment manager Matias Testi.

Right now the vultures are circling, and lowball offers are all the Clippers will get — they couldn’t come close to getting value back. This season the Clippers will get Griffin healthy and hope they can make a deep playoff run.

If the Clippers are bounced in the first or second round this spring, they have some soul searching to do — can the core of Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan beat the Golden State Warriors? If they feel the answer is no, then they must consider changes. And if they were to shake up the core, Griffin may be the most movable piece — plus the Clippers have shown they can play well without him.

However, the Clippers may try to upgrade the pieces around that core and make one more run at the Warriors, then consider breaking things up in 2017 if it doesn’t work out. It’s hard to put together a core as good as the Clippers have right now, and breaking it up comes with great risk. They are not just going to leap blindly off that cliff.

The bottom line is, any Griffin trade rumors you hear up until Draft night, and likely beyond that, are more teams trying to look good to their fan bases than valid trade talks.