Author: Brett Pollakoff

Brian Shaw

Report: Nuggets players break huddle with ‘1-2-3 … six weeks!’


The Nuggets are limping to the finish line of another disappointing season, and the players are apparently counting the days.

That in itself is not a problem, because no one enjoys getting blown out on a nightly basis, and there’s little reason to believe that Denver has a chance to turn things around the way the roster is constructed.

But doing so publicly (and vocally) can give off the wrong impression.

From Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:

A fourth-quarter huddle late in the Nuggets’ 104-82 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday broke with this phrase: “1-2-3 … six weeks!”

As in six weeks to go until the end of the season. That’s 24 games, 46 days and 1,152 minutes away.

Tax day, April 15, is getaway day: the last day of the Nuggets’ season. Rest assured, there are players who are already counting.

If this is true, then Brian Shaw should be fired — immediately.

The one thing a head coach is there to do more than any other is to get as close to maximum effort out of his players as possible, and get it on a consistent basis.

A public display like this by the players makes it seem as though they’ve already given up, and if that’s the case, a fresh voice needs to be introduced to the locker room to rejuvenate guys and get things headed in the right direction from a mental standpoint before the season is finished.

Report: Sixers engaged in buyout talks with JaVale McGee

Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers

JaVale McGee came to the Sixers at the trade deadline, primarily because Philadelphia has plenty of cap space to take on undesirable players in the final year of their contract, as long as a future draft pick is attached.

Initially, McGee said he wanted to finish the year with his new team, partly to mentor Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid — but also to get every last penny of the more than $23 million remaining on his deal.

Now, with the deadline to be waived in time to join another team for the playoffs rapidly approaching, it appears as though he is in fact exploring his buyout options.

From Marc Stein of

Sources told that McGee, after initially saying upon being dealt to the Sixers that he did not want a buyout, has his representatives on the hunt for a team interested in signing the 7-footer once he clears waivers before signing off on a buyout.

McGee would have to be waived by Philadelphia by midnight Sunday to be eligible to play in the 2015 playoffs with another team. But his willingness to surrender salary — with a guaranteed $12 million scheduled to come his way next season as well as the rest of this season’s $11.25 million — will almost certainly depend on what sort of deal can be had with a new team once the 27-year-old becomes a free agent.

You can bet that McGee’s representatives won’t complete the buyout negotiations without having a destination or two in mind first. But an added benefit to joining a playoff squad would be an opportunity for McGee to showcase his abilities on the postseason stage, before then becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.

McGee has played sparingly with the Sixers, but hasn’t exactly impressed. In five appearances, he’s averaged 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds on 43.8 percent shooting in 10.8 minutes per contest — all of which are career lows.

Bulls’ Jimmy Butler leaves with elbow injury, does not return (VIDEO)

Utah Jazz v Chicago Bulls
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As if the Bulls needed any more injury issues.

Early in the third quarter of Chicago’s Sunday afternoon contest against the Clippers, Jimmy Butler suffered an elbow injury while running into a DeAndre Jordan screen.

There didn’t seem to be anything nefarious at play, and the degree of seriousness is not yet known. But the Bulls did shut Butler down for the rest of the game after diagnosing the injury as a sprain.


Adam Silver says data may prove Gregg Popovich right in terms of resting multiple players


BOSTON — When David Stern held the office of NBA Commissioner, he fined the Spurs $250,000 after head coach Gregg Popovich sent four starters home the day of a nationally televised contest against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Adam Silver, who took over for Stern in February of 2014, isn’t likely to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.

At the time, Stern blamed the sudden nature of the Spurs’ decision (along with the lack of any sort of advanced communication) for coming down so hard.

But Popovich has long felt that resting his players during certain stretches of the league’s long, 82-game grind would be beneficial, and Silver, speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, was willing to concede that as the league looks to make injury data available for all teams to analyze, it may ultimately prove what Popovich has known all along.

“There’s been a lot of talk recently about back-to-backs in our league, or four games out of five nights,” Silver said. “There’s a sense in terms of how tired guys are, but we should be at a point where using better analytics in terms of creating the schedule — (not only) how big a difference does it make if maybe there’s a back-to-back, but when they’re playing back-to-back and they cross two time zones, does that have a different impact, for example?”

“I think our teams, there maybe was a time where that was viewed as a competitive advantage, to the extent that ‘we have better trainers, better doctors,’ Silver said. “You’d like to believe that as a league, that ultimately, that’s not how we want to compete, in terms of the health and welfare of our players — that we all have an interest in ensuring the best players are on the floor. And so there are additional areas where I’m going to be having discussions with our general managers and our owners, and where everybody’s going to be willing to take a long-term view and say it’s in the collective interest of the league to focus on the health and well-being of the players, and taking the best wisdom from all the teams and distributing that — which is exactly what we do now on the business side.”

The moderator of the panel then quipped that once all teams start embracing that sharing of data and begin to analyze it, Popovich won’t be able to sit four starters for a particular game anymore, because the information won’t support the decision.

“Or,” Silver said, “Maybe he’s right.”

MORE: Shane Battier: ‘A 60-game season would be perfect’

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets to give away to fans for Timberwolves’ next home game

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett is back with the Timberwolves after an eight-year hiatus, and his presence has suddenly injected new life into what was a relatively dismal existence for the bulk of this season.

Sure, there’s reason to be excited for the future with guys like Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine on the roster, but rookies alone weren’t exactly bringing the fans out to see the team in person.

Minnesota was last in the league in attendance before Garnett’s arrival, yet with him in the Timberwolves lineup, there’s been a severe and predictable spike. Garnett hopes to keep it going, and is doing his part to make it easy for fans to continue to come out and lend their support.

From The Associated Press:

Kevin Garnett has purchased 1,000 tickets to Minnesota’s next game in appreciation of Timberwolves fans for their welcome of his return to the team.

The Timberwolves made the announcement on Sunday morning. They host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. The freebies courtesy of the 15-time All-Star power forward will be available on the team’s website on Monday morning. The first 500 fans to claim them will get a pair of seats.

It’s a classy gesture by Garnett, who waived his no-trade clause to rejoin the Timberwolves, and has received nothing but positive attention from the Minnesota fans ever since.