Dan Feldman

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Report: Scan shows Ben Simmons’ foot not fully healed

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The will he/won’t he of Ben Simmons playing this season has taken its wildest turn yet.

The 76ers’ No. 1 pick broke his foot in September and was expected to miss three months. He participated in on-court drills in January, and a follow-up scan later that month came up clean.

But maybe he came back too soon.

 

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

The first overall pick in last summer’s draft is scheduled to visit the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York as early as Monday to determine if his right foot is fully healed, according to multiple sources.

Sources said that a foot scan on Jan. 23 showed that his foot was not fully healed.

A source reiterated that Simmons’ foot not being fully healed isn’t a result of the on-court drills in which he participates.

 

How does that even happen?

Bradley Beal on Carmelo Anthony making All-Star game: ‘The process of it does not make sense’

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Anecdotally, the most popular choice to replace an injured Kevin Love in the All-Star game: Bradley Beal.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s actual choice: Carmelo Anthony.

Beal, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

“I’ll never say a player doesn’t deserve to be on the all-star team. For one, Carmelo is a great player. Hell, he’s been one of the best offensive threats in the league for years now, and I’m taking absolutely nothing away from him. But the process of it does not make sense. If they reward winning, then I don’t understand how the decision was made,” Beal said Thursday morning. “It was kind of weird to me.”

For previous injury replacements, Silver has said he deferred to next player in the coaches’ reserve voting — though I wonder whether Silver has sometimes just used that point to justify a selection he made for other reasons. Anthony is the biggest name available, which will raise questions, fair or not.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if Anthony was eighth in the coaches’ vote, one spot behind initial reserve selection. He’s an established veteran, and coaches tend to reward those.

Still, Beal is playing better than Anthony, especially lately. Since All-Star reserves were announced, Beal has averaged 24 points per game, shooting 55% from the field and 45% on 3-pointers, and the Wizards have gone 8-1.

Silver should have considered that, even though coaches didn’t have the opportunity.

Then again, maybe he did and still picked Anthony. Maybe Silver just followed the coaches. Maybe he judged based on name recognition. The commissioner can pick All-Star injury replacements however he pleases.

In the absence of a transparent process, whether there’s a private process or not, we’ll get confusion like Beal’s.

Glen Davis: Doc Rivers ‘lucky as hell’ to win 2008 championship with Celtics

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Glen Davis — who played for Doc Rivers on the Celtics and Clippers — apparently isn’t on the best terms with his former coach.

Davis hasn’t played in the NBA since 2015, in part due to an ankle injury he suffered with the Clippers. And that has him bringing up thoughts on Rivers predating Boston’s 2008 championship.

Davis on In the Zone with Chris Broussardas transcribed by Jay King of MassLive:

“I don’t like what he’s doing right now,” Davis said. “I don’t like his organization, what he’s doing, his teams. We had something in ’08 and that was it. You know what I mean? That’s what that is. So far, like, I didn’t like how the way he handled me on my exit. Yeah, hold yourself accountable, but at the same time I had a broken ankle. I won a championship with you and you don’t even really call me. I’ve got to beg you to call me. My agent has to beg you to call me. My ankle’s broke. And you just told me — they pulled me to the side when I played against Houston and told me, ‘You’re not playing the way you need to play. You’re not doing this.’ My ankle was broke. My ankle was broke. And they’re shooting me up, shooting me up, shooting me up every day to play. My ankle was broke.”

“They just did an X-ray (for the ankle),” added Davis. “They didn’t do an MRI. And it was just like, ‘Oh, can you run? Can you play?’ The next day they had me working out after I broke my ankle. They had me trying to play Game 7. It was crazy and I’m just not feeling that. When you win a championship with somebody, you don’t treat nobody like that. No matter if it’s a business or not, because it’s bigger than basketball between us, Doc. I have never left you at the altar. I’ve never left you at the altar. You know what I mean? I’ve never left. You go get Spencer Hawes, he does nothing. You’ve got to trade him. You’ve still got me on the bench knowing that I can play, but you still go play Spencer Hawes knowing that you’re just trying to cover your own butt because Spencer’s not panning out the way you wanted him to pan out. And I just don’t like that. I’m not feeling that.”

“Because what Doc had in ’08 was special,” Davis said on the podcast. “And he was lucky as hell. Lucky as hell. The year before that they were wearing trash bags (in the crowd). … But then the next year they win it, now he’s one of the best coaches ever? I’m just not feeling that, you know what I mean? You give credit to KG. You give credit to Paul Pierce. You give credit to Ray Allen. Those are the guys that made sure whatever Doc needed to be done got done. And so now it’s easy for Doc to do his job.

Davis is correct: Rivers was on the hot seat before the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and won the championship.

But maybe that improved talent just gave Rivers an opportunity to show how great of a coach he was all along.

Whatever fits your narrative.

Anthony Davis balancing two sides of New Orleans: All-Star fantasy and Pelicans’ reality

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Anthony Davis refused a question about playing with other All-Stars in the NBA’s annual mid-winter classic.

“I’m not going to talk about All-Star right now,” Davis said after his Pelicans lost to the Pistons earlier this month.

Instead, he wanted to talk only about the Pelicans’ task at hand. And in that respect, playing with other stars would have veered greatly from his desired conversation.

Basketball’s biggest names are descending upon New Orleans this weekend, creating a fantasy world for everyone, but especially Davis. He’ll take his home court with four All-Star teammates, and they’ll be thrilled to play with him. But then they’ll leave, some of them departing together back to the same team. And reality will once again set in for Davis.

By both traditional (27.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game) and advanced (7.6 win shares, 27.3 PER, +4.25 real plus-minus) metrics, Davis is having another excellent year.

But his team is again not.

The Pelicans are 23-34, headed toward their fourth losing season in his five years. They have one playoff appearance and no playoff wins with Davis.

“He has a dedication to the city, and he wants to be in New Orleans, and he wants to win there, and he wants to be the reason that we win there,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “So, he’s not discouraged in that, if you ask him, does he want out? or any thing like that, no. I don’t think that’s the case.

“Management, they’ve got to do everything they can to try to get the right players around him. And we’ve got to put him in a situation as a coaching staff that they can be successful.”

Since entering the league in 2012, Davis, using win shares and New Orleans’ actual win totals, has individually accounted for 28.5% of the Pelicans’ victories. No player has produced a higher share of his team’s wins in that span. That’s especially remarkable considering Davis has missed 72 games due to injury. The leaderboard:

 

Since that game at Detroit, Davis has opened up about bigger-picture issues — his desire to stay in New Orleans, using All-Star Weekend to recruit. He’s beyond due for more help.

Davis has made four All-Star games without an All-Star teammate in his first five seasons. The only other players to do that were Michael Jordan and David Robinson.

Jordan made the All-Star game without another Bulls player in each of his first five seasons, but Chicago had already acquired Scottie Pippen, who became an All-Star in Jordan’s sixth season and developed into an All-Star mainstay. The Bulls eventually added Dennis Rodman, whose antics – not production – kept him from selection.

Robinson also made the All-Star game each of his first five seasons, though Sean Elliott accompanied him in his fourth (and later, seventh) season. Then, of course, the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan, who was briefly a great sidekick to Robinson and became a superstar as Robinson slid into a supporting role.

Where is Davis’ All-Star teammate coming from?

It’s doubtful that teammate is already on the roster.

The Pelicans’ second-best player is Jrue Holiday, who made an All-Star game with the 76ers. But that was four years ago, and Holiday hasn’t been healthy or productive enough since. Tyreke Evans falls even further short, and the rest of the previous core — Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson — plays for the Rockets.

New Orleans is also short on young talent after trading its first-round pick in the three years following drafting Davis. They dealt what became the No. 6 pick in 2013 and No. 10 pick in 2014 for Holiday and the No. 18 pick in 2015 for Omer Asik.

After bombing to 30-52 last season, New Orleans got a surprising extra crack at a high draft pick, No. 6. The Pelicans picked Buddy Hield, who’s having an up-and-down rookie year. But Hield is already 23 — older than every other 2016 first-round pick save Denzel Valentine and older than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has already signed his rookie-scale contract extension. Hield’s window to show All-Star potential is shorter than his draft-class peers, and he has yet to do so.

New Orleans is on track to have max-level cap space next summer, though re-signing Holiday would exhaust it. The Pelicans are tied to Asik (three more years, $33,859,548) and Alexis Ajinca (two more years, $10,247,192), plodding centers who don’t fit Gentry’s system.

Last summer’s key signings — Solomon Hill (four years, $48 million), E’Twaun Moore (four years, $34 million) and Langston Galloway (two years, $10,634,000) — have collectively underwhelmed. Their long-term salaries make it difficult for general manager Dell Demps to pivot into another plan.

The Pelicans have their own first-round pick and the NBA’s eighth-worst record. It’d be disappointing to wind up back in the lottery for a second consecutive year after what appeared to be a breakthrough run to the 2015 playoffs. But that might be the best path forward.

Davis just hasn’t lifted his team like he did then.

New Orleans has played between a 22- and 33-win pace with him off the court each season of his career. But their win pace with him on the court has ranged from just 29 to 38 — with the exception of 2014-15, when they played like a 55-win team with on the floor.

“These guys follow my lead, and I know that,” Davis said. “I try to get these guys ready to play every night.”

New Orleans’ struggles and Davis’ injuries led to him not being voted an All-Star starter or to an All-NBA team last season — costing him $19,683,908 over four years ($25,434,263 if you count the fifth season of the contract, which follows a player option he’s likely to decline) he would’ve received through the Derrick Rose rule.

He’ll have a chance to earn another major pay bump by making an All-NBA team or two in coming seasons. The numbers are always murky that far out, but if Davis qualifies as a veteran designated player, a new contract beginning in 2020 projects to be worth about $231 million over five years

Not bad for someone who keeps saying he wants to stay with the Pelicans anyway.

Maybe this weekend will help convince another star to join him. In the meantime, once the 23 others All-Stars fly out and leave him in New Orleans, Davis will return to the Pelicans’ reality.

“I’m going to keep fighting,” Davis said.

 

 

Magic GM Rob Hennigan acknowledges his hot seat

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Under general manager Rob Hennigan, the Magic have gone 20-62, 23-59, 25-57, 35-47 and 21-37.

Their first-round picks — Andrew Nicholson, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid PaytonMario Hezonja — have yielded no stars.

So, in an effort to accelerate their path forward, they acquired several costly veterans last offseason: Serge Ibaka (via trade of Victor Oladipo, No. 11 pick and Ersan Ilyasova), Bismack Biyombo (four-year, $72 million contract), Jeff Green (one-year, $15 million contract and D.J. Augustin (four-year, $29 million contract).

This did little but overload the frontcourt and push Gordon, Orlando’s most promising player, out of position from power forward to small forward. Hennigan has already tried to mitigate the damages by flipping Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and a later first-round pick.

Hennigan is also addressing his role in the Magic’s dismal standing.

Hennigan, via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

“First and foremost, the criticism is warranted,” Hennigan said. “I don’t know if it’s welcome because no one likes to get criticized, but the job we have and the job we’re trying to do is certainly subject to that. Our fans, quite frankly, deserve to be upset and deserve to be frustrated. … I think the proverbial hot seat comes with the territory.”

The most important thing for the Magic to do is acknowledge their place.

If you’re three years away from where you want to be and spend two years going nowhere, you’re still three years from where you want to be. Trying to jam three years of progress into a single year usually just means compounding previous complaints.

Trading Ibaka suggests Hennigan understands that and isn’t angling to keep his job by winning as much as possible this season. (The Ibaka trade was a deal for the future, but I actually believe it will help Orlando this season. Clearing the big-man logjam is addition by subtraction, and Ross adds much-needed wing help.)

I can’t help but wonder: Is Hennigan operating this way because he believes in his job security?