Kurt Helin

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, left, drives against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Anthony Davis confirms he will compete in All-Star Saturday Skills Competition

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We knew that big men were coming to the All-Star Saturday skills competition, DeMarcus Cousins confirmed he was participating. Reports had Anthony Davis joining him.

This weekend, Davis confirmed he is participating, too. Via John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune.

Anthony Davis confirmed on Saturday night that he is going to participate in the skills challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend next month in Toronto.

Davis will join Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie center Karl Anthony-Towns and Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green, who are all expected to compete in the event.

Traditionally the skills competition was for guards, past winners include Damian Lillard (twice), Stephen Curry, Steve Nash (twice), Derrick Rose, Tony Parker. In an effort to breathe new life into the event, there will be skilled big men in the mix.

Davis also will play in the All-Star Game, Sunday, Feb. 14, he was picked as a reserve by the coaches.

PBT Podcast: Trade rumor talk with Sean Highkin

Jeff Teague, Jeremy Lin
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Jeff Teague. Ryan Anderson. Rudy Gay.

Those are likely the biggest names moved at the trade deadline, which comes up Feb. 18. While fans want to talk about DeMarcus Cousins or Kevin Love, neither of them are on the move.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of ProBasketballTalk discuss a lot of names rumored to be on the move this trade deadline, plus the guys teams would like to move but probably can’t, such as Markeiff Morris or Kevin Martin. It just doesn’t look like a dynamic trade deadline is shaping up, this could be a little quiet.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Dwyane Wade ties Bernard King, keeps climbing up NBA’s career scoring list

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives around Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade doesn’t keep track of his milestones.

He does, however, enjoy hearing about them.

Wade kept climbing up the NBA’s career scoring list Sunday when the Miami Heat star had 17 points to tie Bernard King for 42nd in league history. They both have 19,655 points, though Wade got there in 48 fewer games.

“I don’t celebrate it but it all matters in the long run,” the 34-year-old Wade said after Miami topped Atlanta 105-87. “It’s all great, it’s all cool. For me, when I got to top 50 all-time in scoring … there’s been a lot of players that played this game.”

Wade started the season 54th in scoring. He’s now on pace to be in the top 40 by the end of the season, and recently picked up his 12th selection to the NBA’s All-Star Game. Only 12 other players in league history have been chosen to play more times.

And given his life story, it’s easy to see why accolades matter to Wade.

He wasn’t a high-profile high school player in the Chicago area and was found by Marquette after playing one year of AAU basketball on a team that featured Darius Miles. Wade was never, as he put it, “a big-name” prospect. But no Illinois-born player has scored more NBA points than Wade, who passed Terry Cummings for that distinction a couple weeks back.

“A Chicago guy doing good things, I guess,” Wade said. “That’s how I look at it. I just feel like the city is proud anytime my name is mentioned with Chicago behind it. It just helps shine some good light on our city.”

Five Takeaways from NBA Sunday: Bulls players admit lack of discipline

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I know you didn’t get to watch a lot of NBA on Sunday because you were preparing for the biggest football game of the year — the Pro Bowl. Actually, the NHL All-Star Game was the story of the day. That said, NBA machine kept right on rolling, so here’s what you need to know from around the Association Sunday.

1) Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler both Bulls lack discipline. After a couple of days off in Los Angeles, the Chicago Bulls came out against the Clippers Sunday on national television and… looked like they enjoyed those couple of days off in Los Angeles. The Bulls were an unfocused defensive unit against a Clippers squad that without Blake Griffin spreads the floor better and provides real challenges. The Bulls weren’t up to it. Pau Gasol nailed why:

“We’re not disciplined,” Gasol said. “Yep. We’re not. That’s it. It’s true. It’s a fact.”

Jimmy Butler echoed those thoughts, via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

“We’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Loose ball, you gotta get that, rebound, you gotta get that,” Jimmy Butler said. “We lack discipline in a lot of key areas, which is why games turn out the way they do at times.”

This is a team that had discipline screamed into them by former coach Tom Thibodeau, but the Bulls missed some shots Sunday then seemed to sulk on defense afterwards — they and had a defensive rating of 124 (points allowed per 100 possessions). The Bulls didn’t defend the arc well — Los Angeles shot 17-of-32 from deep — nor did they have an answer for the athleticism of DeAndre Jordan inside. It was the kind of day for the Bulls that even when they went to hack-a-Jordan he hit some free throws.

The Clippers continue to roll without Blake Griffin. The Bulls continue to be a pretty good team that is not going to scare an elite team. Chicago lacks the discipline to do that.

2) Suns fire coach Jeff Hornacek. Well, this should solve all their problems. Suns management has made a series of mistakes the past couple years. They thought when they won 48 games in 2014 they could shortcut the rebuilding process. They brought in Isaiah Thomas, then when that didn’t work sold low on him and sent out one of the most valuable trade chips around (the Lakers pick this season or next, top three protected) so they could get Brandon Knight (who has battled injuries). They brought in Tyson Chandler, who has been injured and looked old. They traded Marcus Morris in an attempt to clear cap space and impress LaMarcus Aldridge, and in the process angered Markeiff Morris, who has tried to push his way out of town and has played terribly. Add on to that injuries that nobody could control, like the current one to Eric Bledsoe, and you have a 14-35 team.

So how did the Suns deal with all those issues? Fire the coach, of course. Jeff Hornacek is out and either Corey Gaines or Earl Watson will take over in the interim. Long term, rumors have the Suns chasing Luke Walton and Mike D’Antoni. We’ll see. But until the front office picks a viable direction in building a team, then sticks with it for multiple years, it’s not going to matter who coaches this team.

3) Lakers get booed on home court after franchise record 10th straight loss. Remember how the Lakers fans thought last season was going to be the bottoming out in the rebuilding process? Nope. The Lakers went scoreless the final 3:50 of the third quarter in a loss to visiting Charlotte Sunday, and as the misses and misques kept piling up, the Laker fans let the team know how hard this is to watch — the boos got louder and louder. The fans want to buy into hope for the future, but the Clippers need to show them some. Charlotte won 101-82, the 10th straight loss for the Lakers at Staples Center, another new franchise record. The Lakers can’t defend, lack shooters, and lack confidence. It’s not pretty. But sure, Kevin Durant is going to come this summer, because this team looks so appealing.

4) Klay Thompson, Draymond Green keep Warriors right on rolling. Stephen Curry is human. The man was 5-of-17 shooting for 13 points on Sunday. Curry struggled against the Knicks. Not that it mattered — Klay Thompson scored 34 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double (his ninth of the season), and the Warriors won again. That’s 44-4 on the season, if you’re still scoring at home.

5) Aaron Gordon put back dunk. One of the upsets of the day Sunday was Orlando knocking off Boston 119-114. The Magic had lost 12 of 13, but played one of their better games in a while Sunday. The big star was Aaron Gordon, who  tied his career high with 19 points, and he added 14 rebounds. Plus, he did this as a kind of dagger late.

 

Reports: Suns fire coach Jeff Hornacek

Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek calls a play for his team as they played the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Associated Press
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Just a couple of seasons after a surprise 48-win campaign in 2013014 — and in part because the team couldn’t live up to the expectations that came following that season — the Phoenix Suns have fired coach Jeff Hornacek. The Suns are 14-35 on the season.

Multiple reports now confirm this, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports was first.

General manager Ryan McDonough informed Hornacek of the decision upon the Suns’ return to Phoenix after a 91-78 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night. The loss was the franchise’s 14th straight on the road with a roster decimated with injuries. The Suns have lost 19 of 21.

The interim coach is expected to be one of two assistants, either Corey Gaines or Earl Watson.

Rumors have the Suns chasing Luke Walton and Mike D’Antoni as potential long-term replacements.

Just after Christmas, the Suns fired Hornacek’s two top assistants, Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting, and from that point on it was a question of when, not if, Hornacek would be next.

However, the Suns’ problem stem from decisions by owner Robert Sarver and GM Ryan McDonough far more than Hornacek — and it’s not the fault of millennials. The season the Suns won 48 games, a season the Suns were predicted to be one of the league’s worst teams, caused them to abandon a slower, patient growth model and to try to jump-start the process. They weren’t ready. It was the front office that kept attempting to replicate the two-guard success they had with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe (which was a bit of a fluke) by bringing in Isaiah Thomas then trading for Brandon Knight, neither of which worked. It was the front office that brought in Tyson Chandler, who has been injured and not the same player. It was the front office that traded Marcus Morris (in a play for LaMarcus Aldridge), angering his twin brother Markeiff and taking him from valuable contributor to malcontent the Suns are struggling to trade. It was nobody’s fault that Eric Bledsoe went down injured, and that Knight has missed nearly half the games since the start of 2016 due to injuries.

What kind of team do the Phoenix Suns want to be? Answer that question, hire a coach to execute it, then start building a roster to fit that. And for once, be patient with the process.