Kurt Helin

Report: NBA teams eyeing Carlos Boozer, Jimmer Fredette as they return from China

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Take this report with a grain of salt. That said as a caveat, each year a couple NBA players who had standout seasons in China get a chance with an NBA squad at the end of the season.

This year’s candidates are Jimmer Fredette and Carlos Boozer, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

Jimmer Fredette, fresh off an MVP season with the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks, is back in the United States and eagerly awaiting the phone call that affords him another NBA shot.

‎Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, remains in China but has also played his way back onto the NBA’s radar, having helped the Guangdong Southern Tigers, along with veteran guard Donald Sloan, advance to within one game of the Chinese Basketball Association finals…

One source plugged firmly into the Chinese scene says that the Miami Heat and the aforementioned Clippers are among the teams tracking the 34-year-old’s (Boozer’s) progress with Guangdong.

Do either of these guys really help an NBA team headed to the playoffs? I don’t see it.

Boozer makes a little more sense, and the report has actual teams attached to him. While he’s 35, has been out of the NBA two years, and has lost enough of his athleticism that nobody in the NBA gave him a contract this season, he still is a proven veteran who can get some buckets. Remember, he averaged 11.8 points a game while shooting 49.9 percent, and pulled down 6.8 rebounds a night for the Lakers two seasons ago. He could be a pick-and-pop threat who can bang inside during the postseason.

Fredette put up monster numbers in China averaging 37.6 points per game, but there’s a reason for that — that league plays no defense. Here’s a list of the other players who averaged more than 30 points per game in China this season: Errick McCollum, MarShon Brooks, Jared Cunningham, Jabari Brown, Jamaal Franklin, Lester Hudson, Dominique Jones, and Darius Adams (all fringe NBA guys at best). China has to feel like college again for Fredette because he’s got the ball in his hands and nobody has the athleticism or will to stop him. That doesn’t solve his issues at the NBA level on the defensive end or with his decision making. I’d say I’d be surprised if an NBA team was serious about giving him a short contract for the end of the season, but you never know. That said, give a 10-day contract to a D-Leaguer, it has a better chance of panning out.

Remembering former Knick Dave Stallworth (VIDEO)

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David Stallworth had a heart attack in 1967 and took two years off from the NBA, then decided to come back. He joined the Knicks and became a key reserve on the 1970 NBA champion Knicks team. He was the guy who had to match up with Wilt Chamberlain in Game 5 keep the Knicks in it when Willis Reed went down (only to return for Game 7 in legendary fashion).

Stallworth passed away Thursday at the age of 75.

The Knicks put together the tribute above to him.

Our thoughts are with the Stallworth family.

 

Report: Grizzlies to waive Toney Douglas, sign Wayne Selden

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Wayne Selden went undrafted out of Kansas last year, spent most of this season in the D-League, recently had a 10-day contract with the Pelicans, but is still looking for his spot in the NBA.

In need of shooting, the Grizzlies are going to give him a shot, something first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Selden seemed to confirm the news.

Selden, a 6’6″ swingman, was seen as a potential “3&D” guy in the NBA, but one who needed to develop his shot and consistency. The Grizzlies brought him into training camp but waived him, and he went to the D-League for much of the season where he averaged 18.7 points per game, shooting 35.7 percent from three, for Iowa. He also did this while there.

Rumor: If Clippers get bounced in first or second round, Doc Rivers could be headed to Orlando

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The Los Angeles Clippers, in the words of J.J. Redick, are playing like s—. They are going to start the playoffs on the road, if they can hold on to the five seed they will get a good Jazz team (which beat Los Angeles last week), then survive that and the Clippers face a Warriors team that has beaten them up consistently for the past few years. If they keep slipping, Oklahoma City could pass Los Angeles, meaning the Clippers get the Rockets in the first round.

If the Clippers get bounced in the first or second round of the playoffs again, that will be six years into the Blake Griffin/Chris Paul era where the Clippers have not advanced past the second round. Griffin, Paul, and Redick are all free agents this summer, does Steve Ballmer want to fork out all that money and keep paying Doc Rivers for a team that remains in the second tier in the West? How do they get better if they don’t bring them back? There will be a lot of soul searching to do for Los Angeles.

All of this has led to speculation around the league about the fate of the Clippers — and the fate of Doc Rivers. Marc Stein of ESPN sums that up.

There has been persistent chatter for weeks over the NBA’s front-office grapevine that the Orlando Magic and Rivers will explore a reunion down the road.

Now, you’re certainly not alone if you’re wondering whether “down the road” in this case should be measured in months or years….

The Magic, meanwhile, appear headed for their own sooner-rather-than-later shake up. League sources say without hesitation that Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan finds himself on the hot seat and is increasingly likely to be dismissed at season’s end, with the Magic on course for a fifth successive losing season under Hennigan’s watch.

The Magic just hired Frank Vogel as coach this year on a five-year deal, and he is not going anywhere in the short term. Or, he shouldn’t be. The Magic should hire a GM/president who can work with Vogel to turn the quality young players the Magic have — Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier (if you’re sold on him, he’s played much better of late) — into a team that can compete. Is Doc Rivers that guy, or is he a coach and GM (the power he has in Los Angeles) that the Magic may want. It should be noted Rivers has a home in Orlando.

The one sure thing in Los Angeles is the Clippers will bring Chris Paul back, that’s considered a lock around the league. Griffin likely returns to, although if someone gets traded it’s him. The question is, in talking to CP3, does he want Rivers or does he want another voice as coach? Is coaching really the answer for the Clippers? They need to stay healthy, but it’s certainly not Rivers’ workload that is the problem there (no team gets as much time off, as many practices canceled as the Clips).

It’s very likely the Clippers are gone in the first two rounds of the playoffs, which after a 14-2 start to the season where it seemed they turned the corner will come as a major disappointment. And it will leave a lot of questions to be answered.

John Wall dishes out career-high 20 assists in win over Bulls (VIDEO)

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Does John Wall deserve some end-of-the-ballot MVP votes? He’s the best player and driving force on a team that will win 50 games (give or take) and finish in the top three in the East. He’s averaging 18.7 points and 9.7 assists per game. There are four obvious MVP candidates (Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James) but five spots on the ballot, and in a recent media poll Wall came in sixth in the voting.

Wall made his case Friday night dropping 20 assists on the Chicago Bulls, plus playing strong defense in a Wizards win. He was questionable for the game because of a sprained left foot, but played through it and had a monster night.

Check out all his assists.