Author: Kurt Helin

Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers

Pacers’ Roy Hibbert ejected after pulling Gorgui Dieng to court (VIDEO)


I don’t think Roy Hibbert was doing something malicious here — he was trying to prevent Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng from going up for the easy putback two.  He wanted to foul Dieng.

But the way he did it put Dieng in risk of injury.

For that reason, after reviewing the foul Tuesday night, the referees called the foul above a flagrant two and ejected Hibbert, sending him to an early shower. Honestly I think it’s a borderline ejection but I don’t think it was a bad call. Hibbert’s play was not malicious but it was careless.

From the locker room Hibbert could watch on the monitor as Mo Williams dropped the rest of his 52 on the Pacers, leading Minnesota to the win. Indy could have used Hibbert out there, not that anyone was stopping Williams Tuesday.

Report: Celtics negotiating buyout with Tayshaun Prince

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers

Clearly an almost 35-year-old wing with diminishing skills was not going to be part of the Celtics rebuilding future. And a guy like that wants to play for rings anyway.

So when Boston traded for Tayshaun Prince as part of the Jeff Green deal with Memphis, you had to know a buyout was likely. The only details to be worked out is how much of his $7.2 million he would offer as a discount to get out of the contract.

There seems to be some common ground to get the deal done, reports Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

What will be interesting is to see what teams come calling if/when Prince is a free agent. The Clippers are looking for wing players and depth, they seem a likely candidate, but other teams may pick up the phone as well.

Prince isn’t the player he once was but he brings some skills, for example his length and IQ means he’s still a decent defender. On offense he has the bad habit of settling for the long two (31.1 percent of his shots this season were from 16 feet out to the arc) so teams help off him, but he can hit the three and in a limited role he will not hurt on that end.

Still, he will land somewhere on a winning team.

Kobe Bryant will play Tuesday vs. Heat

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

This was expected but now it is official:

Kobe Bryant will play Tuesday night for the Lakers vs. Miami. Bryant had missed three of the last four Lakers games but had practiced on Monday and seemed likely to go. Coach Byron Scott confirmed it before the game, reports Baxter Holms, among others.

Scott also said he would keep Bryant in the 30-32 minute range.

On Sunday night Scott admitted that he had played Bryant too many minutes the first 27 games of the season — with too heavy a workload when he was in the game — and that led to Kobe missing so many games lately.

“I thought his workload was too much,” Scott said. “He had a (minutes) number, my number was higher but his number was right, you know, when I look back at it. We cut those numbers down and I think his efficiency has been so much better, in terms of how he’s been able to play…

“You may think it’s not a lot — if it’s a minute or two or three minutes, it doesn’t make much of a difference — but in the long run it does.”



Nets ownership denies sale of team “imminent,” which is what you expect them to say

Mikhail Prokhorov Introductory Press Conference

It’s the old “where there’s smoke there’s fire” idea.

There were reports last year the Nets were up for sale. There were reports late last summer that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was in some kind of talks with the Guggenheim Group (which owns the Los Angeles Dodgers). For the past year Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner has been looking to sell his 20 percent of the franchise. None of that worked out.

So now there are the latest reports that Prokhorov has put the team up for sale, something first by Bloomberg. Among others Howard Beck of Bleacher Report confirms that news.

However, the Nets owners are trying to throw some water on that fire. Here is what they told Chris Broussard of ESPN.

ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reported that Nets CEO Brett Yormark, general manager Billy King and executive VP and chief communications officer Barry Baum all denied Bloomberg’s initial report.

“As we have said for many months, ownership is always open to listening to offers — that’s just good business,” a spokesperson for Prokhorov said in a statement. “There is nothing imminent in terms of a sale of any stake in the team.”

Imminent? No. But if you are trying to sell something and get as much money as you can for it — and apparently the stumbles of the Russian economy have hit Prokhorov hard so he could use the cash — then you don’t look eager to sell. That’s what is going on here. Just try to look patient, get together enough interested parties to start a bidding war, and stand back.

This sale is just the team — Prokhorov is not selling his 45 percent stake in the Barclay’s Center itself nor his interest in the surrounding Pacific Park development. This isn’t a real estate deal, this is just the basketball team.

Which, because it’s in New York, will draw some big offers. Like north of $1 billion offers. And watch, there will be a line of people looking to bid.

Report: Denver Nuggets nearing deal to send Nate Robinson back to Boston for Jameer Nelson

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson played 81 games for the Celtics in 2010 and 2011, having some big playoff moments along side Glen Davis — Shrek and Donkey — and becoming a fan favorite. Which happens everywhere he lands.

It’s just not the same with the coaches, so Robinson lands a lot of places.

Robinson appears to be on the move again, soon heading back to Boston from Denver, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, with Adrian Wojnarowski adding details..

There has to be a pick going to Boston as well — and Celtics GM Danny Ainge is collecting those — because Jameer Nelson is a better player than Robinson.

The Celtics may buy Robinson out, Sam Amick of the USA Today reports.

Robinson, at age 30 and coming off an ACL injury last year, has struggled this season in Denver. He is playing barely 14 minutes a game and is shooting just 34.9 percent. He was an energetic scorer off the bench but there are questions about if the ACL injury took away the athletic edge he needed. He’s never brought much defense to the table.

Jameer Nelson was a solid pick-and-roll point guard who also is struggling this season. He started the season with the Mavericks but was sent to Boston as part of the Rajon Rondo trade. There he is shooting just 22 percent for Celtics. Denver may feel that a change of scenery will help his play in the short term.

Clearly Denver has decided that they are not making the playoffs out West and it’s time to switch up this roster — Timofey Mozgov is now in Cleveland, Wilson Chandler is getting shopped, and now Robinson is on his way out the door. The Nuggets are going into rebuild mode.

Which is where the Celtics already are, but apparently they’d consider one more go around with Robinson.