Author: Kurt Helin

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks

Jazz’s Enes Kanter wants to be traded before deadline


Enes Kanter did not play in the fourth quarter of Utah’s loss to Dallas Wednesday night. He had gone out earlier with an eye injury but after the game Kanter said he was good to go, that he wanted to go back in, but this was coach Quin Snyder’s call.

Kanter is frustrated — and he wants out. Now.

It’s not just this game, it’s his role with this team, and the Turkish big man told Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune he wants to be traded by the Feb. 19 deadline.

Frustrated by his role during his three-plus years in Utah, center Enes Kanter told The Salt Lake Tribune he hopes to be traded before this year’s deadline….

“It was not my eye at all. I don’t know what it was, but it was not my eye at all. So we’ll see what’s going to happen,” Kanter said after the game, declining to elaborate further.

Kanter has seen his role shrink because Synder is rightfully giving Rudy Gobert a bigger one. Gobert is a shot-blocking machine (2.2 a game) who improves the Jazz defense by 7.3 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court because of his paint protection. Gobert doesn’t provide much offense, but he’s improving and efficient when he does shoot (usually at the rim). Gobert is going to get some Most Improved Player votes and deserves the run.

Kanter is a solid NBA big man — 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, does most of his damage near the rim — but he is not a great defender. Opponents score 4.7 points per 100 possessions more when he is on the court. Because of that inconsistent defense Kanter’s role has shifted as Snyder has leaned more toward Gobert with Derrick Favors.  Trevor Booker is in the mix taking up big man minues as well.

Kanter can be frustrated all he wants, and he’s right that between previous coach Tyrone Corbin and now Snyder he has seen his role with the team change numerous times.

However, there is little chance he gets moved before the deadline for a couple reasons.

The main one is that Kanter is a restricted free agent this summer — teams are not going to give up quality assets to get now when they can just poach him come July.

Plus, now with this request teams will call Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey with lowball offers. Teams are going to be looking to steal him. Utah may be thinking they should move him just to get something in case they decide not to match this summer, but the return will be less than Kanter’s actual value.

More than likely, nothing happens, and Kanter becomes a story this summer. But it’s something to watch as we head toward the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

Watch Drake grab Paul Pierce’s arm before late-game inbounds play

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors

DeMar DeRozan had just put on his moves, gotten to the elbow and drained the jumper that put Toronto up 95-93 with 12.9 seconds remaining. Washington called a timeout to advance the ball and draw up a play; they still were going to have one shot at sending the game into overtime (or maybe getting the win).

Paul Pierce came over to the sidelines to inbound the ball, and Drake reached out and grabbed his arm.

It’s done before Pierce is handed the ball, so it doesn’t impact the play. Pretty clearly, Drake was just trying to be that guy who is everybody’s friend and can joke around with them. Even at inappropriate times.

But the best part was Pierce was having none of it.

He pushed him off with an “I’m working here” look.  None of which Drake seems to grasp.

Washington missed the shot, and Toronto picked up the win, 95-93. That’s the second Raptors win over the Wizards in two weeks.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: OKC reminds us the West playoffs will be bloodbath

Kevin Durant, Tony Allen

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while discussing what is wrong with action films today….

Oklahoma City routs Memphis, reminds us the Western Conference playoffs are wide open. Fox Sports’ Bill Reiter recently compared the coming WesternConfernce playoffs go Game of Thrones — a lot of worthy successors are going to be slaughtered. Consider what Oklahoma City did to Memphis Wednesday your reminder of that. This game was close until midway through the first quarter when the Grizzlies missed a few shots, which Oklahoma City turned into fast break points. Suddenly the tempo of the game changed, OKC went on a 20-2 run and when that was over so was the game. Memphis never threatened again. With that win the Thunder enter the All-Star break just half a game back of Phoenix and the eight seed in the West. The final playoff slot in the West (they are six games back of the seven-seed Spurs, the Thunder are not catching them.) Oklahoma City vs. Golden State in the first round of the playoffs seems likely. Again, a lot of worthy successors are going to be slaughtered out West.

Don’t look now, but Boston is in the playoff chase in the East. Sentences I never expected to type this season: Evan Turner beat the Hawks at the buzzer. But there you have it. Atlanta was about as focused as a high school senior the day before Spring break and credit Boston for taking advantage. With the win, Boston moves just two games back of Charlotte for that final playoff slot in the East (and the chance to lose to Atlanta in the first round). Boston would need to pass not only Charlotte (or seven-seed Miami), but also Brooklyn and Detroit to get into the postseason dance. Maybe it’s not likely, but stranger things have happened. For example, Evan Turner beat the Hawks at the buzzer.

Toronto is winning again, and DeMar DeRozan provided the dagger against Washington. Toronto started off the season hot, lost their way for a while due to injuries and the fact their defense just isn’t that great, but they have found their way again — Toronto has won 9-of-11. That includes three straight wins over playoff teams: The Spurs, Clippers and on Wednesday night the Wizards. This is the second Raptors’ win over the Wizards in the last two weeks, and although this second game was  not pretty, rather a grind-it-out affair, the Raptors will take it. Toronto remains the two seed in the East and while Chicago lurks and Cleveland is charging up the standings, the Raptors are going to have home court in the first round. Which means a good chance to advance, because DeMar DeRozan can do this:

Shabazz Muhammad dunked so hard he hit his own face. Minnesota is a lot more entertaining to watch with Ricky Rubio back at the helm — they get out and run now. Which plays right into the game of now healthy Shabazz Muhammad, he likes to finish dunks. Sometimes so hard he dunks on himself (thanks to Zach Harper).

DeAndre Jordan is putting up video game numbers. The Clippers center has put up a 20-20 stat line in two straight games and three times in the last eight days. With Blake Griffin out following elbow surgery, the Clippers needed Jordan to step up a little, but nobody expected him to go NBA Jams on us. He was key to punishing the Dwight Howard-less Rockets inside and getting the Clippers a quality win at home Wednesday.