Because the basketball injury gods are not done with New Orleans…
With just less than two minutes remaining in the first half of the Rockets visiting the Pelicans, Houston’s Josh Smith missed a jumper (shocking, I know) and as Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis both went for the rebound, Evans elbows Davis in the head.
Davis went to the ground, stayed there for a while, went back to the locker room, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
Davis now has to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol before he can return to the Pelican’s rotation. New Orleans is off until Thursday when they host Sacramento.
Tayshaun Prince isn’t what he once was, but he’s still a long and reasonable defender.
Kyrie Irving turned him into a highlight package.
Irving goes behind his back away from the screen, and then throws in a crossover before he stepped back and drains the three. That is a thing of beauty.
What you see here seemed to be the Cavaliers’ offense a lot of the night — using their athleticism and skills, but doing it earlier in the clock. It wasn’t about system. It wasn’t always pretty either, particularly on defense, but it worked, Cleveland got the 114-107 win (the first for Tyronn Lue as coach). Irving had 17 points on the night but needed 18 shots to get there.
The last time Derrick Favors stepped on a basketball court for the Utah Jazz, Santa Clause had yet to get in his sleigh, and Utah was on track to become a playoff team.
That was 16 games ago, before back problems flared up (for Favors, not Santa). Favors — who had been playing at a near All-Star level scoring 16.8 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds a game — returns to the Jazz rotation on Monday night against Detroit.
Favors is expected to come off the bench and play limited minutes as he works his way back into shape.
The Jazz went 7-9 without him, also having to deal with injuries to Rudy Gobert and Alec Burks in that window. Utah is only one game back of Sacramento, the current eight seed in the West, and the Jazz are starting to get healthy. We’ll see if they can make a push back into the postseason picture.
Dwight Howard stepped on the court and gave it a shot, but the sprained ankle he suffered against Detroit last week is not all the way back yet.
So Howard is out for the third straight game, this time Monday night against the Pelicans.
The Rockets have won the last two games Howard sat out, including an impressive come-from-behind win against Dallas.
The Rockets are 4.2 points better per 100 possessions when Howard is on the court this season, he has been one of the most consistent defenders on the team. Something the Rockets need.
Without him has gone small with Corey Brewer starting, then using Clint Capela at the center spot off the bench. Also expect to see more Josh Smith.
Back in the summer of 2014 — an entirely different NBA economic world — the Boston Celtics locked up Avery Bradley to a four-year, $32 million that if anything was a little rich for the time and was a bet on Bradley’s development.
Today’s economic landscape around an NBA is very different — the leap of the salary cap by $20 million a year likely the next couple summers has changed the dynamics for anyone seeking a deal. Bradley looked at the market and became angry, so he changed agents, reports Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
Avery Bradley has changed agents from Mitchell Butler of the Rival Sports Group to Rob Pelinka, who also represents Kobe Bryant. Butler was able to procure the oft-injured Bradley a four-year, $32 million contract extension last summer, considered an above-market deal. Now Bradley is apparently unhappy with his contract, especially after seeing players such as Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (five years, $70 million), Utah’s Gordon Hayward (four years, $61 million), and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson (five years, $82 million) cash in with lucrative extensions, making Bradley’s deal appear to be a bargain with the new television money increasing the salary cap this summer.
His deal is a bargain, now (in the warped world of professional sports salaries). So are the max deals of guys like DeMarcus Cousins and even Kevin Love — the new television money changes the dynamic of what is a good deal. What was overpaying in 2014 is a steal now — Bradley likely will be making about the mid-level exception (maybe a little less) the next couple years.
He is not the first player to be stunned by the money being thrown around and want a part of it.
Pelinka is a good agent, but he can’t do anything about Bradley’s situation now. Bradley signed a four-year, fully guaranteed deal. Bradley has two full seasons after this one left on his deal (and he doesn’t want to sign an extension, under the current CBA that leads to modest raises at most, which is not what Bradley wants). Patience is the only option.
Like it or not, Bradley is going to have to get by making $17 million over the next two seasons.