Author: NBC Sports

Tiago Splitter injured


Courtesy of Yahoo!’s Marc Spears:

Spurs big man Tiago Splitter suffered a strained right plantaris muscle today and will undergo a 7-to-10 day rehab with return timeline TBD.
As Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell pointed out, Splitter has a history of small, nagging injuries, which is a bit of a concern. Hopefully this injury is just a minor setback for the 25-year old Euroleague star and Spurs rookie; a lot of basketball fans have waited a long time to see Splitter in the NBA, and it would be a bummer to have to wait even longer.

Hassan Whiteside is now much bigger

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(Video of Hassan flexing and selling cars with Jason Thompson courtesy of Cowbell Kingdom and Folsom Lake Ford.) 
Sacramento Kings rookie Hassan Whiteside has a lot more upside than most second-round draft picks. A true seven-footer, Whiteside has great athleticism for a guy his size and a 7-7 wingspan, both of which helped him average an absurd 5.4 blocks in only 26 minutes per game at Marshall.
In Las Vegas, Whiteside’s showed flashes of immense talent — he made impossible blocks look easy, he finished strong when he got the chance, and he has a surprisingly good outside touch for a center. 
The only reasons Whiteside fell into the second round were his lack of offensive polish, his slight frame, and some serious questions about his attitude and commitment. 
Well, Whitside is freaking huge now. According to Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom, Whiteside has put on 25 pounds since Summer League, and there’s definitely a visible change in his physique. Whiteside weighed 235 pounds at the draft combine — if he’s a legit 260-pounder now, it will be very hard for opponents to bully him under the basket and negate his length and athleticism.
The better news for Kings fans might be this: Whiteside was committed enough and willing to work hard enough to put on that much muscle in a matter of months. If he was willing to work that hard in the off-season, he may be much more mature and serious about basketball than he was initially believed to be. It’s still very early, but the Kings may have snagged a great big man prospect in each round of the 2010 draft. 

Winderman: Heat not hosting your ordinary training camp


Heat_huddle.jpgSo how do you get to the Heat’s secluded training camp in the Florida Panhandle?

Well, from most places, you get there by connecting through Atlanta.

And then, from the airport, you get there by driving past one Waffle House, then another, and then another.

But that actually doesn’t get you anywhere, at least not onto Hurlburt Field, the Air Force installation the Heat is calling home this week.

No, instead, if you’re with the media, you pull across the street to a dirt road by the paintball field and await a school bus that takes you inside the gate.

Inside, the massive complex has the feel of a college campus, albeit one with vintage jets and helicopters featured along the front gate.

But this is no ordinary campus.

So from the school bus you are ushered into a waiting room.

From there, there is one bathroom break. Women line up first, then the men.

Even though the rest room is mere steps away.

You never lose sight of where you are.

And don’t even think about misplacing your security badge, the one received only after your secret, personal code is entered.

From there, the courteous staff escorts the media into the gym, where it waits until it is eventually escorted back out.

No this is not Palm Beach Community College or Florida International University or the University of Miami, places where the Heat previously has held training camp.

And it’s certainly not the Jewish Community Center just north of Miami, where the senior citizens would walk on the track above as then-coach Ron Rothstein would attempt to conduct practice below.

But it is a unique and refreshing change of pace from what typically is experienced at this time of year.

And invigorating.

Because even with this talented a cast, training camp still is training camp, where the Patrick Beverleys, Kenny Hasbroucks and Shavlik Randolphs take rotations with the regulars.

To see how much hosting the Heat meant to those on the base was to experience what sports were intended to be all along.

A welcomed relief.

In a unique season, the Heat has offered a unique way to start.

And the waffles aren’t half bad, either.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

Winderman: Jared Jeffries salary dump reason Knicks are out of Anthony sweepstakes


Thumbnail image for Anthony_game.jpgIt is one thing to mortgage your future after the fact.

The Heat did that with the Cavaliers and Raptors in the sign-and-trades utilized to increase the payouts to LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

For most of the next decade, draft night will remain rumor in South Florida.

It is, however, another thing to mortgage a future on the whim of hope.

The Knicks did that last season with the trade-deadline deal with the Rockets that excised the salary of forward Jared Jeffries.

The payoff from that move was the ability to sign Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov in free agency, moves that likely won’t put New York anywhere close to homecourt in the first round of the playoffs, let alone legitimate contention.

Yet because of that Jeffries dump, the Knicks now find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the emerging Carmelo Anthony lottery.

Why? Because if the Nuggets are forced into moving Anthony, any such move would come with an eye toward the future. And that is a view the Knicks simply cannot furnish.

In a transaction that keeps on giving (indigestion), the Knicks, in order to dump Jeffries on the Rockets, also gave Houston the right to flip-flop 2011 first-round picks, provided the Knicks’ selection is not No. 1 overall.

But wait, it gets worse.

In that same deal, the Knicks also agreed to send their 2012 first-round pick to the Rockets, provided it is not among the first five.

And the misery doesn’t end there.

Because, by rule, teams cannot trade successive future first-round picks, that 2012 obligation to the Rockets means the Knicks cannot trade their 2011 first-round pick (or the one possibly to be swapped from the Rockets) or their 2013 first-round pick.

So the earliest first-round pick, at this moment, barring the unlikely eventuality of acquiring another team’s choice, the Knicks could offer Denver in a potential Carmelo package would be for 2014.

For the Knicks, this past June was supposed to be the ultimate draft nightmare, when their unprotected first-round lottery pick had to be conveyed to Utah, with the Jazz selecting Gordon Hayward ninth overall.

Instead, the draft misery continues.

As does the inability to meet a prime Nuggets’ need in any Anthony deal.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

Winderman: Celebrating all that has gone wrong in Charlotte (and still making the playoffs)


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Brown_Jordan.jpgToday, we salute the Charlotte Bobcats.

No, not for any front-office wizardry (in fact, far from it), but rather for the fact that the franchise, somehow, is coming off its first-ever playoff berth.

Because today we also celebrate all that has gone wrong with the franchise.

It is the day we learned that Adam Morrison had a recent tryout with the Boston Celtics (we’re assuming Antoine Walker was unavailable).

And it is the first day of the two-day waiver period for just-released center Erick Dampier.

So how do the two tie together?

By how they have tied the hands of a franchise that required Larry Brown’s divine intervention for that playoff berth last season.

By now, the Morrison misstep has been well-chronicled, how Michael Jordan squandered the No. 3 overall selection on the one-dimensional, defensively lacking forward in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Ahead of Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay and even Thabo Sefolosha.

But Dampier also speaks to a failure just as pronounced.

No, there was nothing unsound with the selection of Emeka Okafor with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft. It’s not as if the Bobcats had any input to what, at the time, was the debate over whether Dwight Howard should go No. 1. And it’s not as if Charlotte missed out on all that much, with the best of the lottery lot that year including Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala. Big men always go higher.

But it’s how the Bobcats then flipped Okafor’s contract last summer to New Orleans for the shorter contract of Tyson Chandler. And how Jordan then flipped that contract this summer to Dallas for Dampier’s non-guaranteed and just-dumped contract.

The sum total of a pair of top-three selections over a two-year span?

An argument could be made that Stephen Jackson  resulted, in an obtuse way, from the dumping of Morrison. But that was more about matching salaries (for Vladimir Radmanovic who was acquired for Morrison from the Lakers).

Closer to reality is that absolutely nothing was gained, two prime pieces of draft real estate squandered.

Oh, Larry Brown may yet get the Bobcats back to the postseason, the Bobcats stifling in their halfcourt defense.

Actually, another playoff berth would do more than save face.
It also might save future embarrassment, considering how little the lottery has produced for Charlotte, where No. 2 plus No. 3 have equaled zero.

(And that’s not even getting into Raymond Felton going at No. 5 in 2005 and then leaving this past offseason as a free agent to New York for nothing in return. Another story best left for another day, when the likes of D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson also can be measured.)

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at