Tag: Anderson Varejao

Goran Dragic

Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Goran Dragic got his revenge in concentrated form


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 you were remembering Hank Gathers

1) For Goran Dragic, revenge is a dish best served in concentrated form. Miami’s Goran Dragic played just fewer than 15 minutes against his old team, the Phoenix Suns. You know, the team he kicked on the way out the door (and they have kicked back). Turns out 15 minutes was plenty — Dragic had 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting, got to the free throw line nine times, and helped the Heat to a 115-98 win. Dragic said after the game his back was bothering him so much that he would have sat out against anyone else. But revenge is a great motivator.

2) DeMar DeRozan made sure the Raptors were going to get a win somehow. The Toronto Raptors had lost five in a row and needed a slump buster. A win, no matter how ugly. They got it in the form of Philadelphia, and DeMar DeRozan was going to make sure they got the victory — 35 points and nine rebounds. Even when the Sixers guarded him well — and they didn’t do that consistently — he was making plays, hitting 6-of-9 on contested shots on the night. We’ll see if the Raps can build on this, but for now it’s a win.

3) Stephen Curry is just not fair. Just like it had been in Boston, Golden State started slow in Brooklyn then tried to make a furious late comeback from down double digits — and that comeback was all Stephen Curry. He reminded everyone why he is an MVP frontrunner putting up 18 fourth quarter points. He showed off his handles, he showed off his jumper, he showed off his hesitation move, he was just making plays. When Curry gets going, there is no more entertaining player in the NBA.

4) Yet Curry’s fireworks were not enough — Jarrett Jack got the Nets the win. Brooklyn needed the win; they are one of six Eastern Conference teams that started the day within 2.5 games and all battling for the final two playoff spots. The Nets need wins. They got off to a fast start, shooting 16-of-22 to start the game, they had Brook Lopez put up 26, but they needed Jack to do his thing at the end to secure the win.

5) Blood clots are becoming a real issue in the NBA. Chris Bosh got out of the hospital but is sidelined for the rest of this season with blood clots in his lungs. The thing is, he is not alone in dealing with this condition. As David Aldridge noted in his must-read Monday column at NBA.com, Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic was shut down for the season in January for this and Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao missed the second half of the 2012-13 season for this. It’s not just the NBA, the NHL and MLB have had to face this issue. Aldridge laid it out well.

“I think this is something that’s on our radar,” said Gregg Farnam, the Minnesota Timberwolves head athletic trainer and director of medical operations, and the current chair of the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association, on Saturday.

“It’s something that, in speaking with the league office, we’re in the process of assembling some team athletic trainers, some physicians, some specialists across the country to look deeper into this issue and see if there’s any correlation, and within that correlation see if there’s anything we need to do differently,” said Farnam, who’s in his 18th season with Minnesota and 15th as head athletic trainer.

The extensive travel and time spent on planes by NBA players would, at first glance, be a prime suspect in the causation of clots. Travel of several hours or more at a time — a regular part of the job description for NBA players — is believed to increase the risk of developing embolisms or deep vein thrombosis. Because people sit on planes and leg movement tends to be restricted on flights, even on the charter planes all NBA teams now use, blood can pool in the legs and clots can develop — especially if a player is dehydrated after playing.

It’s something the league needs look into.

Brian Windhorst: Andrew Wiggins would still be with Cavaliers if he signed with LeBron James’ agent

Andrew Wiggins, LeBron James

1. The Cavaliers planned to try trading for Kevin Love if LeBron James signed in Cleveland.

2. LeBron signed in Cleveland.

3. LeBron announced the decision in a first-person Sports Illustrated letter that name-dropped Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao – but not Andrew Wiggins.

4. David Blatt said the Cavaliers wouldn’t trade Wiggins.

5. LeBron reached out to Love and expressed interest in teaming up.

6. Cleveland became willing to trade Wiggins.

7. The Cavaliers traded Wiggins as part of a package for Love.

What would have happened to Wiggins in Cleveland if he, like LeBron, were represented by agent Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN on SiriusXM NBA Radio:

I think he’d still be there.

LeBron definitely wanted to play with Kevin Love, but remember, Wiggins was not mentioned in the LeBron letter. And on July 7th, the Cavs felt like, if they signed LeBron, they would just keep Wiggins, that they wouldn’t trade him for Love. If Love really wanted to play in Cleveland, he could’ve come there as a free agent next summer. By July 10th or 11th, once LeBron had gotten there, all of a sudden, Wiggins was in the deal.

So, you can draw your own map from there. People can deny it from now until those guys retire, but I know exactly what happened. I saw the roadmap.

If Wiggins had signed with LeBron’s agency, then Wiggins would have been in the letter. If Wiggins would have been having a relationship with LeBron in the weeks leading up to the draft, then it would have been a no-brainer.

There might be some speculation in that comment, but it’s definitely informed speculation.

And I think Windhorst is right.

LeBron is loyal to Paul and obviously has considerable sway within the organization. Just look at the extension offer Thompson, another Klutch client, received. Or the concern about Klutch-client Mark Jackson supplanting Blatt.

I don’t think LeBron pushed out Wiggins as punishment for not signing with Paul. But Wiggins signing with Paul would have bonded him with LeBron in a way that never happened.

Without that bond, the Cavaliers comfortably met Minnesota’s trade demands – including Wiggins – to get Love and appease LeBron.

Report: Cavaliers players say they ‘had lost faith’ due to lack of depth and roster construction

Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

Before the season began, the Cavaliers were among the favorites to win the NBA title. But after a much slower than expected start, the belief within the locker room that the team could truly contend began to disappear.

From Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

Under the condition of anonymity, members of the Cavaliers’ roster admitted that they had lost faith due to the lack of depth and structure of the roster. A handful of players said they came to the realization that the roster, as it was constructed prior to the trades, wasn’t equipped to go any further than the second round, if that.

One player claimed the frustration of an “unbalanced roster probably contributed” to the team’s poor body language and effort level they were putting out. Another player vehemently said “it was never Coach [David] Blatt’s fault.”

A couple of recent trades may have changed that perception. Cleveland added some much-needed depth by trading for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, and added an interior defensive presence in Timofey Mozgov to replace the injured Anderson Varejao.

The Cavaliers may not be done dealing, either.

The team was expected to hang onto the odd contract of Brendan Haywood to dangle in trade this summer, because while he’s only on the books for $2.2 million this season, he has one more non-guaranteed year at $10.5 million that could help bring a superstar back in trade by making the salaries match.

But now, it appears as though they may try to use it to further bolster the depth on the roster this season.

From Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com:

The Cavs are still trying to upgrade their backup point guard spot, but that probably won’t happen until closer to the trade deadline. If they can’t find one in trade, they may have to wait until one they like is bought out or until late March when the Chinese League season ends.

There have been whispers throughout the season the Cavs may trade Brendan Haywood’s unique contract before this summer, when it reaches its maximum value. Those whispers are growing louder. In fact, if the Cavs are to upgrade their backup point guard position through trade, they will inevitably have to include Haywood just to make the money match. And from all indications, they’ll have no problem moving Haywood’s contract if the right point guard becomes available. But they won’t know that until closer to the Feb. 19 trade deadline.

Cleveland has finally gotten rolling a little bit, and after a 39-point victory over the Hornets on Friday, the team has now won five straight. That more than anything will restore the faith in the locker room that the Cavaliers may indeed be capable of doing something special.

PBT’s Mid-Season NBA Awards: Curry, Harden, and love for Budenholzer

Serbia v USA - 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship

We’re at the mid-way point of the NBA season — it’s time to hand out some virtual hardware.

Or, at least who we think should take home the NBA award hardware at this point. There’s still half a season to go and so every race is still open to change… except maybe Rookie of the Year.

The races feel wide open because some of the obvious front-runners have been injured and/or off their game — before the season everyone thought that MVP would be a two-horse race between Kevin Durant and LeBron James, but as of right now neither might make the top five for that award. So it goes on down the line.

The entire team at ProBasketballTalk — Kurt Helin, Brett Pollakoff, Dan Feldman and Sean Highkin — voted on all the major end-of-the-year awards and we’ve laid out our choices below below, with a little explanation of the thinking on each. As noted above, this is who would get our vote as of today, this list could look very different come the end of the season.


Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (Kurt, Dan, Sean): Offensively he is a force of nature and is the only player in the NBA in the top 10 in scoring (23.2 per game), assists (8 per game) and he is doing it efficiently — he is taking 16.4 shots a game, and has a ridiculous true shooting percentage of .636. However, the real reason he’s the best player on the best player on the best team is his improved defense. It’s not just the 2.1 steals per game it’s his ability to fight over picks, plus his improved help defense. This race is far from over — with Kevin Durant and LeBron James down this season the field is wide open — but Curry is making a strong case for the MVP. —KH

James Harden, Houston Rockets (Brett): Stephen Curry has been the best player on the league’s best team, and usually that’s enough to warrant MVP consideration. But James Harden has simply been otherworldly offensively, and much more valuable to his team’s overall success. Harden leads the league in scoring, has scored 40 or more points on four separate occasions, and led the Rockets to an 8-3 record while Dwight Howard was sidelined due to injury. Curry may be able to similarly carry his team, but the wealth of talent in Golden State means he hasn’t had to. Harden has, and he’s more than risen to that challenge. —BP


Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves (unanimous): This category has felt cursed with guys like Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle out of the running due to injuries. But let’s not take away from the fact Andrew Wiggins has become a real shooter — he hit 39 percent from three in January — and is regularly notching 20 point games to go with his already solid defense and off the charts athleticism. This is not the most impressive rookie class so far, but Wiggins is starting to look like he could be special. He is developing quickly. —KH


Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks (unanimous): There is a reason the Spurs didn’t want to see Budenholzer leave, that they wanted him to take over for Popovich someday, and you’re seeing it in Atlanta. The culture of selfless basketball, the player movement and ball movement, getting guys to buy in is all very Spursian and Budenholzer has brought it to Atlanta. Oh, and he’s got this team defending as well. Steve Kerr might be second in this race, he’s done a good job, but nobody has exceeded expectations and changed the feel of a team like Budenholzer. —KH

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Lou Williams, Toronto Raptors (Brett): It often takes two seasons for someone to fully recover from knee surgery and Williams is the poster child for that, bouncing back this season for the Raptors to score 15 points a game in better than 24 minutes a night. His athleticism has returned and with that he is attacking and getting to the line 4.8 times a game. He’s the energy the Raptors needed off the bench and is putting up numbers that warrant him winning the award.

Marreese Speights, Golden State Warriors (Kurt, Sean): While he’s playing fewer minutes (just below 19 a game) than any of the other candidates for this rather wide open award, he’s having a huge impact. There are the raw numbers of 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds a game, but Speights is putting up his numbers far more efficiently than his competition with a .568 true shooting percentage and a 21.2 PER. Speights is also the best defensive player of the candidates, and is a central part of the Warriors’ league-best defense. —KH

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers (Dan): Sixth Man of the Year is a wide-open race with at least a dozen legitimate candidates. I went with Thompson, who’s averaging 9.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, because he’s filled a large role while clearly making his team better when on the court. To be fair, Thompson earned a lot of his value while starting for an injured Anderson Varejao, but the award’s criteria doesn’t separate production when starting vs. coming off the bench. The only rule is a player must come off the bench more than he starts, which Thompson has (31 games off the bench, 11 starts). With Timofey Mozgov stepping in, Thompson probably won’t deserve this honor at the end of the year, but for the season’s first half, he’s got my vote. —DF


Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Kurt, Dan): You really need to watch Golden State’s league-best defense to see how Draymond Green is key, how he is the glue that makes it work and how he should be DPOY. The advanced stats show it, he leads the NBA in defensive rating and defensive win shares. If you get caught up in his traditional numbers — not bad at 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals a game but not eye popping — you miss the point. This is more like Marc Gasol winning a couple of years ago, when you watched closely he deserved it. There are other deserving candidates this year but Green should be at the top of the list. —KH

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (Sean): Father time is losing the foot race with Duncan and he has anchored another strong year from the Spurs defense. Duncan has some raw numbers — two blocks a game while being in the top-five of both defensive rating and defensive win shares — but it is his intangibles leading that defense and make the Spurs dangerous. It doesn’t matter what age he is. —KH

DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (Brett): Remember that part of defense is rebounding — you need to end the other team’s possession — and nobody has been better at that this season than Jordan, who is pulling down 13.4 boards a game. Combine that with his 2.4 blocks a game (second in the league) and you have a guy in charge of the glass when he is on the court.


Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (Kurt, Brett, Dan): If you’re going to improve, do it in a contract year. Butler and the Bulls couldn’t agree on a contract extension number and now the Bulls are going to really pay for him because in addition to his quality defense Butler has found his shooting stroke, hitting 39.7 percent from three (up from 28.3 percent a year ago), and is shooting 46.5 percent overall (up from 39.7 percent last season). He’s averaging 20.6 points a game for an improved Bulls offense, and while he’s been in a bit of a slump the past few weeks he’s still the leader in this category. —KH

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Sean): Under head coach Steve Kerr Green has jumped both in his production and role to become a key part of the West’s best team in the first half. He’s scoring more points (11.5 a game) but is doing it more efficiently and he is taking more threes and helping spread the floor for a team that loaded with dangerous shooters. He’s also a very good defender who has been the glue for making what the Warriors do on that end work. His improvement, and the trust Kerr has shown in him, make him a Sixth Man of the Year.

Report: Cavaliers inquire about Jordan Farmar, who was recently waived by the Clippers

Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Clippers

After a much slower than expected start to the season, the Cavaliers weren’t about to sit idly by without trying to improve player personnel in order to turn things around.

Doing so would have essentially been a slap in the face to LeBron James, and might have been perceived as willfully wasting his first season back in Cleveland, and one of the few he has left to play while still in his prime.

So, trades have been made — Dion Waiters is gone, and J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have been added to the roster. In addition, the Cavs went out and got Timofey Mozgov in hopes of addressing their glaring need of legitimate frontcourt size, one that existed even before Anderson Varejao went down with a season-ending injury.

The roster stands at 14 players, and all that’s left is to add some additional depth at the point guard position. Kyrie Irving is playing at an All-Star level, but is averaging 38.2 minutes per game. It’s not surprising, then, that the recently-waived Jordan Farmar is someone who Cleveland is taking a long look at as a possible acquisition.

From Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have inquired about recently-waived backup point guard Jordan Farmar, a league source told Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The dialogue was explained as a “feeling-out” process. Farmar, 28, was bought out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. He clears waivers on Sunday. …

He’s very much still a quality backup. He also has ties with Cavaliers coach David Blatt, playing for Blatt in 2011 with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The “quality backup” part remains to be seen; Farmar averaged just 4.6 points and 1.9 assists in 14.7 minutes per game for the Clippers this season, while appearing in 36 contests for them off the bench.

But Farmar says the parting of ways was mutual, after his role wasn’t clearly defined and he clashed a bit woth head coach Doc Rivers.

From Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

“It just ended up not being a great fit,” Farmar said. “We both decided it was better off that we part ways.” …

“I just never felt I had a real role,” Farmar said. “We talked in the offseason about what my job was going to be. The opportunity just wasn’t the same. It was never time for me to really ever get going and feel comfortable and feel like I had a place on the team.”

There wouldn’t be a ton of minutes available for Farmar in Cleveland initially, but he’d presumably have the opportunity to earn more as the season wears on. Cleveland, however, is expected to take its time in making this decision, and is looking at other candidates, as well, with Nate Robinson being the most prominent name that has surfaced at this stage of the process.