After agreeing to terms with Greg Oden on Friday, the Miami Heat now have 13 players who will be on guaranteed contracts for next season. They have the rights to a 14th in Jarvis Varnado, but his deal is not fully guaranteed just yet.
If Miami is to max its roster out with 15 guaranteed contracts, the team figures to add a veteran presence that could help reduce the minutes of some of the starters during the regular season, and perhaps even be there to provide some assistance in the playoffs if it becomes absolutely necessary.
Telfair played competently in a season and a half with the Suns, before being dealt to the Raptors in exchange for Hamed Haddadi and a second round pick as the team began to rid itself of veterans as part of a rebuilding effort that began with a coaching change in the middle of last season.
The nine-year NBA veteran has career averages of 7.4 points and 3.5 assists in 21.6 minutes per game, though the numbers were a bit leaner last year in 16.6 minutes per contest in total while playing in Toronto and Phoenix.
JaVale McGee dunks on Hamed Haddadi, bows to him afterward (VIDEO)
Spurs 105, Thunder 93: The Spurs depth was too much for the Thunder — San Antonio made its big runs when it was bench-on-bench (mostly). Part of that was that the Thunder were playing their fourth game in five days. Par of that is that the Spurs are really, really good. We broke this Spurs win down in more detail.
Warriors 92, Knicks 63: It’s hard to accurately describe how bad the Knicks were in this game, but let me try with this: One week ago Stephen Curry, arguably the best pure shooter in the game today, dropped 54 points on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Monday night the Knicks decided to go under virtually every pick against him, giving him room to knock down jumpers. They’re lucky he only scored 26. David Lee returned and added 21.
The 63 points the Knicks scored were the fewest the Warriors franchise has allowed since 1958. When they were still the Philadelphia Warriors. The Knicks shot 27.4 percent for the game. J.R. Smith got ejected so he didn’t have to watch any more (not really, but nobody would have blamed him).
Carmelo Anthony was back from a knee injury and he looked slow and like he needed more time off, scoring 14 points (but getting 10 boards). Which leads to the stupidest thing the Knicks did all night — why did Mike Woodson play Anthony when the Knicks were getting blown out by more than 20 points in the third? Why did Woodson put him back in the game with nine minutes to go? Did he look fine to you, Woodson? Think he could just run through that knee issue that’s bothered him for weeks? Rest the man. Keep this up and you could actually kill any Knicks playoff hopes, Woodson. Don’t do it.
Nuggets 108, Suns 93: The Nuggets played this game like they knew they could take control and win it whenever they wanted. The team sleepwalked through the first half, yet still led by three at the break. They put it away in the fourth quarter with 10 fast break points in the final period, while not committing a single turnover in the final 12 minutes.
If you need proof that this was Denver’s game to lose, consider that Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala combined to shoot just 3-14 from the field, while Kosta Koufos led the team in scoring with a career-high 22 points on 10-11 shooting.
It’s tough to know what to make of the Suns at this point, considering that there doesn’t seem to be any plan in place other than rotating players in, seemingly at random, under the broad guise of player development. A perfect example: Shannon Brown had been essentially benched in favor of sticking to this mantra about a month ago, and received DNP-CDs in his last 10 games. He made an appearance in the second quarter of this one for some reason, though, and drew the biggest applause of the night from the fans in attendance.
As an aside, Hamed Haddadi of the Suns also had a career-high, and finished with 13 points in 19 minutes. So, yeah. It was a pretty special night in Phoenix. —Brett Pollakoff
Sixers 106, Nets 97: Philadelphia had lost 12 of their last 13 — including Sunday night against lowly Orlando — but they played a much better and more complete game on Monday night. Out of nowhere. Spencer Hawes had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, leading six Philly players in double figures. As a team, Philly shot 52.6 percent. As has been the problem much of the year, the Nets could not get a stop when they needed it. Deron Williams tried to take it on himself at times and finished with 27, with Joe Johnson adding 20 and Brook Lopez chipping in 19. But if the Nets can’t hold off the Bulls or Celtics for the four seed, this is the kind of game they will look back on and regret.
Jazz 103, Pistons 90: Utah desperately needed a win, and the Pistons were the doormats they required. This was close for a quarter but the Pistons were on the second night of a back-to-back and they slowed down in the second quarter, Utah went on a 12-0 run and pretty much coasted in from there. You knew it was going to be Utah’s night when that run started with Jeremy Evans knocking down a 19-foot jumper. Mo Williams had 20 points, Al Jefferson had16 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz. On top of everything else that has gone wrong for the Pistons, Brandon Knight sprained his ankle and could be out a while.
Most nights, we have the game’s biggest stars lighting up the scoreboard while leading their teams to victory. That wasn’t the case on Monday, as the leading scorers on the winning side of things were largely unheralded players.
Third Star: Kosta Koufos (Game-high and career-high 22 points, 10 rebounds in win over Suns)
Koufos isn’t known for his offense, but after a 13-point first quarter in Phoenix, it seemed more than likely he’d have a shot at a career night — especially against a Suns team playing Hamed Haddadi as its only true center.
Nuggets coach George Karl was quick to say “no” when (jokingly) asked if he’d consider featuring Koufos offensively in the future, and Koufos himself couldn’t have been more joyless in the locker room afterward about his scoring output, giving answers to reporters about team and winning above all else while refusing to crack a single smile.
Second Star: Spencer Hawes (24 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists in win over Nets)
Yeah, I don’t know how this happens, either. But apparently Hawes took it to the Nets all night long, and lead a Sixers team that had lost five straight — most recently to the dismal Orlando Magic — to a win over the four-seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
First Star: Tiago Splitter (Team-high 21 points on 9-11 shooting, 10 rebounds in win over Thunder)
In a battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference, the Spurs made sure it wasn’t much of a contest at all. A bad Russell Westbrook game plus a typically stellar balanced attack from San Antonio had the Spurs up by as many as 18 after trailing by 13 early, and Splitter’s presence inside, along with his team’s overall defensive effort on OKC, were huge reasons why.
The Suns are in a full-fledged rebuild, and have no need for serviceable reserve players who would take minutes over the team’s young talent that needs to develop.
As a result, Phoenix has agreed to send Sebastian Telfair to the Raptors in exchange for Hamed Haddadi and a protected second round draft pick, according to multiple reports.
Telfair has averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 assists in 17.3 minutes per game this season, but has only appeared in two of the Suns’ last nine games. His time in the rotation has instead been given to Kendall Marshall and Wesley Johnson to give them the opportunity to learn on the court by playing meaningful NBA minutes.
Haddadi ended up in Toronto as part of the Rudy Gay trade, and barely gets off the bench. He appeared in just 13 games in Memphis this season, averaging 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 6.2 minutes per game. His contract could expire after this season, if a team option for 2013-14 in the neighborhood of $1.4 million is not exercised.
For the Suns, this was about getting any compensation possible for Telfair, who wasn’t going to play for them much the rest of the season anyway. The second round pick is plenty, and the Raptors get a decent point guard to back up Kyle Lowry as they try to make a late push to get into the postseason.