Jason Richardson last played an NBA game on Jan. 18, 2013. He underwent knee surgery which had a long recovery timetable, then suffered a stress fracture in his foot near the beginning of this season.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown promised that Richardson would not go quietly into retirement, but with the team looking to rebuild and feature young talent, it seemed as though the veteran’s playing days, due to the injuries as well as the situation in Philadelphia, might be finished.
But Richardson has been nothing but a positive influence on the younger players during his rehabilitation, and his hard work finally paid off on Friday, as he returned to the starting lineup to appear in his first NBA game in more than two seasons.
Richardson went 0-for-2 from the field in his first eight minutes of action, but was active in finishing with five rebounds, two steals, an assist and a blocked shot. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season, but whether he continues his career or he doesn’t, it’s a triumph of sorts just making it back to the NBA level after more than two long years on the sidelines.
Bucks waive Kenyon Martin to clear roster space for trade additions
Kenyon Martin, who was brought to Milwaukee to provide some depth up front and be a veteran presence in a young locker room, has been let go to make way for more youth.
The Bucks added Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee via trades. They already had a full 15-man roster and only sent out Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall in those trades. The Bucks needed to clear one more roster space.
Martin was the guy. He was waived Thursday
“We thank Kenyon for his contributions on the court and in the locker room,” said Bucks GM John Hammond said in a statement. “He’s a real professional and we wish him well.”
Martin — a former teammate of Bucks’ coach Jason Kidd — had played through two 10-day contracts then was signed for the rest of the season with the Bucks, who were looking for depth up front with Larry Sanders away from the team. But Martin didn’t play much. He got in 11 games for a total of 104 minutes, and while he could give the team a few minutes his prime is clearly far in the rear view mirror.
It’s unlikely another team gives him a shot.
Five Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: Oklahoma City may be best in West now
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 wondering why you get the munchies while high…
1) Oklahoma City should now be the favorite to win the West. The lowest seed to win the NBA title was the Houston Rockets as the six seed (the only eight seed to make the NBA Finals was the 1999 Knicks). The Thunder may rewrite that history. Oklahoma City was a potential contender before Thursday — healthy again this was the same team that made the conference finals last season and, once Serge Ibaka returned, gave San Antonio all it could handle. But they won the trade deadline Thursday adding Enes Kanter, D.J. Augustin, and Steve Novak. They now have a bench they can trust in the playoffs, something they have lacked since James Harden left. If you had any question how good the Thunder are you could see it Thursday night as they jumped on a good Dallas team early and never let up. The one concern with OKC is health — Kevin Durant’s surgically-repaired foot was clearly bothering him Thursday night. The West remains loaded and to count out Golden State, Memphis, San Antonio, or a few other teams is a mistake. But right now, I’d bet on OKC.
2) Tim Duncan can still dunk. Watch out Zach LaVine, the Big Fundamental is coming for you. First he did this on DeAndre Jordan (more on him later):
Then later in the game Duncan (who had 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting) did this:
3) Sam Hinkie likes to blow things up. I’ve been in the corner of the Sixers’ GM through all of this rebuild that has become the poster child for tanking — for the Sixers to become elite the core needs to be built through the draft. I’ve said we need to wait until 2018 to truly judge this plan. And I still believe those things — but I don’t get today’s moves. These Sixers were starting to develop an identity. They were playing good defense, and while the offense lacked shooting you could envision them becoming dangerous with Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and some more picks coming over the next couple years. So Hinkie blew it up. I could live with trading Michael Carter-Williams for the Lakers first round pick that belonged to the Suns (top five protected this year, top three next year; the Lakers stink that should be a very high pick). But I don’t get trading K.J. McDaniels just because they have to pay him some this summer — now the Sixers are going to pay JaVale McGee instead, because they took him on to get a pick. At some point all the assets need to become players and you started to see that in Philly, but the team was blown up again. It’s time to build something. But I’ll reserve total judgement for a few more years.
4) Portland quietly had a big day Thursday. With the frenzy of trades at the deadline there was a lot of buzz about how the Thunder got better, how the Sixers got worse, and what the Suns were doing (Brett Pollakoff of PBT liked their moves, I’m not a fan). Lost in all that — Portland had a fantastic trade deadline. They are a team with questions at the three and questions about depth, they went out and added Arron Afflalo from the Nuggets. This is a fantastic fit, a sixth man who can knock down the three, is a solid defender and can create his own shot on the wing playing the two or three. Portland’s starting five — Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez — outscores opponents by 9.6 points per 100 possessions, but when the team goes to the bench things go sideways. Afflalo helps change that. Portland just got a lot better.
5) Blake who? DeAndre Jordan finding offensive game at right time. That’s three wins in a row for the Clippers without Blake Griffin, this time Jordan put up 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting plus he had 18 rebounds. He was a force inside from the very start and was the focal point all night because Gregg Popovich went to the “hack-the-DJ” strategy. It worked in the first half when Jordan was 4-of-14 from the line, then in the second half he was 6-of-14 but the Clippers did not surrender their lead. With the Dallas loss to OKC, the Clippers are now the five seed in the West, and while things will change before the end of the season so far they are not slipping down the ladder without Griffin. And DJ is the main reason.