Miami’s bench may seem rather shallow, but the Heat are actually operating at the league’s maximum roster size. So when Erick Dampier became a top candidate for replacing the minutes and production of Udonis Haslem, that meant one thing: if Dampier was to be had, one member of the Heat would have to go. Jamaal Magloire, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, and Dexter Pittman, were all playing out minimal one-year deals, but in a bit of a surprise, Miami elected to part ways with Stackhouse in spite of their limited number of playable wings.
“I never really got a chance to have any impact on what was happening one way or the other,” Stackhouse told ESPN.com via e-mail. “They know that. “I really feel they had full intentions of [providing that opportunity], but the injury to [Udonis Haslem] coupled with being outrebounded and losing the paint game in all of the losses — and even a few of the wins — put the onus on addressing those issues as opposed to finding out how I could complement what was going on, which I fully understand.
“The business is the business. I have no complaints. I thank Pat Riley and the Miami Heat organization for giving me the opportunity, which allowed me to get in NBA condition [and] will definitely benefit me when another opportunity arises.”
Miami doesn’t need high-minute subs due to the presence of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but shouldn’t they have more than Eddie House and James Jones available in case of injury? Particularly considering the minor tweaks that has already caused Wade to miss games during the regular season and preseason?
I guess Stack’s usefulness to the Heat will be re-evaluated if any more injuries arise, but for now, Miami is content to wait for Mike Miller’s return while working Dampier into the big man rotation. No one should question the logic of the Dampier signing; his combination of interior defense (both on-ball and help) and rebounding is an unquestionable boon for Miami. But given the Heat’s needs elsewhere on the depth chart, it’s a bit curious that they chose to part with Stack as opposed to the now redundant Jamaal Magloire.
Lakers fans give Dwyane Wade standing ovation, check out L.A. tribute video
Turner has had a strong defensive season in the paint so far for the Pacers, a big step for him. He’s sixth among centers in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus stat (which has its flaws but is a good snapshot).
Washington learned that the hard way.
Report: Houston kicking tires on J.R. Smith trade with Cavaliers
The Houston Rockets desperately need help on the wing (among other things, but wing is the personnel focus). The Rockets would also like to have less salary on the books next season, giving them some flexibility and lowering the tax bill.
J.R. Smith fits both of those bills, so Houston and GM Daryl Morey are at least taking a look at a potential trade, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.
The Rockets have expressed exploratory interest in acquiring JR Smith, according to league sources. Smith is currently on hiatus from the Cavaliers as Cleveland seeks a new home for the veteran shooting guard via trade
While there is some logic to this, we are a long way from it being a reality. Smith does not exactly have a positive trade value, at least as a player right now.
Smith was part of the rotation that helped the LeBron-led Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals last season, but he will be best remembered for the Game 1 blunder in the Finals that deflated the Cavs. Without the playmaking of LeBron, Smith struggled to start this season, shooting 34 percent for the Cavaliers in limited minutes, before going on hiatus from the team. That said, in a better situation where he was asked to play a small and specific role, maybe he could still help.
Smith is guaranteed $18.59 million this season but only $3.87 million of his $15.68 million salary for next season is guaranteed.
Houston seems a logical fit. Money wise, a Brandon Knight for Smith trade works, but the Rockets will have to throw in picks or other sweeteners to get the Cavaliers interested. Cleveland also likely will be patient, hoping that as the deadline gets closer there is a little bidding war for Smith.
Still, the Rockets are active on the trade market (as always), and they need wings, so this is worth keeping an eye on.
Lakers’ Rajon Rondo has fluid drained from hand slowing his recovery from surgery
Rajon Rondo has been out more than three weeks following surgery to repair the third metacarpal bone in his shooting hand (his right hand), and while there has been no official timeline he was expected back in the next week or two. He’s been out on the court before recent Lakers’ games getting in some work.
But he has now hit a bit of a setback, Lakers’ coach Luke Walton said on Wednesday. Here is what Walton said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“There’s a little bit of swelling,” Walton said at Lakers shootaround on Monday in advance of his team’s game against the Miami Heat. “We’re going to shut him down for a few days then get back out after it again.”
It’s not clear when Rondo will return. He was averaging 8.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game before the injury.
The Lakers have gone 8-4 since Rondo went to the bench with his fractured hand. Without the veteran point guard, LeBron James has had the ball in his hands more as a playmaker (to Magic Johnson’s frustration at times), paired with Lonzo Ball (who has started to show some real chemistry with LeBron). The Lakers offense hasn’t been particularly good in these past dozen games, bottom 10 in the league, but they have balanced that with a top 7 defense. The Lakers are getting wins thanks to that defense and enough LeBron shot creation to get it done.
The Lakers are going to have to keep getting it done and now without Brandon Ingram, too, who is expected to miss a few more games with a sprained ankle.