If Stern penalizes players who sit to rest, watch “injuries” rise

16 Comments

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

David Stern has a lot of questions to answer if he is going to fine Gregg Popovich or Spurs owner Peter Holt for sitting Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on Thursday night against the Heat. We have already covered those questions in detail.

It is within Stern’s right to make a league rule about playing healthy players (and 20 years ago he did fine Pat Riley for resting a healthy Magic Johnson in the final game of the season, although that same thing has gone unpunished since).

However, coaches want their players to rest. There are all kinds of studies that will show you rested players not only play better but also are less likely to be injured. They will find a way.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN was thinking along the same lines.

For years in the league, players that were not one of the 12 allowed to dress for each game had to be put on the injury list. To be put on the list officially teams had to announce an injury. In the absence of a legit condition, teams started routinely to announce players had been diagnosed with various forms of tendinitis.

If you researched the transactions from the 1990s and early 2000s, you’d have seen an incredible wave of patella tendinitis and Achilles tendinitis that sprawled across the NBA. Remarkably it often struck end of the roster players who rarely played. Thanks either to medical science or a change in paperwork, games missed due to such injuries have been eradicated like polio.

The magical cure was not a vaccination, but rather the league changed the rules so you could just designate a healthy player to sit.

But if Stern comes down on high with an edict about resting healthy players where fines could be forthcoming, suddenly the cases of tendonitis — or mild sprains, or other such maladies — will suddenly be on the rise again.

Just something to watch. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Lakers fans give Dwyane Wade standing ovation, check out L.A. tribute video

Getty Images
1 Comment

Lakers fans take a lot of abuse from other fan bases, some of it well deserved, but the core fans know the game.

And they know how much Dwyane Wade has meant to it.

Which is why they gave him a standing ovation when he checked into the game Monday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers also put together a tribute video that played in the arena.

Classy move, Lakers. Well done.

Pacers’ Myles Turner shuts down Bradley Beal at the rim (VIDEO)

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Myles Turner owned the paint in the first half — the Pacers’ center had five blocked shots in the first 24 minutes.

The big shut down was on Bradley Beal, this is how a big man recovers and goes after it.

Then later there was this play leading to a bucket on the other end.

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

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.