Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he has indeed been informed by team management that he will not be traded before the league’s Feb. 23 trade deadline.
“Now everybody can stop talking about it,” Millsap said after the Hawks’ shootaround in Basketball City before playing the Nets. “I can stop thinking about it and just focus on basketball.”
Is this what Millsap wanted?
“Oh yeah, absolutely. For me and my team, for us to really do something, I think that all the rumors (have) got to stop. I think we are at a good place right now during the season and our main focus is basketball and winning and winning big.”
The Hawks wouldn’t tell Millsap he is staying them move him.
The Hawks have a strong defense and are currently the four seed in the East (which would mean home court advantage in the first round). How far they can go in a conference with LeBron James and the Cavaliers is up for debate, but without Millsap they likely would have fallen out of the postseason entirely. Now, they can advance a round with some breaks.
No trade also means the Hawks have made peace with offering him a max contract next summer, which will start at around $36 million. Millsap is going to be a Hawk for a while.
Sarcastic Cousins on trailing Pachulia in All-Star fan voting: “He’s a better player than me right now”
That’s not really much of a debate, except in the minds of some All-Star voters. In case you missed it, the first round of fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game came out last week, and if they stood Pachulia would be a starter. The people of Georgia have spoken — not the state, but the country (where Pachulia was born). This is why the NBA tweaked the voting formula to give the media and players half the voting power (not that the player votes are always serious).
DeMarcus Cousins is sixth. Which seems low, but you can certainly defend voting for four of the guys above him.
The Oklahoma City front line dominated Chicago on Monday night — Steven Adams had 22 points, Enes Kanter came off the bench for 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, plus had 11 rebounds, and the Thunder won handily (also because Russell Westbrook was impressive and Jimmy Butler was sick).
However, Kanter’s best play may have came when he tried to give the referee a technical.
Late in the second quarter Kanter was at the free throw line and seems to be wiping something off the court and getting set, when the referee tossed him the ball before he was ready. Kanter tossed it back, then tried to give the official a technical. Turns out he can’t, but it’s still pretty funny.
Three things we learned on Monday: The New York Knicks know drama
It was a light NBA schedule with just three games, so as not to distract from Clemson’s comeback, but the Knicks never give up the spotlight easily.
1) Derrick Rose goes AWOL, Phil Jackson doesn’t talk, and the Knicks are still the Knicks. Drama — often unnecessary drama — just follows the Knicks around. They are their own reality series, throw in a “tribal council” and some tiki torches and you’ve got a hit.
Monday night the Knicks had a chance to snap their recent slide when they took on the Pelicans, but the news became about point guard Derrick Rose — he just didn’t show up for the game. He had been at shootaround Monday afternoon, but when he didn’t show up for the game the team was left scrambling. Team executives didn’t know where he was, they were calling him but to no avail. Nobody seemed to know where he went.
After the game, Rose’s long-time teammate Joakim Noah was able to get in touch with him and find out he was okay. Rose reportedly texted other friends he was fine as well, and the organization had some level of contact with him and told the media he had a “family situation.” The good news is that Rose is safe. However, “family situation” is vague (and something the media will be careful with, NBA players are people with real lives, and not all of that needs to be public). We don’t know what happened yet, the Knicks themselves don’t seem to know.
The reality is two possible things are going on here.
One, Rose did have some kind of family crises that required his attention (and reported return to Chicago). In his haste to deal with the situation, Rose didn’t bother to contact the team. While that is a fairly big oversight — it’s not just Rose who didn’t call the team, it was those close to him as well — it is possible. Even coach Jeff Hornacek said after the game the organization didn’t have enough information to say what had happened.
Second, Rose is frustrated and quit on his team. Rumors of Rose being frustrated with his role have been making the rounds in the league for weeks. Rose has put up decent numbers this season for the Knicks (17.3 points per game) and is moving better than he has in years, but don’t confuse that with him being so good he should be a key focal point of the Knicks offense — New York is 1-12 when Rose takes 17 shots or more. This needs to be Kristaps Porzingis’ team — he is their best player now. Rose was benched in the fourth quarter against Milwaukee Friday because the undrafted Ron Baker was playing better — and the Knicks came from behind to win that game. Rose and Hornacek’s relationship is reportedly getting tense because of how Rose is being used. Did Rose just decide to walk away in frustration?
If he did just walk, Rose needs to be done in New York. You can’t just walk away. His teammates and the organization should not tolerate that — lord knows Knicks fans won’t. Those people value effort and hard work.
Most likely it will be spun as the former, regardless of reality. Rose will be back playing point guard for the Knicks soon enough. However, between this, Rose missing training camp to deal with a civil rape trial (of which Rose was found not liable), plus his play this season, the entire situation has the feeling of a one-and-done with Rose and New York (he is on a one-year contract). The Knicks don’t need the added drama.
One other thought here: Where was Phil Jackson in all of this? On almost any other team the team GM/President — who was in the building — would at least make a statement to the media about what was going on, not just throw his coach out there to deal with it (Hornacek was busy coaching a game, he had little information about what was happening). Jackson went out and got Rose and Noah this summer — a win now move, rather than a slower build for the future around Porzingis — so this is his guy. Jackson should be the one addressing the situation.
2) Also in New York, Anthony Davis put up 40 and showcased his skills, while Carmelo Anthony got tossed. Rose’s disappearing act overshadowed Anthony Davis dropping 40 and looking every bit the top-five NBA player that he is. The Pelicans won 110-96, and it wasn’t that close, thanks to Davis.
Carmelo Anthony didn’t want to stick around for this disaster and got himself ejected.
3) Russell Westbrook outduels ailing Jimmy Butler to get Thunder win. This felt like it could have been a showdown, but it ended up being more of a showcase. Jimmy Butler wasn’t feeling well, and having Andre Roberson draped all over him certainly didn’t help matters — Butler shot just 0-of-6 from the floor. Without him, the Bulls didn’t stand a chance — not with Russell Westbrook doing Russell Westbrook things. He had 21 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds, plus shot 50 percent from the field.
However, the real difference was in the front court — the Thunder were far more athletic and talented, outworked the Bulls frontline, and that decided the game. Steven Adams’ 22 points led the Thunder in scoring, while Enes Kanter came off the bench for 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, plus he pulled down 11 rebounds. The Thunder were +24 points in the paint, they owned the inside, and that was the biggest difference Monday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio lead Timberwolves over Mavericks, 101-92
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Karl-Anthony Towns had 34 points and 11 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added 13 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a four-game losing streak with a 101-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.
Towns hit 15 of 19 shots from the floor as the Timberwolves shot 56.3 percent.
Rubio scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including consecutive baskets during an 8-0 run that gave the Timberwolves some breathing room after Dallas had whittled a 21-point lead to 81-77.
He hit three free throws with 2:08 to play to give Minnesota a 97-83 advantage.
Towns got the Wolves off to a fast start, scoring Minnesota’s first seven points and 16 total in the first seven minutes. He finished with 20 in the period as the Timberwolves took a 33-14 lead after one quarter. The Wolves shot 65 percent from the field in the quarter.
They stretched the lead to 44-23 before the Mavericks responded with a 15-2 run to get back in the game. Nowitzki hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to close the first half as Dallas pulled to 54-46 at the break.
Mavericks: Dallas had won seven straight against the Timberwolves, including four in a row at Target Center. This was the first meeting of the season between the Midwest Division foes. . Nowitzki topped his previous season high of four 3-pointers. The last time he had six in a game was April 1, 2014. . Andrew Bogut missed the fourth quarter with an injured hamstring.
Timberwolves: Towns scored 20 points in a quarter for the second time in his career. He had 22 in the first quarter against New York on Nov. 30. . Zach LaVine left early in the fourth with a bruised left hip and did not return. Lavine grabbed Devon Harris to get called for a foul, then limped off the court and into the Minnesota locker room. He was replaced by Tyus Jones. . Shabazz Muhammad scored in double figures off the bench for the sixth time in his last eight games, finishing with 11 points in 20-plus minutes.
Mavericks: Dallas plays the Phoenix Suns on Thursday in Mexico City.
Timberwolves: Minnesota hosts the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.