Report: Amar’e Stoudemire would consider return to Phoenix this summer


Homecomings are the new wave among NBA stars. Between LeBron James in Cleveland, Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and Tayshaun Prince in Detroit, more and more big-name players are returning to the franchises with which they’re the most synonymous. According to a new report, Amar’e Stoudemire could follow suit this summer.

From Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck:

The NBA trade deadline turned into homecoming day, with Kevin Garnett returning to Minnesota and Tayshaun Prince going back to Detroit. Could an Amar’e Stoudemire-Phoenix reunion be next? Perhaps. Stoudemire joined the Dallas Mavericks last week after being waived by the Knicks, but he’ll be a free agent again in July, and sources say he would welcome a return to Phoenix, where he spent his first eight seasons. Stoudemire loves the city, and his creaky knees could benefit from a reunion with the Suns’ renowned medical staff. Whether the Suns would reciprocate the interest is unclear. But the Suns could use a scoring big man, and team officials could certainly use a PR boost after trading the popular Goran Dragic to Miami last week.

It makes sense, particularly the medical-staff angle. Stoudemire’s body has completely broken down since he left Phoenix for New York in 2010, and if their staff could extend his career by a few years, he would surely welcome that.

But the Suns just traded for Brandan Wright, who is essentially a healthy version of what Stoudemire would give them on offense, and a better defender. Wright is a free agent this summer, but after trading two picks to the Celtics for him, Phoenix will be motivated to re-sign him. A Stoudemire return would be primarily a nostalgia exercise.

Then again, that’s more or less what Stoudemire is at this point. He can still be an effective player in limited minutes, but he’s already sitting out back-to-backs in Dallas. He isn’t an everyday player anymore. And it’s highly unlikely he’d command more than the minimum salary. So if the Suns are interested, it may be the best thing for both parties.

Doc Rivers’ buyout market plan falls short, leaving Clippers with short bench


The Clippers are a very dangerous team with their top six players — Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford — are healthy and some combination of them is on the court. But go much past that and things start to fall apart. The Clippers lack depth.

Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and GM, planned to help remedy that the same way he did last season — on the buyout market. That’s where they picked up Glen Davis and Danny Granger back then. This time around Doc cleared roster space — that was part of what was behind the Austin Rivers’ trade — and was ready to pounce.

But this year Josh Smith chose Houston. Kendrick Perkins — who played for Rivers in Boston — chose Cleveland. Tayshaun Prince and Kevin Garnett were traded and not bought out.

That left the Clippers with nothing. It left Los Angeles flat-footed in a Western Conference where Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Memphis and others made moves to upgrade their rosters. Rivers tried to put a spin on it, speaking to Arash Markazi of ESPN.

“We like our team,” Rivers said Wednesday. “We actually like our basketball team, and if we could add something that can help that, we will. What people don’t understand is chemistry is so freaking important. Unless it’s somebody you think is going to really change your team, this team was a couple bad plays in Game 6 away from the Western Conference finals last year. We lost some guys and added some guys, but we like our team.”

The real problem was that Rivers’ tied his own hands this summer. He wanted Spencer Hawes and gave him the full mid-level exception to land the reserve big man. In doing so he triggered a hard cap on the Clippers of $4 million more than the luxury tax line, and the Clippers have been within a couple million of that all season. Meaning all they could ever do was offer minimum salary contracts to anyone who came available. It also made it hard to make a trade (not that the Clippers had assets people wanted, aside Crawford) because the Clippers couldn’t take on salary.

That said, I agree with Rivers, I like this team. But I don’t love it. And they don’t seem a team likely to come out of the loaded West.

The Clippers, at 37-21, are currently the six seed in the West. They are just 2.5 games out of the three seed, but they are also just four games up on the hard-charging eight seed Thunder.

This Clipper team has not been as good as the one that made the second round last season. That’s mostly because their defense hasn’t been as tight — they are giving up 104.2 points per 100 possessions, which is 2.1 more than last season. If you don’t think that’s much, it’s the difference between seventh best in the NBA last season and 18th this season. That defense has been better the last few games, but they need to sustain that — and do it with Griffin back in the lineup — before I’m a believer.

They’re just going to have to do it in-house, because there is no help coming.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: The Spurs losing rodeo road trip a bad sign


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 trying to stop a koala who wants to drive a car

1) Spurs going to have first-ever losing record on rodeo trip. They look nowhere near team that can repeat. The San Antonio Spurs have dropped four in a row after falling to the Blazers. That drops them to 2-5 on the nine-game rodeo road trip — for the first time in the Popovich/Tim Duncan era the Spurs will finish with a losing record on the trip. The Spurs haven’t looked right on either side of the ball for a while. That said, the bigger concern has been on defense, where in the last 10 games they have allowed 103.6 points per 100 possessions, 20th in the NBA in that time. All season long the Spurs have not looked elite, but we have given them a pass because of injuries, and because we’ve thought they were dead before only to see them rise up and smack everyone. But let’s be honest: Right now the Spurs are playing the worst of any of the playoff teams in the West. Tony Parker has not looked the same, and he is the key to their offense. The defending champs look a lot like one-and-dones come the playoffs. And I’m not sure they can flip the switch one more time.

2) Evan Turner can give you a triple double. We have proof. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Knicks. Evan Turner was doing all the little things, playing tough defense, controlling the flow of the offense, and so Brad Turner left him out there for an extended run. Turner finished with his first career triple-double of 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

3) They love Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. But we knew that. Listen to the welcome he got as he was introduced again in Minnesota.

4) It may have been freezing outside, but Atlanta is getting hot again inside Phillips. The guys in the suits almost called this game off because the weather outside was frightful, but when the game started it was the Hawks who were cold, and the Mavericks were up by 14 in the first. Over the last couple games, the Hawks have started to get their groove back, and they did in this one. In the second quarter, the Hawks made it close then took over the lead with a 13-0 run in the third, and they never looked back. It was the balanced Hawks attack, led by Dennis Schröder with 17 points off the bench. The Hawks are back to beating good Western Conference teams.

5) Zach Randolph has some real shooting range. Nobody can stop Zach Randolph. Nobody.

WATCH: Kevin Garnett introduced in Timberwolves return


Kevin Garnett returned to the Timberwolves lineup for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, and since he’s the greatest player in franchise history, the fans were predictably pumped to see him re-introduced.

Garnett was traded back to Minnesota at the deadline, and said of his return, “If you ever have a fairytale, this is how you want to do it.”

The full video of the Timberwolves intros can be seen below.

Kevin Garnett is already yelling at his Timberwolves teammates. In a good way.


The Kevin Garnett homecoming to Minnesota isn’t just a marketing ploy for a franchise about to miss the playoffs again, it’s a chance to bring a leader and teacher into a young locker room. Minnesota is loaded with inexperienced but talented players who need to be shown how to be a true professional. They need a mentor.

Garnett is already teaching lessons.

And doing it in his own style, which means a lot of yelling. Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press has the details.

During Tuesday’s early afternoon practice, Garnett twice yelled at burly center Nikola Pekovic to get back on defense.

“I think nobody in (Pekovic’s) career yell at him to run back on defense, so that’s good,” Ricky Rubio said…

With Garnett’s help, Rubio said he can become a more vocal point guard.

“I don’t know how to do it yet. I’m too nice, so I hope he teach me that bad side,” Rubio said. “That (will) help team to improve.”

The other lesson is about work ethic — Anthony Bennett got to the team’s weight room at 11 a.m. expecting to be the first guy there and found KG had been there 90 minutes already.

I don’t know if Garnett is going to stick around for a season after this one, but even if he is just there a couple months he can show these young players a lot. And I mean show — KG has the ring and still walks the walk (even if his body doesn’t respond like it once did). This franchise will be better off for these couple months (or however long it lasts).

This is the kind of thing the Sixers should do, but that’s a different story.