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.

Back in Detroit, Tayshaun Prince goes coast-to-coast for slam (VIDEO)


The first half Tuesday night was a lot of fun in Detroit — they were hanging with Cleveland and, for a good chunk of the half, leading.

And Tayshaun Prince looked like he jumped in the hot tub time machine. He got the rebound and dribbled through the Cavaliers’ defense, going coast-to-coast for the slam.

The second half went more to form, and the Cavaliers got the win. But it sure is fun to see Prince doing that in a Piston’ uniform again.

Pistons claim Shawne Williams off waivers


Shawne Williams began the season with the Heat, who traded him to the Pelicans in a deal centered on Norris Cole.

New Orleans waived Williams, but he won’t hit free agency.

The Pistons, who opened a couple roster spots with their trade-deadline-day deals, claimed Williams.

Williams, who has a minimum salary this season and an unguaranteed minimum salary for next season, can help Detroit at either forward position. Stan Van Gundy said he likes Williams more as a stretch four, but the Pistons have a bigger need at small forward.  Currently, they’re relying on the past-their-primes Tayshaun Prince and Caron Butler and also signed Quincy Miller to a 10-day contract.

The 29-year-old Williams is a 3-point-shooting specialist who has made 39.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc this season. He has the length to do a little more, but it’s unlikely he does.

Tayshaun Prince was ‘trying to figure out what the hell happened’ after trade to Pistons


Tayshaun Prince has been looking for a buyout of his contract ever since joining the Celtics via trade with Memphis earlier this year.

Now in his 13th season, Prince presumably would like the chance to join a playoff contender, instead of toiling away in obscurity on a lottery team whose campaign will be finished on April 16.

But that’s not going to happen.

Stan Van Gundy has plans to play Prince, and play him extensively — a scenario which Van Gundy believes had Prince extremely confused, at least initially.

From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“That’s an interesting situation because I think that was his expectation, quite frankly,” Van Gundy said Friday. “That’s certainly not why we acquired him. We didn’t acquire him with any kind of promise from us that we were going to buy him out. We brought him in here to play and play a lot. I think yesterday when I talked to him, yeah, his head was spinning a little. Things hadn’t gone in a direction he expected.

“Reggie was really, really excited. I think Tayshaun was — not unhappy, but he was sort of trying to figure out what the hell happened, and I understand that.”

It’s worth noting that with the trades the Pistons made, and especially with the addition of Reggie Jackson, they very well may be able to make a run at one of those final playoff spots in the East.

Detroit is currently just a game-and-a-half back of Charlotte for the eight seed, and two hames back of Miami, who may be without Chris Bosh for the remainder of the season.

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