Monthly Archives: February 2011

Player Protest: Imported from Detroit

Where is everybody?

Do not let Eminem fool you. Detroit still sucks. Their basketball team is no better. According to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, five players decided to protest the team’s practice today and did not attend.

Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox did not show up for practice along with Ben Wallace, who has been dealing with a family related issue for several weeks. Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey also missed the shoot around and showed up as it was ending. They apparently missed the bus.

According to the report, McGrady missed the shoot around with a headache, Prince has a stomach flu, and Wilcox overslept with Hamilton missing the bus all together. He should have caught a ride with Daye and Stuckey. Better late than never, right, Rip?

These player protests have come to a head one day after the NBA trade deadline has come and gone. Detroit made no moves to relocate their various disgruntled players. Obviously, the players did not take kindly to the Pistons standing pat.

So now it seems the atmosphere of Egypt (or is Libya more en vogue now?) has taken hold of the lowly Pistons. This holdout was as much a protest against the team’s lack of movement yesterday as it was a universal condemnation of their head coach, John Kuester.

Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, and DaJuan Summers were the only players present at the shoot around. Jonas Jerebko also attended but was undergoing rehabilitation therapy after surgery on his right Achilles.

Kuester stated, “We have some things … some excuses, not excuses, absences because of headaches and stuff like that. We’ll go with this group right now.” The group he is referring to is the players who showed up for practice.

If he follows up on his threat to only play those who showed up that would mean that the Pistons will only field six players Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Congratulations, Sixers, on your impending 29th victory!

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Filed under 2010-11 Regular Season, Players

Andray Blatche wants to Fight

Comin', comin' at ya

Andray Blatche is many things: player on the Washington Wizards, good on paper, the laziest defender in the league, and a power forward. However, after his recent Twitter incident, you can also add  prize fighter to that list…or at least that is what he thinks himself to be.

Sarah Schorno Kogod of NBC Washington brought Blatche’s aspirations to become a fighter to light for those who do not follow him on Twitter. His Twitter handle is @drayblatche. Blatche allegedly had an internet altercation (yes, it is as lame as it sounds) with a follower on Twitter and wanted to bring his squabble into the real world. It never panned out. However, Don King should take note as internet beef can be quite profitable if marketed correctly.

Blatche’s actions can be considered commendable, though. It is easier, and cleaner, to have a war of words on the internet rather than having one at a game on national…wait this is the Wizards…local television. Maybe what Blatche knows is that FOX is bringing back that celebrity boxing show from the 1990s and he wanted an early audition.

Nonetheless, Blatche has to be happy that he can challenge people to fights via the internet. Washington D.C. is a great destination for a street fighting man. If he lived in Denver it would be a different story. Nothing good befalls athletes there.

Of course Blatche denied that it was him who made the tweets shortly after the story broke. It was probably the same person who hacked Paul Pierce’s account that broke into Blatche’s, right? That kind of stuff happens everyday. It is just like identity theft, right? Pretty common place.

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The NBA Trade Deadline was anything but Dead

Next time you see Perk in the club he will be doing the Thunder Clap

I was away from a computer and Twitter during the final one and a half to two hours before the trade deadline of 2 PM Central Time. When I was finally reconnected with the world of nonstop communication and media my partner here at the Beef sent me this text message, “Bunch of nuts trades went down.” I quickly scrambled to refresh my timeline only to be completely shocked. He was not kidding.

The rundown:

Boston and Oklahoma City

The Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder have orchestrated a deal that sends center Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder along with Nate Robinson in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

This season, Perkins has struggled with injury missing much of the season coming off surgery to his right knee. He has only played in 12 games thus far and is expected to be out for a week again with a sprain in the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Nonetheless, Oklahoma City got the big man they have been craving since they were ousted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Currently, the Thunder sit just two and a half games behind the Lakers, who are in third, in the Western Conference standings. This move is clearly a shot at the defending champs who were quiet as the deadline passed. Now the Thunder have a big man who can and has matched up well against the Lakers should the two teams meet again in the playoffs.

On the Celtics end, the trade means that the team has given up all hope of ever beating the Lakers again. Doc Rivers has always said that the Lakers can never beat his starting five when they are all healthy. Now, they have traded away the key member of the starting five that allowed Rivers to make those claims in the first place.

Jeff Green is having his second best scoring season of his short career. His numbers are bound to slip upon his return to Boston, the Celtics drafted him, as he will be placed in a bench role instead of being a starter. However, with it becoming more apparent that Marquis Daniels will likely miss the rest of the season, it was important for Boston to add another reserve perimeter player to their lineup as they coast into the playoffs.

As presently constructed the Celtics’ center rotation looks like a grab bag of hobbled old pieces from formerly great teams that made the NBA Finals in the early 2000s…because it is. Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, and Krstic are all liabilities. Boston clearly must have realized that Miami has a terrible center rotation so they could trade their one good piece away and still compete in the East.

Oklahoma City and Charlotte

The Thunder also made another move to bolster their frontcourt depth before the trade deadline. In a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats, the Thunder acquired Nazr Mohammed in exchange for Morris Peterson and D.J. White (we do not know who he is either).

Charlotte and Portland

In another cost cutting measure from Michael Jordan, the Bobcats have traded versatile defender Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers. In return the Bobcats will receive two first round draft picks. Hopefully, Jordan will not squander these draft picks as he has in the past.

Initially, Charlotte had been making a push to acquire Nicolas Batum as part of this trade but the Blazers insisted that he was not on the table at anytime during negotiations. Instead, the team settled for Joel Przybilla and Dante Cunningham (no relation to Richie).

The acquisition of Wallace gives the Blazers a lockdown wing and post defender capable of guarding and playing multiple positions. However, Wallace does not like playing power forward any longer and prefers to play small forward. Luckily for Portland that should not be an issue as they have a capable, to say the least, power forward in LaMarcus Aldridge.

For now, though, the waiting game begins. It is only a matter of time before the curse of the Blazers digs its claws into Wallace, or rather his knees. No one wants to see it happen but there is just something rotten in the water up there.

Phoenix and Houston

Aaron Brooks has had some issues with the Houston Rockets this season. That is putting it lightly. As a result, he is no longer a member of the Rockets. Houston shipped Brooks to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Goran Dragic and a first round draft pick.

Dragic made a name for himself in last years playoffs but has failed to follow up that success with any kind of consistent production as he is shooting a mere 27.7 percent from behind the arc. Yuck.

Houston and Memphis

Can anyone legitimately explain this trade? I mean seriously. Houston needs size in their frontcourt but generally speaking just having a tall guy there does not really mean a whole lot (see: Shawn Bradley). The Rockets traded the defensive minded Shane Battier for the absent-minded Hasheem Thabeet. Yes, the same Thabeet that was the highest draft pick to ever be sent to the D-League.

Well done Houston, only you could think of pairing Yao Ming and Thabeet on the same team. Well done. General Manager Daryl Morey generally does a good job about acquiring talent for his ball club but this has to be the singular low point in Rockets history. However, not all is lost. Houston will also receive a first round draft pick from the Grizzlies. The Rockets also sent Ishmael Smith (who?) to Memphis in the deal.

As for Memphis, they get a proven defender in the wake of losing Rudy Gay, who will be out for at least another three weeks with a dislocated shoulder. The team is gearing up for a playoff push as they sit in the final playoff seat in the West. A veteran like Battier will likely serve as a key contributor and locker room presence as the team looks to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

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Filed under 2010-11 Regular Season, Trades

Mark Cuban blasts the league… ethics and cash come into question

Mark Cuban is the only owner with the balls and pocket book to constantly criticize the league.

The league has come under direct fire for the first time since taking over operations for the New Orleans Hornets by a voice David Stern and company should know all too well.

Last night, before the Mavericks took on the Jazz in Dallas, Mavs owner Mark Cuban voiced his utter disgust with the situation in New Orleans and their trade with Sacramento.

Essentially, the Hornets traded Marcus Thornton who is earning $762,195 for Carl Landry who is earning $3 million.  The difference in salaries is $2.24 million, which New Orleans will be responsible for covering for the remainder of the season.  The Hornets, who are over the salary cap, acquired Landry due to a trade exception.

This wouldn’t be shady at all if we didn’t consider the situation that New Orleans is facing.

The NBA, Cuban and 28 other owners, took over the Hornets from former owner George Shinn on December 6.  The league funds the organization and set an operating budget.  Cuban is questioning why the team is taking on such a huge salary when they are already in such a cash bind.

“If New Orleans is taking back $2 million and the team is losing money and I own 1/29th of it, I’m going to go against the grain and say that’s just wrong,” Cuban said. “There’s no way, with their payroll, having to dump salary before they were sold to us [NBA owners]; now they can take on more salary while they’re losing money. That’s just wrong every which way.”

Cuban’s remarks are the first public remarks that have directly criticized the NBA and its dealings in New Orleans.  Earlier in the season, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson questioned the ethics of the situation but didn’t blast the league as Cuban did yesterday.

A lot of teams in the league were interested in Landry but not a lot were willing to take on that contract.  With a possible lockout looming in the NBA, this season’s trades have been fairly even.  As far as money, this has been one of the most lopsided.  The Hornets made the sweetest deal for Landry to a Sacramento team in need of another point guard with an injured Tyreke Evans.  Thornton made a name for himself last season when he filled in for an injured Chris Paul.

The league has yet to hand down a fine for Cuban’s comments but trust the Beef, there will be a fine.

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Filed under Free Agency, NBA at Large, Trades, Uncategorized

Return of the Gator

Chomp! Chomp! Guess who's back...

We have already seen what the Bulls can do this season but injuries have placed a shadow over the damage they could be inflicting in the East.

Jaokim Noah returned to action last night as the Bulls took on the Toronto Raptors.  It was the young center’s first game since December 15 when he went down with an injured thumb which just so happened to be a game against the lowly Raptors.

Ultimately, the Bulls lost last night 118-113 but Noah looked good.  He finished the night with seven points and 16 rebounds.  He continued his play characterized by a high shooting percentage with smart shots and rebounding, rebounding and a little more rebounding.

However, Derrick Rose was the player of the evening with 32 points and 10 assists but the Bulls need to improve on the road.  With this loss, the Bulls now sit atop a 38-17 record with a .500 record in other teams’ stadiums at 13-13.  So far, they have raked up embarrassing losses in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Golden State and now Toronto.

Chicago is one of the top rebounding teams on the road, Rose scores more during away games and they are essentially in the middle of the pack in the rest of the offensive categories when visiting other cities.  Additionally, they are sixth in the league in points allowed at away games.

They are losing by an average of six points a game in all 13 of their road losses with six of those games decided by six points or less.  It’s a tell-tale sign of a young team: losing close games down to the wire.  Rose has shown that he is clutch over the course of the season but the numbers above show that they need more players that are willing to step up when it matters most.  Noah is that player.

He proved in college that he plays with a lot of heart and actually gives substance to the term role player.  He does a lot of dirty work under the glass and plays a level of ball that doesn’t lend itself to All-Star appearances or Nike shoe deals.  He is blue collar to the core.

Last night was only the ninth time that he and Carlos Boozer have suited up in the same game and both are key to a successful frontcourt in Chicago.  We have already seen that the Bulls cannot handle the size of the Celtics and both being healthy will definitely help against the oversized sets that Doc Rivers can put out on the court.

Tonight, Chicago will be suiting up against the Heat at home.  They have the Central Division in the palm of their hand with the flight of LeBron James from Cleveland, the implosion that occurred in Detroit and underachievement in Milwaukee.  Indiana is the only other team that can compete in the division and they have already beaten them three times.

With the Bulls now healthy, it’s up to them to show that they can win close games on the road.

Here are some upcoming road games to keep in mind for Rose and the Bulls.

March 4th in Orlando

March 6th in Miami

March 18th in Indiana

April 10th in Orlando

April 12th in New York

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Filed under 2010-11 Regular Season, NBA at Large, Players, Uncategorized

Baron Davis traded to Cleveland Cavaliers in EPIC FAIL

How many chins will the beard hide in Cleveland?

Just when things looked like they could not get any worse for the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, the worst possible news hits them. No, no one died but maybe they all died just a little bit on the inside after finding out that Baron Davis and all of his lack of motivation will be joining their team.

Why? What possible reason could the Cavs see in bringing in Davis? Are they fully unaware that the only reason his level of play this season is elevated is because he is on the same team as Blake Griffin? Griffin makes everyone on the Los Angeles Clippers play better and harder through osmosis. It is a fact.

Clearly the Cavs are still reeling from losing LeBron James last summer and are not thinking rationally yet. That has to be it, right? It cannot be that Dan Gilbert is really just the league’s biggest fucking moron can it? Surely not.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! first broke the story on Twitter and then released the details. Cleveland has acquired Davis as well as an unprotected 2011 first round draft pick from the Clippers. In exchange, Los Angeles will receive Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. Does Williams even know how to throw an alley-oop?

If this is Gilbert’s idea of rebuilding, it is completely unnecessary to level all hopes for a feasible roster. Davis has two years remaining of his five-year $65 million contract that he signed with the Clippers. Boom goes the cap space!

Honestly, this deal is more shocking that the one that sent Deron Williams to New Jersey. It is so shocking because it is so stupid. Do the Cavaliers honestly believe that Davis will perform at the same level he is now when he plays alongside Griffin in L.A.? Is that what they expect? Alley-oop passes to J.J. Hickson? Is that what Gilbert wants? Well, he is certainly in for a shocker!

The longer that the Cavaliers remain in existence the more LeBron James will be vindicated for choosing to leave. Cleveland is a royal mess and this trade only drives them further into the pit they have dug for themselves. Hopefully, they stop digging before they get to China because Gilbert would consider making a deal for Yao Ming at this point.

Cleveland, no one can feel sympathy for you anymore. Not after this trade. If this is the answer you can come up with in the wake of a disastrous season in the attempts to turn things around then you have learned nothing and deserve your fate. This is clearly the NBA’s most epic fail.

The only shred of hope that Cavaliers fans can hold onto right now is that Davis might fail his physical.

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Filed under 2010-11 Regular Season, Trades

Carl Landry traded to New Orleans Hornets

On the move again

Is David Stern allowed to make trades? Can he do that? Well, he kind of just did. On Wednesday the New Orleans Hornets, who are owned by the NBA, finalized a deal with the Sacramento Kings. So, yes, apparently Stern can make trades.

The trade will send forward Carl Landry to the Hornets to bolster their frontcourt which has experienced issues with injuries this season. In exchange the Hornets will send Marcus Thornton to the Kings along with cash considerations.

Ever since Chris Paul demanded a trade last summer, the Hornets have been busy making trades to appease him. New Orleans answered Paul’s cries on several tiers. They traded away Darren Collison, James Posey, and Julian Wright in a four team trade and acquired Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli. The team then traded two draft picks to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jerryd Bayless. Soon thereafter, New Orleans traded Bayless and Peja Stojakovic to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks, and David Anderson.

Phew!

Now throw Landry into the mix. The Hornets have made a ton of moves since the summer and are doing everything they possibly can to convince Paul to remain in New Orleans. However, it may not be enough especially with more and more of his peers vaulting for the Eastern Conference in the hopes of establishing “super teams.”

For now though, the Hornets are trying their best to make their team appealing to Paul. Yet, at what cost are they doing so? Remember, this is a team that is owned by the league.

New Orleans is over the salary cap and was forced to absorb $2.24 million as part of Landry’s $3 million contract. They acquired him using a trade exception as Thornton’s contract was only worth $762,195. This is a team that the league was forced to take ownership of because of financial hardships yet the Hornets are now taking on more salary. Odd. Is that even allowed?

Nonetheless, this trade is nothing but a win-win for the Maloof’s, who own the Kings. Because the NBA was forced to take over the Hornets, all of the league’s owners became part owners of the Hornets. They are already seeing a return on their investment.

Clearly, there is some Cajun voodoo working in the Hornets favor. Yet, it has yet to be seen if this voodoo will have Landry back in the form he was in with the Houston Rockets, when he was playing at his best.

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Filed under 2010-11 Regular Season, Trades