Marc J. Spears

  • Ricky Rubio could return to Timberwolves in 2-3 weeks

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – The Minnesota Timberwolves expect point guard Ricky Rubio to return from his severe ankle injury in mid-January, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

    Rubio has missed 24 games with a severely sprained left ankle he suffered on Nov. 7 at Orlando. He took part in three-quarter speed running exercises and shooting drills on the floor at Oracle Arena prior to the T'wolves' game against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. If an upcoming MRI shows his ankle is healing according to schedule, he could participate in contract drills next week.

    "I am trying to do my best," Rubio said. "Sometimes it is a little bit painful. I got to get through that. Some things are mentally [challenging]. I just push myself and try to come back as soon as a I can."

    For now, Rubio has had trouble stopping and starting and changing direction when running.

    Minnesota is currently without three starters in Rubio, guard Kevin Martin (wrist) and center Nikola Pekovic (foot, wrist) because of injuries. The T'wolves are starting rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

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  • LeBron James miffed that people question his decision to return to Cleveland

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    MIAMI – LeBron James answered questions about his return to Miami, he answered questions about his emotions during Thursday evening, he answered questions about Dwyane Wade, he answered questions about his leg injury. Finally, LeBron James had a question of his own.

    "The question I have, which is kind of bothering me sometimes, is when a player decides to decide his own fate, there is always questions about it?" James said. "And, 'Why did this guy do that, do that and do this?' When an organization decides to go elsewhere for a player, it's that they did what's best for the team. Let's figure that out some time."

    James' words came unsolicited after he scored 30 points as the Cavaliers lost 101-91 to the Miami Heat on Christmas night. It was his first regular-season game playing against the Heat since he decided in free agency last summer to return to the Cavaliers and his home state. James led Miami to four NBA Finals appearances and two titles in his four years after departing from Cleveland in the summer of 2010.

  • Dwyane Wade didn't feel need to sell LeBron James on staying with Heat

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    MIAMI – Miami Heat president Pat Riley did everything he could to try to convince LeBron James to re-sign only to watch him return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dwyane Wade didn't even bother trying to recruit James to stay with the Heat.

    "I didn't make a sales pitch to LeBron to come to Miami and I didn't make a sales pitch when he left," Wade said. "LeBron James makes his own decision. What is me coming to him with a sales pitch going to do?

    "I looked at the situation he was put in and I don't know too many people who wouldn't have made the same decision that he did. There was no reason to make a sales pitch."

    James returns to Miami on Christmas to play for the first time since signing with the Cavaliers this past offseason.

    James led Miami to four NBA Finals appearances and two championships after joining forces with Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. Riley had an opportunity to make one last sales pitch to James but it didn't keep James from announcing in a Sports Illustrated article on July 11 that he was returning to Cleveland.

    "I am not taking down my pictures in my own office downstairs."

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  • NBA Power Rankings: Warriors still shining

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 22-3; last week’s rank: 1): A Warriors player suggested that Marreese Speights, who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, should get NBA Sixth Man of the Year consideration.

    2. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 22-6; last week’s rank: 3): Point guard Damian Lillard offered a reminder of how talented he is with his career-high 43-point performance Friday at San Antonio.

    3. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 21-6; last week’s rank: 2): Keep an eye on injured forward Zach Randolph (knee), who is expected to miss his second straight game tonight against Utah.

    4. Toronto Raptors (Record: 22-6; last week’s rank: 6): The top team in the East has won six straight, but each win came against an East team with a losing record. Next up: at Chicago.

    5. Houston Rockets (Record: 19-7; last week’s rank: 4) Dwight Howard has averaged 21.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks since returning from a knee injury, but he now has an ailing shoulder.

    6. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 20-8; last week’s rank: 7) One Western Conference assistant coach said the loss of Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo trade would be detrimental to Dallas.

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  • Pistons waive Josh Smith in shocking move

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    The Detroit Pistons on Monday waived starting forward Josh Smith, who has two more years and $26 million still remaining on his contract.

    The Pistons will use the stretch provision on the remaining $26 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The provision allows the Pistons to stretch the money owed to Smith over a longer period of time for salary cap relief.

    Smith and first-year Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy often did not seen eye to eye this season. Smith was averaging 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists this season for the Pistons.

    Smith should be a coveted unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers, as he’s expected to do, with a number of intriguing potential landing spots. The Kings nearly traded for Smith during the offseason and are interested in him now, a source said. Smith also is close friends with new Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo and Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard.

    The Clippers have initial interest with Smith, but want to dig deeper before committing to attempting to sign him, a league source told Wojnarowski.

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  • Kobe Bryant may take time off after another subpar outing in Lakers' loss

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A sore and struggling Kobe Bryant is considering taking some time off to rest.

    "I don't have much of a choice if the body is feeling the way it's feeling right now," Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "You got to be smart. You got to make sure you get enough return on your investment. With the amount of work that I do and put into my body and to get my body ready, for it to be sore as it is right now, sometimes you do have to consider sitting down.

    Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said he would talk to Bryant about taking off one or two games or lowering his minutes after he looked fatigued while struggling in a 108-101 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. Bryant missed 22 of 30 shots from the field and had nine turnovers in nearly 38 minutes against the Kings. The Lakers next play the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday before going on the road to play the Chicago Bulls on Christmas and the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Bryant said he was uncertain what games were best for him to take off.

  • Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – While Rajon Rondo continued to say publicly he was committed to staying with the Boston Celtics, Rondo's former teammate and close friend, Kendrick Perkins, knew he truly felt different.

    "He wanted out, but he would never say that though," Perkins told Yahoo Sports.

    Perkins and Rondo were teammates with the Celtics from 2006-11 and still remain close. Perkins said Rondo expressed his excitement about his trade to the Dallas Mavericks in a brief phone conversation on Thursday.

    "Going to nice weather, a contender," Perkins said. "Hopefully, he will do what he got to do in terms of his contract extension. It's a great opportunity. I'm happy for him. I'm not happy he is in the West, but I'm happy for him. His time was probably up in Boston. He did his due.

    "He was cool, happy. He was excited. He's going to a contender. He's 29 [years old] so rebuilding is out of the question now."

    "They were already a good team. He made them a great team in my opinion."

  • Warriors' Andrew Bogut likens restoring cars to caring for battered body

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Injury-riddled Andrew Bogut escapes his NBA frustrations by getting wrapped up into his love of old cars.

    Bogut, the son of a mechanic, has owned as many as 35 vehicles and his latest passion off the court is restoring a 1949 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and a 1969 Shelby Mustang. It's not uncommon to see the 7-foot, 260-pound Australian searching for something vintage at car shows all over Northern California. And now that the Golden State Warriors center is sidelined again, he certainly sees the correlation between his adoration for refurbishing cars and the constant refurbishment of his own battered body.

    "I'm like an old muscle car," Bogut, who is sidelined indefinitely with a right knee injury, told Yahoo Sports. "I just need a good service every now and then. There is a little bit of a correlation. You treat the old cars right hopefully it will do well. It's the same with my body. If I make sure I look after myself, I will be OK."

    Bogut even got bamboozled on one car purchase.

  • With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back, Thunder look like contenders

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    In a matter of days, the Oklahoma City Thunder have gone from looking like they might miss the playoffs to slowly moving up the Western Conference ladder. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook laughs about the sudden perceived change of fortune for his team.

    "All the questions are whether we are going to get a higher [seed] now," Westbrook said. "It ain't no more about if we're going to make the playoffs."

    The Thunder opened the season 3-12 with Westbrook and Kevin Durant sidelined because of injuries. In the strong Western Conference, their poor start was viewed as perhaps a mammoth hill too tough to climb even with Westbrook and Durant back.

    Westbrook missed 14 games because of a broken right hand that sports a nasty surgical scar as a reminder. Durant also missed the first 17 games with a right foot fracture. The Thunder suffered other key injuries as well and desperately relied on defense during the absence of their hot-scoring standouts. Oklahoma City (12-13), however, has gone 9-2 since Westbrook returned to the lineup and is 7-1 with Durant.

    Durant agreed.

  • NBA Power Rankings: Gold rush continues

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 21-2; last week’s rank: 1): The Warriors are the ninth team in NBA history to start with a 21-2 record or better and play at Memphis and against the Thunder this week.

    2. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 19-4; last week’s rank: 4): The Grizzlies have a brutal schedule this week: Golden State, at San Antonio, Chicago and at Cleveland.

    3. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 18-6; last week’s rank: 3): The Blazers play the Spurs on Monday for the first time since the defending champions ousted them from the playoffs.

    4. Houston Rockets (Record: 18-5; last week’s rank: 5). James Harden led Houston to an 8-3 record when Dwight Howard was out with a knee injury and leads the team in scoring, assists and steals per game.

    5. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 17-7; last week’s rank: 2): San Antonio faces Portland twice, Memphis, Dallas, the Clippers and Oklahoma City in its next six games.

    7. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 17-8; last week’s rank: 7) It’s uncertain how long Chandler Parsons will be out with lower back soreness. The Mavs host the Spurs on Saturday.

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