Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your cold toast.
Chris Perkins, Palm Beach Post: "The Heat traded point guard Shaun Livingston and cash considerations to Memphis on Wednesday in exchange for a 2012 conditional second-round draft choice. But in essence the Heat sent Livingston to the Grizzlies to free up salary, get a trade exception and clear a roster spot. Memphis has already released Livingston. Miami should now have about $400,000 to spend, which is almost enough to get a veteran such as center Alonzo Mourning in for a pro-rated portion of the veteran minimum without going over the NBA's luxury tax threshold. 'Now we have flexibility to sign somebody, if we choose to,' coach Erik Spoelstra said."
Kevin Ding, OC Register: "Sasha Vujacic has a new high-profile nemesis: Chris Paul. Vujacic’s unique resume that already featured being choked by Carmelo Anthony now includes being called by Paul a five-letter word that starts with 'B.' That’s what Vujacic said Paul called him late in New Orleans’ victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night. 'He called me names on numerous occasions,' Vujacic said. For yelling back at Paul — even though Vujacic insisted all he said was: 'What did you say?!' — Vujacic got a technical foul from referee Joey Crawford. (Then Vujacic got an earful from teammate Kobe Bryant, who was more than a little peeved that this game in which he was so absurdly hot with his shot was slipping away.)"
Mike Baldwin, The Oklahoman: "The Cartoon Network was in town this week to film a promotional segment with Kevin Durant. Durant was the first of five NBA players to be filmed. Durant’s segment is scheduled to run later this month and also will be featured online. Utah’s Deron Williams and Boston’s Ray Allen also will shoot spots. 'I’m a big kid myself, so it was a lot of fun,' Durant said. A sample question: What kind of cereal do you eat? 'Fruity Pebbles,' Durant said. 'And Trix.'"
Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "When a team loses a player to injury for the season or he's forced to retire due to injury, they have the option of asking the league for what is called a Disabled Player Exception or DPE. This is a salary-cap exception that can be used to sign a player or trade for one. Currently, for example, the New York Knicks are attempting to get one for the recently retired Cuttino Mobley. However, the Cavs are ineligible to apply for an DPE for Snow, even though they now have a roster spot, because Snow's initial injury, a torn meniscus, occurred before last season. The Cavs do, however, have $5.1 million left from their mid-level exception they could use."
Britt Robson, On The Ball: "I asked McHale what the biggest difference in his team was between two or three weeks ago and now. 'Confidence,' he said simply, then praised their character, their work effort, everything seven ways to Sunday so that that confidence level increases. Confidence and wins is a weird, chicken-and-egg thing, where one begets the other and nobody is sure which is the trigger. Nobody questions that thrashing weak teams still remains a significant step up for the Wolves; or that their daring, their resilience and their confidence are all bundled up in a potent package right now. [...] Give McHale credit for saying what the team needed to do and then almost always doing it--from confidence to half court spacing to more uptempo ball in transition to mental toughness."
Jonathan Abrams, New York Times: "Danilo Gallinari scrimmaged against Allan Houston and is inching toward full practices, but his return to game-ready status remains undetermined. The shooting pain down his leg from his lower back injury still persists and the Knicks are guarded against another false start for Gallinari. 'The pain in some moments is still there,' he said. 'I'm not feeling perfect, but for sure, I'm feeling better than the first time I tried to come back.'"
Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: "The Raptors made a cost-cutting move yesterday, trading seldom-used guard Hassan Adams to the Los Angeles Clippers for 'cash considerations' and a future second-round pick. That should clear up any issue of the team going over the NBA's luxury tax, which Toronto exceeded by signing forward Jake Voskuhl before Christmas. It's not believed the departure of Adams sets the stage for something bigger for general manager Bryan Colangelo, at least for now, though the Raptors certainly have room to add bodies. They were down to nine last night with the loss of Adams and injuries. They have 13 men overall, including the inactive Nathan Jawai."
Sam Amick, Sac Bee Kings Blog: "Beno Udrih has gone missing. [...] The fifth-year player who was given a five-year, $32 million deal last summer isn't keeping the pine warm all the time, of course, just when the game is on the line. And as he shared in our conversation that led to this story in today's paper, he is lacking more than playing time these days. He's lacking confidence. The Udrih-Kenny Natt combination is certainly an oil-water mix for the moment. As Udrih shares at the end of a revealing eight-minute interview you can find [here], he's looking for pats on the back from his coach and instead gets quizzical looks or head shakes and a short leash. If Udrih could peek inside the family rooms of so many fans who have watched him play this season, however, he would likely see the same expression of disappointment."
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "'Unbelievable!!!' Uh, no Dickie V, not really. Just another disappointing Heat visit to the Pepsi Center. Even with Carmelo Anthony sidelined for the Nuggets and even with Dick Vitale frothing for ESPN at midcourt, the Heat did what it always does in Denver. [Lose.] [...] With the passing of Wednesday's NBA guarantee deadline, center Jamaal Magloire saw his contract become guaranteed for the season. The other 13 players on the roster previously had their contracts guaranteed."
Dave D'Alessandro, Newark Star-Ledger: "The word out of Colorado is that Sean Williams is lighting up the D-League. Like an arsonist might, that is. The Nets' prodigal son has played in three games for the 14ers, and he hasn't exactly distinguished himself. In fact, according to an NBA official who has consulted with scouts on the scene at the D-League Showcase in Orem, Utah, Williams has already left all the wrong impressions. [...] In the second game, Williams was thrown out after getting hit with two quick technicals — with his team down by three points, no less — and the 14ers lost to Tulsa by seven. And in his third game — a four-point loss against Austin at the Showcase — Williams fouled out in 28 minutes. Worst of all, with scores of scouts and GMs in attendance, he refused to join his teammates in the locker room at halftime — staying on the bench until there were three minutes left on the clock."