November 18, 2009
Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your prosciutto-wrapped crudite.
Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle: "Newly-acquired Raja Bell(notes) told The Chronicle on Tuesday that he will have wrist surgery, a decision that adds to the Warriors' injury woes and could cost the guard the rest of the season. Bell, who was picked up from Charlotte in the Stephen Jackson(notes) trade Monday, will go back east for surgery to repair a partially torn ligament in his left wrist. He'll miss four or five weeks if the wrist is in decent shape and probably the rest of the season if screws are needed for the repair. 'I'm going into it, assuming it will be a big surgery,' Bell said. 'If I wake up and it's not, it's icing on the cake. I'm prepared for the worst-case scenario, and I'll go from there. After playing, it's pretty evident that I can't do the things I like to do and I feel would help the team the most. It's time to get it fixed.' The Warriors knew about Bell's injury when they acquired him. They encouraged the decision to go ahead with the surgery."
Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News: "Multiple sources say that, apparently at Don Nelson's urging, the Warriors have been calling teams and offering to trade Ellis in recent days. It is likely that their efforts will only intensify, barring some 11th-hour peace treaty. Ellis has four years and $44M owed to him after this season, but several sources say that he will be less difficult to trade than Stephen Jackson was. And it seems inevitable that Ellis will be traded, presuming that Nelson remains in power, and every source I've talked to believes that Nelson will remain in power. Ellis' grievances with the Warriors date to their handling of punishment for his scooter accident and to concerns about Nelson's commitment to him as a player and to Rowell's decisions as the team's No. 1 executive."
Chris Tomasson, NBA FanHouse: "LeBron James is the first choice. But Chris Bosh(notes) certainly would be a solid backup for the Miami Heat next summer in free agency. And he's willing to consider it. The Heat, which figures to have more than $15 million of salary-cap room, is looking for a superstar to pair with Dwyane Wade(notes). And Wade, who talked last week about possibly luring James to South Florida while also mentioning Bosh, is positioning himself as a recruiter. 'Anything is possible, I guess,' Bosh, the Toronto star who can become a free agent next summer, told FanHouse in an interview before Tuesday's game at Denver about the possibility of going to Miami. 'I guess that seems to be an attractive place, you know, playing with Dwyane and playing in Miami and everything. I guess if they had the right chemistry, the right guys, that they could persuade guys to get there. But we'll see.' [...] Bosh said he doesn't plan to make any decisions until after the season."
Ronald Tillery, MCA: "Mike Conley's inconsistent play and regression from his late emergence last season compelled the Griz to sign veteran floor general Jamaal Tinsley(notes) over the weekend. While the Griz made Tinsley no promises for a starting job, the acquisition sent a clear message to Conley. Either Conley delivers stronger performances or a proven, veteran and true point guard will receive the keys to the team. 'In this league, you always hear footsteps,' Griz coach Lionel Hollins said. 'There's always somebody over there on the bench that wants your job, and if you don't play well they will eventually get it. Mike just has to continue to improve. He's got to be better defensively. He's got to be better at leading and directing. He was much better at those things last year. He's got to get back to being that and then get better from there'"
Michael Wallace, The Miami Herald: "There's no way to sugarcoat this. The Heat got punked. "This was Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Cotto. This was Jay Z versus Soulja Boy. This was WalMart versus K-Mart. It was no contest. When you've got a jump-shooting center, a roster full of jump-shooting forwards, a spot-up point guard who doesn't really spot up all that much and one dude consistently capable of going to the basket to generate offense, it's easy to jump to these sort of conclusions after one bad night. Make that two bad nights. The difference was Dwyane Wade's three-point gift from God was able to help the Heat get past New Jersey with one-tenth of a second left. But there was no Wade-to-the-rescue moments for the Heat's offense in Tuesday's 100-87 thumping at home by Oklahoma City. The only productive thing the Heat can take out of Tuesday's meltdown to end its five-game homestand was the team's red-eye chartered flight to Atlanta for Wednesday's game against the Hawks. Poor shooting ripped through the Heat as if it were a strain of the swine flu."
Darnell Mayberry, The Oklahoman: "Kevin Durant grew speechless last summer, unsure of what to say to his childhood friend and former teammate who had fallen on hard times. Durant wanted to reach out to Michael Beasley(notes), but what would he say? The Thunder's star had never been admitted into a rehabilitation center as Beasley was in mid-August, never felt like it's not worth living and never got so frustrated that he needed to publicly declare that the world was against him. 'I didn't want to be the guy that said the same things everybody else had said,' Durant said. 'So I just prayed for him. That's all I could do because I didn't know what to tell him.' [...] Durant said he remains close with Beasley but admitted there isn't much time to be sociable during the season. The two players who were teammates on the same AAU squad as youngsters, however, routinely spend much their off-seasons together. Last summer was no different before Beasley left for Houston to train and work out in a new environment. Then Durant heard the news of Beasley checking into a rehab center, and like everyone else, he saw the controversial postings on Beasley's now-terminated Twitter account."
Jeff McDonlad, S.A. Express-News: "Fresh off performing yeoman's work defending Oklahoma City scoring star Kevin Durant(notes), Spurs guard George Hill(notes) wouldn't mind an even tougher assignment tonight in Dallas. Bring on Dirk Nowitzki(notes)? 'If the opportunity is there to guard Dirk, I'm going to welcome it with open arms,' Hill said. 'I like the challenge. I like to defend.' Hill's dream matchup is probably not going to happen. Though the 6-foot-2 Hill has demonstrated considerable ability to defend players taller than he is, the 7-foot Nowitzki is probably a little out of his range. Durant, 6-foot-9, was the tallest player Hill had been asked to defend. Hill held his own, helping to limit to Durant to 6-of-18 shooting. He finished with 25 points, getting 13 of them at the foul line. 'It was difficult guarding him, because he can do so many things, but it was fun,' Hill said. 'You can't stop someone like that from scoring. All you can do it make it difficult for them.'"
John Reid, The Times Picayune: "In the locker room after Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans General Manager/Coach Jeff Bower had his players gather around him. He told them they gave a good effort, but he was caught off guard when injured point guard Chris Paul(notes) handed him the game ball. Paul, who is sidelined indefinitely with a sprained left ankle, was cheering and talking with teammates on the bench throughout the game. 'When Chris came in and gave him the game ball, it put a smile on my face,' guard Bobby Brown(notes) said. 'For him to get his first win is very exciting.' It was Paul who took the news the hardest when Scott was fired, saying he was disappointed and should have been consulted before the final decision was made. But he appeared to be in better spirits, although he walked with an immobilized boot on his left foot and did not speak with reporters after the game."
Inside Hoops: "NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that Dikembe Mutombo(notes) will join the NBA in the newly created position of global ambassador. [...] After retiring from a playing career that spanned 18 seasons, Mutombo will now work to grow and celebrate the game through numerous international NBA events including Basketball without Borders. In addition, he will work closely on NBA Cares outreach efforts with Hall of Famer Bob Lanier who serves as Special Assistant to the Commissioner. 'Dikembe's extraordinary accomplishments on the court and in the community demonstrate why he is one of sports' outstanding humanitarians,' said Commissioner Stern. 'His commitment to using the values of our game to improve the lives of so many is an example of the special role we have in being leaders in social responsibility. We know the impact programs such as NBA Cares and Basketball without Borders have in being catalysts for change on a global scale, and Dikembe's continued contributions will be invaluable in our global efforts to bring attention to important social issues.'"
Brian Reynolds, RealGM: "Hawks head coach Mike Woodson has asked the Atlanta fans to show more support for the team. After a 99-95 win against Portland on Monday night, Woodson was asked if he was disappointed with the low attendance turnout at Philips Arena, especially since it was a matchup against two of the league's hottest teams. 'All I can say to our fans is we need your support,' said Woodson. 'These guys are playing for something this year, man. It's fun watching us play. I know the fans are there and we just ask you to come out and support us because they [the players] need it. I think amazing things can happen when the house is filled.' The official turnout of Monday's game was 12,997. However, it is unlikely that there were more than 3,000 fans in the stands at tip-off."
Lisa Dilman, Los Angeles Times: "Conventional wisdom held that a slimmer Al Thornton(notes) was supposed to be a new-and-improved Al Thornton. Instead, the Clippers' Thornton slid back a step or two after he dropped 25 pounds during the off-season, struggling with his confidence, struggling with his shot and ultimately losing his spot in the starting lineup. Apparently, you can be too thin too fast. Thornton said he believes he is getting close to where he needs to be, saying he is at about 80% to 85%. He surmised that his rapid weight loss may have played a part in his problems through the preseason and the opening weeks of the regular season. 'You know that might have been it,' Thornton said. 'I dropped so much weight so quickly, I don't know if my body adjusted to it. I lost 25 pounds, like, quick. It took a while for my game to get adjusted to it.'"
The Associated Press: "Memo to LeBron: With all due respect, you're taking this 'King James' thing too far. Being a great player and one of the best talkers in the league doesn't mean every half-baked idea that pops into your head has to come out of your mouth. If all you want is a new number, say so. If it's more adulation, then just say that. There is enough of both left to go around. If it's only the number, send a letter to the league office by March handing back No. 23, bring your marketing people into the loop and then show up next season — wherever that turns out to be — wearing No. 6. It's that easy. In the meantime, save your breath. Nobody is buying that cockamamie story about you wanting to make sure that Michael Jordan 's contributions to the game are 'recognized in some way — soon.'"