With the trade deadline exactly a month away, things are starting to heat up in earnest as teams try to acquire talent for a potential playoff run or, conversely, other teams attempt to unload players and shed salaries.
In speaking with multiple executives around the league, it appears Portland, Denver and Oklahoma City are the most active teams trying to acquire players, in part because all three believe they are a big man away from taking the next step.
For obvious reasons, the Blazers are searching high and low for somebody to replace injured centers
The Nuggets, meanwhile, have a fantastic starting front line, but the depth behind
Oklahoma City is in an altogether different mode, but would like to add a complement to center
So, who's out there?
Well, just about anybody on the Washington Wizards' roster is available, though GM
Expect those named to be thrown around more and more as the Feb. 18 deadline approaches.
It's being called the "Nuclear Option."
Not going to happen, Wade said.
Not because he doesn't think it couldn't. But because he's not willing to take a pay cut.
When I presented the option to him recently, he laughed for about five seconds before answering.
"I ain't heard that. I ain't heard that. My first time hearing that one," Wade snickered. "I got two kids, man, I got to think of them. I ain't never thought of that one. But I'm cool on that right now."
Cool. As in, frigid to the idea.
Those three players do face an interesting dynamic, though, when they sit down with their teams to negotiate a deal this summer. They obviously want to know what plans each team has for building a winner around them. But free agents are not going to sign with the team until and unless they know that Wade, for instance, will be in Miami.
It's the classic chicken and egg. Does Wade sign with the Heat before other free agents are brought in? Or does he have to see quality free agents signed before he makes a decision?
"It's the business side of it, and that is the battle we were going through a little bit this summer," Wade said. "When the offseason comes, you sit down and you see what the future is like for your organization and for yourself. I don't know what the future holds. All I know is we are going to sit down at the end of the year and have a conversation and we'll go from there.
"But it will work out if it's meant to be. And I think both sides are confident in that."
There is a growing sentiment among league executives that the Wizards should not be permitted to void the contract of
However, this is where the competitive edge of sports arises: Rival teams want Washington to be held accountable for giving Arenas such a large contract when it knew it was dealing with a quirky personality.
In theory, a premium should be placed on the due diligence teams should show before they grant such large amounts of money to players. If the Wizards were allowed to void the contract, it would hypothetically give them more cap space to pursue some of the players in this summer's crop of free agents, thus making it that much more difficult for other teams to bid.
And that's the real reason other teams wants Washington to be stuck with Arenas.
I was having a conversation with Milwaukee coach
He was trying to recount the players remaining in the league with whom he played. O'Neal and Juwan Howard immediately came to mind. And then he said a strange thing: "
I looked at him quizzically.
"Well, he's not playing in the league, but he could still play for anyone."
The Bucks signed Stackhouse on Sunday.
The first thought that came to mind when I saw Utah's
Certainly, that question would have been asked had Gaines missed. But Sloan's philosophy is that there are only a couple of percentage points separating a good three-point shooter and a bad three-point shooter in the NBA. And a warm body makes up the difference, so it doesn't make sense to replace a player who's been in the game with one who's been sitting on the bench, even if the bench player has a higher shooting percentage.
Turns out, Sloan was right, as was Jazz radio play-by-play announcer
This is the difference between the veteran leadership of Sloan and the inexperience of a coach like Oklahoma City's
Brooks will learn. But it takes time -- and a few losses.
A week ago,
"You see him on TV all the time and I'd always wonder, 'Can I guard him?' " Martin said. "Of course, I am never going to think I can't guard somebody. But I like a challenge.
"I think I did pretty well against him, to be honest with you. I don't think I did horrible. He is one of the best guys in the league. He is going to get shots, he is going to get fouls, but I did my best to contain him. I did what I could do."
James had 37 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and four blocks in the Cleveland win, though, to be fair to Martin, 15 of those points came in the low block against
One last acknowledgement of longtime Sonics broadcaster
I sat with Bob a few years ago and asked him to recount the best basketball game he ever called.
"It was not even an NBA game," Blackburn said. "It was when Seattle U. was playing a team at an arena in Vancouver, Wash. And