NBA General

Where will Iverson end up?

Looks good

The question on everyone’s mind is: where will Iverson end up? Well, here are the latest rumors and conjectures from around the league:

Philly Inquirer: “A source indicated last night that Denver was willing to part with center Nene as part of a package for Iverson and that George Karl had expressed no problems with coaching Iverson…The Nuggets would also be willing to deal injured forward Kenyon Martin, but the Sixers have no interest in the surgically susceptible forward. Martin is out for the year following a second microfracture knee surgery in November and still is due $59.75 million after this season.”

NY Daily News: “One of the deals King was strongly considering is with Golden State, for point guard Baron Davis, center Andris Biedrins and a third unidentified player. In addition to Iverson, the Warriors would get backup center Steven Hunter. While a source close to one of the players involved called the deal “done,” the Sixers remain quiet about where they will be sending Iverson.”

Golden State of Mind: “One of our sources in close touch with an Eastern Conference scout said that the last thing they heard was that the Warriors upped their offer to Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Ike Diogu and a 1st rounder for Allen Iverson and presumably some other 76ers players. It’s not clear whether this heavy offer was made before or after Bucher’s earlier TV report that the Warriors were out of the running.”

Boston Globe: “With the asking price for Allen Iverson too high, the Celtics‘ interest in the former NBA MVP may have cooled, according to league sources. Boston knows what Philadelphia wants, but is reluctant to put certain players, and possibly draft picks, on the table. Gerald Green and Paul Pierce are off limits. And Al Jefferson may have joined Green and Pierce as players executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge will not deal.”

Detroit News: “Minnesota: The Timberwolves appear to have fallen to the end of the line. Randy Foye has some value to the Sixers, but apparently that’s where the intrigue ends for King.”

NBA General

Around the Rim: Ill Will in Indiana

1. Reaction Jackson
Stephen Jackson just can’t get any positive publicity these days. His latest incident involves a heated exchange with Indiana coach Rick Carlisle. Jackson became upset and said something to Carlisle when he was benched early in the second quarter of a blowout loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday. Whatever he said was enough for Carlisle to send him to the locker room for the rest of the game and then suspend him for last nights game. The outburst is just his latest accompaniment to go along with weekly parades through the courthouse and before the judge. “I don’t want people to lump this with other things that have happened,” Jackson said. Sorry, Stephen, it’s hard to lump it into your nonexistent pile of good deeds and behaviors.

2. A.I. to 90210
Since the news of Allen Iverson’s demand for a trade became public, a virtual tidal wave of trade rumors has swept over the NBA. Boston, Minnesota, Golden State, Orlando, Denver, Cleveland, Seattle; the list goes on and on. But one of the more interesting trades resides in the City of Angels, and it doesn’t involve the Clippers. Phil Jackson left the door open to a possible trade for Iverson when he said, “I wouldn’t just say outright we have no interest.” While the scenario is unlikely, the possibility is quite incredible. Two of the greatest scorers in the history of the game together in one of the leagues most storied franchises. Western Conference perimeter defenders are cringing at the thought of A.I. joining Kobe Bryant in the purple and gold and the offensive outbursts that would ensue. The two currently average 57.6 points between them; in comparison, Charlotte only scores 90.5 points per game as a team.

3. Gray Matter
ESPN reporter Jim Gray was one of the first to break the story about the Philadelphia/A.I. split, but he might not have gotten the news from Iverson. Gray went public with the story on Friday after talking with Iverson, or at least someone he thought was Iverson. Turns out that Gray had been talking with an imposter, or did he? Follow me here. On Friday, Gray reported that Iverson said his first choice was Minnesota and the deal was in the works. Later on, Gray received a phone call from Iverson’s agent, Leon Rose, who told Gray that he had spoken with an A.I. imposter causing Gray to publicly withdraw his comments. Could it be that Rose created the story about a fake A.I. in order to keep Gray quiet about the deal, and that Gray actually did speak with Iverson? It all depends on who you talk to.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Vince Carter vs. Memphis 40 min, 37 pts (FG: 14-30, 3FG: 9-20), 8 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (14-6) @ Houston (14-6) Tracy McGrady will miss the game tonight, but two MVP candidates aren’t too bad. Yao Ming will have to step up without T-Mac if he is going to keep the Rockets’ impressive home record of 8-1 intact. The Lakers have only played five games on the road this season, going 2-3, but Kobe Bryant has been averaging 29.3 points per game during the team’s last three road games.

Buzzer Beater: He’s often left off the list when people ask who the best coaches in the NBA are. He’s often forgotten about amongst the other veteran coaches like Pat Riley, Don Nelson and Phil Jackson. But last night, Jerry Sloan finally got some recognition for his 22 years of coaching when he picked up win number 1,000. Sloan is one of the finest coaches in the history of the game and until 2004; he had lead the Jazz to playoffs for 15 consecutive years. Who knows, if it wasn’t for Michael Jordan, Sloan might have a couple of championship rings on his fingers.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Wanna Trade?

1. A.I. Bye-Bye
Allen Iverson has obviously played his final game for the 76ers, now the only question that remains is where he goes from here. As the speculations run wild, questions of his selfishness and past clashes with coaches begin to tarnish the shine of the former MVP. Certainly, due to all the logistics involved with contracts and salary caps, various teams would be excluded but, it would foolish for any team on the verge of being a contender to disregard Iverson simply due to his checkered past. Iverson has always expressed his desire to retire as a Sixer, so he must be truly unhappy in Philly to demand a trade. But he doesn’t just want to leave Philadelphia; he wants to go somewhere he can win. And one thing that can’t be questioned is his passion to be the best between the lines. Regardless of his reasons, if Philadelphia management has any respect for the man that played his heart out for them, then they will trade him to a competitive team. And A.I. shouldn’t have a problem with that.

2. Welcome to the D-League
Jay, don’t call me Jason, Williams is playing in the NBA again. Well, kind of; he’s playing in the NBA’s Development League. After New Jersey waived Williams in October, he considered playing in Europe before deciding to play in the NBA’s version of the minor league. The Austin Toros signed Williams who should see action in the team’s next game on Thursday. While Toros might mean Bulls in Spanish, Williams is nowhere near the player he was when he arrived in Chicago. The former Duke star was the second pick in the 2002 draft before he wrapped his motorcycle around a telephone pole and virtually ended his career. While he might not ever play at the elite level again, he has made quite a comeback considering the nerve damage sustained in his accident was so severe that doctors thought his leg was going to have to be amputated.

3. Bailraisers
Zach Randolph apologized to the entire NBA organization and fan base for his ill-advised actions, again. The process is becoming ritual for the 25 year old. His latest incident involved giving an obscene gesture toward fans during a 108-95 loss to Indiana last Friday. Portland decided to beat David Stern to the punch and suspended Randolph for one game, costing him $133,333. Randolph’s actions are rather tame by his standards. In the past he has sucker punched-Ruben Patterson during practice, been cited for possession of marijuana and underage drinking, and he was present during a shooting in which his brother was ultimately sentenced to prison. Oh, but there’s more. He’s been found with guns, accused of sexual assault and allegedly, he attempted to intimidate witnesses involved with the trial of teammate Qyntel Woods. It’s all just part of being the Jailblazers model citizen.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Baron Davis @ Seattle 40 min, 28 pts (FG: 10-19, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 6-7), 9 reb, 13 ast

Monday’s Game to Watch
: Dallas (14-6) @ Utah (15-5) Utah has a 10-1 record in Salt Lake City and will look to use the home crowd to their advantage as they attempt to begin a new winning streak after losing four of their last seven. Dallas has also hit a skid in their schedule as they have gone 2-2 after ripping off 12 in a row. Despite their recent struggles, this should be a great game between two of the leagues best young teams.

Buzzer Beater: It looks like Amare Stoudemire is fully back from his injuries of a year ago and now he has his Suns team on a ten game win streak. Sure, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and others have played important parts but Stoudemire provides Phoenix with an entirely different dimension they’ve been lacking recently. He’s the only Phoenix player to have actual skills in the post, which allows the Suns to transition between playing a “fast break” offense to an “inside-outside” type of offense. Throw in some uncanny athleticism and not only do you have a Phoenix Stud, but you also get a true Western Conference powerhouse team.

NBA General

Around the Rim: The Hot Seat

1. A Czar, Zeke, Doc and Cheeks
If a coach is judged by wins and loses, then four coaches are clearly in line to be the first to get whacked this season. Doc Rivers, Mike Fratello, Maurice Cheeks and Bernie Bickerstaff all reside in futility with less than six wins each. Each coach has their own reasons for why they should be fired, but if one deserves to go first, who should it be? Bickerstaff is doing all he can with a team of kids. Fratello has to be given the benefit of the doubt considering that he has started the season in a ship without a sail after Pau Gasol broke his foot over the summer. Doc Rivers coaches a team of one, with Paul Pierce as the sole star in Boston. So, the pink slip goes to Cheeks. He is accomplishing the least with a team that is experienced, talented and athletic. Two AI’s, Chris Webber and Samuel Dalembert have to add up to more than five wins.

2. Marion, Out
Last night during a dominating win over Sacramento, the Suns Shawn Marion hit a 14 foot jumper at the buzzer. He proceeded to run off the court and into the locker room to the sweet sounds of an arena filled with cheers. One problem, it was only the end of the first quarter. Once Marion realized that he was the only player to have left the court, he returned to a bench full of laughing and pointing teammates. Some of the Suns were laughing so hard, they were literally holding their sides. There’s nothing like a little humor to keep a winning streak alive.

3. M.V.Three?
Steve Nash has won two consecutive MVP awards, and if the formula used by voters over the last two seasons holds true, then Nash is well on his way to a third. Nashty is currently averaging career highs in points (19.9) and minutes (36.5) while leading the league in assists per game with 11.4. If he can slightly increase his scoring, he will be the first player to average 20 points and ten assists since Tim Hardaway in 1992-93. While his trademark long locks are gone this season, his annoying habit of licking his fingers remains. But whatever he’s been doing, its working and the Suns have won nine out of ten, including a current seven game win streak. Last night against Sacramento, Nash put on a passing clinic as he dished out 20 assists.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Elton Brand vs. Miami 42 min, 33 pts (FG: 13-18, FT: 7-8), 17 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Houston (12-5) @ Minnesota (7-9) The Rockets have won six of their last seven games and Tracy McGrady has become much more active on the offensive side of the ball lately. Kevin Garnett continues to do everything for Minnesota as he leads the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks. Lots of talent and All-Star appearances will be on the court between The Big Ticket, T-Mac and Yao Ming.

Buzzer Beater: David Stern finally admitted to not taking player’s opinions into consideration before forcing a new ball on the league. It’s about time, players have only been complaining about the new rock since training camp. Guess that the backlash from his stars finally became too much to handle for the commissioner. Stern made a decision that affected the entire league and thought that the initial revolt would simply go away, but it hasn’t. Swallowing your pride is tough, but continuing to lose face over an unnecessary change in procedure is just stupid. Bring back the leather ball already!

NBA General

Around the Rim: Dishing Out a Different Kind of Rock

Long term contract

1. Happy Housewife
You might as well get his finger size now because this summer Tony Parker will receive his third ring since becoming a Spur. And he doesn’t even have to win the NBA Finals to get it. That’s because the guard will be marrying his long time girlfriend and Desperate Housewives hottie, Eva Longoria. While Parker is referred to as the student in the relationship’s more intimate of moments, he certainly taught the world how to properly squash a rumor. Not too long ago, these two were reportedly done with one another. Now, after two years of dating, it looks like Parker has finally learned the importance of having a good teacher.

2. Not Up His Alley
Allen Iverson failed to make a team function on Wednesday at, of all places, a bowling alley. Understandable, considering his history of bowling brawls. It’s not clear as to why Iverson failed to show but Maurice Cheeks said that he will be fined accordingly. If I had to guess, he probably didn’’t want to wear those hideous, thirty year-old shoes infested with foot fungus that have grown so powerful they are immune to the alley’s heralded “sterilizing” Lysol bath. Sure he upset a few fans and a few sponsors by not showing up, but in the end, what are we talking about? We talking about bowling, man. I mean, how silly is that?

3. All in a Quarters Work
Wow, Kobe Bryant did it again. Everybody knows that he can go off and any moment; last night he proved why you can never take your eyes off of him, not even for a quarter. The defensive minded Jazz got torched by Bryant for 52, including 30 in the third quarter alone. That’s a ridiculous total when you consider that only three players in the entire league average 30 for a full game. In the third, Bryant was nine of nine from the floor and ten of ten from the free throw line. The entire repertoire was on display last night; powerful slashing dunks, fade away jumpers, outside set shots, driving pull-ups, it was all there. While Kobe has serious competition for the title of best overall player in the league, there is no question that he is the NBA’s most explosive scorer.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Utah Jazz 34 min, 52 pts (FG: 19-26, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 12-15), 4 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk

Friday’s Game to Watch: Sacrament (8-5) @ Dallas (11-4) Somebody has to beat Dallas eventually, right? The Mavericks have ripped off 11 straight victories after losing the first four games of the year. The Kings are on a winning streak of their own, although it’s not as impressive. After dropping three in a row to some tough competition, including San Antonio and Utah, Sac-Town has won three straight and could use a victory over an elite team to gain some serious confidence. Despite leaving the last game early because of blurred vision and then missing the following practice, Dirk Nowitzki is expected to start.

Buzzer Beater: Bozi Wells has consistently been an inconsistent player and a volatile element everywhere he has gone. Controversy has followed him throughout his career and now, Houston has to deal with his shenanigans. Apparently, Wells is simply too out of shape to get any playing time. Not injured, just fat. As a third option on the Rockets, this was Wells best opportunity to have an important role and be on a winning team, but he can’t even get conditioned well enough to set foot on the floor. Wells has always been conceded and selfish but now his raw talent can’t overshadow his behavior. What an embarrassment.

Philadelphia 76ers

Chris Webber wants out of Philly

According to the Sacramento Bee (way to get the scoop Philly newspapers…), Chris Webber wants to be traded since his new offensive role this year involves sitting during 4th quarters of tight games.

I’m not going to keep playing like this,” Webber told the Bee after scoring six points in 23 minutes Wednesday as the Sixers beat Seattle, 96-90. “I don’t like this role. So you can take that however you want.

So basically, one of the two untradable players under Billy King’s stewardship wants to be traded. Webber is slated to make $20.7M this season and $22.3M next year.

But wait… this is the NBA so that means by the trade deadline in February, he will be tradable because GMs will be willing to take on $30M of salary because Webber goes off the books after the 2007-2008 season. The NBA salary cap rules are almost as silly as Major League Baseball’s lack of a salary cap. Then of course, there’s always the the retarded GM willing to sign huge stiffs to long term contracts. (Hello Chris Mullin, Isiah Thomas, Danny Ainge, Kiki Vandeweghe…etc…etc…)

[Sacramento Bee]: With a reduced role, Webber wants trade

Philadelphia 76ers

Iverson is a good guy

There are so many negative stories involving athletes that it’s good to point out these good guy stories every once in a while. Even though we make fun of Allen Iverson a lot (the practice?! video is really funny), he is one of our favorite athletes. Sure he’ll get arrested over a trumped up charge and his boy will get fined for parking his Bentley in a handicap spot, but then he’ll turn around and do something like this:

Allen Iverson will pay for the funeral of a man who died three years after he was shot in southwest Philadelphia because he refused to hand over his Iverson jersey to a group of teens.

The shooting left Johnson paralyzed, in a wheelchair and eventually on a ventilator. Last week, the ventilator failed, and Johnson suffered irreparable brain damage. The family chose to take him off it.

“If they were that serious about that jersey I would have given them 100 jerseys if they wanted it,” Iverson said. “It was just tough, just to see somebody die for something senseless like that, over a jersey, over something material.

[]: Iverson offers to pay for funeral

Philadelphia 76ers

Allen Iverson plays all 48 minutes

In a new autobiography, Carmen Bryan, the Pamela Des Barres of hip hop (Jay-Z and Nas), reveals that Allen Iverson was the best she ever had in bed. You can go read the sordid details at the NY Post but we couldn’t help but imagine an exchange between AI and Carmen:

I mean listen, we sitting here talking about foreplay, not sex, not sex, not sex, but we talking about foreplay. Not sex that I go out there and die for and have sex like it’s my last but we’re talking about foreplay man. How silly is that?

Now I know that I’m supposed to lead by example and all that but I’m not shoving that aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I honestly do but we’re talking about foreplay. We’re talking about foreplay man. We’re talking about foreplay. We’re talking about foreplay. We’re not talking about sex. We’re talking about foreplay. When you come to the bedroom, and you see me play, you’ve seen me play right, you’ve seen me give everything I’ve got, but we’re talking about foreplay right now!

[The Big Lead]: Allen Iverson, the NBA’s Pablo Neruda (More Romance, Less Writing)

[The 700 Level]: Rumored Tale of Iverson with Nas’ Woman

Philadelphia 76ers

Nov 9 in Sports History: Larry Bird vs Dr. J

In 1984: Usually in sports, if two teams don’t like each other, they’ll let the scrubs fight it out. Not on this night, as Larry Bird and Julius Erving went toe-to-toe against each other on the court. At the Boston Garden, the Celtics were pounding the Sixers, and a frustrated Erving (who was held to six points) and a red-hot Larry Bird (who had 42) began throwing punches at the end of the third quarter. Both were ejected and fined $7,500 each. Players on both teams were fined for their involvement, including a rookie named Charles Barkley, who scored 27 points off the bench up to that point. The Celtics won 130-119.

In 1961: If you thought baseball was bad, it never touched golf in terms of racism. Baseball had an “unwritten” rule that blacks were not allowed to play in the major leagues. Golf, on the other hand, actually made sure to include it in their constitution. Only in 1961 did the PGA finally remove it’s “Caucasians only” clause. Charlie Sifford was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour, and he was soon joined by Lee Elder, Jim Thorpe, Calvin Peete and Pete Brown. Sifford became the first black player to win a Tour event in 1964 at the Greater Hartford Open. Tiger Woods is the only African-American on tour today.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Drama in Dallas

I got your money Nellie!

[Editor’s Note: Around the Rim is a new daily NBA blog written by Clay Whittington.]

1. Cuban Millions Crisis
On Monday, Don Nelson returned to Dallas as coach of a different team, but he still had the same old relationship with his former boss Mark Cuban. And that is, none at all. The two no longer speak to one another and according to Nelson, Cuban still owes him $6.6 million. Apparently, the relationship turned sour after a bitter negotiation over Nelson’s last contract, prompting the two to cease any personal association with one another. Nelson was named as a consultant but once personnel moves were being made without Nelson’s involvement, he decided it was time to leave. Cuban has been quiet about the situation, “I have nothing to say at all. He coaches the bad guys now.” Has Cuban turned over a new leaf? Are we seeing a more reserved, more mature Mark Cuban? Unlikely.

2. Cuban Conspiracy Theory
Cuban raised eyebrows on opening night when he decided not to unveil the team’s western conference championship banner against rivals San Antonio. Cuban played the move off as a gesture to the fans, allowing them to enjoy both an opening night and a championship celebration. Now, with the emergence of Nelson in Golden State, the picture is becoming clearer. Cuban, who is known for his brash behavior, simply passed up an opportunity to rub his success in the faces of the Spurs for an opportunity to rub his success in the face of his former coach. The ceremony was to serve as a reminder to Nelson of the achievement gained upon his departure. With David Stern cracking down on “whining” in the league, these types of nonverbal gestures could prove to be more advantageous for the calculating business guru. Cuban will always get the last word in whether it’s spoken or not. Don’t mistake a quiet Cuban for a changed Cuban.

3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s only the first week of the season but Allen Iverson is already having a great season. With 34.0 points a game, he is leading the NBA in scoring, but the points aren’t surprising. What is, however, is the accuracy with which he gets them. A career 42 percent shooter, he’s currently shooting 49 percent from the field and an eye-popping 55 percent from behind the three point line. And don’t try to call him selfish anymore. His assists are up to 9.7 per game, another career high. The injury prone Iverson continues to put his body on the line for his team, leading the NBA in minutes per game and free throws attempted. On the flip side, one of Iverson’s signatures has always been his turnovers and this year is no different as he dubiously leads the league in that category as well with 5.33 per game. Will any of these numbers hold over a full season? Time will tell, but with A.I. in MVP form and his team jumping out to a 3-0 start for the first time in six seasons things are definitely looking brighter for Philly fans.

4. Second Home Coming
The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets will have their second home opener of the season tonight. The team brings a 3-0 record to their home away from home as they play Golden State in Oklahoma City. Chris Paul led the team to a victory over Houston in New Orleans on Sunday. David Stern emphasized over the weekend that the Hornets will return to The Big Easy full-time next season. Over the past two seasons, Oklahoma City has proven to be hungry for professional sports and their commitment to the Hornets franchise has created an opportunity for the NBA to set up shop in the Heartland. Coincidentally, the Seattle Sonics were recently purchased by an Oklahoma City-based ownership group; an acquisition that has Sonic fans sleepless in Seattle.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Zach Randolph @ LA Clippers 38 min, 35 pts (FG: 11-17, FT: 13-15), 13 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Minnesota (2-2) @ LA Lakers (3-1) The Lakers are perfect at home on the year as former MVP, Kevin Garnett, comes to town. Kobe Bryant has been quiet in the two games he has played this season, taking only 25 shots total, but he will look to explode against the T-Wolves after losing in Seattle. Lamar Odom has been sporadic since Bryant’s return and appeared more comfortable as the lead role in the opening game that Bryant missed.