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Brad Hurt

Gasol out indefinitely with MCL sprain posted by Brad Hurt

An MRI on Marc Gasol's left knee, which he injured in the first half of the Grizzlies' loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, revealed a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL).  The injury, similar to one suffered two years ago by Zach Randolph, will keep Gasol out of action indefinitely but will not require surgery.  Kosta Koufos will start in his place.  This is a huge blow for the team, both in terms of production and morale.  The injury has been called "non-contact", although there could have been some contact as it occurred while the Spurs' Danny Green posted up against Gasol and backed into him.  Even so, it's still a freakish, unfortunate injury.Continue reading "Gasol out indefinitely with MCL sprain"

Brad Hurt

Gasol leaves loss with knee sprain posted by Brad Hurt

The Grizzlies had reason to be proud as they returned home Friday to face the perennially tough San Antonio Spurs.  They had just finished the most successful West Coast road trip in a decade.  Now they would have the FedEx Forum crowd behind them to urge them to victory.  Unfortunately, the Spurs would have none of that, playing the role of the rude houseguests with a 102-86 victory.

Potentially far worse for the home team, however, is the fact that center Marc Gasol left the game after suffering a non-contact injury to his left knee early in the second quarter and did not return.  The team is calling it a sprain, and Gasol will undergo an MRI today.  Losing Gasol for any extended period of time would be a crushing blow to the team.  He is currently averaging 16 points and more than 7 rebounds per game, teaming up with Zach Randolph to form an imposing post duo.  Randolph has been putting up monster numbers in his own right, but losing Gasol would undoubtedly change the way teams choose to defend Randolph, enabling more double-and-triple teams.  The Grizzlies currently have the 23rd-ranked offensive output in the league, averaging 94.1 points per game.  Ideally, they would like to see that number increase as they work toward a return to the playoffs come April.  Gasol is also a great veteran leader for the team, and intangibles are difficult to replace.  So let's hope the sprain isn't too severe and Gasol can return to action soon.

Continue reading "Gasol leaves loss with knee sprain"


Brad Hurt

Close call: Grizzlies rally for sweep posted by Brad Hurt

It was anything but easy, but the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Golden State Warriors, 88-81 in overtime on Wednesday night to complete a perfect West Coast road trip.

The comeback happened largely thanks to the team's Grit N Grind mentality.  After spotting the home team a double-digit lead in the opening quarter, the Grizzlies (7-5) relied on strong defense to get back into the game.  They had to overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half to escape with their 11th consecutive head-to-head win over the 8-4 Warriors.  They won the third quarter 25-13 behind a 17-2 run led by Zach Randolph's eight points in the period.  Randolph finished with another double-double of a team-high 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Ball control played a huge part in the win as the Grizzlies turned the ball over only seven times.

The Grizzlies shot only 38 percent for the game, led by Marc Gasol's 6-of-14 effort.  Gasol added 11 rebounds to his 18 points to join Randolph with a double-double.  His pair of free throws with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime.  Mike Conley also finished in double figures scoring for the Grizzlies, scoring 19 points and draining the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime.  The Grizzlies' bench came up large, outscoring the Warriors' reserves 16-7.  Kosta Koufos led the Grizzlies subs with seven points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Andrew Bogut led the Warriors with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

This trip proved the Grizzlies can compete with some of the top teams in the West.  It is never easy to win away from home, and putting together a streak like this shows the character and fight this team has.

Continue reading "Close call: Grizzlies rally for sweep"


Brad Hurt

Grizzlies seek first road sweep since '04 posted by Brad Hurt

The Grizzlies have reeled off three straight wins on the road since falling at home to Toronto last Wednesday.  West Coast trips are usually daunting, but the Grizzlies have found ways to win to this point.  Their current trip reaches its conclusion tonight in Oakland as the Grizzlies (6-5) take on the Pacific-leading Golden State Warriors (8-3), winners of four straight.  So someone will see a streak end.  If the Grizz get the win, they will have their first road sweep of at least four games since March 2004.  The Warriors are 5-0 at home this season, a mark the Clippers also had before falling to the Grizzlies on Monday.

The Warriors boast five players averaging double figures in scoring at this point in the season, led by Klay Thompson's 20.5 points per game.  Sensational guard Stephen Curry is a close second with 19.9 points per game.  Curry, who usually gets top billing as the team's superstar leader, will miss Wednesday's game with a concussion.

The Grizzlies have seen good balance offensively.  Mike Conley is off to a good start, scoring 18.7 points and dishing out around six assists per game.  As he has gone over the past few years, so have gone the Grizzlies.  He seems to be over the confidence issues and inconsistency that plagued him a couple of years ago, when trade rumors surrounded him.  Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have been key for the Grizzlies, continuing to comprise one of the biggest post tandem threats in the league.  Gasol is putting up 17 points and seven rebounds per game on the season.  However, on this trip he is scoring over 20 points per game with 8+ rebounds and 8+ assists.  Randolph is leading the team with 9.2 rebounds per game while scoring 16.1 points per contest on a career-high 55 percent shooting clip.

Continue reading "Grizzlies seek first road sweep since '04"


Brad Hurt

Tony Allen Receives Dubious Suspension posted by Brad Hurt

The NBA has announced that Tony Allen will be forced to sit out the Grizzlies' game at Golden State on Wednesday as he serves a one-game suspension for his actions on Monday. Allen was assessed a Flagrant 2 Foul and ejected from Monday night's 106-102 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers for kicking Chris Paul in the face.  The kick in my opinion was clearly inadvertent as Allen jumped and kicked his legs out in a defensive move against the driving Paul.  Such a move is a fairly common part of today's NBA game and is a natural reaction.  Players want to do all they can to impede the progress of the ballhandler and get the ball free.  I don't think Tony said, "Hmmm...I think I'll kick Chris Paul in the face."  Tony is one of the best defenders in the league and doesn't need to resort to cheap shots to get the job done.  It was just a case of bad timing and an unfortunate accident.  Paul is among the shortest players in the league.  That is the only reason the blow landed where it did and made this an issue.  I can see calling a Flagrant 1 because it's not an everyday occurrence, regardless of alleged intent, but a suspension seems a bit heavy-handed to me.  Save that for thrown punches.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flz-uF9ldls

Continue reading "Tony Allen Receives Dubious Suspension"


Brad Hurt

Grizzlies Adjusting to Changes posted by Brad Hurt

It was an eventful offseason for the Memphis Grizzlies, centering around the drama that comes with a regime change.  Following the franchise's first-ever appearance in the Western Conference Finals, a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, new owner Robert Pera made his presence known by allowing the expiration of head coach Lionel Hollins' contract.  While stunning in the wake of a string of postseason appearances and a new milestone, this move came as no real shock from a business perspective.  Anytime someone new takes over a team, he is going to want to surround himself with people who fit into his vision for the franchise.  Very few coaches in sports survive changes at the top of an organization for very long.  Displeased by pending changes in the team's philosophy, Hollins made his frustration publicly known, and that did not help any chance he may have had of returning to the bench for the 2013-14 season.

With lead assistant Dave Joerger getting the front office's support as the new head man, the Grizzlies have gotten off to an uneven start, but that is to be expected as the players adjust to the change.  I think bringing in a total stranger would have made the transition more daunting.

So far the biggest asset for the Grizzlies as they try to establish the type of team they are going to be this season has been Zach Randolph.  Z-Bo proved to be very valuable down the stretch last season, and he continues to be a crucial factor in establishing the Grizzlies as a powerful post team.  If Zach continues to be on top of his game and the guards knock down perimeter shots, the Grizzlies will be back contending for a spot in the finals at the end of the season.

Continue reading "Grizzlies Adjusting to Changes"


NBA News

posted by NBA News

The Kansas Jayhawks have a proud tradition in college athletics. Buoyed by their elite basketball program, alumni and fans alike around the country flock to games and spend thousands of dollars per year on merchandise. You can show your support for the Jayhawks by going online or stopping by the campus bookstore to  shop Kansas jerseys today.

A Jayhawks jersey makes a great birthday or Christmas gift for the fan in your life. If you are about to go to a Kansas basketball or football game, having a jersey to wear to the stadium will help you fit in with the other Jayhawks faithful. 

Kansas students and alumni may qualify for discounts on merchandise just for going to the school. Those who buy their jerseys online may be able to get free or discounted shipping on their orders. Customers who buy a jersey as a gift can include a gift receipt as well as track the status of the order online to ensure that it gets to the recipient in a timely manner. 

Any Kansas fan would be proud to wear school colors on game day whether they are watching the game at the stadium or watching it with friends at home. If you have a credit card and an Internet connection, you are never more than a couple of minutes away from getting your own Kansas Jayhawk merchandise.Continue reading ""


NBA News

Lessons I learned from playing poker that helped my improve my basketball skills posted by NBA News

Poker is a game that some try to discourage due to its perceived association to gambling. Some parents may discourage their children from playing the game; for fear that it could eventually lead to a gambling problem. However, this attitude is wrong, given the many benefits that both children and adults can gain from playing the game.

Playing poker requires a diverse range of skills that you acquire over some period of time. These skills can be applied in different areas of your life, from the sports you participate in to businesses and the personal relationships and interactions you have to handle on a day to day basis.

Making Timely Decisions

One of the ways lock poker helped me improve my basketball skills, was to improve my ability to make judgments. I learned to read non verbal cues that I could read from my opponents and use that to make split second decision. It made me realize that non verbal cues can add improve decision making. I realized it is possible to learn to look for this cues as when training and playing in the field, without necessarily knowing what to look out for.

The beauty of poker, is that it helps you to learn things faster. You recognize patterns and learn to identify them quickly. The game has a tight feedback system that enhances the learning process. Other games do not. But if you play this game for an extended period of time, you will teach your mind to identify these patterns.

Taking Risks

Another way that this poker helped me to improve my basketball skills was to learn how and when to take risks. The consequences of taking certain risks become apparent almost immediately. As a result you learn to weigh the risks. You become increasingly aware of the weight of your actions and learn to make the right decision on your feet.

Continue reading "Lessons I learned from playing poker ..."


NBA News

Tips To Becoming A Professional Sports Bettor posted by NBA News

Gambling is one of the oldest forms of commercial activities known to man.  There are many types of gambling and one of the most popular is sports betting.  To put it in layman’s term, sports betting is simply predicting and placing a wager on the outcome of a sports event.

For most people, sports betting is merely a hobby that can be addictive and engaging. People place wagers on the outcome of the Super Bowl, for instance. Through sports betting, cheering for a particular team or athlete becomes more thrilling since there is money involved.

However, for some people, sports betting is not just a recreational activity that they enjoy. In fact, they rely on sports betting for their main source of income. These professional sports bettors don’t just rely on luck. After all, luck can’t be on their side most of the time to make sports betting their primary source of income.

Sports betting is not for everyone. It takes a lot of guts for people to make sports betting their bread and butter. For the few who are inclined to make sports betting their number one source of income, here are some tips to become successful in this endeavor.

The first key to being a professional sports bettor is to learn how to be detached to a certain sports team or athlete. In sports betting, it is very common for recreational bettors to place a wager on their favorite team or athlete. For instance, a bettor from New York is inclined to put his money on the Knicks instead of, say, the Miami Heat. Emotional attachment to a sports team or athlete is one of the obstacles to becoming a successful professional sports bettor. When one bets solely or mainly on the basis of preference, then there are higher chances that he or she will end up on the losing side.

Continue reading "Tips To Becoming A Professional Sports Bettor"


NBA News

NBA BasketBall Betting, the Top Teams and their Prospects for 2013, 2014 Season posted by NBA News

In the 2012, 2013 prediction of the NBA game seven, Miami Heat were the favorites to win according to basketball sports betting sites. They went ahead to win against the spurs. Miami Heat were defending their title for the second time. Spurs were not the favorites but they had raised hope in many people that they had a chance to take the title. Most odd makers had put odds in the fact that the game will be close. This prediction also came to be true with the final 95, 88 score. There are those that are looking for Miami Heat’s prospect for the 2013-2014 season.

Defending the Title

Miami Heat are favorites to win again in early predictions for this season. The Lebron James magic is expected to play out again as he leads his time to another victory and defend their title. Some predict that Lebron may retain his Most Valuable Player of the year title this coming season. He has consistently shown his skills in shooting, defending and attacking.

On the other hand it may be too early to judge. What are the real prospects of defending the title? Defending the title for the third time will not be that easy. There is talk of Dwayne Wade’s knee injury. Whether he will be part of the action next season and whether Lebron can do without him, is another important factor that will determine the prospects for the team this coming season.

Westbrook’s Return to Oklahoma City

Another team to watch is Oklahama City Thunder. Some odds place it second for the title after Miami Heat. Their prospects are also good. The team up of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is going to be interesting to watch this season. The two are expected to help lead the team towards the title. However Russell has been on crutches and is widely expected to recover in time but how well he recovers and the level of his game remains to be seen.

Continue reading "NBA BasketBall Betting, the Top Teams ..."

NBA Basketball News

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Milwaukee Bucks pick up former lottery pick, ex-Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall off waivers %2

When the Los Angeles Lakers waived Kendall Marshall last Friday to clear his unguaranteed 2014-15 salary from the books, freeing up cap space with which to complete other signings, they hoped to be able to bring him back into the fold if he cleared waivers . The Milwaukee Bucks, however, had other ideas, swooping in over the weekend to make a waiver claim on the 22-year-old point guard and add him to new head coach Jason Kidd's backcourt mix. The Bucks had plenty of money to spend, and will remain well under the 2014-15 salary cap of $63.065 million after being awarded Marshall's league-minimum salary; they've essentially bought a $1 scratch-off ticket in the hope of cashing out with some big-time, bargain-priced playmaking. After becoming the all-time ACC single-season assist leader during his sophomore year at North Carolina, Marshall was selected 13th overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns. He struggled mightily as a rookie, leading Phoenix to send him down to the D-League and eventually include him in a package sent with Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards for cap space and a first-round draft pick; the Wizards promptly waived him , leaving Marshall out of the NBA less than a year after he'd made his debut. (When the Wizards wound up trading for a new backup point guard midway through the season, Marshall —owner of one of the league's worth-a-follow Twitter accounts —couldn't help but notice .) Marshall sought a fresh start to his pro career by way of a second D-League stint . After putting up strong numbers for the Delaware 87ers —19.4 points and 9.6 assists in 37.6 minutes per game, 46.3 percent shooting from 3-point land —Marshall got a chance to run point for Mike D'Antoni's injury-decimated Lakers , and he made the most of his opportunity. (Never did get that Kobe follow , though.) Despite making just 54 appearances and playing less than 1,600 minutes, Marshall finished 10th in the NBA in assists last season, dropping 477 dimes, 11 fewer than LeBron James. His 8.8 assists per game (in just 29 minutes per contest) would've ranked tied John Wall and Ty Lawson for the league's second-best mark behind superstar Chris Paul; he assisted on 44.3 percent of his teammates' baskets during his floor time, an assist percentage that, again, trailed only CP3. He was careful with the ball, too; among NBA point men, only Paul, Pablo Prigioni and Jose Calderon finished with better assist-to-turnover ratios than Marshall's 3.18-to-1 mark . That elite playmaking, however, comes attached to some less desirable traits. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Free-agent roundup: Lakers bring back Henry, Johnson and Kelly; Seraphin returns to Wiz; and

The list of available players in the free agent class of 2014 continues to dwindle down, with teams tending toward focusing on theends of their benches while aiming to maintain future flexibility and set their sights on the future ... in part, perhaps, because they'd rather not think too hard about the present. With that in mind, let's run through some recent smaller deals agreed upon by players and teams, starting out in Los Angeles. *** • The Los Angeles Lakers continued rounding out their roster by bringing back three members of last year's dismal 27-55 squad — swingman Xavier Henry, forward Wesley Johnson and prospective stretch four Ryan Kelly. (Start planning the parade.) Henry received a one-year, $1 million deal, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . So did Johnson, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard . (They may well both be receiving the $981,084 minimum salary for four-year players , with the reports just rounding the salaries up.) Kelly — who was a restricted free agent, unlike Henry and Johnson, and whose agreement was first reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times — got a two-year deal worth just under $3.4 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein , suggesting that his salary comes out of the Lakers' last remaining cap exception, the "room mid-level exception,"  which is worth $2.732 million for the coming season. Johnson made 79 appearances, including 62 starts, for Mike D'Antoni last season, sopping up the lion's share of L.A.'s minutes at the small forward spot and turning in the most productive season of his NBA career in the most wide-open opportunity since joining the Minnesota Timberwolves as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 draft. That, however, isn't saying much — he chipped in 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 28.4 minutes per game, shooting just 42.5 percent from the floor and getting roundly outproduced at multiple positions, according to 82games.com's charting . There were some sunny spots. The former Syracuse star shot a career-best 36.9 percent from long distance, including a 41.2 percent mark on spot-up opportunities, according to Synergy Sports Technology 's game-charting. He used his long arms and athleticism to contribute a neat 2.1 combined steals and blocks per game, and to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on an alley-oop off an inbounds pass . At this stage, though, the 27-year-old's most commendable virtue seems to be keeping the Lakers from starting $21.5 million teammate Nick Young at the three spot. (Which is, to be fair, pretty important.) [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

The 10-man rotation, starring LeBron James remembering everything, for better and for worse (B

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN.com . A fantastic read from Brian Windhorst on LeBron James' remarkable memory —the one that Shane Battier once called "quasi-photographic" and referred to as "a little like 'A Beautiful Mind'" —and the good things and bad things it can do to him over the course of a game, a series and a season. PF : RealGM . Jonathan Tjarks on a possible silver lining surrounding the dark cloud that has been the Houston Rockets' disappointing summer —more opportunities for Terrence Jones. SF : Forum Blue and Gold . Daniel Rapaport runs down how, in a little over three years, the Los Angeles Lakers went from championship contender to coachless also-ran. SG : Grantland . Zach Lowe tries to figure out what exactly the Sacramento Kings are doing. Good luck, Zach. PG : Cowbell Kingdom and Sactown Royalty . The answer, for the moment: They're winning (Summer League) championships, baby. 6th : NBA.com . The great David Aldridge's always-information-packed Morning Tip column leads off with Derek Fisher getting his arms around teaching the Triangle offense as the head coach of the New York Knicks' Las Vegas Summer League team, and the challenges he'll face as he tries to get established pros like recently re-upped star Carmelo Anthony on-board. 7th : Regressing . In which science proves that big men have benefitted more from the institution of the 3-point arc than guards have. (It's all about spacing, y'all.) 8th : PistonPowered . In which Brady Fredericksen makes the case for "Josh Smith: Super-Sub," an idea that seems to me to have a very-close-to-zero chance of ever actually happening, but is fun to think about as Stan Van Gundy looks for ways to jumpstart the moribund Detroit Pistons. 9th : Awful Announcing and The National Post . Of course Canadian athletes don't have less motivation than other athletes, Jason Whitlock. Get out of here. 10th : USA TODAY Sports . Jason Wolf goes long on Sam Hinkie, a man who takes great pains to avoid the spotlight, which has made him persona non grata to those media members and fans who want answers for the Philadelphia 76ers' determined race to the bottom of the NBA. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Desperate to turn his career around, Roy Hibbert is working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ball D

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to national prominence some fifty years ago as a standout center at Power Memorial high school, before moving on to be a championship-earning legend at UCLA, with the Milwaukee Bucks, and most famously with the Los Angeles Lakers. He still stands as the NBA’s leading scorer, but he also retired nearly a quarter-century ago, and no NBA team has seen fit to sit him on the sidelines as an assistant coach for more than a year at a time. With the game moving farther and farther away from the pivot, valuing perimeter play and shots directly at the goal as opposed to low post play, it might be debatable as to what role Kareem could play in teaching what he knows best to a current player that needs it the most. Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, however, truly needs it the most. He is the last of the NBA’s true giants, an old school center that mixes fits of domination with instances of acting as the worst player on the court, a man out of time in a league that has already dashed past half-court. This is why Hibbert is studying with Abdul-Jabbar this summer, in a last chance diner’s attempt at serving up some semblance of an offensive game befitting of Hibbert’s 7-4 frame and (seriously) soft hands. Kareem shared as much on Tuesday:   @Hoya2aPacer great dinner tonight w/you & #LarryBird . Looking forward to kicking it up a notch at practice tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xMfm3n3Xb6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014 Hibbert’s regular season production declined for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row, the issues were centered on confidence issues (though Hibbert did work through a bad wrist to start 2012-13). The difference between those two dwindling seasons is that Roy’s game perked up to a ferocious degree in the playoffs during Indiana’s near-Finals run in 2013, but in 2014 a frustrated Hibbert paired the occasional standout performance with embarrassing displays on both ends. Roy Hibbert has a throwback game, and for two summers prior to this one he’s worked with the NBA’s principle throwback avatar , one Tim Duncan, to refine his all-around game. Duncan’s spindly 6-11 frame may have lost a step, but unlike Hibbert he can still pivot his way around defenders and keep up with smaller opponents bent on throwing him off his offensive game. The Pacers center has had no such luck at this, and this failing was more than apparent against Miami during last season’s playoffs, when Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and even Chris Andersen routinely beat Hibbert to his spot. It’s true that entry passing was an embarrassing problem for the Pacers in the postseason, but even when Hibbert got the ball offensively the quicker defender would be able to anticipate and beat him to wherever his shoulder wanted to go, resulting in ugly, awkward (though sometimes effective) three-quarter hook shots sometimes tossed across Hibbert’s own body. With the more orthodox jump hook option taken away, possibly for good at this point in his career, it’s time for Hibbert to develop more moves at age 27. It’s not a given that Hibbert will attempt to approximate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famed sky hook, but if anyone were to give it a consistent try, it should be Roy Hibbert. All players would do well to learn the move – could you imagine someone like Anthony Davis busting a sky hook out next season? – but Hibbert would seem to need it the most. Other smaller and quicker centers have options to fall back on. As the rest of the league gets smaller and quicker, Hibbert has no such plan in reserve. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work with Michael Olowokandi at the outset of the former top overall pick’s career was met with notorious indifference . It’s worth noting that, following his stint as a big men coach with the Lakers (KAJ was not on the staff or on the bench, but attended most games and practices), Andrew Bynum’s career has fallen off significantly in the years following his impressive stint while under Abdul-Jabbar’s tutelage. Now, we have no way of knowing if injuries and/or ennui were the primary factors behind Bynum’s career going sour, and it’s quite possible Bynum would have been fantastic as it was even without Kareem around, but we should remember that with Abdul-Jabbar in house, Bynum’s low post game flourished. It’s also important to remember that we’re just about seven months removed from Roy Hibbert acting as far and away the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, with his sterling first half work for a Pacer team that was running with the best record in the NBA at the time. Hibbert would go on to lose that award, as the Pacers’ season got away from them , but this man is also just 27 and about to enter his prime. He has two years and over $30 million left on his contract, and Indiana is either shaking off trade offers, or not receiving any. If the former is the case, it’s a smart move. Indiana was always going to be terrible offensively in 2014-15, even if Lance Stephenson had stuck around. The key for this roster is to regaining that stout form on defense, and this means being able to keep Roy Hibbert on the floor for long stretches of time. If Hibbert can even get back to basic low post competency in 2014-15, while possibly adding a few Kareem-guided wrinkles along the way, this will act as a massive boon to Indiana on both sides of the ball. The Heat lost LeBron. The Cavs look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll mesh right away, and nobody knows what Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is thinking in regards to Kevin Love. Chicago also looks great on paper, but health and rust are huge concerns. Washington and Atlanta still seem a step below. Brooklyn’s bones are made of dust. The East is still there for the taking, even if the Pacers look terribly uncomfortable offensively next season. If Hibbert can right his situation, whether Kareem is the impetus or not, Indiana would rightfully return to contending status in 2014-15. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The 10-man rotation, starring the Dallas Mavericks, who could be making a move after a strong su

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Sports on Earth . Michael Pina on the "minor miracle" of the Dallas Mavericks' offseason work, and how Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle and the staggeringly selfless Dirk Nowitzki might have another contender on their hands. PF : numberFire . One area where the Mavs still look a little shaky, though, is at the point —who should start there? SF : Silver Screen and Roll . OK, Kobe says he likes the moves , but seriously: could this year's model be the worst Los Angeles Lakers team we've ever seen? SG : Pounding the Rock . Jesus Gomez brings us up to speed on the roiling chaos within the Argentine Basketball Association, which could result in the veteran members of the team's legendary "Golden Generation," like Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni, not suiting up for this summer's FIBA World Cup. PG : Bright Side of the Sun . Amid rumors that the Phoenix Suns might be interested in making a run at Greg Monroe, Garrett Benson questions why Ryan McDonough, Jeff Hornacek and company would be considering a max or near-max deal for a restricted free agent big man who doesn't seem to line up with Phoenix's game plan. 6th : Gothic Ginobili . "…if NBA fans are going to boycott the NFL for their treatment of the [Ray] Rice case , they should probably start off by storming the NBA's league office in New York and demanding answers on the NBA's pitiful track record." 7th : FOX Sports Ohio . To hear LeBron James' closest longtime friends tell it, even they didn't know where he was going until the essay went live. Zac Jackson talked to LeBron's pals about what it was like spending the week before the announcement with James in Vegas. 8th : Hoop365 , TrueHoop , SB Nation and The Triangle . More ideas, coverage and consideration of the Oklahoma City Thunder's reported plan to make 2014 first-round draft pick Josh Huestis the first ever domestic "draft-and-stash" prospect: Mark Deeks thinks the player's allowing himself to get played: "Huestis stands to gain very little from this agreement, least of all money." Royce Young thinks it's more complicated than that, but that "it might be a win-win for both the Thunder and Huestis." Two pieces of supporting evidence on its complication: Huestis' agent, Mitchell Butler, tells Mike Prada that the idea for the unique and potentially troubling arrangement actually came from the player's side of the negotiating table rather than the team's, and Ron Klempner, the interim executive director of the players' union, sees this as "an example of the player flipping the script" in the contract negotiation process. 9th : The Triangle . Speaking of Deeks —the proprietor of the indispensable ShamSports.com and a wonderful follow on Twitter, by the way —here's n informative profile of the British team-building aficionado and salary cap savant by friend of the program Jason Concepcion. 10th : Wall Street Journal . Chris Herring considers the unreasonable prospect of the New York Knicks deeming guard Tim Hardaway Jr. "untouchable" in trade talks, and offers a reasonable analysis of why they shouldn't. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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