The Pistons’ Struggles, a Trade That Should Have Already Happened and Dwight v. Rudy Part II
I think it’s pretty safe to say that Denver got the best of the Allen Iverson/Chauncey Billups trade. The Nuggets are off to one of the best starts in their franchise’s history and sit third in the Western Conference. The Pistons are on a five game losing streak and are only five games above .500. The team has struggled to figure out the direction they should go after altering the nucleus of one of the Eastern Conference’s most successful teams and haven’t settled on what lineup gives them the best chance of winning as consistently as they did in the past.
Iverson knows that the team’s losing streak, the team’s longest since 03-04, and subpar play are potentially divisive but stresses that togetherness is the only way to fix the situation:
"This is the time when some teams start pointing fingers and playing the blame game. But this is nobody’s fault but all of our’s. It’s all of our’s fault. Everbody is to blame, the coaching staff to the players. Everybody needs to take responsibilty. Once we step up and do that as a unit, then we can start to turn this around."
They take the first step today against the Grizzlies, who have been known to cure other teams’ losing. The game is a part of TNT’s triple header in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. you also get to see Phoenix at Boston and Cleveland at the Lakers. If you have NBA TV, you can catch the Rockets hosting the Nuggets before those games tip off.
Shawn Marion is going to get traded. I think we all know it by now, I’m sure he does as well and he’s looking forward to it. The most reported trade rumors involve Marion and Jermaine O’Neal switching teams, even though Pat Riley is trying to diffuse those rumors. Another less popular report has Marion going to Dallas for Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse. And of course there were rumors earlier in the year that he’d land in Cleveland to play along side LeBron James.
Just get it done already. Reports that O’Neal’s health is holding the deal up don’t take into account that Marion has missed time as well. If both guys are injured, just deal them and let them rehab and get healthy in new surroundings. The deal seems to make sense for both sides (as laid out by our guy Oly Sandor, check it out if you haven’t already) and it’s not exactly a secret anymore. Part ways, let Marion finish this year with Toronto and then decide where he wants to hoop next season after his deal expires this year.
All-Star Weekend Tidbits
Rudy Fernandez has beaten out Russell Westbrook and Joe Alexander for the right to participate in the Slam Dunk Competition against Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson and Rudy Gay. Fernandez was selected by the infamous fan vote, which typically turns into a popularity contest instead of selecting the most deserving player. It probably won’t matter since Howard will likely walk away with the title anyway. Which could be the appropriate payback for this, but probably not.
In more interesting All-Star news, images of the uniforms that the players will wear during the big game have surfaced. I’m glad that the NBA has gone back to special unis for the game instead of having the players wear their own individual team jerseys every year. The article goes on to say that these are better constructed and more lightweight, blah blah blah and that you can buy them later this week. Because that’s what they were after in the first place. The starters for the ASG will be announced Thursday on TNT. The reserves will be announced a week from that date, also on TNT.
Despite a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the Utah Jazz’s roster heading into next season, the team and Jerry Sloan have agreed to extend his contract through the 09-10 campaign. Sloan is currently in his 21st year with the Jazz and is widely regarded as one of the game’s best coaches, despite the lack of recognition he has received. Utah has only missed the playoffs twice during his tenure, despite having to transition out of the John Stockton/Karl Malone era. Although he has signed the extension, reports claim that Sloan is day-to-day with coaching and could retire at any point.