NBA News for November 11th, 2008
|Knicks Won’t Activate Stephon Marbury
Bottom line here is the Knicks simply will not play or now even dress Stephon Marbury. Period. Barring a major injury to a starting guard — and even then I might think Nate gets the nod and Anthony Roberson gets more minutes — the only way Marbury gets into an NBA game this season might have to be in another team’s uniform.
This is one interesting stalemate. The Knicks could easily just send him home for a paid vacation and wait for a deal. But instead, they have him show up every day, go with the team on the road and maintain good attendance. It’s his call not to participate in the shoot-arounds and practice scrimmages. But clearly the Knicks are breaking his — uhh — basketballs here until he comes to them with a buyout agreement less than the $21.9 million he is owed. The Knicks, as we’ve reported in the print editions, would accept paying ths difference of his salary minus what he gets from another team as a free agent.
|Greg Popovich: We Need to Play Defense
Lost in the Spurs’ early-season injury-a-palooza, however, has been the notable absence of another star contributor to their championship pedigree. A suffocating defense, the ever-present backbone of the Spurs’ supremacy earlier this decade, has been largely MIA so far.
And yes, coach Gregg Popovich has noticed.
“If we don’t play good defense, it doesn’t matter if we score or not,” said Popovich, whose team is 1-4 for the first time in his 11-plus seasons. “We’re not going to score 110 points a game, so we have to keep people in the 80s or low 90s for wins. That’s how we’ve done it every year.”
|Kings Have Been Trying to Bring Hedo Turkoglu Back to Sacramento
It wouldn’t surprise the Magic to hear from the Sacramento Kings at the February trade deadline. They apparently have been a fairly constant suitor for former King Hedo Turkoglu the past few years.
Magic General Manager Otis Smith said the Kings have been interested in reacquiring Turkoglu "ever since he left" Sacramento after it dealt him to San Antonio in 2003. The Kings drafted Turkoglu in the first round in 2000, making him the first Turkish-born player to reach the NBA.
Smith said the Kings have been in touch with Orlando since the Magic signed him as a free agent in 2004. He said it has been a while since the Kings made some offers for Turkoglu, and added, laughing, "They wanted to give us their trash."
|Clippers Shopping Chris Kaman?
The centerpiece it does involve, I’m informed, is Chris Kaman. Now that Marcus Camby (double-figure rebounding last two games) is nearing full strength, the 1-6 Clippers are open to a rational market trade for the big guy who has battened down their middle for five seasons and is owed $43 million over four seasons.
Sources say Charlotte has no one of consequence Los Angeles desires. Wallace has no appeal. Mike Dunleavy has been there, done that with Corey Maggette, and solemnly swears by Al Thornton. Therefore, the search is on for a team prepared to deal an extraneous or unwanted macho forward to augment Camby; moving Cutino Mobley ($8.9M/$9.5M) in the process or in a side deal would be cause for great celebration by the Staples Center’s stepchild.
|Phil Jackson: Trevor Ariza Is a Ghost
Jackson found an interesting way to describe Trevor Ariza’s innate ability to make plays off the ball, whether it’s tipping passes in the lane, slipping between defenders for offensive rebounds or cutting to the basket for layups.
"He’s like a ghost out there," Jackson said. "Like a shadow. Just all of a sudden he shows on a screen and he’s gone. He’s a blip and he’s away. He runs the court like that. He’s a stealth player more than you’d say (of) a person that infuses the team with energy. But his presence is certainly felt."
|Kyle Korver: I Hated Philadelphia at First
When Kyle Korver first came to the 76ers as a second-round draft pick in 2004, he wasn’t terribly happy.
“I hated it at first,” he said. “I told everyone here I did not like Philadelphia at all at first. It took me a year or two to get used to it. But I really got to know the city a lot and the people in it, the heart here. I love it here.”
Now, the former Sixers’ forward, who is back in town with the Utah Jazz for tonight’s game against the Sixers (7 p.m., CSN) keeps a home in the area and said it was good to sleep in his own bed Sunday night after the Jazz’ loss to the Knicks.
And tonight, he’ll make his first appearance at the Wachovia Center as a member of the visiting team.
|Al Harrington Out Two Weeks with ’Bad Back’
Golden State Warriors forward Al Harrington is on the trading block and in his bed.
A source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher on Monday that Harrington will miss at least the next two weeks because of back problems. He has been placed on bed rest for the next week.
Unhappy with his role on the team, Harrington asked to be traded before the season began.
"He thinks he’s a superstar. I think he’s a very good player. If he wants to be traded, we’ll try to accommodate him," Warriors coach Don Nelson told ESPN.com a week ago.