NBA News for November 18th, 2008
|Shaq Fined $25K for Verbally Abusing Official
Shaquille O’Neal lost the argument, and now he’ll lose some cash as well.
The NBA fined the Suns center $25,000 on Monday for verbal abuse of an official and failure to leave the court in a timely manner after he was ejected in a 104-86 win over the Pistons in Phoenix on Sunday.
"Doesn’t matter to me," O’Neal said after the Suns’ 109-97 loss in Utah. "I’m not the one that can be controlled with fines, so that doesn’t matter to me."
The incident occurred with 5:19 left in the second period when Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey went in for a layup and O’Neal sent him crashing to the court chest-first. He received a Flagrant 2 foul and an automatic ejection.
|George Karl Rips on Allen Iverson
But the more Nuggets coach George Karl watches Chauncey Billups run his offense – and watches Iverson lead the Detroit Pistons – it has become clearer that Iverson, well, wasn’t the answer.
"There are less bad plays, more solid plays," Karl said of the former 76er, who was traded earlier this month. "I think the wasteful, cheap possessions that we used to have 10 to 15 a game, they don’t exist very much anymore."
What always irked Karl was Iverson’s inability to run the offense like a general. When it came to beating the elite teams, the Nuggets had too many questions with The Answer – about his shot selection, his dedication to defense and his ability/inability to trust his teammates.
"Sometimes I saw something, but I couldn’t get it done on the court because I didn’t have a playmaker out there," Karl said.
|Kobe Says Little; Phil Jackson Not So Shy to Discuss Shaq Comments
Phil Jackson was far more expansive. After all, he was the man Shaquille O’Neal blamed for the creative tension that inspired a rather public feud between O’Neal and Bryant when they played with the Lakers earlier this decade.
When someone asked about O’Neal’s comments, which pinned the blame for "everything" on Jackson, the Lakers’ Hall of Fame coach smiled his wry smile and said, "Even his (notoriously poor) free-throw shooting?"
When the laughter died down, Jackson didn’t skip a beat.
"Well, I’m glad we motivated him when he was here and we won three championships," he said of O’Neal, who is now with the Phoenix Suns. "I think that was the best thing we did. We all have good feelings about that time. And, yes, I’m sure there were some plans in motivating Shaq.
"We were having a lot of fun as a team. It was just a laugh and a goof. That part was fun, but 2004 got a little bit tense. That was a tough time."
|Jerry Stackhouse Seeking Trade from Dallas Mavericks
Stating his style clashes with coach Rick Carlisle’s motion offense, a scheme based more on freelance movement than structured plays, and a reluctance to sacrifice minutes for mentoring, the 14-year swingman said his agent is exploring options for him to depart Dallas, possibly through a buyout or trade.
"The key part is there’s really no conflict with us," Stackhouse said Monday of him and Carlisle. "It’s understood that it’s his job to coach the team, but it’s my job to protect my future. I’ve got to have some say-so and dictate with the role that I’m kind of in now, that I’m ready to accept that. I don’t think I’m ready to fully accept that at this point."
Stackhouse said he believes he can thrive elsewhere, as he once did in Dallas, as a potent sixth man. Although his contract status, virtually an expiring contract, is favorable for a trade, his value is murky because he remains mired in a deep shooting freeze (29.1 percent overall) and bothered by a heel injury.
|Magic Johnson: Kobe Bryant Is Better than Paul Pierce
Appearing via video screen from Los Angeles courtesy of a high-tech system that allowed him to make virtual eye contact with reporters in Boston, Johnson was asked whether 2008 NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce was the best player in the league right now. Johnson praised the Celtics forward but sided with the Lakers’ reigning league MVP, Kobe Bryant. Johnson measured both players by the consistency of their accomplishments, unwilling to give Pierce’s play last week more weight.
"Paul would like to think he’s better than Kobe," said Johnson with a hearty laugh. "But Kobe Bryant is the best closer in the game. He’s the best player in the game. You have to remember he’s done it for a long time at a high level.
"Now, was Paul Pierce better than Kobe in the Finals? Of course, he was better than everybody in the whole playoffs. Is he one of the top three or four players in the league right now, Paul Pierce? Of course he is. It’s hard to find a guy who can go inside and outside and also a guy who can put it on the floor, then make plays for other people.
|Sonny Vaccaro: LeBron Will Leave Cleveland, But Not for New Jersey
But the team’s planned move to Brooklyn is at a standstill, which could significantly lessen the chances of James becoming a Net. That is the view of Sonny Vaccaro, the former shoe executive who keeps tabs on his former ABCD campers, James included. Vaccaro said he thought James would end up with the Knicks.
“LeBron’s relationship with Jay-Z will go on regardless,” Vaccaro said. “He’ll be an international celebrity in New York. If the Nets aren’t in Brooklyn, he’s not going over there for even $200 million. They’re putting pieces together. They’re doing the right things. They’re just living in the wrong building.”
|NBPA Resumes Discussions with Stephon Marbury
NBA Player’s Association attorney Hal Biagas is expected to resume Stephon Marbury buyout talks with Knickspresident Donnie Walsh tomorrow or Thursday, with a possibility of a formal proposal coming by week’s end, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The exiled Marbury, who has yet to play this season, flew with the team to Boston yesterday, but that could be his last road trip as a Knick.
Biagas, Marbury and Walsh met last Thursday in Westchester to begin divorce proceedings. According to the individual, Walsh told Biagas and Marbury that he’ll need one week to think about matters, explore any potential trades and consult with Knicks owner James Dolan.
|If Chris Mullin Leaves, Could Monta Ellis Be Traded?
All the people out there who love Ellis better hope that the Warriors and executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin are able to work things out.
Why? Because if Mullin isn’t around, the odds of Ellis getting traded are a lot higher. A lot.
Ellis is Mullin’s guy, plain and simple. Mullin drafted him, Mullin has hung by him and Mullin believes Ellis has that something special of an elite player.
Warriors coach Don Nelson doesn’t exactly share that sentiment. Nelson has come around some on Ellis, but in the grand scheme of things Ellis isn’t one of Nellie’s favorites.
If you’ll notice, Nelson frequently talks about how good Ellis can be. Yet, he seldom gives credit to Ellis for how good he is now.