NBA News for December 7th, 2008
|Rajon Rondo Turns Corner after Comments from Gary Payton
Only in his third season, Rondo is considered one of the weak links on a Boston team that features perennial All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. That’s how Payton seems to feel, comparing Rondo to players who ride superstars to championship rings while doing little more than waving towels from the bench.
"I respect the man’s game, I’m just saying, man, he got put into a situation," Payton said last month while serving as a studio analyst on NBA TV.
Rondo endured a horrific 5-for-24 shooting span over three games that started just before Payton’s remarks. The Celtics lost to the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 14 in the third game, then Rondo scored at least 15 points in seven of his next 10 outings.
"He’s been playing well. Ever since Gary Payton been hating on him, he’s been playing great," teammate Kendrick Perkins said. "But that’s Rondo. We know what he could do. Now he’s just really starting to show it."
|Who Wants Stephon Marbury?
If the New York Knicks agree to a buyout of Stephon Marbury’s contract and release him, the Hornets would not pursue trying to obtain him, Coach Byron Scott said Friday.
"This would not be a place interested in his services,’’ Scott said after Friday’s practice at the Alario Center.
There is speculation several teams in the Western Conference could pursue Marbury if he is released. However, buyout negotiations involving the Knicks and Marbury have stalled. Marbury was suspended earlier this week by the Knicks.
Marbury said he either wants to be released or placed back on the team but he does not plan to reopen negotiations for a contract buyout.
|Stephen Jackson Playing with Broken Bone in Foot
"I think this is the worst one because it’s dealing with my hands. Any time I get hit on it, I get affected by it the rest of the game."
A hit came in the second quarter of Saturday’s 123-88 loss to the Spurs. It was on a pick-and-roll, causing Jackson, who played 14 minutes and scored six points, to sit out the second half.
"It’s not a jammed-finger kind of pain," he said. "I’m already playing with one broken bone in my foot. I don’t think I can deal with two."
He added: "I don’t want to hurt my team or hurt myself. Like I said, I want to figure if there’s something wrong because I definitely think so."
|Steve Francis: Cuttino Mobley Could Retire
“That’s the same ailment he has played with his whole career, even here,” said Francis, who is back with the Rockets for the second season. “It’s terrible. He didn’t sound too good today.
“It’s tough. I know how much he loves playing basketball. I don’t know how he’d react. He’s close to a decision.”
The Knicks acquired Mobley because he has a contract that expires after the 2010 season.
“It would be really disappointing to me (if Mobley retires),” Francis said. “I thought he’d play better than I did in New York. That was what I was hoping. Eleven points (Francis’ average with the Knicks) – he can do that.”
|Toronto Raptors Looking to Make Moves?
General manager Bryan Colangelo hasn’t unplugged his phone to avoid hearing trade offers while the Raptors are indoctrinating new coach Jay Triano.
"This is a constantly evolving game and we’re going to try improve the roster as we move forward," Colangelo said after firing Sam Mitchell. "We’re going to continue to have the same kind of trade talks I would have if we were 15-10 right now.
"Jay and I will have a better chance to sit down and talk over the course of several days. You don’t want to make any quick judgements, quick movements. We’ll see what evolves."
|LeBron James: The Cavs Will Retire Z’s Jersey
Currently there are six retired jerseys suspended from the roof at The Q. LeBron James thinks he knows who’s getting the seventh.
With center Zydrunas Ilgauskas nearing several franchise records, notably overall rebounds, James believes Ilgauskas’ No. 11 will join the ranks when he retires.
"No. 11 is going to hang in the rafters someday," James said. "It’s going to happen; he’s going to finish his career here."