- -Slava Medvedenko
While the 2013 offseason is just around the corner, it’s the summer of 2014 that has NBA decision-makers excited.
Next offseason has the potential to shift the balance of power in the NBA because the draft class and free agent class are loaded with franchise-changing players. Rebuilding teams will have the opportunity to add a star in June while contending teams will be able to bolster their roster in July.
The 2014 draft class could include Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dante Exum, Mario Hezonja, James McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and many other talented players.
Wiggins has superstar potential and his dominance at the high school level has led some talent evaluators to compare him to LeBron James. Many people in NBA circles believe that Wiggins could start in the NBA today and make a significant impact – he’s that good.
However, Wiggins isn’t the only potential star in the draft class. Parker and Randle have drawn a lot of praise as well and they have tremendous upside too. Gordon and the Harrison twins are expected to be one-and-done and then light up the NBA as well. Throw in the players who decided to return to school such as Smart, McAdoo, Hairston, Poythress and Cauley-Stein – who were all being projected as first-round picks in the 2013 NBA Draft – and the 2014 draft class could be one of the best in recent history.
The 2014 free agent class could include LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, John Wall, Paul George, Zach Randolph, Luol Deng, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Larry Sanders, Greg Monroe, Paul Pierce, Danny Granger, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrew Bogut among others.
Bryant, Nowitzki, Granger, Deng, Pierce, Gasol and Bogut will be unrestricted free agents that summer. James, Wade, Anthony, Stoudemire, Bosh, Gay and Randolph have either a player option or early termination option, which means they can opt-out and become unrestricted free agents. Wall, George, Cousins, Favors, Sanders and Monroe will be restricted free agents.
Executives have already started preparing for next offseason. Some rebuilding teams are doing their homework on the top draft prospects. Some contending teams have refused to make any moves that jeopardize their flexibility and cap room for the summer of 2014. Either way, teams understand that there will be a wealth of talent available in the very near future. One Western Conference executive admitted that he has been eyeing the summer of 2014 since last year.
The summer of 2013 should be fun, as NBA offseasons always are. However, it’s nothing compared to what we’ll see in the summer of 2014.
karacha wrote:"Basketball is like ball... it's all a circle."
KOBE G.O.A.T. wrote:Human is not car.
Monta Ellis Likely To Opt Out Of Final Year With Bucks
April 13, 2013 12:22 am • GERY WOELFEL firstname.lastname@example.org
MILWAUKEE — As the Milwaukee Bucks season winds down, it appears Monta Ellis’ days in a Bucks uniform are numbered as well.
At least, that’s the prevailing sentiment of some Ellis acquaintances. They claim Ellis, the Bucks’ potent-scoring guard, has indicated to them that he intends on opting out of his contract after the season and becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Ellis, who has adamantly refused to discuss his future plans, came to the Bucks last March in a major deal with Golden State. In that transaction, the Bucks acquired Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.
In his short tenure with the Bucks, Ellis’ play has wildly fluctuated. He has exhibited brilliance like in a 10-day stretch from Feb. 27 until March 17 when he scored 26 or more points on seven occasions.
He is also averaging 19.3 points a game. That’s the 11th-highest average in the league. The only shooting guards with higher scoring averages are Kobe Bryant (24.6), James Harden (24.3) and Dwyane Wade (21.2).
But Ellis has also had performances where’s he been awful. In a game against Oklahoma City, he went 3 for 17 from the field. In games against Atlanta and Memphis, he went 2 for 14 and 1 for 14, respectively.
Ellis has shot the ball poorly for most of the season. He’s made 41 percent of his field-goal attempts and is a measly 27 percent from 3-point range. Furthermore, the 27-year-old Ellis has been a turnover machine, committing 3.1 a game. He’s had 17 games where he’s had five turnovers or more.
Yet, Ellis contends he’s among the best at his position in the league. Earlier this season, he favorably compared himself to Wade. But if Ellis expects to command Wade-like money ($18.5 million next season), he’s in for a rude awakening this summer.
In conversations with several general managers, not one said they would pay Ellis more than he’s already receiving. That’s $11 million, which is the same amount he would be paid next season if he opted to remain with the Bucks.
But as one general manager noted, it only takes one team to be enamored with Ellis’ explosive scoring abilities and give him a long-term deal in excess of $11 million per season.
Working in Ellis’ favor is that there are nearly a dozen teams that will have ample salary-cap flexibility this season. At least four of them will be in the market for a shooting guard. Those teams are Atlanta (Ellis’ name was prominently mentioned with the Hawks at the trading deadline), Phoenix, Dallas and Minnesota.
There has also been scuttlebutt Ellis would be quite receptive to signing with the Memphis Grizzlies. Ellis has a home outside of Memphis and spends a considerable amount of time there during the offseason.
But the Grizzlies have one of the NBA’s premier defensive shooting guards in Tony Allen who, while being an UFA this summer, is expected to return to the team. More importantly, the Grizzlies have little wiggle room on the cap as they already have guaranteed contracts totaling $60.5 million for next season.
Suffice to say, how Ellis performs in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs against Wade and the Miami Heat could go a long way in determining how much money he’ll earn in the years to come ... likely with a team not called the Bucks.
Jermaine O'Neal Leaning Towards Return
Phoenix Suns center Jermaine O'Neal is leaning strongly towards playing next season.
The 2013-14 campaign would be his 19th NBA season.
The 34-year-old has played in 55 games for the Suns this season, a three-year high.
O.J. Mayo To Opt Out Of Contract With Mavericks
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks shooting guard O.J. Mayo said he would decline the player option for the second season of his contract, deciding to become a free agent for the second consecutive summer.
Mayo, who could have returned to Dallas for $4.2 million, said he hopes to work out a long-term deal with the Mavs.
"Getting something long term, locking something in is what I think is best for me," Mayo said Thursday after his exit interview with coach Rick Carlisle and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.
Mayo, 25, averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds while playing a team-high 35.5 minutes per game. His production dipped significantly after the All-Star break, when star forward Dirk Nowitzki started to return to form after missing the first 27 games while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Mayo, a five-year veteran and former No. 3 overall pick, has acknowledged being disappointed that a better market didn't develop for him last summer. He said he has yet to seriously consider other teams that might be a fit for him.
"I'm sure new teams have popped up on the list," Mayo said. "I need to talk to my agent [Rob Pelinka] and see what we can work out."
Carlisle said he believes Mayo made major strides as an all-around player this season and could be a foundation piece for the Mavs.
"But like everything else in this world, this is probably going to come down to money," Carlisle said. "I don't know where all that stuff stands. He had a very good year for us, so there's going to be a lot of teams interested in him."
Carlisle harshly criticized Mayo after Monday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, saying Mayo "failed to compete" during a two-point, four-turnover outing against his former team. However, Carlisle made it clear Thursday that his positive feelings for Mayo have not changed.
"I love O.J. as a kid, as a person," Carlisle said. "I spent more time with him this year than probably any other player I've ever had. With him, I'm a little like a Little League dad. I want him to do well so badly that sometimes it gets the better of me. But that's OK, because if you care that much, it's never a bad thing."
Blazers Likely To Part Ways With J.J. Hickson
By Jason Quick, The Oregonian
There are no hard feelings and no regrets, but it appears these are the final days that JJ Hickson and the Trail Blazers are together, with both sides acknowledging this week that the writing is on the wall.
The Blazers, who have given up the most interior points in the NBA, want to find a more defensive-oriented center next season, while Hickson - a power forward who bit his tongue and played as an undersized center for the Blazers - wants to start, and is eager to test his market value when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Blazers general manager Neil Olshey this week said he is not ruling out keeping Hickson on the roster, but he doubts the team will have the role, and the money, to pacify Hickson’s desires next season.
“For us to make a jump next season, JJ can’t be our starting center,’’ Olshey said, referencing the Blazers’ 47.4 points allowed in the paint per game, an NBA high. “I’m not saying he can’t be part of the roster. But we need to find a starting-caliber center who protects the rim and gets defensive rebounds at a high rate and that has a presence. And we have to do a better job at defending the paint. So you have to ask: Is it likely there is enough minutes to commit the kind of dollars JJ will command, when clearly there are other positions that need to be upgraded? Probably not.’’
The Blazers figure to enter the offseason with $11.8 million in cap room. A large chunk, if not all of that money, will likely be used to lure a defensive-minded starting center or to absorb the contract of a starting center in a trade. That leaves Hickson on the outside looking in when it comes to meeting his desires to find a team that can both give him chance to start as well as award him a raise from his $4 million salary this season. If he stayed in Portland, Hickson would play behind franchise player LaMarcus Aldridge, who plays close to 40 minutes a game.
Andy Miller, who represents Hickson, said Olshey hasn’t flat-out told him Hickson is not in the Blazers’ plans, but Miller said he is under the impression that the Blazers will move in a different direction than Hickson.
“I think Neil has been fairly candid to me as far as where they stand,’’ Miller said. “I don’t feel confident about the situation. Earlier in the season there may have been mood swings and perspective swings where I felt the tide swinging, to where I felt that this would be more than a rental for both sides. But lately, I haven’t felt that way at all. He definitely hasn’t misled me.’’
It figures to be a controversial decision for the Blazers. Although the 6-foot-9 Hickson was undersized for his position and often an overmatched, or unwilling defender, the fanbase embraced his high energy play and relentless pursuit of rebounds. In the process, the 24-year-old has put together a career year in his fifth season, with averages of 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds while playing 29 minutes a game. He leads the Blazers in rebounds and field-goal percentage (.567) and ranks sixth in the NBA with 40 double-doubles.
Olshey said he realizes his decision will be met with some resistance from Miller and fans, but he said he has to take emotion out of the equation.
“I don’t think Andy necessarily agrees with it, but he sees our perspective,’’ Olshey said. “Now, he may think we are wrong - and maybe we are wrong - but at the end of the day, we are going to do what is best for the organization.’’
In the end, it was probably a win-win scenario for Hickson and the Blazers. Hickson, who was picked up off waivers last March after Sacramento released him, got an opportunity to resurrect his career, while the Blazers found a capable center to buy time for rookie Meyers Leonard to develop.
“I think JJ has had a remarkable season,’’ coach Terry Stotts said. “He showed a lot of people what he can do. The most important thing is he sustained a certain level, for the most part of the season, with his energy and his rebounding. The mid-range jump shot, I think, is the biggest area where people questioned whether he could make it, and he turned into a very capable mid-range jump shooter. And he accepted his role. I didn’t call a lot of plays for him and he found his offense through the flow of the game. Although it was frustrating at times for him he accepted it and thrived in it.’’
Hickson, who is questionable for tonight’s game against the Lakers because of a sore back, said he likes the Blazers organization and his teammates, but he understands personnel and financial decisions have to be made.
“If we part ways, it would be no hard feelings, and if we decided to stick together, it would be a great thing also,’’ Hickson said. “But at the end of the day, it’s always business. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss my teammates and the organization, because they took a chance on me by picking me up off waivers. I can’t thank them enough for that. But I think I have paid my dues with all the hard work I have put in all season.’’
Hickson said having a chance to start will be at or near the top of his offseason priority list.
“That’s just me being a competitor,’’ Hickson said. “I think everyone in this league wants to start, so of course I want to start, of course I want to play a lot of minutes to help my team as much as possible. That’s definitely one of the factors going into free agency - whether I start or not. Other than that, I’m just looking to win ball games and have fun doing it.’’
Hickson is not sure it would be fun playing center again next season. He said it was difficult enough playing the position this season.
“It was hard to play center. but I took it with a grain of salt and did what I had to do for the team,’’ Hickson said. “I felt like I laid it all out on the line. I definitely was playing out of position, but I sacrificed my position for the coaching staff and my teammates to play a position that my body is not made up for. And we all knew that going into the year I was an undersized (center) and that I would have to play that much harder to make up for what I didn’t have physically.’’
The intrigue will be what Hickson commands on the free agent market. If he gets more than $5 million a year, he will probably be out of the Blazers price range. If he doesn’t, and the Blazers strike out in their free agent pursuits, there’s a chance he could return.
“All I know is JJ has earned the right to test the market,’’ Miller said. “He has put in the time and the effort to show that his game and body of work has matured. I know he has enjoyed his time in Portland, but now he gets a chance to see what else is out there.’’
Nick Young 'Trying To Get A Long-Term Contract'
By Lang Greene
The NBA’s 2013 free agent class lacks star power at the shooting guard position, but there’s quality depth for contending teams looking to reload or rebuilding franchises searching for veterans to surround their young talent. Available shooting guards include O.J. Mayo, Tyreke Evans, J.J. Redick, Randy Foye and Kevin Martin. The class could also be bolstered by Monta Ellis and J.R. Smith should they choose to decline their player options for next season.
Another name sure to attract plenty of interest is Philadelphia 76ers guard Nick Young. The sixth-year veteran has averaged 10.9 points on 36 percent shooting from three-point range this season for Philadelphia after signing a one-year deal last summer. Young has been a free agent for consecutive years, but this summer he’s making it clear that his priority is to finally lock in a long-term deal.
“I’m just trying to get a long-term contract,” Young said. “I’m just going to weigh my options and see what goes on. Free agency is crazy. I’ve been in it the last two years. I’m just hoping for the best.”
The Sixers acquired former All-Star center Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers last summer and Young was signed by the team because of his outside shooting prowess. But Bynum, who was expected to be the franchise cornerstone, never played a game for the Sixers this season due to recurring knee issues. As a result, the Sixers have struggled throughout the campaign and a team that was just one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago is now on the outside of playoffs looking in this season.
Young believes the presence of Bynum would have dramatically shifted the Sixers’ fortunes and admitted the center’s injuries were constantly on the team’s mind throughout the year.
“I think it is in the back of everybody’s head,” Young said on Bynum’s injury woes. “Obviously he didn’t get a chance to play and touch the court, but if he did it would probably be a little different right now.
“We’re just trying to go out on top and play hard to the end. You know, it’s still a little bit of season left so we can’t give in now. Got to play until it’s over.”
While Young didn’t rule out considering a return to the Sixers next season, the guard expressed optimism about being able to go through the free agency process and evaluate his options. Young says the trade market will have a big influence on not only his situation, but the rest of his peers’ free agency value as well this summer.
“The last couple of years during my free agency we had a couple of big names traded,” Young said. “We’ll see what happens this year. We’ll see where people get traded because there’s always some big trades that pick teams up. That’s the tough part because everybody needs a team.”
Young signed with the Sixers for $5.6 million last summer after splitting the 2012 campaign with the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Clippers. While with the Clippers, Young got his first taste of the postseason and it would appear a playoff contender would have the inside track of securing his name on a long-term deal.
“There’s nothing like the playoffs,” Young said. “It’s the atmosphere, the TV and everybody is watching. It’s just the crowd and being in that environment is crazy.”
Mark Cuban Hopes Vince Carter Remains With Mavericks
By Eddie Sefko / Reporter
While Mark Cuban has been supremely disappointed in himself and his team about this lottery-bound season, his mood changes radically when the subject of Vince Carter comes up.
“I feel bad for Vince,” he said. “Vince is a warrior. All these things I’ve heard in the past about him being soft and not playing hard, (that’s bull). That dude comes out to deliver every night.
“I feel worse for Vince than I do for Dirk (Nowitzki). Vince hasn’t been there and he’s had two great seasons for us. And he’s just a first-class guy who busts his (tail) every game. You never look at Vince and say he’s taking a play off. I’m proud that he’s on the Mavericks. The guy lays it out every time. I can’t put it any other way. He’s one of those guys I want to retire here.”
Does that mean Carter will be with the Mavericks beyond next season, when his contract expires?
“I hope so,” Cuban said. “The current trend is, as guys get older, they lose a little weight and I think Vince is athletic enough and smart enough and genetically gifted enough that if he goes on that same Steve Nash, Dirk, Tim Duncan path, where you lose a little bit of weight every year and keep your spring, he’s a genetic freak.
“He can play for more than a year, easily. He’ll be cranking those motorcycle handles for a while.”
Corey Brewer Hopes Nuggets Attempt To Re-Sign Him
Corey Brewer hopes the Denver Nuggets make an attempt to re-sign him in the offseason.
Brewer will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
"You never know, but I like it here," Brewer said of his future. "Hopefully they want to keep me."
Brewer is averaging a career-best 11.8 points per game this season.
Jason Collins 'Definitely' Interested In Return To Celtics
After being the only player on the roster not to get on the floor in a 107-96 loss and sitting for the 20th time in 25 games since joining the Wizards, Jason Collins caught up with Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers.
Collins never wanted to leave Boston and Rivers didn’t really want to let him go, but the Celtics had to make a move to upgrade the backcourt with the team losing both Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa to season-ending knee injuries.
“I understand; they understand,” Collins said on Sunday in his return to Boston. “With the injuries they had, they definitely needed another scorer. Jordan Crawford, he’s definitely capable of doing that. I was last on the list, so it’s part of the business.”
Collins declined to comment when asked if he sought a buyout in order to finish his career with a contender, but said he would “definitely” consider signing with Boston next season.
“Might put a no-trade clause in there,” joked Collins, who was thrown into the Feb. 21 deadline deal, along with Barbosa, after Chris Wilcox refused to forfeit his Bird rights to facilitate the deal. “What an honor it was to play for a great organization that has so much history. Great group of guys in that locker room. The leadership with Doc, [Kevin Garnett] and [Paul] Pierce. Nothing but good memories.”
Rivers certainly valued Collins’s contributions to the Celtics, even if the statistics didn’t show that he made much of a difference. “He’s the best,” Rivers said of Collins. “I’ve said it before, but he’s one of the best guys I’ve ever had in a locker room, player or coach. It’s funny. I didn’t know him very well before he came here. But the two twins, I used to call them the same name: Jason. Because I didn’t know which one was which. He’s just a good guy and what he says is the truth.”
The Wizards are 14-11 since making the trade, while the Celtics have gone 11-11, but Collins is disappointed that he will miss out on the postseason for just the third time in his 12-year career. While admitting that his stint his Washington has tested him professionally, Collins added that has learned from his experience.
“It’s sort of the business side of the NBA. It’s my job to go out there and do my job and be ready when my name and number is called, regardless of what team I am playing for,” Collins said. “I’ve been on successful teams pretty much my whole career, but even those two seasons I finished with Memphis and Minnesota, you learn just as much from adversity and losses as you do from success.”
Rivers added that he wouldn’t mind having Collins back in Boston: “I would love to have him all the time.”
Mark Cuban Expects Dirk To Maintain Current Level Of Play For At Least Three More Seasons
The golden rule in the era of salary caps is don’t pay age.
Especially in baseball and basketball, where the contracts are guaranteed. You don’t want to get stuck with a big note on an aging player. That handcuffs a franchise financially. Ask Jerry Jones.
Dirk Nowitzki is just such a player. He turns 35 in June, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban must write him checks totaling $22.7 million for next season, the final year of his contract.
Cuban will write those checks with a smile — and intends to write checks to Nowitzki for future seasons as well. Cuban lives to defy conventional logic. He doesn’t see the window closing any time soon on Nowitzki as a potential cornerstone piece of a championship team.
“It’s a different world now,” Cuban said. “Look at Tim Duncan. Kevin Garnett, Kobe, Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce … You’ve got guys with the technology to stay healthy longer. The science of dieting … it’s completely different now.”
Dirk isn’t playing like a 34-year-old. He’s had five double-doubles in the last month and has helped fuel a 6-2 charge in March that has revived the franchise’s flagging playoff hopes.
Nowitzki scored 20 against Brooklyn, 22 against Houston and 19 against Milwaukee during that stretch, all victories. He also had back-to-back 11-rebound games this week against Milwaukee and San Antonio and grabbed 11 more in Friday night’s 96-86 victory over Cleveland.
“Dirk is dialed in,” Cuban said. “He wants to see how far we can take this. What we’re seeing now from Dirk is what we can expect to see from him next year … and the year after that … and the year after that. At least.”
Cuban’s had a hand in his franchise’s fountain of youth. When he bought the Mavericks, Cuban brought in nutritionists and started providing meals for his team. Take care of your body, was his message, and it will take care of you.
Players are more attuned now to what they put in their bodies and how they care for those bodies. That’s slowed down the aging process in all sports. Jaromir Jagr leads the Stars in scoring this season at age 40.
“Now you’ve got guys going gluten-free and understanding the impact of a diet,” Cuban said. “Dirk won’t touch fried foods during the season. They’re doing the right type of exercises. Elton [Brand] uses the stim machine [a muscle stimulator] before every game.”
Duncan powered the San Antonio Spurs to a victory over the Mavericks just the other night with a 28-point, 19-rebound effort. He sure didn’t play like someone who is turning 37 in April. Garnett turns 36 in May. Pierce is 35 this season, Bryant 34 and Gasol 32.
“Is Kevin Garnett a role player?” Cuban asked. “Is Tim Duncan a role player? Do you think those guys are going to be role players next year?”
Vince Carter is the sixth man on the Mavericks but has played the third-most minutes on the team this season. He poured in 22 points against Minnesota and 23 against Milwaukee in victories this week. He’s no role player for the Mavericks — and he’s 36.
“Thirty-six is the new 30,” Cuban said. “It’s a plus-six right now. Ten years from now it will be a plus-10. Guys that are coming out of college now will be playing at 42 and 43 if they’re good.
“Look at Vince, for gosh sakes. What’s he … 93? [Actually] 36? That’s a plus-two on Dirk. It’s just different now.”
Still, Nowitzki is an exception. So are Duncan and Bryant. The great ones always are. You still need a blend of experience and youth to play into June in the NBA.
Cuban believes he has the experience in place with Nowitzki. Now he needs to surround him with youthful energy, legs and talent to maximize what Nowitzki can still offer.
Cuban will need to do more than just sign checks for Dirk in the future. He’ll need to put a team around Nowitzki so that all those millions don’t go to waste. Maybe Dirk can play a long time. But he can’t play forever.
Dirk Wants To Finish Career With Mavericks, Still Wants To Contend
There is no bitter expression hidden underneath Dirk Nowitzki's mangy beard. No covert biting of the tongue, either.
The Dallas Mavericks star may have been critical of his owner's approach in the past, back when the wounds of Mark Cuban's cold and calculated roster-building ways were still fresh. But as Nowitzki nears the end of this memorable stretch of 12 consecutive postseason berths and ponders his future, the future Hall of Famer who vowed not to shave until his team reached the .500 mark swears he's not still upset about the way Cuban broke up the 2010-11 championship team and ushered in all this mediocrity.
But if nothing has changed by next season, if the Mavericks' imperfect-but-prudent plan to counteract the league's harsh new collective bargaining agreement backfires because they aren't able to land an impactful free agent this summer and return to the elite level during the twilight of Nowitzki's career? Might Nowitzki — who will be a free agent in the summer of 2014 — considering retiring in a jersey other than the Mavs' one he has always worn?
"Now that I already reached my goal (of winning it all), I really want to finish my career in Dallas," Nowitzki told USA TODAY Sports recently. "But saying all that, I don't want another year next year with the same as this year, (with) the frustration and playing for the eight or nine seed. I think we all know that this is a very big summer for us. (Mavericks general manager) Donnie (Nelson) knows. Cuban knows. We want to get back to the championship level."
Sources: Hornets Could Look To Trade Eric Gordon This Summer
In three seasons, New Orleans Hornets Coach Monty Williams has never verbally lashed out at one of his players in front of fans during a game. But in a heat of the moment situation Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz, Williams apparently got into a shouting match with starting shooting guard Eric Gordon during a timeout with 8:47 remaining in the third quarter.
The blowup came after a stretch when Gordon committed turnovers on two of the Hornets’ four possessions in the quarter and didn’t appear to hustle back in transition defensively on a possession that ended with forward Paul Millsap scoring on a layup after Anthony Davis blocked Randy Foye’s shot attempt.
After Williams hastily called a timeout with his team trailing the Jazz 57-49, he shouted in Gordon’s direction. NBA.com reported that Williams had to be held back by assistant coach Randy Ayers after Gordon hollered back at him when the team went to the bench.
Williams could not be reached for comment Saturday, and the Hornets said they had nothing to say regarding the matter.
In explaining why he didn’t play Gordon after the third-quarter flare up, Williams said after Friday night’s game they simply decided to go in a different direction.
"We needed a little bit more effort getting off those screens,’’ Williams said.
Gordon sat at the end of the bench, but appeared engaged during timeouts. But after the game, Gordon appeared to be puzzled about getting benched. He also made no mention of the shouting match.
He finished with seven points on two-of-three shooting, playing just more than 17 minutes. It was the Hornets’ eighth consecutive loss on the road.
"There was nothing wrong physically, it was just his decision to take me out of the game,’’ said Gordon, who remains on strict restrictions by team doctors to not play in the second game of back-to-back sets.
"I thought we were (in a good flow). You always make adjustments throughout the game. We're down at halftime by two points, and two or three possessions (in the third quarter), I'm out of there. I'd love to figure (it) out. You always want to do what's best for the team. Since he took me out, he took me out. I definitely wanted to be out there for sure.’’
The Hornets won't announce their lineup for Sunday's game against the Phoenix Suns until about 90 minutes before tip-off, but Gordon is likely to return to his starting role.
Although he is the Hornets’ leading scorer with a 16.5 average with six games left in the regular season, the Hornets’ fan base continues to have a difficult time embracing Gordon, who was acquired in December 2011 in a blockbuster trade from the Los Angeles Clippers that involved former Hornets guard Chris Paul.
A majority of fans in New Orleans have not forgotten the comments Gordon made last summer after he became a restricted free agent and agreed to a four-year, $58 million offer sheet with the Suns, which the Hornets matched even though Gordon said his "heart was in Phoenix."
The Hornets were unable to pull off a trade involving Gordon before the February trade deadline, but the franchise is still likely to remain open to trading him after this season ends, according to sources Saturday.
Hedo Turkoglu Wants To Return To Magic Next Season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — SF Hedo Turkoglu said he wants to remain with the Magic next season even though the club already has effectively removed him — and Al Harrington — from its future plans.
"I would like to keep playing here," Turkoglu said after the Magic's shootaround Wednesday. "I was here more years than anywhere in my career."
Turkoglu was eligible to return for the Magic's game Wednesday night in Charlotte after he served a 20-game suspension for testing positive for steroids.
The Magic aren't expecting to play Turk and Harrington the rest of the season, giving time to younger players.
Coach Jacque Vaughn planned on playing just eight players against the Bobcats. Asked if injuries or players fouling out would present a situation where Turk or Harrington would be needed, Vaughn said, "If they're in uniform, they are capable of playing."
Added Vaughn: "What I'll say right now is I'm comfortable playing the guys that have been playing. Al and Turk have been great for us as far as their contribution to our team, in the locker room, teaching our young fellas.
"Right now, I'm more comfortable playing the guys in the rotation."
There are, of course, 12 million reasons why Turkoglu would love to stay in Orlando and play next season.
The Magic would owe him the entire $12 million in the final year of his contract next year. Because his contract is not guaranteed, the Magic can pay just $6 million and let him go.
Turk has played seven-plus seasons in Orlando, making stops in Toronto and in Phoenix before returning to the Magic late in 2010 in a multi-player trade.
lakersin4 wrote:^ If Orlando decides to save that 6M & cut Hedo he'd be a great pickup on the cheap. Are him & Dwight friends? Hedo is a good player he's just been overpaid.
karacha wrote:As far as I know, Hedo and Dwight are good friends. Turkoglu can still be a 11/4/3 player when he comes back and he's a smart player who can facilitate and shoot. But, he is also old and would be a good veteran for us only if he is willing to sign a cheap contract.