Bird Already Talking About Trades
Just a few games into the season, Indiana Pacers
GM Larry Bird is talking about the need for his team to make moves. "We
know where we're at," Bird said recently. "We've got to get better
players." While they are still dangling Jamaal Tinsley hoping to get
anything worthwhile in return, it's worth considering who else might be
on the block in Indy.
after getting a hefty extension earlier this week, clearly is the
team's star moving forward as his 33 points in the team's first game
helped prove. Coach Jim O'Brien reportedly has been extremely happy
with his two points guards, T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack, and the rookies
Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert aren't going anywhere.
That leaves a few
notable names, including Mike Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy, and Marquis
Daniels on the biggest expendable names on the roster. Of course, that
begs the question, is there anything of value they can get out of those
Gordon Actually Tried to Take the Money?
little tidbit from the Chicago Bulls regarding Ben Gordon and his
sticky contract situation this past offseason. According to the Chicago
Tribune, BG tried to accept a long-term offer from the Bulls—reportedly
six years and about $55 million—right before signing the one-year
qualifying offer instead, but the Bulls told him he waited too long and
the deal was off the table.
A couple of
thoughts on this: first of all, if there was a deadline set for a deal
and Gordon didn't accept it by then, then that was still his own
fault. He's played hardball for the last two summers looking to get big
money, and to hear something got pulled at the last minute definitely
raises some questions. Secondly, does this mean that Chicago really
doesn't have big plans for Gordon after this season? They've started
using Kirk Hinrich as their sixth man with relative success, pushing
Gordon back to the team's seventh or eighth man, and that's not even
considering Larry Hughes for when he returns from injury.
Gordon said, "I
guess all things happen for a reason" regarding this situation, but
you've got to think he's going to have a really hard time earning the
money he wants this year playing so little. He no longer even has the
leverage of being the team's top scorer. Derrick Rose is now that guy.
'Melo Gets a Mop Chop
Bye-Bye Cornrows. Denver's Carmelo Anthony shaved off his trademark cornrows before Saturday night's game against the Lakers,
giving him a sudden stark resemblance to teammate Kenyon Martin. In any
event, it'll be interesting to see if that improves his or Allen Iverson's output so far this season, because through three games neither one of those two guys has been consistently effective.
Both guys were among the top five scorers last season, but so far Iverson is 32nd
with just over 18 points a night, and Anthony scored only 13 points in
his first game last night. For the record, that puts him somewhere in
the 80s, right below Portland forward Travis Outlaw, Milwaukee forward
Charlie Villanueva, and Sacramento rookie Jason Thompson. Is it any
wonder the Nugs are 1-2?
The League's Best So Far
At the top of
every division is an undefeated team, some of which already have played
three games and won them all. Seeing the L.A. Lakers and New Orleans Hornets in that group shouldn't surprise anyone, but the 3-0 Toronto Raptors
clearly are going to make things difficult for the rest of the Atlantic
Division this season. With Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal averaging a
combined 37 points and 17 rebounds, they're going to be a formidable
frontcourt this season if they can stay healthy.
As for the best
individual players so far, it's hard to say since some players' great
games skew the numbers early on, but Joe Johnson is the top scorer
through his first two games, averaging 30 points. The early rebounding
leaders are Elton Brand and Dwight Howard with 14.3 rpg through three
contests (Tyson Chandler had 16 boards in his one appearance), and not
surprisingly Chris Paul is leading in assists with 12 per game.
Does any of this
really matter less than a week into the season? Maybe not, but
sometimes you can see trends right away, and little in what is
mentioned above is particularly surprising, meaning some guys are doing
exactly what's expected of them right out of the gate.