Friday, October 19, 2012

Harden’s Contract Situation Affecting OKC?

Russell Westbrook needed only to catch a fraction of the conversation, after spotting Kevin Durant in the hallway cornered by one of those nosy media pests, to know he wanted no part of it.
“Same questions for 30 days,” Westbrook said with an unmistakable tone of annoyance, shaking his head as he left poor Durant behind.
Eventually, though, James Harden’s uncertain future becomes the focus again, as it’s basically been in Loud City from the moment big man Serge Ibaka agreed to a four-year deal worth nearly $50 million in mid-August.
Thunder players, by all accounts, have blocked the chatter out pretty well leading up to the 11:59 p.m. ET Oct. 31 deadline for OKC and Harden to reach terms on a contract extension that would prevent the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man Award winner from becoming a restricted free agent on July 1.
“The ‘James Situation,’ we really try to let that take care of itself,” Durant said. “All we focus on is getting better as a team every single day. He’s not bringing it into the locker room.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jason Terry Knows His Role For Celtics

Perception has strayed a good distance from reality in this case, but from the moment he signed with the Celtics last summer, he became the guy who replaced Ray Allen.
“We’re two different players, and hopefully I’ll bring something that Ray didn’t,” said Terry. “Obviously Ray was a great player for this franchise over the years, and brought them the championship in ’08, but our games are totally different.
He’s a prideful bench player, and though Terry had no part in the offensive drain that plagued the Celtics bench much of last season, he still took it personally.
“It starts with me, and the stars are going to do what they have to do. It’s such a long season, you have to count on your bench,” Terry added. “I want us to pride ourselves in saying that we have the best bench in basketball. If I look at us on paper, we’re right there. You can match us up with whoever, and I think we’re pretty darned good. We’ll set the standard very high, and we’re looking to make some noise early.”
“My job doesn’t change,” he said. “I’ll be thrust into the sixth man role. Hey, I’m one of the best, and it is what it is. I take pride in it. What every team needs is that spark, that energy off the bench, and I’m here to do it. Anything other than that, and I won’t be doing my job.”

Denver Nuggets Optimistic About 2012-13

Optimism is permeating the Pepsi Center. Numerous Nuggets have been working out this month while Karl and his staff prepare for training camp. No, the Nuggets don’t have any LeBrons (in fact, there’s probably some debate about who Denver’s best player is), but they are frighteningly deep, to the point Karl describes his roster as “a big bucket of talent.” In fact, you could argue that Wilson Chandler, who would start for many NBA teams, is Denver’s “eighth man.”
And so, 2012-13 is here. Are the Nuggets still young and growing? Or have they gained enough experience to be a factor in the West?
Let’s ask George.
Q: Can you describe your anticipation for this season?
A: We just had a summer of constant positive momentum. The Olympics were great. And then you get (JaVale) McGee signed and Andre (Miller) signed, both really important to our team. All our young guys had good summers — Gallinari had a good summer with the Italian national team, Timo (Mozgov) was kind of a superstar for Russia (at the Olympics). And of course, the (Andre) Iguodala trade was the (big) piece that makes us a better basketball team, though to get a good player you’ve got to give up good players. We’ll miss Arron Afflalo. There will be some games in which we’ll say, “I wish we had Arron out there.” But in the end, we think we made a step forward, and hopefully a step to get into the top-eight teams in basketball, maybe a little bit further. Our goal in the next three to four years is to build this thing and make steps toward a championship.

Concerns About Dwyane Wade in Miami?

The knee has taken longer to heal than Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat or anyone else would have expected.
“I understand that it’s a process and I’m going to take that process and be … I’ve been here before, guys, so I know what to do. I’ll be all right,” Wade said to reporters Friday. “I went all the way around the block just to go next door.”
In other words, he put off surgery on his knee for far too long.
The Heat will not admit it publicly, but there are concerns among those in the organization about the second half of Wade’s Hall of Fame career. Reckless abandon on the court made him famous and made him rich and made him loved in his adopted city of Miami, but now it’s making him and the Heat refocus their expectations. Wade is only 30 years old, but it’s an old 30.
Wade expects himself — as does the Heat — to play well into his 30s and at a very high level. It might seem early in his career for such things, but the team has started an aggressive plan to preserve Wade’s body for the long term. Reduced minutes, scheduled off days and a repurposed skill set are all being considered.