Thursday, January 1, 2015

Random NBA Observations: December 2014

NBA Observations December 2014
The trade winds are blowing

Farewell, Rajon Rondo


The NBA remains, above all, a business. The Celtics made that abundantly clear when they shipped stubborn-yet-beloved champion point guard Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks for draft picks, a $12.9 million trade exception, and spare parts. Needless to say, the trade made the potent 22-10 Mavs even better. Their starting lineup of Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki (who passed Elvin Hayes forh eighth place on the NBA's career scoring list, Chandler Parsons (16.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG), Monta Ellis (20.7 PPG, .459 FG%) and Tyson Chandler (11.1 PPG, 12.0 RPG) is nothing to scoff at. 


One more go for JO?


Veteran big man Jermaine O'Neal is rumored to be latching on with the Mavericks for his 19th NBA season, bolstering their bench even further. He averaged 7.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the Warriors in 44 games last season.


Smoove transition


The Houston Rockets, on their part, also went shopping. They claimed former Hawks forward Josh Smith off waivers and inserted him in their starting lineup. Smith, who had been struggling mightily in Detroit under Stan Van Gundy, was waived less than halfway through the 4-year, $54 million he signed in 2013, as the Pistons were 5-23 and in need of some adjustments. Something tells me the Rockets won't be able cure his poor perimeter shooting also, but with childhood pal Dwight Howard and star shooting guard James Harden, he could very much reel it in.


Brewin' it up


Signing Josh Smith wasn't Houston's only move, by the way. They also acquired veterans Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved in a three-team deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. The Wolves acquired Troy Daniels and two second-round picks, the 76ers received Ronny Turiaf, the draft rights to Serhiy Lishchuk and a second-round pick.


What will Jesus do?


Free agent shooting guard Ray Allen, the NBA's all-time leading 3-point maker, is reportedly leaning toward retirement, despite being courted by a lot of teams. Will he indeed decide to hang up his sneakers or will he join the Cavaliers, Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Clippers or Wizards? Only time will tell.


Injuries all around


Just like last year, injuries are running rampant in the NBA. Steve Nash, Julius Randle and Paul George were lost before the season even started, and then No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker (torn ACL), Brazilian big man Anderson Varejao (Achilles), and Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (shoulder) were also declared "out for the year" this month.


The Curious Case of Kirilenko


It appears that the 76ers are doing everything in their power to position for the future. Earlier in the month, the team shipped forward Brandon Davies to the Brooklyn Nets for Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko, guard Jorge Gutierrez, a future second-round pick and cash considerations. Kirilenko, hasn't played since November 3 and took a leave of absence from the Nets later that month, has yet to report to his new team, which apparently wants him to play.


He already blew it


The Charlotte Hornets are already trying hard to get rid of guard Lance Stephenson (currently out with a pelvic strain). He has reportedly clashed with team mates, isn't a good pairing with point guard Kemba Walker, and his over-dribbling and plenty turnovers considerably slow the team's ball-movement. Just five months into his 3-year, $27 million contract, Stephenson appears to have already worn out his welcome. Miami and Brooklyn are said to be interested, but nothing has materialized as of yet.


Firesale in Brooklyn


Oh, and apparently the 13-16 Nets are hardly done unloading pieces. Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and $100 million point guard Deron Williams can reportedly all be had, with the Sacramento Kings in the lead for Williams. 


The Durantula returns


So this strange thing happened in Oklahoma City. The team welcomed back reigning MVP Kevin Durant into their lineup, rattling off 8 wins in 10 games as they slowly climb back to .500. 

Back to basics


The NBA and Adidas have unveiled the uniforms for the 2015 NBA All-Star weekend. They're clean, they're simple, and they really captures New York's five boroughs, so I'm no complaining. Do you like them?

Represent


Remember to keep voting for your NBA All-Stars! As of now, the Eastern Conference starters are LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, John Wall and Dwyane Wade, with Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol, Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant as their Western Conference counterparts.
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