Sunday, March 1, 2015

Random NBA Observations: February 2015

NBA Observations - February 2015
Fun and games in February
  • Former Suns forward Ama're Stoudemire, hailed as the savior of New York when he signed a hefty 5-year, $100 million deal in 2010, was bought out of the final year of his contract and has since joined the Dallas Mavericks. After a terrific 2010-2011 campaign, during which the big man averaged 25.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG over 78 games, Stoudemire regressed, falling victim to various knee injuries, and starting only 35 games over the last three seasons. The Knicks, who appear to have given up altogether with superstar Carmelo Anthony set the miss the rest of the season, were active at the trade deadline, further hollowing out their roster for a shot at Marc Gasol or Jahlil Okafor. 
  • ... Knicks fans are getting sick of all the losing, launching in an attempt to ditch owner James Dolan. 
  • A bunch of trades happened at this year's trade deadline. The Phoenix Suns ended their backcourt soap opera by shipping Goran Dragic to the Heat and Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics, ROY Michael-Carter Williams was sent to the Bucks so that Philly could acquire another high lottery pick, the Thunder acquired Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler and D.J. Augustin and shipped out Reggie Jackson to the Pistons, and Arron Afflalo is headed from the Nuggets to the Trailblazers.
  • The Chicago Bulls just lost Derrick Rose for the third time in four years. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus and is unlikely to return to action this season. Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat will also miss the remainder of the season while being treated for blood clots on his lung. I wish them both a full recovery.
  • The NBPA rejected a salary cap smoothing. This could mean that the league's salary cap spikes from $68 million in 2015-2016 to well over $90 million for 2016-2017, when the new 9-year $24 billion TV deal kicks in at nearly triple the current broadcast fees. Players will be making a lot more money over the coming seasons. Smart move by LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis and a slew of others to become free agents in 2016.
  • Rajon Rondo, acquired by the Dallas Mavericks in December, will apparently not be a Maverick for long. He is publicly butting heads with coach Rick Carslisle, receiving several in-game benchings and even a suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. This is bad news for owner Mark Cuban, who didn't plan on making Rondo a rental. Owning Rondo's Bird rights is one thing, but he will still be an unrestricted free agent after this season so they could very well lose him for nothing. The Mavericks are 16-11 with Rondo in the line-up. 
  • All-Star Weekend has come and gone, with several players stealing the show. There was Warriors marksman Stephen Curry, winning Three-Point Contest with a record-setting final round, BBVA Rising Stars MVP Andrew Wiggins guiding World to a win over USA, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook going off for 41 points in the All-Star Game, and of course Timberwolves rookie Zach Lavine, who made the Dunk Contest fun for the first time in years. His impressive Space Jam slam might be one of my all-time favorite dunks.
  • In 2013, promising big man Larry Sanders was given a $44 million contract extension by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was bought in in February. His reason for stepping away from the NBA? Anxiety, mood disorders, and depression. In an honest video posted to the website "The Players Tribune", he talks about his struggles, and the pressures of being in the spotlight.
  • I wouldn't fault you if you hadn't heard of Hassan Whiteside before 2015. The 7-foot Heat center has been a relative unknown since the Sacramento Kings drafted him with the 33rd pick in 2010, spending a good amount of time overseas and in the D-League. He has exploded onto the scene in 2015, though, notching 5 double-doubles in February, including a 24-20 performance in a loss to the Timberwolves. Whiteside is literally kicking ass and taking names, stating in an interview that he has a chip on his shoulder, calling out people who cut him or denied him training-camp invites.
  • Veteran shooting guard Ray Allen still has not latched on with a team and it is unclear whether he still plans to. Have we seen the last of Jesus Shuttlesworth?


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