After yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and his untimely ejection from the game early in the third quarter, and what appeared to be a confrontation with GM Mitch Kupchak (later dismissed) Lakers center Dwight Howard finally opened up to the world via Twitter in an attempt to rectify what he felt to be one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. Howard, widely regarded as the league’s best center, was ejected from yesterday’s game following his second technical foul for questioning the officials non-call after what he believed to be a hard foul. In the midst of all this, the Lakers were down by 20 points and Dwight being ejected at this point essentially spelled a loss before the game was even over, and the end of the 2012/13 Lakers season.
After what was thought to be the job only Phil Jackson was going to take, the Los Angeles Lakers made a shock move late Monday night by hiring ex-New York Knicks and Olympic coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni will likely assume control of the team against Phoenix on Friday as he is currently unable to fly to LA due to an existing knee condition he recently had surgery on. This hiring makes a lot of sense to the Lakers who have struggled to get any fluency on offense this season, and with players like Steve Nash, whom D’Antoni has coached before, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the team this is sure to be one big offensive juggernaut. Here, we’re breaking down what went wrong with Phil Jackson, and where the Lakers can excel under Mike D’Antoni.
It’s official. Lakers superstar center Dwight Howard will make his debut for the purple and gold today versus the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. Howard has been subjected to full contact drills since October 9th and has been progressing extremely well since.
It was undecided whether the 3 time defensive player of the year would make it back in time for the regular season opener against Dallas in a week’s time, but Howard has shown through training and conditioning that he is ready to make his mark and take the floor for the first time for his new team. Up until 10.30am today, Howard’s return was still a game time decision, but as per Y! sources, the decision has been made that will see him play.
It’s six long months since the back operation which cast doubt over when he would be back playing again, but today we will see the one they call Superman step onto the pine alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace for the very first time.
Every day brings us closer to the new NBA season and we are all waiting with baited breath to see our teams run out on the pine in a few weeks time. During the lead up we’ve been updating you with our 2012/13 preseason team previews! Today, we take a brief look at the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and the two sides in Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers.
Let’s get into it!
During the course of the free agency period 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers have attempted to address areas where, over the past two seasons, they have struggled to make an impact and in the end fallen to teams that were far more superior in these areas. It was almost as if this great franchise was becoming one of the more slow, tired and old teams in the league, and something simply had to be done. After the new CBA was put into effect, the Lakers were put under immense pressure to sign good players cheaply, as they were not only over the salary cap, they would also incur a huge fee as part of the luxury tax. They had at their disposal a mini mid-level player exception as part of the Lamar Odom trade, and could potentially sign players at veteran minimums, but in reality it looked fairly grim for a team in desperate need of spark and talent. Here, we will take a look at the trades Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss have been able to pull off in a time where the Lakers are simply desperate to reclaim the throne and once again be NBA Champions.
Welcome to another edition of NBA Nation Australia’s Roundtable discussion.
Our @NBANationOz Roundtable Knights Are:
Nick Caro: @NickoToGo
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Nick Russell: @NickaRuss
This week we discuss topics such as trades, Olympics, and thoughts for next year.
This week also makes for a special Roundtable for us as we welcome our new team member Nick Russell.
UPDATE: 10:37am AEST – Reports circulating Nash has done a sign & trade and will be sent to the Lakers.
In the Nash sign-and-trade, the Suns will get 2013 & 2015 first-round picks and 2013 & 2014 second-round picks.
While it may not be the circus that Dwight Howard created with his trade request, the Steve Nash trade talk, rumor mill and hear say could certainly be compared with a Merry-Go-Around.
Since Free Agency opened 5 days ago and teams were once again given the green light to talk trades with each other, the question of where Steve Nash, a 2 time MVP and perennial All Star will end up has been a favorite topic among fans online and NBA Journalists.
We all knew that Steve Nash was as good as gone from the Suns. A team he had given 12 All Star quality years to (he also spent 7 season with the Dallas Mavericks), but where will he end up? That’s the sticking point.
4 teams have been chasing Steve Nash in the last week. Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks have all come out and openly expressed their interest in signing Nash for his twilight years. 3 of those teams are contenders and can offer Nash that sparkling carrot he desires…a possible championship. One might expect this an easy decision then, but then you would be forgetting one key aspect of all of this. Steve Nash is Canadian.
The Toronto Raptors are the only Canadian team playing in the NBA. Since their inaugural season in 1995, the Raptors have never really been able to stamp any sort of authority on the game. In their 17 years, the Raptors have been to the playoff only 5 times, making it out of the first round just once. This record is certainly not what they are using to entice a player like Nash. Steve Nash isn’t going to win a championship if he goes to the Raptors. But he will win the love and respect of an entire country.
If Nash chooses Toronto, he will become the face of the franchise and a national hero. He will be remembered as the guy who put country and pride before a ring.
A quick breakdown of what each team can offer Nash:
TORONTO – National Hero, the face of the franchise and the chance to leave a lasting legacy with a team that desperately needs him. Oh, and a 3 year $36Mil offer. No other team can really offer him this sort of money and there is a big chance that Nash will be in a Raptors jersey soon
NYK – The starting Point Guard. A chance to tame the beasts and bring some cohesion to a team with 2 stars in desperate need of a general, and most importantly, a shot at the title. Nash also lives in New York City, so he wouldn’t have to move far. If it’s not going to be Toronto for Nash, I can’t see him going any other than the Knicks.
LA LAKERS – The starting PG spot. The opportunity to play with Kobe and a quality young center in Bynum. A shot at a title and, um…the chance to play with Kobe??? Honestly I don’t see this happening. It would be great for the Lakers, but Nash has consistently battled the Lakers for 17 years now. You could say that the Lakers are his grand nemesis and I doubt he could swallow his pride and pull on the purple and gold.
DALLAS MAVERICKS – Starting PG, a chance to team up with best mate Dirk Nowitzki and help develop and rebuild the franchise. I feel though that Steve Nash has already been there, done that with Dallas and whilst a return to the Mavs would be a coup, it would only be for Dallas. Nash’s eyes are elsewhere.
We are 5 days into Free Agency and Trade and all thought the Nash debate would be quickly settled, but it’s sticking around. However, it’s getting very close to wrapping up.
Over night (Australian time) it was reported that Nash has decided, and he wanted the Knicks, leaving his country men and the Raptors to ponder what could have been. The Raptors GM even went on record to say “We gave it out best shot”. But all is not as it seems and no official announcement has been made by anyone. Game is still very much on.
Deep breath now everyone…
NBA Nation Australia will keep you all updated as news comes to hand on the Merry-Go-Round that is the Steve Nash saga. Keep an eye on @nbanationoz for all breaking news and we will update the website once Nash tells us what he wants to do.
The Nuggets are bobbing in and out of playoff contention. With their huge win today their chances firm . They sit at 7th in the West one game clear of 8th placed Houston and one game clear of facing the ferocious Thunder in Round 1. Denver has 6 games in 11 days before the playoffs begin, only 1 game against the East, so each game will be critical.
April 16 @ Houston
The Nuggets spanked the Rockets in Denver today by 15 points after leading by as many as 20 points. Faried dropped a double-double and is emerging as another great draft pick from the post-Anthony era. The Rockets don’t have anyone who matches up against his big body as well as an OKC or San Antonio. It’ll be a tight hard fought game but the Nuggets should eek out a win.
April 18 vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 and this is a crucial game for both teams. The Clippers will want to come to Denver and pick up a win away from home heading into the playoffs just to keep pace with the Lakers. Denver needs to protect home court. Paul could run wild and slice this Denver defence to shreds, even though he is only 26 he commands the Clipper offense like a veteran. Denver cant afford to drop a game against a Western conference opponent here. Continue reading