Archive for July 13th, 2012
Do you really need a superstar to win the NBA Championship? Straight front answer, no, you don’t. And yet, if I do get a second chance to answer this one, I’ll just go ahead and say it: of course you do. In a league dominated by two players who hold down a very talented and prominent supporting cast, it is hard to believe that a small target team such as the Houston Rockets holds a chance unless they go out there and get themselves a big name. At the end of the day one has to realize that Kevin Durant with the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James with the Miami Heat both have one heck of a supporting cast, and that seems to be the winning formula nowadays. Of course just last year it was the Dallas Mavericks who took the title with a combined effort, but then again, Dirk Nowitzki is as closed as you get to a star without really been a star.
So here is the tricky part: the Houston Rockets are willing to take huge risks to bring Dwigh Howard to play here. But to clear space and be able to make this offer something to which the Orlando Magic could be somewhat interested in, they have had to cut down on some talented players. According to the reports we’ve been able to recall, the Houston Rockets plan to release starting power forward Luis Scola. They will have to rely on the NBA’s amnesty clause to pull this one off. This is actually the third above-average starter that the Rockets have been willing to sacrifice in orter to absorb the contracts of Jason Richardson, Glen Davis and Chris Duhon, players who the Rockets would have to bring in from Orlando while also sending the magic a few first-round picks and some recently drafted players. Whtat is really going on is that the Rockets are willing to give the Magic a virtually clean slate in the payroll department so that the Magic can get their post-Howard rebuilding effort.
The tricky part here is that this is really not going to drastically change the situation for Dwight Howard. He believed that he needed a stronger team than the one he had in Orlando, but it seems at least from the start that all they he is really getting in case he goes over to Houston is a change of venues. That is unless the Rockets can really move things around with the players they will get and build up a little something new around Howard.
Now, this is just the beginning. Drogan Dragic, another taleted player in the rooster was traded to Phoenix as a free agent. It seems that in order to make space in the salary cap for Howard, the Rockets were unwilling to pay Dragic $34 million over four seasons. As if that was not enough, point guard Kyle Lowry, was sent to the Toronto Raptors for only a top lottery pick. The thing here is that this risk could all go terribly wrong. So far there has been no real interest shown by Howard and at the end, they could very well lose plenty of promising players for a star that might just not make it there at all.
A few people out there would say that some things are funny. That is, some things are funny until somebody get’s hurt. The newly formed USA Olympic Basketball team is yet to make it’s first trip over to the London Summer Olympics in 2012 and yet, rumor has it, some of the players involved are taking some guesses as to see if these team has the same potential and star-driven force as the original Dream Team that went on to the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992. Twenty years ago, it was up to Micheal Jordan, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, and you get the idea, right?
Two decades later, things are certainly different. For the first time in years the star-power is finally anywhere similar to the original dream team, and although the other national basketball teams fighting for Olympic gold have seriously uplifted their game, chances are still as good as they got for team USA. The 2012 Olympic team consists of returning 2008 Olympic gold medal winners small forwards LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams, and shooting guard Kobe Bryant. That’s the core of the USA Olympic team, but even the backup is quite spectacular. They have also called upon small forward Kevin Durant, power forward Kevin Love, center Tyson Chandler, and point guard Russell Westbrook. Small forward Andre Iguodala and shooting guard James Harden were the last two names added to the final roster, after a very successful postseason this last month.
But not all is good at the Olympic team’s training camp. The Americans have already lost two centers, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, to injuries even before the training camp began. As if that was not enough, they are a bit concerned about the injuries suffered by Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. Chris Paul sprained his right thumb on the first day of camp and has been sitting out scrimmages. And now it is the LA Clippers recently resigned Blake Griffin who has been diagnosed with a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. He will most likely undergo arthroscopic surgery early next week. He’s already back with the LA Clippers doctors and will soon be seen by the orthopedic specialist, including Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Rumor has it that he will be evaluated on Sunday and could be in surgery as early as next Monday.
“We’re relieved that this does not affect Blake’s ability to be ready in time for training camp,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said in a statement. He seemed quite calm, considering that they just signed a $95 million contract with the player. “Missing out on the Olympic experience will be tough for him to take. I know how dedicated he was to doing that. We’re glad we can get this fixed now and take advantage of the available time for him to fully recover.” USA Basketball is now saying that the injury is not knew and that this is only a aggravation of an injury that Blake suffered during the playoffs where his team was defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round.