According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, the Orlando Magic have had their fill of Dwight Howard’s media machinations and are demanding some sort of commitment to the team— lest he wants to be traded before Thursday’s trade deadline. While this will likely bring in a frenzied swarm of suitors for the defensive powerhouse (and anger the front office of Golden State that seemed to happen upon Andrew Bogut as a sort of second-place prize for the seemingly constantly tradeable Monta Ellis), Houston has had an in with the Magic brass given the Rockets’ possession of a long-term asset that Orlando actually likes in Kyle Lowry, who doesn’t come with the injury problems of Stephon Curry or Andrew Bynum, the salary implications of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler or Luol Deng or the “not being that good” problems of Brook Lopez. Could Houston actually have a shot at renting the league’s best big thanks to an annoying speech by Superman II?

The timing of this ultimatum seems particularly averse to a Rockets move thanks to a bacterial infection that has Lowry chilling in a hospital bed watching NCAA games at the moment rather than eking out victories in Oklahoma City, but he’ll be back in action in less than  a couple of weeks, making his trade value relatively unchanged. Still Lowry’s seen a big drop in all of his numbers since the beginning of the season, when the baby-faced bulldog routinely posted almost-triple-doubles and stood among the league leaders in PER. Those falls have shown up in places other than Lowry’s always shaky jumpshot, as well (February actually showcased Lowry posting up fantastic  percentages from the field, 47% overall and 43% from the arc); instead, Lowry’s passing has been suspect, declining from the league leader in assists in mid-January to a measly 4.8 per game in the Rockets’ latest losing streak.

If a Dwight Howard rental legitimately becomes an option for Houston, even with a lousy Hedo Turkoglu kicker, disregard that entire last paragraph. All this talk of trading for a star and collecting assets would have its truest validation if Howard spent even half a season in Rockets red.


in musings

So we’ve seen the report that alleges that Carmelo Anthony wants out of New York.  We know that Daryl Morey tried desperately last year to get him and was even willing to rent him without an extension.  Denver got better upon Melo’s departure; since his arrival, the Knicks have been worse.

Morey believed that Melo was a worthy star last season.  The conventional wisdom, based upon results, now, is that Melo is not a star.  But I’m not sure Morey would buy into that wisdom when Melo is essentially the exact same player.  He wouldn’t assess an item just based on results; he’d think that environment and surrounding circumstances played a significant determining role.  Morey wouldn’t do a complete 180 in his assessment on Melo just based on the Knicks’ struggles; he wouldn’t buy into the notion that the Knicks’ record validated the claims of Melo’s flaws.  If Morey were to change his assessment of a player, it would be due to some change intrinsic to the player himself.

This would be a classic ‘buy-low’ situation.  Perhaps Daryl feels that he could surround Melo with the right players, with the right coach, and turn things back on track.

Melo is also part of the ‘in-crowd’ and that in itself might hold sufficient value – maybe another star could finally be lured via free agency with Melo already in tow.

Of course, I’m playing devil’s advocate and I hope it doesn’t happen.  Carmelo Anthony is possibly my least favorite player in all of basketball.  It would be difficult to cheer for him.  But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Morey pull the trigger.

in musings

via Ken Berger:

Houston’s efforts to acquire Bogut would be a less complicated, two-deal deal with Milwaukee in which many scenarios have been discussed. Among them, Milwaukee would get Samuel Dalembert, Courtney Lee and draft picks, sources said. The Rockets also presumably would have to take back Stephen Jackson, who has clashed with Bucks coach Scott Skiles and is owed $10 million next season, or the Bucks would need to find another home for him.

As I tweeted earlier, Bogut’s defensive numbers are sparkling.  Last season, against Andrew, opposing players scored on only 29% of their isolation attempts; against Dwight Howard they scored on 39% of their attempts.  In those scenarios, they shot 33% from the floor against Bogut; against Dwight they shot 39%.

When healthy, he’s a top-3 center in this league and inarguably the second best defensive center.  He’s a young, true franchise cornerstone.  The problem is that he’s rarely been healthy.

If for a deal built around Kevin Martin, this would be a no-brainer.  But losing Lee and potentially the New York Knicks pick (now #9) hurts.  Still, I think I would do it.  Skilled 7 footers are the one thing you can’t really seek out and get on the cheap – you just have to luck into them.  Would the #8 or whatever the Knicks pick ended up being be a better player than Bogut?  It’s unlikely.

in musings

So, now what?

I spent the weekend speculating upon possible trades which involved much of the roster.  You can access those thoughts by clicking the ‘trade deadline 2012′ tag below.

Last night the news broke that point guard Kyle Lowry will remain sidelined for up to a month.  In the meantime, the Rockets continued their losing ways.  The circumstances beg the question: now what?

You almost have to think the news on Lowry throws a wrench into the Rockets’ plans: even if another team were willing to waive a physical on Lowry, it would be a public relations disaster to trade an ailing player currently laying in a hospital bed.  In my opinion.  Maybe I’m wrong and it wouldn’t be a big deal.

The other issue is the season itself.  They’ll be without their best player, yet are insistent upon competing.  At this point, it wouldn’t make sense to tank anyways.  But they can’t possibly expect to win games with Jonny Flynn playing significant minutes.

I’m really at a loss for words.  If they finish 9th or 10th yet again, this season will have been a complete waste of time.

in musings

Jonny Flynn

[blackbirdpie id=”179007635931148288″]

If the Rockets hope to stay in this race, they’ll need to seek an alternative backup point guard.  If you watched tonight’s game, and his other appearances, you’ll understand what I mean when I describe Jonny Flynn as one of the worst basketball players I’ve ever seen.

In early January, I assessed Flynn’s game as follows:

Except for the fact that he’s now shooting 25% and Hasheem Thabeet is no longer relevant, the assessment stands.

Flynn dribbles for the mere sake of dribbling.  It’s beyond painful to watch.

The ‘crossover dribble’ is used to change direction and get past one’s defender. Flynn does it with no purpose, standing in place, almost as if having no plan of where to go.  As I tweeted tonight, it’s become so bad now that one can only watch and appreciate it.

If Lowry is truly out for two weeks and the Rockets hope to stay in the race, they’ll need a new backup.  With already a slim margin for error, I fear those few minutes per game when Goran Dragic sits might be enough to push the outcomes into the loss column.

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