Chris Bosh

NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA Trade Deadline was supposed to be relatively quiet, with the possibility of a few trades. And it looked like that would be the case leading up to last Thursday’s deadline of 2 p.m. However, the league saw a number of trades come in at the last minute of the deadline. The trades came in fast and furious, but not all were as good as they seemed while others were better than you might think.

Starting from the first and possibly the most overlooked trade was Portland acquiring Arron Afflalo from Denver. With Afflalo, Portland bolsters their bench with a player who was averaging 14.5 points per game and is an excellent defender. Portland had to give up Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver plus a future first round pick, but I still think this was a huge win for Portland. A team who advanced to the second round in last year’s playoffs, returned their core group of guys, and are third in the Western conference added a veteran guard who can defend multiple positions and shoots the ball well. I’ll go ahead and say this trade puts Portland as a dark horse in the West. Why? Because they have a star point guard in Damian Lilliard, not to mention he might be a little pissed off for being an All-Star snub. Granted he was chosen as a replacement, but I still expect Lilliard to play with a chip on his shoulder the rest of the season. And let’s not forget Lamarcus Aldridge is playing at a high level despite his thumb injury. So with a healthy Robin Lopez and Afflalo coming off the bench, this team stacks up well with the West’s best.

The blockbuster trade that got way too much attention in my mind was Phoenix shipping Goran Dragic to Miami. Don’t get me wrong, Dragic is an excellent point guard, and he knows how to produce. But let’s not get carried away here. He isn’t going to help Miami contend for the title this year and most likely not anytime soon. Dragic is posting 16.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 3.6 rpg while sharing the point guard duties with Isiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe. However, I don’t think he is worth the max contract he will be offered this offseason or the two first round picks Miami gave up on top of some rotational players. He can’t lead a team by himself and essentially that’s why you pay a player the big time money. That’s what scares me for this Miami team, Dwayne Wade is in the latter half of his career, and Chris Bosh isn’t the same player he was in his prime. (There is a serious concern in Miami that Chris Bosh may miss the entire season due to blood clots in his lungs. It is a very serious issue, so we wish Chris Bosh the best in recovering.) Having said all this, Pat Riley is a genius when operating his teams so I might be completely wrong in saying Miami was on the losing end of this trade.

The trade I liked the most came from team that desperately needed help. And that was the Oklahoma City Thunder. A few days ago, I wrote about how they might acquire Brook Lopez but honestly, he wouldn’t be a fit for a team that runs lots of isolations for their guards and perimeter players. Lopez is a back to the basket type player and I don’t know how he would have gotten his touches in the OKC offense. But that trade didn’t surface out instead the Thunder acquired Enes Kanter from Utah and DJ Augustin and Kyle Singler from the Pistons. In my opinion, Oklahoma City got better overall value than getting Lopez. Kanter is a legit 7 footer averaging 14 ppg and 8 rpg this season. Not to mention he’s only 22 years old. He will slide right into OKC’s rotation with Adams out with injury and Perkins no longer there. This allows Serge Ibaka to play his natural power forward position and stretching the floow out with his perimeter shooting improving. Plus Augustin can fill Jackson’s role as backup point guard and Kyle Singler has proved he can be a solid bench contributor.

On the other hand of this trade, I love what Detroit did. Stan Van Gaundy quietly got himself a steal in Reggie Jackson. Detroit gave up next to nothing for a player who is about to get his chance to be a starter on a playoff contending team. But let’s forget about this season, and look to the future. Detroit has two great guards in Jackson and Brandon Jennings, and arguably the best young frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe moving forward. If they can convince Monroe to sign long term after his contract expires after this season, watch out for the Pistons. Van Gaundy has done a great job in his first season operating the team and I look for him to continue to build momentum for the franchise.

Those are the trades that had impacts on contending teams making a final push for playoff jockeying. Oklahoma City and Portland solidified their roster needs to contend in the wild wild west. But there were was one trade that caught my eye and can have a huge impact for a franchise.

The trade that had every NBA fan reminiscing the old days was Kevin Garnett being sent back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young. Obviously Minnesota is going nowhere this season, but Kevin Garnett could be a valuable pickup for them in terms of leadership and locker room presence. Minnesota might have the best core of young players in the league. Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, and Gogui Dieng are all young talented players still learning their way in this league. The Timberwolves were lacking a veteran leader who can mold these young players into stars. That’s where Kevin Garnett comes in play. KG could be the perfect mentor for these kids since he was thrown into the same fire of the NBA right out of high school. He knows what it takes to become a perennial All Star and win NBA championships. So kudos to the Minnesota front office for making this happen.

And then there was the random swap of point guards that took place. Milwaukee sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, Phoenix sent Isaiah Thomas to Boston, and Philadelphia packaged reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter Williams to Milwaukee. Brandon Knight was playing very well this season, so I was particularly surprised that the Bucks let him go and brought in Michael Carter Williams. I’m interested to see how Jason Kidd and company can mold the young Carter Williams into a legit PG. Brandon Knight could be a good compliment to Eric Bledsoe down in Phoenix so that could be something to watch for. As for Isiah Thomas in Boston, I just don’t get it. Boston should be in full rebuild mode, and Marcus Smart was their draft pick who could use some playing time at the point guard position so why trade for Thomas who can only play point guard. Thomas also is owed plenty of money after signing a lucrative deal just this offseason so that’ll take a hit on Boston’s cap room. These teams all made the headlines for acquiring players but I’m not sure any of them actually won their respective trades. I guess time will tell with them.

But wait, that’s not all! There have been reports Kendrick Perkins will be bought out by the Utah Jazz and the front runner to sign him is, you guessed it, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would be a great fit for Cleveland, coming off the bench and giving them valuable minutes defending and rebounding the ball effectively. A few other potential bought out players include Tayshaun Prince and Thomas Robinson who could both be a great addition to any team. So the deadline might have passed, but a few teams could still be adjusting their rosters here in the next few days to gear up for the postseason.

Now that the Rockets haven chosen not to retain forward Chandler Parsons, the restricted free agent is officially heading to Dallas.

The Mavericks offered Parsons a three-year, $46 million contract last week, but due to his restricted free agent status, the Rockets had until the end of Sunday to match the offer.

While uncertainty reigned between LeBron James and the Miami Heat, Houston was hoping to land Miami forward Chris Bosh by offering him a max contract. In an attempt to land another superstar alongside Bosh, the Rockets added more cap room by trading Jeremy Lin and a future first round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers. But Houston failed to make a major free agency splash, after Bosh decided to remain in Miami and Parsons agreed to terms with Dallas.

Upon striking out on Bosh, the Rockets signed forward Trevor Ariza to a four-year, $32 million contract. Although they maintained the cap-space to resign Parsons, they ultimately decided not to, sending him to Dallas.

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was very optimistic about Parson’s role on the team and his potential to fill multiple positions.
"I think he can play the 3, 4, 1 and 2,” Carlisle said. "He can do a lot of different things. He can facilitate, he can drive it, he can shoot it and he and he can defend a lot of different positions. It's a really good fit for us."

Parsons is sure to bring energy to the rivalry between the Mavericks and Rockets in the Southwest Division after taking offense to the way Houston has handled its free agency this summer.
“They publicly said that they were going out looking for a third star when I thought they had one right in front of them,” Parsons told Yahoo Sports.

Parsons had a breakout season with the Rockets last year, averaging 16.6 points per game in the regular season and 19.3 in the playoffs. He has increased his contributions and minutes every year during his first three seasons in the NBA, all with the Rockets. His career averages include 34.5 minutes per game, 47.3% from the field, 37% from behind the 3-point-line, and a 74.2% from the free throw line. To put his statistics into perspective, star Maverick forward Dirk Nowitzki averaged 31.3 minutes per game, 44.6% from the field, 32.4% from the 3-point line, and 81.3% from the free throw line in his first three seasons. 

Nowitzki leads furious comeback, emerging as all-time great competitor

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki pumps his fist as Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade falls on the floor at the end of the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, in Miami. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki pumps his fist as Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade falls on the floor at the end of the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, in Miami. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

When Dwyane Wade sunk that three pointer from the corner of the floor with around seven
minutes to go, I was already preparing to write a post on his greatness. A player with 36 points,
six assists, five rebounds, and seemingly enough monster dunks to fill an entire dorm room full
of posters, deserves all the media credit. But alas, Dwyane Wade, your efforts, as valiant as they
were, were nothing compared to the dramatic conclusion the Mavericks wrote at the end of this
would-be laugher of a game.

I’ve used a lot of words to describe Dirk Nowitzki in my lifetime. Of the ones that can actually
be mentioned for the world to see, the list includes adjectives like soft, cry-baby, flopper, one-
dimensional, choke-artist and boring, just to name a few. Giving him credit for any victory at any
time in his career was sacrilegious for me. In the past, I would have said Miami collapsed rather
than Dallas mounted a true comeback. But after last night I had to take a long hard look at myself
in the mirror to come to grips with the truth — Dirk Nowitzki is a true competitor.

Sure, he still flops like a fish out of water, only plays defense when he wants to, and didn’t quite
show up until the second half of the game yesterday, but you could see how much he wanted,
nay, needed yesterday’s game. The haunting memory of the epic Finals loss four years ago to a
very different looking Heat team is engrained in the back of his mind. He won’t even watch a
single game from that series.

So the fact that Nowitzki ended the game with an elementary left-handed lay-up after a stellar
move to get around Chris Bosh, was the icing on the cake to the Mavs’ 15-point, seven-minute
comeback. He’s a fundamental player with a fundamental problem eluding him from entering
the discussion as one of the game’s best to ever play: he needs a ring. But he is certainly close.
Yesterday he took an underdog Mavericks team by the leash, and helped them cap off a 22-5 run,
including the team’s last nine, over the last seven minutes of the game.

Jason Terry, the Mavericks’ only remaining player from the 2006 Finals debacle, looked at
Nowitzki in the huddle right after Wade’s huge three and told him he didn’t want to go out like
that. He didn’t want to see Miami take this veteran team and dunk over them, celebrate after
every shot, and jam the lead down the Mavericks’ throats. He pleaded for Dirk to help save them,
and the Big German responded, hurt left hand and all.

On paper, his stat line was average: 24 points, 11 rebounds and a block. It was more of a been-
there-done-that type of game for him. But each one of those points, especially the last nine, were
fueled by the notion that he can’t be counted out. That despite all his team's post-season failures,
despite his lack of flair, despite his continual inability to groom himself, Dirk Nowitzki will not
let his team lose without a dogfight. Not again. Not to the Heat.

Miami HeatÂ’s Dwyane Wade goes up for a shot during the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in Dallas. The Heat won 88-86 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

DALLAS — The Miami Heat didn’t blow this one. Now they’re just two wins from being crowned NBA champions.

Chris Bosh made a 16-foot, go-ahead jumper from the baseline with 39.6 seconds left and the Heat held on for an 88-86 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the NBA finals.

Recent history says this is a huge win for the Heat. The Game 3 winner in a tied finals has won the championship all 11 times since the 2-3-2 format began in 1985.

Miami got into this tight of a series by blowing a 15-point lead in the last quarter of Game 2. The Heat already had wasted a 14-point lead in this game when they went back ahead 81-75 with 6:31 left. They knew Dirk Nowitzki would drive Dallas’ rally, but he burned them anyway for 12 straight points — six free throws, a layup, a dunk and a tough jumper.

But after Bosh’s clutch shot, Nowitzki’s streak ran out. He tried passing out of a double team and threw the ball away, then hit the back iron on a jumper at the buzzer.

“This is a total win,” said Dwyane Wade, who led Miami with 29 points and 11 rebounds. “You want to win the game on the defensive end of the floor and we got a stop.”

The Heat go into Game 4 on Tuesday night with a chance to do what they did in 2006: win it all on Dallas’ floor. They’ll need to win that game and the next, on Thursday night.
Bosh, a Dallas native who’d been 0-8 in his hometown, overcame a swollen left eyelid caused by a poke during the first quarter to score 18 points. He had seven in the fourth quarter.

LeBron James added 17 points and nine assists. But he also had four turnovers, including a pair during the fourth quarter that helped bring Dallas back. Mario Chalmers added 12.

Udonis Haslem had only six points, but his tough defense on the final two possessions saved the Heat. When Nowitzki’s final shot from the top of the key missed, Haslem swung his arms and screamed in delight.

Nowitzki finished with 34 points, but didn’t get much help. Jason Terry scored 15 and Shawn Marion had 10, but both were shut out in the fourth quarter.

Wade was at his dynamic best from the start, looking like the guy who soared and scored the Heat past Dallas and to the title in ’06.

Most of his baskets came in the paint — where the Heat outscored the Mavs, 40-22 — and many of them were spectacular. But he also stemmed Dallas’ rally by hitting a go-ahead jumper over Jason Kidd for Miami’s second-to-last basket.

James came in talking about being more aggressive, but wasn’t. He went more than six minutes before taking his first shot, but certainly made it worth the wait — a drive through the teeth of the defense for a powerful dunk. He also had a two-handed jam in the second half that put Miami up by 13.

The Heat just couldn’t put the Mavs away. Dallas would surge close or ahead, then Miami would turn it up again. The final 18 minutes played out with both teams realizing any possession could change the game and the series.

Nothing came easy for anyone. Shots were contested, bodies collided for every rebound and guys were flying into the stands after loose balls. Fans stood throughout, wearing their blue gimme T-shirts and fired up by videos such as one featuring encouraging words from Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Nolan Ryan and others.

Yet it was the visitors from Miami who walked off celebrating.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra talked about wanting his guys to get back to their identity of being “an aggressive, attacking team that tries to get into the paint, to the rim, to the free throw line.” They followed that script to a 14-point lead late in the second quarter, then fell into the same bad habits they showed at the end of Game 2, letting Dallas get within 47-42 at the break.

Maybe Miami players just got bored because things were coming so easily.

James and Wade seemed to get whatever shot they wanted, whenever they wanted. But they kept trying to get others involved. They especially force-fed Bosh, even though his left eye was swollen from an early, accidental poke by Jason Kidd; he missed 7-9 in the first half.

The Heat also made things tough on Nowitzki by keeping him from even getting the ball. He took only two shots in the first quarter. He didn’t start getting free until Miami’s lead grew and guys were less intense on defense. 

After being assigned five games in the first seven days of the NBA season, the traveling Miami Heat circus show can finally take a few days of rest.

And for goodness sake, they deserve it. They have been marching around the country putting their three-headed-monster on display for everyone to scrutinize.

The first week of NBA play has been all Heat all the time, and even though they don’t have a game for another two days, the basketball gods are still focusing their attention on the South Beach villains, as they’ve been portrayed.

ESPN.com has devoted an entire page to the team with their new “Heat Index” section, featuring articles asking how LeBron James could have made “The Decision” tastefully. Nike has spent all summer coming up with an ad campaign to restore James’ image after his messy breakup with Cleveland. Even the passive Canadians took shots at former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh when he left, as did most of America.

It is safe to say the majority of NBA fans and writers hate the team. I’ve heard a number of monikers for them such as “the new Yankees,” “a team of narcissists” and even the and mean-spirited “team of ugly fools.”

But is all this resentment still worth it? The trades happened, the team is loaded and they are going to dominate the East. Get over it.

I will be the first to admit that I was not happy about the three mega-stars joining forces when it happened. I subscribe to the school of thought that true competitors can take a deflated team and carry them to greatness.

But when you take the names off the back of the jerseys and simply watch them play, how cool is this team? It’s like when you were a kid playing on the blacktop and all the really good, really tall players decided to play a three-versus-everyone else game. Or like when you spent all that time trading players on NBA video games to put together a mythical team of larger-than-life stars.

This team exemplifies greatness, and they are scary good from top to bottom.

Consider this: Since losing their first game to Boston, the Heat have outscored opponents by 22.8 points per game. Also consider the fact that Miami never plays a five-man lineup that does not include one of the 10 best players in the game. The fact that James can come in with the second team if he wanted to and still be just as strong is mind-boggling.

James, as big-headed as he seemed over the summer, is willing to accept any role on the team and dish the credit to other players, and the Heat are gelling better because of it.

“I think [Dwayne Wade] carried the scoring load in the first half, and when you have that, you don’t have to worry about scoring as much,” James said after playing point guard against Minnesota on Tuesday.

Wade finally has all the pieces around him to let him enjoy victories, rather than shoulder the burden of his lesser teammates of the past. He’s been given the green light to go be trigger-happy with the support of Bosh and James. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s fun to watch.

After losing the season opener, Wade had that familiar feeling of personal responsibility for his Heat.

“Not a great 1 but its 1 of 82..felt good 2 finally play a game this season. Now ill work on my rhythm and chemistry with the guys,” he Tweeted afterwards.

I don’t think he has to worry about that anymore. The team is moving to its own beat and dancing over teams in the process.

It may be hard to swallow the fact that a team can be this good while the rest of the league is just chasing their shadow. But as a basketball fan, I can’t wait to see the Miami Heat face the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals. It is going to happen. When it does, basketball enthusiasts can debate the “one-star-carrying-the-team” vs. “the-star-studded-team” philosophies.

So no matter how deep-seated your hate for LeBron, Bosh or Wade is, just imagine the names on the jerseys don’t exist, that you are simply watching basketball and not the personalities associated with it.

This is one instance where you can hate the players, but not the game.