25 questions heading into the second half of the NBA season

1. Should the Pelicans trade Anthony this season or this summer?

The Pelicans are in 12th place in the Western Conference, and it’s time they start thinking about trading Anthony Davis. If they deal him this season, the Lakers might be willing to part with three of their four young assets (Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart). The 76ers might be willing to dangle Ben Simmons, too. Heck, the Warriors could even offer Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

If New Orleans waits until the summer, the Celtics will be eligible to acquire Davis (a provision in the CBA is preventing them from doing so this season without including Kyrie Irving) and could offer a package including Jaylen Brown and their war chest of valuable future draft picks. The Knicks could offer their unprotected 2019 first-round draft pick and Kevin Knox. The only downside to waiting for the summer is that if Davis demands a deal to a specific team, the Pelicans lose all their leverage. Lots to consider in the Big Easy, and none of it is all that promising.

2. What does the Lakers starting lineup look like this spring?

The best-case scenario includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis. A lineup with those two could win the title. The next best scenario probably involves James, Bradley Beal and whichever two youngsters remain. This lineup could hang with any team in the league but is probably an underdog in the Conference Finals and Finals. The worst-case scenario would be if they make no major moves at the deadline because their current lineup likely has a Conference Finals ceiling and it’d be malpractice to waste a year of LeBron’s prime, like when the team has a number of trade chips.

3. Which teams mortgage their futures at the deadline?

Out West, the Pelicans are sure to be in the middle of everything, as they hold the crown jewel in Anthony Davis. Yet there’s a chance the Pelicans hold onto Davis and make a big trade of their own — we know they were in the mix for Jimmy Butler earlier this year. Everyone knows that the Rockets and Lakers will be looking for deals too. The Kings are desperate to make the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade, so keep an eye on them as well.

Out East, any of the top five teams could justify pushing their chips in and try to capitalize on the Warriors’ perceived vulnerability. Also, keep an eye out for Pat Riley and the Miami Heat — they’ve straightened things out as of late and have been trying to land a blue-chipper ever since LeBron James left.

4. Does Michael Jordan deal Kemba Walker?

The conundrum of Kemba Walker: He means everything to the Hornets and wants to remain the face of the franchise, yet they can’t compete with him on their roster. He’s not quite elite enough to carry Charlotte deep into the playoffs, yet he’s too good to not carry the team to a .500 record. With no cap room (maybe you shouldn’t have maxed out Nic Batum, MJ!) and hardly any trade assets (maybe you shouldn’t have turned down four first-round picks to draft Frank Kaminsky, MJ!), Michael Jordan needs to seriously consider trading Walker for some future draft picks and/or cap relief if the Hornets ever want to quit toiling in mediocrity.

5. What do the Blazers do at the trade deadline?

The Blazers are having another solid season. They’re 25-17 and have an average offense and defense. They won’t miss the playoffs, but they probably won’t make it out of the first round if they don’t make a move at the trade deadline. Is this the year they break up the Damian Lillard-CJ McCollum backcourt? How does the passing of owner Paul Allen impact the team’s previously unwavering loyalty to its dynamic backcourt? Would the Wizards ever consider a Bradley Beal for McCollum plus an unprotected 2020 first-rounder swap?

6. Which teams should blow it up at the deadline?

A couple of teams that are teetering on the brink of falling out of playoff contention should seriously consider blowing up their rosters by trading away assets for future draft picks and high-upside prospects. The most obvious team is the Washington Wizards. At 17-25, no John Wall for the rest of the year and no cap space, the team should absolutely be looking to trade Otto Porter and his massive contract, Markieff Morris and his abrasive attitude and even Bradley Beal if a team like the Lakers offers multiple prospects and draft picks.

Just above Washington in the standings, the Magic, Pistons and Hornets are all fighting for the eight seed. If any of them falter, they’d be obvious “tank” candidates. In the West, everything is still congested in the standings, but the Grizzlies and Pelicans will want to listen to offers for their respective stars if they’re on the outside looking in a month from now.

7. Do the Bucks have enough to compete for a title?

When LeBron James was 24 years old, he won his first MVP and led the Cavs to a league-best 66 wins. He was so transcendent that the team didn’t think it needed to improve a roster with Mo Williams as its second-best player at the trade deadline. Everyone knows how that worked out for Cleveland — the Orlando Magic caught fire in the Conference Finals and upset the Cavs.

Milwaukee Bucks fans should be scared to death of history repeating itself with Giannis Antetokounmpo this season. Giannis is also 24 years old and an MVP front-runner, and he’s leading a surprisingly good Bucks team to the top of the conference as the deadline nears. While the Bucks have better secondary options than the 2009 Cavs had, their current roster is probably another scorer and versatile forward away from being threats to win it all.

8. Are the Raptors finally a legitimate title contender?

These dinosaurs are legit. Unlike past years, they have a roster built for the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard is back to being the Kawhi Leonard of old (albeit, a little better on offense and a little worse on defense). Danny Green is having his best season in years. Same goes for Serge Ibaka, whose switch to small-ball center appears to have triggered a Benjamin Button-like reverse aging in his body. Kyle Lowry is second in the league in assists, too.

And who could forget Pascal Siakam — wow, where the hell did this guy come from? In his third season, he’s made the jump from solid defensive presence off the bench to potential All-Star and two-way terror on the court. He’s always sprinting, making offensive players uncomfortable on defense and pushing the envelope on offense — just making winning plays all over the court. He’s like Toronto’s own mutated version of Draymond Green. If you haven’t seen him play yet, you’re missing out on the best spin move in the NBA.

9. Are the Houston Rockets still contenders?

James Harden probably answered this one at Golden State last week where he put on one of the most impressive performances of his career. His three-pointer between the outstretched hands of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green was the climax point of an on-going, 15-game stretch in which he’s averaging over 40 points per game. We know Harden will keep stuffing the stat sheet, but we also know that he’s prone to wear down in the playoffs if another teammate isn’t there to lighten his load. Can Chris Paul get back on track once he returns from his hamstring injury? Does Houston trade for another shot creator at the deadline?

10. Are the Nuggets a legitimate title contender?

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets’ meteoric rise to the top of the Western Conference has been one of the biggest surprises of this NBA season. Jokic is proving to be a one-man elite offense, as the Nuggets have been able to withstand significant injuries to a number of their key players, including Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Will Barton. Even if they sputter at some point during the second half of the season, they should finish with a top-four record in the West. The question then becomes what is their ceiling this season with a roster comprised mostly of players with little to no prior playoff experience? A safe bet is that they’ll win their first-round series and then lose a close battle in the second round to a more experienced team like the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder or Lakers. Regardless, the future is bright in Denver.

11. Have the Thunder quietly built a defensive machine to upset the Warriors?

With Paul George playing at a first team All-NBA level this season and Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder and Jerami Grant playing excellent two-way basketball, the Thunder might be the team best equipped to take down the Warriors. Notice I didn’t mention Russell Westbrook? That’s because the Thunder are often winning games in spite of Westbrook. While he is taking two fewer shots per game and has recommitted himself to defense (leading the league in steals), his shooting splits and shot selection are abysmal. He’s a key reason why OKC has the worst field-goal percentage in the NBA. It’s so frustrating because this team could absolutely steal some games from the Warriors in a series (they’re 3-2 vs. Golden State since acquiring Paul George) with its defense and overwhelming athleticism. However, Westbrook has to be a much more efficient player for the Thunder to take down Goliath.

12. Can the 76ers avoid a chemistry catastrophe?

There are layers to this one. For starters, the relationship between franchise cornerstones, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, is somewhere between “working partnership” and “icy.” It’s probably closer to the latter right now after their recent rebounding collision and Embiid’s subsequent freak-out. If that weren’t enough to worry about, Jimmy Butler is apparently already comfortable dressing down head coach Brett Brown in front of teammates about his role in the offense. Some teams can excel amid chaos like this; others fall victim to it. Will the Eastern Conference’s most talented team straighten things out for a long playoff run? Or will it implode from within?

13. Do the Pacers have enough offensive firepower to win the East?

It may come as a surprise to the casual fan, but the Indiana Pacers are a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference this season. They’re currently in third place and have the NBA’s third-highest rated defense despite missing their star, Victor Oladipo, for 11 games this season. Their defense and plethora of excellent role players will keep them in every game come playoff time, but can Oladipo carry their offense enough for them to make a deep run? Look for the Pacers to add some more scoring pop at this year’s trade deadline.

14. What is the Clippers’ ceiling?

How many players do you think a casual NBA fan could name on the Clippers? Three? Four? Despite having no star power, the Clippers are 24-16 and in fourth place in the loaded Western Conference. This is no longer a cute story about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts — this team is legitimately good. Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are all good players and have destroyed unsuspecting opponents this season.

How good are they? Can they win a playoff series? It’ll depend on the matchup and whether they pick up a better two-guard (Avery Bradley stinks now) and rim protector (Gortat isn’t cutting it). They could probably take down any team without an MVP-caliber player in a seven-game series, so if they play the Spurs, Blazers or Jazz in the first round, they’ll have more than a puncher’s chance to advance.

15. Will Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward get back on track?

If someone told you that Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward were averaging only a combined 23.6 points per game, you’d probably assume that the Celtics were having the season from hell. Fortunately for Boston, the “Marcuses” (Morris and Smart) have stepped up their respective games and covered for Brown’s and Hayward’s struggles. The team is comfortably in fifth place in the top-heavy Eastern Conference and will always have a chance in any playoff series with Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and the Marcuses playing well. However, if the Celtics want to compete for a title, they’ll need at least one of Brown or Hayward to start playing better. Both have shown some signs of life recently, but an occasional good game won’t suffice come May and June.

16. Do the Jazz have another magical second half in store?

Quin Snyder has been a second-half miracle worker in his tenure as head coach of the Utah Jazz. Last season, after a 17-24 start to the season, the Jazz ripped off a 31-10 record the next 41 games and rode that momentum to a first-round upset over the Thunder. At 20-21 through 41 games this season, Snyder will need to once again work his second-half magic to get Donovan Mitchell and Co. back on track.

17. How does DeMarcus Cousins fit in with the Warriors?

As they attempt to three-peat and win their fourth title in five seasons, the Warriors are struggling with mental and physical fatigue. Even when they’re at full strength, they seem as vulnerable as they’ve seemed since Kevin Durant joined the team. That could all change when DeMarcus Cousins makes his debut. Will the Warriors be rejuvenated by their “new toy” and find new ways to throttle teams? Or will Cousins’ overwhelming but unnecessary offensive talent hurt the team’s on-court chemistry? Boogie’s commitment to defense could ultimately dictate this one.

18. Can Steph Curry really go 50-45-90 again?

Remember when Steph Curry won the first-ever unanimous MVP in 2015-16 and forced us to recalibrate how basketball was going to be played moving forward? That season he averaged 30.1 points per game and joined Steve Nash as the only players to ever join the 50-45-90 Club (FG percentage-3FG percentage-FT percentage). Well, he’s doing it again this season. Right now he’s averaging 28.9 points per game on 48-44-91 shooting splits. (And he’s been in a slump lately too.) Thanks to the equally ridiculous seasons guys like James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo are having, hardly anyone seems to be noticing how insanely well Curry is shooting this year.

19. Can we hand Luka Doncic the Rookie of the Year, already?

Barring injury, the answer is yes. Doncic has been a revelation in Dallas and is must-see television every time he steps on the court. He might even get voted in as an All-Star Game starter. And while he shouldn’t be an All-Star starter, nobody should have any issues with him making the team because he’s averaging 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game and absolutely has a case as being one of the 12 best players in the Western Conference this season.

20. Should the Knicks even bother bringing Kristaps Porzingis back this season?

If you recall, Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL just before the All-Star break last season. With a crappy roster in place and their sights set on Kevin Durant, the Knicks have been in no rush to get their young star on the court before he’s completely healthy. They are going to evaluate Porzingis in mid-February, but there’s a chance he doesn’t play at all this season.

Should he play? On one hand, it’d be nice to get him back on the court for about 10-15 games to help him get his rhythm and confidence back heading into the offseason — this is what the Pacers did with Paul George following his broken leg. On the other hand, with a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, they might not want Porzingis winning games for them and screwing up their lottery odds.

Full 25

By Pat Heery

LeBron’s 51-Point Outing a Reminder of What James, Lakers Are Capable of

It wasn’t so long ago that Lakers forward LeBron James was running alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat. From 2010-2014, the trio had its way with any competition that happened to step on the American Airlines Arena’s court. When James departed for the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014, he maintained his statistical dominance at the venue over the four-year span, but came up on the losing end each of his four visits. So Los Angeles’ 113-97 win over the Heat on Sunday night was a sort of triumph for James in itself. Perhaps most importantly, for his current squad, it was a glimpse into the past through the lens of the present with a focus on the future.

James’s 51-point uproar was nothing short of spectacular. He scored on 19-of-31 field goals attempts, including a scorching 6-for-8 from three-point range. The performance marked the 13th 50-point outing of his career, something that, at his age, is significant. At 33 years old, he’s the second-oldest Laker to ever score 50 in a single game. (The oldest was Kobe Bryant, who, at 37, dropped 60 in his final career game back in 2016.) Sunday’s total marked his second 40-point effort of this season, making him the third player to produce such a score in their 16th season or later (he joined Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, according to ESPN Stats & Info).

When James puts together performances like Sunday’s, there’s little that can prevent his side from coming away with the winning result. While LeBron was a member of the Heat and paired with Wade, Bosh and the rest of their cast, it was almost assuredly true. With Cleveland, it was mostly true. With Los Angeles, it’s still unknown, however, it is encouraging that each of his 40-plus nights has resulted in victories so far (the other came against the Blazers two games ago).

On Sunday night, James wasn’t alone. Forwards Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram added 15 and 13 points apiece, respectively. Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 19 off the bench, draining 3 of 5 treys. Center Tyson Chandler’s impact was felt on the glass, where he collected a game-high 11 boards. The win was collective, even as Lonzo Ball (two points on 1-for-6 shooting, seven assists, six rebounds) and Lance Stephenson (zero points on 0-for-4 shooting, four rebounds) were ineffective as scorers. The formula to victory wasn’t desirable, but compliant.

Full Article Here

By: Kaelen Jones

Dion Waiters To Sign With Miami Heat

Written by Tim Cato at SB Nation.com

Dion Waiters and the Miami Heat are finalizing a deal that would bring Waiters back for several seasons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat, who just cleared Chris Bosh’s contract off their payroll, have the cap space to sign him and just missed out on the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes, leaving them in need for more scoring.

Waiters had been reportedly deciding between the Heat, the New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Last season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points on 42.4 percent shooting, bouncing back from two subpar seasons with the Cavaliers and the Thunder.

Assuming the deal goes through, the Heat will have retained almost all of the roster that went 30-11 in the season’s second half, reversing their 11-30 first half record. While Miami probably isn’t a 55-win team — the rate they were winning at during the final 41 games — they are still led by one of the league’s sharpest coaches and surrounded by a lovable mismatch of talents that worked beautifully during February and March last year.

It’s a little strange that Waiters fits into that group, given how much his career had turned into a punchline for Twitter users. But the Heat have found ways to use him effectively, and that shouldn’t change for a player who’s still just 25 years old.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Chris Bosh Retires From NBA

Written by Brad Rowland at Uproxx.com

Chris Bosh was an integral part of back-to-back NBA championships with the Miami Heat and, as a result, he is beloved by that fan base. Unfortunately, Bosh is not able to play due an ongoing issue with blood clots and much has been made about the way that the Heat organization has been able to emerge from salary cap issues created by the former All-Star’s contract.

On Tuesday, word broke that Miami would officially waive Bosh and, in a nice and highly appropriate move, retire his No. 1 uniform for the future. That move was met with almost universal approval around the NBA world and that included two very famous former teammates.

First, Dwyane Wade sent his love.


Then, LeBron James weighed in to “salute” his former teammate and close friend.

It comes as no surprise that both Wade and James would reach out on Bosh’s behalf but it is refreshing nonetheless. The trio famously altered the course of NBA history by teaming up in Miami with a perfect alliance of salary cap flexibility and a willingness to take (slightly) less money to win on a grand scale.

Chris Bosh will no longer play in the NBA but retiring his number was the only rational move for the Heat and both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James know it.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Heat Keep Their Season Alive Against Cleveland

Written by Ethan Skolnick at CBSSports.com

When you call yourself “a championship organization,” you don’t typically celebrate mere contention for the playoffs, and you certainly don’t fish for favors.

But you also don’t turn away any assistance that is offered, not in a season like this. Not when your roster is short on the regal stars of the past, and loaded instead with former Red Claws, Valley Vipers, Blue Whales and Sioux Falls Skyforce — so many Skyforce.

Not when your highest-paid player (Chris Bosh), 2015 first-round pick (Justise Winslow) and primary late-game option (Dion Waiters) have missed all, most or part of the season, all presently unavailable.

Not when you started 11-30.

So the Heat had no reason to apologize for anything that occurred Monday night, even if it took a furious rally, all of overtime and the miraculous avoidance of a third 4-point play to outlast a Cavaliers squad playing on the second night of a back-to-back without LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, 124-121.

No reason at all.

Even without James — sitting for a third time in six Cavaliers visits to Miami since he returned to them — and the two other starters, Cleveland’s top seven had 81 years of collective experience. One of those veterans, Deron Williams, scored 35 points in 46 minutes. And the Cavaliers led by 15 in the second quarter, and 11 in the fourth.

“Survive and advance,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who appears to be enjoying this team more than more talented ones of previous seasons. “That’s what this regular season is about.”

And the Heat will have no cause for shame, even if this ride ends when the regular season does Wednesday. Even if Miami can reach .500 for the first time in four tries, by beating the locked-into-the-fourth-seed Wizards, they’ll still need either the Bulls or Pacers to lose at home to the Nets or Hawks, respectively.

“We think it’s meant to be,” Spoelstra said. “We have to take care of us.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

Heat Thinking About Adding Hayward In Summer

Written by Matt Moore at CBSSports.com

Most of this summer’s big-name free agents are near-locks to re-sign where they’re at. It would be at least slightly stunning to see Chris Paul or Blake Griffin leave the Clippers, and no one would ever imagine Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors. But one name who is thought to at least be somewhat available, or open to conversations, and who could have a real impact in a terrible free agency class, is Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.

The New York Daily News, in a delightful column highlighting how much of a failure Phil Jackson has been as GM compared to Pat Riley, notes that the Heat could be one team he looks at seriously this summer.

Riley has a home court advantage because Miami is a prime free agent destination. The weather, the zero state income tax and the chance to play for a top franchise are too good for a lot of players to turn down. There are already whispers that if Utah can’t re-sign Gordon Hayward he could end up in Miami.

via Jackson still far from matching Riley’s front office success – NY Daily News.

That’s a pretty soft rumor, but it’s interesting. The Heat started out 11-30 and are now on the verge of securing a playoff spot. Goran Dragic has been great at times, Hassan Whiteside is a double-double machine, Dion Waiters has impressed, and they’ve had good players take larger roles on this team, while young guys like Rodney McGruder developed. The questions are about where they go from here.

Does adding Hayward make them a contender? No, but it gets them closer. They could use that core to build a pitch for a true marquee free agent to put them back into the title picture, at least theoretically.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Why D-Wade Left Miami

Written by Nunzio Ingrassia at FoxSports.com

Dwyane Wade spent his first 13 years in the NBA with the Miami Heat, helping them win three titles and becoming the franchise’s cornerstone player. Then all that goodwill ended in a flash for Flash and Heat fans last summer, when he abruptly left Miami to join his hometown Chicago Bulls.

At his introductory new conference in July, Wade said the fact Heat president Pat Riley never reached out to him during free agency didn’t affect him.

“I couldn’t concern myself or worry about someone reaching out to me or not reaching out to me,” he said at his introductory Bulls news conference last July. “That’s [wasn’t] why I made the decision. It wasn’t because he didn’t reach out to me. How petty is that? I wasn’t looking for Pat to reach out to me. That wasn’t the focus of mine. … My heart was telling me to go back home.”

Fast-forward six months, and the 35-year-old guard acknowledged Riley’s silence actually loomed large in his decision, opening up on The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski.

“I did feel at the end of the day it’s Micky Arison’s team but it’s Pat’s show,” Wade told Wojnarowski, via the Miami Herald. “I love Pat and I know he loves me. The fact that we didn’t talk, that hurt. That was my deciding factor when it came down to the end of the day and he didn’t show he wanted me there. I know the Arison family loved me and wanted me there. I know Spo [coach Erik Spoelstra] wanted me there.

“At the end of the day, I didn’t hear from the guy I needed to. I expressed this to him later. That right there hurt me. It showed me… it was time to remove myself from the situation…. It’s a business. But I’m human as well. I was waiting for him to step up and meet me, call me, do something and it just never happened. That’s not the Pat I know. You can find me quicker than anybody. You want to be wanted. Everyone wants to be wanted. I didn’t feel like I was wanted from the person I wanted to be wanted from…. I was waiting for him to step up and meet me somewhere. Call me. Do something. It just never happened. That’s not Pat. That’s not the Pat I know.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

Ray Allen Retires


Written by David Golliver at SI.com

Obsessive. That’s long been the go-to adjective to describe Ray Allen, who officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, more than two years after he played his last game with the 2014 Heat. The future Hall of Famer, two-time champion all-time leading three-point shooter stressed the importance of his “Boring old habits” in a letter announcing his decision posted on The Players’ Tribune.

Obsessive attention to his shooting mechanics and warm-up routine. Obsessive attention to his physique. Obsessive attention on his internal motivation, eschewing naysayers and yaysayers, alike.

“You’ll win a championship in Boston,” Allen writes. “You’ll win another in Miami. The personalities on those two teams will be different, but both teams will have the same thing in common: habits. Boring old habits. I know you want me to let you in on some big secret to success in the NBA. The secret is there is no secret. It’s just boring old habits.”

Allen’s singlemindedness and commitment produced a career so long and distinguished that it can be broken into eras. He was Jesus Shuttlesworth in 1998’s “He Got Game” and he was “Mr. Yellow Ropes” during the historic 2013 Finals. Along the way, he plied his trade for the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics and Heat, piling up 10 All-Star and two All-NBA selections and cultivating the league’s most envied shot.

“The greatest shooter to play the game,” Stephen Curry wrote on Twitter Tuesday, the ultimate compliment from the ultimate authority on the subject.

In recognition of Allen’s formal announcement, which comes after two seasons worth of rumors about a return to the court, here’s a look back at his sterling 18-year career through the lens of the Sports Illustrated Vault.

UCONN

Allen first arrived in the pages of Sports Illustrated with a whisper rather than a bang, garnering a quick mention in a Big East preview that devoted more ink to Allen Iverson. Midway through his sophomore season at UConn, SI hailed him as an “emerging superstar” and forecast his NBA ceiling.  By Jan. 1996, Allen’s junior year, Jack McCallum suggested he had top-five potential in the upcoming draft while evoking a particularly lofty comparison.

“Allen’s classic jump shot and smooth, economical moves suggest Michael Jordan.”

Then, in March, Alexander Wolff offered this extended profile, which, not surprisingly, quotes Allen on the virtue of “control.”

UConn coach Jim Calhoun intends no disrespect when he points this out, but he says, “Iverson makes it look difficult. Ray makes it look easy.”

“Control is basically the whole agenda of my life,” says Allen, a 6’5” junior swingman. “To take charge of everything and make decisions for myself.” As he goes up for one of his jumpers, a shot so reliable that he was making 47.4% of his three-pointers at week’s end, Allen is compact, in control. He plays defense with the relentlessness of a spurned long-distance company that wants you back, but always… in control. When he curls off a screen and takes a pass from his usual setup man, Huskies guard Doron Sheffer, and slashes his way to the basket, it’s the same thing. “He’s committed one charge all year,” says Calhoun. “For a guy who’s averaging 23 points a game, that’s remarkable.” Indeed, Allen may sometimes be too controlled for the Huskies’ own good; Calhoun frets that Allen is so adept at altering his flight path with midcourse corrections that he often avoids contact altogether, thus losing out on a trip to the foul line

Afterward Allen explained why the Huskies hadn’t been more demonstrative after clinching their third straight regular-season Big East title. “Last year we had guys who drank a lot of coffee,” he said. “[Former Huskies] Bu Willingham and Donny Marshall, they were all hyped up.”

Someone suggested that Allen was a decaf guy. “No,” replied this most fluid of players. “I’d say I’m just water.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

Chris Bosh Hopes To Be Back For Camp


Written by Michael Wallace at ESPN.com

With training camp scheduled to open in less than a month, Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has increased his basketball workouts in hopes of returning to the court this season.

Bosh posted a series of workout videos on one of his social media accounts Monday and suggested he’s ready to resume his basketball career after each of his past two seasons were cut short by blood clots.

Bosh, 32, has three seasons and $76 million left on a five-year deal he signed in 2014 to stay in Miami.

“I know I’ve been gone for a moment, but now I’m back,” Bosh, an 11-time All-Star, said in one of the videos posted Monday as he prepared for drills in an undisclosed gym. “Everybody is always asking me, ‘Am I hooping?’ Yes, I’m hooping. I’m a hooper.’ ”

Bosh has been working on his conditioning for several months and had pressured the Heat to allow him to return during last season’s playoffs before the sides agreed to table the discussion until the offseason. Neither Bosh nor the Heat have offered a definitive explanation as to where Bosh is in his recovery from recurring blood clots and whether he will be cleared to return to action next season.

However, the Heat have used Bosh in promotional campaigns for season ticket sales and for an October neutral-site exhibition game in Kansas City. Speaking to reporters last month about the Heat’s free agency developments, president Pat Riley said the team would reevaluate Bosh’s situation at some point in late August or September, presumably before the start of training camp.

A league source told ESPN.com in July that Bosh is preparing to be available when training camp opens on Sept. 27 and expects to be medically cleared to rejoin the team.

If Bosh is cleared to come back, he would be returning to a team that has undergone a major overhaul this offseason. Miami lost franchise pillar Dwyane Wade in free agency to Chicago, and veteran starters Luol Deng and Joe Johnson also departed from a team that lost to Toronto in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Bosh was the Heat’s leading scorer and 3-point shooter when he left the lineup at the February All-Star break last season when he experienced clotting. His season also was cut short the previous February during All-Star break after he was hospitalized for more than a week when clots traveled to his lungs.

If Bosh is unable to resume his career for medical reasons, he would be paid the remainder of his contract but it would not count against the Heat’s salary cap after Feb. 9. Bosh has given no indications that he plans to retire before making at least one more comeback attempt.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Pat Riley Unsure of When Bosh Will Return


Written by Matt Fitzgerald at BleacherReports.com

Miami Heat president Pat Riley held a press conference Saturday in which he touched on the precarious future of star forward Chris Bosh’s career.

A recurring blood clot, which prevented Bosh from appearing in the second half of the season and the playoffs, has cast doubt as to whether he can play basketball anymore. Riley addressed Bosh’s outlook regarding the 2016-17 season, per the Palm Beach Post‘s Jason Lieser:

It’s a positive environment right now with Chris, and I think his doctors and our doctors are constantly communicating. I know what Chris wants. I know he wants to play. Obviously, we would be open to that.

But this is still a very fluid situation. On this day, there’s not an answer. I wish I could give you one. Let’s just let this process move on down the road and go from there.

Lieser noted long flights and the traveling demands that accompany anNBA schedule can be “problematic” for Bosh. Riley addressed that element of the situation, too:

I think all those things will come into play and there’ll be a discussion. There are many players in different sports that do play with that condition, and they’re on-and-off programs with blood thinners and stuff. But I think when it comes down to a final protocol, or a formula for how this has to be done, then that’s what we’ll deal with.

Bosh has missed the second half of each of the past two seasons because of blood-clot issues. The Heat still managed to advance to the second round of the postseason without him last year, but they then proceeded to lose longtime face of the franchise Dwyane Wade to theChicago Bulls in free agency.

Even without Wade in the fold, Riley has built a solid squad in Miami in the post-LeBron James era. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to fully realize its potential because of Bosh’s medical issues.

“From a basketball standpoint, I’ve been told we’re sort of put on hold here,” Riley said, per Lieser. “We know what Chris is capable of and…you just never know what you could have done as a team. That’s what kills me. That we put together a good team right after (LeBron James) left, but we never had an opportunity to see it as its full.”

To continue reading this article, click here.