Deadline fallout: Who's on hot seat (cont.)
Troy Murphy's production. The eighth-year veteran power forward has quietly put together a nice season for the injury-depleted Pacers, averaging 13.4 points and 11.5 rebounds and shooting a career-high 44 percent from three-point range. He is averaging 18.9 points and 12 rebounds in February.
Beats by Dr. Dre. These high-definition headphones are so ubiquitous in NBA locker rooms that their use might as well be standard in a player's contract. Developed over the course of three years by the famed hip-hop producer, the headphones are said to deliver precision audio while featuring noise-canceling technology -- perfect for the sensory cocoon players retreat to before games.
Detroit's immediate future. Sunday's loss at Cleveland was their sixth consecutive defeat, and this week they visit Miami, New Orleans, Orlando and Boston.
The Clippers' defense: After giving up 140 and 142 points in back-to-back losses to the Suns coming out of the All-Star break, the Clippers allowed Steve Blake to tie an NBA record for assists in a quarter when he handed out 14 on Sunday in Portland's 116-87 victory.
Huge expiring contracts. With all the talk of teams looking to cut costs, the Trail Blazers and Cavaliers found the expiring deals of Raef LaFrentz and Wally Szczerbiak, respectively, weren't enough catnip on their own to pry help for the stretch run.
An NBA scout assesses the progress of No. 2 pick Michael Beasley, who is averaging 13.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in 24.2 minutes for the Heat.
"Erik Spoelstra has given him time to grow, but he settles a lot offensively. He's gifted and can hit from the outside, so he'll take a jump shot in spots where he has the ability to get a little deeper in the paint. But he's an elite guy. His shooting is exceptional for his size and he has a nose for the ball. He's an incredible offensive rebounder.
"On defense, though, he is a liability. He's not terribly quick east to west and he hasn't figured out spacing or how to play help defense. When he's guarding a small forward, he's a little too slow. North to south he's OK, but his footwork is a little slow for his size.
"He's got all the pieces to improve. He's going to be great."
They said it
"Sure, there were like five or six things we almost did. Huge trades. And then at the very last second we said no to all of them."
"It was almost like watching a video game."
"My concern is when Dwyane goes into the Hall of Fame and they start putting off his top career games, it's going to be like 50 versus Orlando. ... When I coached Dwyane I really liked him, but I'm not so sure anymore. Our relationship is strained."
The Oklahoman: Mascots are more than a way to entertain the fans; those goofy characters can also make a lot of green.
Draft Express: Now this is a dunk contest.
TysonChandler.com: Interesting look inside the trade that wasn't from the man himself.
1. For all of those questioning why contenders such as Cleveland, Portland and San Antonio didn't pull off a deal last week, keep in mind that trades nowadays are as much if not more about dollars than talent. For San Antonio, dealing for Vince Carter wasn't as simple as not giving up anyone not named Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili; it meant accepting the two years and $23.6 million left on Carter's contract after this season. Richard Jefferson may not have cost the Blazers much from their rotation, but his acquisition would have had luxury-tax implications. Cleveland may well have improved with Shaq, but it likely would have lost any hope of re-signing Anderson Varejao. Contenders, at least those who last more than a year or two, are smart enough to keep their eyes on a long-term plan. And with the salary cap likely to fall in the next two seasons and the free-agent bonanza of 2010 looming, that means maintaining some flexibility while crossing your fingers for the present.
2. Despite Amar'e Stoudemire's potential season-ending eye injury, the Suns were right not to trade the four-time All-Star power forward. Talent like his is a lot harder to find than a coach who knows how to exploit it. The fact that Phoenix seemed to have made Steve Nash untouchable while shopping Stoudemire doesn't bode well for the summer, but for at least one week, sanity ruled in the desert.
3. The Pacers were curiously quiet on the trade front. With expiring deals (Marquis Daniels, Rasho Nesterovic) and reasonably priced veterans (Jeff Foster, Jarrett Jack), the deadline seemed like a perfect opportunity to shake up a team that is 10 games under .500 and plagued by injuries.