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The Opening Tip: Tuesday, Feb. 15

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  • Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee: “The Kings announced Monday they would ‘impose an appropriate fine’ on rookie center DeMarcus Cousins for his role in a postgame altercation with teammate Donté Greene. That amount is one game’s pay, approximately $41,000 of his nearly $3.4 million salary. … Saturday’s altercation was the fourth major incident involving Cousins since he was drafted fifth overall last June after his freshman season at Kentucky. … Saturday’s quarrel hasn’t soured the Kings on Cousins’ future with them. Though teams have inquired about trading for Cousins given the incidents, the team has no intention of dealing him.”
  • Frank Isola, New York Daily News: “Carmelo Anthony could have been a Knick Monday if only team president Donnie Walsh were willing to meet Denver’s trade demands, which one team official classified as ‘steep.’ According to a team source close to the negotiations, “there is a deal to be made” but whether Anthony joins forces with Amar’e Stoudemire in New York between Tuesday and the Feb. 24 trade deadline likely comes down to the Nuggets either lowering their asking price or the Knicks turning over their roster to acquire one of the NBA’s top players. The Nuggets, according to a source, are asking for three starters – including Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton – plus Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and at least one first-round pick. In that proposed deal, Anthony and veteran point guard Chauncey Billups would be coming to the Knicks. It is believed that Walsh and Mike D’Antoni feel the team would be giving up too much. Garden chairman James Dolan has had direct involvement in the negotiations and may ultimately overrule his basketball staff. … The Nuggets are focusing on two teams – the Knicks and Chicago Bulls — because Anthony is willing to sign a contract extension with those clubs. Houston and Dallas remain outside possibilities while the Nets are the wild card.”
  • Peter Vecsey, New York Post: “Mercifully, this chapter shall come to a close in no later than nine shopping days. Either way, it says here, Carmelo Anthony gets left locally on the stoop of either the Nets or the Knicks. Contrary to what anonymous team officials allegedly are telling reporters, Anthony definitely will not be employed by the Nuggets after the Feb. 24 trade deadline. True, players can be dealt any time once their team’s season ends, but pitting the Knicks and Nets against each other in a bidding war will never be more advantageous than it is now. The closer Anthony gets to free agency, the less leverage, if any at all, the Nuggets own.  Don’t believe for a second owner Josh Kroenke will take a chance on Anthony reconsidering the $65 million extension if he’s still a member of the Nuggets after the deadline, as he recently indicated. If Anthony were serious about re-upping for an additional three seasons, a commitment needed to be made long before trade negotiations went as far as they have. So, which suitor is it going to be, Knicks or Nets? I’m not even sure his employer or Anthony’s tattoo artist knows for sure.”

  • Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times: “Few of the Lakers were in a chatty mood [after Monday's loss at Charlotte].  [Kobe] Bryant left without talking to reporters, scowling while flanked by security guards. Coach Phil Jackson paused long enough to deliver a five-second edict to media members. ‘I just have this to say: I’m very disappointed in our performance tonight,’ he said, his eyes rimmed red with anger. ‘I’m embarrassed about what we did, and that’s it.’ He then turned back into the locker room and, after seeing a reporter a few minutes later, asked a security guard to keep him away. He was joking. Maybe.  The Bobcats (24-31) were supposed to be the NBA’s third-lowest scoring team, their 93.5 points a game putting them barely ahead of Milwaukee and New Jersey, but they throttled the Lakers, shooting 51.2% and winning points in the paint by a 46-38 margin.  The Bobcats scored on 22 of 25 possessions during a particularly efficient second-half span. ‘I don’t know what to tell you,’ said forward Lamar Odom, who had a quiet nine points and four rebounds.’”One of our worst games this year.’”
  • Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: “The Griz don’t have any front-burner deals on the table for Mayo even though they have received calls inquiring about his availability. Although there is no evidence to suggest the Griz are actively trying to trade Mayo, the situation is fluid and could change as the deadline draws near. Second-year center Hasheem Thabeet remains the only piece Griz management is including in aggressive trade talks.”
  • Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel: “Bottom line: Can you win a title with this big-man group supporting [Dwight] Howard?  The trade deadline is Feb. 24. ‘We need another big,’ Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide said Sunday, sounding like most fans.  General Manager Otis Smith has even backed off his ardent stance of sticking with his roster of bigs — well, at least a little.  Smith told the Sentinel on Monday, ‘We’ll look, but I’m pretty content with what we have. If we need to do something before the deadline, we’ll make a deal.’  Smith can’t play his hand, sounding as if he’s desperate.  You can kick around a lot of names who might be available, from the cheapest (Philadelphia’s Tony Battie at $1.3 million) to the mid-range (Indiana’s Jeff Foster at $6.8 million) to the most expensive (Sacramento’s Sam Dalembert at $12.2 million).  Clark, guard-forward Quentin Richardson and point guard Chris Duhon could be trade chips.”
  • Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe: “Celtics captain Paul Pierce will play in Wednesday’s game against the New Jersey Nets, coach Doc Rivers said Monday.  A magentic resonance imaging of Pierce’s left foot revealed only bruising, according to Rivers. Pierce did not participate in Monday’s practice and will be held out of Tuesday’s session.  ‘There’s some bruising, swelling, but he can play,’ Rivers said of Pierce. … It’s just one of those things where if somebody hits you with a baseball bat on the arm it takes time to heal. He got kicked in the heel a couple games ago, hit on the hand the same way the same game.’”
  • Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Center Dexter Pittman returned Monday to South Florida from his NBA Development League assignment after sustaining a knee injury with the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Skyforce.  The 2010 second-round pick out of the University of Texas was injured during Saturday’s 118-104 loss to Idaho, when he was limited to 20 minutes, closing with eight points and seven rebounds.  The injury puts at risk his participation in Saturday’s D-League All-Star Game, which is being held concurrently during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.  Yet to appear in an NBA game, Pittman is averaging14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in 22 games with Sioux Falls over two stints with the Skyforce. NBA players are limited to three D-League assignments per season.  The Heat already are working with four centers on their traveling roster, starter Zydrunas Ilgauskas, primary reserves Joel Anthony and Erick Dampier, and seldom-used Jamaal Magloire.”
  • Steve Luhm, Salt Lake Tribune:  “Jeff Hornacek’s new job with the Utah Jazz is official.  Before Monday’s practice, coach Tyrone Corbin said Hornacek has been promoted and will become a full-time assistant.  For the past three seasons, Hornacek has been a special assistant for the Jazz.  A key member of the Utah teams that reached the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, Hornacek has been working with the coaching staff and players.  But he has neither traveled with the team nor been on the bench during home games, which will change.”
  • Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News: “Those indications — plus [Roddy] Beaubois’ play at practice on Monday that by all accounts was very impressive — suggest that unless something goes haywire between now and Wednesday night, the second-year guard will play for the first time this season against Sacramento. … The analysis of Beaubois’ return from right foot surgery in August from one of his best friends after practice was worth volumes. ‘For the first time [Monday ] at practice, he actually looked great,’ said Ian Mahinmi, the Frenchman who has known Guadeloupe-born Beaubois for years when the two played in France together. ‘On his drive, he looked quick. He looked explosive. So it’s looking good. Obviously, you can tell that he gets winded super fast out there. But as far as moving from left to right and using his speed, it looks great. … It would be made-for-Hollywood if Beaubois stepped on the court against the Kings and immediately was the same player who had 16 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes during Game 6 of last year’s playoff series against San Antonio.”
  • Chris Dempsey, Denver Post: “Both Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen were available and played for the Nuggets against the Rockets, and a hopeful [George] Karl hinted it might signal that current medical restrictions on their availability for games is near an end. ‘I hope so,’ Karl said. ‘I wouldn’t guarantee that. I would say there might be situations or circumstances where they might (be limited). But I don’t think we have that many back-to-backs coming up.’  The Nuggets have five more sets of back-to-back games on the schedule.”
  • Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times: “Almost every day, without fail, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro is asked about the status of the long-term injured threesome: Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and Craig Smith.  Days go by … no change. Weeks go by … little change. Finally, Smith was the one moving the needle ever so slightly, saying after the Clippers’ loss to the Bucks on Monday that he had been cleared to practice.”
  • Published On 9:19am, Feb 15, 2011
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