Drawing from its
network of NBA insiders--including scouts, coaches and front-office
personnel--Fast Break picked up this chatter from around the league.
you haven't heard a peep from the Cavaliers' owners this season? They realized
they were hurting the team a year ago by getting too involved, and they've
learned their lesson." ... "The team that really helped itself at the
trade deadline was the Nuggets. They added two defenders in Ruben Patterson,
who really gets after it against forwards as well as shooting guards, and
Reggie Evans, who also gives them toughness and rebounding." ... "I
believe the Lakers were trying to acquire Carlos Boozer [of Utah] at the trade
deadline. They were attempting to get Golden State or Denver to participate in
a three-way deal." ... "I knew [Raptors rookie forward] Charlie
Villanueva (above) was a back-to-the-basket guy, but I didn't know he was such
a good shooter. As Toronto improves, he should get better and better."
The Pistons have
been second-guessed for using the second pick in the 2003 draft on teenage big
man Darko Milicic, a DNP in 109 of 215 games before being dealt to the Magic
last month. Was it a blunder to take Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh
or Dwyane Wade, who were the next three players selected in that draft? Detroit
center Ben Wallace (left) doesn't think so, saying, "We won a championship,
and we had a chance to play for a second."
If the Pistons
hadn't been infatuated with Milicic's potential, word around the league is that
they probably would have taken Bosh over Anthony. Wallace believes that Anthony
would have been a greater threat to Detroit's balance. "To add another
scorer, it could have affected the growth of Tayshaun [Prince], Rip [ Hamilton],
Chauncey [Billups]," he says.
of the other choices would have prevented the Pistons from re-signing their
core players and jeopardized the team's chemistry. "You've got to be able
to reward players for playing hard and being unselfish," says Wallace.
3 The injury to
Kurt Thomas is a killer for Phoenix. Even if he's able to recover from the
stress fracture to his right foot by the playoffs, the Suns will be trying to
integrate both Thomas and Amar� Stoudemire at the last minute.
2 When will
people start seeing the Mavericks as a bona fide title contender? Their
inevitable second-round series with the Spurs could go either way.