Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
Almost ten years after he pouted his way on stage at the 1999 NBA Draft and reluctantly put on a Vancouver Grizzlies cap, Steve Francis is dealt to the Grizzlies for a conditional 2011 second-round draft pick. This may or may not be a precursor to the Rockets signing Dikembe Mutombo.
Mutombo is on record as saying, "'I will be in Boston or San Antonio by the end of the year." 48 Minutes of Hell says the Spurs should say thanks, but no thanks, to Deke's services, and explains why Ian Mahinmi should be a factor in the decision: "Ian Mahinmi is rehabbing two ankles, one of which he injured while rehabbing the other. It's a laughable affair, I know. Once healthy, however, it really is in the Spurs best interest to keep Mahinmi's development on the fast track. This will necessitate minutes with the parent club. Mahinmi might regain his lungs by spending a short stint splashing around in the Toros' kiddy pool, but little else. The Spurs need to know if he can swim, and, if so, to what depths. The 10 minutes per game Popovich would find for Mutombo are better spent on Ian Mahinmi. Hold these words for later razzing: Mahinmi's end of the year numbers for San Antonio will be more impressive than Mutumbo's Boston totals." [emphasis mine].
Ric Bucher writes for ESPN the Magazine that things are getting ugly in Oakland: "However bad it looks at 8-22, it's way worse behind the scenes. According to sources, [Stephen] Jackson, Nelson's staunchest ally in the lockerroom, was called into Nelson's car when he showed up for the team's shootaround before facing Orlando. Nelson apparently told Jackson he was playing poorly and Jackson, who had been fighting through injuries to stay on the court, was so upset he skipped the shootaround."
Some interesting data from Nielsen that chart the performance of Christmas Day games from seasons past: "Since ABC obtained NBA broadcasting rights in 2002, the network's Christmas Day games have averaged a 4.1 rating and 6.9 million viewers nationally. The highest mark came in 2004 when the Lakers and Heat (featuring a much-anticipated reunion between Kobe and Shaq) pulled a 7.3 rating and 13.2 million viewers."
Ira Winderman notes, "In the past three games, Michael Beasley has played 18, 15 and 13 minutes. Of course, the Heat also won all three of those games." Has Eric Spoelstra lost confidence in his rookie? Not according to the Heat's coach: " "It wasn't necessarily an indictment against Michael. It's just the unit that was in there wasn't getting it done by the scoreboard, so we had to change the energy. He's young."
Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns "sometimes wonder[s] why Nash doesn't shoot the basketball more himself," after Nash buried Denver on Monday night. VoTS concludes, "Steve Nash wouldn't be Steve Nash if he were a shoot-first point guard, and especially on a team that also features Amare, Shaq and J-Rich, the Suns really need Steve Nash the distributor rather than Steve Nash the scorer on most nights."
Zach Randolph went down hard in the third quarter of the Clippers' loss to Toronto Monday night. Most recounts of the game -- including Randolph's -- had Chris Bosh as the culprit. Upon further review, says Clips Nation, Jake Voskhul was to blame and "it sure looks like Voskuhl was happy to give Randolph a good hard shove."
Hornets247 was justifiably bummed out by the Hornets' performance last night against the Lakers. Tyson Chandler is a pivotal player for New Orleans -- both substantively and spiritually: "When Tyson gets fired up for a game, two things can happen: the Hornets find him early, he gets some easy buckets, which gets him clicking on defense, and he plays great OR the Hornets can't find him early or he's fouled hard repeatedly and can't get easy buckets, he starts getting frustrated, and the Hornets fall apart on both ends. The guy really is pretty key to what they do, and tonight he was a mess. "