NBA Power Rankings, 2/24
|02.24.11 at 6:43 pm ET|
1. San Antonio (47-10): The Spurs have been conspicuously absent from the trade rumor bonanza. But it makes sense, considering their starters have missed one game all season between the five of them — and they’ve lost as many games as the Cavaliers have won.
2. Dallas (41-16): The Mavericks went hard after Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince (for injured Caron Butler and a first-round pick) and Denver’s J.R. Smith, but both deals fizzled quickly. Shocking that owner Mark Cuban was active around the trade deadline.
3. Boston (41-14): Who needs centers, anyway? There are other pieces to fall here, trust me. The Celtics aren’t finishing the season with 10 players. Until I know what their roster is going to look like, I’m not moving them anywhere.
4. Miami (42-15): The funniest tidbit I heard on the rumor mill was this: The Heat shopped Mike Miller in trade talks. Oh, sure, Mr. Riley, I’d love to take a 30-year-old guy with an extensive injury history, literal head problems and four years, $24 million remaining after this season. The one Miami rumor that’s intriguing is buyout candidate T.J. Ford.
5. Chicago (38-17): Both Juwan Howard and Chris Bosh have endorsed Derrick Rose for Most Valuable Player over LeBron James. Is it just me, or does that say a lot about what his Heat teammates think about him? Do you think Joakim Noah would side with James? Would Ron Artest back anybody but Kobe … nevermind, scratch that.
6. LA Lakers (40-19): The Lakers are expected to stand pat with their current roster, even once buyout candidates become available. You mean nobody was interested in Ron Artest or Steve Blake, who are owed a combined $33.8 million through 2014?
7. Oklahoma City (36-20): Sure, the Thunder got Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, but the real story is that they and the Celtics could be competing for Jason Kapono once the 76ers buy out his contract. That’s kind of like a lion and a crocodile competing over a dead animal carcass. No offense to dead animal carcasses.
8. Atlanta (34-23): The Kirk Hinrich deal puts the Hawks over the top, if by “over the top” you mean “into the No. 4 seed.” They also apparently shopped Zaza Pachulia, his remaining two-year, $10 million deal and his back acne.
9. Orlando (36-22): After losing to the Kings, Magic center Dwight Howard said: “Everybody on the team has to step up and play hard. I’m not singling anybody out.” You hear that Gilbert Arenas, he’s not calling anybody out!
10. New Orleans (34-25): Any time I can mention Mark Cuban twice and spread a conspiracy theory at the same time in the Power Rankings, I’ll do it. He called B.S. on the Hornets’ deal for Carl Landry, which will cost owners $750K since the NBA owns the franchise: “If most of the owners in this league can’t take back salary in a deal, the Hornets shouldn’t be allowed to, either.” Amen.
11. New York (28-26): Does the Carmelo Anthony bring the Knicks any closer to an NBA championship in the next four years? As a Syracuse guy, I hate to say it, but not really. I spent a few thousand words explaining my rationale. No need to explain further.
12. Portland (32-25): The Trail Blazers dealt Joel Przybilla and two first-round draft picks to the Bobcats for Gerald Wallace. No news yet whether or not Wallace has purchased knee braces and insurance on both ACLs.
13. Memphis (32-27): According to Fox Sports Memphis reporter Chris Vernon, the Grizzlies dealt Hasheem Thabeet and a first-rounder for Shane Battier, then failed to ship O.J. Mayo to the Pacers for Josh McRoberts and a first-round pick. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Wallace does it again!
14. Phoenix (28-27): The Suns dealt Goran Dragic and a first-rounder for Aaron Brooks, according to Arizona Republic reporter Paul Coro. Now Phoenix has added Vince Carter– a problem throughout his career – and Brooks, a problem recently in Houston.
15. Utah (31-27): Shouldn’t the Jazz have dealt Deron Williams for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors before the whole Jerry Sloan ordeal? I’ve heard “This town’s not big enough for the both of us” before, but usually that leads to one person leaving — not both.
16. Philadelphia (28-29): The 76ers were awful quiet on Thursday. They have a lot of tradeable assets and should make the playoffs this season. Kinda strange. Did general manager Ed Stefanski forget it was trade deadline day?
17. Houston (28-31): The Rockets got Hasheem Thabeet, Goran Dragic and two first-round picks for an unhappy camper (Brooks) and an expiring deal (Battier). It’ll be interesting to see who those first-rounders turn into. A lot of flexibility in Houston.
19. Denver (33-25): Nothing says “Welcome to Denver” to new players like Nuggets executive vice president Masai Ujiri admitting his team got killed in a deal.
21. Golden State (26-30): So, the Warriors are apparently prepared to buy Troy Murphy‘s contract out, allowing him to sign with the Celtics. Murphy averaged 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game for the Nets. Not wowed by that one.
22. LA Clippers (21-37): With the acquisition of Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis — and Chris Kaman‘s contract coming off the books next season — the Clippers will have a ton of cap room to land one of the big free agents in 2012. Then again, they’ll probably just sign Vince Carter to a max contract.
23. Charlotte (25-32): Just as the Bobcats started to play well, they shipped Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed out of Charlotte for Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla, D.J. White, Morris Peterson and two first-rounders. Somewhere Larry Brown sips a Mai Tai and cackles loud enough for the natives to hear.
24. Milwaukee (22-35): The Bucks stuck with their guys during the trade deadline. I guess they’re pinning their hopes on Michael Redd‘s return. I’m sure that’ll pan out.
28. Toronto (15-41): The Raptors acquired James Johnson for a first-round draft pick, and then Johnson gave us the quote of the week: “My plus-minus is outrageous.” Gold. I think I’m going to start yelling that when I’m one of the last few guys picked on the blacktop.
29. Minnesota (13-43): The Timberwolves attempted to trade Jonny Flynn. So, from the 2009 NBA draft in which they had the No. 5 and 6 overall picks, they’ve failed to sign the No. 5 selection (Ricky Rubio) and were prepared to part with the other. What’s a bigger disaster for Minnesota — that or the Kevin Garnett trade?
30. Cleveland (10-46): Given the chance to trade for a point guard with a weight problem and $28 million remaining on his contract (Davis), the Cavaliers pulled the trigger. Of course they did. Cleveland rocks.