The NBA Development Leagueâ€™s Idaho Stampede has added former Cavs forward Luke Jackson to its roster. Jackson, the Cavsâ€™ first-round pick in 2004, has not played since the preseason, when he appeared in four games with Boston. The Celtics acquired him from Cleveland on Oct. 13 for Dwayne Jones. Injuries limited Jackson to just 46 games during his two seasons with the Cavs.
The trade would send Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks to the Sixers for Iverson and perhaps another minimum-salaried player or two. It was expected to be completed later Tuesday barring any snags.
LeBron James Allen Iverson lead the Eastern Conference in votes received after the first returns of 2007 NBA All-Star Balloting while Yao Ming and Kobe BryantÂ lead the Western Conference.
James leads all Eastern Conference players with 808,570 votes, followed by Iverson (595,200). The Toronto Raptorsâ€™ Chris Bosh (304,624) is second to James among Eastern Conference forwards. Miamiâ€™s Shaquille Oâ€™Neal leads all Eastern Conference centers with 522,815 votes, followed by the Orlando Magicâ€™s Dwight Howard (415,708).
Yao leads all players with 836,392 votes. The Minnesota Timberwolvesâ€™ Kevin Garnett leads all Western Conference forwards with 453,536 votes, followed by San Antonioâ€™s Tim Duncan (423,228). Bryant (720,375) and the Houston Rocketsâ€™ Tracy McGrady (668,130) lead all Western Conference guards.
The Associated Press gives us an early preview of the New Orleans game.
Oddsmakers have listed the Cavs as 4-point favorites and the over/under is set at 183.
The Cavaliers superstar has keyed the winning streak against the Hornets, averaging 27.3 points per game. He averaged 31.5 points against them last season and hit the winning shot with half a second left in a 103-101 victory at Oklahoma City on April 10.
The matchup with the Hornets is one that James looks forward to even more since Paul came into the league last season. Paul, who won the rookie of the year award, was James` teammate on the U.S. national team over the summer.
“It`s always fun,“ James said. “We had an exciting game last year in Oklahoma City. I was able to shake loose and hit the game-winner. Chris is a good friend of mine. I`m looking forward to going down there.“
James is looking to help Cleveland improve its play on the road, where it is 3-5. That`s due in part to the play of James, who`s averaging 5.8 assists while shooting 44 percent on the road compared to 7.5 assists per game and nearly 51 percent shooting at home.
It`s unclear who will join James in the lineup Monday. Larry Hughes returned for Saturday`s 107-75 victory over Indiana and scored eight points in 24 minutes off the bench after missing 10 games due to a sprained right ankle.
“It was the first time he`s been back in the in a month, I think,“ Brown said. “It`s going to take some time for him to get his rhythm offensively, get rhythm defensively, and get used to the pace of the game.“
Cleveland was also without leading rebounder Drew Gooden for the first time, as the forward was out after injuring his left groin trying to dunk during pregame warmups.
Anderson Varejao received his first start in place of Gooden and scored 13 points.
The Hornets have won just once in that span and are back home after a 101-80 loss at Golden State on Saturday. They`ve scored 80 points or fewer in five of their last seven games and are averaging a Western Conference-low 91.6 points per game.
“Guys are getting wide-open shots and missing,“ Hornets coach Byron Scott said. “On the other end, we`re contesting shots and they`re making them. So right now if you look at our team, we`re not a very good basketball team.“
Desmond Mason scored a season-high 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting, but no other Hornets starter made half of his shots.
New Orleans is 5-2 against Eastern Conference foes this season.
Brad Daughterty has joined the ESPN and ABC team of hosts to provide what he describes as the “fan’s perspective” in the network’s comprehensive, multimedia coverage devoted to NASCAR.
“I’m just really excited about being able to get involved on this level,” said Daugherty. “I have a little bit of technical and ownership experience, but mostly, I am a fan.”
In his second year in the NBA, Daugherty took a serious interest in racing and in 1987, co-founded a late-model stock race team with driver Robert Pressley in Asheville, N.C. The team raced in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the NASCAR Racing Series, winning the regional championship in 1987 and 1988. In 1989, they joined the NASCAR Busch Series and earned the team’s first major victory at the Orange County Speedway in North Carolina.
Daugherty will sit alongside fellow commentators on two new shows — NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. NASCAR Countdown will immediately precede all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, while NASCAR Now, the network’s first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR, will deliver the most up-to-date news and information each weekday. NASCAR Now will debut on ESPN2 on Feb. 5, 2007.
CELESTE E. WHITTAKER of the Courier-Post Staff brings us up to date on Dajuan Wagner.
Dajuan Wagner’s tenure with the Golden State Warriors was short-lived.
The former Camden High School star and the NBA team agreed to a buyout of his contract over the weekend, effectively ending his two-month stint with the Warriors.
Wagner, 23, who missed the entire 2005-06 NBA season after recovering from colon surgery, signed a two-year contract with the Warriors worth $1.6 million in September. Wagner had suffered from colitis, or inflammation of the colon, and had his entire colon removed in October of 2005.
“Over the last few weeks, it was evident that Dajuan was not ready for the daily rigors of the NBA,” said Leon Rose, Wagner’s Pennsauken-based agent. “This is a setback in his comeback attempt, however, we, along with his medical team, are evaluating the situation and will make a determination as to the best course of action.
“He may have gone from zero to 100 too quick.”
Wagner, the sixth overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft out of Memphis, started six of the Warriors’ seven preseason games, twice leading the team in scoring. But he appeared in just one of the Warriors’ 10 regular-season games and played just seven minutes, scoring four points against Detroit Nov. 11. He was not at the Warriors’ game Saturday against Seattle, with the team reporting he was “under the weather.”
Asked if he was disappointed things did not work out in Golden State, Wagner said, “not really.”
“Everything was going good, I just don’t think I was ready yet,” Wagner said Monday. “I’m getting there. I don’t think I was there yet. I probably need a little time.”
Wagner’s NBA career has been injury and illness ridden. He played in just 102 of a possible 246 games in his three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, missing most of the games due to injury or illness. He averaged 9.4 points and 1.9 assists during his time there.
He’s unsure if he’ll try to play in the NBA again this season. “I’m just going to get my body right,” Wagner said, “take a little time off.”
Doug Clark from the Chronicle Telegram reminds usÂ ofÂ a word or two about the word â€œvaluableâ€ as applied to sports, such as in the phrase â€” Most Valuable Player.
Most sportswriters goof up on this one. They get a blind spot, their vision blurred by the gaudy stats in front of them. It happens in every sport, particularly baseball, where writers see the word â€œvaluableâ€ and their brain answers, â€œAh-ha. It means outstanding player, doesnâ€™t it?â€
Uh â€¦ no, it doesnâ€™t. It means valuable.
As in V-A-L-U-A-B-L-E.
Take the NBA. Weâ€™re learning a thing or two about what valuable means every time the Cavaliers take the floor and Larry Hughes isnâ€™t one of the guys standing there waiting for the tip-off.
LeBron James may be the most outstanding player in the league (huge argument here, as Dwyane Wade showed us and the world last year when the Heat won the championship), but is he really the teamâ€™s most valuable player?
LeBron James is going to be LeBron James no matter what. In a word, heâ€™s going to be spectacular. But no matter how wonderful LeBron James plays night in and night out, can he be splendid enough to put the Cavs on his back and carry them to the NBA Finals? Or even to the Eastern Conference finals?
Gonna go out on a limb here and say, â€˜no,â€™ he canâ€™t. Ask Julius Erving or Charles Barkley or George Gervin or Oscar Robertson or Patrick Ewing or Allen Iverson, or any other spectacular player who had to go it alone without a wingman what it was like trying to hoist a team onto their shoulders and carry it that far down the playoff trail.
Heck. We can do even better than that. Go ask Michael Jordan how many championships the Bulls would have won had Scottie Pippen not come along. If, say, ESPN ran a half-hour film clip showing Scottie Pippen highlights â€” instead of focusing just on Jordan â€” two-thirds of the viewers would probably say at the end of that half hour, â€œI had no idea Scottie Pippen was that good.â€
He was. If Jordan was the leagueâ€™s outstanding player and the Bulls MVP, Scottie Pippen was co-MVP of those Bulls teams that were the scourge of the league.
As silly and as misleading as it is to compare a peach with an orange, we can safely say that Larry Hughes is no Scottie Pippen. We can also safely say, however, that without Larry Hughes around to play wingman, LeBron James makes one brilliant, back-lit target out there. LeBron needs Larry like a Thanksgiving turkey needs stuffing, like Elgin Baylor needed Jerry West, like MJ needed Scottie, like Karl Malone needed John Stockton.
Two things have registered mightily with Cavs fans this year: (1) How much better a player Larry Hughes is this year from last year and (2) how big a falloff there is in the teamâ€™s play when Hughes is not on the floor.
The scary part for the Cavaliers is that Hughes has seldom (almost never) gone wire-to-wire in a season without being shut down because of one injury or another. Heâ€™s not as brittle as, say â€¦ porcelain â€¦ but then he does get bruised a lot and he does miss time. When he falls on the floor, you can hear the intake of breath from the Cavs bench all the way up in Loudville. And with binoculars from there, you can also probably see the trainer automatically reaching for his little bag with the red cross on it.
To make a cross-sports reference, Hughes is a bit reminiscent of Fred Lynn, the Red Sox outfielder ( 1970s-80s) who was as talented as he was brittle. He was as good as his body permitted him to be which, sadly, was a permission too often denied.
Thatâ€™s the way itâ€™s been with Larry Hughes so far, the loss being even more magnified because his body has, on occasion, permitted him to give us a tantalizing peek at what can be.
So letâ€™s hear it again for the wingman, without whom the ace is out there flying solo â€” a marked man, trying to do it alone â€” through the stratosphere of the NBA season.
Fans in Attendance will Receive a Drew Gooden Bald Head Kit courtesy of Time Warner CableÂ