NBA On TNT Notes Feb. 21: Trade Thoughts

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The big fella will have a hand in who gets that June shine

TNT NBA insider David Aldridge joined the pre-game show with the latest trade deadline news.

Barkley on the Bulls-Cavaliers-SuperSonics 11-player trade that resulted in Delonte West, Ben Wallace and Wally Szczerbiak going to Cleveland: “Great trade for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They get a point guard in Delonte West (from Seattle), which they’ve needed for the last two years. They get an outside shooter which they’ve also needed in Wally Szczerbiak (from Seattle). Ben Wallace (from Chicago) is going to play well with LeBron (James). Then you get a guy coming off your bench in Joe Smith (from Chicago). Great trade for the Cavaliers, they didn’t give up anything.”

Smith on the Bulls-Cavaliers-SuperSonics trade: “I’m not buying (this trade). A great trade was (the Lakers acquiring) Pao Gasol (from Memphis). This is a trade that’s in question because the guys that they did get (like) Ben Wallace. We’ve seen what he’s done in the past, but we haven’t seen the Ben Wallace of old. Wally Szczerbiak has been a great shooter, but he hasn’t been the Wally Szczerbiak of old. Delonte West hasn’t proven himself at the point (guard position), that’s why he’s not in Seattle (anymore). Those three guys really have to prove themselves over and over again to me to prove that this is a great trade. I know what Pao Gasol can do, that’s why that is a great trade.”

Aldridge on the Rockets-Hornets-Grizzlies seven player trade that resulted in guards Bonzi Wells and Mike James landing in New Orleans: “I think it’s a terrific trade for the Hornets. They were desperate to get some production off their bench; they were getting nothing off their bench. Their starters had to play huge minutes to score, doing all their scoring for them. Now they have two guys who can score in Bonzi Wells and Mike James. This (trade) really helps them. It gives Chris Paul somebody that can give him a rest in Mike James so he doesn’t have to play 40-42 minutes a night. A really good trade for the Hornets.”

Barkley on the Rockets-Hornets-Grizzlies trade: “(The Hornets) needed some toughness. They were too young to go deep into the playoffs the way they were constructed. I think they’ve got a good team and a bright future. But they are too young to know what (the playoffs) are going to be (like). Both of these guys have playoff experience; both guys are tough as nails. Now we’re going to see how it’s going to go together.”

Barkley on the Spurs acquiring Kurt Thomas from the SuperSonics for Brent Barry and Francisco Elson: “(Kurt Thomas) was a great pickup (for the Spurs). This guy played (Spurs center) Tim Duncan better than anybody I’ve seen play Tim Duncan the last few years. They are going to miss Brent Barry shooting the three and spreading the floor. Kurt Thomas is playoff-tested, he’s tough as nails. This is a direct response to the Shaq (trade) and the Pao Gasol/Andrew Bynum tandem.”

Aldridge on why the Sacramento Kings didn’t trade Ron Artest: “Denver was trying to get (Artest), there was a difference of opinion within the organization in Denver. There were some people who wanted to do this trade very badly, there were other people who did not. (Head coach) George Karl was one of the people that did not want this deal. He certainly didn’t want to give up (Nuggets guard) Linas Kleiza, who has really emerged this season.”

Smith on why the Denver Nuggets needed to make a trade: “If you’re in the Western Conference, you don’t have time to figure it out. You have to know that there are four teams out there who can win an NBA Championship tomorrow. If you’re in the eighth or ninth seed like Denver is. There’s no way that you can sit there and think that you can win a (NBA) Championship with that team. You have to make moves or you will sit by the (side).”

Barkley on the possibility of Ron Artest fitting into the Denver locker room: “You put (Ron) Artest in that locker room and Dr. Phil will go nuts trying to figure that one out.”

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Game 1: Miami Heat (100) @ Houston Rockets (112)

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Craig Sager reporting

Miller on the Rockets playing against the struggling Heat: “(Heat head coach) Pat Riley and the Heat team don’t have much to play for so they are coming out here free-wheelin’, loosey-goosey, not a lot of pressure on them. This is the type of team and the type of game that scares (the Rockets) because (the Heat) don’t have anything to lose.”

Fratello on Rockets forward Shane Battier: “This is a guy that you can’t say enough good things about. He’s a little bit of everything but he’s all about is winning. It doesn’t matter how many points he scores, how many shots he takes. Every night he is playing the other teams best offensive perimeter player. He does all the subtle things, makes the extra pass, takes a charge and makes the big foul shot… (he’s) terrific.”

Miller on the Heat finally being healthy: “They finally have enough players healthy enough to practice. That’s been another knock on the Heat, even when Shaq (O’Neal) was here, they didn’t have enough practice players. That takes away from the teaching time of (Heat head coach) Pat Riley.”

Miller on Dwyane Wade’s supporting cast on the Heat: “Looking at Dwyane Wade, this is like Michael Jackson playing with a bunch of Tito Jacksons.”

Fratello on Rockets rookie guard Carl Landry: “(The Rockets) really like Carl Landry. He’s got a presence about him, he attacks the basket. Shane Battier said before the game that this kid has come in and earned a position. He’s been very impressive.”

Miller on the Rockets trade with the Hornets: “They like (rookie guard Aaron) Brooks, they like the upside that Brooks is going to bring. In these last 30 or so games and come playoff time, they are going to need a veteran like (recently acquired) Bobby Jackson. (He’s) a guy that Rick Adelman trusts and understands what he brings. The jury is still out on the rookie Aaron Brooks.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Rockets guard Tracy McGrady after the second quarter.

McGrady on the Rockets strategy against the Heat: “Coming off the All-Star break, we knew that this was Miami’s first game. Sometimes teams come out a little lethargic. We wanted to get out and run (with) them and see how they were going to handle our transition (game) and our fast pace.”

Halftime

Smith on the Miami Heat losing so many games this season: “It’s difficult to see a team lose this many games, in Miami. (They’ve lost) 24 out of the last 25 games, (they’ve lost) the last nine in a row. What are they playing for and how do you play? If you are attracting players that you want to be in your system, you better create a style. Right now, Miami isn’t creating anything but people wanting to go to South Beach.”

Barkley on the Miami Heat tanking games: “Let’s call it what it is. They are tanking the season in order to get the lottery pick…When you lose 24 out of 25 you are trying to get the lottery pick.”

Yao Ming wishing Charles Barkley a happy birthday: “Happy birthday Charlie. Congratulations. Another year older, hopefully you’ll stay healthy and stop eating.”

Barkley’s Fave 5 Oscar Picks:

Movie: “Atonement”

Actress: Ellen Page, “Juno”

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will be Blood”

Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee, “American Gangster”

Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”

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Fratello on the Miami Heat’s loose style of play: “When you’re in a situation like Miami is (in), players play with a loose atmosphere and attitude towards the game. Things start to become easier since they are not pressing as much for a playoff spot.”

Fratello on Rockets forward Luis Scola: “When you have a guy who knows how to play the game. That’s what (Luis) Scola does, he winds up in the right spot, he can move to the opening. He understands where the next logical pass is going to go.”

Fratello on teams making high risk trades: “The problem with high risk (trades) is they can really destroy a franchise. A franchise that had built themselves up to the level of Dallas, (last year) winning the most games and obviously Phoenix, who has won (a lot) over the last three seasons. Now you take a chance by doing these dramatic deals. It could tear the franchise apart and they’ll have to start over again at some point.”

Miller on the Heats recent losing streak: “I can’t believe this team has lost 24 out of 25 games especially being in the Eastern Conference. You would think they would luck into a win sooner or later.”

Fratello on Rockets head coach Rick Adelman being underrated: “I’ve felt that (Adelman) has never gotten the credit he deserves after 17 years as a head coach. Six years in Portland, they reached the Finals twice, two years in Golden State, eight straight years in the playoffs in Sacramento and now he is (winning) in Houston.”

Miller on Heat head coach Pat Riley dealing with his team’s struggles: “We know how (Pat Riley) likes to cross the T’s and dot the I’s, he’s a very well-prepared coach. What is Pat Riley thinking each night he steps into the arena? What is he going to say to his players or his assistant coaches? This has to be very tough for a guy of his magnitude who has won as many (NBA) Championships as he has to go through something like this.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Rockets guard Rafer Alston after the game.

Alston on playing for the Rockets: “I’m having a lot of fun. (I’m) playing with a great group of guys, two great superstars, a system that’s catered to everyone to get involved. The big thing is we are doing it on the defensive end of the court and we’re rebounding the basketball.”

Game break

Barkley on injured Trail Blazers rookie Greg Oden’s new Mohawk haircut: “That’s exactly what happens when you’ve got millions of dollars and you’re bored and have to sit out the season.”

Barkley on the Seattle SuperSonics: “(The SuperSonics) have done a tremendous job. They’ve got a lot of expiring contracts, they’re not any good and they’ve got a bright future with (rookies Jeff) Green and (Kevin) Durant. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”

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Game 2: Seattle SuperSonics (88) @ Portland Trail Blazers (92)

Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins with Cheryl Miller reporting

As part of TNT’s Inside Trax, Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan wore a microphone as he addressed his team prior to the game

McMillan on playing against teams who have made recent trades: “We’ve been in this situation the last three games where we’ve faced a team that has made a trade. It started with Dallas, they talked about the Jason Kidd trade and all of a sudden those guys were there in uniform. We played Sacramento in the first game after the All-Star break, they made a trade. Tonight (the SuperSonics) have made a trade. Each one of those teams have come out fired up. We’ve got to be ready to play with a sense of urgency.”

Collins on the SuperSonics trading Kurt Thomas to the Spurs: “(The SuperSonics) put Kurt Thomas in a situation where he can win a (NBA) Championship. They’ve rewarded him for the great job he did (in Seattle).”

Collins on where Kevin Durant fits in with the SuperSonics: “I think (Durant is) always going to be a perimeter guy. I think he can shoot the ball from the perimeter, he can run the floor well, he handles the ball well. (SuperSonics head coach) P.J. (Carlesimo) hopes he can be a guy who can do the things necessary (to succeed).”

Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge on the team trying to make it to the playoffs: “People counted us out. When Greg (Oden) was hurt people said they are going to have another bad season, probably get another number one pick and we took it as we are going to prove people wrong we are going to show them that we have good guys here that can play and we’re going to win games. We’re still trying to get in the playoffs, even as tough as it is, we are trying to get out of this little slump try to win some games in a row and get in the playoffs.”

Collins on the expectations of the Portland Trail Blazers: “Portland had an unrealistic stretch where they won 13 straight (games earlier in the season). I think the expectations were that they were a playoff team. They aren’t a playoff team, (Trail Blazers head coach) Nate McMillan has done a fabulous job with this team. He’s got some very young pieces. The key for them is to play every night at a high level, win as many games as (they) can. So the next year, when they get Greg Oden back, he’s going to make up for the weaknesses that they have.”

Collins on the SuperSonics rebuilding process: “When you look over the next three years…(Sonics general manager) Sam Presti has loaded the team up with draft picks and hope that (Jeff) Green and (Kevin) Durant work out…they’re hoping to have money to rebuild this team. Sam Presti has done a nice job to rebuild.”

Collins on the players the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired in a trade with Chicago and Seattle: “You get Ben Wallace to come over with his championship experience, Joe Smith who played very well at the power forward in Chicago, with Wally Szczerbiak you get a big small forward who can shoot the ball, and Delonte West. Cleveland has helped their team.”

Collins on how fragile team chemistry is: “(Team chemistry is) a very elusive thing and it can change quickly. We’ve seen teams that have good chemistry and all of a sudden something changes and they fragment.”

Halftime

Smith on the Hornets handling the pressure of being on top of the Western Conference standings: “That’s going to be the question with New Orleans, to see if they know how to play (while) being the hunted. It’s different then when you’re going out hunting everyone (else) when you’ve got the ammunition and you feel confident.”

Aldridge on the tight Western Conference playoff race: “There’s going to be so much pressure to win every game, every night in the Western Conference the rest of the regular season. Everybody is going to have to go all-out; I think there’s going to be some very tired teams at the end of the regular season.”

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TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed injured Trail Blazers rookie Greg Oden during the third quarter

Oden on the reason for his new Mohawk haircut: “I felt like I needed to lose some weight.”

Collins on where players prefer to play, home or away: “A lot of coaches like to play on the road now because they feel that the concentration and focus is better. When guys are home, you’re worried about tickets and these types of things. Normally, young players will always play better at home, they feed off the energy of the home crowd. As (players) start to get older, you really love to go on the road and quiet the road crowd. Younger players usually thrive at home.”

Collins on the development of the young SuperSonics team: “When Seattle is good, they get in the open court. When they get in the half-court (game), they are not very good…That’s the style they want to play, they want to be able to push (the ball) to get layups, they want to be a very good defensive team. I think (SuperSonics head coach) P.J. (Carlesimo) is getting the message across defensively. But because they turn the ball over, they really compromise their defense because they give away a lot of easy scores. They don’t rebound the ball well so they give up a lot of second chance points.”

Collins on the Trail Blazers recent struggles: “The Portland Trail Blazers felt they lost a little bit of their swagger and confidence on that long road trip when they were gone 12 days. Right before the All-Star break, they lost four straight games on the road and they were reeling. They need a ‘feel-good’ win; (Blazers head coach) Nate McMillan has done a tremendous job here to get that feeling back of winning (in Portland) once again.”

Collins on the mindset of the Trail Blazers front office: “They kept it all in perspective during the (13 game win) streak, that they weren’t that good. (Portland general manager) Kevin Pritchard and (head coach) Nate McMillan are both on the same page, they aren’t going to do anything in the short term. They recognize the big picture, they want to be good for seven or eight years, not just the next two or three (years).”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and David Aldridge

Smith on San Antonio center Kurt Thomas fitting in with the San Antonio tempo of play: “San Antonio wants to play at a certain pace, adding Kurt Thomas to that mix, he continues them at that pace. The people that have been brought in the West are pace changers, Shaq (O’Neal) changes the pace of what (the Suns) do, Gasol changes the pace of what (the Lakers) do, Bonzi Wells changes the pace (of the Rockets). Kurt Thomas just fits right in, he comes right in, he’s going to be able to knock down jump shots, he’s a great spot-up shooter, but more importantly he’s a great defender so Tim Duncan doesn’t always have to guard the best post player.”

Barkley on why the Spurs traded for center Kurt Thomas: “I think (the Spurs) made this trade (to acquire Kurt Thomas) because of how well he played against them in the playoffs last year. He played fantastically with the Suns, made big jump shots, was great defensively against Tim Duncan. With Shaq, Boozer, Gasol and all those big guys (in the West), another veteran big guy is going to help them.”

Barkley on the dismal play of the Minnesota Timberwolves: “Kevin Garnett is rolling over in his grave watching these Timberwolves play.”

Smith on Wednesday’s game between the Suns and Lakers: “They (Suns and Lakers) looked like the best two teams to me (Wednesday night).”

Aldridge on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant believing in the Lakers chances of winning the NBA Championship this year: “The rest of the conference made a huge mistake, because (Kobe) got a sniff of it. He’s starting to believe they can win the Championship this year. You can tell in the way he’s playing, he is attacking now, and he knows that no one can stop him now. The confidence he’s playing with right now, he knows that he’s got guys like (Pau) Gasol and (Jordan) Farmar and (Lamar) Odom as a third option.”

Barkley on players not complaining about injuries when they are shooting well: “You know what I noticed about guys like that? (Kobe) wasn’t complaining about his finger last night, guys only complain about their finger when they go 12 for 29 or something like that.”

Smith on the Kings taking out a full page newspaper ad thanking guard Mike Bibby for his time in Sacramento: “I did find it neat that the Sacramento Kings took out a full page ad (to thank Bibby). I’ve been traded and didn’t even get a letter.”

Barkley: “That’s the difference between you and Mike Bibby.”

Smith: “Did you get a full page ad when Philadelphia traded you?”

Barkley: “Philadelphia retired my jersey…Philadelphia retired my jersey and Sacramento burned your jersey.”

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One Response to “NBA On TNT Notes Feb. 21: Trade Thoughts”

  1. Takuro says:

    A bit like DC comics sureehpro Clark Kent, you know, the one with the nerd/superman alter ego. If you know how really tough NBA basketball is, you’ll appreciate his heroics for a success starved NY Knicks team. Now JLin needs to play well and consistently to deserve the point guard starting position.