Have the Nuggets taken “the greatest risk a team can take”?

Recently, Mark Cuban wrote a very revealing and intriguing blog post on the Dallas Mavericks’ recent offseason maneuvers. This was brought to my attention by Matt Moore’s insightful reaction to Cuban’s post. As they are really great reads, I would highly recommend reading both in their entirety before proceeding. Cuban’s post is here at BlogMaverick.com, and Moore’s article is here at CBSSPORTS.com.

The central theme of both is the conundrum of what to do with an aging superstar, and how that decision may impact short- and long-term team building. Is it best to trade him for draft picks and other young assets, tanking for the hope of the next draft superstar and sacrificing current success for future gains? Or to take a win-now-at-all-costs approach and milk the value of that star for all he’s worth while you can? Or alternately, choose a middle ground in an effort to have your cake and eat it, too?

In 2011, under Masai Ujiri’s competent guiding hand, the Nuggets successfully delayed facing this music when (more…)

J.R. Smith and His Elbow

I did not really want to post this and make too big of a deal out of it, but thanks to Mark Cuban’s histrionics after the game last night Cuban’s crusade to get J.R. in trouble with the league has been well documented.  Just so everyone knows what Cuban is talking about here is the clip.

As I said during the video, I am not sure J.R. intended to actually hit Wright.  They were close enough that I would think J.R. could have made contact if he intended to.  Of course, he had a horrible shooting night and maybe his poor shooting spread to the point where he was inaccurate with his elbow too.

Offday Offerings – Rainy Day for J.R. Smith

January 13, 2009 is not going to go down as one of J.R. Smith’s favorite days.  He had a hearing scheduled in New Jersey yesterday for a traffic accident.  We wondered if that would interfere with his availability to play in last night’s game against the Mavericks.  Yesterday afternoon word broke that he did not go to New Jersey.  No explanation, just that J.R. was going to play. 

Today news came out that he was required to show up and now has a contempt of court charge staring him in the face.  According to the reports his lawyer is taking the fall.  There is good news here though.  The hearing was rescheduled for February 17 the last day of the All-Star break.  Even if J.R. has to spend the night in jail, which I believe would be the maximum sentence from the contempt of court charge, he can easily be in Philly for the Nuggets game against the 76ers on the 18th.

J.R. may have fought the law and came out on top in that situation even if he pays a fine or faces a night in the slammer for the additional contempt of court charge.

After sundown his night only got worse.  He shot 1-14 from the floor and apparently has made a new enemy in Mark Cuban.  Cuban was upset about an elbow that J.R. threw at Antoine Wright at the end of the half.  I did not notice it during the game, but I went back and looked at it and here is what I saw.  Chauncey took a shot as the clock wound down and J.R. dove into the lane in case there was a rebound.  As he ran towards the paint Wright put both hands under his right arm on his ribs and shoved him.  J.R. then did indeed throw an elbow in the direction of Wright’s head.  The question in my mind is did he intend to actually make contact with Wright’s face? 

The two were in pretty close proximity and I believe if J.R. wanted to pop Wright in the face with an elbow, he could have.  I think the act of the short thrust with his elbow was more of a warning shot than an attempt to inflict harm. 

What will come of it?  I can see J.R. getting fined for the gesture, but I do not think he should be suspended for what he did.  Heck, I make motions like that towards my wife all the time and no one has fined or suspended me.

Fun With Cuban

Cuban has promised to go to the league and have J.R. fined or suspended for thrusting his elbow towards Wright.  There apparently was some back and forth between Cuban and Smith both before during and after the game.  Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop has the concise breakdown of the gamesmanship between Cuban and J.R. from the Chris Tomasson blog post in the Rocky.

Karl was very outspoken about the inappropriateness of Cuban speaking directly with J.R. after the first half and I agree it is a slippery slope.  Making conversation is one thing, but it is my understanding that the rule of thumb is coaches and other team officials/employees are not to speak directly with opposing players.  I remember the night of the fracas in the Garden Karl was upset that Isiah Thomas spoke directly to Carmelo warning/threatening him not to go in the lane after he ordered the code red that triggered the brawl. 

As far as Cuban going on the court to menace the referees after the game, obviously he is going to make a large contribution to the league coffers for that.  My problem is not with him being on the court after the game.  He is not a fan, he is an owner and the rules for fans leaving their seats do not apply to him in my opinion.  To me the problem arose when he lost his mind and acted like a child (or like I was acting in my home when the Nuggets were down four). 

Move Over Horse

Before last night Dan Issel owned the record for most points in a game by a Kentucky player.  In fact, he was second on that list as well.  Today instead of being first and second, his name is now second and third.  Jodie Meeks poured in 54 points at Tennessee to break Issel’s previous mark of 53. 

It is too bad that Issel was passed up for that record, but at least it gets the Horse in the news and people are reminded of what a great player he was.