NBA News and Rumor Roundup – August 17 2009

1. Marion seeks to corral old playing form with Mavericks

2. Marcin Gortat’s lower-back injury appears to be muscle strain

3. Richardson excited for chance with HeatMarion seeks to corral old playing form with Mavericks

Art Garcia,

Shawn Marion understands the rep and why he’s bounced around the last couple of years. Rather than try to explain or go on the offensive, he just shrugs. Why bother?

"I’m just ready to play ball," the prized pickup of the Mavericks’ offseason said.

Marion wants nothing more than to resume an All-Star career after two uneven seasons. The Matrix has gone from being a cornerstone in Phoenix, his home for 8 1/2 years, to being valuable for reasons that had increasingly less to do with basketball.

His hefty max-level and soon-to-be-expiring contract, which topped out at nearly $18 million last season, became the ticket that punched moves to Miami to Toronto in the span of a year. Dallas is his third stop since Feb. 6, 2008. The moves haven’t been without baggage.

Whispers of Marion’s discontent clouded his final days with the Suns when it became obvious a contract extension wasn’t in the works. His last season in Phoenix was the least productive of his career outside of his rookie campaign, and Marion was shipped to the Heat as the centerpiece of the deal that sent Shaquille O’Neal to the desert.

Rumors of Marion being a problem in the Phoenix locker room only grew. Many centered on his uneasiness with several high-profile teammates, including Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire, near the end.

"It’s funny how they say stuff after you leave," Marion said. "So much of that stuff about our relationships, that stuff ain’t true. I don’t get into that. Everybody can say what they want to say. If someone doesn’t want to say something directly to me, what can I do?"

Marion’s numbers continued to fall in Miami, bottoming out at 12.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last season before the trade to Toronto last season. They weren’t much better (14.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg) in his 27 games with the Raptors. Marion bristles at the suggestion that the decline resulted from a deterioration of skill.

Marcin Gortat’s lower-back injury appears to be muscle strain

The agent for Orlando Magic backup center Marcin Gortat told the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday morning that Gortat’s lower-back injury merely "appears to be a muscle strain that should go away within days."

Guy Zucker, who represents Gortat, said he spoke with his client Sunday and that Gortat’s lower back is still tight but is "feeling a lot better" after a chiropractic adjustment.

Zucker also said he has informed Magic officials about Gortat’s situation.

Gortat injured his back while playing for Poland’s national team Friday night during a tournament at London’s O2 Arena. Gortat did not play Saturday in Poland’s game against Israel and was not going to play today against Turkey.

Richardson excited for chance with Heat

TIM REYNOLDS , Associated Press

Quentin Richardson has been close with Dwyane Wade and his family for years. He’s a godfather to Dorell Wright’s son. He’s an offseason regular in Miami. Even his agent hails from South Florida.

So in Richardson’s mind, joining the Heat made perfect sense.

Miami’s newest acquisition said Friday that he’s eager to get started acclimating to his new team, a process that’ll begin when he arrives in town sometime over the weekend. The Heat sent center Mark Blount to the Minnesota Timberwolves late Thursday night in exchange for Richardson, who has now been traded a whopping four times in the last seven weeks.

"On paper, it’s been pretty crazy," Richardson said. "But in reality, for me, I haven’t done a lot of craziness as far as moving around or anything. I’m just going to move from New York to Miami now."

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Richardson spent the last four seasons with the New York Knicks, who traded him on draft night to the Memphis Grizzlies for Darko Milicic. Memphis traded Richardson to the Los Angeles Clippers on July 17 for Zach Randolph, and the Clippers moved him three days later to Minnesota for Mark Madsen, Craig Smith and Sebastian Telfair.

Now, he’s with the Heat, which seems fitting considering that he’s spent part of the summer training in Chicago with Wade, Wright and Jermaine O’Neal — not knowing until a few days ago that he was on the cusp of being their new teammate.

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