NBA News and rumors – January 22, 2010

Nash claims starting spot as McGrady slips in voting

It’s very unlikely we would trade Devin Harris

Trade rumors irking New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson
Nash claims starting spot as McGrady slips in voting

Nash passed the inactive Tracy McGrady as the second guard, while Duncan disappointed Dallas fans hoping to see Dirk Nowitzki start by rallying past the Mavericks forward.

LeBron James was the leading vote-getter for the Feb. 14 game at Cowboys Stadium, becoming the first player to earn at least 2.5 million votes three times. He will make his sixth All-Star appearance, all as a starter.

"The fans still love and see what I do every night and they appreciate it, and I appreciate them for electing me as an All-Star starter," James said. "It’s still special."

Joining James and the Sixers’ Allen Iverson as East starters are Miami guard Dwyane Wade, Orlando center Dwight Howard and Boston forward Kevin Garnett.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was picked in the West along with Phoenix center Amare Stoudemire and Denver forward Carmelo Anthony.

Starters were decided by fan balloting at NBA arenas and electronically. The reserves will be chosen by votes by the head coaches in each conference and will be announced next Thursday.

A McGrady election would have been an embarrassment for the NBA, since he has played sparingly in only six games for the Houston Rockets. The team gave him permission to leave the team and work out on his own while trying to find a trade, yet McGrady still was second among West guards when the most recent update was released on Jan. 7.

Duncan’s late surge gives him a 12th All-Star appearance. Bryant, who claimed his third All-Star game MVP last year when he shared it with Shaquille O’Neal in Phoenix, also will be appearing for the 12th time.

Garnett’s selection was his 13th, trailing only O’Neal (15) among active players.

It’s very unlikely we would trade Devin Harris

Dave D’Alessandro/The Star-Ledger

Devin Harris knows his name is out there now, circulated mostly by out-of-towners using speculation and third-hand info to conclude that he’s outta here as soon as the right deal comes along.

He’s buying it, anyway:

“Been through it, done it, lived it. I remember how I got here,” the Nets point guard said. “Have I heard it? Yes. Does it bother me? No. Will I talk to anyone (in management) about it?”

A pause. A laugh. Sounds like derision.


Too bad. Because all he had to do was walk across the gym Thursday and ask the only guy who is capable of putting the uninformed rumors to rest.

“It’s very, very unlikely that we’d trade Devin. I never say never, but it’s very unlikely that he’s going to be traded,” Nets president Rod Thorn said as he watched the start of practice at a health club in the city’s financial district.

“I read the same things you do. There was one thing I saw the other day that was just wrong ­— about we were talking to Washington about trading Devin for Caron Butler? We never had one conversation with Washington about Caron Butler in five years — period.

“But you expect speculation, especially when you have a team that has a record like we do.”

That’s about as definitive as Thorn can get, because someone can make him an offer he can’t refuse at any time before the Feb. 18 deadline.

It’s just that Harris would like to believe that as bad as 3-38 looks, he’s a cornerstone for a franchise that has a bright future if it drafts and trades and invests wisely over the next seven months.

“At this point of my career, I would like to think I am” a key piece, Harris said. “But these are very unusual cir*****stances. You get a sense that anything can happen.”

Still, without solicitation, Thorn added this for emphasis:

“We value Devin. We think he’s a terrific player,” he said. “I don’t see it happening. But again, you know me — I never say I won’t trade anybody — because you never know what anyone’s going to offer you. That’s why you can never speak in absolutes. But we value Devin.”

Indeed, Harris’ future has been discussed for some time by management. There are some in the organization who are bound to him, because he has been as professional as a leader can be under these cir*****stances.

Trade rumors irking New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson would rather talk about trying to stop Kobe Bryant Friday night at the Garden than give his views on joining forces with Kevin Garnett in Boston in the coming weeks.

The subject of an Internet trade rumor that had the Celtics making an offer for him, the Knicks’ backup guard got testy with the media after practice yesterday in Greenburgh.

"We’ve got to stop Kobe from trying to score 61 again – that’s our deal right there," Robinson said, referring to Bryant’s record-setting performance at the Garden last season. "We’ve got to hope that he comes in and misses every shot. But some nights, some guys can’t miss."

While Robinson refused to talk about the trade rumor, team president Donnie Walsh made it clear that if the Knicks deal Robinson or any of their players before the Feb. 18 deadline, it has to be a move that can help them make the playoffs this spring. "It’s got to make us better this year, assuming there’s no cap ramifications the following year," Walsh said.

In other words, it will take more than merely getting a player back with an expiring contract for the Knicks to trade Robinson. The Celtics will have to ship a player back to the Knicks who can help them reach the postseason for the first time since 2004, while not adversely affecting their cap space for this summer’s push to get LeBron James and perhaps one other marquee player. Since Paul Pierce is not available, and the Celtics are not looking to break up their core, Robinson’s chances of landing in Boston seem fairly remote.

With Robinson, the Knicks are in ninth place in the East, behind seventh-place Toronto and eighth-place Chicago. One team official said that as long as Robinson continues to help the Knicks stay in the playoff hunt, they likely won’t deal him.

Walsh will have a major say in what the Knicks do with Robinson. Although Mike D’Antoni and Garden CEO Jim Dolan did not want to re-sign Robinson over the summer, Walsh thought Robinson could be effective in a bench role, as long as he toned down his act. Although Robinson was benched for 14 games earlier in the season when he ran afoul of D’Antoni’s demands, Walsh’s view seems to have been justified.

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