Greetings folks! Here are five quick NBA thoughts for a Wednesday.
1. ANDREA BARGNANI (Raptors): Out for remainder of this season with another elbow issue. That might be it for him as a Raptor - most of you would rejoice. It's been a mess this season for him and after seven years is that it for him in Toronto? I'd say it's highly likely, if, and that's a 'BIG IF', they can get at least a 'reasonably fair' trade offer for him in the off-season. He's a young man with lots of talent but as we've discussed many times (I'm worn out talking about it!) it's about your love/passion and commitment to the game. He's at a career crossroads. Congrats - he'll still get paid the next two seasons (at over $20 million total) no matter what but sooner or later he's got to look in the mirror and be honest with himself and ask himself if this is what he wants his pro career to be about, or does he love the game and want to truly commit to it? There are lots of players in the NBA with half his talent that can look in the mirror and know that they've given it their all and doing everything to max out their ability. That's all you want from a player. Hopefully, for his sake - Raptor or ex-Raptor - he figures it out. It's a shame any time you see a guy with his skill not using it to the best of his ability. Nothing worse than wasted talent.
2. DERRICK ROSE (Bulls): Practicing with his team and involved with all the 5-on-5 live activities as well. Now it's a matter of time. Most importantly, take your time and make sure you're mentally confident and comfortable and ready to be your assertive self. When does that happen? If you're a fan of the game, hopefully soon. Another consideration, the Bulls have had their share of injuries to Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Rip Hamilton. You want to come back where the team is in good shape, not where you're forced to have to try to carry the load and put yourself more at risk. Steady as she goes - the Bulls organization is behind him 100 per cent and it will be handled properly - he's too valuable an asset.
3. CARMELO ANTHONY (Knicks): Makes his return to Denver. Check out the Nuggets at 42-22. Melo had a nice run there and the organization (GM Masai Ujuri) did a nice job turning him into some solid assets. George Karl has done a brilliant job with a totally different type team than the one Melo was on. Melo got his freedom and is happy in NYC and has a good team to play on but now has got injury issues and the league has figured out their style of play. Denver can stick its chest out and say it all worked out well for them. Rarely do both sides feel good a few years after a trade but I'd say both sides are relatively pleased.
4. AL HORFORD (Hawks): Quietly the man produces (17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists per game) and you'd never know it unless you tune in to check out the Hawks on occasion. A true pro and consistent as they come. In a day of flash and dash, it's all about the substance instead of the style with this guy. I applaud that.
5. AMARE STOUDEMIRE (Knicks): He was a true pro when he came back from injury and accepted his role off the bench and played to the best (14 and 5) of his ability yet we all know that he's not the player he once was and with another injury that will keep him out another six weeks, Knick fans have to wonder where this is going to go. Knicks are on the hook without insurance for the remainder of his contract due to his pre-existing health issues at the time of his signing. They took a huge risk and now the concerns are popping up. I know MSG has lots of money but any good company wants to see a true return on investment. It's going to get harder and harder to justify it as they go along.