NBA Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Rumblings

Ben ShapiroAnalyst IIIOctober 17, 2012

NBA Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Rumblings

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    With real, honest-to-goodness meaningful NBA games just a few weeks away, the focus will inevitably shift from preseason positional battles and predictions to in-season trades and internal team strife. 

    Every NBA season has a set of story lines that happen behind the scenes or not on the actual court. 

    Last season it was Dwight Howard, the season before it was Carmelo Anthony and his on-again, off-again trade rumors that took center stage.

    There are always internal team issues as well. 

    The Celtics spent the first half of the 2011-12 season struggling on the court, which in turn created an increase in calls to break up the Big Three.

    NBA fans are going to start to see an increase in news over the next few weeks. Some will be just rampant speculation, while other tidbits may in fact contain real nuggets of valuable info.

    Who is going where? What is real and what is just hyperbole?  

The Lakers Are Trying to Make a Trade: Fiction

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    The only people who can actually make trades in the NBA are the team's owners and general managers. 

    That's why in spite of ESPN.com's Marc Stein reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers are shopping Steve Blake and Chris Duhon, Mitch Kupchak's statements hold a bit more water.

    "This time of year, teams are not looking to make deals," Kupchak said. "They're evaluating their team and if anything they're going to cut players as they go into the season."

    Of course the key part of that statement is "this time of year" so that doesn't mean that the Lakers won't eventually seek out and pursue trades, it just means that for now they're not going to be making any moves. 

Derek Fisher Will Return to the Los Angeles Lakers: Fiction

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    Derek Fisher was traded by the Lakers to the Houston Rockets at the March 15th NBA trade deadline. It was an unexpectedly sudden end to what had been a lengthy Lakers' career. 

    Could he return? 

    Yes, Fisher can return to the Lakers. That has been confirmed by ESPN's Marc Stein.

    A closer inspection of the Stein piece reveals that the Lakers have neither roster or salary cap space to bring the 38-year-old point guard back into the fold.

    Of course injuries could open a spot for Fisher, and in the same column Stein suggests that the relationship between Fisher and Laker's upper management may have improved since their parting last March.

    Still, as of now, Fisher isn't coming back to the Lakers—not yet anyway.  

Dirk Nowtizki May Need Knee Surgery: Fact

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    How's the knee Dirk? 

    The most recent answer is one that Mavericks fans probably don't want to hear. 

    The Dallas Morning News reported on Monday, October 15th that the swelling in Nowitzki's knee is still present and that the potential for surgery seems more, not less, likely.

    Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas followed that up on Tuesday morning with a piece that confirms Nowitizki's swelling and includes a sidebar that discusses that Nowitzki will need surgery at some point. For now, Dirk is just hoping it can be put off until after the 2012-13 season.

    The real problem is that even if Nowitzki can put the surgery off, it could have an impact on his on-court performance this season. Dallas needs Dirk to be a star and focal point of the team, not a hobbling, aging player who is not able to go at 100 percent.  

The Boston Celtics Want to Add a Veteran to the Roster: Fact

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    The Boston Celtics lost one veteran presence on the team when backup point guard Keyon Dooling retired in September.

    Up until Tuesday October 16th it seemed as if the team might have been okay with that. In fact it had been reported that former Temple standout Dionte Christmas had an inside track on the Celtics final roster spot.

    Tuesday the team cut Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith, and that has opened the door for the Celtics to bring in another veteran to stabilize the roster.

    WEEI reported on Tuesday Night that the Celtics are in fact seeking outside veteran help, but it won't automatically be a guard, that veteran could be someone who plays a different position.  

Seattle Is Serious About Bringing the NBA Back: Fact

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    From 1967 through 2008 the NBA had a home in the city of Seattle Washington. 

    The Seattle Sonics, or Supersonics as they were once known were a franchise that always competed in the NBA. From Slick Watts, Dale Ellis, Xavier McDaniel, Gary Payton, Shaun Kemp, Ray Allen and a 19-year-old rookie named Kevin Durant all called wore the uniform.

    That is until a group of wealthy Oklahoma based businessmen, Clay Bennett, Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward bought the team from Starbuck founder Howard Shultz and orchestrated a move to Oklahoma City where the former Sonics are now known as the "Thunder."

    Seattle has spent the last four NBA seasons without a team. Could that change?

    The most recent evidence suggests that the NBA could make a return to Seattle. At the very least, the city seems determined to make a compelling case to get a team to return to the area.

    On Monday October 15th the Seattle City Council and the King County Council granted final approval for the construction of a new $490 million arena that can host both basketball and hockey.

    As of now there is no NBA team in Seattle, but it's hard to question the city's commitment to bringing it back.  

Meyers Leonard Could Start at Center for the Blazers: Fiction

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    Fans tend to love rookies, the media usually gives them a fair amount of leeway as well. 

    You know who doesn't always love rookies? Coaches. 

    As it so happens, coaches also have the power to decide how often and when rookies play. 

    In Portland, first-year head coach Terry Stotts has not one but two very talented rookies courtesy of last June's NBA draft. 

    Center Meyers Leonard, who the team selected No.11 overall, has already won rave reviews for his play, which has included a spot-start.

    The fans have spoken out, and many seem to want Leonard in the starting five.

    Head Coach Terry Stotts even left the the option on the table back before the preseason started.

    "I don't want to say today that Meyers is going to come along slowly. If he's ready to start opening night, he'll start opening night. To say that he's going to be the starter opening night, I think that's too early to say too." 

    That doesn't mean he should get used to a pregame introduction. 

    As of now, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has confirmed that J.J.Hickson is the front-runner to start at the pivot. 

    It's a long season, and there could be changes, but for now, the rookie should probably prepare to come off the bench. 

Dwight Howard and Chris Paul Are Locks to Stay in Los Angeles: Fiction

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    While it doesn't look like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will be on the trading block this coming season, they are both eligible to become free agents following the 2012-13 season. 

    Both players appear to be pleased with their current teams, but one rough season can make a big difference. Also of note, neither player has signed a contract extension yet. 

    On Monday October 15th, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard pointed out that not only are Chris Paul and Dwight Howard both slated for free agency next summer, the Atlanta Hawks will have enough money to ink both players to max-contracts.

    That doesn't mean that the Hawks are going to be able to do that, nor does it mean that either Howard or Paul are seeking to depart their respective teams in Los Angeles. What it does mean is that since neither player has signed an extension all options have to be considered as possibilities.