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The Cavaliers have been the favorites to land Ray Allen since LeBron James signed back on with them in July. This is actually the second time that James has tried to lure Allen to Cleveland, as he also recruited him heavily during his first stint with the team. James is hoping for better results this time around, as the first time the Cavs missed out, settled for Larry Hughes and the rest is history.
However, it’s hard not to wonder if the Cavaliers’ recent activity bumped them down Allen’s list of top destinations in the case that he were to return. With J.R. Smith now in tow and Iman Shumpert soon to return from injury, the Cavaliers don’t exactly have the need for Allen that they did before that three-team trade that sent out Dion Waiters. Not to mention, the chemistry is a bit fickle right now, although the team is currently on a four-game winning streak.
Allen has been extremely non-committal about playing this season, but could likely call up any contender and have them make room for him. He has until March to decide if he wants to come back for a playoff run, but the more time that passes, the more we should wonder if we’re ever going to see one of the greatest shooters ever play again.
It was the possibility of him having to miss the entire season, along with just general chronic injury concerns, that dropped Embiid down to third in the 2014 NBA Draft. However, the 76ers, fresh off of a campaign in which their top draft pick Nerlens Noel missed the whole year while recovering from injury, were more than willing to make a similar investment again. It fit perfectly with their rebuilding plan, but they’ve encountered some unexpected issues with Embiid that weren’t an issue last year with Noel.
Embiid has reportedly not taken to the rehabilitation process like Noel did. He’s teetering near 300 lbs. and has clashed with some of the 76ers staff tasked to work with him. Being away from basketball has clearly taken its toll on Embiid, who is also still coping with the loss of his younger brother late last year.
While the 76ers preferred to delay Noel’s professional debut even after he was cleared to play last regular season, they may not do the same with Embiid if he receives clearance because right now he seems to need an outlet. He needs basketball, but unless he clears all the markers set for him by the 76ers, he’ll have to wait till next year – or summer league at the absolute earliest.
Once Rubio went out the Timberwolves’ chances of being even remotely involved in the Western Conference playoff race went out the window. They made a major financial commitment to him before the season, an indicator that they believed he could be their star in place of Kevin Love and help make the young players who they invested heavily in as well better. His original timetable for recovery was 8-12 weeks, but according to the AP doctors are cautioning him very strongly against returning too soon as it could lead to more re-occurring issues.
The Timberwolves’ veterans have been plagued by injuries this year. Not only has Rubio missed extensive time, but so has Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic. On the bright side, that’s freed up more playing time for the development of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng, the guys who are ultimately going to be critical in the Timberwolves’ quest to return to the playoffs. For now, though, the drought continues.
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