NBA Rumors Round-Up
NBA Rumors: Terry Stotts Out as Blazers Coach?
Terry Stotts out as Blazers head coach after this season? … Patrick Beverley may return for playoffs … P.J. Tucker wants to retire with Suns
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The West is tough enough without coaches also having to look over their shoulders and worry if they’re on the way out.
But that’s the situation out in Portland, where Terry Stotts is on the last year of his contract, and management hasn’t said whether he’ll be back for his third season on the Blazers’ bench.
But let’s just say that Stotts’ staff is not feeling very good about its chances of returning after sliding down to fifth place in the West and in danger of finishing even lower.
The Blazers need to turn it around in the final weeks, or else this could be a short playoff run, with a coaching change at season’s end.
If the Portland Trail Blazers decided to part ways with Terry Stotts after the season, it would be a huge surprise considering the success they’ve experienced in the 2013-14 campaign.
Sure, the team has struggled as of late, losing 16 of their last 29 games, but Portland has exceeded expectations this season and Stotts’ entire body of work this year has been impressive.
The Blazers won 33 of their first 44 games and at one point sat atop the Western Conference. The team is currently in the West’s fifth seed, which is incredible considering how competitive the conference is this season. It looks like the Blazers are going to win 50 or more games, which nobody predicted entering the season, and finish ahead of teams like the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks that entered the year with much higher expectations.
Also, it’s important to note that LaMarcus Aldridge missed five games in February and seven games in March due to injuries, so it’s not like the team has been at full strength when they’ve struggled.
Lawrence indicates that this belief that Portland will make a coaching change is coming from Stotts’ staff, but it just seems like that would be a big mistake and overreaction by the Blazers considering how good this team has been for most of the season. Stotts is in the final year of his contract so it would be easy for Portland to make a change this summer, if they desired.
The Rockets point guard, who suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee on Thursday, will travel to Alabama to be examined by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Monday and is hoping for a relatively quick return.
“I’m gonna see the best knee doctor in the country,” Beverley said. “I talked to him on the phone. He seen it. It really looks good. We’ll see how long it lasts. Maybe 10 or 14 days, maybe four weeks. It just depends on he gets his hands on it and sees how it is.”
“I feel pretty good,” Beverley said. “I just feel like I knocked knees with somebody. It hurt a lot the first day. I don’t really feel a lot of pain today, which is a good sign. No swelling.
“Like I said, I don’t feel a lot of pain. It’s always a great thing. No swelling is a great thing. It wasn’t in the same area where a lot of players tore their meniscus at. It’s a pretty solid area. I feel pretty confident about it. I’m about to go lift weights right now and get some work in.”
“I know how my body reacts to certain things. I know how I feel right now. I fee great. I just feel like I banged knees with somebody. I feel like if I put on a brace, I’d be all right to play today. But we got to get his opinion and see how go from there. If I feel healthy, I’m gonna play.”
There’s no question that Patrick Beverley is really tough, so he may be able to come back from a torn meniscus quicker than most players due to his high pain tolerance. He’s going to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday and see how fast he could realistically return. As he said, he’s hoping that he can play in the coming weeks, which means he could be available for the Houston Rockets in the postseason.
Beverley told reporters that he doesn’t think he’ll need surgery, which could allow him to return relatively soon. Surgery on a torn meniscus, like Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose underwent earlier this season, typically keeps a player out four to six months. Beverley is hoping to avoid the knife because it would end his season.
As long as playing won’t cause more damage, Beverley’s status may come down to how much he can tolerate the pain and whether the injury limits him physically. He’ll go over his options with Dr. Andrews on Monday and then have a better idea of the timetable to return.
In the meantime, Jeremy Lin will start in Beverley’s place. Prior to the injury, Beverley was averaging 9.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals. The 25-year-old was having a breakout year as the Rockets’ starting point guard, giving the team some much needed toughness and perimeter defense.
Houston is currently 49-23, which puts them in the fourth seed in the Western Conference. If the playoffs started today, they’d face the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. Getting Beverley back for the postseason would certainly make the Rockets a tougher out.
Suns forward P.J. Tucker picked up a technical foul recently and joked that he wants the Suns to have it taken out of next year’s salary.
It played his hand that he wants and expects to be back with the Suns next season despite becoming a restricted free agent in July.
“Of course, why would I not?” Tucker said. “They brought me here. I think I exceeded their expectations and mine with what has transpired. Of course, I want to retire a Sun.”
“The love I have for this organization will always be,” Tucker said. “They gave me a chance to prove myself and actually to prove that I’m a player in this league. It’s almost emotional for me to think about everything I’ve been through and for them to give me an opportunity to do it. Not just to be on the team, but in two seasons, I’ve started a whole year and a half for the team on a minimum contract. That doesn’t happen. When I sit back and think about it, which I never do, it’s too much. So I’ll always be indebted.”
P.J. Tucker has been a pleasant surprise for the Phoenix Suns this season, averaging 9.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals as a starter while playing on a veteran’s minimum contract. Because Tucker has been extremely productive on his $884,000 contract, Forbes named him the most underpaid player in the NBA this season.
Tucker will likely get a raise next year, but whether it’s with the Suns remains to be seen. He clearly wants to stay in Phoenix and is grateful to the organization for giving him a chance when nobody else would.
The 28-year-old was drafted 35th overall by the Toronto Raptors back in 2006, but he spent time in the D-League and was released before his rookie season ended. Tucker then had a number of stints overseas, starring in Germany, Ukraine, Israel and Puerto Rico. He played for the Suns’ summer league team in 2012 and was signed to a two-year deal that was only partially guaranteed. From there, he made the team, improved significantly and eventually earned a place in the starting lineup.
This season, he has averaged career-highs across the board and been a key contributor for Phoenix. The Suns have exceeded all expectations this year, and Tucker has been part of the reason why. Phoenix is currently 44-29 and in the Western Conference’s seventh seed, which is remarkable considering they were projected to be one of the worst teams in the league entering the season.
Tucker will become a restricted free agent this summer if the Suns extend a $1,148,163 qualifying offer, which they are expected to do. Tucker can re-sign with Phoenix, or sign an offer sheet with another team in which case the Suns will have a chance to match.
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