We start todays update with some very sad news. Former Portland Trailblazer Kevin Duckworth,44, has passed away. Duckworth was in Lincoln City to host a free basketball clinic for kids and was found unresponsive in his room. Duckworth was a two-time All-Star who starred on Western Conference Championship teams in Portland in 1990 and 1992 and was one of the most popular and most recognizable players to ever wear a Blazers uniform. There will be an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Our prayers and condolences go out to the Duckworth family and to the Blazers' organization and fans.
Former NBA player, Wayman Tisdale. also 44, had part of his right leg amputated Monday because of bone cancer. Tisdale played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. Tisdale is now an award-winning jazz musician and has been battling the cancer for over a year now. He is hoping that by removing the part of his leg with the cancer that he will be able to beat it and be able to resume touring soon. Thoughts and prayers also go out to Wayman Tisdale.
Word is that PJ Brown might not be ready to retire just yet. He is leaving the door open for a late season return just as he did last year. As of right now, the Celtics have 15 players but by midseason it may be clear that one or more aren't going to live up to expectations and PJ could find himself recruited once again for the stretch run. Of course it is all conjecture right now but something to think about during the slow times.
The Grizzlies gave Josh Smith an offer sheet that the Hawks quickly matched and they have been linked in talks to the Iranian center, Hamed Ehadadi, who is now available to talk to teams. Now there is word that they are in talks with the Knicks concerning Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies are willing to part with Darko Milicic who was their big free agent signing last year, in a package that wouldn't involve any of their core players. The Grizzlies seem to be debating whether Randolph would fit the team's style on and off the court but they definitely could use an inside player like Randolph.
The Grizzlies have also been in talks with Portland. The Blazers need a point guard and the Grizzlies are loaded with them. The Blazers are willing to part with Travis Outlaw in return for a point guard. The Blazers would probably want Conley because he is the purest point guard that the Grizzlies have and Portland would love to reunite Conley with former teammate and best friend, Greg Oden.
The Celtics made it official by signing JR Giddens to a contract. Giddens, whose defense and athleticsm are considered NBA-caliber right now, will be expected to fill in the void left by James Posey's departure to New Orleans. Hopefully he will live up to expectations and contribute this season.
Dwyane Wade would like to see Mario Chalmers as Miami's starting point guard this season. The Heat will give him a chance to compete against Marcus Banks for the position. Miami also expects Chris Quinn back and may add a veteran. My money is on Chalmers beating out Banks, who hasn't come anywhere near reaching the expectations that Boston had when they drafted him. The Heat are also still considering big men with Jamaal Magloire, Lorenzen Wright, and DJ Mbenga all waiting for word from them. Mbenga has a minimum level contract to consider from the Lakers, but was hoping to get a little more from the Heat.
Kobe Bryant is expected to decide when he will have surgery to repair the ligament damage in his right pinky finger by the end of this week. Bryant had hoped to be recovered from his surgery for the start of training camp but with camp starting on September 30 and his recovery will probably take longer than 4 weeks, he might not be 100% in time to start camp.
Phil Jackson has coached Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Derek Fisher, Karl Malone, Rick Fox, Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, and other stars. But after receiving an honorary doctor of letters degree from his alma mater, University of North Dakota, Phil talked about the greatest athlete he ever coached and it wasn't any of the above. The player Jackson called the greatest that he has coached is that none other than Detroit Bad Boy, Dennis Rodman. That one leaves you scratching your head. That kind of analysis proves that all those championships he won wasn't because of his intelligence and coaching. After all, he did get way out coached by Doc Rivers this season and his best strategy was whining about the officiating.
Dennis Rodman is one of the most underrated players of all time and did do whatever it took for his team to win. Rodman will go down in history as one of the 10 best defensive players to ever play the game, and it will be a travesty if he doesn't make the Hall.
Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player best known for his fierce defensive and rebounding ability, leading the National Basketball Association in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and earning NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times, along with five NBA Championships (1989, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998). He is one of the all-time leaders in rebounding and is generally regarded as the greatest rebounder of all-time, particularly on the offensive end of the court. He was also a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.