Nicolas Batum has been great. No secret there, I know, but what's amazing about it is that I can't remember a single mistake or bad decision Nic has made. Where's the rust? Not only that, but there hasn't been too many times since his return (Andre vs. Dallas excluded) when he hasn't looked like the best player on the floor. I know people are gushing over him everywhere but my (heterosexual) man crush just can't be contained.
Now that that's out of the way, I have to give props to LaMarcus Aldridge and especially Juwan Howard for the way they chastised Rudy and Patty Mills for trying to get Patty his first NBA points in the closing seconds last night. I live in Alaska, so I've only been to 3 Blazer games in person (watch them all on league pass, though), but I was there some years back when Isaiah Rider drove and threw down a dunk as the clock ran out in a game that we had no chance of losing just to be a punk. And I remember clearly how classless it was and how ashamed I was to be cheering for bush leauge thugs like that. I don't put Rudy and Patty into that same category because I know there wasn't anything malicious about it, but I love how the vets handled it.
Lamarcus and Howard clearly expressed their displeasure with the young guy's actions and Juwan especially got his point across. Instead of celebrating with the team as they came off of the court Howard pulled Rudy and Patty aside and made it clear that that is not how professionals play. That is a mistake that I doubt the pair will make again, and I love how instead of hanging my head over a punk move like Rider's, I can be proud of the old fella teaching the youg guys the right way to play.
Quick trade idea (worked in the trade machine, but couldn't get the link to go)
Too many players to realistically happen, I know, but based on the rumors that Philly is cutting costs and wants to get rid of Dalenbert's contract in any Iguodala trade and this article on hoopsworld about Dallas's interest and how Dampier really has an expiring contract, I think this works out for everyone.
Philly: Gets Dampier, Josh Howard, Outlaw and Pendergraph
The Sixers replace Dalembert, Iguodala, and Speights this year with admittedly less talent, but save almost 26 million dollars next year.
Dallas: Gets Iguodala, Pryzbilla, and Speights
The Mavs get younger at the center position with Speights this year and deeper with Speights and Pryzbilla next year. Oh yeah, and way more talented with Iggy.
Portland: Gets Dalembert
Basically a younger, more athletic Pryzbilla to hold down the fort until Oden gets back and provide insurance/depth next year. Hate to see the other guys go, but with a 10 man rotation of Miller, Roy, Batum, Alderidge, Dalembert, Bayless, Rudy, Webster, Cunningham, and Howard, there's not much room for them anyway (barring injury).
As far as Dalembert's contract...who cares? It's only for a year and a half, it doesn't affect our ability to sign anyone next year, and at worst we have a 13 million dollar expiring contract next year. If Paul Allen is willing to pay it, I don't see the downside.