February 7, 2016 | 8:16 am EST Update
Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers has been diagnosed with a broken left hand and likely will be out four to six weeks, sources said. Rivers suffered the injury moments before he was ejected for arguing with officials Wednesday in the Clippers’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Initial X-rays came back negative, and Rivers told reporters he believed he had a bone bruise.
But will Henderson continue to grow with the Blazers? Or will he be bounced from Portland in a trade? That’s the least of his concerns. Finally healthy, his focus is simply on helping the Blazers fight for a playoff spot. “This will be my seventh deadline,” he said, laughing. “This isn’t the first time. You just have to keep playing.”
A potential trade target for many teams, including the Celtics, will be Pelicans swingman Ryan Anderson, who has an expiring $8.5 million contract and has responded well following a serious neck injury in January 2014. Anderson is averaging 17.2 points and 6.1 rebounds this season while mostly coming off the bench and could be the knock-down shooter and floor-stretcher the Celtics could use at power forward. The Pelicans entered Thursday 5½ games out of a playoff spot in the West and could consider making major moves before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. Guards Eric Gordon and Norris Cole also have expiring contracts.
Another player who could be dealt is Detroit guard Brandon Jennings, who has shown he is healthy after Achilles’ surgery and perhaps ready for a starting role. That won’t happen with the Pistons as Reggie Jackson is locked in as the starting point guard. Jennings has an expiring $8.3 million contract, the final year of a three-year deal he signed with the Bucks.
After the Rockets reached the Western Conference finals last season, a majority of the players made the case to GM Daryl Morey to keep the team together. Morey, a man who believes in upgrades, did so. And what has it gotten him and owner Leslie Alexander? A 27-26 record and a team not even close to being elite. And with two games left in the first half of their season, at Golden State and at Portland, the ability to finish as the No. 8 seed seems more realistic by the day. “Right now we’re playing like our record, we’re playing bad,” Dwight Howard said. “But we have to think and believe we can win and get better. We got the second half of the season coming up, so I think this is a time for us to really focus on how can we come back in the second half of the season and make that turnaround.”
Does this rivalry mean more to you than the Celtics? “It’s more personal because it’s the rivalry that I played through. The Celtics rivalry is something I grew up watching. IK played against them a couple of times in The Finals. But San Antonio was year in and year out. The year we won the championship it was like, ‘Well, Tim was hurt so it really doesn’t count.’ So the second run it was, ‘OK, you guys had a shortened season and we had Tim when he was hurt so now let’s see what’s up.’ “That rivalry was what fueled the majority of my career.”