The HoopsHype Daily: Despite struggles, Blazers stars remain content

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The HoopsHype Daily: Despite struggles, Blazers stars remain content


The HoopsHype Daily: Despite struggles, Blazers stars remain content

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BLAZERS STARS CONTENT… SHOULD THE TEAM BE? Despite their multiple postseason failures and the team’s slow start this season, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are quite content with where they’re at and refuse to be like other stars of this era who choose to force trades and team up rather than build something for themselves. Lillard, in particular, is pretty adamant about why he’s happy to be a Blazer: “I play for a great organization. I play for a great coach. I love where I live. I have a great situation.”

Nevertheless, Portland sits at 4-6 through 10 games, and have the looks of a team that might have hit its peak – the conference finals – last season. Getting Jusuf Nurkic back could help, but how much of an impact should he be expected to make this season after suffering such a brutal leg injury?

The Blazers might be best-served seeing if they could get anything in exchange for the struggling McCollum, who is shooting 39.1 percent from the floor this year. A star-level two-way wing, something Portland is desperately lacking, could dramatically change things in the Pacific Northwest.

Or the Blazers could choose to stand pat and risk missing the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference. We’ll see how happy Lillard is in Portland if that does happen.

HOT SEAT WATCH: Knicks brass reportedly isn’t happy with how the team is doing this season, which is understandable considering they’re 2-8 through 10 games. And according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews, team president Steve Mills is already laying the groundwork for head coach David Fizdale’s dismissal.

Will that change anything for New York? Probably not, considering their poorly constructed roster and bad management. But it’s hard to see anyone doing worse than Fizdale and his 19-73 career record with the Knicks.

MVP RANKINGS: We voted and ranked the Top 10 in the NBA’s early-season MVP race. Find out how we rank the league’s top stars here.

FRESH PODCAST: Alex Kennedy is joined by HoopsHype colleague Bryan Kalbrosky to evaluate the NBA teams who are off to surprisingly hot starts.

HISTORY MADE: Young Celtics star Jayson Tatum made history on Monday night. It wasn’t the good kind. Tatum finished Boston’s contest against the Mavericks with five points on… 1-of-18 shooting, giving him the second-worst shooting performance in Celtics history over the last 65 years (minimum: 15 field-goal attempts). Hey, at least Boston won.

ANOTHER HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENT: After James Harden dropped 39 points against the Pelicans on Monday, his scoring average for the season bumped up to 37.3 points per game through 10 Rocket outings. That’s the highest scoring average through 10 games in the last 50 seasons. Decent production coming out of Houston.

KAWHI VS TORONTO: Clippers superstar and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard faced off with his former team, the Toronto Raptors, for the first time last night. Los Angeles pulled out the win 98-88, even despite the fact that Leonard went 2-for-11 from the floor and scored just 12 points. Leonard was able to contribute in other ways, however, with 11 rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

🏥 In what was a theme for Monday in the NBA world, a key piece suffered an injury in this game, as Landry Shamet had to exit the contest due to an ankle sprain.

STEPH PLANNING TO PLAY THIS YEAR? Much has been made about whether or not Stephen Curry will return this season, especially with the Warriors struggling in the win-loss column. According to the two-time league MVP himself, though, he plans to come back in the early spring.

SPURS HOLD CEREMONY FOR TEAM LEGEND: The Spurs retired Tony Parker’s jersey last night, in what was a lovely ceremony. Among those who attended: Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan (he had no choice since he coaches for the Spurs now), David Robinson, Boris Diaw, Ronny Turiaf and soccer legend Thierry Henry.

AAU AND LOAD MANAGEMENT: LeBron James granted Yahoo Sports an interview where he unloaded on the dangers of kids being overworked in AAU basketball, and how he believes it directly ties in with the need for load management among professionals.

BUCKS ALL-STAR SIDELINED: Unfortunately, it was a Monday chock full of injury news. First up, Khris Middleton will miss 3-4 weeks of action with a left thigh contusion.

HAYWARD GOES UNDER THE KNIFE: Next, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his fractured left hand which will keep him out for six weeks.

YOUNG STAR DOWN: The brutal news keeps rolling in for the Kings this season, as word came out that stud young point guard De’Aaron Fox will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks due to an ankle sprain that occurred in practice.

THE LOGO SPEAKS: NBA legend Jerry West gave The Athletic a rare interview where he discussed topics such as Paul George’s return, basketball in southern California (including the Lakers), and much more.


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