Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
• Mike Barrett has some love for Dante Cunningham:
Dante Cunningham continues to show that he was the steal of the 2009 NBA Draft. After scoring 14 against OKC on Tuesday night, he had 13 points in this game, and was 6 for 7 from the field. The amazing thing about Dante is that you can’t begin to measure his value to this team by looking at the box score. Yes, he was dunked on by Amare Stoudemire. But, he also dunked on Stoudemire.
• The Oregonian’s Jason Quick goes behind the locker room door, where Howard was pissed:
Behind the Blazers locker room door, before the coaching staff entered, Howard went on a tirade in front of his teammates.
He cursed. He yelled. And he demolished a huge tub that players soak their feet in after games.
“It was shocking,’’ rookie Dante Cunningham said. “It was, ‘WHOA! HO!’ I mean, there was water and ice flying everywhere. It was like, ‘OK, maybe we really did something wrong.’ We all sat back and thought about it. I think it got everybody’s attention.’’
• Coup from Rip City Project talks about the evolution of LaMarcus Aldridge:
The biggest change is you can tell Aldridge knows that nobody is going to take care of his mess on the glass. He’s putting a body on people and going after the ball, rather than holding down a zone so Oden or Przybilla can gobble up boards. He hasn’t been perfect, having had trouble getting good position — at times even outright conceding post position before a play develops — but this is a different player we’re seeing now, one who has transitioned into the middle stages of his evolution after years of slight improvements.
• Kelly Dwyer in his Behind the Boxscore piece calls last night’s victory to be possibly the biggest win of the year for Portland, and praises Aldridge’s defense as well:
LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) led Portland with 22 points, but I may have been most impressed with his defense. May have.
• Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic has the view from Phoenix.
• Michael Schwartz from TrueHoop Network sister blog Vally of the Suns says The Phoenix Suns just can’t stand prosperity, and has this quote from Alvin Gentry:
“We got our ass kicked, plain and simple,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry sternly proclaimed. “There’s no excuses; they outplayed us in every phase of the game. They outhustled us, they came up with big plays, they made shots, they made passes. They made everything that we didn’t do.
• If you’re down for more schadenfreude, Seth Pollack of Bright Side of the Sun has the tale of woe.
• Brandon Roy is going to Dallas, even though he isn’t playing.
• Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports that the Blazers are happy for the win, and happy to have a break.
• Jason Quick has another great article on Kevin Pritchard’s thoughts leading up to the trade deadline:
“You have to be willing to give up something and lose it for nothing,” Pritchard says. “That’s high-risk poker is what that is. And that’s exactly the conundrum we are going through. We are going to be faced with something that’s going to say we will potentially lose a couple of players forever for somebody we will have for 26 games.
“And when it’s put in those terms, it really makes you think. ‘For 26 games … really?”’
• Dwight Jaynes calls the Blazers “Cockroaches,” but in a good way, not like Ricky Davis.
• Ben Golliver from BlazersEdge has this “Cleaning out the Notebook” post with video of Batum’s defense on Durant, nifty charts, and local high school hoops news.
• So tell us what you think of Pritchard’s stance heading into the trade deadline. In my view, it doesn’t look like anybody is just giving talent away, so I agree with Pritchard. I’m very glad that Portland did not deal for Richard Jefferson or Vince Carter, potentially giving up a good young player in the process. Very few teams make hugely lopsided deals for financial reasons alone, that’s why the gift wrapping of Pau Gasol was so shocking. Of course, you might see an Eric Maynor, or similar type player, get traded as the fee for taking on a contract. Or perhaps a Chandler for Okafor swap, but by and large, most trades made for financial reasons will be more similar to the Devin Brown and Rasul Butler trades made by New Orleans than the Camby to the Clippers (for a second round pick) trade made by Denver a few seasons back. Portland may try and see what they can get for Blake and Outlaw’s expiring contracts, and I could see Webster getting moved, but I think that’s about it. Bayless, Batum, and Fernandez represent a lot of production and potential for very little money at the moment, in fact, all three player’s salaries combined are just a smidge over Martell Webster’s contract. I think out of the three, only Rudy Fernandez might hold more value to another team than he would to Portland. Roy plays Rudy’s position, Batum is better at small forward, and Bayless is beginning to emerge as a side-kick for Roy. The problem with trading Rudy is that, again, he has a small contract and to get a star in return Portland would have to pair Rudy with Przybilla or Miller and maybe more to match salaries. Now, a player we might be willing to trade Rudy for might be worth Fernandez alone, but would he be worth Fernandez plus Przybilla? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.