We have previously discussed the most important happenings in the month of November and December on the ‘Swishing the Nets’ column on ThePapare.com. As the NBA regular season has passed the half-way stage, things are becoming really heated in the league right now. Let’s take a look at what happened in January.

Kyle Korver Trade, Cavs losing trade

NBA Roundup 2At the beginning of the month of January the main talk in the Basketball circles was the Kyle Korver trade, however now the topic of discussion is the Cavs losing streak. Are the 2 related? I do not think so, however one cannot deny that the trade of the Former Atlanta Hawks sharp-shooter was overhyped.

When trade rumours were flying around that Korver was going to be traded to the Cavs, all the talk was how Korver was going to make an already great 3 point shooting team even greater. The Cavs were the 2nd best 3 Point-shooting team (38.9%) at the point of the trade and with both Kyrie’s and Lebron’s penetration game, Korver was expected to get even more open shots. Korver is a top three 3-Point weapon in the league who could smoke opponents from beyond the 3-Point Arc even with a hand in his face.

However since his debut game against the Utah Jazz (which they lost),  the team has gone 7-8 losing not only to the Warriors and Spurs but also to an Anthony Davis-less Pelicans and even the Kings . The worst part is that most of these matches were played at the Cavs fortress Quicken Loans arena. The Cavs have been shooting poorly, lack interior defense and have had very poor bench production which have all weighed in to form a disastrous month for the defending champions. Injuries have kept J.R. Smith and Chris Anderson a.k.a. Bird Man on the side line. Although LeBron has been putting pressure on the Cavs front office on the need of a back-up Point -Guard, I personally feel they need a true Center – a big body who could protect the rim and grab defensive rebounds. Love, Tristan and Channing just aren’t getting the job done.

D. Rose goes missing!

NBA Roundup 1Rose was a player at the very pinnacle of the league winning the MVP title in 2010/2011. Then injuries hit and he missed large chunks of his tenure with the Chicago Bulls. This season he was traded to the New York Knicks along with Joakim Noah and great things were expected from him at the Big Apple.

However, an incident happened on the 10th of January 2017 that could be considered the most bizarre thing to happen in Rose’s already bizarre career – he went missing!

Even though teammates Porzingis and Lee had spotted him during the morning shoot-around, Rose was not to be found at the Madison square Garden come match time. Nobody would comment on anything regarding it except for Joakim Noah who replied a brief “He’s OK” when asked about Rose’s absence. New York Knicks had released a statement just prior to the game that Rose was not with them but provided no further information. We all know how rumours work, and fans began speculating that Rose’s recent rift with the team’s Head coach Jeff Hornacek, who had benched him in 2 previous games, had upset the former MVP and he was seeking a buy-out with 40+ games left in the season to a title contender.

Rose had turned up the next day, and apologized for his absence. “I had to be with my Family” Rose tweeted. He refused to comment further saying it was personal and it was the first time he was that emotional. He explained that the reason why he didn’t pick up the phone was because he wanted the space. Sources say he had flied to Chicago to be with his 4-year old son and his family on a matter that is still pretty much in the dark. The Franchise has been quite understanding only fining Rose for missing the game instead of suspending him.

Rajon Rondo benched

NBA Roundup 3Another talking point during the month of January was the rift between the Point Guard of the Chicago Bulls and former All-Star Rajon Rondo and coach Fred Hoiberg. Although Rondo was the starting Point-Guard for the Bulls coming into this season, Hoiberg benched his Point guard from the start of January. 2013 1st draft pick Michael Carter-Williams has started instead. He was even benched for entire games at the start of January against the Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder. Tensions were high with Rondo insisting on a trade if he’s not to be played.

Rondo regained playing minutes on the 10th of January in a losing cause against the Washington Wizards where he played 27. However that has been the most minutes he had received in the month as his minutes and performance have been up and down ever since. Questions are surfacing as to if Rondo’s services are needed by the Bulls anymore now that Michael Carter Williams is healthy and whether he could operate with a Shooting guard (Dwayne Wade) who is not a great outside shooter. The trade deadline is looming and teams like the Cavaliers and 76ers are showing interest him, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the 4 time All-Star!

Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks Quadruple Overtime

NBA Roundup 4We witnessed one of the most intense matches this season on the 29th of January 2017 at the Philips arena, Atlanta. Knicks got onto a quick start and took the 1st quarter 37-30.  The visiting team were still leading the game 65-61 at the Half.  Hawks edged past the Knicks in the 3rd (83-81) and with less than 2 seconds on the clock Anthony made a tough contested layup on Milsap to tie the game and send it to Overtime.

In the 1st period of Overtime, the Knicks were behind by 2 and it was Carmelo who stepped up again to make a contested baseline jumper to send the game into a 2nd Overtime period. The Knicks were in a spot in the 2nd OT trailing by 3 with seconds on the clock and it was Courtney Lee’s turn to step up, swishing a 3. The game went into a 3rd Overtime period. Towards the end of the 3rd it was the Hawks who were trailing by 2 and the Hawks point guard Dennis Shroeder made a strong drive at the basket and used his quickness to finish the lay-up and send the game into a 4th Overtime!

Fatigue and fouls were now beginning to become a major factor in the game. With a few seconds remaining the scores were tied at 139 all. Paul Milsap made a huge play towards the end making a basket and a free throw helped the Hawks squeeze a 3 point win over the Knicks in the 4th Overtime!

Paul Milsap played an incredible 60 minutes in that game scoring 37 Points. 4 of the Knicks players Carmelo, Noah, Porzingis and O’Quinn all got fouled out and for the Hawks, Howard got fouled out before the final whistle!

Carmelo Anthony trade discussion

NBA Roundup 5Phil Jackson, the General Manager of the New York Knicks wants Melo out. In fact he is so eager about it, that he was willing to trade him to the Clippers without asking for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or Deandre Jordan in return! It also appears that the Cavaliers and Celtics are also in the mix for trade discussions. The Knicks want Love from Cavs for a trade, but the defending champions have shown interest in acquiring Melo but are not willing to trade Love who is having his best season at ‘The Land’.

However the problem for Phil is, Anthony has a ‘No Trade’ clause and only he could decide if he will be traded by the Knicks or not. Although there are more rumours that Anthony had supposedly said he will waive off his ‘No trade’ clause if he was to join the Boston Celtics, Melo was quick to deny making any such statements mentioning that he hadn’t discussed that matter with anybody yet.

In a recent interview Carmelo has mentioned that his family lived in New York, his son was attending school here and his wife working. He had stated countless times that he loves playing for the Knicks and unless Phil approaches him and makes it clear that the franchise wants to rebuild he has no intensions of waiving his ‘No Trade’ clause. As of now, Melo is the master of his own destiny.

Until we meet next at the Swishing the Nets column on ThePapare.com, keep balling!