Stevie must wonderIt makes no sense why Steve Nash isn't going to the all-star game
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun
The omission of Steve Nash to this year's NBA all-star game is both perplexing and annoying.
There is no question what Nash's presence means to the Dallas Mavericks, who will have Dirk Nowitzki represent the team at this weekend's corporate shmooz-fest in the capital of pretense known as Los Angeles.
Without Nash, the Mavs are devoid of leadership. Nash represents the single most important piece to a flawed puzzle that scores, runs the floor and yet remains incapable of defending any player and any team on any given night.
Nash has appeared in the NBA's mid-season showcase the past two years and became the first Canadian to appear in the all-star game.
While his numbers entering tonight's game in Atlanta aren't as good as the numbers he posted during his two-year all-star run, Nash remains one of the most fearless competitors in the league who wants the ball in his hands in crunch time.
At a time when the debate rages over the exclusion of rookie hot shots Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, hardly anything is being said about Nash.
Not only is Nash worthy of being an all-star, you can argue he is the best point guard in the West.
As good as Steve Francis is, Nash doesn't bail on his team by missing a team flight on Super Bowl Sunday.
Sam Cassell was voted in by the coaches, mainly because they felt sympathy for previous snubs involving Sam I Am.
While Andre Miller is a top-level point guard, who in their right mind would select Miller over Nash?
The good news for fans in Canada is that Toronto native Jamaal Magloire was chosen as an Eastern reserve.
It's just that Magloire should have been joined by Nash in a weekend that promised to be the biggest in Canadian hoops history.
DENIAL IN DETROIT
Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars was quick in dismissing reports he is poised to trade the Big Nasty -- Corliss Williamson -- and Bob Sura to the Chicago Bulls for Marcus Fizer and Kendall Gill.
At the same time, Dumars did admit he spoke with his Bulls counterpart, John Paxson, and that Williamson's name was broached. The proposed deal, like a lot of rumoured items that float around the NBA, couldn't work because the numbers don't match.
What irked Dumars the most was that Williamson's name got mentioned.
"The deal that was proposed (in a published report) can't work,'' Dumars said. "I am disappointed that it was put out there for Corliss' sake. Nothing is imminent."
WALLACE WEIGHS OFFER
Word in Portland is that the Trail Blazers have done a 360-degree turn when it comes to the enigma better known as Rasheed Wallace.
The talented yet temperamental Wallace makes $17 million US this season and becomes eligible for free agency this summer. His name has been mentioned in rumours since last summer.
The latest twist has the Blazers offering Wallace a contract extension worth about $40 million over four years, even though the money would be better spent on Zach Randolph.
Wallace, it is said, hasn't made up his mind, while Portland management is said to be huddling this week to discuss Wallace's future.
The Knicks, Pistons, Warriors and Mavs have all apparently inquired about Wallace, who nearly was sent to Golden State for Nick Van Exel and Erick Dampier.
The buzz in New York is that Knicks president Isiah Thomas is in love with Wallace. If Thomas can't get Wallace before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, it is being speculated he will make a big pitch for Wallace this summer.
Thomas can't offer Wallace much, but reports indicate Thomas can get his man for the mid-level exception, at least Thomas is hoping he can.
STRONG WORDS FOR MELO
Like a pouting child, Anthony complained long and loud when he wasn't selected to the all-star game. He was particularly peeved when Utah's Andrei Kirilenko got the nod as an all-star reserve.
What Anthony failed to realize was how good Kirilenko has become with the Jazz now that he longer plays in the shadows of future hall of famers Karl Malone and John Stockton.
As valuable as Anthony is to the Denver Nuggets, it's hard to imagine how wretched the Jazz would be without Kirilenko, who has turned into one of the best non-Americans in the NBA.
"He deserves it but about 20 guys deserve it,'' Kirilenko said. "I was a little disappointed with what he said but I really don't care. Mike Bibby and Latrell Sprewell deserve to be there but they didn't say anything."
The Nuggets and Jazz play in Denver on March 14.
"He (Anthony) made himself sound a little stupid by saying: 'What did they base it on? More rebounds? More assists?' Yes, they do. They base it on all-round game. He is a young guy who felt slighted, chose to voice it and he's wrong."