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Inside the NBA

Coast To Coast

December 02, 2007|Mark Heisler

With Anderson Varejao seeking $10 million a year, Cleveland is letting him molder, feeling that even if the dollar is devalued, it's not that devalued.

Undermining Varejao's case, he did the Cavaliers a favor by holding out with LeBron James, who used to play way out on the floor, moving to power forward when they go small.

In an amazing seven-game span before he was hurt against the Pistons, James averaged 37 points, 10 assists and 9.3 rebounds.

We all contribute in our own way

"No one is playing the overall game that LeBron is," Detroit Coach Flip Saunders said. "He's been phenomenal, basically playing at a 30-10-10 clip."

Said Chauncey Billups: "I always said if anybody could average a triple-double for a season, it should be him. The ball is always in his hands, he's strong enough to rebound with anybody, and he sees the floor so well. He's phenomenal, man."

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Wince if this sounds familiar

Atlanta guard Joe Johnson, singing the blues before the season:

"I knew it was a rebuilding situation where they had a lot of young guys . . . but at the same time, there were supposed to be some more pieces, some more free agents. They talked about it again this past summer. But as you can see, nothing happened."

Who could have imagined that when Johnson left Phoenix to sign with the Hawks in 2005?

Oh yeah, everybody.

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Good times, bad times

The Nets have had their share. Said Jason Kidd after their sixth loss in a row: "We're so quick to bail in the sense of letting go of the rope."

Kidd after winning three of the next four: "We didn't let go of the rope."

Kidd after losing their next game: "We thought we found something that we could start building on coming off the road. We put ourselves in a hole, but that was nothing new."

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Fear this

The Celtics keep saying they haven't won anything yet, but with the chip they already have on their shoulders it's not the same when someone else says it.

Before last week's game, New York's Quentin Richardson announced, "We're not in awe of them. They ain't won no championships."

Boston won, 104-59.

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Nice knowing y'all

The NBA was morally obliged to return to New Orleans, but it's not morally obliged to stay with the Hornets -- No. 5 in the West standings and No. 30 in attendance.

There's already speculation that the Hornets will move to Seattle or Oklahoma City when their lease runs out in 2012.

Sounding like he's ready to pack, owner George Shinn says this isn't his fault, noting that the Hornets led the NBA in attendance for 10 seasons in Charlotte.

"So we know what we're doing," he told the San Antonio Express-News. "And when we went to Oklahoma, we were very successful. I think if anybody can make it work here, we can, and we think we're going to get it done."

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West meets East

Milwaukee's Yi Jianlian, the mystery man in last spring's draft, is making a surprisingly smooth transition, on and off the court.

Last week Coach Larry Krystkowiak greeted him with "Ni hao," Mandarin Chinese for hello.

Replied Yi: "What's up?"

Said Krystkowiak: "I thought, 'This is a little bit backward.' "

-- Mark Heisler

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