Breakdown of Charlie Villanueva/Ryan Hollins tussle [video]

Strange scene in Detroit last night during the Pistons/Cavs game. Charlie Villanueva set a hard screen on Ryan Hollins (throwing his shoulder into him a little bit). Hollins didn’t avoid the contact and threw a shoulder of his own trying to go through Villanueva’s pick.

Watch as Villanueva reacts to the news that he was ejected.

One thing that’s interesting to note here is the favoritism that the Cavs announcers showed Hollins. I guess that should be expected, but at every point during the incident, the guy doing the color commentary, Austin Carr (I’m assuming — let me know if I’m wrong), blamed Villanueva exclusively as if Hollins was completely innocent during the incident.

Villanueva definitely gave his screen a little extra (he reportedly said after the game that Hollins had hit him with an intentional elbow earlier in the game) but Hollins threw his shoulder into Charlie V as he set the pick. Then Hollins wrapped up Villanueva which led to Villanueva raising his arms up into Hollins’ face. Had Hollins let go there, the two probably would have had a stare down or a pushing match and neither would have been ejected.

The most perplexing thing about this situation is Villanueva’s reaction to getting ejected. At the 1:29 mark he learns that he’s been tossed, and it takes him a full seven seconds of stroking his chin before he decides to go after Hollins.

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Tayshaun Prince’s buzzer-beater [video]

Watch as Prince’s shot rolls around the rim FIVE TIMES before falling though.

Five trades that should happen (but won’t)

Phoenix Suns Steve Nash stands next to head coach Alvin Gentry in the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 17, 2011. The Suns defeated the Knicks 129-121. UPI/John Angelillo

GMs around the league were worried that there wouldn’t be much action leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, but once the Carmelo Anthony trade went down, there has been a flurry of activity highlighted by the Nets’ acquisition of Deron Williams.

Here are five more trades that should happen, but probably won’t. They generally include one older player on a bad team that isn’t going anywhere.

Click on each trade’s headline to see it in the ESPN Trade Machine.

1. Steve Nash to Atlanta for Jamal Crawford and two first round picks
Free Steve Nash! The Hawks aren’t the ideal destination for Nash, but the Hawks really need a floor leader and the team has the defensive frontcourt (Josh Smith, Al Horford) to make up for Nash’s weakness on that end of the court. Smith and Horford would work well in Nash’s patented screen-and-roll and he would take the pressure off of Joe Johnson to create as the shot clock is winding down. The Suns aren’t going to get much out of this deal other than cap relief (Crawford’s deal is expiring) and a couple of first round picks, but Nash is 37 years old and deserves to play in the postseason. The Suns aren’t going anywhere anyway.

2. Rip Hamilton to Chicago for Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer
Rip can still play. He’s averaging 13.3 points per game and his shooting 40%+ from 3PT even though his minutes are sporadic. He works hard on defense and has kept himself in great shape throughout his career, so he should be able to contribute for the remainder of his contract. His spot up jumper would be a nice fit alongside Derrick Rose in the Chicago backcourt. The Pistons would be rid of the headache of keeping Rip on the roster without playing him and would get a couple of youngish wings in Korver and Brewer that could actually contribute.

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2010 NBA Preview: #21 to #25

Mar. 27, 2010 - Chicago, ILLINOIS, United States - epa02095912 New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez (R) looks to make a pass in front of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (L), during the third quarter of their NBA basketball game at the United Center in Chicago Illinois, USA, 27 March 2010. The Bulls defeated the Nets 106:83.

This year, I’m going to preview the NBA season by starting with the lowest of the low and working my way up to my Finals picks. If a franchise is a legitimate championship contender, I’ll focus on what stars have to line up for a title run. If a team is a playoff also-ran, I’ll identify the weaknesses that have to be shored up via trade, free agency or draft over the next couple of seasons to make it a contender. If a team is likely to miss the playoffs, I’ll take a look at the salary cap, and provide a blueprint for how the team should proceed in the near future to get back in the postseason.

Click here to see #26 to #30.

#25: New Jersey Nets
The Nets only won 12 games last season, but there are reasons to be optimistic about this team. Brook Lopez is developing into an All-Star caliber center and Terrence Williams played well in the last two months of his rookie season. Devin Harris is still a dangerous guard, and he’ll be reunited with his former coach, Avery Johnson. Throw in a good power forward (Troy Murphy) to mentor the #3 overall pick (Derrick Favors) and there are some pieces in place in New Jersey. Of course, Nets fans want to see the franchise swing a deal for Carmelo Anthony, but that plan looks to be on hold (or dead?) for now. He’d be a great fit at small forward, though after missing out on LeBron, the Nets did fork out $35 million at the position by signing Travis Outlaw this summer. That contract could come back to bite them, but for now the team has plenty of financial flexibility and a projected payroll of only $38 million heading into next season. The Nets would rather trade and extend Melo this season because they know the risk inherent anytime a player hits free agency.

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Pistons agree to terms with T-Mac?

The Associated Press is reporting that Tracy McGrady will sign a one-year contract with the Detroit Pistons for the league minimum ($1.3 million).

I thought that the 31-year-old would perhaps sign a two- or three-year deal for $3-$4 million per season, and if he had been willing to accept a role off the bench, he may have been able to strike such a deal. The Bulls were interested, but when he balked at a reserve role, they moved on to Keith Bogans… Keith Bogans. Think about that for a second.

T-Mac is officially in Allen Iverson territory.

Presumably he agreed to sign with the Pistons in a starting role, but what does that mean for Rip Hamilton and/or Tayshaun Prince?

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