Around the League

With less than 24 hours until the March 15, 3PM trade deadline, this is one of the rare occasions when teams are more concerned about what’s going on in their back offices than on the court.

It is surely an uneasy day for a number of players rumored to be on the trading block who know that they might have to pack up and move to another city tomorrow. Whether or not a trade ultimately works in a player’s favor, what’s guaranteed is the immediate and total disruption of his life. But that’s the nature of playing sports at the pro level.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors got the ball rolling with a multi-player trade. The Bucks will ship their 2005 No.1 overall pick, center Andrew Bogut out west along with 12th-year veteran Stephen Jackson in exchange for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown.

Milwaukee will get a young, explosive scoring guard in Monta Ellis, who could be a be a major factor in playoff race down backstretch. And the Bucks will also benefit from having a couple more healthy bodies on the bench in Udoh and Brown.

The Warriors have landed an All-Star caliber big in Bogut. However, it remains to be seen if he can overcome the injuries that have plagued him throughout his entire NBA career. Jackson was a productive contributor on a number of teams before falling out of favor with coach Scott Styles, so he could wind up helping Golden State too.

Dozens of players traded jerseys in last year’s frenzy of trade deadline deals. Though there may not be as much wheeling and dealing this season, there are some big names in the hat, most notably this year’s Carmelo-Anthony-style headline dominator Dwight Howard. And, in fact, Melo himself has resurfaced in the trade rumor mill. Though this is an incredibly stressful time for all involved, the rest of us who are anxiously waiting, watching and wondering get to buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Gameday Dish: Pacific Division Rivals Suns vs. Warriors

I hear a certain pro contest set to take place somewhere in Ohio tonight is causing quite a stir.  Something about a Florida team, some eighth-year pro, hard feelings, high drama …

Well, while Cleveland pursues a collective catharsis out East, here in the Bay Area the Warriors and coach Keith Smart will welcome Alvin Gentry’s Suns for a Pacific Division matchup. And neither side is taking a ‘cavalier’ approach to this first meeting of the 2010-11 season.

Though the postseason is a ways out, it looks like both teams could very well be among those fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the West based on their current conference standings.

Phoenix last played on Sunday when they lost to the host Denver Nuggets 138-133 in the highest scoring game this season in the NBA. Golden State is also coming off of a defeat. They were bested 118-98 by the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

However, Golden State had a few bright spots in the lopsided affair to hearten their outlook heading into tonight’s battle. Steph Curry scored 32, and David Lee had 18 points and 7 boards in his second game back after missing an 8-game stretch with an elbow infection, during which time the Warriors went 1-7.

The last regular season meeting between these two squads was on March 22nd with Phoenix winning 133-131 in Oakland. During the 2010 season, the Warriors lost 3 of 4 against the Suns, and have lost 8 of the last 10 overall.

Phoenix ranks first in the league in points per game at 109.4.  But the flip side of that coin is points allowed at 111.9, which is 30th and last overall in the NBA. Either way you add it up, this evening’s competition should be a high-scoring one.

Golden State’s young guns Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis will face Phoenix’s veteran backcourt comprised of Steve Nash and Jason Richardson, who spent his first six years in the league playing for Golden State. Curry and Ellis are averaging a combined total of 45 ppg, while Richardson and Nash are combining for 40 ppg.

Part II of tonight’s double-header on TNT gets underway at 10:30 PM ET. Lebron’s hyped-up Heat vs. Cavs homecoming match is sure to get your blood boiling, so stay tuned to the Suns-Warriors afterwards for an up-tempo cool-down brought to you by Kevin Harlan and the Czar.