Sixers "Inquire" About All Star Forward's Availability

Sixers "Inquire" About All Star Forward's Availability

Is an All Star big man on the Sixers' wish list? Could the target in question currently reside in their own division?

CSN's John Finger reports the 76ers have indeed contacted the rival New York Knicks about one Amare Stoudemire, who the team also was linked to in potential deals of years past. Finger stresses nothing is imminent, and a league source described the inquiry as "due diligence."

Still, you can't throw a six-time All Star's name into the mix and expect it not to provoke more serious discussion about the possibility. What would the Knicks want in exchange, and would Stoudemire be a good fit in Philadelphia -- perhaps even the piece that elevates the club to legitimate contender status?

Taking the second question first, whether the addition of Stoudemire actually would make them one of the most dangerous teams in the East might depend on how close you believe the Sixers are to that distinction already, but does he even make them better?

That might depend on whether or not he's suddenly in decline.

Averaging nearly 22 points per game over his 10-year career, Amare's PPG has dipped to 17.7 in 2011-12. Finger indicates the culprit could be Stoudemire is seeing fewer shots since the Knicks added Carmelo Anthony, but he's actually averaging about the same as he did with the Phoenix Suns in years past.

However, his field goal percentage is worse than ever, hitting just 41.3% percent through 19 games. Stoudemire is usually among the NBA's leaders in that category.

So what's the problem? Maybe things simply aren't working out in New York, and it's time for a change of scenery. Maybe it has something to do with the way he trained during the lockout, reportedly bulking up by 20 pounds. Maybe he got old -- Stoudemire is 29 now, but has missed time with serious injuries throughout his career.

Maybe it's a combination of all of the above. Whatever the case, it seems a trade could only happen if the Sixers were willing to change their identity to an extent.

Unless the Knicks were desperate and willing to settle for Elton Brand and picks (hey, at least his contract expires in 2013; they're on the hook with Stoudemire through 2015), the swap would likely require Andre Iguodala, which would send Philly's best defender to a rival in exchange for the hopes of putting a few more points on the scoreboard.

According to ESPN.com's trade machine, Iggy and Andres Noccioni's expiring contract (team option for 2012-13) would in fact work. As much as many fans may be weary of Iguodala though, that sounds like a risky move to land an interior scorer.

But again, the talks between the Sixers and Knicks are nothing more than preliminary at this point, and at the very least, you have to appreciate they are considering all their options. I'd be interested to hear AU's take on a trade, but this doesn't strike me as the one that would push them over the hump.

>> Source: Sixers inquire about Stoudemire [CSN]

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO -- Stephen Curry scored 36 points as the Golden State Warriors closed out the Western Conference Final against the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.

Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to its third straight NBA Finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.

"It's great to be one of the last two teams standing, we'll see how it goes," said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.

San Antonio's only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginobili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot. The Spurs started Ginobili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old had maintained he will not ponder whether to retire or return until after the season.

Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginobili with "Manu, Manu" chants as the game came to a close.

"An amazing competitor, even more fun playing against him," Durant said of Ginobili. "He was phenomenal this series."

Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee. San Antonio didn't go down without a fight despite the injuries.

Anderson dove on the court for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Patty Mills who fed Ginobili for a 3-pointer that pulled San Antonio to 108-94 with 7 minutes remaining.

The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors' depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.

Golden State shot 56 percent and were 14 for 39 on 3-pointers.

Draymond Green had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.

Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors.

Ginobili finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

BOX SCORE

The loudest noise made by the Phillies' offense on Monday night was the thud — clearly audible above the small crowd — that Odubel Herrera created when he smashed his batting helmet on the dirt infield after grounding out to third base to end the seventh inning.

Herrera's frustration spoke for an entire team. The Phillies were hammered, 8-1, by the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). They were out-hit, 13-3. The loss was the Phils' 18th in the last 22 games and they have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The loss left the Phils at 15-27 for the season, matching their worst 42-game start since 2000 when they finished 65-97 in front of tiny crowds at Veterans Stadium in Terry Francona's last season as skipper.

Over the last two games, both losses, the Phils have just six hits.

"Three hits today, three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You're not going to win a lot of games getting three hits."

Aaron Altherr had two of the Phillies' hits, both doubles against Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, who was very impressive with seven walk-free innings and seven strikeouts.

Herrera went hitless in three at-bats and is hitting just .200 in the month of May and .232 overall — not what the front office expected when it signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension in the offseason.

"It's very frustrating because I feel like I am being selective and waiting for my pitch, but when I make contact things don't happen," Herrera said. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well, but I'm just missing."

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits, seven of which were singles, and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. Two of the runs scored on a flare double and the other on a groundball through a drawn-in infield.

"I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "I got a lot of the contact I wanted. The ball just didn't land in the gloves."

Eickhoff did not walk a batter. He struck out four.

Despite being 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts, the right-hander believes he has made strides his last two outings. He gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his previous outing at Texas. Prior to that start, he worked on fixing a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"These past two have been night-and-day different," he said. "I felt great today and in Texas and I'm going to keep that positivity going."

Finding other things to be positive about with this team is becoming difficult.

This Phillies team was not expected to contend; it is still in a rebuild. But things weren't supposed to be this bad, either.

"I'll tell you what, I'm getting frustrated, too," general manager Matt Klentak said before the game. "This team is better … there is more talent on this team than we've shown in terms of our record.

"We'll pull out of it. We will. That's what talented players will do. I'm not going to tell the fans they shouldn't be frustrated. We've gone through a tough stretch.

"But I'm not ready to call it regression. I think there's been a lack of consistency on our team in general, with some players more than others. There's been a lack of consistency, but especially for young players, two months is a relatively small sample size to categorize it as regression."

At 29-17, the Rockies have the best record in the National League. They have 16 road wins, which is one more than the Phillies have overall. The Rockies are in town for three more days. This ugly start could get even uglier.