It's time for a reality check for coaches, players

Associated Press
A replica of the Statue of Liberty is draped with a new NBA All-Star jersey at the Las Vegas casino New York, New York.

LAS VEGAS - Time for Allen Iverson, Pat Riley, Steve Nash and the rest of the NBA to get back to work.


Jason Kidd, too, though even he wasn't sure how much longer he'll be doing it in New Jersey.

The show is over in Las Vegas, where the NBA capped its weekend of All-Star festivities with the West's victory over the East on Sunday night.

Now it's time to get serious again.

"Being in Vegas, it's a great place to be, a great place to chill," Minnesota's Kevin Garnett said. "But it's out with the fantasy and back to reality."

That means trade talk for some teams, playoff pushes for others. It all gets started tonight when play resumes with 10 games. Riley returns to Miami's bench the following night, and the next big event on the league's calendar comes quickly after that.

The trade deadline is Thursday, with Pau Gasol and Kidd among the big names who will wait to see if they have a new destination. Gasol has asked out of Memphis and the Grizzlies are trying to accommodate him, while Kidd, who missed the All-Star game because of a back injury, acknowledged during the break that teams have asked about getting him out of New Jersey.

In the East, landing one proven star could be all a team needs to seize control in a mediocre conference. Teams in the West could be looking to deal for a better chance to compete with powerful Dallas and Phoenix.

Denver thought it had done that when it acquired Iverson from Philadelphia in December to pair with Carmelo Anthony, but the results haven't been there yet, mostly because the duo hasn't been together on the court enough.

So despite having two of the NBA's top five scorers, Denver is only seventh in the West, two games ahead of the ninth-place Clippers.

Even teams such as Atlanta and New York, both coming off dismal seasons and well below .500 in this one, still have playoff hopes heading into the final two months.



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