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Today’s Crusades: January 27

Instead of making NBA picks everyday like Court Crusades has been doing, we are going to go on daily crusades across the league and the web to see who is getting traded, who is hurt, who is blossoming into a star, which team needs to do something and which team doesn’t need to fix what isn’t broken.

The NBA is always buzzing with news during the season and the 2010-11 season is no different. Melo-Drama has kept our ears open everyday waiting for a trade to actually happen…still waiting. The Orlando Magic made a mid mid-season blockbuster trade to move Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus while gaining Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and returning Hedo Turkoglu.

The court is full of unvisited crusades to come…Court Crusades is on the mission.

Memphis Grizzlies O.J. Mayo (R) drives by Los Angeles Lakers Shannon Brown off screen by teammate Darrell Arthur in Los Angeles on January 2, 2011. The Grizzlies defeated the Lakers 104-85. UPI/Jon SooHoo

A Banned Substance appears in O.J Mayo’s test

The Memphis Grizzlies O.J. Mayo is suspended for the next 10 games for the banned steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) found in his drug test. Similar to Lewis in 2009, he is claiming DHEA could have only entered his system through a over the counter drug he takes.

With the steroid influenza called the MLB, this isn’t anything new but it’s never right. Whether it entered your system through an over the counter drug or not these players should be accountable for their actions. If you don’t want to be suspended or fined for something you know is illegal at the job place, check the labels of the supplements you take. This “it is from an over the counter supplement” line is getting plaid out.

Mayo is having a bad season and probably won’t be missed by the Grizzlies during his suspension.

Western Conference All-Star Center

The official starters will be named tonight by Ernie Johnson and the TNT Basketball staff, but the fan vote has been followed the entire time of voting. At the present time, Yao Ming is the lead vote getter for the center position on the Western Conference roster. He played the first five games of the season and has been injured ever since with no chance of a return. Instead of choosing the player with the second amount of votes to start, NBA rules state commissioner David Stern makes the decision.

The Los Angeles Lakers Andrew Bynum is the runner up in terms of fan vote, but if the commish is smart, he would pick the most deserving player. Bynum shouldn’t be in the discussion, but Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love should be. I would give the starting nod to Dirk, but Love would be a more than reasonable pick because of his league leading 15 rebounds a game.

Interview with Phil Londen of Yahoo

Yahoo sport’s blogger Phil Londen chatted with  Rant’s Orlando Magic blogger Brett Robers about his mid-season favorites and predictions.

Londen, similar to everyone else in the basketball world, predicts the Boston Celtics to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals because of their talent and depth of the bench once everyone is healthy again. Rob Nelson of Boston Celtic’s Central is one of those people who agree with Londen.

The returns of Kendrick Perkins and Delonte West improve the Celtics who already have the best record in the east at 34-10, which makes the arguments of Londen and Nelson hard to argue with.

The Yahoo blogger also praises Oklahoma City Thunders’ Kevin Durant as the best pure scorer in the league, names Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin the Rookie of the Year and claims Nowitzki will walk away with the MVP trophy. Griffin is no doubt the best rookie but Durant and Nowitzki have a list of challengers including Monta Ellis to Durant and Derrick Rose to Nowitzki…just to name a few.

Derrick Rose comes down with the sickness

As I just mentioned, Rose is in the discussion for MVP of the NBA this season because of his fantastic individual play and the Bulls 31-14 record. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports Rose can’t eat or sleep because of a stomach ulcer. The good news is Rose has played great with the ulcer the last game or so, but the bad news is we can’t expect for him to keep playing with an ulcer. Rose is on medication and will rest and is hopeful for Friday’s game against the Magic.

Larry Bird realizes the Pacers have to make moves

The Indiana Pacers are not the worst team in the NBA but at 16-26 they’re not a great team either. Pacer President Larry Bird said the team is looking to make a few trades to improve the team before the Feb. 24 NBA trade deadline.

Indiana has a few players with trade value such as Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert, but they’re the best players on the team. Bird brings up a great point on whether he should save the Pacer’s 2011 draft pick  or use it in a trade because of the looming collective bargaining agreement, which could shut down the league.

Granger and Hibbert are building blocks, not trade pawns. The contracts of Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford, Jeff Foster, Jamaal Tinsley and Solomon Jones will expire at the end of the season to give Bird $32.7 million to work with. The only player I might want to keep is Ford because he is a solid back up point guard, but I wouldn’t resign him for the $5.5 million he made this year.

The problem with the Pacers is no one wants to play there because it’s a small market team in the middle of fields. Bird will have to find a trade partner to unload players with bad contracts, but who is going to want to do that without including the building blocks?