Posted on: July 10, 2009 3:59 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2009 4:54 pm
Grant Hill considered plenty of issues in deciding whether to re-sign with the Suns or accept offers from the Celtics or Knicks. Paramount among them is Hill's expectation that Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire will be joining him.
"It's important for Grant that Steve be there next year," Hill's agent, Lon Babby, said on a conference call Friday. "I know they have had conversations, so I think he’s quite confident that the team that’s coming back next year is going to be a highly, highly competitive team. And obviously, that would include Steve Nash."
As for Stoudemire, who has been discussed as a possible trade chip in discussions with Golden State that emerged on draft day, Babby said, "That's certainly a concern. I wouldn't say (Hill) has been given any assurances, but I think the expectation is that (Stoudemire) will be there bext year. He has opt-out after next season, but I don’t think there’s any reason to believe he’s not going to be there next year."
Nash, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after next season, is in discussed with the Suns about an extension that would keep him in Phoenix.
Hill, 36, accepted a one-year deal with the Suns for $3 million with an option for a second year at $3.2 million, Babby said. The Knicks, who hosted Hill in New York earlier this week for a free-agent visit, offered a one-year deal at the full mid-level exception of $5.9 million. New York also offered a two-year deal with an option for the third, but it was not at the full mid-level for all three years. A longer deal with Phoenix also was discussed, but Hill preferred the 1-year deal with an option, Babby said.
Hill also met with Celtics coach Doc Rivers at least once, spoke numerous times with team president Danny Ainge, and also spoke with Ray Allen, who also is represented by Babby. Like the Knicks, Boston offered all it was able to under the rules, but the Celtics only had the bi-annual exception of about $2 million per year available.
"He thought long and hard about the alternatives," Babby said. "He did not come to this decision easily or lightly. Each of those three places had a lot to offer and very different things to offer. That’s what made it challenging."
Posted on: July 6, 2009 11:07 am
Rasheed Wallace intended to spend the weekend contemplating which of the three teams that wanted him to visit with next. By Sunday night, he decided there was no point. 'Sheed wanted to be in green.
"The important thing is that Rasheed felt this was the best fit for him," Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland, said on the phone Monday. "And he decided, 'Let's not waste other people's time.'"
San Antonio, Orlando, and Dallas were hoping Wallace would delay his decision and hear what they had to say. But when Wallace called Strickland Sunday night, he'd already decided that Boston was where he wanted to sign what likely will be the last contract of his career. It's for two years at the mid-level exception of about $5.6 million annually.
The Celtics' star-studded recruiting pitch, spearheaded by Kevin Garnett, certainly paid off. Wallace was sold on being a complementary piece on a star-laden, championship-ready roster, and was wowed by coach Doc Rivers' presentation on how he would fit in.
"He has respect for the organization, likes the players and respects their abilities," Strickland said. "He has a certain affection for and is sort of a kindred spirit with K.G."
Posted on: July 3, 2009 7:23 pm
Rasheed Wallace was receptive to the Celtics' All-Star recruiting pitch, but will be listening to other teams before deciding his future, a person with knowledge of the discussions told CBSSports.com.
The pitch Thursday in Detroit, attended by Celtics players, coach Doc Rivers, president Danny Ainge, and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck, impressed Wallace and was termed "very good meeting." Contract parameters were discussed -- it is believed Wallace would get the mid-level for 2-3 years -- but Wallace wants to hear other offers. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers have yet to contact Wallace, indicating their lack of interest. San Antonio has expressed interest, and the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that the Magic have contacted Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland.
Posted on: July 2, 2009 11:49 am
Edited on: July 2, 2009 5:39 pm
The Celtics' star-laden recruiting pitch for Rasheed Wallace is occurring Thursday afternoon in Detroit. CBSSports.com has learned that Celtics president Danny Ainge, apparently flanked by his Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, will court the former Pistons forward in a matter of hours.
Boston is the first team Wallace will meet with as he weighs his free-agent options. The Celtics' contingent had expressed a desire to meet face-to-face with Wallace as soon as the free-agent negotiating period opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, but it was decided that the meeting would take place Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck also is believed to be on the trip.
Wallace's camp has heard from eight or nine teams with interest in signing him, but Wallace will narrow the list down based on the teams' chances of making a deep playoff run and how he will fit in. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Spurs, and Lakers certainly fit those criteria and have interest. Houston initially was a team that intrigued Wallace, but that interest has waned with the news that Yao Ming could miss the entire 2009-10 season with a broken foot. Although Denver officials are big fans of Wallace -- GM Mark Warkentien and Wallace were together in Portland -- the Nuggets are not among the teams that have expressed interest.
UPDATE: The Celtics offered Wallace a contract at the anticipated mid-level exception after the three-hour meeting, according to the Boston Globe. The Big Three, Ainge, Grousbeck, and coach Doc Rivers attended the meeting.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 4:16 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 7:21 pm
It's three hours and counting until the Clippers are on the clock, so here's another dose of buzz and other tidbits. A caveat: This late in the game is when some of the most scurrilous subterfuge is pawned off -- not only on reporters, but on the executives and other high-level people who provide information to reporters. It gets harder and harder to see through all the smoke, but here's the latest of what my sources are hearing:
Posted on: June 23, 2009 11:13 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 6:24 pm
The keys to the draft are now tucked neatly in the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A flurry of pre-draft trade activity on Tuesday left Minnesota’s new GM, David Kahn, with four first-round picks – including the fifth and sixth – with clear designs on using at least two of them to move as high as needed to snag Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio or UConn center Hasheem Thabeet.
The next 10 picks after the Clippers take Blake Griffin are no longer a bore. And if this works out the way Kahn envisions, neither are the Timberwolves.
To recap: Pending league approval, Minnesota has agreed to acquire Washington’s No. 5 overall pick along with Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov and Darius Songaila for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. With the fifth, sixth, 18th, and 28th picks, Minnesota is far from finished. A person familiar with the team’s plans said Minnesota is loaded for a run at Rubio, the gifted but raw 18-year-old point guard, and Thabeet, the 7-3 shot-blocker who would finally replace Kevin Garnett’s inside presence. “In a perfect world, both,” said the person with knowledge of Minnesota’s master plan.
Either way, this sends shivers through the Sacramento front office, which seemed to be hoping Rubio would be available with the No. 4 pick. Even more so, Kahn appears to have trumped his former boss with the Indiana Pacers, Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who has done a commendable job persuading some rival executives to believe that coach Mike D’Antoni wanted Rubio. But as much as Rubio’s play-making skills could energize D’Antoni’s free-wheeling, pick-and-roll offense, the player the Knicks covet is Davidson’s Stephen Curry, according to a high-level management source with knowledge of the team’s plans. But the Knicks believe they may not be able to land Curry with the eighth pick, as evidenced by their serious talks with Washington about the No. 5 selection – talks that stalled, according to a person familiar with them, when the Wizards balked at taking back Jared Jeffries and his $6.9 million player option for 2010-11.
Minnesota had to give up two proven commodities in Foye and Miller, and the deal came together like a perfect storm because of Washington’s desire to add veterans to its core of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison. The Wizards entertained numerous offers for the fifth pick, even exploring a deal with Phoenix that would’ve yielded Amare Stoudemire. They backed away from that one when the Suns asked for Butler.
In a draft in which team executives see no can’t-miss stars after Griffin, the Wizards didn’t want or need to pay a lottery pick to join a team that management believes is ready to contend now with a veteran roster and experienced coach, Flip Saunders. The trade also accomplished the Wizards’ goals of creating a roster spot and not taking back any salary beyond next season. The impact on Washington’s 2010-11 payroll is a wash.
The day began with a report that the Celtics had engaged in low-level discussions with the Pistons about a blockbuster scenario that would’ve sent Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen to Detroit for a package including Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rodney Stuckey. The talks never went anywhere, but sparked league-wide curiosity about Boston management’s level of discontent with Rondo.
The Spurs struck first in what is shaping up to be a frenzied trading period, acquiring Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto. It was a clear sign that the Spurs are determined to make at least one more championship run with their core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. For Milwaukee, acquiring $11.3 million in contracts that expire after next season clears cap space to re-sign promising guard Ramon Sessions.
Oberto was, in turn, sent to Detroit for Amir Johnson as the Pistons continue obliterating their roster in preparation for the 2010 free-agent frenzy. Joe Dumars now has only three players under contract for 2010-11 – Prince, Stuckey, and Arron Affalo. UPDATE: The Pistons plan to buy out Oberto, thus trimming more payroll for next season.
So, welcome to the 2009 NBA draft, a.k.a. the new trade deadline.
Posted on: June 23, 2009 5:02 pm
Even when a reputable, tireless, connected NBA reporter comes out with a trade that was discussed -- and goes to great lengths to make it clear that it was discussed and went nowhere -- the story is met with derision.
This is why the trade deadline and the draft are my least favorite times of year. It's hard enough to separate the fact from the fiction. When facts get thrown in the paper-shredder with yesterday's mail, it becomes even more confusing.
Fact: The Pistons and Celtics discussed a trade whose primary pieces included Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen going to Detroit for Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. Also fact: It never got to the point of being discussed by the men who ultimately would've made the decision, Danny Ainge and Joe Dumars.
Also fact: This is the way it was reported by Yahoo! Sports Tuesday -- as a dead-end proposal that went nowhere. And yet everyone comes out of the woodwork now to say what a bad idea it would've been for both teams.
No kidding. That's why it didn't go anywhere.
"Very preliminary," was how my source described it.
But this is the world in which we live. It's great and thrilling and competitive, and it's also quite stupid sometimes.
But I digress.
The fact that the names Allen and Rondo would even be discussed in a Celtics trade scenario tells you something. For one, it tells you that teams are willing to discuss trading anybody, no matter what they say. Discussing and doing are two very different things. But it also tells you that the Celtics, who meandered through the wilderness for years before scoring Allen and Kevin Garnett in two perfect-storm trade scenarios, have no desire to get lost like that ever again. And when you look at some of the numbers on their books going forward -- Garnett and Paul Pierce owed more than $40 million in 2010-11 -- you can understand why they'd at least discuss a scenario that would soften the landing.
But when I see Stuckey's name in this scenario, I'm not so sure it was the Celtics who walked away before elevating the discussion to the top executives. The Pistons traded Chauncey Billups because A) It gave them massive amounts of cap space; and B) They had Stuckey. Can't see them trading him now.
For his part, Ainge met with the Boston area media at the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, Mass., Tuesday morning and got right to work debunking the Pistons trade talk.
"I've heard speculation we're dissatisfied with [Rondo]," Ainge said. "We're going to trade him because he was late for a playoff game? That's not true. The first criteria that any trade rumor has to pass: Is it going to help us win a championship this year?"
Ainge, who has the 58th pick in the draft, also said this, according to the Celtics' official Twitter page: "Most of the players in the first round I wouldn't trade for J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker."
Ouch. A lot of future D-League All-Stars and slam-dunk champions available, which explains why almost every team in the top 10 after the Clippers is looking to trade down.
Basically, it is why every team is willing to explore anything over the next 48 hours.
"It could be crazy," one Eastern Conference GM said of the trades that could go down Thursday night.
One way or another, it always is.
Posted on: June 1, 2009 11:35 am
Before we get to what will be an interesting and entertaining NBA Finals, there is the small matter of LeBron James that must be addressed.
Was it unsportsmanlike for LeBron to walk off the court without shaking anybody's hand? Yes, but I'm sure it's nothing Dwight Howard or anyone on the Magic found particularly offensive. Was it unsportsmanlike for LeBron to blow off the media after the game? A little bit. I've never been one of these people who believe that a person's character can be boiled down to his relationships and conduct with respect to the media. There have always been and always will be a lot of phonies in sports whose unblemished records with the media only cover up other flaws that the public never gets to see. But LeBron should've known how it would look, and he should've anticipated the fallout. He made a mistake. Hey, he's 24 years old.
Here is the problem I have with LeBron: All that dancing, preening, posing, joking, air-guitar strumming, and shenanigans during pre-game introductions -- and during the games sometimes -- that he and the Cavs liked to do during the good 'ol days when they were rolling and everything was just spectacular in Cavsville? I didn't like it then, and I like it even less now. It was unprofessional then, and it can be viewed in an even harsher light now that it was all for nothing.
During the Cavs' 107-76 thrashing of the defending champion Celtics on April 12, I wrote something in this blog that proves that sometimes, I know what I'm talking about. I wrote that the Cavs' joking and back-slapping and unprofessional conduct on the bench during the blowout -- all of which was orchestrated by LeBron -- was unprofessional. I wrote that it was more than that. It was planting the seeds for payback. I wrote that the Celtics would remember that, and that it would motivate them to make the Cavs pay for their immature behavior.
Well, I was wrong about which team would exact revenge. Had the Celtics gotten Kevin Garnett back for the playoffs, who knows? Maybe they would've beaten Orlando -- I suspect they would have -- and then gotten their chance to make LeBron and the Cavs pay. Didn't happen. But the foolishness certainly came back to bite LeBron and his teammates, and they only looked smaller when LeBron needed 24 hours to face the music once the Cavs' brilliant season ended in defeat.
So here's what I have to say now, and I don't think I need to say it for it to be true: You will not see LeBron & Co. -- whatever players make up the "Co." part -- carrying on that way next season. Or you shouldn't, anyway. I believe the King and his royal subjects have learned a very tough lesson. You don't get to dance, celebrate, and show up your opponents until you are standing on the court next to the championship trophy.
None of this makes LeBron a sore loser for failing to shake hands or blowing off the media after losing to Orlando in the conference finals. But it should -- and I believe, will -- make for a much different LeBron when we see him again next season. From now on, I believe you'll see him save the celebration until there's something to celebrate.