Posted on: July 17, 2010 2:45 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Brad Miller has agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Rockets, deciding to join forces with Yao Ming instead of the Big Three in Miami.
In addition to the Heat, Miller also attracted interest from the Celtics, Hawks and Cavaliers, while the Bulls also tried to retain him. The third year of the deal is non-guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement.
With the addition of Miller, 34, the Rockets continued a quietly effective offseason that also has included retaining restricted free agent Kyle Lowry and signing restricted free agent Luis Scola to a five-year, $47 million deal. Miller gives coach Rick Adelman more flexibility with his front-court rotation. He is likely to come off the bench, and can play both the power forward and center spots. Miller also gives the Rockets an insurance policy in case injury-prone center Yao Ming suffers another injury. Yao, who missed last season after reconstructive foot surgery, picked up his $17.6 million player option and is expected to be ready for training camp.
Posted on: July 4, 2010 7:39 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 11:50 pm
The Knicks had a second meeting with LeBron James’ representatives Saturday in Cleveland, a get-together called by the team to clarify its cap position and the options available to surround James with other free agents or assets acquired in trades, a person with knowledge of the sitdown confirmed to CBSSports.com.
The meeting was called after it became apparent that the Knicks were closing in on an agreement with free-agent power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, but that was not the reason for the gathering, the person with knowledge of it said. The meeting was first reported Sunday by the New York Daily News .
“It was just to make sure that they understood how much cap room we had,” a team official familiar with the meeting said. “… The options that you could come out of that with is what we wanted to explain. I think they were unclear and we had to show them.”
Those present included Glen Grunwald, the Knicks’ vice president of basketball operations, and Madison Square Garden president Scott O’Neil, who were dispatched to Cleveland Saturday to explain the options at the team’s disposal to James’ agent, Leon Rose. James did not attend.
The team official with knowledge of the meeting stressed that, although Stoudemire met Sunday with coach Mike D’Antoni and will have a formal sitdown with Knicks officials Monday, it is by no means a done deal that Stoudemire will be a Knick. Stoudemire and D'Antoni met Sunday to lay the groundwork for Monday's meeting and clear the air about what once source described as "misperceptions" about their relatiionship at the end of D'Antoni's days in Phoenix. But while Stoudemire and D'Antoni may have cleared the air about possibly entering into another working relationship, James holds all the cards in terms of what complementary players the Knicks would surround him with if the King opted to sign with the Knicks.
All of the potential free-agent maneuverings are intertwined, with one executive involved in the chase saying Sunday, "Nobody has anybody yet." And the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Sunday that James will likely delay an announcement of his decision until after a three-day Nike camp in his hometown of Akron concludes Wednesday.
Stoudemire, too, is keeping his options open, as AOL Fanhouse reported Sunday that the five-time All-Star plans to meet Tuesday with the Nets and Bulls if he doesn’t agree to terms with the Knicks Monday. In the information vacuum and speculative frenzy that has engulfed the NBA during this unprecedented free-agent summer, Stoudemire caused a stir Saturday night when he said that Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony had agreed to come with him to New York if he signed with the Knicks. New York is interested in both players, and has, in fact, inquired about obtaining Parker from the Spurs in a trade. But short of a trade – and a person close to Anthony told CBSSports.com Saturday that there’s “zero chance” the Nuggets will trade him this summer – there is no way for Stoudemire’s promise to become reality.
“Clearly, you can’t,” a team executive familiar with the Knicks’ situation said of the team landing Parker and Melo.
Meanwhile, the Knicks continue to pursue other options to either pair with a top-tier free agent or with Stoudemire, with small forward Mike Miller apparently the most coveted piece. In addition to the Knicks, the Heat, Clippers and perhaps Cavs are in contention for Miller, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.
The Cavs, who came out of Saturday’s presentations to James feeling they are still the overwhelming favorites to retain him, are continuing to pursue Bulls free-agent center Brad Miller, sources said.
Posted on: July 4, 2010 12:26 am
For those who want a quick resolution after the 72-hour whirlwind recruiting of the Big Three free agents, you'll be disappointed. Evidently exhausted from being courted non-stop since midnight Thursday, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ... well, on the fourth day, they rested.
Henry Thomas, who represents Wade and Bosh, said Saturday night his clients weren't ready to make a decision and were "processing all of the information they've received over the last two days. They're taking a step back and evaluating it. That's it."
Similarly, two team executives involved in the recruiting of LeBron were under the same impression -- with one saying the King's decision could come "early next week," while another was under the impression there was "no timeline." Two more executives had not been given a timetable by any of the Big Three, nor had they heard back on the possibility of a follow-up meeting to close the deal.
Welcome to the Summer of 2010, where hurry up and wait is the motto.
Wade and Bosh finished their pitch sessions Friday night, when both met with the Bulls. Saturday was the main event, with the Bulls and hometown Cavs having an audience with LeBron amid a surreal scene in downtown Cleveland. One of the executives involved in the recruiting process over the past few days described it this way: Now is when the emotion of the process and the glitz of the presentations fade and reality sets in. Reality, and the known vs. the unknown. And the executive came away with the distinct impression that Wade is staying in Miami, LeBron is staying in Cleveland, and Bosh -- left out to dry in such a scenario -- would then be far more interested in the extra $25-$30 million the Raptors can offer him than he's been for the past 72 hours.
"All these guys know where they're going to go," a person with close ties to one of the players involved in the process said. "This whole thing has just been a spectacle."
Nonetheless, the process marches on. All five teams regarded as having realistic shots at landing/keeping at least one of the top free agents when the negotiating period began -- the Cavs, Bulls, Heat, Knicks and Nets -- continue to put on the full-court press in trying to secure commitments from complementary players. The Bulls and Heat have talked with Carlos Boozer and David Lee, among others; the Knicks have reached a "broad agreement" with Amar'e Stoudemire on either complementing or replacing one of the top-tier free agents and continue to pursue Joe Johnson and Mike Miller; the Nets continue to tell people they have a real shot at landing one of their top targets. The Cavs are pursuing Bulls free-agent center Brad Miller as an added inducement for LeBron.
And on we go. With so many moving parts, one executive involved in the process was dubious that the July 4 holiday Sunday would bring any more clarity.
What the beginning of the holiday weekend did bring, however, was closure to the over-the-top pitch process. According to details of the six presentations LeBron witnessed in Cleveland from Thursday to Saturday, each team had its moments. How much of it resonates with James as he huddles with his advisers over the next couple of days remains to be seen.
The Cavs, who know James better than any of the teams courting him, floored him Saturday with an emotional highlight video starting with his state championship days at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School, progressing through his selection by the Cavs as the No. 1 pick in the draft, and sprinkled with interviews with fans begging him to stay. Several images of James' mother, Gloria, were strategically included, as the Cavs know James would be hard-pressed to leave his mother behind in Ohio as a consequence of signing with another team.
But the important moments in James' sitdown with the team he's played with for seven seasons came when new coach Byron Scott had the floor, explaining to James his defensive-minded style, desire to push the tempo offensively, and emphasis on tireless work and practice time. In fact, people familiar with James' priorities believe the one-on-one time he spent with coaches over the past few days -- Mike D'Antoni of the Knicks, Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls, Avery Johnson of the Nets, Erik Spoelstra (and by extension, Pat Riley) of the Heat, and Scott -- will resonate with him as much as any other basketball factor. The Clippers, who haven't hired a coach yet, were the only team to court James without one.
The Knicks, still viewed by some insiders as having a puncher's chance if James is able to come to grips with leaving his hometown, included a flashy video, too. And they did their homework, producing a film playing off James' adoration of The Sopranos, as detailed by columnist Ian O'Connor of ESPN-New York. But as with the Cavs' presentation, a person familiar with the Knicks' approach said the most important segment came when Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, GM Donnie Walsh and other executives left the room and turned the floor over to D'Antoni. It was only James and D'Antoni in the room as the Knicks' coach passionately detailed how effective James would be in his up-tempo, pick-and-roll system as a Magic Johnson-like floor leader whose breadth of talents would be emphasized with the Knicks more than with any other team courting him.
How much will it all matter? Which way is LeBron really leaning? The next 72 hours will be far more important than the past 72 when it comes to answer those questions.
Posted on: February 16, 2010 5:57 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2010 12:35 am
The Knicks' negotiations with the Rockets on a blockbuster deal that would send Tracy McGrady to New York continued to progress early Thursday as a key piece of Houston's leverage faded from the picture: the Chicago Bulls.
While New York and Houston continued negotiating the level of protection the Knicks would place on two first-round picks involved in the discussion, the Bulls were having trouble finding a third team -- preferably one with extra first-round picks to offer -- as a way to sweeten their proposal, sources said.
Though nothing was resolved over the draft pick issue, it appeared that the Rockets and Knicks were confident enough in the framework of their deal that the Bulls dropped out of the discussions, a high-level source involved in the process said. The situation was described Wednesday night as strictly between the Rockets and Knicks, with the key issue remaining how much protection the Knicks would require on two first-round picks involved in the trade.
In a sign of the Bulls' retreat, John Salmons did not play against the Knicks Wednesday night after management told him to stay at the team hotel in New York while they finalized a trade. Later, the Bulls engaged the Bucks in discussions that would send Salmons to Milwaukee for a package of expiring contracts -- perhaps Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson, sources said. That deal would pave the way for the Knicks and Bulls to finally orchestrate their long-discussed swap centered around Al Harrington and Tyrus Thomas.
"It's still in play," a person with knowledge of the talks said.
New York officials reported back to the Rockets earlier Wednesday with their protection parameters, and the Rockets were pushing hard for less protection, two people familiar with the talks said. Sources have indicated that once the Rockets received New York's final determination on pick protection, they would choose between offers from the Knicks and Bulls for McGrady, whose $23 million expiring contract is one of the most coveted assets before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline.
The Knicks, having been burned under previous regimes for giving away draft picks with little or no protection, were seeking to adequately protect a 2011 first-round pick that Houston would have the option of swapping with New York and a 2012 first-round pick that could go to the Rockets based on where it falls in the draft. Before word came Wednesday night of the Bulls' withdrawal from the talks, one person familiar with the negotiations said Houston was "asking for too much," while a second person with a stake in the deal continued to say the Knicks continued to have the leading proposal to extract McGrady.
The Knicks would get a package centered around McGrady in exchange for Jared Jeffries, Larry Hughes, Jordan Hill and the draft pick considerations. Shedding Jeffries, owed $6.9 million in 2010-11, comes at a high price -- one that Knicks president Donnie Walsh was having trouble getting comfortable accepting, sources said. The Rockets were asking for so much because they'd face little in the way of negative implications by keeping McGrady and simply letting his contract fall off the books.
Moving Jeffries is crucial to the Knicks' 2010 free agency plan because it would get New York within striking distance of its stated goal of clearing maximum cap space and flexibility heading into the crucial free-agent class that begins July 1. The Rockets, who are getting nothing from McGrady this season, would benefit from an approximately $7 million swing in luxury tax payments -- but that issue was described by one source as "not material" compared to the pick protection.
If the Knicks were successful in shedding Jeffries' $6.9 million contract for next season -- along with Hill, their No. 8 pick in 2009, and Hughes -- they'd be within about $2 million of their elusive goal of clearing space for two max free agents this summer. By completing the McGrady deal as currently constructed, New York would be able to get to the approximately $33 million needed for two straight-up max signings by buying out Eddy Curry's $11.3 million contract for next season. Curry's agent, Leon Rose, also represents the No. 1 potential catch in the 2010 sweepstakes, LeBron James.
Emboldened by the uncertainty surrounding the draft pick issue, the Bulls intensified their research on McGrady late Tuesday night and into Wednesday, a source said. The framework of the Bulls' offer was believed to have included Brad Miller, Thomas, and either Kirk Hinrich or Salmons. If Hinrich were involved, the deal likely would've had another player going to Chicago with McGrady; the Bulls are believed to have wanted either Luis Scola or Carl Landry. The Bulls' interest in one of those players -- combined with their desire to move either Hinrich or Salmons, both owed significant money next season -- appeared to have hurt Chicago's proposal. Hinrich has two years and $17 million remaining, and Salmons is owed $5.8 million next season.
The Knicks completed a minor deal Wednesday, sending Darko Milicic to Minnesota for Brian Cardinal in an exchange of expiring contracts that did not directly impact the McGrady discussions. Walsh told reporters at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night that the NBA had awarded the team cap relief on Cuttino Mobley's $9.5 million, insurance-protected contract -- another step in getting the team's books in order. Also on Wednesday, the Knicks became deeply involved in talks that would send Nate Robinson to Boston as part of a package that would yield 3-point specialist Eddie House.
Posted on: April 29, 2009 8:19 pm
CHICAGO -- I think the NBA got this exactly right. I think.
I'm not going to waste valuable time debating Dwight Howard's suspension; that one was easy. "Pretty cut and dried," Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of operations, said on a conference call with several reporters Wednesday afternoon. Jackson also revealed a piece of information that proves that NBA's system of reviewing every call and non-call actually works. None of the three officials actually saw Howard's lightning quick but blatant elbow that hit Samuel Dalembert in the head. Had they seen it, by rule it would've called for an automatic ejection. Since they didn't, that's why no flagrant foul was called, and it's why Howard wasn't ejected. Upon review, the NBA got that one right. But even the WWE could've gotten that one right.
The interesting case is Rondo, and it provides an especially delicious opportunity for debate. Not only did it happen on the same night, but it also provided another fertile debating point. This was a little man fouling a giant man, whereas the Howard incident was a giant picking on someone his own size.
Technically, the relative size of the players involved in a potentially flagrant foul shouldn't matter. But referees are human, and humans have to make decisions based on their experience and their ability to see something happening extremely fast. The most interesting point Jackson made came when he described the criteria for determining whether a foul crossed the line between a hard foul and a flagrant foul.
"In terms of the criteria that we use to evaluate a flagrant foul, penalty one, generally we like to consider whether or not there was a windup, an appropriate level of impact, and a follow through," Jackson said. "And with this foul, we didnt see a windup, nor did he follow through. And so for that reason, we’re not going to upgrade this foul to a flagrant foul, penalty one."
Jackson described Rondo's foul on the Bulls' Brad Miller -- an open-handed blow to the head which resulted in Miller missing a game-tying layup with two seconds left in overtime Tuesday night -- as a "basketball play." He said the league determined that Rondo was "going for the ball after a blown defensive assignment by the Celtic team." That's exactly what I saw at the game. Now I'm in Chicago, and when the local newscasts show the play in frame-by-frame slow motion, it drives home the point that Rondo realized he had no play on the ball and simply hit whatever he could -- that being Miller's face.
He didn't do it maliciously, and as Jackson said, he didn't wind up as if throwing a punch, nor did he follow through on the blow. Whereas Howard's play was blatant, Rondo's was borderline. It could've gone either way. The league made a reasonable choice, and backed its on-floor officials on this one. This is an important point. Had the foul been upgraded to a flagrant, it might've opened the door for the Bulls to file a protest because they would've been entitled to possession after the flagrant. The last thing this crazy and suddenly violent series would need is a protest. But more to the point, the officiating crews for Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) are going to have to have control of the action. There cannot be any outside influence hanging over the action on the floor, or chaos will ensue.
I don't know -- and Jackson didn't say -- if that factored into the league's decision. I also don't know for sure if the league made the technically correct decision on Rondo. But it made the right one.
Posted on: April 29, 2009 1:57 pm
David Stern was in attendance at a recent game I covered, one involving Dwight Howard, who has since transformed himself from NBA golden boy into Tree Rollins.
Before Game 4 of the Magic-Sixers series in Philadelphia, Stern did one of his breezy, folksy town hall meetings with the media. I say breezy and folksy and town hall because Stern elected to stand and pace while holding a microphone instead of sitting on the dais. (Maybe he was getting his Obama on.) But at one point, the sunshine Stern was trying to spread about his NBA – which is enjoying a mostly thrilling postseason thus far – was interrupted by Thunder and lightning and the famous wrath of the league’s underlord.
Stern was asked to comment on Erick Dampier’s verbal threat to put Tony Parker “on his back” the next time he drove to the basket. Stern’s smile was quickly replaced by a scowl, and there was no mistaking his seriousness.
“Our game’s doing great because we opened it up,” Stern began. “I, at least, have worked to make sure that violence – which is always a risk – doesn’t occur. That’s why we have flagrant fouls. That’s why we have flagrant twos. That’s why, if you throw a punch, you’re out. If you leave the bench, you’re out. The result of all of that is to tamp things down.”
Then came the money quote that is so relevant after Tuesday night’s acts of violence by Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo.
“If someone commits a wanton act of violence – and you could define that any way you want to – then someone else is going to come to the defense,” Stern said. “The pushing and shoving turns into whatever. Actually, we try to sell ourselves as a family sport that you’d be proud to bring you kids here to watch the game. And I don’t think that’s something that I particularly want to sell.”
And so there you have it. The commissioner has spoken. Now what actions will those words translate into with respect to Howard and Rondo?
Howard should be suspended for Game 6 of the Magic-Sixers series in Philadelphia Thursday night for throwing an elbow haymaker at Samuel Dalembert. His actions fit the most important part of the threshold for suspension: Howard’s flailing elbow was not natural or pertaining to the completion of a basketball-related play. It was an elbow aimed at an opponent’s head after the play was over, plain and simple. The Rondo foul on Brad Miller, which drew blood but no flagrant call with two seconds left in yet another overtime between the Celtics and Bulls, is a more difficult call. Unlike Howard, Rondo was involved in a basketball play. He was trying to stop an opponent from converting a game-tying layup at the most crucial juncture of a playoff game. (The playoff part shouldn’t matter; the rules are supposed to be the same regardless of the game’s significance.)
The fact that Rondo was trailing the play and appeared to have no chance to reaching the ball will be something for the league to consider. But in the end, Howard should be suspended and Rondo shouldn’t because you cannot expect a player in the Heat of battle to make a split-second decision as to whether his outstretched arm is long enough to reach a ball that is about to go into the basket. Whether Rondo could reach the ball or not – and it turned out he couldn’t – isn’t the threshold for suspension. It was his intent – such that we can determine – that matters. And in that situation – or any situation in which a player is trying to stop a layup and/or prevent a three-point play – we have to evaluate the player’s actions in the context of the play. On this play, Rondo’s objective was to try to reach the ball and prevent his opponent from scoring. The alternative – pulling back and not contesting the layup – would’ve been tantamount to letting the opponent score.
So Stern can remain consistent with his comments before Game 4 of the Orlando-Philly series by suspending Howard and not Rondo. Just remember: Never underestimate this commissioner’s commitment to curtailing violence. Just listen to his words, and watch his actions, and see if you think they match up.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2009 5:42 pm
The Sacramento Kings have agreed to send center Brad Miller and swingman John Salmons to the Chicago Bulls for Drew Gooden and Andres Nocioni, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.
The deal has yet to go through the league approval process, so other pieces could be involved. But with that basic framework, the Kings pay a hefty price for Gooden's $7.1 million expiring contract. Nocioni is owed $21 million over the next three years, with a fourth year at a team option for $7.5 million.
UPDATE: According to the Sacramento Bee, the Bulls also send Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons to the Kings. In a separate deal, the Kings send Ruffin to Portland for Ike Diogu and about $1 million. When the math is done, the trades will save the Kings about $13.5 million next season.
UPDATE: K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago also is discussing a separate salary dump that would send Kirk Hinrich ($26.5 million due over the next three years) to Minnesota for Jason Collins' expiring contract and noted cap albatross Brian Cardinal, who has $6.75 million coming off the books after 2009-10.
The Mavericks, who are shopping Jerry Stackhouse (only $2 million guaranteed next season) were in the mix for Miller, but the Bulls had the pieces necessary for the Kings to move the two players they wanted to trade in the same deal. The Knicks also were interested in Miller, but had no serious conversations with the Kings on that front.