Posted on: January 28, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: January 28, 2010 7:45 pm
First of all, as Charles Barkley would say, I love the seven first-time selections. All-Star weekend is badly in need of some juice, and I think there's a good chance that some of these first-timers -- Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo -- will provide some of the weekend's most memorable moments.
I know this is a knee-jerk sports world and we're supposed to fight about everything, but I don't have enormous problems with the coaches' selections. In the East, they picked Rose and Al Horford over my picks -- David Lee and Josh Smith. I disagree on Horford; Smith is the Hawks' most important player after Joe Johnson, and Horford doesn't play enough minutes to be an All-Star. Lee deserves to be there, too. Being based in New York, I have more than my share of chances to watch him bust his behind on a talent-less team. Rose? I don't have any problem with him being an All-Star. He'll be great to watch in an All-Star Game. Guys like Rose understand the moment and know how to rise to it.
In the West, I only differed with the coaches on one selection: They chose Zach Randolph; I chose Chauncey Billups. If I met with every coach who chose Randolph and we debated outside some NBA locker room, I don't think anybody would win. Z-Bo is having a great year on a surprisingly competitive team. Billups remains the glue that keeps the Nuggets together. I'll take the No. 2 pick in that draft and be happy.
In making my picks, I used the same criteria the coaches are instructed to use: select seven reserves, ranked 1-7 for weighting purposes, according to the following positional breakdown: center, two forwards, two guards, and two wild cards.
Here were my picks -- with the coaches' alternative in parentheses, where applicable:
1. Chris Bosh, F, Toronto: The "other" 2010 free agent went into the season determined to put up huge numbers, which he is. Bosh's steady play also is a big reason for the Raptors' recent resurgence.
2. Rajon Rondo, G, Boston: Nothing against Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen, but Rondo may have surpassed both of them as the most important Celtic after Paul Pierce.
3. Josh Smith, F, Atlanta (Coaches picked Derrick Rose): Defense, shot-blocking, scoring -- J-Smoove does it all, except take too many 3-pointers. He's eliminated that annoying aspect of his game and deserves to be rewarded.
4. Gerald Wallace, F (wild card), Charlotte: This is a tough call between Wallace and Danny Granger. I'll give the nod to Wallace because of defense and team success.
5. David Lee, C, Knicks (Coaches picked Al Horford): It's time to stop attributing Lee's machine-like double-double production to Mike D'Antoni's system and recognize that there's nothing wrong with being one of the best pick-and-roll big men in the league.
6. Joe Johnson, G, Atlanta: Johnson should send a thank-you gift to Jamal Crawford, whose ability to absorb some of the end-of-quarter/end-of-game scoring load has kept Johnson fresh.
7. Paul Pierce, F (wild card), Boston: Rondo makes the Celtics' engine go, but Pierce is still the closer -- one of the best in the league at both ends of the floor.
1. Dirk Nowitzki, F, Dallas: Still playing at an MVP level and never gets the recognition he deserves.
2. Chris Paul, G, New Orleans: In terms of statistics and overall talent, the best point guard in the league.
3. Brandon Roy, G, Portland: With all of Portland's injuries -- including Roy's own balky hamstring of late -- this budding superstar deserves credit for keeping the Blazers afloat.
4. Chauncey Billups, G (wild card), Denver (Coaches picked Zach Randolph): We take Mr. Big Shot for granted because he's so consistent, but remember: He's consistently great. Monta Ellis deserves serious consideration here or for one of the wild-card spots, but there are simply too many great guards in the West for him to break through.
5. Pau Gasol, C, Lakers: Despite missing a big chunk of the season, Gasol has played enough to warrant an All-Star nod. When he's on the floor, he's among the most gifted and impactful big men in the league. Gasol or Randolph? I'll take Gasol.
6. Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City: We knew he could score, but now KD is emerging as a much improved defender and leader.
7. Deron Williams, G (wild card), Utah: This is why there's no room for Randolph on my squad, despite his solid 20-point, 11-rebound averages on a much improved Memphis team. D-Will is too good -- and the Jazz's recent resurgence too notable to overlook -- for one of the top point guards in the NBA to continue to get overlooked.
Posted on: October 30, 2009 9:22 am
The looming deadline for extending the contracts of 2006 draft picks presents an intriguing dilemma for the Celtics -- and for Rajon Rondo.
Posted on: August 7, 2009 3:17 pm
LeBron James is often criticized for sitting on the fence when it comes to his intentions for 2010, when he currently has the ability to opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free agent market. But there was no mistaking LBJ's position on Friday, when he said unequivocally that he will not sign an extension with Cleveland this summer in order to preserve that flexibility.
"I signed a contract in 2006 with an option," James said at an event in his native Akron, Ohio. "It would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn't keep my options open. I'll let you fill in the blanks."
So there you go. No filling in necessary.
No extension. The drama lives for another year. The LeBron-o-thon continues.
I can't blame LeBron, nor can I say I'm surprised. He will still have the ability to sign an extension with the Cavs after the 2009-10 season -- and before July 1, 2010 -- that would lock him in under the current salary scale and rules before the CBA takes an expected turn in favor of the owners in 2011. His best option financially, under the current collective bargaining agreement, is to re-sign with Cleveland or participate in a sign and trade because either scenario would get him a sixth year and bigger annual raises after the first year.
But given that we've already crunched the numbers and determined that LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- who have identical contracts -- would be leaving between $2.7 million and $5.2 million on the table over the next four years by foregoing an extension, LeBron's own words tell you everything you need to know about his intentions.
His words don't reveal whether he's staying or going. But they do tell you without a sliver of doubt that waiting to see how close he is to a championship in Cleveland is far more important to him than a few million dollars.
Cavs fans, I'm sorry to inform you that your King is going to hold court with your collective hearts for another year. That means another year of rampant speculation, attempted mind-reading, and hype.
Oh, and guess who visits Madison Square Garden in the first week of the 2009-10 regular season? His Highness faces the Knicks on Nov. 6.
Posted on: July 12, 2009 7:23 pm
LAS VEGAS -- The Miami Heat have wasted no time offering Dwyane Wade a contract extension.
Wade's agent, Henry Thomas, confirmed to CBSSports.com that he received an offer from Miami on Sunday, the day Wade's one-year window for signing an extension opened. Thomas declined to discuss specifics, but the maximum Miami can offer under the collective bargaining agreement is a four-year extension worth $86.6 million.
Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh signed their current three-year extensions three years ago this week. They become eligible to sign extensions on the three-year anniversary of signing their current deals. Wade was the first to sign, and his window -- which lasts until June 30, 2010 -- was the first to open.
Wade has said that he wants to wait and see what moves Miami makes to bring the team closer to championship contention before he decides on signing the extension.
Posted on: July 2, 2009 1:26 am
While Hedo Turkoglu is being wined and dined in two time zones by the Portland Trail Blazers, his other potential suitors aren't sitting around waiting for them to kiss each other good night.
The Toronto Raptors, for one, are deliberating what it would take to make Turkoglu an offer that would top the the five-year, $50 million proposal that Portland can offer, as reported early Wednesday by CBSSports.com. According to a person familiar with the situation, the Raptors are mulling whether they would be better off making a pre-emptive strike for Turkoglu -- which would entail renouncing the rights to Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, and Anthony Parker -- or trying to keep those players and sign a mid-level free agent. Toronto has yet to offer an extension to 2010 free agent Chris Bosh; that decision is tied to the others. And Turkoglu isn't the only free agent Toronto is considering. League sources indicated early Thursday that the Raptors also were contemplating an offer to restricted free agent David Lee. Any offer to Lee, by definition, would be in the $8-$10 million range so it would test the Knicks' threshold for matching. And Lee's list of potential suitors shrank by one Wednesday when Memphis traded Quentin Richardson to the Clippers for power forward Zach Randolph.
With so many moving parts -- and with Turkoglu having entertained Blazers coach Nate McMillan in Orlando Wednesday night with plans to visit Portland on Thursday -- it is clear that the recruitment of Turkoglu isn't a one-team show. Turkoglu's camp expected Portland to extend its formal offer during the course of Turkoglu's recruiting trip to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday.
If Portland landed Turkoglu, it would be the first big-ticket free-agent signing of GM Kevin Pritchard's reign. While some involved might view Toronto's preparation of a pre-emptive offer as brash or shameless, this is why the negotiating period was created. Free agents may negotiate and consider offers from July 1-7, but can't sign on the dotted line until the league and players association set the salary cap and luxury tax on July 8.
Posted on: June 5, 2009 2:23 pm
LOS ANGELES -- When Chris Bosh told the Toronto media that he has no plans to sign a contract extension this summer, the next logical question was: What about the other two musketeers?
In addition to LeBron James, the undisputed top potential free agent in the summer of 2010, Bosh and Dwyane Wade both signed three-year extensions in 2006 for the same reason: All three of them wanted the flexibilty to opt out in 2010 and score a maximum contract before the NBA's new labor agreement kicks in.
The only way their respective teams can avoid that calamity would be to persuade the players to sign contract extensions this summer. Henry Thomas, who represents both Bosh and Wade, told CBSSports.com in a phone interview Friday that Bosh's situation has no bearing on Wade's decision.
"[Wade] has the same contract, but they’re separate situations," Thomas said. "There’ll be a lot of things to evaluate for both of their respective situations. We’ll do it, and I’ll do it, independently."
Bosh's comments came Thursday at an event in Toronto where he was asked about his plans for the summer. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo has made it known that his top priority this offseason is to sign Bosh to an extension, which would forestall his plans to opt out of his current contract next summer.
Wade has not committed either way to the idea of signing an extension this summer and has chosen his words carefully in discussing his future, saying that his plan all along was to give himself flexibility in the next two summers. Thomas said that unlike Wade, Bosh was ready to disclose his plans not to sign an extension because there has been more media speculation about his future than about Wade's.
"We did this contract in this way for a reason, and that reason was in part to have flexibility at the time that he is scheduled to have flexibility," Thomas said. "We'll see how it unfolds."
Posted on: June 4, 2009 9:54 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2009 10:11 pm
LOS ANGELES – About an hour before the start of the NBA Finals, the stamp on what he called a "season for the ages," David Stern offered his most dire prediction yet for what the recession will do to the NBA.
Posted on: April 2, 2009 12:24 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 12:24 pm
Time to chase away the crickets from that Lawrence Frank post. Can you hear 'em?
Yes, LeBron James is on Twitter. Allegedly. According to J-Cam's reporting, the Twitter folks say it's really him.
Funny thing is, there are 426 followers, but no posts yet. The world awaits breathlessly. My guess is, LeBron is waiting for someone to pay him to Tweet. That's what I'd do, if someone would pay me to Tweet. (I'm working on it.)
As it usually goes on the interwebs, one click leads to another, which leads to another, and by the time I was finished digesting J-Cam's Twitter story, I had learned that Paul Pierce, Baron Davis, Danny Granger, and Chris Bosh are on Twitter, too. Pierce used the social networking site to advise fans to show up at the TD Banknorth Garden at a specified time to get free tickets in his suite.
“first 5 people who meet me at the garden in the players parking lot entrance at 445 with my jersey on get free tickets password is truth,” the Truth wrote. This was no joke. Five fans scored the tix and watched the Celtics beat Oklahoma City from Pierce's personal suite.
I also learned that not only is Bosh on Twitter, but he's on Facebook, too. He has 44,405 friends and counting, all of whom apparently were at his 25th birthday bash, photos of which are posted here. Ah, to be young, rich, and going from one max contract to the next. There's also a photo of the Eastern Conference All-Stars posing with Muhammad Ali in the locker room. Bosh scooped every major and minor news organization in the world with that pic.
Interesting times. I guess the question I'll pose is this: Which is bigger right now? LeBron or Twitter?