Tag:Dwight Howard
Posted on: December 12, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Dwight Howard says he might stay in Orlando

By Matt Moore 

Dwight Howard told media on Monday that he was still open to the possibility of staying in Orlando, if "changes" were made to improve the team. From the Orlando Sentinel
Said Howard, "As of right now, I have on a Magic uniform. Right? So I'm with nobody else, and that's the only thing that matters. And if it's meant for me to stay here, then I'll stay. And I love this city. There's no place I'd rather be but here in Orlando. And I just want to make sure that we have the right things here so we can win a championship.

"And I'm all about change. If you're willing to change and you're willing to do what it takes to win, then, you know, you've got me. And if you're not willing to do what it takes to win, I don't think anybody here would question anybody's motives if you want to stay in the same position you are."
via Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard hints he might stay with Magic - OrlandoSentinel.com.

ESPN.com reports that one of those changes is to bring in Chauncey Billups once he clears the amnesty waiver process. Because clearly, that's the kind of move that will put the Magic over the top. Howard has listed wanting input over the direction of the franchise as his biggest reason for wanting out. This despite his reticence at moves like trading Rashard Lewis and amnestying Gilbert Arenas. Essentially, Dwight Howard wants more control to run the franchise badly, which would only serve to make the team worse and drive him out of Orlando. 

Meanwhile, the Nets are reportedly considering making an amnesty offer to Billups the same day. Their efforts to bring in Howard have been nothing if not consistent. 

Howard's discussions of staying are a bit cruel, in a way. No one has believed Howard would stay in Orlando, not for two years. He's had every opportunity to say so and he's declined every time, instead leaning on the "I just want to win a title" talk which is code for "Don't blame me, blame the GM."

Now, by wanting Billups he's basically giving Jameer Nelson a vote of no confidence, if reports are accurate. That's the kind of thing that hurts chemistry, especially when Nelson has stuck up for Howard so many times. But this is all part of Howard and his management's plan to ease their way out. You say the things you can to put the onus on the team so when the time comes, people have somewhere else to drive their anger, which keeps the most public support you can. It's all part of the playbook, and Howard's filling it out nicely.
Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:44 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 12:21 pm
 

NBA Free Agency: Opening weekend winners & losers

Posted by Ben Golliver

nba-winners-losers

Deals, non-deals, endless rumors and more. It was a wild opening weekend for the abbreviated 2011 NBA free agency period. Here's an extended look at who won and lost over the first 72 hours. Let's break it down: from the biggest moves to the smallest signings, from the trades that weren't to the guys who remain unsigned.

The Biggest Deal

The NBA came to a standstill when a proposed 3-team trade between the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would have sent Chris Paul to L.A. fell apart twice thanks to vetoes from NBA commissioner David Stern.

Winners: Orlando Magic

This fiasco was even uglier than the lockout, which is saying something. All the key parties wound up losing one way or another – see below -- but the Magic slide in as winners because the Lakers emerged from the weekend without acquiring a second superstar to pair with Kobe Bryant, and with both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, two excellent potential trade chips for Dwight Howard, still on the roster. The Magic win whether L.A. ends up pairing those two in a deal for Howard or if the idea of such a deal simply sits out there as a potential offer against which Howard’s other suitors must match up. Orlando needs a bidding war in the worst way and the Paul failure ensures that L.A. still has plenty of motivation, and attractive pieces, to actively bid.

Losers: Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets

Paul was seemingly inches from an NBA second life and a brand new level of fame. Instead, he returns to a camp with a roster in tatters and the news that longtime running mate David West is Indiana-bound. His future couldn’t be more uncertain amid the confusion and he’s now forced to deal with questions day after day with no short-term end in sight. Sounds awesome! Thanks, boss.

Hornets GM Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams, meanwhile, are left with a frustrated Paul who obviously still wants out, a barren roster and serious questions about their autonomy as a basketball operations group, not to mention the fact that the league-owned situation could result in another franchise sale at some point in the near future. All this for a team that -- less than a year ago -- was a dynamic playoff force that gave the Lakers a run for their money. The ground fell out from under them.

Monumental Loser: David Stern

It wasn’t just the tremendously questionable decision to veto the trades that makes Stern a loser. It was the way the process unfolded. On what should have been the most exciting time on the NBA calendar following months of petty bickering during the lockout, the spotlight wound up back on Stern. Vetoing the trade directly alienated his league’s most important team, completely undermined the team he operates, and handcuffed the poor Houston Rockets, who were in the middle of a critical strategic time in their franchise’s post-Yao history. The delayed explanation for the veto led to a virtual standstill in other moves, as everyone around the league waited for the largest domino to fall. The eventual attempts at explanation were vague and way too late, leading to an open season of criticism of Stern and talk of walkouts from training camp. One player, Lamar Odom, was so upset by the trade talk limbo that he followed through on that threat, finding himself dumped to the Dallas Mavericks for virtually nothing. Now that it’s all said and done, the Hornets can look forward to worse offers for Paul and/or the prospect that he walks from the team as soon as free agency allows. Nice.

Other Big Deals

Winners: New York Knicks and Tyson Chandler

It’s great when solid matches come together fairly cleanly. New York made no secret of its desire for Chris Paul but was smart enough not to waste precious time on what ended up being a sinkhole. Targeting Chandler and making the necessary moves to acquire him – amnestying Chauncey Billups and trading Ronny Turiaf – took creativity and guts, and the eventual payoff is the best 3-4-5 combination in the NBA. Chandler fills New York’s biggest need and comes in at a reasonable $58 million over four years, a deal that will carry him through the rest of his prime years.

Chandler manages to cash in his new-found respect from the 2011 title team with an excellent pay day from a marquee franchise that is clearly on the upswing. Knicks fans will love his game (as long as he stays healthy, of course).

Losers: Golden State Warriors and DeAndre Jordan

Kudos to the Warriors for doing the right thing with Charlie Bell by telling him to stay away from training camp after he showed up drunk to a court hearing following his second DUI arrest in under a year. It was time to take a stand and they took it. That stand didn’t need to include burning the team’s amnesty clause to release Bell’s paltry $4.1 million salary. With David Lee, Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins all on the books for big-time money, the amnesty is a critical protection against injury for the Warriors. With a bunch of promising youngsters in place, it will be a shame if an unforeseen, devastating injury slows the organization’s ability to wheel and deal because they burned the amnesty toon soon and wind up crippled when it comes to cap flexibility.

Why did the Clippers bother to amnesty Bell? For the right to make a substantial offer to Los Angeles Clippers restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan, a player that team consultant Jerry West appeared to question in an interview this weekend. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is impossible to pin down but his management team is highly motivated to retain Jordan, and will almost certainly match the offer given, leaving Golden State with nothing except $4 million of cap room to show for their misguided efforts.  

Winners: Memphis Grizzlies and Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol, like Chandler, was one of the premier names in this weak free agent class. He will reportedly cash in to a similar degree: receiving a 4 year, $55 million offer sheet from the Rockets that the Grizzlies are expected to match. Retaining Gasol was a critical momentum move in Memphis, as the miracle playoff run to defeat the San Antonio Spurs would have been a distant memory if Gasol was allowed to walk and leave a major hole in the middle. Instead, it’s back for more fun for one of the grittiest, most underappreciated groups in the game. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley answered the questions about whether he would step up and pay to play, inking Gasol, forwards Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay and guard Michael Conley to big-time extensions. Good times in Tennessee.

Losers: Los Angeles Lakers and Lamar Odom

Surely seller’s remorse is sinking in after an emotional rollercoaster of a weekend in L.A., which saw the Lakers immediately grant Odom’s trade request, shipping him out of town for nothing more than cap relief and a heavily protected first round pick. The fact that he lands on a major conference rival makes this a very meaningful talent swing and the Lakers are capped out to the point where replacing his many contributions will be exceedingly difficult in the short-term. It’s no surprise that Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher weren’t all that psyched about this move. The Lakers couldn’t have gotten less for Odom and he couldn’t have gone to a worse destination, other than maybe the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On the other hand, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban emerges as a major winner, having flipped a simple trade exception acquired from New York in the Chandler signing for a top-flight, versatile player still in his prime years who happens to be on an affordable, flexible contract. All in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile, a similarly massive trade exception created by LeBron James’ departure still sits unused by the Cleveland Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert. Please advise.

Dwight Howard Saga

Winner: Dwight Howard

It might come with a public relations price, but it probably feels like a huge relief for Howard knowing that the world now gets where he stands: he’s formally requested a trade and has been in contact with teams on his wish list. No more goofy games or beating around the bush. He’s a major step closer to a certain future. The scrutiny will surely increase but at least people, especially Magic fans, have a better idea of where he’s coming from and how they should manage their expectations.

Loser: Otis Smith

It doesn’t get any worse than watching your CEO drunk dial Howard and then promptly resign. Oh, wait, yes it does. Your franchise announces major layoffs and Howard tells the world that he hasn’t had any contact with you since requesting a trade and that you never listened to him when he made personnel suggestions. Oh, yeah, you can also make an illogical 4-year, $25 million commitment to Jason Richardson, a veteran wing on the precipice of decline, when everyone knows you should be looking for any possible way to reduce payroll. Brutal. On the bright side, as mentioned above, at least the Lakers are still in play to help the Magic save some face.

Medium Deals

Winners: Indiana Pacers and David West

The Pacers land West, one of the biggest and most proven names on the free agent market who fits in nicely to a well-balanced, fairly deep roster that has talent at all five positions. A nice mix of veterans, youngsters and some solid bigs make this a group that might just compete for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs next season. The price for West – 2 years and $20 million – is totally reasonable and hedged nicely against possible deterioration from his recent knee injury and aging. West scores a ticket out of a totally shipwreck in New Orleans, a solid pay day and the chance to hit free agency one more time in two years before his value starts to really diminish.

Losers: Sacramento Kings and Marcus Thornton

You can be as high on Thornton’s upside as you like: it’s very, very difficult to justify spending $31 million over four seasons on a guy who has the same skillset as the two players that you’re most heavily invested in, Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette. With one of the lowest payrolls in the league and a need to up that number in a hurry, it’s not like Sacramento spent its way into a corner here, but there’s simply no way to maximize the effectiveness of Evans, Fredette and Thornton at the same time. Evans and Fredette are 22 and Thornton is 24. Thornton doesn’t meaningfully help you win now and he necessitates a stunted or unorthodox development pattern for Fredette and will almost certainly wind up in staring contests over shot selection with Evans. The money had to be spent and at least it wasn’t spread over five years, but $31 million should solve problems, not create new ones.

Having A Plan

Winners: Miami Heat

Getting Mario Chalmers, a quality point guard who was headed for free agency, for 3-years and $12 million, with a team option on the last year to boot, is an excellent value. Getting Shane Battier for the mini Mid-Level Exception is downright ridiculous. By the way, the Heat brought back James Jones, brought in Eddy Curry and managed to retain Mike Miller. Simply amazing. Miami emerged from the weekend as the overwhelming title favorites.

Losers: Portland Trail Blazers

During a Monday press conference, Portland announced its intentions of starting Brandon Roy and spoke excitedly about the prospect of Greg Oden’s return. By Friday, Roy had decided to pursue a medical retirement, apparently without giving the team any notice, and Oden had suffered yet another medical “setback” that puts his 2011-2012 into jeopardy. Then, with executives scrambling to pursue contingency plans, franchise forward LaMarcus Aldridge was forced to undergo a heart procedure that is expected to keep him out up to two weeks. The Blazers salvaged the weekend by signing veteran Kurt Thomas to fill a much-needed hole, but wound up giving a 2-year deal to a 39-year-old. After all of that, the team is still weighing whether or not to amnesty Roy. That’s a tough stretch.

Minor Deals

Winners: Washington Wizards

The Wizards scored a draft pick and Ronny Turiaf for virtually nothing thanks to the cash considerations included by the Knicks for their work in facilitating the Chandler trade. Filling a roster hole for free and grabbing a future asset is always a win.

Loser: Chauncey Billups

Billups compounded a tough situation – getting amnestied by the Knicks without much warning – by flipping out publicly in the hope that he would scare off potential bidders for his services. He could quickly change from loser to winner if his nuclear strategy works and he winds up getting to pick a contender to latch on to, but for now a guy who was always known as a class act sure looks like a jerk. How many times do you think Billups has said “the NBA is a business” during interviews? 10,000? How do you forget all of that so quickly and threaten to disrupt a team’s locker room? He crossed a line.

Winners: Phoenix Suns

They weren’t flashy moves, but re-signing veteran forward Grant Hill back for just $6.5 million and snatching up former Lakers guard Shannon Brown for $3.5 million were very nice value plays that addressed needs. Of course, the Suns have made their fair share of mistakes in recent years, so value plays were about the only moves at their disposal.

Loser: J.J. Barea

Who is going to pay this man? Have we figured that out yet? Had there not been a lockout and had the old Mid-Level Exception system been in place, he likely would have seen a monster financial bonanza off of his impressive NBA playoffs. Instead, he waits and wonders. He could very well still get paid, but something says this free agency process didn't play out quite like he expected. Update: On Monday morning comes word that Barea will get his money, $19 million over 4-years, but is signing with the 17-win Minnesota Timberwolves to do it. From first to worst. Ouch.

Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:44 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 12:21 pm
 

NBA Free Agency: Opening weekend winners & losers

Posted by Ben Golliver

nba-winners-losers

Deals, non-deals, endless rumors and more. It was a wild opening weekend for the abbreviated 2011 NBA free agency period. Here's an extended look at who won and lost over the first 72 hours. Let's break it down: from the biggest moves to the smallest signings, from the trades that weren't to the guys who remain unsigned.

The Biggest Deal

The NBA came to a standstill when a proposed 3-team trade between the New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would have sent Chris Paul to L.A. fell apart twice thanks to vetoes from NBA commissioner David Stern.

Winners: Orlando Magic

This fiasco was even uglier than the lockout, which is saying something. All the key parties wound up losing one way or another – see below -- but the Magic slide in as winners because the Lakers emerged from the weekend without acquiring a second superstar to pair with Kobe Bryant, and with both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, two excellent potential trade chips for Dwight Howard, still on the roster. The Magic win whether L.A. ends up pairing those two in a deal for Howard or if the idea of such a deal simply sits out there as a potential offer against which Howard’s other suitors must match up. Orlando needs a bidding war in the worst way and the Paul failure ensures that L.A. still has plenty of motivation, and attractive pieces, to actively bid.

Losers: Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets

Paul was seemingly inches from an NBA second life and a brand new level of fame. Instead, he returns to a camp with a roster in tatters and the news that longtime running mate David West is Indiana-bound. His future couldn’t be more uncertain amid the confusion and he’s now forced to deal with questions day after day with no short-term end in sight. Sounds awesome! Thanks, boss.

Hornets GM Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams, meanwhile, are left with a frustrated Paul who obviously still wants out, a barren roster and serious questions about their autonomy as a basketball operations group, not to mention the fact that the league-owned situation could result in another franchise sale at some point in the near future. All this for a team that -- less than a year ago -- was a dynamic playoff force that gave the Lakers a run for their money. The ground fell out from under them.

Monumental Loser: David Stern

It wasn’t just the tremendously questionable decision to veto the trades that makes Stern a loser. It was the way the process unfolded. On what should have been the most exciting time on the NBA calendar following months of petty bickering during the lockout, the spotlight wound up back on Stern. Vetoing the trade directly alienated his league’s most important team, completely undermined the team he operates, and handcuffed the poor Houston Rockets, who were in the middle of a critical strategic time in their franchise’s post-Yao history. The delayed explanation for the veto led to a virtual standstill in other moves, as everyone around the league waited for the largest domino to fall. The eventual attempts at explanation were vague and way too late, leading to an open season of criticism of Stern and talk of walkouts from training camp. One player, Lamar Odom, was so upset by the trade talk limbo that he followed through on that threat, finding himself dumped to the Dallas Mavericks for virtually nothing. Now that it’s all said and done, the Hornets can look forward to worse offers for Paul and/or the prospect that he walks from the team as soon as free agency allows. Nice.

Other Big Deals

Winners: New York Knicks and Tyson Chandler

It’s great when solid matches come together fairly cleanly. New York made no secret of its desire for Chris Paul but was smart enough not to waste precious time on what ended up being a sinkhole. Targeting Chandler and making the necessary moves to acquire him – amnestying Chauncey Billups and trading Ronny Turiaf – took creativity and guts, and the eventual payoff is the best 3-4-5 combination in the NBA. Chandler fills New York’s biggest need and comes in at a reasonable $58 million over four years, a deal that will carry him through the rest of his prime years.

Chandler manages to cash in his new-found respect from the 2011 title team with an excellent pay day from a marquee franchise that is clearly on the upswing. Knicks fans will love his game (as long as he stays healthy, of course).

Losers: Golden State Warriors and DeAndre Jordan

Kudos to the Warriors for doing the right thing with Charlie Bell by telling him to stay away from training camp after he showed up drunk to a court hearing following his second DUI arrest in under a year. It was time to take a stand and they took it. That stand didn’t need to include burning the team’s amnesty clause to release Bell’s paltry $4.1 million salary. With David Lee, Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins all on the books for big-time money, the amnesty is a critical protection against injury for the Warriors. With a bunch of promising youngsters in place, it will be a shame if an unforeseen, devastating injury slows the organization’s ability to wheel and deal because they burned the amnesty toon soon and wind up crippled when it comes to cap flexibility.

Why did the Clippers bother to amnesty Bell? For the right to make a substantial offer to Los Angeles Clippers restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan, a player that team consultant Jerry West appeared to question in an interview this weekend. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is impossible to pin down but his management team is highly motivated to retain Jordan, and will almost certainly match the offer given, leaving Golden State with nothing except $4 million of cap room to show for their misguided efforts.  

Winners: Memphis Grizzlies and Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol, like Chandler, was one of the premier names in this weak free agent class. He will reportedly cash in to a similar degree: receiving a 4 year, $55 million offer sheet from the Rockets that the Grizzlies are expected to match. Retaining Gasol was a critical momentum move in Memphis, as the miracle playoff run to defeat the San Antonio Spurs would have been a distant memory if Gasol was allowed to walk and leave a major hole in the middle. Instead, it’s back for more fun for one of the grittiest, most underappreciated groups in the game. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley answered the questions about whether he would step up and pay to play, inking Gasol, forwards Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay and guard Michael Conley to big-time extensions. Good times in Tennessee.

Losers: Los Angeles Lakers and Lamar Odom

Surely seller’s remorse is sinking in after an emotional rollercoaster of a weekend in L.A., which saw the Lakers immediately grant Odom’s trade request, shipping him out of town for nothing more than cap relief and a heavily protected first round pick. The fact that he lands on a major conference rival makes this a very meaningful talent swing and the Lakers are capped out to the point where replacing his many contributions will be exceedingly difficult in the short-term. It’s no surprise that Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher weren’t all that psyched about this move. The Lakers couldn’t have gotten less for Odom and he couldn’t have gone to a worse destination, other than maybe the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On the other hand, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban emerges as a major winner, having flipped a simple trade exception acquired from New York in the Chandler signing for a top-flight, versatile player still in his prime years who happens to be on an affordable, flexible contract. All in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile, a similarly massive trade exception created by LeBron James’ departure still sits unused by the Cleveland Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert. Please advise.

Dwight Howard Saga

Winner: Dwight Howard

It might come with a public relations price, but it probably feels like a huge relief for Howard knowing that the world now gets where he stands: he’s formally requested a trade and has been in contact with teams on his wish list. No more goofy games or beating around the bush. He’s a major step closer to a certain future. The scrutiny will surely increase but at least people, especially Magic fans, have a better idea of where he’s coming from and how they should manage their expectations.

Loser: Otis Smith

It doesn’t get any worse than watching your CEO drunk dial Howard and then promptly resign. Oh, wait, yes it does. Your franchise announces major layoffs and Howard tells the world that he hasn’t had any contact with you since requesting a trade and that you never listened to him when he made personnel suggestions. Oh, yeah, you can also make an illogical 4-year, $25 million commitment to Jason Richardson, a veteran wing on the precipice of decline, when everyone knows you should be looking for any possible way to reduce payroll. Brutal. On the bright side, as mentioned above, at least the Lakers are still in play to help the Magic save some face.

Medium Deals

Winners: Indiana Pacers and David West

The Pacers land West, one of the biggest and most proven names on the free agent market who fits in nicely to a well-balanced, fairly deep roster that has talent at all five positions. A nice mix of veterans, youngsters and some solid bigs make this a group that might just compete for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs next season. The price for West – 2 years and $20 million – is totally reasonable and hedged nicely against possible deterioration from his recent knee injury and aging. West scores a ticket out of a totally shipwreck in New Orleans, a solid pay day and the chance to hit free agency one more time in two years before his value starts to really diminish.

Losers: Sacramento Kings and Marcus Thornton

You can be as high on Thornton’s upside as you like: it’s very, very difficult to justify spending $31 million over four seasons on a guy who has the same skillset as the two players that you’re most heavily invested in, Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette. With one of the lowest payrolls in the league and a need to up that number in a hurry, it’s not like Sacramento spent its way into a corner here, but there’s simply no way to maximize the effectiveness of Evans, Fredette and Thornton at the same time. Evans and Fredette are 22 and Thornton is 24. Thornton doesn’t meaningfully help you win now and he necessitates a stunted or unorthodox development pattern for Fredette and will almost certainly wind up in staring contests over shot selection with Evans. The money had to be spent and at least it wasn’t spread over five years, but $31 million should solve problems, not create new ones.

Having A Plan

Winners: Miami Heat

Getting Mario Chalmers, a quality point guard who was headed for free agency, for 3-years and $12 million, with a team option on the last year to boot, is an excellent value. Getting Shane Battier for the mini Mid-Level Exception is downright ridiculous. By the way, the Heat brought back James Jones, brought in Eddy Curry and managed to retain Mike Miller. Simply amazing. Miami emerged from the weekend as the overwhelming title favorites.

Losers: Portland Trail Blazers

During a Monday press conference, Portland announced its intentions of starting Brandon Roy and spoke excitedly about the prospect of Greg Oden’s return. By Friday, Roy had decided to pursue a medical retirement, apparently without giving the team any notice, and Oden had suffered yet another medical “setback” that puts his 2011-2012 into jeopardy. Then, with executives scrambling to pursue contingency plans, franchise forward LaMarcus Aldridge was forced to undergo a heart procedure that is expected to keep him out up to two weeks. The Blazers salvaged the weekend by signing veteran Kurt Thomas to fill a much-needed hole, but wound up giving a 2-year deal to a 39-year-old. After all of that, the team is still weighing whether or not to amnesty Roy. That’s a tough stretch.

Minor Deals

Winners: Washington Wizards

The Wizards scored a draft pick and Ronny Turiaf for virtually nothing thanks to the cash considerations included by the Knicks for their work in facilitating the Chandler trade. Filling a roster hole for free and grabbing a future asset is always a win.

Loser: Chauncey Billups

Billups compounded a tough situation – getting amnestied by the Knicks without much warning – by flipping out publicly in the hope that he would scare off potential bidders for his services. He could quickly change from loser to winner if his nuclear strategy works and he winds up getting to pick a contender to latch on to, but for now a guy who was always known as a class act sure looks like a jerk. How many times do you think Billups has said “the NBA is a business” during interviews? 10,000? How do you forget all of that so quickly and threaten to disrupt a team’s locker room? He crossed a line.

Winners: Phoenix Suns

They weren’t flashy moves, but re-signing veteran forward Grant Hill back for just $6.5 million and snatching up former Lakers guard Shannon Brown for $3.5 million were very nice value plays that addressed needs. Of course, the Suns have made their fair share of mistakes in recent years, so value plays were about the only moves at their disposal.

Loser: J.J. Barea

Who is going to pay this man? Have we figured that out yet? Had there not been a lockout and had the old Mid-Level Exception system been in place, he likely would have seen a monster financial bonanza off of his impressive NBA playoffs. Instead, he waits and wonders. He could very well still get paid, but something says this free agency process didn't play out quite like he expected. Update: On Monday morning comes word that Barea will get his money, $19 million over 4-years, but is signing with the 17-win Minnesota Timberwolves to do it. From first to worst. Ouch.

Posted on: December 10, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 12:25 am
 

Magic sign Jason Richardson to 4-year, $25M deal

Posted by Royce Young

The Magic got their man! Well, not that man. Not Superman.

It's just Jason Richardson actually who inked a four-year, $25 million deal according to Yahoo! Sports. One of the top guards in this free agent class for sure, but not exactly the primary target or someone that will necessarily encourage Dwight Howard to stick around.

Magic general manager talked to the media Saturday evening and said the team was close to a deal with Richardson and would have one done by Monday. He was asked if Richardson were just trade bait or for the long-term and Smith said he intended to keep Richardson. Smith also said the re-signing of Richardson would not have been possible without the amnesty on Gilbert Arenas.

The Magic are in such an interesting place right now with their roster. Just because Dwight Howard might be out doesn't mean it's time to blow everything apart and start anew. Orlando will be receiving a nice package in exchange for Howard that could include someone like Brook Lopez and/or Nene. So there needs to be quality pieces in place for when the roster is rebuilt.

He's only 30 and still has a number of good years ahead of him. He gives the Magic a lot of depth at shooting guard with J.J. Redick and keeps the team with a bevy of outside shooting threats, which is something coach Stan Van Gundy likes. Especially if Dwight Howard is his center. And while he might not be in a week or so, there's a good chance Van Gundy will have a new talented big man in his place, so having those marksmen flanking the wings isn't a bad thing.

Richardson averaged 15.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game with a 15.02 PER playing in both Phoenix in Orlando last season. With the Suns in 25 games he put up 19.3 ppg but with the Magic in 55, he only averaged 13.9. Four years at a little more than $5 million per year is a pretty good bargain for a player like Richardson. Considering what a lot of other guys in the same neighborhood as him are going for, I'd say the Magic did pretty well. But that's not the whole story. Because the Magic are in flux right now, or at least should be.

Richardson faded mightily last season and will greatly damage the Magic's chances of getting under the cap in the near future. Which seems like the logical plan post-Dwight. Cut salary, open up some flexibility and rebuild. Instead, it seems like Otis Smith is trying to prep to continue on with a mediocre roster that may include Nene or Brook Lopez in the near future.

Curious.

Related: Consider this curious quote from Richardson though that he had over the summer:

"I want to go to a great place for my family," Richardson told the Saginaw News. "I've been blessed by God to play in the NBA for a lot of money. I'd like to go someplace that has a chance to win a championship ... I probably have five or six seasons left in the NBA, so I want to go somewhere I can stay."

Are the Magic a team he can win a title with? Or I should say, will they be that type of team in a week or two? Nope. But at this point, no way is he turning down what the Magic offered. Forget titles and contending. Money talks.

Posted on: December 10, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Magic C Dwight Howard requests trade

Posted by Ben Golliver

dwight-howard-nets


Get me out of here!

Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard has reportedly told the team that he wants to be shipped out of town.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Saturday that Howard had request a trade multiple times this week.
Dwight Howard has told the Orlando Magic that he wants to be traded, Magic General Manager Otis Smith told the Orlando Sentinel Saturday afternoon.

Smith said Howard has made the request twice in separate conversations since Monday.
Yahoo Sports reported soon after that Howard, who would be eligible for free agency next summer, had requested a trade to the New Jersey Nets.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirmed Saturday that Howard has requested a trade to New Jersey but noted that "a person involved in the chase cautions not to count out the Los Angeles Lakers" and that Howard "still views L.A. as the best fit for his off-court pursuits." Berger reported on Friday night that the Magic had given permission for Howard to speak with the Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Howard's particular interest in the Nets was first reported on Friday. Almost two weeks ago, the Nets reportedly offered a trade package to the Magic that includes center Brook Lopez and two first round draft picks in exchange for Howard and forward Hedo Turkoglu.

As noted Friday, if Howard's heart is truly set on landing in New Jersey there's an excellent chance it could happen, especially now that chaos reigns over the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably his strongest other suitor. But that still remains an "if" until we hear from Howard personally or from the Magic, in the form of a completed trade.

Howard, 26, is a 5-time All-Star and the best center in the NBA, by far. In New Jersey, he would be the immediate face of the franchise and he would soon be in Brooklyn, adjacent to the media center of the universe and right in the middle of all the fame he can handle. The Nets, given their cap situation, would have a fair degree of flexibility in building around All-Star point guard Deron Williams and Howard, so he wouldn't be stuck in a capped-out situation like he is in Orlando, at least not immediately. He would figure to have solid input in helping New Jersey build around him, as the Nets surely would want to avoid the Magic's mistakes.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 1:04 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Dwight Howard Trade Updates: Tampering?

By EOB Staff

While the debacle that is the Chris Paul Trade/Non-Trade continues to unfold, there's drama in the East as well. Dwight Howard is just as much in the rumor mill as Chris Paul, as his free agency in 2012 looms and a potential trade could be coming (if the league doesn't block it). We'll keep you updated on all the latest in news and rumors below.

Magic haven't filed charge

6:24 p.m. -- New Magic president Alex Martins told the media that the team has not filed a tampering charge against the Nets. The NBA confirms this as well. But Martins did leave it open as a possiblility.

Howard denies meeting with Nets

4:22 p.m. -- Via ESPN NY, Dwight Howard said that he did not meet with the Nets. "There was no meeting," he said.

"Right now, my plan is to show up to training camp for the Orlando Magic."

However, the original report maintains that sources insist the meeting took place.

Magic to file tampering complaint?

1:46 p.m. -- Ken Berger reports that the Rockets will not be investigated as originally reportd by SI.com. Magic are still considering a complaint against New Jersey. SI.com says that the Magic decided not to pursue a complaint against Houston due to a lack of "information." SI also says the Rockets have been informed they were not "considered" for the complaint. Confusing.  Good thing, though. The Rockets have enough going on with the Chris Paul debacle. 

1:00 p.m.
-- Oh, this should be fun. David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com reports that the Magic are filing tampering charges against two unnamed teams for contacting Dwight Howard without their permission. SI.com reports the two teams are New Jersey and Houston. The Nets side apparently stems from a meeting between Howard and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov along with GM Billy King in Miami a week ago.

Meeting with Howard isn't prohibited strictly by the NBA. Doing it without permission from the Magic? Yeah, that's a no-no. Prokhorov can claim he's unaware of the rules, being new. Billy King? Not so much. This could get very bad for the Nets very quickly. The charges against the Rockets aren't known at this time.

Howard to request trade to Nets?

9:00 a.m. -- ESPN reports that Dwight Howard will request a trade from the Magic to the New Jersey Nets Friday afternoon. The Nets are rumored to be offering Brook Lopez and two first round picks, which is not exactly a king's ransom for a multiple Defensive-Player-of-the-Year winner and an MVP candidate who's the best in the league at his position. 

Landing Howard would be a monstrous coup for a franchise that has repeatedly struck out with major deals. They whiffed on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amar'e Stoudemire in the summer of 2010, Carmelo Anthony throughout 2011, being used as leverage by the Nuggets. They landed Deron Williams, but gave up a metric ton of assets for him. Landing Howard to pair with Williams makes them an instant powerhouse with cap room to spare. If the Nets want to join the big-time, this is the move to do it. 

Reports earlier in the week indicated that Howard had not informed the Magic of what he wanted, nor had the Magic composed a "wish list" for what to get back in return for Howard.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 1:25 am
 

Report: Nets are top choice for Dwight Howard?

Posted by Ben Golliver

dwight-howard-nets

Earlier this week, word surfaced that the New Jersey Nets were preparing your classic "young piece / financial relief / draft picks" package in an attempt to swing a deal for Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard. The Nets have been kind of a running punchline for the last few years, so the offer was seen merely as an opening salvo in what could potentially be a long and complicated trade process.

But ESPN.com reported on Thursday that this isn't necessarily a one-way street of interest. Indeed, the site reported that Howard "is expected to ask the Magic to trade him to New Jersey" as the Nets "have emerged as his No. 1 choice."

The benefits for Orlando are clear. They can toss in Hedo Turkoglu's terrible contract, amnesty Gilbert Arenas and begin work on crafting their future. New Jersey can toss in cash, picks and all the other accoutrements to make the bitter pill of trading Howard go down a bit easier. 

New Jersey's motivations are equally transparent. Landing Howard not only gives them one of the league's top-2 players, but it serves as the perfect hook for keeping All-Star point guard and impending free agent Deron Williams in town. Pairing Williams and Howard would give the Nets arguably the best inside-out pair in the game. Williams is 27-years-old and Howard is 26-years-old, so the Nets would figure to be strong title contenders for the next four years, minimum.

This all comes down to Howard and his motivations. He hasn't made extensive public comments to this point so it's not easy to gauge where he stands or what's most important to him, other than the obvious desire to win a title. In New Jersey, he would be the immediate face of the franchise and he would soon be in Brooklyn, adjacent to the media center of the universe and right in the middle of all the fame he can handle. The Nets, given their cap situation, would have a fair degree of flexibility in building around Williams and Howard, so he wouldn't be stuck in a capped-out situation like he is in Orlando, at least not immediately. He would figure to have solid input in helping New Jersey build around him, as the Nets surely would want to avoid the Magic's mistakes.

If Howard's heart is truly set on landing in New Jersey there's an excellent chance it could happen, especially now that chaos reigns over the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably his strongest other suitor. But that still remains an "if" until we hear from Howard personally or from the Magic, in the form of a completed trade.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:28 pm
 

Lakers trade for Chris Paul: Grade the Trade



By Matt Moore  

It's good to be on top.

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets in a three-way deal with the Houston Rockets. Los Angeles trades Lamar Odom to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston, while the Rockets send Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to New Orleans.

Kaboom.

The Lakers missed the NBA Finals by two rounds last year, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks. They watched Chris Paul destroy them in the first round, showing some of their weakness. So they went out and got him. They have acquired the best point guard in the NBA, their best point guard since Magic Johnson, and gotten a premier All-Star in his prime to pair with Kobe Bryant on his way towards the sunset.

The Lakers are clearly not done, and will continue to pursue a deal to trade Andrew Bynum to the Orlando Magic to bring Dwight Howard and create their own big three, arguably a better one than the one in Miami. It's an arms race in the NBA, and the Lakers have the biggest budget and most capital to use. And so they have responded to all this Knicks-Heat-Chicago nonsense with their own move, after helping kickstart the race three years ago by acquiring Pau Gasol from Memphis. They're one move away from checkmate.

In the interim, the team did lose a lot of talent. Pau Gasol has flirted with "best big man in the game" for the past three seasons prior to last spring's meltdown. Lamar Odom is a hyper-athletic, versatile veteran who has been a part of three Finals teams and two championships. Neither on the right side of 30, but both still have a lot of value left.

And yet, the takeback is staggering. CP3, in his prime, to provide Kobe Bryant with the clutch guard he's never had. Even in losing their frontcourt, leaving them with a gaping hole at power forward, and even without a trade for Howard, the Lakers now feature Chris Paul able to lob to Andrew Bynum and kick to Kobe Bryant. And for Paul, whose knees are a question mark, to have Bryant to handle the ball and take the load off, he may have extended his career by four seasons.

For Bryant, it may be a rough transition giving the ball up. But it also means no more wondering about his teammates. There will be no outraged glares at Paul. He won't blow defensive assignments. He won't miss Bryant when he's open. Instead, if Bryant is open for a half-second inside, on the wing, or at half-court, Paul will find him. Bynum also comes away big in this deal. He's never had a guard to work with his insane athleticism. Bynum on the pick and roll, rolling to the basket for an alley-oop? It's Paul, the master of the alley-oop, dishing it now.

Do the Lakers have holes now? Absolutely. Starting with power forward, the length they've enjoyed inside to disrupt passing lanes and tip-in misses is gone, even with Bynum still in place. They've lost a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and they're just as weak at backup center as ever. They've lost a lot of scoring, a lot of rebounds, a lot of defense. But they gained one of the top five players in the league and have positioned themselves expertly to add a second if they can lean on the Magic enough. With or without Howard, if you pull a deal to get the best player in the league at his position (Derrick Rose is not a point guard, he's a Derrick Rose), you get an A.

Grade: A
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com