Tag:free agency
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 6:07 pm

Melo Trade: Is there a case for collusion?

Carmelo Anthony joins Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. Thing is, that's becoming for a while, and we know that because... Amar'e told us so.
Posted by Matt Moore

On July 4th, 2010, Amar'e Stoudemire, before he signed with the New York Knicks, spoke to reporters outside of a Broadway show he was catching during his visit with the Knicks. It should have been a simple quote. "Excited to look at my options, happy to visit New York, it's a great city, blah blah blah." Instead, Amar're dropped this. 

"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here," Stoudemire said. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we will see if we can work it out."

This got slipped by national media because it was July, in the NBA, July 4th, a holiday, and because everyone in sports media was focused on LeBron James and anything he would do.  And hey, it was crazy. When would multiple All-Stars ever team up, right? Right?

You know the punchline, there. 

But as we stand here nearly eight months later, you've got to look at this. You have an All-Star, before he signed with the Knicks, telling another All-Star who is under contract with another team that he needs to come out and join him on the Knicks. Eight months later, Anthony forces a trade to the Knicks. 

Tampering and collusion have been hot topics in the NBA since the Heat formed this summer. The Cavs considered a lawsuit againt the Heat for tampering with LeBron. And the league had to comment on the issue of collusion this summer, saying they would not get involved. But in the reflection of the Melo deal, the question has to be asked. 

Was how the Melo acquisition occurred within the peramters of NBA policy?

There is Stoudemire, on record, during conversations with the Knicks, openly stating he is lobbying for Anthony to join him. From that moment on, the Anthony-to-New-York talk snowballed into a frenzy, then caught fire and threatened to swallow us whole in a black mass of hype, suffocating us beyond all... sorry. It was  arough few months. Nonetheless, we can trace back what we saw at the introductory press conference for Melo as a Knick back to this comment in July, which garnered little scrutiny. It's time for people to take notice. These events are not occuring organically, they're not being conducted in good faith. Players have their agendas, and the teams involved may or may not have been involved in the influence of one player upon another.  This isn't to say New York was behind Amar'e's comments to Melo, there's absolutely no proof of that.

But we do see this. 
1. Player A talks to New York in free agency.

2. Player A tells media he's called Player B, who's under contract with another team, and tells him to join him in New York. 

3. Player A signs with New York.

4. Player B has representatives leak to media that he wants to be traded and New York is his only option due to his leverage with his upcoming free agency.

5. Player A says he has not talked to Player B about the situation, suspiciously. 

6. Player B is traded to New York.

That's a pretty suspicious line of events for nothing to have gone on. Players are not being slick with this at this point, because the league has made it clear it's not going to get involved in such discussions. But in the interest of competitive fairness, it has an obligation to its owners in these markets who are now bleeding All-Stars toward New York to ensure that everything is being conducted within the confines of NBA policy.

This isn't to say there's anything wrong with allowing it. It's every player's right to want to work where they want to, and their right to talk to whomever they wish. As long as the teams aren't involved, there's nothing wrong with allowing this kind of thing. But in that instance, the league needs to make a statement that there's no problem with players impacting players currently under contact.  Amar'e wasn't a Knick yet, so there's a possibility he could have wound up somewhere else had talks gone differently. But they didn't, and he is. And now so's Melo. 

For the fans of the other 23 teams outside of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Miami, you have to wonder if there's something amiss in how things are being handled. 
Posted on: February 20, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: February 20, 2011 1:48 am

Deron Williams and the Knickerbocker issue

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Deron Williams began informing associates after last season that he would follow Amar'e Stoudemire to New York. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com dropped a bombshell Saturday night amid talk of a Dolan-Isiah-Walsh conflict over Melo, the Nets' meeting with Anthony, and this whole ugly mess. From Berger: 

A person with knowledge of the conversations told CBSSports.com on Saturday that Jazz point guard Deron Williams began informing close associates after last season that if Stoudemire wound up in New York, Williams would follow him there as a free agent in 2012. If the Knicks got Anthony with the three-year extension under current rules, it is not clear whether they'd have enough cap space to add a player such as Williams, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard when the trio become unrestricted free agents after next season.
via Nets reportedly back in on Melo after Dolan jumps in - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball .

So here's how this play will probably get executed. 

Williams will, of course, strongly deny the report tomorrow whenever a reporter manages to ask him. Half the people will freak out over the media and half will freak out because of the implications of this on the current season. That's how these things are structured, to leak word while providing cover. Just enough for there to be analysis of the player's fit with the prospective team, and just enough to allow for hand-wringing over the veracity of the claim. 

Williams just came through the resignation of Jerry Sloan, with reports indicating Williams was involved in a locker room confrontation the night before Sloan announced he was leaving the Jazz after over two decades. Williams vehemently denied any such conflict with Sloan, but the repercussions caused by the Hall of Fame coach's departure are still being felt. 

At the time, we talked about how Deron leaving after that debacle would be "worse than LeBron ." News that Williams has been considering a departure for such a major market before this season will leave its mark on the Jazz even as the team flounders, trying to hold on to a playoff spot. Welcome to the big time, Deron Williams. You might want to get some advice from Melo on how crazy it's going to get. 
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: January 21, 2011 1:55 pm

Wilson Chandler fires his agent

Posted by Matt Moore

Newsday reports: 

Chris Luchey, who has represented Chandler since he entered the NBA Draft in 2007, confirmed to Newsday that he has been let go. Luchey called it "amicable" and said he had "no ill will" toward Chandler, which is an interesting choice of words considering "Ill Wil" is one of Chandler's nicknames. "We'll have a personal relationship that will continue for a lifetime," Luchey added. 
The bottom line is, Chandler fired his agent. And this is a tough loss for Luchey, who had to accept Donnie Walsh's decision to not offer Chandler a contract extension in the fall.
via Sports Blogs Item .

Chandler's story has been an interesting one this season. He was widely expected to be buried on the Knicks as part of the continuing effort to erase the Isiah Thomas era from memory completely. But instead he's become a vital part of the Knicks' offense, averaging a career high 17.4 points per game, as well as career highs in rebounds, blocks, and True Shooting percentage

So with Restricted Free Agency on his horizon this summer, Chandler's probably made this decision in order to capitalize on the biggest moment. After all, Luchey hasn't exactly done a great job in pursuing his client's best interests through his rookie contract.  Should the Knicks decide to free up the capspace in pursuit of another big name free agent, Chandler will have quite a bit of value on the open market. Scorers that can run efficiently under the age of 25 tend to hold pretty well on the market. But considering how well he fits on the Knicks, as a versatile combination of pure-shooting scorer and Matrix-like wing, they may well opt to keep him long-term. 

In related news, did you know Wilson Chandler is averaging 1.4 blocks per game? Am I the only one that finds that bizarre?
Posted on: January 20, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 6:29 pm

Raptors buy out Peja Stojakovic, where to next?

Peja Stojakovic and Toronto Raptors reach buyout agreement. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Update 3:49 p.m.
: The Raptors have announced the buyout is complete, Peja's on the market. 

22 minutes. That's the sum total of time that Peja Stojakovic has spent on the floor for the Toronto Raptors. And it's looking more and more like that's going to be the sum total for his career. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirms a report from ESPN that the Raptors and Stojakovic are close on a buyout agreement that will put the 33-year-old fading shooter on the market, where Stein reports he'll seek to join a contender. The buyout is expected to be completed Thursday. 

Peja's top teams are apparently the Mavericks, Hornets, and Lakers. Let's take a look at the three options. 

Mavericks: A reasonable spot. They're in desperate need for a wing option. But Stojakovic's defense is the question here. The Mavericks can't surrender a defensive lapse at that position, the biggest reason they've targeted Stephen Jackson. The Mavericks do need a shooter, though, so this might be an option. He was shooting 38% from the arc with the Hornets in limited minutes, so it's possible he could be a fit. If the Mavericks don't think they can find an upgrade to replace Caron Butler through trade, this might be their default option, should he last that long on the market. 

Hornets: A return home. Peja has been in New Orleans for five years. He's used to playing with CP3, used to playing with David West. And he looked better than he has at the start of this season. But head coach Monty Williams has been very particular with his approach in regards to wing minutes, and it's unclear if they'll be willing to make the commitment to Stojakovic. But if he's willing to come in for cheap, and with the Hornets still trying to figure out that position between Marco Bellineli, Willie Green, and Marcus Thornton, it's possible they could bring in Peja. Then again, that's a lot of players at one position.

Lakers:  A pretty reasonable spot. Championship aspiriations. In need of shooters, with Ron Artest's shooting all over the place. Always shopping for improvements. But with Lamar Odom, Artest, and Barnes all getting minutes at the three-spot, room is short there, and with Bryant expected to play Bryant minutes and Shannon Brown mopping up the difference along with Artest, there may not be room there for Stojakovic, especially with their need for depth down low. 

We'll keep you apprised of Peja's landing spot.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 2:01 pm

The state of the Nuggets fanbase re: Melo

Roundball Mining Company is an excellent Nuggets blog. This morning they posted an examination of whether to be angry or upset with Carmelo Anthony about all that's gone down in the past six months. It's well worth a read:

The Denver Nuggets are not what you would call a traditional powerhouse.  For most of nearly a decade and a half Denver was a doormat.  It is true there were some inspiring players and some exciting, even historic, moments.  The Nuggets also tortured fans with the Paul Westhead experiment Dick Motta and the dreadful backcourt of Junior Harrington and Vincent Yarbrough.  For the most part Denver suffered from poor management, lacked talent, some of their best players suffered debilitating injuries, see LaPhonso Ellis and Antonio McDyess, and the franchise was largely irrelevant.

That all changed when Carmelo Anthony arrived.  Since Melo was drafted by the Nuggets in June of 2003 Denver has yet to have a losing season or miss the playoffs.  After being one of the best teams in the ABA, once the Nuggets joined the NBA in 1976 they had never even had more than three consecutive winning seasons.  Alex English never lead the Nuggets to seven straight winning seasons.  No Nugget player has.  Carmelo was the catalyst of the longest stretch of prosperity this franchise has ever experienced.
via Roundball Mining Company » Should I be Mad at Carmelo Anthony?.

So that's an element here to be considered. Carmelo Anthony really did give the Nuggets the most success they've had in the history of their franchise. Which of course says a lot about the history of their franchise that habitual first-round exits with one great playoff run in a weak conference year is the best you've ever had, but still. Carmelo Anthony brought the most success to the Nuggets they've ever had. And now he's vapor trails. 
That's a complicated situation for fans. On the one hand, he's given that franchise more than they've ever had before. He's given them seven good years of consistent playoff-caliber seasons. He's put them on the NBA map, made them into a contender, if you take that word to its loosest interpretation. It's easy to argue he's given the fans more than they've ever had before, and so he doesn't owe them anything. 

On the other hand, how this shapes out is more similar to "The Decision" than some people would like to admit. By dragging this out, by having it hang over the team, even though those are decisions above him, he's hurting the fanbase and making them suffer through his departure. People have argued that the reason James is hated is because of how he left, not that he did leave. But in the end, results matter. The fans want Melo to stay, and he's not going to. And had he slipped off in the night under cover of free agency, the backlash would likely be palpable as well. At least Melo's been smart enough not to exacerbate it with public comments (which would get him fined). 

At the heart of this, again, though, is the question of whether players have a right to determine their own futures in terms of where they want to work. That same right is afforded you and I. However, the difference here is that Melo signed a contract and then an extension with the Nuggets to play in Denver. He wants an adjustment of that contract before its completion. Perhaps that's the issue. 

In a related note, check out Chris Webber's passionate but extremely insightful and lucid discussion of the Melo situation (starting at 1:18):

(HT: TheDailySegWay on Twitter)
Posted on: January 5, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: January 5, 2011 12:03 pm

Grant Hill compares '96 free agents to '10 class

Suns star Grant Hill talks about the differences between the 1996 free agency class and the 2010 class and the difference in labor situations of 1998 and 2011. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Grant Hill has been around and has seen a lot. That's what comes with 15 years of NBA experience. Part of that experience comes from his time dealing with the '96 free agency class, which featured Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, and for about 45 seconds, Michael Jordan. Two years after that class, the NBA entered a lockout, in part due to the kinds of contracts that were signed in '96. 

He's also seen 2010, and the formation of the Miami Triad/Heatles/Whatever-cute-nicknam
e-you-want-to-use, Rudy Gay's $80 million bonanza, and Amar'e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer also getting massive deals.  And in six months, that group of free agents will also likely face a lockout. 

As part of Ken Berger's interview with Hill in this week's installment of "In the Moment," Berger spoke with Hill about the comparisons between the two free agent classes and the differences between that labor dispute, and this one. 

"I remember back in 96, there was a lot of player movement, a lot of big contracts signed this summer. You didn't really get what happened this summer with LeBron, and DWade and those guys where it was like "Let's put together is kind of 'Dream Team' so to speak or something that may appear predetermined. I think the contracts at that point were getting high and it ended up becoming a concern that they would continue to escalate."

Hill also talks about the differences between the two and it's important to note that Hill takes a conciliatory line in the dispute, giving the owners reason to object to the current situation while maintaining the union's position that the current system works. It's a level-headed, reasonable position, the kind that's needed in order to avoid a lockout, the kind the owners have had no interest in adapting, instead blasting their boomboxes of recalcitrant objection to the current situation and threatening at every turn.  The situation needs leaders like Hill, and we can only help that both sides will follow his lead. 

It's also readily apparent that when his playing days are over, if they ever are, there should be a bidding war over Hill's services for television studio or announce work. Not because of his considerable star power and name recognition, but simply because it's more than evident that Hill will provide a stirring personality on screen for both analysis and personality. 

You'll see more of that personality on Friday when Ken Berger's full interview with Grant Hill is posted exclusively on CBSSports.com. 
Posted on: November 22, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 10:25 pm

Erick Dampier will not solve the Heat disaster

Erick Dampier can't solve all the Heat's problems as the superstars drop another one, this time to Indiana. Posted by Matt Moore

I'm not going to waste time with "Maybe this is the one that gets their head right." You'll hear no "Maybe this is the one that gets them in gear." No more of that. The Miami Heat are a mediocre team right now. It means nothing in regards to the playoffs, which they will likely make regardless of how bad they look now because they are able to out-talent a largely unimpressive Eastern Conference. It means nothing in terms of the legacy of the Big 3 or this grand experiment. It means simply that.

The Miami Heat are an utterly mediocre team right now.

In tonight's 93-77 beatdown courtesy of the Indiana Pacers... think about that... the Indiana Pacers... the Heat showed the total array of their failures this season. The symptoms which developed in those games against Boston have turned into full-blown medical emergencies, causing hemorhages on-court and flat-lining the Heat for the second game in a row, just two days after a mediocre Grizzlies team beat them. This, in front of a Miami crowd that's been as underwhelming as the Heat. This grand experiment isn't a failure yet, but the early returns would prompt funding agencies to pull-back on their promises of renewed grants. The Pacers handled this team, despite Dwyane Wade playing. Or "playing" as I wouldn't call 3 points on 1-13 shooting with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 turnovers exactly "playing" in the DWade sense.

The Heat announcers talked about how the team was "blue" because they're missing their captain, Udonis Haslem, out with foot surgery. And Ken Berger reports help is on the way with Erick Dampier likely to sign a one-year deal on Tuesday to bolster their sad, depleted frontcourt. But that's not going to solve the problems. It's not going to make the Heat close out with any urgency, which they have yet to do this year with the exception of their Magic win. It's not going to make them hustle on defense, as LeBron James tonight stood and watched a streaking Pacers guard blow by him with Carlos Arroyo pointlessly trying to keep up and head to the bucket for an easy two. It's not going to make Erik Spoelstra come up with a feasible game plan instead of the pointless meandering this allegedly "elite" ballclub calls an offense. Dampier will help them rebound and foul hard, and that will help, since Chris Bosh once again looked meek and mild, this time in the face of young Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger. But he won't make this team look like it wants to be on the floor or play like a team.

It was up to Riley to get the three in the building, it was up to Spoelstra to get them to play with purpose, together. Riley did his job. And with every inexcusable loss for a team with this hype, this payroll, this talent, you have to wonder if Riley isn't going to end up doing Spoelstra's job as well.

The Heat's problems are in total. Effort, execution, focus, luck, deliberation, strategy, intensity. The entire menu of things you need in order to be an elite NBA team is missing. The only things left are neat intro videos and a bunch of players who don't seem to look at each other, talk to each other, or want to play with each other. And Monday night against a Pacers team that had none of the Heat's talent but all their missing intangibles, the inescapable truth showed itself again.

It's too early to call this a failure.

But it's surely too late to say that it's working.

Posted on: November 13, 2010 2:37 am
Edited on: November 13, 2010 2:54 pm

Did the Miami Triad spoil Carmelo's escape plan?

LeBron James' free-agency escapades may have held up Carmelo's intent to relocate this summer.
Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger's post on Carmelo Anthony contains a wealth of information on the Carmelo Anthony situation. Among the information relayed is this particular nugget of note which  contains a reference to our favorite Triad currently struggling down in South Beach:

This is precisely where the Nuggets began to lose their leverage with Melo, according to a rival executive and a second person familiar with the dynamics. As teams that would've been attractive to Anthony began scrambling to use their cap space on Plans B and C after striking out on LeBron and Wade, Anthony and the Nuggets were stuck in limbo. Melo's representatives at Creative Artists Agency -- the same operation that had been preoccupied all summer orchestrating the Miami signings -- didn't begin making noise about Anthony's desire for a trade until August. By then, the Nuggets' front office had been blown up and several promising trade partners had spent their money elsewhere. It was too late.
So what to take from this? Well, most prominently, if Carmelo Anthony does in fact want out of Denver and into a more attractive market, you know, like the five that were fawning over James and his cohorts this summer? Then CAA's distracted stance with those three overshadowed the situation regarding Carmelo and in doing so, was slow to enable him to move, and subsequently landed him firmly cemented in the Mile High City.

Not that this will affect Carmelo's relationship with the Triad, those guys are thick as thieves. But there's still a level of complexity here where when you look at it. CAA was so wrapped up in "The Decision" and the formation of the rather epic PR disaster going on in Miami at the moment, it allowed Carmelo Anthony to become cemented in Denver, even while he was not signing a very available extension.

So. If following this logic we come to the conclusion that Carmelo Anthony is unlikely to win a championship this season, and if he does in fact want out (and again, Carmelo's been very clear that's not the case... maybe... probably... something), then this is kind of a lost season for him. And that's unfortunate.

Which would make the list of things damaged by LeBron James' free agency and related decisions: Cleveland, Ohio and all its residents, Cleveland Cavaliers fans worldwide, the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets, Jim Gray's career, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade's public reputations, several members of the Miami Heat ticket sales office and the ability of Carmelo Anthony to expedite his relocation.

Look, you may hate the guy, but even you have to admit that's impressive.

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