Tag:Ersan Ilyasova
Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 11:33 am
 

Rockets looking to trade up in draft for big man

Posted by Matt Moore

The Houston Rockets may have a dilemma at their spot, but they have no intention of hanging around to bite their fingernails over it. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Rockets are shopping their two first-round picks, the No. 14 and No. 23, in order to move into the top ten. Specifically, Berger reports that talks have opened with the Detroit Pistons in a two-for-one swap that would allow the Rockets to get what they really want: a big man. Berger reports that late-riser Tristan Thompson is at the top of the list, along with Congolese phenom Bismack Biyombo.

The Pistons don't have an outstanding need beyond getting rid of their locker room-cancer vets, so this makes sense. It puts the Pistons in a position to gain more depth without getting stuck with a pick that's too good not to take, but only in a draft this low on star power. Still, that eight spot will have one of several good prospects available, especially with some of the reaches being discussed. However, it sounds like Detroit's not the only team Houston is chatting with in an attempt to move up. 

The Racine Journal-Times reports that the Rockets are also talking to the Bucks about the No. 10 pick, and this one is more than just a pick-swap, there are players involved: 
The teams have tossed around different trade scenarios with Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova being prominently mentioned.

It's hardly a secret the Bucks would be interested in Rockets forward Patrick Patterson, whom the Bucks were hoping to land in last summer's draft.
The Bucks could also have interest in Rockets forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, yet another player they liked in the 2009 draft.
via BUCKS NOTES: Milwaukee, Houston discussing a deal.

Ilyasova is a promising all-around player still with upside at 24, and would give the Rockets a talented big man to pair with Luis Scola. Patterson seems like a high cost, though, as he showed a world of potential in his rookie season. Budinger is just the kind of player that GM Daryl Morey often raises the value of and then sells high on, while Hill is still somewhat of a project. Draft Express reports that the Rockets may have sweetened their deal by including Courtney Lee, which would likely get the Bucks' interest considering their desperate need for backcourt depth.

The Rockets' pursuit of a big man makes all the sense in the world, considering Yao Ming's highly questionable return to Houston and their glaring need for height. Thompson makes for an odd fit next to Luis Scola, but Thompson has been the one player who has made the hardest charge up the draft rankings in the past 24 hours, with some reports pegging him as high as No. 4. Biyombo on the other hand is a freak athlete with great work ethic and the <a href="http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/?year=2011&sort2=DESC&draft=0&pos=0&source=All&sort=5" target="_blank">second-greatest wingspan of any prospect in the draft. Fellow workout prospect Chris Singleton described Biyombo as being able to scratch his knees standing up yesterday, which is just circus-clown freaky.

The Rockets need a homerun. In a draft without really any of those types of pitches, the Rockets seem dedicated to fighting their way into the batter's box anyway.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:30 am
 

Preseason Primer: Milwaukee Bucks

Posted by Matt Moore

Fear the Deer. It became the meme of the NBA last season, and you were hard-pressed to find a hardcore NBA-head who didn't love the scrappy team from Milwaukee. Heading into training camp things are dramatically different. Andrew Bogut is recovering from injury again, but outside of that, the stakes are much higher. The Bucks were the fifth seed in the East and had it not been for Bogut's injury likely would have bested the Hawks. Now they need to somehow improve on last year's performance in an Eastern Conference which is loaded at every turn. What do they have to do in training camp to get that done? We'll let you in on the secrets as we continue our Preseason Primers.

Training camp site: Milwaukee, WI />
Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Corey Maggette (trade), Drew Gooden (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Chris Douglas-Roberts (trade)

Key subtractions: Charlie Bell (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Dan Gadzuric (trade)

Likely starting lineup: Brandon Jennings (PG), John Salmons (SG), Corey Maggette (SF), Drew Gooden (PF), Andrew Bogut (C)

Player to watch: Chris Douglas-Roberts. Okay, this is a lie. If Brandon Jennings is involved in any way, you watch him. But CDR's not a bad backup option, literally. With the Bucks needing a legit backup shooting guard, CDR has a chance to capitalize on his combination of handle and size if he can develop into a well-rounded player that commits to Scott Skiles' system. CDR is also highly explosive and can go off at any time, so how he reacts to Skiles' military approach may be the defining verdict on his career if things go sour.


Chemistry quiz: The Bucks worked really well together last year and embraced Jennings as a leader. The question will be how players like Drew Gooden, CDR, and Corey Maggette do in a system that asks them sacrifice and play defense consistently. The team struggled offensively last year, but a perk of that was a lack of ego-centric players who weren't looking for their shot. As delicate as chemistry is, the changes the Bucks brought in could create too many guys looking for FGAs.


Camp battles: Carlos Delfino versus Corey Maggette should be a great one. Maggette had a fantastic season last year and is a better overall player than Maggette. But Maggette has the contract and offensive firepower to demand a starting spot. Skiles abandoned Delfino in the playoffs when he wasn't in a good matchup. There's no telling how this one will wind up, but Delfino's play in FIBA this summer certainly is cause for excitement.

Injury issues:
I think the fact that reports have come out daily about Andrew Bogut's elbow is probably indicative he's a concern. That and the fact that he had more metal put in than that chick in Fringe with they cybernetic arm. That too.

Biggest strength: Simplicity. The Bucks don't over-complicate things. They defend like rabid animals, run basic offensive sets geared to give playmakers the ball in space, and work their tail off. It's an optimal system not only for a standard of success, anchored by a talented point guard and center, but easy for new pieces to fit in. Skiles continues to impress as a coach that is able to get through to guys and convince them to commit.

Glaring weakness: They added multiple offensive weapons, but there are going to be concerns with the age of both Maggette and Gooden, as well as how Brandon Jennings fits with all these high-usage players on board. That same simplicity also creates problems when they hit a team with a counter to their approach.
Posted on: September 12, 2010 5:14 pm
 

Behind Durant's 28, the USA wins gold over Turkey

Posted by Royce Young

After dropping in his seventh 3-pointer early in the third quarter, Team USA's star backpedaled down the court shaking his hand with three fingers out. It wasn't the Jordan shrug, but Kevin Durant knew he had something going. And he knew his team was closing in on a big moment.

With two daggers right out of the locker room after a massive first half, Durant brok the backs of his opponent early, and he did it swiftly and efficiently. And for the tournament's MVP, anything less would've been a surprise.

In a game in front of one of the most hostile, vocal and rabid atmospheres you'll find anyway, Durant dropped a game-high 28 points on 10-17 shooting (7-13 from 3), leading the United States to its first World Championship gold medal in 16 years with a 81-64 win over host nation Turkey.

And the U.S. had to have Durant to lean on once again. Team USA held a lead from nearly the outset, but it was on the shoulders of the man called Durantula. Consider: In the first half, the U.S. went 6-22 from 3. Durant went 5-9 by himself. So if you do a little math there, that means the rest of Team USA sans Durant went just 1-13 from deep in the first 20 minutes. The team had 42 points and Durant had 20 of them.

Out of the locker room, Durant picked right up where he left off, popping two deep ones to extend out an 18-point lead for the States. But from there, his teammates started to step up. Lamar Odom had 15 points - all in the second half - and 11 rebounds. Derrick Rose finally found his offense scoring eight second half points. Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook added 13 huge points. And that's not including the stellar defense from players like Andre Iguodala and Eric Gordon. It may have been the Durantula Show early on, but the tension relaxed a bit because the rest of the red, white and blue picked things up.

Turkey had no match for Durant on either end. Hedo Turkoglu led the Turks with 16, but after that, no one scored in double-figures. And because of the athletic mismatches the U.S. presented for Turkey, the host nation had to go to a matchup zone for the majority of the game, something Team USA ate up. Well, something that Kevin Durant ate up.

Turkey, known as the "12 Giant Men" to their countrymen, played hard for the entire 40 minutes. They just didn't have the horses. The Turks desperately needed someone to step up huge, but players like Ersan Ilyasova and Omer Asik were held down by a swarming, intense U.S. man-to-man defense.

An underrated aspect of this victory is that the U.S. doesn't have to qualify for the 2012 Olympics during a time where NBA players might not be available because of a lockout. But I can promise you the States' own "12 Giant Men" don't give a darn about that. This is about that thing hanging around their necks. This is about the pride of doing something for your country that others before haven't been able to accomplish in 16 years.

Now this group of 12 will get on a plane and make a long trip home back to the States. Training camp starts in two weeks and by that time, the high from this tournament will have started to wear off. Players will return to their teams and return to their old roles. They'll go back to be the stars and main men for their NBA squad. They'll go back to playing for a city, a fan base or a contract, not their flag. Things will go back to normal, but these last 25 days in Turkey won't be something easily forgotten.

Some may try and kill the buzz by pointing out a the tournament's talent was watered down, that the U.S. is always a favorite and we didn't get anything unexpected or that Turkey wasn't a worthy opponent to play for gold. But it's been 16 years since the United States has heard the Star Spangled Banner at the World Championships. This is something special. And something that these players will always remember being a part of.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:06 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:07 am
 

Shootaround 9.1.10: Evans putting the J back in

Evans' J, Love's weird way, and the James kiddos' first day, today in the Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


The Hawks aren't planning on taking their time with Al Horford's extension. They're planning on offering him a near-max extension before the October 31st deadline, meaning they'll have given up $190 million in salary for two players the year before the CBA dramatically shifts. Horford is an All-Star center, young, versatile, and extremely aware on both sides of the ball. Kelly Dwyer pointed out that the Hawks have some options with Horford. Unfortunately, they seem ready to rush into the breach with wallets wide open. You have to wonder how they're going to find salary room for any of the other players, let alone Jamal Crawford, who also wants an extension... or a trade.

Tyreke Evans has reinvested himself in his jump shot. What's interesting is that he was a terrible shooter (32%) from midrange, 16-23 feet last season, but a very decent one from 10-15 feet (43.2%). As Sam Amick's profile reveals, Evans used to be a tremendous shooter, he just needs to reacquaint himself with his shot. It could be a significant leap forward in his offensive development. Which is terrifying, considering how good he was last year.

A Wolf Among Wolves discusses Kevin Love's Team USA summer, and the fact that he's best suited for a third option role. Which makes sense, since the Wolves have buried him in the past for Darko Milicic and just traded for Michael Beasley who most scouts agree is best suited for the power forward role. You know. Third best option.

It's kind of a shame that Shaq's teams didn't end up meeting the Spurs over the years. Because the Duncan-Shaq rivalry is prett good.

George Karl was surprised at the firing of Mark Warkentien. He speaks highly of Warkentien, as well as Masai Ujiri. You have to wonder just how spread to the four corners the entire Nuggets organization is at this point.

LeBron James is a human . No one really seems to think so at this point, but it's true.

Ersan Ilyasova is tearing up FIBA play . Which could be a good thing for the Bucks as he develops and takes on more of a leadership role. Or it could cause him to wonder why he's been shoved to the back of the line in the Bucks' forward feeding trough with the additions of Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, and others.

A fascinating look at roster balance on the wings for the Knicks, not in terms of skillset, but shot performance on the right versus the left side of the floor. Interesting note: Ramond Felton took exactly as many shots from the right side as the left, and hit the same percentage.

The numerous discussions of Marquis Daniels have overlooked one aspect: Doc Rivers completely took him out of the rotation in the playoffs, despite him having recovered from injury. The trust is simply not there on a team that depends on it so much.

The Bucks hope and expect Andrew Bogut to be back for the season opener. It's close, but don't hold your breath.


Posted on: August 27, 2010 1:44 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 1:46 pm
 

Your guide to the 2010 FIBA World Championships



Posted by Royce Young


The 2010 FIBA World Championships tip off tomorrow and let's be honest, outside of Team USA and a handful of NBA players scattered around other teams, we all don't know a ton about it. So here's your cheat sheet to catch up on the important parts of the games:

10 NON-NBA PLAYERS TO WATCH
Miroslav Raduljica, Serbia - The big Serbian was going to play a large role in this year's games before Nenad Krstic was suspended for three contests. Now, Serbia's early success may very well hinge on Raduljica. He runs the floor well, has soft hands and is one of the most improved players in Europe. He's eligible to enter the NBA draft next year and with a big showing in Turkey, might see his stock skyrocket.

Tibor Pleiss, Germany - Pleiss is property of the Oklahoma City Thunder and was taken in the early second round of this year's draft. He's 7'1, skilled with a lovely jumper that stretches out near the 3 and has an improving post game. He's already a quality rebounder and shot blocker, though as is the case with most young European big men, he needs strength. He's definitely an NBA caliber player at some point and he's one of Germany's top players. If Germany makes some noise in Turkey, it'll likely be because Pleiss did some breaking out.

Juan Carlos Navarro, Spain - Ah, the elusive JCN, or La Bomba as he's endearingly called in Spain. He's known in the States because of a brief stint with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007-08, but is known across international basketball as one of the most crafty, creative and skilled guards in the world. The lack of superior athleticism is what held him back in the NBA, but he has an array of runners, floaters and running jumpshots, plus is deadly when he's open. He's one of those players that's basically just fun to watch.

Ioannis Bourousis, Greece - Bourousis is coming back from a hand injury that forced him to miss most of Greece's exhibition games, but should be ready to go in Turkey. He's a massive seven-footer that weighs in at 280 pounds. Like Tim Duncan, he trained to be a professional swimmer before getting to big for the pool. He's surprisingly smooth on the post and at 26, has improved his game a lot since 2006 when the U.S. played Greece.

Victor Claver, Spain - Property of the Portland Trail Blazers, Claver is a classic swingman that prefers to run the floor and shoot jumpers. He's not strong and not a great ballhandler, but does finish well at the rim. He's huge at 6'10, but only weighs about 215 pounds. Teams with physical forwards will beat him up, but running the floor with Ricky Rubio will give him a chance to showcase his talents in the open court.

Matthew Nielsen, Australia - The Euro Cup Final Four MVP for Valencia last season, Nielsen is an accomplished international player. He's 32 and has spent time on multiple national teams for Australia. He's not overly skilled, but he's big at 6'10 and moves well. He scores outworking players inside, but is a quality post-up threat.

Tiago Splitter, Brazil - He counts here because he's not in the NBA yet. A recent signee of the Spurs, Splitter will be a player that NBA fanatics will have a close eye on these next few weeks. We've all heard about his skills for the last few years, but most haven't had a chance to see them in action. He's incredibly gifted around the basket and if he plays well, Brazil may make a run to the semi-finals.

Timofey Mozgov, Russia - Same as Splitter, Mozgov will be in the NBA next year with the New York Knicks. He's a true big man at 7'1, but runs the floor well. He's not especially polished offensively, but he uses his big body well. A lot of people have compared him to Marcin Gortat or Andris Biedrins because he scores a lot by playing physical inside. He'll be a project for the Knicks, but he'll be a feature for the Russians.

Ante Tomic, Croatia - Tomic is a gifted big man that has drawn comparisons to Pau Gasol because of his excellent footwork, soft touch and passing ability. He has range that stretches out close to the international 3, and is a player Croatia will likely center their offense around. He's rail thin though and his lack of strength is what really hurts him when talking about taking his game up a notch.

Ricky Rubio, Spain - Everyone knows about the flashy passes. Everyone's seen the YouTube mixtapes. Everyone knows he has a ton of talent. But not a lot of people have seen him actually play a full basketball game, outside of 2008's gold medal game. With Jose Calderon out, this team is Rubio's. He'll play the bulk of the minutes and run the show. He's a bit turnover prone and his stat line never seems to impress, but it's all about watching him. A game where he scores five points, dishes out four assists and has four steals may not seem like much, but he seriously impacted the game.

THE UNITED STATES GROUP PREVIEW
Most consider Group B to be the toughest in Turkey. Obviously there's Team USA, but Brazil, Slovenia and Croatia are all capable squads that should advance out of this group.

Brazil
NBA players: Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter, Nene (out with injury)

Prior to Nene's injury, Brazil was becoming a trendy pick to make the semi-finals and possibly the finals. The talent is there and it's not just in NBA players only. Former NBA players Alex Garcia and Marcus Vinicius clearly have skill, but Marcelo Machado is an excellent sharpshooter, Marcelo Huertas is a crafty point guard and Wellington Dos Santos may actually be faster than Barbosa.

Former Gonzaga star J.P. Batista has the ability to anchor the interior with Splitter and Varejao and with a combination of size and speed, Brazil is a team to take notice of. They want to play up-tempo and high pressure defense, and they have the players to do it.

Croatia
NBA players: Roko Ukic

The Croatians are a squad that doesn't have a ton of top tier talent, but is deep and filled with quality players. The aforementioned Ante Tomic is the key. If he plays well and stays consistent throughout, Croatia could be a team that goes deeper than expected.

Iran
NBA players: Hamed Haddadi

This isn't a bad team. They aren't good, but they aren't that bad. They likely won't advance out of the group stage, but they definitely are a candidate to win a game or two. Teams like the United States will steamroll them, but they could definitely sneak up on Croatia and Slovenia, potentially making a little noise to finish in the top four.

Slovenia
NBA players: Goran Dragic, Primoz Brezec

As it is now, Slovenia is good. But if it had its entire roster with players like Beno Udrih, Sasha Vujacic, Rasho Nesterovic and Erazem Lorbek it could be really good. Slovenia should battle Croatia for third in this group, but is definitely good enough to get to second. It all hinges on Goran Dragic. He needs to score and create and if he can continue his good play, Slovenia should be fine.

Tunisia
NBA players: None

This is easily the worst team in the group. Its goal should be to maybe beat Iran and then keep games within 20. There's simply not enough talent on the roster to stay competitive. Honestly, Team USA could let Jim Boeheim and Nate McMillan start and it would still be a cakewalk.

United States
NBA players: Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Lamar Odom, Tyson Chandler, Chauncey Billups, Danny Granger, Stephen Curry

The clear favorite to win Group B and a favorite to win the whole thing. Obviously, Team USA has the most talent in the entire field. But playing together is the key. Coach K has done a fine job of establishing roles for players, but the lack of interior size could hurt the Americans the deeper the tournament goes. A game against Brazil in this group could be the only hangup, but Croatia and Slovenia aren't pushovers.

Despite this group probably be the toughest in the tournament, anything less that a 5-0 start for Team USA would be disappointing.

Predicted finish:
1. United States
2. Brazil
3. Slovenia
4. Croatia
5. Iran
6. Tunisia

FOUR GROUP STAGE GAMES TO WATCH
Saturday, August 28: Spain vs. France - Two traditional soccer powerhouses field pretty solid basketball teams. Spain should win, but Nicolas Batum has emerged as a go-to player for France to seeing him compete and defend the Spanish roster will be fun.

Monday, August 30: Brazil vs. USA - The winner of this game will likely win the group. It should be a fun game to watch too as both teams play pressure defense and prefer to push the pace. This one could easily have 200 combined points.

Monday, August 30: Croatia vs. Slovenia - A European rivalry game with the winner surely locking in a place in the tournament, and probably third place in Group B.

Tuesday, August 31: Greece vs. Turkey - Someone might be killed during this game. No, seriously. Both these teams HATE each other. I don't know if this will so much be a basketball game, as a 40-minute hip-checking contest.

THE FAVORITES
United States - The most talent in the field, though maybe the least chemistry. The U.S. squad will have to find its identity and find it fast.

Spain - A chic pick to win gold, Spain has the talent, chemistry and leadership to win. Losing Jose Calderon hurts only the sense that backcourt depth is light. But if Spain is to seriously make this run, a player like Rudy Fernandez is going to have to elevate his game and play well.

Greece - The smallest player on the team is Vassilis Spanoulis, and he's "only" 6'4. So in other words, the Greek's are big. Greece is massive and what they lack in athleticism, they make up for in size and skill.

Argentina
- The USA's old nemesis, Argentina has NBA talent in Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola and Fabrico Oberto. They'll surely miss Andres Nocioni and Manu Ginobili, but this is a team that should make an easy run to the quarters, probably the semifinals and possibly the finals.

Serbia - The suspensions to Nenad Krstic and Milos Teodosic definitely hurt, but there is enough on this roster still to get out of the group. And once they're full strength, this is a team that's good enough to be in the semifinals.

Brazil - The Brazilians seem to be flying a bit under the radar, but with a group of speedy, skilled players, they should get to the quarterfinals with ease and then past that, they're a tough matchup for anyone.

THE SLEEPERS
Turkey - The host country always seems to do well because the boost from a home crowd always helps. But Turkey has players too. There's Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova, Semih Erden and Omer Asik, all NBA players. Some are taking Turkey to get to the finals based only on the fact they're hosting, but they might get there because this roster has some serious talent.

Canada - Don't sleep on Canada. While not a lot of names on the roster jump out and there's no Steve Nash, they have all decent players and a few NBA guys in Joel Anthony and Andy Rautins. Canada beat Serbia and France in friendlies and isn't a walkover by any means.

Puerto Rico - This feisty group has three NBA players in J.J. Barea, Renaldo Balkman and Carlos Arroyo and has played well in exhibitions. They should get out of their group and in tournament play, they have the players to make a small run.

Australia - The Australians have slowly been building better basketball teams and this might be one of their best yet. There are two NBA players in David Andersen and Patty Mills, plus quality guys like A.J. Ogilvy and Matthew Nielsen. They lack athleticism, but if Mills can get his game going, Australia might sneak up on a few teams.

PREDICTION (see the full bracket)
Group A winner: Argentina (Serbia, Germany, Australia advance)
Group B winner: United States (Brazil, Slovenia, Croatia advance)
Group C winner: Greece (Turkey, Puerto Rico, Russia advance)
Group D winner: Spain (Lithuania, France, Canada advance)

Round of 16: Argentina defeats Croatia, Puerto Rico defeats Lithuania, Greece defeats Canada, Brazil defeats Germany, United States defeat Australia, Turkey defeats France, Spain defeats Russia, Slovenia defeats Serbia

Quarterfinals: Argentina defeats Puerto Rico, Brazil defeats Greece, United States defeat Turkey, Spain defeats Slovenia

Semifinals: Argentina defeats Brazil, United States defeat Spain

Third place: Spain defeats Brazil

Finals: United States defeat Argentina
Some don't like Team USA winning gold. But it's hard not to like them. The way the bracket sets up, if both Spain and the U.S. win their groups, they'll meet in the semifinals. So if the U.S. gets by Spain again, beat whoever comes their way in the gold medal game shouldn't be a huge issue.

The thing with Team USA is, they have more talent than anyone. They have more skill. They have more strength. They have more speed. They have more athleticism. The one thing they lack is size, and that's just in a traditional sense. Nobody can properly match up with the likes of Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay. Even figuring out how to guard Team USA's second unit would be tough. While no, this isn't a team full of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, this is a quality unit with a ton of talent. There will be some tough games for sure and the U.S. will rely on Rose and Durant to carry them through. But these guys should be up to the task to bring home gold for the first time since 1994.
Posted on: July 1, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Bucks sign Gooden to MLE.. wait, what?!


Let's take a minute and look back at what the Milwaukee Bucks have done in the past ten days.

Traded for Cory Maggette.

Traded for Chris Douglas-Roberts.

Kept Carlos Delfino.

Drafted Larry Sanders.

And now, they've signed Drew Gooden for the Mid-Level Exception, at a clip of 5 years for $32 million (via Yahoo! Sports). This despite having Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on roster, both whom are considered high-upside, versatile, talented players, and Gooden having spent time in more cities than a mid-70's hobo.

So what in the name of Bogut is Bucks GM John Hammond up to?

The Gooden signing makes sense if you listen to Bucks blog BrewHoop, which says the team needed veteran depth at power forward. And Gooden certainly provides that at 29. You do have to wonder about the contract, the length of the contract, and how Gooden fits. The Bucks' offense was definitely their weak point last season. They do need someone who's able to produce offense. And Gooden averaged 15.7 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes last season .

The problem is usage (estimated percentage of possessions used). Gooden had the 12th highest usage of any power forward in the league playing at least 30 minutes last season. That's a lot for a guy who is considered a journeyman role player. His efficiency numbers are good, and Gooden comes with a wide range of verstaile skills. It's just curious that the Bucks seem to have loaded up so much at the forward positions, especially with John Salmons still drifting in unrestricted-free-agent land. Probably most curious was the fact that Hammond committed five years to a 29 year-old role player when he has such a young nucleus.

It makes you wonder if Hammond is done with moves beyond re-signing John Salmons and other free agent Luke Ridnour.

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 1, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:36 am
 

Free-agency layup line: LeBron's gift edition

All of the little free agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

A mystery team dropped a "small square box" containing a gift off at LeBron James' house at 11PM Wednesday night, according to the New York Daily News .  Our best guesses as to the gift are the heart of a lion, whatever was in the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction ", or a Russian doll containing $2.4 million in bonds.  (HT: FanHouse )

Richard Jefferson opted out of his contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean much for the team basketball-wise. Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell reports that with the team significantly over the cap still, Jefferson's opt-out doesn't clear them to make any significant moves and leaves them with a hole at small forward. You have to wonder if Tony Parker and his contract may be even more on the block.

Chris Bosh is predictably keeping track of his free agency exploits on Twitter. As of 4EST, he had met with the Bulls, Raptors, Heat, and Rockets (check out more on our discussion of Houston's chances ). You have to wonder if it's better to be early or late in these discussions. The Knicks seem to be taking the latter approach, since they went and visited Mike Miller first thing last night.

Darren Rovell of Sports Biz reports that part of the Nets' offer for LeBron James is a clothing line via Jay-Z . These are the kind of advantages teams have to pull out. There's so much more going on here than just money and a good core of players, though those things are up-front the most important.

Via Wizards blog Bullets Forever , Yahoo! Sports reports that Washington is looking to fill that whole at small forward quickly . They've already spoken to both of their expired small forwards (Mike Miller, Josh Howard) and are looking at Ryan Gomes, Travis Outlaw, Rasual Butler and even Josh Childress who is still in Greece. With the acquisition of Kirk Hinrich, the Wizards have to be thinking on the cheap with this contract, and likely won't want to commit to anything long-term. Then again, they traded for Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian, so there's no telling what they're going to do next.

John Hammond is "cautiously optimistic" that the Bucks will be able to re-sign John Salmons. Then again, we think Hammond is "cautiously losing his mind" for giving Drew Gooden a 5 year, $32 million deal when he has Ersan Ilyasoava and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute along with rookie Larry Sanders to pair with Andrew Bogut. Hammond's either gone around the bend or is in pursuit of something...


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