Tag:Rich Cho
Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 5:57 pm
 

Jackson: 'I really left' after Wallace trade

Posted by Ben Golliverwallace-jackson

Trade my friend? OK, cool. I'll just throw in the towel.

That was the attitude adopted last season by then Charlotte Bobcats forward Stephen Jackson. According to Jackson.

Now with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jackson admitted to Charlotte.com that he mailed in the final 25 games of the season after the Bobcats traded forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers for draft picks and expiring contracts.
“When Gerald left, I really left,’’ Jackson said at morning shootaround at Time Warner Cable Arena.

“Considering what we did (getting to) the playoffs, and then all those changes. To take Gerald away really took a lot out of me. I still was trying to do my job as best I can, but it was a lot harder. When they got rid of Gerald, that let me know they didn’t want to win. I didn’t want to be part of a place like that.’’
The Bobcats were 25-32 at the time of the trade and 9-16 after the trade deadline move that brought over injured center Joel Przybilla and second-year forward Dante Cunningham from Portland.

Keep in mind, this is the same Jackson who told Milwaukee media less than three weeks ago that there is nothing that can stop him from competing, not even a gunshot. Bucksketball.com with the quotes.
“If guys come in here not focused on a championship, just making the playoffs, we need to trade them. We need to be talking about championship and nothin’ else. You can’t limit yourself to just playoffs. Who wants to do that? Playoffs is not really an achievement to me. Anybody can get to the playoffs.”

“If I’m shot, I’ma get stitched and play the next game. I got hit by a car and played two days later.”
Jackson also claimed not to know that there was a lockout because he was attending to his rap career.
“Was there a lockout? I don’t know, I wasn’t even watching the news, I wasn’t affected by the lockout, I don’t have money problems. Yeah I wasn’t playing basketball, but I can’t control that. I was doing my music stuff at the time.”
The polite way to react to these statements is to say that what you see is what you get with Jackson. No minced words or trite comments, that's for sure.

Jackson was paid $8.5 million for the 2010-2011 season and was designated a team captain, so his honesty curries no favor. Without question, the Wallace trade was a move for the future and a signal that owner Michael Jordan was headed in a different direction. It's reasonable that Jackson took the news harder than anyone else in the locker room. But he still cashed the game checks and he still donned the uniform. Acknowledging that he checked out for nearly two months of an NBA season is a slap in the face to Charlotte's fans, whether he realizes that or not.

The good news: there's absolutely no second-guessing Bobcats new GM Rich Cho, who shipped Jackson to the Bucks on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft. Charlotte is in store for a burn-it-down rebuild that could take years before the team is in contention for the playoffs again. If Jackson couldn't handle two months without Wallace, imagine how the next two seasons would have played out.

He's your problem now, Milwaukee.
Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:25 am
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Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:08 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 11:18 am
 

Blazers owner Paul Allen opens his dungeon

Posted by Ben Golliver

paul-allen-blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen made his fortune toiling away in dungeons.

In his recent autobiography, Idea Man, Allen wistfully recalls the small apartments, cramped workspaces, crowded dormitories, dark basements and shared offices that produced Microsoft, the computer software company he co-founded with Bill Gates that made him into a billionaire more than a dozen times over.

2011 has been a year Allen won’t soon forget. His helicopter crashed off the coast of Antarctica; he reportedly secured the premier superyacht docking spot for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London; he was sued by his ex-military bodyguards for alleged illegal activities; he fired his second Blazers general manager in less than a year; he emerged as a villain during the NBA’s collective bargaining negotiations for his hardline approach; and he watched his beloved basketball team, which he has owned since 1988, crumble at the knees, opting to spend more than $60 million to use the amnesty clause on former All-Star guard Brandon Roy so that he could begin to rebuild it.

There’s the “Mo Money, Mo Problems” explanation, but that is ridiculous.

Along the way, Allen has drawn more than his fair share of criticism, most of it centering on his unpredictability and rash decision-making. A regular luxury tax spender over the last decade, Allen switched course to push for the NBA to overhaul its financial system by drastically increasing revenue sharing and restricting large-market teams’ abilities to spend on player payroll. A certified computer genius who hand-coded Microsoft’s early products, Allen has meddled so regularly with the Blazers that his employees seemingly never know what’s coming next and his basketball operations executives spin through as if in a turnstile.

To the city of Portland, Allen has been a globe-trotting technology junkie who uses Twitter regularly but has refused to take questions from independent media outlets in years, granting only rare, rehearsed interviews to team broadcasters and occasionally issuing prepared press releases.

Allen ended that with a bang on Monday night. And he returned to the comforts of his dungeon to do it.

Roughly an hour before the Blazers tipped off their preseason opener against the Utah Jazz, Allen invited a group of six writers, one team employee, one radio talk show host and one television anchor into an auxiliary locker room inside the bowels of the Rose Garden, a stadium designed to his specifications, all the way down to the apartment and helipad for his personal use. The use of Twitter during the interview was expressly disallowed; photographs and video of the meeting were forbidden. All conditions had to be agreed to prior to entering. Inside the concrete cube, water bottles had been laid out around a square table, with Allen entering last to sit at the head of the table, as you probably expected.

Of course, this is where and how Allen would prefer to end his years-long silence in Portland. Of course it was. 

Wearing what is essentially his gameday uniform – a navy blue light jacket, dark pants, a white and blue dress shirt, square-framed eyeglasses and a turquoise ring – Allen patiently answered question after question for more than 35 minutes. His hands pounded the table, his arms waved; he held his forehead at times and crossed his arms at others. He nearly teared up when discussing Roy’s departure from basketball, and he alternated between making direct eye contact and gazing into the empty, closed airspace above the reporters’ heads. 

He looked, often, like the typecast, anti-social, middle-aged former software engineer that he is.

This wasn’t billionaire pomp and glamour; it was start-up style frank talk. His words were firm and friendly even when delivering some of the biggest doozies you will ever hear from an NBA owner.

For instance: His biggest clearly-expressed problem with former GM Rich Cho was their inadequate courtside banter during games. And Cho’s predecessor, Kevin Pritchard, according to Allen, decided to fire himself.

Cho, known as a sharp salary cap manager and analytical thinker, was abruptly fired in May 2011, weeks before the 2011 NBA Draft. The decision was made because his chatter wasn't properly stimulating.

“I sit with the general manager down on the court and I talk through every game with them and you get a sense for his thinking and his evaluation of players, how he thinks about our team, how he thinks about our coaching,” Allen explained. “You can have a good interview with somebody and be optimistic but then when it comes to getting into the season, sitting next to them, talking about the players, where you are going, potential trades, sometimes you realize it's not a good fit. That's basically what happened with Rich. He's a great person and I wish him well. But it wasn't a good fit.”

The Cho firing was stunning in its swiftness -- he was canned after spending less than a year on the job-- but it didn’t leave the same emotional crater as Pritchard’s departure, which occurred on the night of the 2010 NBA Draft. Pritchard, practically a cult hero in Portland for his salesmanship and stewarding of a young up-and-coming Blazers squad, dealt with weeks of agonizing job uncertainty after watching his right hand man, Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn, abruptly fired during the second half of the 2009-2010 season. Pritchard’s chaotic draft day dismissal came to symbolize Allen’s overbearing, impulsive ownership style.

But Allen’s version is completely different. Allen’s account has Pritchard practically begging for the axe, going out of his way more than once to request that Allen let him go.

“I went out to get a breath of fresh air and Kevin tracked me down and basically said, 'Well, you've already decided to let me go.' And I said, 'Nooo, I haven't?' And he said, 'No, but you really should. Can I just meet with [Blazers president] Larry [Miller] the next day and we'll part ways?’ And I was like, 'OK… really?'”

To hear Allen tell it, Pritchard’s job wasn’t even necessarily in jeopardy. A “deep discussion” with a “real heart-to-heart” exchange could have bought Pritchard another year as Blazers GM. But it wasn’t to be, Allen said, because of Pritchard's persistence.

"He asked to be let go,” Allen said, point blank. “Multiple times. I heard that you guys had that story."

Allen’s voice rose when describing his surprise at Pritchard’s supposed statements, as if to imply that he was caught entirely off guard, the smartest guy in the room totally blindsided by a situation that had been festering for months. 

That same self-presentation emerged later, when Allen was asked about criticism he received from National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter and union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler following an October collective bargaining agreement negotiation session. Hunter and Kessler said that Allen had “hijacked” the negotiation by showing up unexpectedly to “deliver a message” to the players on behalf of hardline owners.

“I wouldn't characterize it as polarized as all that but you always have that tension in any CBA negotiations,” Allen said.

Just like the Pritchard situation, Allen painted himself as an innocent, well-intentioned participant who didn’t realize the enormity of the situation he was entering until it was too late.

"It was an unusual thing,” Allen said. “There I am trying to say, 'Look, we as small markets need to think collectively in certain ways and hold the line on certain things.' They ask me to attend one of these face-to-face meetings with players, and I said, 'OK'.

“I go in there and one of the other owners says, 'We've got some real hard-liners in this group like Mr. Allen at the end of the table.' And I'm like, 'OK, here I am. I'm [just] taking notes.' So all the players looked at me like, 'Oh, you're the hard-liner?'”

The negotiations had stopped and started for months by that point and the players seized on Allen’s presence – he is the richest owner of an NBA team, after all – to push back against a rising tide of public sentiment that the players were being greedy by refusing to compromise on the split of basketball-related income.

Within weeks, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, another small-market owner aiming to remake the NBA’s system in his own favor, had become a public target too.

“Me and Michael [Jordan], I guess, took the lightning rod as being the hard-liners,” Allen said, smirking.

And, then, as if an afterthought, Allen slipped in a grand admission at the end.

“In truth, I did believe we should hold the line on some things more than some other owners did but there were a lot of us that felt the same way,” Allen said.

The questions and answers continued to fly back and forth.

Did Allen have plans to sell his team? No. Was he ready to make a detailed long-term commitment to his ownership? No, health concerns prevented that.

Was he ready to name another GM? No. Was Acting GM Chad Buchanan, who helped Portland add Jamal Crawford, Kurt Thomas and Craig Smith during the rushed free agency period, a candidate to get the position full-time? No, but he’s done a good job.

Does Allen simply want to be GM himself?

“It's really puzzling to me when I read or hear that people think that I want to be the general manager,” Allen said, raising his arms as he repeatedly exclaimed. “No! No!”

He then added: “I just want to ask the questions and I want a great general manager.”

Of course, Allen had no clear plan or even a firm timetable to get what he wanted, as his most recent search process turned up empty and he wasn't ready to commit to starting a new one. Whoever ends up filling the position will face a different era in the financial management of the team thanks to the new CBA.

Claiming that he had lost “hundreds of millions” of dollars during his ownership tenure, Allen said that his aggressive spending stops now. Maybe.

“I've invested a lot but the crazy luxury tax days and all those things are gone,” Allen said. “I mean, there's no enjoyment to losing money. I don't know anybody who thinks there is.”

Moments later, he left open the possibility that he would spend big again if it meant winning a title, something that has eluded him as owner of both the Blazers and the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks.

“It's one thing to say 'I'm going for it. It's a near championship year. I'll sign a couple of free agents and spend a lot more than usual.' But to do that on a regular basis doesn't make sense.”

This year’s Blazers are a clean slate thanks to Roy’s departure and lowered expectations surrounding center Greg Oden, who recently suffered a "setback" in his years-long recovery from multiple knee surgeries, according to the team. The group that is healthy, headlined by forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum and guards Raymond Felton and Crawford, promises a faster tempo, more end-to-end action and another shot at winning a playoff series, something Portland hasn't managed since 2000.

Allen sounded excited for the start of the season but he, like the rest of Portland, hadn’t yet processed Roy’s decision to step away from basketball, after just five seasons and three All-Star appearances, because of chronic knee problems.

“That deliberate but ‘you're not going to be able to stop me’ style,” Allen said, his eyes squinting back the emotion behind his glasses. “Just a fantastic basketball player, not just a scorer but a passer, a rebounder, a heady player. Players like that don't come along very often. I would always chat with Brandon in the locker room.”

The Blazers had declared Roy the team’s likely starting two guard two weeks ago, only to have Roy tell the team he was stepping away from the game the day before training camp opened.

"To get that news when we thought he was going to be in training camp the next day,” Allen said, shaking his head. “That was a body blow.”

Allen knows a body blow. He’s beaten cancer, battled a heart condition and felt the full force of the NBA media turn against him. And, for once on Monday, he stood tall and took some lumps from the media. When the conversation closed and the game finally tipped off, the fact that Allen had consented to let strangers into the dungeon with him, if only for a preconditioned half-hour, was a bigger surprise than anything that he said. 

Many thought that door had been closed and locked for good.

Posted on: December 9, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 9:15 pm
 

Blazers' Brandon Roy to pursue medical retirement

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver

Brandon Roy (Getty)On Friday, Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan confirmed that guard Brandon Roy will pursue a medical retirement rather than play during the 2011-2012 season. As recently as Monday, the Blazers had said Roy would pencil in as a starter.

The Associated Press provides additional details.
Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Brandon Roy has told the team that he is retiring because of ongoing difficulty with his knees.

Portland players were informed of Roy's decision to seek medical retirement on Friday before the first practice of training camp.
 
Roy, a five-year veteran who helped the team shed its "Jail Blazers" reputation, has been dogged by knee injuries and surgeries. He has said he lacks cartilage between the bones in both knees.
 
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Roy had not yet filed the retirement paperwork with the league.

Roy did not report to the Blazers' practice facility on Friday and his agent did not respond to a request for comment on any retirement plans, first reported by ESPN.com early Friday.

"I couldn't believe it," Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said. "I still can't believe it."

The reports contradicted statements made on Monday during a news conference with Blazers President Larry Miller, coach Nate McMillan and acting general manager Chad Buchanan. Roy had met with team officials earlier that day and said he felt good and was ready to help the team in any way he could.

But during a medical evaluation on Thursday it became apparent that Roy's knees were not going to be able to handle another season.

"It's a tough situation," said Blazers center Marcus Camby. "People will say `Hey, he'll get his money. But Brandon's a competitor."
Earlier Monday, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that Blazers guard Brandon Roy was considering medical retirement in the face of repeated severe knee injuries. The report will come as devastating news to Blazers fans, despite the long road leading to this point. 

Roy has had injury concerns since he was drafted, and earlier this year, a consulting surgeon for Roy said that he only had 1-2 more years left in him. Many questioned the legitimacy of doubts about Roy's health after he exploded in the playoffs in a comeback win over the Mavs, who went on to win their first-round series against the Blazers. Roy had said as recently as July, Roy said he was healthy and ready to play once the lockout endedOn December 5th, the Blazers confirmed they would not be using the amnesty clause on Roy. 

NBA rules stipulate that if doctors clear Roy for medical retirement, his salary would come off the Blazers' cap after one year, though he would still be paid the full amount of his contract. If he were to return for retirement for ten games or more, the full amount would return to the Blazers' cap situation. 

It's an unfortunate ending to what was once thought to be a long and brilliant career. But the Blazers knew of the condition when they signed him to a massive extension, knew of it when he was drafted. It's the sad consequence of being human, that sometimes the body simply cannot give what we want.

Wesley Matthews is expected to take over starting duties at shooting guard for the Blazers.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Kevin Pritchard talks about his time in Portland

Posted by Royce Young

Kevin Pritchard was seen as one of the brighest and best general managers in basketball. He helped rebuild the Portland Trail Blazers after the ugly "Jail Blazers" era and had the team trending upward as a contender.

And then he was fired on draft day.

It's always been a pretty odd circumstance, but one that appeared to make a bit more sense as his replacement Rich Cho parted ways with the Blazers less than a year after he was hired. Pritchard has remained mostly mum after he left Portland a little more than a year ago, but finally offered some insight on his time with the Blazers, why he took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant and a few other things. Via Sports Radio Interviews:

What is was like to work for Paul Allen:

“He’s very complete in that he wants you to do the work and get to a certain place and then he’s going to challenge it. Quite frankly when we were going through complex ideas and what I don’t think people understand is that how much the draft is complicated. You go through all kinds of ‘if then what’ right? There’s just millions of those it feels like. He’s unbelievable at sitting in a draft room and going through a decision tree. Trying to figure out exactly what is going to happen. ‘If then, then what?’ He provided a lot of value with that and I learned a lot.

He’s very demanding. Every single day, in the seven and a half years I was there, I’m not sure there were many days that we didn’t communicate at least by e-mail or by phone, but he’s very interested and I welcomed that. We had developed a great relationship the first four or five years I was there and we had an ability to talk pretty quickly and get down to the main issues, but he’s demanding and he’s tough.”

On why they took Oden over Durant:

“It’s the question that I probably get most. I have never studied a person or players like I did Durant/Oden. It was every single minute of every single second of their entire careers. We were going back into AAU and the one thing that kept hitting us really hard was Greg Oden lost three games until he got to Ohio State, then he got hurt again and only lost a couple there and that was over hundreds and hundreds of games. The overwhelming thing that we got from everybody we talked to was the cat doesn’t care if he scores or does anything, but he’s about winning. We had been really trying to change our culture for guys who really put the team first, not care about stats, and really be about winning. We thought he was the pick at the time. We did the same thing with Durant.

They said he’s gonna be the best scorer in the league, he’s going to be an amazing player, and he’s gonna win. We just felt like Greg was going to be that guy that just doesn’t lose basketball games. Right before he got hurt we were talking as a management group and we were like man doesn’t it feel like this is becoming a little bit like Greg’s team because in the locker room after a loss he would get really, really upset and he demands out of his teammates probably more than any other player I’ve been around other than Larry Bird. When he lost, he let his teammates knows what they have to do the next game. We were feeling so comfortable going into the rest of the second half of the season that we were going to be good because Greg was coming along.”

The Oden/Durant debate has long been settled, but it's never really been a fair fight. We don't know what Greg Oden would've done for the Blazers had he stayed healthy. Injuries are mostly just bad luck, and Oden -- and the Blazers -- has had plenty of it.

Pritchard said he still keeps a house in Portland and is still "emotionally tied" to the franchise. He was asked if he'd consider returning if Allen asked him to come back, and Pritchard said he would, even with what seemed to be an ugly exit. Obviously, that's not going to be happening. But if Allen's just going to rent another GM for a year, why not Pritchard again? At least he understands the deal.

Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 11:20 am
 

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers



Posted by Matt Moore

It's all over. After an underwhelming crop of draft choices led to a flurry of trades, the dust has settled and the picks are wearing the right hats, finally. Here are your winners and losers of the 2011 NBA Draft:

Winners

Cleveland Cavaliers: Irving is mostly a case of winning by default, but they wouldn't have been the first team to be unable to get out of their own way with an obvious pick. Irving gives them a franchise point guard to build around and was the best player overall in this draft. Going for Derrick Williams would have been sheer hubris in order to burn LeBron by choosing a replacement forward. Then, with the fourth, they could have opted for Valanciunas, which would have been a good pick. But there's a reason so many teams were chasing Tristan Thompson. His workouts showed how he would translate on the next level, and with that kind of athleticism, he provides a good running partner for Irving. They managed to not overcomplicate the combination of two top-five picks. They got good talent both small and big. That's a win right there.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards very quietly had a terrific draft. First Jan Vesely was available, who fits a need for them at slashing forward. With his athleticism and aggression, he makes a perfect partner to run the break with John Wall. Then, miraculously, Chris Singleton tumbled all the way down to No.18 where the Wizards jumped all over him. Singleton is a lottery talent that fell out of the top 14. He gives the Wizards the ability to move Andray Blatche if they can find a taker for his contract. He can rebound and defend exceptionally well. Singleton's length and athleticism, combined with a chip on his shoulder from dropping, makes him a great pick for the Wizards. Shelvin Mack in the second round was a great value pick for backup point guard.

Charlotte Bobcats: In a day, the Bobcats transformed Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, the No.9 and No.19 into Corey Maggette, Bismack Biyombo, and Kemba Walker. That's a great haul. I've never been big on either of the Bobcats' draft picks, but when you consider the balance between an athletic super-freak who is unrefined and an established winner with limited upside, the Bobcats managed to grab two of the most hyped players in the draft. Biyombo provides length and athleticism to pair with Tyrus Thomas. Walker creates a complication at point guard with D.J. Augustin already being an undersized point guard. But Augustin has never won over the Bobcats organization and Walker will be given every chance to compete for the starting role. If his size issues aren't as much a concern as they've been made out to be, and if his shot creation translates to the next level, the Bobcats have just instantly created their foundation for the future while ditching one of their biggest contracts. A great start for the Cho era in Charlotte. 

Denver Nuggets: Raymond Felton got flipped for Andre Miller's non-guaranteed expiring contract and Jordan Hamilton, one of the steals of the draft who inexplicably fell. This for a guard the Nuggets didn't want in the first place. Oh, yeah, and they nabbed Kenneth Faried, who perfectly fits their needs and is a great value pick where they took him. Masai Ujiri is better than you.


Losers


Minnesota Timberwolves: Yes, again. Williams is a great pick, if they were moving Michael Beasley. Or if they were trading Williams. But David Kahn reportedly says they're not moving Williams. They wasted an opportunity to create more assets by moving either one, and instead, will now bullheadedly try to cram two similar players (three if you count Anthony Randolph) into a spot. It's a messy situation and Kahn should have taken one of the other offers made to him for the pick. Then there's the other trade, which was just a mess all over. They pulled in another Euro center to add to their collection, Brad Miller and his too-long, too-expensive contract, and ditched Jonny Flynn. The only redeeming quality is the future first which may or may not be protected into oblivion. Another sterling night for the Wolves. If Williams turns out to be worthy of the No.2 pick, and count me among the people that think he is, and the Wolves recognize that versus burying him as they did Kevin Love, this can be salvaged. From this vantage point, it doesn't look great. 

Update: Wolves wound up swapping Mirotic for the 28th and 43rd picks from the Bulls, then moved the 28th pick to Miami for the 31st pick, which they then sold as well as the 38th pick which was theirs. They used the 43rd on Malcolm Lee, and then traded for the 57th. While not getting Mirotic is a lot better than drafting him, they did all that and wound up with a first later, Malcolm Lee, and Targuy Ngombo. Not a great haul, there. Saved the boss some cash, though.

Golden State Warriors: How many guards can they need? New head coach Mark Jackson and GM Larry Riley constantly talked about defense. Then the Warriors took a shooter. They haven't moved Monta Ellis, so now on the roster they have Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Charlie Bell, Jeremy Lin, Acie Law and Reggie Williams. And they just added Klay Thompson. It was an unnecessary move with bigger players with more defensive presence available. The Warriors have enough talent to not need the best player available. But, again, they opt for the usual. Disappointing.

Portland Trail Blazers: Where did that come from? The Blazers first take a huge reach on Nolan Smith at No.21. Smith had his proponents as the draft got closer, and certainly isn't a terrible pick. But in taking him, they elected to create redundancy after trading too much (Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez) for Raymond Felton. The result is a reformed back court as the Blazers had promised, but not nearly as good as one you would have thought they could carry with the pieces available. Smith may work out well, but he'll never be starter caliber. And, with as many talented guards as there were late in the draft, taking him was a bit of a shock. Jon Diebler is 6-6 and can shoot. That's about it.  


Individual Winners:


Jan Vesely: Underrated as everyone talked about Kanter and Valanciunas, Vesely not only winds up with a good team fit for himself, but stole the highlight of the night with a kiss on the mouth of his lady friend. Then he said "I like the John Wall game" in his TV interview. Vesely came off incredibly cool for a 21-year-old Euro who can't shoot.

Tristan Thompson: Congratulations, Tristan, you cleared about ten spots in three days! It's a marathon, not a race.

Joe Dumars: Lucks into Brandon Knight. Rodney Stuckey problem: solved.


Individual Losers:


Brandon Knight: Plummeted due to his attitude and wound up in dysfunctional Detroit.

Josh Selby: If there was no age limit to the draft, Selby would have been a top ten pick last year. Now he falls all the way to the second round.

Jordan Hamilton: Something really bad must have been found on Hamilton, medically or otherwise. There was a nineteen-pick differential between Hamilton and a player who has rumors of being older than listed with a back issue and a contract problem. That's not a good look for the Texas ex.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 8:43 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 10:04 pm
 

NBA Draft: Bobcats select Kemba Walker

Posted by Matt Moore

(Follow along with our DraftTracker)


With the ninth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats took Kemba Walker, PG, UConn.

So... I guess D.J. Augustin didn't show enough last year? Augustin had a career season and looked to be developing nicely, but instead the Bobcats took an undersized scoring point guard who is more of a scorer rather than a distributor. That makes sense.

It's not a terrible pick, especially when paired with their seventh pick in Bismack Biyombo. The Cats have two fairly big reach rookies, and the odds are that one of the two will work out. Either Biyombo's insane athleticism or Kemba's will to win will make them special players, if both of them don't succeed. Meanwhile, Augustin has to go on the trade block, and with Corey Maggette now on roster, the Bobcats will have a lot of shots coming from the back court starting next season... whenever that is.

Walker's defensive questions are considerable considering his size, but there's no denying his pedigree. If Biyombo was the pure athleticsm, pure tangibles selection, then Walker is the opposite, the pure-polish, pure-intangibles lock. He brings a fierceness that owner Michael Jordan is obvioiusly drawn to, and with his pedigree, he'll help the ticket sales department. Walker's translation to the NBA isn't a sure thing, but his popularity and resume is. 

The freak of nature and the unconquerable hero. Not a bad haul for Rich Cho's first draft.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:56 pm
 

NBA TRADE: Bucks, Bobcats, Kings 3-way

Posted by Matt Moore

Update 4:14 p.m.: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Bobcats moved up to No. 7 to select Bismack Biyombo. That makes for a crazy pairing with Tyrus Thomas and the most athletic pair of frontcourt players in the league, probably, based on raw length and leaping ability.

Additionally, a writer from NBA.com notes that the move for the Kings was not made in anticipation of a second deal with San Antonio. Such a fail for the Kings.

Original Report: In a day filled with trade rumors on what's expected to be a wild night even with a disappointing draft class, things touched off Thursday afternoon as the Bobcats, Bucks, and Kings completed a three-way trade. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports:

The Bucks receive: Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, and the No.19 pick from Charlotte.

The Kings receive: John Salmons and the No.10 from the Bucks.

The Bobcats receive: Corey Maggette and the No. 7 pick from Sacramento.


Analysis: .... WHAT?! That's our general reaction. You're looking at three shooting guards with massive deals getting moved around. Here's the contract run downs from ShamSports.com:

Jackson: Two years, over $19 million, all guaranteed. 

Salmons: Four years, $31 million, over $24 million guaranteed.

Maggette: Two years, over $21 million, all guaranteed.

So the Bucks moved over $45 million guaranteed, and took on $35 million (Jackson plus $14 million from Udrih), saving them over $10 million and dumping most of their bloated contracts. The Bobcats took on Maggette which is an upgrade at the two-guard position, and managed to keep their No.9 pick, now giving them the 7th and 9th pick in Thursday's draft. And the Kings? Uh, they moved back three spots and picked up an aging, undersized shooting guard to go with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton. ...Okay. 

Winner: We'll call it the Bucks, who lost all that salary and still picked up an upgrade on the wing, and still kept a top-20 pick. The addition of Udrih is curious considering Brandon Jennings' place on the roster and will add more question marks towards his future. (Some reports have Shawn Livingston included in the deal going to Milwaukee.) But they cleared all that space and still kept a pick, which is pretty impressive. It's a chance for the Bucks to move back, bring in a wing, and clear some space for a restructured CBA after their spending spree last summer. Grade: B+

Co-Winner: If the Bobcats hadn't had to take on Maggette, they would have won this. Maggette's not a terrible fill-in for Jackson, and the addition of the 7th pick while keeping the 9th means the Bobcats have a chance to wholly remake themselves in the draft, which they have struggled at through the years. This move reeks of Rich Cho, opting for a youth movement while clearing space. If Livingston is indeed included, the Bobcats will actually have managed to save money through this with total outgoing salary of over $22 million compared to Maggette's $21 million incoming. And they get the No.7 pick to go with their No.9. They can draft a big and a wing, two bigs, both Morris twins, Jimmer Fredette as a flyer pick, anything. Grade: B+

Loser: What in God's name are the Kings thinking? Is this some sort of desperate move to make the fans hate them so they'll stop wishing they would stay in Sacramento? There's talk this could be in anticipation of a move for Tony Parker. Even then, a small-market franchise taking on Salmons contract along with Parker's is a rough idea. And where does this leave Marcus Thornton? Is he doomed to perpetual burying by his coaching staff? Will Salmons come off the bench? What is the thought process here? 

The Kings presumably think they can get the guy they want at No. 10 versus No. 7, but taking on Salmons is such a blow, despite giving up Udrih. Udrih wasn't the answer at point guard. Salmons isn't the answer at anything they need.  Grade: F- (pending further action)
 
 
 
 
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