Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:18 am
By Matt Moore
The new and improved version of the Clippers took the floor Monday night for the first time in a preseason game against the Lakers. The results were impressive. The Clippers ran the Lakers' starters (who definitely looked like a team with new parts trying to integrate a new system) out of the building, and in doing so, showed off why they may break our Dunk-O-Meter this season.
The best dunk of the night wasn't actually a lob. It was just DeAndre Jordan going into Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's house and taking their lunches, then eating it in front of them.
But if you want lobs? They've got lobs. CP3 wasn't even involved on this one.
But hey, not like CP3 wasn't involved at all.
It was preseason. It was one game. It means nothing. But you can already tell that if the Clippers stay healthy (which is a big if for this franchise), they're going to be one of the most exciting teams in the league.
Welcome to Lob City. Please enjoy your stay.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 6:14 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 9:04 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Chauncey Billups made it pretty clear that he only wanted to play for a contending team and not for some young group in a rebuilding mode.
Well, the Clippers must think pretty highly of themselves right now.
The league announced Monday that Billups was claimed off waivers by the Clippers after the Knicks used their amnesty clause on him last week. Billups said shortly after the Knicks used the amnesty on him that he would consider retirement if he was claimed by an unfavorable team.
"If I get claimed by team I dont want to play for, I would absolutely consider retirment," he said.
And not just that, but Billups and his agent actually threatened retirement even if a team claimed him period, as he wanted to be a free agent and have his say where he goes. I guess the Clips really feel like Blake Griffin has changed everyone's opinion about them or something.
Of note: Billups doesn't get any of the $14.2 million he was owed this season by the Knicks if he retires. I'm kind of thinking he's not going to retire.
With all this Chris Paul drama, it's of note: Billups can't be traded until July 1. The Clippers could buy him out though, which made become a real possibility if he doesn't respond well to this.
The Clippers already have Mo Williams playing point and youngster Eric Bledsoe behind him, so it's a little unclear where they could use him. Some thought the Clips would have to amnesty a player in order to get under the cap, but that's inaccurate. They were $3.5 million under the cap and used that space to put in a bid, as DeAndre Jordan's cap hold was only $1.1 million.
There's a decent case to be made that the Clips could be a playoff team. Contender? No way, but they could push for the postseason. Match on Jordan and you've got a starting five of Billups, Eric Gordon, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin and Jordan. With Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Bledsoe, Aminu and Kaman off the bench. That's not a bad team at all. Really, Billups would be a little bit crazy to be that upset about this.
All be told though, it's a bit of a curious move by the Clips. A lot of teams were lining up to take a stab at Billups as a free agent -- the Mavs, Heat, Magic, Nets -- but instead, it's the Clippers, a team that doesn't really need him, not to mention the fact Billups might be a bit disgruntled when he shows up. I suppose the Clips could just hand the starting duties to Billups and sit Williams and drop Bledsoe to a third point guard backup role. I don't think that's necessarily an upgrade, but that's probably where they're at.
They want a veteran, proven winner to take the reins of the team and try and inject the talented group with a steady leading presence. It could work. It could be a nice fit and is probably an upgrade from Williams. But it's still a little odd.
It also means the Clippers are very likely out of the Chris Paul derby. This appears to be sort of their backup plan to getting the best point guard in basketball. Go get the 14th best one. Potentially it makes Williams (or Bledsoe) that much more expendable. And in that case, this deal was an extremely wise one.
I have an idea though if that falls through: Chauncey should get Al-Farouq Aminu to give him No. 3. CB3. Close enough?
Posted on: December 10, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 9:28 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Just a few months after the Knicks exercised their $14.2 million option on Chauncey Billups, they were turning around and using the amnesty clause to cut him and that $14.2 million off the salary cap.
Why? In order to sign big man Tyson Chandler, but the fact Billups was axed with seemingly no second thought, especially with the team not really having a point guard to replace him, was a bit surprising. Not just to us, but to him.
And he was ready to vent a bit about it. Via ESPN NY, Billups talked about getting waived, the Knicks, what his next plans are and where he wants to go.
On the Knicks: "I think they are probably a couple of pieces short, but I wont say what those pieces are." Presumably a point guard, right?
On his place within the organization: "From the first day I got there it was about who was going to be next point guard, without giving me a real chance. The whole deal with Denver was about Melo ... But I dont think the Knicks valued what else they got in the deal.
"If Im healthy versus Boston, we've got a really good chance in that series. But once I got hurt "it's like (the Knicks) forgot all about the impact I did have on that team."
Billups said that he doesn't see the Knicks succeeding by running the ball through Carmelo Anthony, "especially in Mike's system, where the point guard is so important."
Billups also played a strange "woe is me" card though saying that he's been through a lot and that the Knicks didn't give him a fair chance.
"I dont know of any player of my magnitude ... thats gone thru what I've gone through. Not one," he said. "It's not in my makeup to be selfish, but it just feel like this time i need to be a little more concerned with me ... I can go back 13, 14 years where everyone loves me and yet I'm always the one who pays the price."
What's next for him? He heads to the waiver wire where any team can claim him. If nobody does, then he'd become a free agent. But it's not that simple for Billups.
"If I get claimed by team I dont want to play for, I would absolutely consider retirment," he said. Would one of those teams possibly be the Heat?
"I want a chance to win, so any team that's playing for it all, I'd be interested in ... I'm still playing at a high level. I'm not interested in going somewhere to be a mentor coming off the bench."
The better the team, the better a chance Billups would get another shot at the team that seemingly cast him aside without much thought.
"I would like a chance at them, I'll tell you that much," he said. "I'd absolutely love that."
Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:34 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 3:34 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
The New York Knicks completed two major roster moves on Saturday, formally announcing the signing of free agent center Tyson Chandler and confirming that the team has used the amnesty clause to waive point guard Chauncey Billups.
The Chandler signs comes as part of a 3-way sign-and-trade between the Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks and the Washington Wizards. New York gets Chandler, the rights to Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis from Dallas; Dallas gets second-year guard Andy Rautins from New York and a protected 2012 second round pick from the Wizards; Washington gets Knicks center Ronny Turiaf a 2013 second round pick plus a reported $3 million in cash from the Knicks.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported on Thursday that New York was the favorite to land Chandler, a key member of the 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. Chandler's deal is reportedly worth four years and $58 million.
The Knicks will receive cap relief on the $14.2 million owed to Billups for the 2011-2012 season, the final year of his contract. Billups was reportedly very upset by the decision; he will now enter a blind bidding pool of teams where only teams that are below the salary cap can compete for his services. His stay in New York was short: he was traded along with forward Carmelo Anthony prior to the 2011 trade deadline.
By shedding Billups, Turiaf and Rautins, the Knicks have actually created cap space for themselves despite the sizeable offer to Chandler. They will need it. Having lined up the best 3-4-5 combination in the NBA with Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks must now work quickly to address their backcourt, which is about as barren as it gets.
New York's thinking here is pretty clear: dream target Chris Paul seems destined for the Lakers and Chandler was arguably the best catch in this current free agency pool, making an excellent consolation price. A premier shot-blocker and team defender, Chandler fills New York's gaping hole in the middle, making life easier for both Stoudemire and Anthony. While people will pause before calling this a true "Big 3", it's a dominant trio. Chandler is mobile enough to keep up with a fast-paced offense, but the biggest question is his durability, as he has missed at least eight games in five of the last six seasons. The Knicks will be very thin and at a major disadvantage whenever he is unable to suit up.
The Wizards did nicely here as the facilitator, grabbing a solid asset in Turiaf, who is in the final year of his contract and is paid just $4.3 million. He fills a frontcourt hole and doesn't require a long-term or big-dollar salary commitment, perfect for a Washington team that's still in rebuilding mode. The extra picks and the cash to cover most of Turiaf's deal are just icing on the cake.
For Dallas, this is a major blow. Conventional wisdom around the league dictated that billionaire owner Mark Cuban would do everything in his power to retain Chandler, who averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 block last season. Instead, he acquired a few minor assets and a large trade exception, which could definitely prove useful, in exchange for Chandler's departure to the Big Apple and must now work to fill his center hole with limited cap flexibility. Cuban's stated goal is to increase his cap space for a run at a superstar next summer, which is a solid idea. It's way too soon to rule out a repeat for the defending champs, who have also recently been linked to contact with Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, but losing Chandler hurts, to be sure.
Billups is the big loser in all of this. Having apparently thought until recently that he was going to run a big-market, high-profile team on its way to a potential playoff run, his future is now left to an amnesty process that gives him no real control over his future. There will surely be bids for his reliable, veteran services, and the Knicks will recover financial savings if and when Billups is officially claimed.
In comments made to Yahoo Sports following the decision, Billups totally flipped out in an effort to dissuade teams from bidding for him.
The goal here obviously is to create a situation where he can sign on for cheap with a championship contender or to ensure that he doesn't have to play for a middling team. Other than creating this sort of public outcry, Billups has no real leverage or control in the process. We now wait to see whether teams heed his threats.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 9:59 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Veteran NBA point guards are supposed to be floor generals, not pawns. No wonder New York Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups is upset at all the recent trade rumors involving his team.
The New York Times interviewed Billups on Friday and he made it clear that a trade involving him would be quite upsetting. What triggered this? The "Chris Paul wants to go to New York" rumors, of course.
“It wouldn’t make me happy,” Billups said Friday in a phone interview from his Denver home. “Because for me, at this juncture in my career, I just want to win.”Billups' sentiment here is well-founded. When it comes to superstar moves, nobody really wants to be a toss-in or part of the outgoing package. Aside from professional pride, there's the issue of uprooting your family, learning a new system, adapting to a new coach and fitting in with new teammates. The NBA is a business so all of that is usually taken for granted, but that doesn't make the process any more pleasant.
If the Knicks did trade Billups, he would join his third team since just before the 2011 NBA trade deadline, when the Denver Nuggets off-loaded his 8-figure contract in a blockbuster deal that saw All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony land with the Knicks. Billups' 2011-2012 expiring contract is worth $14.2 million, meaning it's a virtual guarantee that he will be a part of any trade for a name player that the Knicks execute this season.
Acquiring Billups, 35, would provide instant financial relief for a team looking to rebuild, but that alone won't be nearly enough to swing another blockbuster. The Knicks will need to find a way to turn their current players into draft picks -- since they've already traded a number of their own picks in previous deals -- or sign free agents that could be repackaged in a larger trade if they want to land a name talent.
The other option, of course, would be to wait until next summer to chase a third leg for their All-Star tripod, as they figure to have loads of cap space once Billups' contract expires. Surely that would be Billups' preferred strategy because it would allow him one last run in the Big Apple and a chance to make amends for going down with injury during the 2011 playoffs, a loss that helped the Boston Celtics sweep New York out in four games.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:06 pm
Posted by Royce Young
There hasn't really been a time in this NBA labor impasse where it genuinely looked like the league could lose an entire season. It's all been a lot of talk and posturing, but when things got down to it, just like in 1999, a deal was going to be made. It's been more about "when" and not "if". There hasn't been a worry yet.
With some 50 players talking decertification, that route could derail the season easily. But in order for it to happen, 60 percent of the union would have to vote for it. And by voting for it they'd basically be saying they're fine missing one, maybe two, seasons of basketball. Are 60 percent of players really willing to do that?
Chauncey Billups says no, as he told ESPN New York Thursday:
“I’ve spoken to a lot of players and I could see a lot of players wanting to do that. If you’re asking me if the general body of the NBA is willing to do that, willing to lose a year’s salary, I don’t think guys would be willing to do that. That’s going to be a position and a bridge that we’re going to have to cross when we come that.”
Before now, players probably hadn't entirely considered whether or not they'd be willing to miss a season. A lot of the high profile guys have said it they'll do what it takes to get a fair deal. But now, they're going to have a chance to put their money (or lack thereof) where their mouth is.
If a decertification vote actually happens, will the general body, as Billups says, want to forego a court battle and get back to basketball? Or will they dig in and fight for what they think is right?
It's getting down to it. That decision doesn't have to be made yet, but the clock is ticking for the players. The offers are probably going to start getting worse pretty soon and with this thing getting messy, that "general body" better speak up.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Nothing could compare to the hype and spotlight on the Miami Heat in their first season together. Right? The constant scrutiny, the microscope on every little thing -- the Heat were THE story in the NBA last season. Their second year together would've seen some of that fade away as interest in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh's experiment waned.
Wrong. Actually, it probably would've been worse this season. Which means like last year, the Miami Heat would've been the thing we all talk about all the time. Why? Because they choked away an NBA title last season. They haven't won. They haven't started to fulfill the promise of "not one, not two, not three..."
And they would've been kicking off Game 1 of 82 tonight. But not just anywhere. They would've been playing at Madison Square Garden. Oh man, this lockout hurts.
Both teams virtually would look the same. The Heat had some offseason decisions to make on their elderly players and the Knicks had a nice draft pick to unveil in Iman Shumpert, but it was going to be Melo, Amar'e and Chauncey versus LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Which was going to be a blast.
Think about it: The last game the Heat played was a heartbreaking Game 6 loss to the Mavericks in The Finals. The last game the Knicks played was an embarrassing beatdown in the sweep to the Celtics. You want to teams itching for opening night? Well, you got them here. And in The World's Most Famous Arena to boot.
Both teams are good, but it would be the individual matchups we'd salivate over. LeBron against Melo. Wade against defensive-minded Landry Fields. Amar'e against Bosh. I'm not sure if the Knicks are really ready to take that step into contendership, but this game would've at least made a statement one way or the other.
The Knicks topped the Heat in Miami late last season with Melo actually taking over the on both ends late. He blocked LeBron and scored a couple of late baskets to seal it. Would that happen again? Or would the Heat start off by asserting themselves as the dominant team in the East? Alas, questions we won't get answers to. At least for the foreseeable future.
Starpower, good basketball, good teams, great atmosphere -- it would've been a helluva way to follow up a great opening night.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 8:19 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 8:26 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
About two weeks ago, we brought you early word of an informal league being launched by Impact Basketball, a well-known training facility frequented by NBA players, in Las Vegas. The premise behind the league was simple, but surprisingly foreign: provide a structured, non-NBA environment for professional basketball players to compete during the ongoing lockout.
The New York Times reports that all systems are go for the league, which plans to begin a two-week slate of games on Sept. 12.
The site will be the Impact Basketball gymnasium, about two miles from the Strip. The unofficial commissioner will be Joe Abunassar, a longtime trainer of N.B.A. players. More than 40 players, locked out of N.B.A. facilities because of a labor standoff, have committed to play. Chauncey Billups, John Wall, Zach Randolph and Stephen Jackson will be among the headliners.The league plans to sell a limited number of tickets to the general public and to provide live video streams of the games online. The Times reports that the following players also plan to participate: Shawne Williams, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Lowry, Chuck Hayes, Chase Budinger, Courtney Lee, Mo Williams, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Hickson, Eric Maynor, Al Harrington, Jermaine O'Neal and Jared Dudley.
This league sounds like a noble and well-thought out attempt at getting professional basketball off the ground during the lockout, but it doesn't particularly sound like a made-for-TV event (aside from the presence of Wall, who is always made-for-TV, whether he's balling or dancing). The focus seems to be on staying in shape and skill development with a secondary emphasis on building chemistry between teammates. This league will likely have more in common with recent exhibition games or maybe the Las Vegas Summer League rather than an NBA game. The scope will be narrower and the sideshows will likely be non-existent.
For hardcore hoop heads, that won't matter. But the casual fan likely won't pay this league any mind. Unless, of course, some bigger stars throw their hats in the ring.