Tag:Larry Brown
Posted on: July 22, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 11:11 am
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Offseason Reviews: Southeast Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how various teams did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Atlanta Hawks

Added: Joe Johnson (re-signed for eleventy billion dollars) Jordan Crawford (draft)
Lost: Josh Childress (didn't really have him anyway, but technically, they lost the rights to him in trade)

Philosophy: "Self-delusion is all the rage this summer!"

What are you going to do if you're Atlanta in six years? When Joe Johnson's crossover is no longer deadly and you're paying him $20 million? The goal, apparently, is to try and contend for a title in the next three years, hoping Al Horford and Josh Smith keep developing, Jeff Teague turns into a starter-caliber point guard, and maybe figure out some big name free agent you can sign on the cheap, like Shaq, that will put you over the top. It's not that the Hawks are a bad team. Far from it. While everyone was mocking them in the mid-00's for stockpiling forwards, they've either developed them into quality starters or raised their trade value enough to move them for pieces or cap relief. But this summer, they have only made one signature move, and that was spending way too much for Joe Johnson.

The vast number of ways in which the Johnson signing was poorly conceived is staggering. The full max, all six years? That much money? The roster had potential to really contend, but instead, the Hawks simply avoided the great collapse of losing a high usage player with low efficiency. Johnson can take over a game like few in the league. But he also simply isn't worth the money, and it's hamstrung their franchise for the future.

Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats

Added: Shaun Livingston (free agency), Dominic Maguire (free agency), Matt Carroll (trade), Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade)
Lost: Raymond Felton (free agency), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Tyson Chandler (trade)

Philosophy: "Slight derivatives"

Did the Bobcats get better? Did they get worse? Did they stay the same? No, those aren't rhetorical. I'm asking. Because looking at that list above, I really can't be sure. They lost an underrated point guard who worked hard but never could stick with Larry Brown. They added a recovering injury-plagued point guard who can't seem to stick with any coach. They lost a veteran seven foot center with wear and tear on him and a large contract. They brought in an aging behemoth with wear and tear issues and a big contract. And they got Dominic Maguire, so they've got that going for them.

Larry Brown and Rod Higgins have built a program of improvement through trade and have kept up with this offseason. Adding Livingston provides a high-upside, low-risk replacement for Felton and they managed to trim some long-term money off the books. But you can't look at the roster and say they've improved dramatically. Status quo for the Cats. Underrated moves that still don't move them up dramatically in the NBA world.

Grade: C-

Orlando Magic


Added: J.J. Redick (re-signed), Chris Duhon (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Daniel Orton (draft), Stanley Robinson (draft)
Lost: Matt Barnes (free agency)

Philosophy: "The fear of losing out."

Marcin Gortat wants a bigger role. Benched. Brandon Bass wants a bigger role. Benched. J.J. Redick wanted a bigger role and more money. Offer from the Bulls matched and benched. The Magic seem to really believe in this roster, and it shows in them re-signing Redick and only addint marginal adjustments at other positions. Their draft essentially yielded them a raw, underdeveloped player who has little to no chance of getting playing time (Orton) and another wing to be buried deep. They didn't lose anyone, which means the luxury tax and the Magic are best of friends, especially after matching the $20 million offer for Redick from the Bulls.

Without any adjustments, and with how much better the East has gotten, it's hard to argue that the Magic have improved by not subtracting. Chris Duhon might be considered an upgrade over Jason Williams, but we're talking inches, not miles, and Quentin Richardson brings better three point shooting than Matt Barnes . That may be the best addition the Magic made, adding another shooter that provides an alternative reason not to play Vince Carter when he goes in a hole. But all in all, for a franchise that has spent the money to contend, they simply haven't done enough to get there.

Grade: C-

Miami Heat


Added: LeBron James (free agency sign-and-trade), Chris Bosh (free agency sign-and-trade), Dwyane Wade (re-signed), Mike Miller (free agency), Udonis Haslem (re-signed), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (re-signed), James Jones (re-signed), Joel Anthony (re-signed), Jamaal Magloire (re-signed), Juwan Howard (free-agency), Dexter Pittman (draft), Jarvis Varnado (draft), Da'Sean Butler (draft),

Lost:
Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Michael Beasley (trade), Daequan Cook (trade)

Philosophy:
"So, that went pretty well."

That's how you build a title contender. Any questions? The Heat managed to add all three of the top free agents this summer, fill out the roster with veteran talent that knows how to win and supports their Big 3, and did it all in a little less than fourteen days. Think about that. The Heat remade their team into a title contender in less time than it takes for your milk to go bad. It was a sweeping coup, one that has to lead people to believe it probably took much longer to orchestrate (cough*tampering*cough). What could the Heat have done better? Well, not allowing for the act to paint them as the most obnoxious triumverate in modern sports would have been nice. Other than that, it's hard to argue Pat Riley's anything but a genius. Getting Quentin Richardson would have been nice, but adding Mike Miller more than makes up for it. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony gives the team some size to go along with the incredible talent they have. From when once mortals stood, now there be gods. Geez, Riley, save some for the rest of the class.

Grade: A

Washington Wizards


Added: John Wall (draft), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Trevor Booker (draft), Yi Jianlian (trade), Hamady N'Diaye (draft), Hilton Armstrong (free agency), Kevin Seraphin (draft)
Lost: Randy Foye (free agency), Mike Miller (free agency), Shaun Livingston (free agency)

Philosophy:
"Let's see how this goes."

One thing is absolutely certain. John Wall is the future. Everything is built around Wall as the future. He is the singular sure thing. Other than that, sussing out a pattern that goes beyond "keep it flexible, stupid" is tough. The team acquired Kirk Hinrich in one of the more baffling moves we've seen. Hinrich brings a veteran defensive guard that can play on or off ball, back up Wall, and anchor the defense. But he's also an underwhelming shooter (oh, where, oh, where have you gone, 2005 shooting average?) and doesn't seem like an ideal fit next to Wall. Neither does the incumbent shooting guard, Gilbert Arenas , who you may remember from such films as "The Single Worst Offseason Meltdown in the History of the League" and "Little Blogger, Get Your Gun, Then Bring It To The Arena."

Arenas' ability to play next to Wall will decide his future in Washington. No longer is the team willing to build around him. If he can slide into an off-ball shooter that complements Wall? Terrific. Redemption abounds. Provided he stays out of trouble, of course. If he can't, he's trade bait. He may be already. The addition of Yi Jianlian seems like a "let's see what this does" kind of tinkering. The team still needs a long-term solution at small-forward, and with Andray Blatche recovering from injury, there are questions all over in the frontcourt. When you realize that JaVale McGee seems like the player best adapted to mix with John Wall, you know you've got a ways to go in the rebuilding process.

To evaluate? They failed to make any signings or trades that wow you, but they also managed to not screw up the #1 overall pick and cleaned some salary off the books for the future. Not a bad day at the office. And that's better than last year.

Grade: B-
Posted on: July 12, 2010 1:53 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Raptors and Suns and Bobcats, Oh My!

Posted by Matt Moore

So this big ol' series of trades went down late last night , and it's now evolving into something even more complex (KB has the rundown ). Here's the rundown for you for where we're at, with pieces still moving. We'll keep you updated, but as it stands:

Suns get: Hedo Turkoglu
              Josh Childress

Raptors get: Leandro Barbosa
                   Boris Diaw
                   Tyson Chandler

Bobcats get:
Jose Calderon
                   Dwayne Jones
                  

Hawks get: Trade exception

Okay, then. Glad you boys were able to find ways to amuse yourselves. Let's break it down team by team.

Suns: This is an incredibly complex deal for them with lots of variables and moving parts. To simplify. Hedo Turkoglu still has some life left in him and the magical healing powers in Phoenix could do wonders for him, but putting him at power forward could be outright disastrous and it otherwise creates a traffic jam at the wing. This is all besides the fact that he's really expensive. Childress on the other hand is a steal, who can run point forward, play from the wing, hit from the perimeter, is young, versatile, and is a tremendous pickup, especially at the sign-and-trade price they're getting him at.

The angle that gets really bizarre in this whole thing? The Suns have been reportedly pursuing agent Lon Babby for their general manager position. Okay, kind of a step outside the box, but nothing too weird. Except who are two of Babby's clients?

Josh Childress and Hedo Turkoglu.

Well, then. This rabbit hole seems to go a ways down. But all in all, this is a strong effort from the Suns who have given themselves options and depth with their moves after Amar'e. While they're definitely going to lose some punch, they may have acquired enough to stay in the race in the West, provided Steve Nash keeps being, you know, Steve Nash.

Raptors: You want a rebuilding project? Brian Colangelo will show you  a rebuilding project! If Colangelo is able to get both of these deals he will have moved over $71 million in assets between Calderon and Turkoglu in under 12 hours, taking on $45 million for a defensive center who can actually rebound (when healthy), a versatile combo-forward-center, and a speedy 2-guard that can provide sixth man punch.

When you rebuild a team, you have to gut it. You can't wait around hoping to turn your piecemeal collection of underachieving assets into something good with the right additions, unless they're very young (Thunder). You take your biggest remaining contract and you ditch it. Then you take your next biggest contract and you try and ditch it. Then you fill in with talented guys at the end of their deals looking to hit free agency.

And that's what BC has done here. He hasn't brought in a savior, but he's brought on good players with short term deals. Chandler in particular will be the most attractive expiring contract on the market this year at $12.6 million. Barbosa has a player option for 2011 which he may exercise, depending on the CBA and how this year goes. And Diaw also has an expiring at 9 million. He hasn't just cut payroll with these moves while bringing in talent to tide the team over, he's done it in such a way as to give him even more tradeable assets.

Meanwhile, in shocking news, this team won't be able to defend anyone. As bad as they were on defense last year, and they were bad , they might be worse this season. Chandler hasn't proven he can stay healthy and his impact has been limited since New Orleans. Barbosa and Diaw are sieves and they lost their best defender in Bosh. But with Amir Johnson, there's some hope, along with Weems and DeRozan.

Bobcats: The team that rebuilds through trade keeps rolling along. Continuing a pattern of consistent trading throughout Larry Brown's time with the team, the Bobcats have moved yet another series of components in order to fill needs. Moving Chandler and Diaw makes room for Tyrus Thomas and cuts down their payroll while adding an actual legit point guard in Calderon. It does create some shallow depth down low, but also fills an immediate need at point guard with Raymond Felton dishing to Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. This isn't a coup, but it cuts salary and brings in offense, two things that Charlotte desperately needed.

Larry Brown is proving that you don't have to draft well to improve your team. There's more than one way to.. er, skin a cat.
Posted on: July 9, 2010 5:08 pm
 

Bobcats sign Tyrus Thomas

Posted by Matt Moore
Ken Berger reports sources have told CBSSports.com that the Charlotte Bobcats have signed free agent Tyrus Thomas to a 5-year, $40 million deal. The move is not altogether surprising, as the Cats had invested quite a bit to land the mercurial power forward and need depth at the position.

While Thomas struggled mightily for minutes in Chicago despite putting up stellar per-minute defensive numbers, Larry Brown uncharacteristically gave Thomas extended minutes during the Charlotte playoff run, enabling his athleticism and using it as the raw counter to Boris Diaw's finesse game. The Bobcats' defensive philosophy is centered around efficient and hammering rebounding, something Thomas does well.

The question at that price tag is if Thomas has the mental makeup to be a full-time starter. Despite his considerable athleticism and an improving jumper, Thomas has long minutes of looking utterly lost on the floor, often playing recklessly and not working within the rhythm of the game. He also tends to hijack possessions routinely and look for opportunities for his shot, which still needs a lot of work.

This move also in no way shape or form locks Thomas into Charlotte long-term. The Bobcats have shown a perplexing commitment to improving their team almost solely through trades, often after signing the outgoing players to long deals. See: Okafor, Emeka. The Cats have a vested interest in Thomas but if he regresses for the thirty third time, you can bet he'll find himself on the trading block again. He's been rewarded for the work he did last season with this opportunity. If he's ever going to become the player his athleticism suggests he could be, he needs to start now.
 
 
 
 
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