Posted on: November 19, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 10:08 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
When NBA experts spent all summer talking about the "risk of injury" when players headed overseas to play, this is what they had in mind.
Former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who has been dominating Euroleague play this fall for Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, slammed his head on the court during a Russian league game against Krasnye Krylye on Saturday.
SportsRU.com reported that Kirilenko suffered a concussion, broke his nose and will undergo further medical evaluation. It's not yet known how long he will be sidelined.
The injury occurred as Kirilenko attempted to provide weakside help defense on an entry pass. As he flew in to break up the pass, he got tangled up and crashed to the floor, slamming his head on the hardwood. Blood immediately started flowing from above his left eye, and CSKA's medical staff rushed to his attention. His head was quickly bandaged and he was helped off the court, walking under his own power.
Kirilenko, 30, is an unrestricted free agent. He averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game for the Jazz last season. Earlier this week, he was named Euroleague weekly MVP.
Here's the video of the injury uploaded to YouTube by user pbleague.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:39 am
By Matt Moore
Kentucky held an exhibition last night called the Big Blue All-Stars vs. The Villains featuring a number of college stars. As you'd expect, a high number of NBA players showed up, including Jodie Meeks who dropped 42 points. $50,000 was raised for the V Foundation, which is awesome. You know what's almost as awesome?
NO, Enes Kanter, YOU MAY NOT COME IN. Kenneth Faried INVITES YOU TO TAKE THAT WEAK STUFF AND EXIT THE BUILDING IN A TIMELY FASHION.
Sorry, got a little excited there. No NBA has me a little... off.
Check out this quote from Kanter post-game:
"I couldn't play in high school," he said. "I couldn't play in college. Now, I can't play in the NBA. I'm really frustrated."via Curses, Christian Laettner wins again as Villains beat ex-Cats | Homepage | Kentucky.com.
Apparently Kanter can't play when Faried is around, either. Boom. It'll be exciting to see how Faried's intensity and athleticism can help guard the rim for the Nuggets when the NBA returns. You know, in 2014.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:07 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 8:10 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
"Plantation overseer" might be going too far, according to one NBA player, but David Stern does deserve some criticism for how he handles his business as commissioner.
Respected veteran Utah Jazz guard Raja Bell told 790 AM in Miami that, while he didn't agree with television commentator Bryant Gumbel's controversial evokation of slavery, Stern does display some dictatorial tendencies.
Here's Bell's thoughts via SportsRadioInterviews.com.
Your thoughts on Bryant Gumbel’s comments on David Stern being a “plantation overseer?”NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver stood up for his boss on Thursday, saying Gumbel's comments were "outrageous."
All things considered, Stern's reputation as a tough-minded executive and fierce negotiator are well-earned. But Thursday may very well have been his "Emperor with no clothes" moment, as a "worn down" Stern stayed home to battle a flu while the ongoing labor talks blew up in his absence. With hard-liners carrying the day and National Basketball Players Association president openly accusing the owners of lying on national television, Stern's fist looked more velvet than iron, at least for 24 hours.
That could be an ominous development for NBA fans. The ball is now clearly in Stern's court. He must act next in determining if and when to cancel further NBA games. Will he cancel two weeks? Will he cancel a month? Will he cancel all the way until Christmas, as he threatened to do last week? And, importantly, will he be able to establish a consensus on a deal-making position among his own owners with the clock ticking?
Those are all difficult questions and they demand a pro-active, tough-minded executive. Stern has rarely failed to fill that role during his multiple decades heading up the NBA. If he opts to put on his iron glove and pound his fist on the table, it could be awhile before we see hoops on the hardwood.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 10:40 am
By Matt Moore
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that free agent Andrei Kirilenko has signed a three-year contract with CSKA Moscow in his native Russia. The deal reportedly includes an opt-out for Kirilenko to return to the NBA if and when the lockout ends.
Kirilenko is expected to re-sign with the Jazz once free agency starts, at a greatly lowered salary from the huge deal he just finished playing under which paid him $17.8 million in 2010-2011. Kirilenko never really lived up to the promise he became a do-it-all forward. It was expected that Kirilenko would develop into the kind of overall product that Lamar Odom is at times for the Lakers, but injuries and role issues have made him largely irrelevant, not to mention the complexities that have existed in Utah over the past several seasons.
The key here is Kirilenko's opt-out. As a free agent, it was conceivable that he would simply head home and be done with it, but the opt-out ensures he'll be back. If Kirilenko doesn't return to the Jazz, he'll become one of the better free agents on the market, despite that disappointment over the past several seasons. At 30 his best seasons are behind him, but he can contribute enough to garner significant interest from multiple teams on an open market.
Assuming he's still 30 when we actually get a free agency.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Posted by Royce Young
So the lockout could be ending soon, depending on who you're listening to. Maybe it extends into the season, but if it doesn't and a deal gets settled in the next few weeks, we're going to have one heck of a free agency period. Really, no matter when it's settled, we're going to have one wild free agency period.
(Unless we were to miss all of 2011-12 and you combined this class with next year's group. Now that would be something.)
If you thought the summer of 2010 was a frenzy, try cramming it all into a two-week period. Maybe I'm just thinking of how horrible it'll be for me. Regardless, you can be sure that all 30 teams have a pre-written itinerary on what they want to accomplish once the lockout is lifted. They have been planning, plotting and preparing to target the players they want or finish up a few final transactions on the roster.
But what's the first order of business for everybody? What's the priority, the thing that each team wants to get done right away? Here's a stab at each team's top job.
Atlanta Hawks: It really appears that the Hawks are ready and willing to let Jamal Crawford walk, but there's still a decision to made whether or not they want to compete for him in the free agent market. He was a key part of the team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Eastern Semifinals and re-signing him could be a priority. Problem is, they don't really have the funds for it.
Boston Celtics: What happens with Jeff Green? The Celtics have already tendered him a qualifying offer, but someone surely will extend him an offer sheet. The Celtics have issues at center still and Glen Davis is unrestricted, but figuring out Jeff Green's situation is probably weighing heaviest on Danny Ainge's mind.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats made a big splash in the draft, but if that's going to matter, they've got to get Bismack Biyombo on the team. His buyout could still be a major issue and though he says he'll be on the team when training camp starts, that's definitely up in the air.
Chicago Bulls: Wing scorer. Say it with me, wing scorer. Derrick Rose needs help (and an extension) in a big time way and it's up to Gar Foreman and company to find that help. Jamal Crawford maybe? Caron Butler? J.R. Smith if he wasn't in China? Someone has to give Rose a little offensive help and that's the top priority for the Bulls.
Cleveland Cavaliers: First thing? Putting Baron Davis on the scales to make sure he doesn't weigh 300 pounds. After that, there isn't a whole lot to be done in Cleveland. The club's rebuilding around their two lottery picks and you don't want to crowd the roster in a way that stunts their development.
Dallas Mavericks: The defending champs have a whole lot on their plate once the lockout ends. Caron Butler's contract is up. So is J.J. Barea's. So is DeShawn Stevenson's. So is Brian Cardinal's (just kidding -- well it is up, but you know what I mean). But the first order of business for Mark Cuban is to get Tyson Chandler re-signed. Not just that though, but to get him re-signed to a number that makes sense for the make-up of the roster.
Denver Nuggets: Despite the lockout, the Nuggets have kind of been gutted. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are in China until at least March. Danilo Gallinari signed in Italy but has an NBA out. But all of that doesn't matter near as much as getting Nene re-signed. Without Nene, it doesn't matter. With Nene, there's still something worth building around.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are kind of trying to quietly usher out the old and bring in some new. Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, but I don't think they care. What'll be most interesting is how they handle Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons drafted Brandon Knight in June with Stuckey already their point guard. Do they want Knight to take over? Do they want to play them together? Share the role? Sorting out Stuckey's future is definitely what Joe Dumars has to do first.
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be players in free agency, but really, it's about deciding once and for all if Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry really are the backcourt tandem of the future for the team. If there's a time to move on, it's now when both of their values are still high. The Warriors flirted with dealing Ellis last season but it didn't happen. They're probably planning on revisiting that.
Houston Rockets: First order of business: Properly sending off Yao with a jersey retirement ceremony. After that, the Rockets are fairly settled, though you know Daryl Morey is just itching to pick up a phone and start transacting once the lockout's over.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have a number of expiring deals and aren't likely looking to re-sign them (maybe Josh McRoberts, maybe Jeff Foster). Larry Bird has been hunting more pieces to add to his mediocre roster for a while and you can be sure the Pacers are going to target some of the bigger free agent names in this class.
Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon is ready for an extension, but the Clippers better be ready to match any offer DeAndre Jordan gets. You might not think that's a big deal, but forget Chris Kaman. The future of the Clips frontcourt is Blake Griffin and Jordan. You seven-footer from Texas A&M finally started figuring himself out a little last season and he's not far off from becoming a major defensive impact player.
Los Angeles Lakers: Shannon Brown's unrestricted, but he's really not that much of an impact player to be that concerned with. The Lakers might have to focus on how to re-structure the roster to suit a new CBA that could greatly cut into their total salary. Will they have to move Lamar Odom? Metta World Peace? But first things first: Giving Kobe and Mike Brown a proper introduction and letting them figure out the direction of the offense.
Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol. That's it for Memphis. It'd be nice to get Shane Battier back, but it's all about Gasol.
Miami Heat: It's kind of been overlooked, but Pat Riley and the Heat have a busy couple weeks waiting on them. Mike Bibby, Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and James Jones are all unrestricted and Mario Chalmers is restricted. It's decision time for the Heat. Do they start restocking with veteran talent or look to get younger and develop?
Milwaukee Bucks: That first practice in Milwaukee is something Scott Skiles has probably been thinking about for a while. "Brandon, this is Stephen. Stephen, this is Brandon." The Bucks have some new talent as Stephen Jackson joins Brandon Jennings, but how will they get along?
Minnesota Timberwolves: Here's what David Kahn's to-do list looks like: 1) Hug Ricky. 2) Hug Darko. 3) Overpay a questionable free agent at a position you already have three guys. What it should look like: 1) Convince Kevin Love somehow to sign an extension. 2) Get rid of Michael Beasley and let Derrick Williams have the starting small forward spot all to himself. 3) Tell Rick Adelman to do his thing.
New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphies is an important piece of business but his re-signing goes hand in hand with the larger thing: Proving to Deron Williams that this is a place he wants to re-sign. The Nets have to take advantage right away of showing Williams they're serious about winning. And you do that by getting him some immediate help.
New Orleans Hornets: It's all about David West for the Hornets. Yes, he suffered a major knee injury last season. But he chose to become an unrestricted free agent and a team like the Nets is likely to come calling quickly. Can the Hornets hang on to Chris Paul's buddy?
New York Knicks: The Knicks have a little bit coming off the books but really they need to try and resist the urge to do something drastic in this free agency period. Which they will because of the big names coming up in 2012. Still, they want to field a solid team for this season -- and Mike D'Antoni needs them too -- so adding a quality veteran to help on the inside would be good.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The young Thunder roster is pretty much entirely set up. But Sam Presti has something to do right away once the lockout ends -- get Russell Westbrook his extension. Presti brought Kevin Durant his at midnight last July to make sure there was no doubt about locking up his superstar. Presti better be stalking Westbrook's house on the whim he lockout ends so he can extend the same treatment to his other star.
Orlando Magic: First order of business for Otis Smith and the Magic? Resume begging Dwight Howard to stay. One way to show it would be to get him some help, but Smith sort of laid those cards on the table last year in the Gilbert Arenas/Hedo Turkoglu trade. So it's back to convincing Howard there's a plan for the future and that it'll get better.
Philadelphia 76ers: Someone is ready and willing to give Thaddeus Young a serious offer, so the Sixers better be ready to match anything and everything.
Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash's trade value will be highest at the beginning of the season, so it's up to Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver to figure out if they're ready to move on. Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent so if the Suns lock him up by matching an offer sheet, that'll be an indication that the Suns are preparing for life without Nash.
Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are in love with Nicolas Batum, so extending him could be the first order of business, but really, the Blazers need to find a new general manager first. And whoever that guy is needs to decide that if for the off chance someone gives Greg Oden an offer, if he's willing to match. Oden already has an $8.8 qualifying offer, which is huge, so once Oden signs that, he'll likely be signing with the Blazers for another year.
Sacramento Kings: The Jimmer-Tyreke backcourt is going to be an interesting experiment, but Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the more intriguing free agents out there. The Bulls are likely looking at him long and hard right now. He's restricted, so the Kings could keep him, but the question is, with Tyreke moving off the ball for good and Jimmer handling the point, is it worth paying Thornton to just have him come off the bench?
San Antonio Spurs: Um, I guess just resume the typical day-to-day of the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach with a team and R.C. Buford probably isn't looking to go do anything drastic in this market. The Spurs are definitely aging, but there's not a lot to be done about that right now.
Toronto Raptors: Assuming the Raptors actually have Jonas Valanciunas for next season, Dwane Casey and company have to figure out if he's ready to cover for Andrea Bargnani on the inside. Can those two really play together and handle enough rebounding and defensive duties? The Raptors are in a place where they have to wait and see with some young players and aren't likely targeting any big names in the open market.
Utah Jazz: Most likely, Andrei Kirilenko won't be re-signing with the Jazz. So Kevin O'Connor will have to make a choice when the lockout's over: Does he try and restock a roster that can maybe squeak out the eight-seed, or does he commit to rebuilding around Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and others and just let them play it out? The Jazz would love to get some wing scoring help, so O'Connor will probably at least look that direction, but we'll have to see how serious he is.
Washington Wizards: It's not an earth-shattering decision, but Nick Young is a restricted free agent. And with his scoring ability, someone is ready to pay him. Do the Wizards want to keep him? Do they want to look elsewhere and maybe target say, Marcus Thornton? Or do they just let Young walk and see what Jordan Crawford's got?
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Paxers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Mikwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Royce Young, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
Posted on: September 7, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 7:18 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward isn't playing professional basketball overseas during the lockout. Instead, he's taking his talents to a galaxy far, far away.
DeseretNews.com reports that Hayward will be playing video games professionally.
The 21-year-old Utah Jazz player has joined a professional video game league with IGN Entertainment. Hayward will compete with other eSports video athletes in a StarCraft II competition from Oct. 6-9 at Caesars Atlantic City in the IGN Pro League. Hayward is excited to be among 256 players shooting for a share of a $100,000 prize pool in IPL 3: Origins.Reeeee-orrrrr. Reeeeee-orrrrrr. Yes, that's the sound of your nerd alert being activated. It is a good thing Hayward waited until after Jerry Sloan retired to announce these plans. For everyone's sake.
But, wait, there's more. Hayward was asked in a promotional video interview to compare the stress of playing professional video games to the stress of the NBA. His response.
"I think you've got to look at the circumstances of each. If you're winning a Starcraft game for the championship at IPL for the six-figure pool prize, that's probably pretty stressful ... At the same time, if you're going to shoot a three-pointer to win the game with someone guarding you, that's pretty tough too. I'd say they are both tough in their own right."The video and others can be viewed on Kristen Sharbaugh's Vimeo.com account.
Well, not to go all Charles Barkley on you, but we have officially reached the point where we know for a 100 percent fact that the NBA is too soft. When a 21-year-old, 207 pound forward doesn't immediately recoil in horror when asked to compare the stress and rigors of the NBA to a freaking science fiction video game we know that the NBA game has been cleaned up too much. If a Zerg attack really gets his blood pumping as much as a game-winning shot, that's a terrible look. We don't want to live in a world where this can be true, do we?
I guarantee that no NBA player in the 1990s ever said, "That karate chop from Ryu was pretty much the same as the haymaker Charles Oakley hit me with last night." Or, "Oh man, jumping off that hill in Excite Bike was so exhilarating it reminded me of the time Jeff Van Gundy prevented further chaos by clinging to Alonzo Mourning's leg." Never happened.
Hopefully Hayward's interview gets entered into evidence in the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations so we can turn back the clock and undo this embarrasing chapter in the history of the league.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 2:47 pm
By Matt Moore
When Carlos Boozer's time with the Utah Jazz mercifully came to an end last summer, the Jazz had a number of options with what they wanted to do. They could pursue some free agents to fill in the blanks and plan for the future. They could hoard the cash and wait for a rainy day. Or they could make a trade to acquire a quality player.
The Jazz gambled on the latter, acquiring Al Jefferson for pieces to pair with Deron Williams. The Jazz started off lookings pretty solid, a near-guaranteed playoff team. They beat the Heat!
Then the wheels fell off. Then the bottom dropped out. Then the wagon caught fire and flew off a cliff and everyone died. And that's how we got a lockout.
Okay, not really. Let me explain, though. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
The No. 11 highest paying team on the planet, according to Harris? The Jazz, who shelled out an average of $5.8 million per player and had a total payroll of about $75 million.via Utah Jazz nearly topped the world in average payroll | The Salt Lake Tribune.
So the Jazz pumped more money into the Jazz than the season prior. Sure, but it was only $3 million more. (The Jazz paid out $71.9 million in 2009-2010.) That couldn't have made that much of a difference, could it?
Well, when a move goes awry like that, the effects start to trickle down. During the season, interest dwindles (along with folks not coming out of principled loyalty to Jerry Sloan),which affects ticket sales, sponsorship money, merchandising, and all other sources of revenue (many if not all of which are included in the BRI-- Basketball Related Income -- the split of which is being debated in these CBA talks). The Jazz failed to make the playoffs, which meant the Jazz lost all the revenue from their playoff participation, which they obviously had to be counting on. All of this in an ongoing recession which sees everyone evaluating where their money is going. So now you've got the crux of the issue.
Of course Al Jefferson didn't create the lockout. But the Jazz' situation around their decision to invest in Jefferson (right as it seemed at the time) speaks to the complex elements in play that go beyond "the system's broken." It's not teams that spend a lot which is hurting the league outright. It's teams that spend a lot and don't create enough revenue to cover its investment. It's also in part teams which don't spend a lot and then lose a lot. But what's the biggest factor, there? Teams which make certain decisions which either don't pan out off of huge investments, or don't create revenue because there has been no real drive to do so. You can't just cut spending while still losing income and expect to profit. That's not really a salient business model for these times.
So when we talk about how the system is "broken," we're really talking about how the system creates catastrophic endings for perilous decision making. This doesn't mean that the entire model is flawed, it means that two things need to simultaneously occur: teams ability to hold onto more revenue in the split needs to be assured (which the NBPA has been amiable to), and teams need to exercise better business practices to increase revenue and not put themselves in a position to fail, then complain when they fail. Al Jefferson seemed like a great move at the time, but it wound up not working out. That's part of business. But if Jefferson gets more in sync with the system and flourishes next to Devin Harris and the next wave of Jazz players, it could wind up being good in the long run. And in those years, the Jazz will cover their losses and pull profit.
NBA teams shouldn't face economic disaster whenever they make a bad signing or trade. And the Jazz should be encouraged as a small-market team that was willing to spend. But this is the cost of it being a free market, and allowing for competition. We don't want everyone assured of equal success. That provides no incentive for improvement or innovation. And the last thing we need is a fleet of Donald Sterlings walking around.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:31 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 5:09 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Finally, a story involving an NBA player heading overseas during the lockout that makes too much sense not to happen.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter, the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, is weighing multiple offers from teams in China should the ongoing lockout continue into the fall.
The reference to Kentucky, of course, is a nod to Thursday's news that Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe plan to return to Lexington to work on their degrees and potentially practice with the current Wildcats team.
Forget about Lexington, at least in this case. Kanter fits just about every criteria necessary for an overseas sojourn to be worth the while.
Second, Kanter needs the competition far more than most NBA players. Indeed, you could make a solid case that he needs the competition more than every other able-bodied NBA player. Why? Because he hasn't played in organized competition since he was a prep school player in 2009-2010, as he was forced to sit out his entire freshman season at Kentucky due to eligibility issues dating back to his time as a teenage pro phenom in Turkey. While Kanter will represent his country during this summer's EuroBasket tournament, losing another full season of development at the age of 19 would be bordering on disastrous.
Third, he's going to be locked into a rookie deal whenever the lockout ends. In other words, there is (next to) zero financial risk for him to make this move. He's not jeopardizing the money on his next contract because that money is locked in a fixed rate determined by the rookie scale.
Fourth, and finally, Kanter is a worldly young man, having played overseas previously and having travelled extensively. He's not tied to the United States like many young players and he knows what to expect from international basketball. This would be just another stamp on his passport.
If I'm the Utah Jazz, this is one of the rare circumstances where I would actually prefer one of my players to play overseas. Kanter is a high-upside player but his unusual route to the NBA raises lots of questions. He can't answer those questions without playing in a competitive environment, even if he has to settle for lesser competition. Kanter needs to play. It's in his best interest and it's in his employer's best interest.