Posted on: August 5, 2010 7:53 am
Edited on: August 5, 2010 10:54 am
Posted by Matt Moore
The Pacers continue to search for a point guard option . There comes a point where you just have to recognize you can't go forward without a positional upgrade and you have to commit the resources necessary to acquire one. The Pacers have hit that point, but now there aren't really many options. However, if Lance Stephenson can just show a baseline of point play like he did in Summer League, he could be an option. I never would have thought that a reasonable match, but Stephenson looked like a better combo point than several attempted hybrids have.
Consider this. With Shaq signing not only with Boston, but in Boston for a two-year deal , the odds are high that his last NBA game will be as a Celtic. Try and wrap your brain around that.
Almost everyone agrees that Mark Cuban, for all his antics, is a great owner. But after Cuban lost the bid for the Texas Rangers last night, one reporter thinks his heart wasn't in it to begin with, and has some harsh words . It's hard to imagine Cuban doing the bidding of anyone, and the fact is that Cuban has been one of the best stories in sports ownership over the past decade. Committed not only to winning, but not throwing out money to ridiculous personnel like New York.
The Suns signed Matt Janning who looked good in Vegas Summer League . This brings their total number of goofy looking white point guards to three.
Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian want to have children . Tremble for your world, ye children of men.
Bulls blog Bulls by the Horns points out that Joakim Noah has improved his jumper . That's a fairly siginificant step for a player just to become decent and another sign that Noah is still even better than we think he is, and at this point we think he's pretty good.
In a lot of ways, Ben Wallace is the anti-Shaq. Doesn't say much. Does his job. Re-signs with the team that he's loyal to . You know, those kind of things.
Shannon Brown thinks playing time, more money, and a system that fits his skills are all fairly useless things . Why be a prince in an upcoming neighborhood with tons of potential when you can be a lapdog in Bevery Hills? Wanting to stay where you had success is nice, as is the loyalty factor, if that really is part of it. But Brown is poorly suited for the triangle and has more value elsewhere than he does in LA, walking the ball up as a third stringer and sitting in a corner waiting for a three. He's a slasher, a driver, a creator. But hey, his career. And the rings are always nice.
Bill Walton is working with Roy Hibbert, which can only lead to good things . My question? Where's Rik Smits?!
Sharks + Thunder= Thundersharks .
Tags: Ben Wallace, Boston Celtics, Bulls, Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Joakim Noah, Lakers, Lamar Odom, Lance Stephenson, Los Angeles Lakers, Mark Cuban, Matt Janning, Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Pistons, Rik Smits, Roy Hibbert, Shannon Brown, Shaquille O'Neal, Suns, Thunder
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 1:18 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The Chris Paul situation is heating up. He has a meeting with the team Monday that could influence him to stay or maybe to go. And now there's a report telling the world where he wants to be: Orlando.
Chris Broussard of ESPN reports the Magic have emerged as Paul's top preferred destination, supplanting the New York Knicks. In the story, Broussard mentions that while the Knicks are still high on Paul's list, he believes the Magic would be a better fit. Plus, CP3 also realizes Orlando has much more to offer New Orleans in a trade and thus believes it's a more realistic destination than New York,
CP3's desire to play in New York is largely tied to Carmelo Anthony and the chance to form a new Big 3 in the Big Apple with Amar'e Stoudemire. But that's not a guaranteed situation, especially with reports indicating Anthony prefers to re-sign with Denver. On top of that, the Knicks probably will be able to present the least attractive offer to the Hornets. Ken Berger's original report mentioned the Hornets would want to move Emeka Okafor with Paul, and if the Knicks took back Okafor, they wouldn't have the cap space to sign Anthony anyway in 2011.
Paul does have two years left on his contract so the Hornets don't have to move him by any means. But the team understands the predicament its star is in and realizes the unwanted situation new coach Monty Williams would have starting his coaching career with an unhappy star.
That's why the Hornets may indeed decide to trade Paul. But New Orleans would not limit itself to the four clubs on Paul's list, Broussard points out. Instead, the Hornets would look for the best deal for its franchise, according to his sources.
Currently the four teams Paul reportedly prefers are the Knicks, the Magic, the Mavericks and the Trail Blazers. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on Friday that Paul's agent Leon Rose reached out to all four teams this week. The Bobcats and Nets have also made inquiries about packaging a deal for CP3.
If Monday's meeting doesn't go well for the Paul camp, there are teams lined up ready to pony up just about anything to grab CP3. This thing is getting good. Well, that is unless you're a Hornets fan.
Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 3:30 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Dallas MavericksAdded: Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Ian Mahinmi (free agency), Dominique Jones (draft)
Lost: Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Matt Carroll (trade)
Philosophy: "It's now or never."
The Mavs' clock is starting to tick. Time is beginning to run out on the Dirk Nowitzki era and the team knows this. And every move this offseason was made in an effort to stay competitive, get to the playoffs and hopefully set themselves up for more midseason moves if necessary. The Mavericks have had the type of roster over the last 10 years that's always good enough to win 50 games, get to the postseason and maybe even win a series. But there's just never enough oomph to it and it seems like the Mavs are always a player short.
Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier seems like a lateral move in a sense because does that really improve Dallas to the point that they're a legitimate contender now? Unlikely. The Mavericks picked up about 10 centers, but with Brendan Haywood now established inside, the Mavericks are looking to match up with Bynum and Gasol and with Chandler, things got a little better.
Houston RocketsAdded: Luis Scola (re-signed), Kyle Lowry (re-signed), Brad Miller (free agency), Patrick Patterson (draft)
Philosophy: "Keep playing chess while the rest, you know."
You might as well count Yao as addition as well, because getting the big man back is huge for the Rockets. But Houston re-inked Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola for the long-term and brought in Brad Miller as help/insurance behind Yao. The Rockets are a team that want sustained success but are looking to compete now. Daryl Morey isn't shy about being active to build a roster he prefers, and this offseason, he did exactly that. The Rockets drafted Patrick Patterson in the first round, re-signed a few players and attempted to address an issue inside.
Memphis GrizzliesAdded: Rudy Gay (re-signed), Tony Allen (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)
Lost: Marcus Williams (free agency), Lester Hudson (free agency)
Philosophy: "Hang with us, we're getting there."
The Grizzlies have built a quality roster somewhat unconventionally. They've acquired a large bulk of it through the draft and trades, but really scored big last season when Zach Randolph decided he was ready to play without any baggage. The biggest thing the Grizzlies did this offseason was re-sign Rudy Gay. Now, is Gay worth $84 million? Eh, that's a pretty hefty price for him. But keep in mind, Gay is only 23 and had his best season last year. And someone was going to pay him. It basically came down to if Memphis wanted to hang on to its franchise player, they were going to have to overpay. These are the type of things that can hurt in the long term, but it was a choice the Grizzlies had to make and they chose to keep their most talented player. Hard to say it's really that dumb.
The Tony Allen signing is a slight headscratcher, mainly because where does he fit in for quality minutes? O.J. Mayo may be learning to play point, but he's still the starting 2. Of course there's Xavier Henry who the Grizzlies drafted and though he can play small forward, he's a more natural shooting guard. Allen is versatile and brought in to defend, but $15 million over three years is pretty steep for a guy that might only play 15-20 minutes a night.
The one thing about the Grizzlies is that there doesn't seem to be any real direction. It's more a collection of talented players, but how do they fit together? How do they play together? Memphis isn't necessarily a player or two away from being a playoff team, but more an existing roster player elevating his game. Mike Conley Jr. definitely was an improved player last season, so maybe he's a candidate for a leap. Same with O.J. Mayo. The talent is in the cupboard, it's just about pulling it out onto the floor.
New Orleans HornetsAdded: Quincy Pondexter (draft), Craig Brackins (draft)
Lost: Morris Peterson (trade), Sean Marks (free agency), Chris Paul's commitment to the franchise
Philosophy: "Just trust us Chris! We'll get better!"
Ignore all that Chris Paul talk for just one minute. The Hornets, have been a pretty active team this offseason. And not just in terms of the roster. New Orleans has its GM resign, then hired a new GM, hired a new coach and is in the process of transferring ownership. Then they signed Luther Head and rescinded that deal. Plus they traded the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, for Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins.
They've done a whole lot, while doing very little. But it all comes back to Paul. The main goal of this offseason is to set up a new front office, install a new coach and somehow convince your soured star to stay true to the mission. If that gets done, this is a slam dunk of an offseason for the Hornets, considering the circumstances. If Paul walks, the summer months were nothing short of a disaster.
San Antonio Spurs
Added: Tiago Splitter (signed), Richard Jefferson (re-signed), James Anderson (draft), Ryan Richards (draft), Gary Neal (summer league signee)
Lost: Roger Mason Jr. (free agency), Keith Bogans (free agency), Ian Mahinmi (free agency),
Philosophy: "We're not done yet."
The Spurs are offseason savants. RC Buford and company know how to pay just the right money, push the right buttons and get the right players. And evidently how to talk people out of $15 million. Take say, Richard Jefferson for example. The Spurs lucked out when Jefferson opted out of his $15 million deal. He claimed it was because he wanted a long-term deal. The Spurs obliged, Jefferson took less money and it saved the Spurs from busting the luxury tax and kept some serious coin in their pockets. It's a fishy deal, but nonetheless, good for San Antonio.
Next, they signed Tiago Splitter. Splitter has been sort of a myth the last few years. A gifted big man that tore it up internationally, but couldn't come to terms with San Antonio. Well, the Spurs officially inked him to a sensible deal (about $16 million over three years) and not only is Splitter visions of the future for San Antonio, but he also helps now. They also added James Anderson, an All-American and prolific college scorer to replace Roger Mason Jr. The Spurs know what they want to do and while their core may seem ancient, the goal remains the same: build around talent and ride Tim Duncan until he can't walk anymore.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 4:19 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Free agency has very nearly come and gone. The big names have signed and the ones remaining are either role players or big names that some might consider only that - names. Players like Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has updates on all three , but looked intently at Shaq's current situation.
Stein says Dallas is "definitely out" and that Atlanta stands as the only team with a confirmed “live” interest in Shaq. But the big guy, Stein says, still wants assurances of a healthy amount of playing time as well as a salary that starts above the $5.8 million mid-level exception, which can be achieved through a sign-and-trade with Cleveland. But again, Stein reiterates what we already know: No team out there, including Atlanta, is known to be willing to pay Shaq more than $2 million for next season. And why should anyone?
Stein also said Shaq, McGrady and Iverson have all expressed interest in joining the Heat, but it's unlikely any of them will land in Miami. In assembling a supporting cast for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on a severely limited budget, the Heat made it clear that it doesn’t want to add anyone -- no matter how much money that player is ready to sacrifice -- who could potentially alter chemistry or divert focus away from the SuperFriends. As Stein says, Shaq was never a consideration after his critical comments of Miami’s training staff upon arrival in Phoenix and his history of ripping Bosh.
Currently, Shaq's best option appears to still be Atlanta but O'Neal will have to check both his ego and his checkbook at the door. The Spurs still reportedly have some interest, but that's surely on the condition Shaq takes the veteran minimum. Right now, it appears options for Shaq are pretty limited.
Now Shaq was productive in Cleveland last year. He averaged 12 ppg and 6.7 rpg, and fleshed out to per 36 minutes, he put up close to 18 and 10 and had a quality PER of almost 18. But again, he's 38, will only play about 20-25 minutes a game, isn't a guarantee for all 82 and wants too much money. Who's in? Don't all you teams put your hands up at once.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:50 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 10:52 am
Posted by Royce Young
Sometimes in late July, stories like this become very interesting. Well, at least to me.
Gery Woelfel of The Journal-Times wrote a feature on Caron Butler and how he's planning for a financial future past basketball. And one thing mentioned is that Butler is the sole proprietor of six Burger King restaraunts.
As to why Burger King, it's because Butler used to work there.
"I once worked at Burger King in Racine,'' Butler told Woelfel. "I know the business. I know it from the janitorial spot all the way through the management side. I know that game inside and out.''
This is just speculation on my part, but maybe this is where he picked up the chewing straws habit. And MAYBE this is where his supply came from. Mystery solved.
Butler also has interest in "shadowing" mega-billionaire and business extraordinaire Mark Cuban next season Woelfel says, to get a better sense of how to interact with the business side of things. He also plans on taking some business courses at Duke next year too.
Butler will make about $10.6 million next season playing for the Mavericks and then becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2011 season. But evidently he's the type of proactive player that's not just waiting for the checks to come in. With a lockout on the horizon, Butler appears to at least be ready for the long haul if needed. He's got a little extra cash-flow, plus can always go grab some french toast sticks if he wants them. Not bad at all.
[Via Skeets ]
Posted on: July 12, 2010 9:34 am
A lot happened over the weekend, so we want to catch you up quickly. We'll have more on each of these stories in a bit. But while you're waiting, here's a little poem for you to get caught up.
The Mavs are chasing Haslem to make them seem bigger .
While the Nets are tapping Morrow to pull the big trigger .
The Pistons and Ben Wallace wed for two more years .
While Nellie brought in DWright as the latest wing he'll bring to tears.
The Nets brought in Petro to perplex us much more .
Then they tagged Jordan Farmar after Phil showed him the door.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas misses the King .
And Matt Barnes at this point is just chasing a ring .
The Baby Bears added a stopper in Allen.
And then the Suns traded Leandro Barbosa and some trade exceptions for Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress, while Toronto then swapped out the trade exception they got from the Suns who got it from New York for Boris Diaw in exchange for almost nothing.
That last one doesn't rhyme because it doesn't make any sense, whatsoever.
Oh, and Jesse Jackson compared Dan Gilbert to a slave owner . You may have heard about that one already.
Tags: 2010 free agency, Anthony Morrow, Ben Wallace, Boris Diaw, Dallas Mavericks, Dan Gilbert, Detroit Pistons, Dorrell Wright, free agency, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Josh Childress, Leandro Barbosa, Matt Barnes, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, Tony Allen, Toronto Raptors, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Posted on: June 30, 2010 6:07 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:40 am
It's here. It's finally here. The Free Agency Summer of Doom. At midnight tonight, everything goes down, like a lion or a lamb. Odds are we'll be surprised by what shakes out over the next two months, in some fashion. With that in mind, Ken Berger and Matt Moore answer some of the key questions about the biggest free agency period in NBA history, which starts in less than six hours. We talk about how the media is covering this circus, the impact of coaches, and Ken Berger makes a very surprising prediction...
1. Let's start with an easy one, the one almost everyone is talking about. Ken, you've said before you don't believe James will re-sign with the Cavs, but also that he won't elect for the three-headed monster of Bosh, Wade, and himself. So as teams pack their bags for the first visit, where do you think James is leaning?
KB: I still think he's leaning toward Cleveland, but that's because he hasn't heard what anyone has to say yet. Despite all the opportunities at his fingertips -- the stage in New York, the talent in Chicago, the possibility of a Dream Team in Miami -- we still can't discount the Cavs. They have the most money to offer, and the comfort of home. Staying in one place has value in sports, too. When the process is over, however, I don't think LeBron will be able to pass up the allure of the Big City, the exposure he'll get there, what Mike D'Antoni's offense will do for him, and the opportunity to put whatever pieces he wants around him -- this year, and next, because the Knicks will have cap space next summer, too. So I'm in the minority on this, but what the heck, somebody has to predict it. I say he's going to the Knicks. If he does, it changes everything. Every other significant (and insignificant) free agent will be maneuvering to join him. If he doesn't, the Knicks will have a very good chance of striking out completely. None of the non-LeBron free agents want to be the guy who has to go to New York and live in the shadow of a player who never even played a minute there in the home jersey. It's all or nothing for the Knicks, I believe. But what a coup if it happens.
MM: The Bulls have to be the most obvious target. They combine a major market with huge endorsement and business opportunities with a playoff roster that's ready to contend and has years in front of it. They have the cap space. They have the idea of his name being next to his idol Michael Jordan (even though his game is more Magic Johnson). They can offer him a little of everything he wants, except the sixth year he can get with the Cavaliers. But in all honesty, this was likely never about the money. James knows his value goes far beyond what his salary from the NBA is. And the Bulls have all the pieces in place to make the best overall pitch.
2. We've had every conceivable rumor thrown out in the last week. The Nets are meeting with James first, the three met in Miami last weekend, the Knicks want Joe Johnson more than they want LeBron, the list goes on. What do you attribute all this conflicting chatter to? Who's gaining and advantage by feeding all this info, whether it's right or wrong?
KB: It's the Wild, Wild West of the Internet. Information is instant and world-wide now, whether it's right or wrong. There are always agendas involved, and different reporters possess differing levels of experience and abilities in sorting through the agendas and getting to the truth. Often, we fail. Often, it's not our fault. But by and large -- and Matt, I know you'll agree -- the NBA is covered more thoroughly and more aggressively than any other (Note:"Amen!" -Ed. ). The amount of content, analysis, opinion and news that is available to the NBA fan, and the platforms it's available on, must make it an incredibly fun time to follow the sport. And a fun time to write about it and drink lots of coffee.
MM: Everyone's got an agenda. Try and realize how much money is in play here. You've got the most massive talent agency in the world, CAA heavily involved in this process (they represent James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh). You've got competing agents. You've got Nike. You've got ADIDAS. You've got Gatorade. You've got the New York Media. And you've got all the people surrounding all these guys. There are going to be people talking who shouldn't be, saying things they shouldn't be. It's a unique boiling point in sports media.
3. Wade's been steadfast in saying his heart's in Miami, but he's also made sure to say he's going to keep his options open. Is this more a case of the Heat having to screw up what they do in the next month in order to lose Wade, rather than really having to succeed to get him to re-sign?
KB: Pat Riley won't lose Wade. Period. He has a great player, a superior, warm weather city, plenty of cap space, and the possibility that he'd come downstairs and coach all these guys if he had to. And my belief is that he probably wants to. I mean, is Riley doing to stand idly by while Erik Spoelstra wins four titles with Wade and LeBron? Hail no. Having said that, I still don't think Wade and LeBron wind up together, and I certainly hope they don't. How boring and unambitious of them it would be. Magic and Bird, who spent their entire careers trying to kill each other, should boycott the NBA forever if this happens.
MM: It certainly seems that way. There's been no indication outside of Wade simply maintaining that out in his public statements that he's going anywhere. Moving Michael Beasley may be part of it, though. They've managed to get rid of everyone but Chalmers, Wade, and Beasley. Wade may want a more reliable third option, even if they land Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudemire. But Wade has been very committed to the community, it allows him to live as he wants, and he has won a ring there. He knows his legacy is greater if he sticks in one zip code. But more so than any of the other free agents, winning a championship is Wade's top priority. He's more singularly focused, and his decision will reflect that. Riley's come a long way in getting this done, and Wade's met him halfway. They've just got to seal the deal.
4. How much impact are Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire going to have on this free agency period?
KB: A very large one. Stoudemire will continue to discuss an extension with the Suns, but he's clearly 1(b) to Chris Bosh's 1(a) in the power forward department. Assuming Dirk Nowitzki stays in Dallas (and I do), then Boozer is the next best thing. All of these guys -- LeBron, Wade, Joe Johnson -- want a go-to scorer on the block to make their lives easier. If push came to shove, any of the above is better than anyone they're currently playing with.
MM: Boozer will have more than he should, Amar'e less. Stoudemire is likely to re-sign with the Suns , even after opting out. Boozer on the other hand is going to buddy himself up to whichever team doesn't land two superstars. If that's Miami, great. If it's Chicago, fine. If it's New York, so be it. Boozer is going to present himself as the default max player for whoever doesn't land Bosh (or Amar'e). And it's going to work, even though Boozer is a block magnet that's getting older. Stoudemire, meanwhile, is going to take the money and stay put, even though he has the kind of resume and ability to challenge Bosh for best second-banana to either Wade or LeBron. Stoudemire will go for the cash, and he'll get it. And hey, playing a few more years with Steve Nash can't be bad for a guy.
5. Outside of the top level of elite guys, what's one player you think will end up benefiting from all of these teams with crazy amounts of cap space and only a handful of max players?
KB: I'll give you two: Rudy Gay and David Lee. All these teams that have endured such pain to create cap space are going to feel the need to overpay someone to come and improve their team. Gay, being a restricted free agent, is very well positioned to get more than he's worth because teams know they have to overpay to force Memphis not to match. With the Knicks unable to get two max free agents and keep Lee (unless they trade Eddy Curry), someone (Phoenix?) will swoop in with an offer Lee can't refuse and try to steal him while the Knicks sort through their options. New York hopes Lee will wait them out and come back to them, but that's a lot to ask.
MM: I think Amir Johnson is a great target for some team looking to add youth and defense, two things coaches can't get enough of. J.J. Redick is going to have to get an answering service, considering he's a reliable three point threat in good condition with solid defense. And Anthony Morrow should get some attention, even as a restricted free agent. He's one of the most accurate shooters in the league, and young as well.
6. Should we expect a lot more cap-related trade movement in the next 72 hours as teams continue to try and pull things off? And if so, do you think Dallas will be one working the phones?
KB: Mark Cuban is never shy about making a big splash, but sign-and-trades are really his only option. He's high on Joe Johnson, and other than the Knicks, Dallas is probably the only team that wouldn't be afraid to pay Johnson max money for six years, entering a new CBA, when he's going to be 34 in Year 6. Beyond the Mavs, the Nets, Bulls and Heat still have more massaging to do if they're going to get the space needed to add the max players they want. Plus, there are a couple of teams that are over the cap to watch closely: Toronto, which has been trying to divest itself of Hedo Turkoglu and Jose Calderon to create cap space to replace Bosh in the event they can't arrange a sign-and-trade, and Utah, which probably isn't going to be a major player but could nonetheless open a world of opportunities by finding someone to take Andrei Kirilenko.
MM: Mark Cuban almost never stays still when there's an opportunity. And even if he misses out, it's unlikely he'll stay out of the game completely. There hasn't been a summer where he hasn't made a significant move to try and improve. Meanwhile, you have to think that some of the teams with assets will start talking to teams that whif on the max guys in an attempt to fleece them in exchange for saving face by landing a marquee player over the summer. That's what's so dangerous about the free agents "teaming up." Not only does it shift power dramatically, but it means a few teams are going to get left in the cold.
7. What's surprised you the most about how this free agency period has developed as we come up on the opening bell tonight?
KB: I'd like to say nothing surprises me anymore, but the sheer volume and pace of information has been impressive. You still can't call this the biggest free-agent class in NBA history, because Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Reggie Miller, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutumbo, etc., still hold that honor in 1996. But that free-agent summer was covered on paper, and occasionally even on TV. This is wall-to-wall, minute-by-minute, multi-platform madness. It'd be fun, if only I had time to eat.
MM: I'm surprised Shaquille O'Neal hasn't cashed in on all this media coverage by talking about himself more.
8. Henry Thomas has been really straightforward about knocking down speculation on things involving Wade and Bosh, while Leon Rose has been really quiet. Is that more of a strategic decision, or one based on the rift you wrote about inside LeBron's camp?
KB: The rift between Maverick Carter and William Wesley in LeBron's camp is specific to LeBron and doesn't affect Wade or Bosh. I think CAA as a whole has been very shrewd in terms of letting the three clients talk quietly amongst themselves and plot this out as friends, potential teammates, or potential rivals -- depending on how it shakes out. But when it comes to LeBron, the internal pressures and relationships specific to his camp really take on a life of their own.
9. Let's say the Cavs do manage to pull off convincing LeBron to come back. Should we expect them to be active throughout the summer to try and make good on promises to LeBron?
KB: That's the biggest challenge the Cavs face. They've capped and taxed themselves to death trying to make LeBron happy, and so now what do they do to keep him happy? For example, although it appears that Brian Shaw will get the job, they don't even have a coach yet.
MM: I don't know if they can be. No one's taking on Antawn Jamison, with the amount of money and years left on his contract. No one's going to be excited to get Mo Williams. Delonte West's not a top... ahem, target. J.J. Hickson is the only young asset they have and they don't really have any big expirings. Grant's going to have a hard time finding ways to improve on a team that won 61 games last season.
10. The Clippers and Cavs both enter this free agency period without a coach. Do you believe that will impact the decisions of these players at all?
KB: The Clippers will hire either Vinny Del Negro or Dwane Casey, and I'm not sure which top-tier free agent will be rushing to play for either one. Shaw has a chance to be an excellent coach, but it'll be his first rodeo. LeBron waited patiently as Mike Brown matured as a coach and grew into the job, and in the end it was never good enough. So is LeBron willing to do it again? How does playing for Shaw compare to playing for D'Antoni, Riley, Tom Thibodeau, or Avery Johnson? Only he knows the answer to that.
MM: The biggest thing about this free agency period is that you have six teams that are legitimately vying for these guys, so the competition is so high, it's not just about a good offer, or the best available offer. They can demand what they want, and get it. And these guys are going to want stability and someone they can trust and get along with. This uncertainty is a blemish on their face during the biggest beauty pageant they'll ever be in. This should have been handled a month ago.
Posted on: June 28, 2010 3:05 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 6:02 pm
Look, I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.
You're going to be hard pressed to find a bigger Joe Johnson advocate in ye old Blogosphere than the author of this post right here. An Arkansas native (Johnson grew up in Little Rock, went to school at U of A), and someone that dug the SSOL-era Suns (who didn't outside of San Antonio), I have followed the explosive wing's career in Atlanta with great interest. That little crossover business with Boston? That's some pretty stuff, right there.
But is he worth all the attention he's suddenly receiving?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Mavs intend to pursue a sign-and-trade to acquire the services of the soon-to-be 29 year-old shooting guard. This coming on the heels of reports that he's on the fast train to New York, and of course, that Chicago is on the target list as well.
The Mavericks have been banking on a sign-and-trade option for free agency for a long time (and Mark Cuban's already invested money to that effect in the form of a fine for talking about it ). They have a talented roster and are willing to absorb more salary, as they've consistently been at the top of the luxury tax for nearly the past decade. A combination of Caron Butler and pieces might be enough to entice the Hawks into going for the deal. For Johnson, it would mean getting the extra year's worth of money that comes with signing with his former club, plus not having to be "the man" for the team, playing in tandem with Dirk Nowitzki. It would also move him closer to his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.
But is Johnson worth the kind of money that would be coming to him in a max-contract sign and trade? There's been a lot of speculation about Johnson being willing to take less than a max deal, but those rumors were tied with him being headed to New York. Regardless, his deal will still be an albatross, and will remain so throughout the length of his contract. By the time it ends, Johnson could be a 35 year old shooting guard with faded elevation. His jump shot isn't pure like Ray Allen, and there's been a noticeable plateau in his efficiency as he approaches the apex of his career.
With that being said, there's something to be said in that article linked above from Hawks blog Hoopinion on how his game could adjust in the right circumstances:
"...he could become more efficient in a lower-usage role but likely at the cost of some the volume of points he's scored and assists he's earned over the last five seasons."
That's precisely the type of role he'd fit in with the Mavs. Jason Kidd as the creator, Dirk Nowitzki (assuming the highly probable re-signing) as the lynch pin, and Johnson as the perimeter finisher. It would put the Mavs offense immediately in the top of the league offensively... hypothetically. Then again, the deal for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood was supposed to put them in similar context, and instead resulted in a swift first round ejection.
There's one thing we can tell from this report. Mark Cuban, yet again, will not be sitting around twiddling his thumbs during the most important offseason in NBA history.