Tag:New York Knicks
Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:34 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 4:35 pm
 

Knicks serious about Amar'e

Just like that, the winds of fortune change. Three days ago, Amar'e Stoudemire was expected to remain a Phoenix Sun. The Suns had gotten to the negotiating table early, often and hard. But the Suns wanted to go no further than four years for the explosive power forward, while Stoudemire and his agent were holding strong for five years. Finally, the Suns went to the table one last time Thursday night with a concession.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Suns offered a five year deal, with only the first three years guaranteed , and the last two dependent upon minutes. Stoudemire and his agent said no thanks, and began to pursue other offers.

The Suns? They opted to reach an agreement with Hakim Warrick, effectively ending their ties to Amar'e Stoudemire. An interesting side note: If the Suns do not reach an agreement to sign-and-trade Stoudemire (say, to the Rockets) in the next six days, in order to sign Warrick they'll have to renounce the rights to Stoudemire, meaning they'll be unable to facilitate said sign-and-trade of significant assets (info courtesy of Coro ).

So with Amar'e having left the Valley, who should show up?

Donnie Walsh and the PowerPoint toting Knicks. Yahoo! Sports reports that the Knicks are zeroing in on a 5-year maximum contract deal for Stoudemire. The move would be both surprising and a huge coup for Walsh, D'Antoni and company, who need to land a second max free agent in order to convince LeBron James to follow suit.

Signing Amar'e is no guarantee, just ask the Suns. But Stoudemire had his best seasons under Mike D'Antoni. There was a lot of talk that D'Antoni would never want to deal with Stoudemire's attitude again, but that obviously seems off. And somewhere, lurking in the shadows, is the fact that Joe Johnson, another former D'Antoni player, has not signed his max contract from the Atlanta Hawks yet, despite two sources confirming to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger that the contract is fully guaranteed.

All of a sudden, the Knicks could be right back in the thick of this. We'll keep you updated on if Stoudemire becomes a "done deal" in advance of the July 8th signing day.

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 2, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Broadway for LeBron: Yeah, this should work.

Sure, the Knicks' presentation might not have made the impact it possibly could have. And sure the Knicks are now trying to throw money at Amar'e Stoudemire to get him into the fold as a lure for James. But don't think that New York is short on ways to impress James!

No, because really, if you're a 25 year old megamillionaire, what you're really looking for is Broadway musicals!

Broadway musical "Promises, Promises " releaed a video asking for James to come to the Big Apple. And I can tell you, these gals are swell. This is sure to bring LeBron! (Note: This is not sure to bring LeBron.)




via Ball Don't Lie
Posted on: July 2, 2010 11:50 am
 

Free-agency layup line: Dinner reservations

All of the little free-agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Yahoo Sports! reports that the Rockets are aiming for a sign and trade package featuring Luis Scola (also a free agent), Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza. General Manager Daryl Morey is still trying to swoop in and snatch up a max free agent power forward, either Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudemire. If the Suns continue to be unwilling to provide that fifth year, then Morey is going to offer one of the more impressive packages for the Suns, with reasonable contracts and high end talent.

The Celtics have reached out to David Lee, according to the Boston Globe. A curious move considering the Celtics' cap space. With Paul Pierce considering a 4 year, $61 million offer and Ray Allen sure to attract his own substantial digits, you have to wonder where the Celtics are going to find room for Lee, who is arguably the third best power forward available (depending on how you feel about Carlos "I enjoy the feeling of being blocked" Boozer). That's a lot of dough the Celtics would have to provide, and figuring out how Lee and Kevin Garnett would occupy the same space on the floor would be a bit tricky too.

Hoopsworld reports that Real Madrid in Spain has inked Sergio Rodriguez. Have I mentioned the Knicks are going to need a point guard? Because they're going to need a point guard.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 2, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 10:25 am
 

Free-agency day 1 winners and losers

So we're a day in. Who were the winners and losers from the first day of free agency?

Winners:


New Jersey Nets:
The Nets made an impression with the first meeting of LeBron James' free agency tour and came away feeling good about things. They also may have inadvertently benefited from the Knicks' proposal , which too obviously ignored them.

Toronto Raptors:
The Raptors made a signing that was defense-focused , signing  young Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million dollar deal. Some will question whether his production warrants such a deal, but look at his per-minute numbers (outside of fouls), and his age, consider the deal Andrew Bynum was rewarded with, and realize that Johnson is only 23. Good move for the Raps who are in for a rocky year.

Los Angeles Lakers: Any time you can bring back a guy who has 13 rings and is the only one to make your team's offensive system work, and the only person Kobe Bryant has won titles with, that's a good day, even if you didn't sign a soul.


Losers:


Memphis Grizzlies: There were a lot of complications that led to Rudy Gay being inked to a near-max contract at 5 years, $82 million despite having never been an All-Star. The Grizzlies couldn't lose Gay. They would have been stranded without a small-forward. The fanbase already considers ownership cheap. And Gay is the best player under 26 on the team. They also couldn't really wait to see what offer sheets Gay came upon or signed. If a team offered a max contract, front-loaded, it would have hurt them financially, and may have forced them into a less flexible position, particularly if teams had waited till later in the summer to formally extend the offer sheet in an effort to squeeze the Grizz. But that doesn't change the facts of the deal, nor does it change that they could have avoided this mess by getting an agreement done a year ago, and likely at a lower price when demand wasn't so high as it is now. The Grizzlies gave a near-max to a player who has been inconsistent, is young, but not super-young, and has never been an All-Star. By hook or by crook, the Grizzlies wound up losers today.

Atlanta Hawks: First they made everyone think they were insane by offering Joe Johnson the absolute max, right off the bat. Then things got worse as Johnson still hasn't agreed to the deal, and has taken a secondary meeting with his agent from which no resolution has been made.


New York Knicks:
They have the money. They have the brand. They have the PowerPoint . And yet they still seem to be on the outside looking in at the top free agents while Chicago, Miami, and even the Nets gain traction. Now, they're getting the ear and are still firmly in on this thing, but the prevailing wisdom doesn't speak to them having had a rousingly successful day. And when the stakes are this high, not winning is losing. There are no draws.

-Matt Moore



Posted on: July 2, 2010 1:06 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 1:29 am
 

Inside the Knicks' presentation to LeBron

Getty Images Forbes Magazine hits us with a pretty stunning scoop : the PowerPoint presentation the Knicks gave LeBron James Thursday morning, provided by a New York marketing firm, Interbrand.

The cliff notes? LeBron can make a billion dollars in New York, for sure. He might be able to in Chicago. He can't in Cleveland or Miami. So naturally, he should come to New York! He has the highest potential earnings through the entirety of the contract by nearly $300 million more than the runner-up, Cleveland. The core of the message is this: It's not just about a bigger market. It's about New York's market specifically, and that's where the money is .

Okay, that's the short story. Here's the full monty. We're going to walk you through the slides step by step to point out some relevant factors. I'd definitely take a long read through that Forbes article and the accompanying PowerPoint:

Slide 1: Don't know if that picture of LeBron is the best you could have used. He doesn't look majestic; he looks like he's scared of some monster chasing him from behind. But a smart move pulling a picture of him from Team USA. No brand attachment to Cleveland and it prompts the memories of how Kobe Bryant was a bigger deal in China in 2008 because of the championships.

Slide 2: Some backside kissing of James and the work he's put in, and then the exposition of the study's intent. This is our first big revelation of the study. Interbrand examined four teams for the study, based on estimated market impact: the Knicks, the Bulls, the Heat, and the Cavs. Notice who's missing there? The Nets. There is no mention of the Nets throughout the entire presentation, despite the very frontal attack the Nets have laid on the Knicks as the key to the New York market. With all of the extraneous business opportunities the Nets are offering James through their move to Brooklyn in 2012, this could be a huge mistake. James and company had just gotten through listening to the Nets pitch when the Knicks came in and completely ignored the team that had been in the building twenty seconds before, and whose minority owner is a close friend and mentor to LeBron. Comparing New York to the other markets is a great idea. Ignoring an attempt to differentiate between the Knicks and Nets was a mistake that easily could have been rectified.

Slide 3: Provides a background to Interbrand and what they were attempting to focus on with this study. "Lifetime earnings" is a key factor. This entire study is built upon the concept that James' next stop is his last.

Slide 4: Methodology of what Interbrand looked at and how they modeled it. It's a conceptually strong slide, even if it doesn't actually provide examples of how it quantifies factors (like the post-retirement economic models of players like Wilt Chamberlain and Reggie Miller, especially when outside of Michael Jordan, those players considered really can't be compared to LeBron's theoretical revenue stream). Then again, I sincerely doubt James is going to be looking for them to provide their formulas and double checking with his own advanced statistics team.

Slide 5: A nifty graphic that illustrates the data movement that helps Interbrand quantify brand strength. Interesting stuff. If you're a marketing executive in New York with an emphasis on sports. Literally dozens of people are captivated.

Slide 6: A look at revenue streams analyzed for the presentation. Interestingly, it starts with International "partnerships' which are differentiated from sponsorships. Only local endorsements are considered. Which is particularly odd since it doesn't at all go after the "in the Internet age, anyone can build an empire from anywhere" argument. The entire presentation is built on busting that concept, and the study deftly avoids it. It's hard to say if that's a strength or weakness of the presentation.

Slide 7: Interbrand's assumptions for the study: A. James will play till he's 38 (unlikely, and given the exponential year over year balance is a significant factor, kind of an important one, B. James is finishing his career with the next team he signs with (yes, because the one thing in the NBA is that things always work out as both teams think they will when they sign) and C. the model is built on the current CBA model. This makes sense given the impossibility of predicting the next CBA and that NBA salary represents such a small amount of impact on the results of the study.

Slide 8: Four factors considered in the analysis. The key take away here are on the final two points. Championships are most important, but winning a championship matters more in certain markets than others. And secondly, and this is an odd one, the longer a franchise goes without a championship, the greater the impact on the player that gets them there. This fails to consider the historic impact of previous championships. It also seems like a pretty custom tailored argument for New York (more so than the rest of the presentation). "Sure, we haven't been relevant in thirty years, but that's a good thing!"

Slide 9: A numbers breakdown. Clearly, New York outperforms the others. An interesting note, among interesting notes, is how high Cleveland ranks on these measures, despite market size, which is a key element of the rest of the study. Also, the franchise impact of the Knicks is over four times as great as Chicago . This despite Chicago having had the greatest player of all time inside of 15 years, having a massively popular merchandising brand, and operating in a major market. That the Knicks are more powerful is no shock. That they are that much more powerful is kind of stunning for a team best known in recent history for Jeff Van Gundy holding a guy's leg and John Starks getting worked by Reggie Miller.

Slide 10-13: Team by team breakdowns of the four factors and relevant takeaways. Cleveland is relevant based on the "hometown hero" concept. The study clearly is aimed not at trashing Cleveland (and offending LeBron), but taking out the rest of the competitors and looking better than Cleveland overall. Chicago and Miami bear the brunt, as Chicago is considered too volatile thanks to Jordan's shadow, and Miami is basically tossed aside as irrelevant.

Slide 14: Conclusion: "Knicks rule!" Basically, if James wins a championship and he's in New York, that's the optimum situation for him to make the most money and expand his brand the most. It's not a particularly stirring conclusion considering the Knicks both requisitioned and presented the study, but it doesn't exactly come off as the most in-depth, objective analysis. Then again, when Mike D'Antoni's also telling you he can help you average a triple double, it probably sounds pretty good.

Slide 15: No, thank you , Interbrand.

All in all, the Knicks did a good job of finding data that attacked its competitors while not coming off as tyrannical or arrogant. It simplifies the argument while providing evidence to support the common sense argument. "New York is better." The Knicks needed to prove to James that concept was sound while pitching him on the basketball side with D'Antoni. It's a fascinating insight into how this free-agency period is being played by the teams who are brokering with this monstrous class of players.

-Matt Moore




Posted on: July 1, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 9:46 pm
 

Free-agency layup line: Knicks, Nets feuding

All of the little free agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Okay, a lot is going on with LeBron today. Try and keep up.

First off, the gigantic 225-by-95 foot mural of Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov that the Nets installed outside of Madison Square Garden has irritated MSG chairman James Dolan so much that he called minority owner Jay-Z to complain that it was "intimidating his employees." This is a pretty baffling statement until you consider the Knicks defense, in which case you understand why anything big and tall would overpower them. (Yahoo! Sports)

The games began in earnest today when LeBron James' contingent started meeting with teams at a "secret" location . Of course, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer knew where it was because he knows anything and everything about LeBron. The meeting was held at the LRMR (James' marketing company) headquarters at the IMG building in Cleveland. The neighbors across the street must have known. They had a message for the King . The Nets gave their presentation and were on their way. Except for Jay-Z, who stuck around for a few minutes for whatever reason (speculation: private meeting between mentor and mentee). I also found it funny that the Nets seemed to one-up the Knicks in everything, including the size of the private jet . The Knicks were next up . (Brian Windhorst' Twitter)

The schedule is for LeBron to meet Knicks and Nets today, Heat and Clippers tomorrow, and Bulls and Cavs on Saturday, according to Chad Ford of ESPN . The Bulls and Cavs being last is probably significant as Ford writes, but the Knicks and Nets have spared no expense in trying to make a good first impression. I'd give nearly anything to be in the room for the Clippers presentation, which I'm pretty sure is just going to be a Los Angeles Tourism Center brochure and a cake with Blake Griffin's face on it (and not his knee).  (ESPN)

For complete details of today's visit, check out this report which outlines the whole shebang. (CBS)

In lesser known free-agency news:

Heat center Joel Anthony has gotten a slew of offers according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy . Anthony is a young big with good efficiency numbers and solid upside that could be gotten at good value. Then again, if ten teams are vying for him, he may wind up with more than he's worth. Mostly because this is the NBA and that's how it works (everyone wave at Darko). (Alex Kennedy's Twitter)

Kennedy also spoke with Matt Barnes who said that if Dwight Howard wants something, "it probably will happen" which will only fuel speculation earlier in the week about Chris Paul and Carlos Boozer. (Hoopsworld.com)

Seven teams have contacted free agent Raymond Felton, and the Bobcats are not one of them. Which is a little insane considering the Bobcats essentially have no point guards beyond D.J. Augustin and Felton is the best agent in class at his position. The Bobcats didn't have a draft pick last week, and their only option may be Jordan Farmar. Who's being courted by Indiana pretty hard right now. (CBS, PBT)

-Matt Moore




Posted on: June 30, 2010 6:07 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:40 am
 

2010 free-agency begins: Top 10 questions

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.

-MM


Posted on: June 30, 2010 5:03 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 5:07 pm
 

The numbers say Stoudemire re-signs

Amar'e Stoudemire may not be leaving Arizona, but he's also going to get his money right now, not later.

As KB puts it to us, Amar'e exercised his opt-out and will become an unrestricted free agent at midnight. The news isn't shocking, even though the Suns have been working with Stoudemire and his agent on a deal for the past 24 hours in an attempt to avoid him going on the open market. Early reports had the initial offer as a four year deal . This is probably why Amar'e chose to opt-out. He's probably still re-signing with the Suns, but realized he could get more by applying leverage through the opt-out.

Need an explanation? Suns blog Bright Side of the Sun has it for you .

Here's how it boils down.

If Amare were to have signed the four year extension being offered, he would have walked away with $103.67 million over the next five years.

If he re-signs with the Suns now that he's opted out he can make $104.04 million for the same length of term (5 years including next season), and wait to try and get the sixth year out of owner Robert Sarver.

If he goes to another team, he's looking at $99.74 million for five years.

So if money is the most important thing to Stoudemire, he'll be back in Phoenix. But the money may not be the important thing if Stoudemire is tired of how the Suns have dangled him over the trade ledge for two season, if he wants a change of scenery, or if he realizes he only has a handful of seasons left with Steve Nash.

There were reports that the Knicks would be meeting with Amar'e tonight after a rumored sitdown with Joe Johnson on the west coast, but ESPN New York is refuting that report today . If teams want to have a talk with Stoudemire, they had better get in the door fast, because it looks like Robert Sarver is serious about keeping STAT.

-Matt Moore


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com