Tag:Raymond Felton
Posted on: October 20, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: October 20, 2010 11:48 am
 

Shootaround 10.20.10: Knocked and slapped

Knicks knocking at the Melo door again, Childress knocked out with a bad digit, and Evan Turner slapped in the face, all in today's shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


We'll have more this morning on a report from ESPN NY's Chris Sheridan that the Knicks are back in the Melo chase . One thought off the bat. They can trade for a player the Nuggets want more, but unless they land a draft pick they're still toast. The McGrady trade keeps stubbing Donnie Walsh's toe.

Knickerblogger is concerned that Raymond Felton may not be much of an improvement over Chris Duhon. Last night was a particularly strong showing from Felton, and he looked very much like the kind of point guard the Knicks have needed for years.

A breakdown of the postions in Rick Adelman's system. The focus on the big in the pinch post is going to be why Brad Miller will be so comfy there.

Lots of coaches with health concerns this week. Doc Rivers had a test come back negative for cancer , which is great news. Doug Collins missed last night's Sixers game while dealing with lingering effects of a concussion .

Josh Childress fractured a finger last night and out at least a week but it won't be too long. It's ridiculous that these guys play at this level with broken fingers.

Ted Leonsis thinks Josh Howard is a respected leader . There's lots of mockery this morning about that, but people forget that despite his off-court issues, he's thought of well by teammates, and that guys like Stephen Jackson are perennial captains for their teams.

Jerry West thinks maybe he should have drafted Amar'e Stoudemire instead of Drew Gooden. In other news, I should have had oatmeal this morning instead of eating rusty nuts and bolts from a '75 Chevy.

Al Harrington says he'll be ready for opening night . No word on whether his defense is making a similar commitment.

Marcus Thornton's in a slump, which shouldn't surprise people . Shootres in their second year take a step back sometimes, and the fact that he's got a new coach and a new offensive system probably complicates things as well.

And here's Evan Turner getting slapped with baby powder. So that happened.


Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 5:55 pm
 

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama



CBSSports.com's Ken Berger discusses the tech debate, Amar'e Stoudemire's MSG debut, the Celtics' depth, and the continuing MeloDrama about Carmelo Anthony.

Posted by Matt Moore

Each week we'll be bringing you five questions for our own Ken Berger of CBSSports.com about the inside happenings of the league. This week, Ken talks about the Celtics' depth, this ridiculous tech debate, and drops some knowledge on the latest happenings in the Carmelo Anthony trade discussions. You can email your questions to the Friday 5 With KB at cbssportsnba@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter at @cbssportsnba.

1. Obviously the big story this week is about the technical fouls and Kevin Garnett's ejection which you wrote about. Do you see the league trying to take this hard of a line when the season starts or will they back off to make sure we don't have Garnett tossed on opening night against Miami?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Both sides are going to have to adjust and find some sort of middle ground. The NBPA put its cards on the table Thursday by threatening legal action over the league's clampdown on complaining. On one hand, this is a way for the union to force the league to make the next move and soften its stance. With the CBA showdown looming, I don't see that happening. In fact, by doing exactly what the league is trying to eliminate -- complaining -- the players may have actually caused the league office to dig in even harder on its desire to enforce the new rules. There's no comment or response from league executives yet regarding the players' lawsuit threat. I suspect the NBA will publicly ignore the players' complaint, but privately urge the officials to lighten up a bit. I think players, officials and fans will agree that blatant bullying and demonstrative complaining should result in a tech. It's unrealistic to think that spontaneous outbursts -- a fist pump, a clap, a shrug, and "and-one" gesture -- can be legislated out of the game. Another undesirable result of teeing up every player who disagrees with a call will be the shutting down of communication between players and refs. A little give-and-take is vital to keeping the game moving and letting the players feel as though they have a voice. Trying to force the players to clam up and become robots will only heighten their frustration, lead to more techs and ejections, and make for a bad, bad scene.

2. The other story this week is the continuing saga of the idiocy that is Gilbert Arenas. Flip Saunders talked about how disappointed he was in Arenas, and that seems like such a shame because Saunders has gone out of his way to try and embrace Arenas back into the fold. Is this going to to renew the Wizards' efforts to move him, no matter how difficult that may be?

KB: The problem is this: Washington's best chance to trade Arenas would be if he proved right away that he's OK mentally and physically. He's 0-for-2 so far -- faking an injury and getting fined, and then actually getting hurt in the very next game. So until Arenas can stay on the court, tone down the distractions and prove that he's still capable of playing at an All-Star level, the Wizards are stuck with him and the $80 million he's owed. He has to do that consistently; I'm told that any teams that may be interested in taking a chance need to see a body of work consisting of at least a month or two with effective play and no shenanigans before they'll be willing to consider it.

3. Amar'e certainly looked good against the Celtics, even during the brief period Garnett was on the floor. Raymond Felton seems to be struggling with him in the pick and roll, but is it possible that Stoudemire (gasp) actually doesn't need Steve Nash in order to be a top flight power forward in this league?


KB: You're right. If he stays healthy, Stoudemire will put up immense numbers in New York. Mike D'Antoni's offense has been like a giant fan with nowhere to blow the air. Stoudemire is the outlet the system has been craving. It will take time for Felton and Stoudemire to achieve anything that resembles chemistry; and it hasn't helped that Felton embraced his new team, new power forward and new system by showing up barely a week before camp, and overweight, at that.

4. Boston's depth seems like it's going to be better than it has been in years. If that's the case, they're going to rest starters even more than last year, right?


KB: That's the plan, but Doc Rivers is ready for the plan to change. The players he's most concerned with health-wise aren't Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They're the role players, such as the role players named O'Neal. Rivers already has admitted publicly that it's unrealistic to think the Celtics can make it through the regular season without injuries. Once Kendrick Perkins comes back, Jermaine O'Neal will go to the bench, but he won't be any less susceptible to aches and pains. I think if Doc could shave a minute or three off Pierce's and Allen's averages from last season -- 34 and 35, respectively -- he'd feel good about it going into the postseason. Keeping Garnett around 29 minutes -- his average last season -- is probably about right, given that he's healthier than he was at any point in 2009-10. The big concern is with the aging bigs. Doc is going to have to be careful with anyone named O'Neal.

5. The Blazers got outed this week as one of the failed participants in the last gasps of the Carmelo four-way. Miller's got to be getting tired of being on the block, especially after only a little more than a year with Portland. Is that situation going to go anywhere any time soon?

KB: The Melo talks never stopped; they've just quieted down. New Jersey has continued to engage in discussions with Denver, though there's been little progress over the past week or so. Rarely does a low-profile front-office hire have a major impact on a franchise-shaping decision, but the Nuggets' hiring of cap whiz Pete D'Alessandro will greatly streamline the Melo negotiations once they Heat up again. One of the biggest problems for teams dealing with Denver was that new GM Masai Ujiri had never put together a trade of such magnitude. His strength is personnel; with Mark Warkentien out of the picture, the Nuggets had nobody well-versed in the complexities of structuring complicated trades. D'Alessandro's knowledge of the CBA and his relationships with other deal-makers around the league will breathe new life into the Melo talks. There may still be philosophical hangups among Denver's convoluted power structure, but at least there will be someone involved who has experience navigating the minefield of NBA trade rules. The Nuggets, Nets, Jazz and Bobcats were close enough to agreeing on a deal that a little tweaking here or there by someone with a strong background in such things would've pushed it to the finish line. It's only a matter of time before it gets to that point again. And once it does, a significant obstacle to completing the original deal won't be a factor anymore.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 11:24 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 3:26 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Charlotte Bobcats

Posted by Matt Moore

Charlotte lost its starting point guard and its starting center, and didn't really add any players of huge significance.So what's going to get them through this year? Larry Brown and defense, the formula proven to work. The big thing to watch with the Cats this season is if they make another trade. Larry Brown has opted for a trade to his roster every year in a big way, and despite initial criticisms, the deals have been huge successes for the most part. We continue our Preseason Primers with a stop at the Cats. 

Training camp site:
  UNC-Wilmington

Training camp starts:  Sept. 28 

Key additions:  Shaun Livingston (free agency), Matt Carroll (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Dominic McGuire (free agency), Kwame Brown (free agency)

Key subtractions:  Raymond Felton (free agency), Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Theo Ratliff (free agency)

Likely starting lineup:  D.J. Augustin (PG), Stephen Jackson (SG), Gerald Wallace (SF), Boris Diaw (Boris Diaw position), Nazr Mohammed (C)


Player to watch:
 Tyrus Thomas. Thomas is at yet another "time to show what he can do" moment (seemingly the ninth of his career). With the new contract the Bobcats rewarded himself with, he's no longer the young'n working on becoming legit. He's got to actually develop and identity. He doesn't need to be Josh Smith with his overall athletic dynamism or a premier lockdown defender. But he's got to develop a set role on the floor that translates with his abilities. And stop shooting that mid-range jumper! But if he's able to effectively translate that athleticism he still has into production, consistently , it'll go a long way to putting him in a higher tier among NBA forwards. Time for Larry Brown to work his Magic again.

Chemistry quiz:
It's a delicate act the Cats have put together. Gerald Wallace is the strong, mostly silent type. Captain Jack is very much not. Tyrus Thomas is surly and brash. D.J. Augustin is well-natured but has bore the brunt of Larry Brown's particular attitude towards young point guards. The Cats have a fascinating cast of characters, and that's before you factor the possibility of Antoine Walker making it to camp. The Cats though don't really have many chemistry quirks. They have the alpha dog in Stephen Jackson, a franchise mainstay leader in Gerald Wallace, and a roster that understands it has to buy what Larry Brown's selling or they'll never see the light of day.

Injury watch:
 The Bobcats loaded up on centers last year, only to watch all of them wind up injured and missing time. Gerald Wallace bounced back from a disastrous 2009-2010 season that featured a collapsed lung and missed only six games last season. Boris Diaw has, ahem, conditioning issues. And, oh, yeah, their backup point guard suffered one of the most devastating knee injuries in recent NBA history. So they've got a number of things to keep a trainer's eye on.

Camp battles:
 Point guard is going to be a messy, messy affair without Raymond Felton around. D.J. Augustin has been the player the Cats had hoped would overtake Felton for years, and he's never gotten there. Now he's got no real choice and if he doesn't get it together this year their clock may run out on him. Shaun Livingston has a great opportunity to really push for a starting gig, but his body hasn't been the same since the injury. 

Power forward's another interesting spot. Diaw has the best skill set, but Tyrus Thomas has the new contract and the potential. That one could get messy as Thomas has become more authoritative this summer about his career. He's no longer unsure of himself now that he's out of Chicago.

Biggest strength:
 Defense, plain and simple. The Cats were best in defensive efficiency last season , and that's how they made the playoffs. The Cats managed to work effectively in both man situations and man-help. They communicate well, have athletic players all over the floor, and gun it 100% of effort, the most important element. The want-to is there and that's how they win games. Losing Raymond Felton will do some damage in that regard, as will their question marks at center. But they have enough talent, and most importantly, they have Larry Brown at the helm.

Glaring weakness:
 Talent. The Bobcats brought in an offensive weapon to save their putrid scoring last year in Stephen Jackson, but he's no spring chicken. Gerald Wallace is a tremendous talent, but not great at creating his own shot. And other than that, the Cats don't have a single consistent offensive weapon, and they are far from having a superstar. They've elected to build through trades, and that means improving value each time, but also watering down the talent level. Unless Gerald Henderson makes a huge leap, the Cats won't change much in that regard this season.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:34 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 9:30 pm
 

Will the Knicks make the playoffs?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question..

Will the Knicks make the playoffs?

The Knicks are brand new. Fresh out the oven, piping hot, clean waxed, new car smell, brand spankin' new. And that's certainly a good thing as all but the last remnants of the epic failboat that was built there over the last decade have been cleansed and a new team stand in its place, faster, younger, and better built to contend. The Knicks have a bonafide star in Amar'e Stoudemire, a solid point guard in Raymond Felton, a tantalizing wing in Danilo Gallinari, a workhorse in Ronny Turiaf, a floor-spreader in Kelenna Azubuike, and whatever you would call Anthony Randolph.

The questions are, first, is this team good enough to make the playoffs, and two, is there room in the playoffs for them? Let's work backwards.

If we're looking at potential playoff teams, the traditional approach is to take last year's crew, throw out anyone that isn't going to make the cut, then add the new entrants based on likelihood. Well, I think we can go ahead and toss the Cavs out of the "definite" category and into the "maybe" pack down there with the Knicks. Celtics are a lock, Magic are a lock, the Hawks are a near-lock with only a chemistry-based nuclear meltdown as the variable in question. The Bulls are a lock with their additions in place. It's hard to say that the Bucks will take a step back, we'll put them in "near-lock" with the Hawks. The Bobcats haven't lost anyone beside Felton outside of Tyson Chandler, who rarely played for them anyway due to injury. Felton's loss is significant, but counting out Larry Brown before the season gets started is something that's gone on a lot the last few years and worked out badly each time. And you know, I think Miami just might be a lock too, you know, if things go well and all.

So that leaves only one open playoff spot with a bunch of middle teams vying for the chance to be swept off the planet. Still, making the playoffs is a big deal. And there's an opportunity in play.

The second question is if the Knicks will be good enough. From that standpoint, there are positive, but liquid, signs. The Knicks won 29 games last season, leaving them 11 out of the playoffs. Think about that. A team with Chris Duhon, Al Harrington, and Wilson Chandler as the big contributors won 29 games. You can put almost any lineup on the floor in the NBA regular season and win close to 20 games. That's what made the Nets so remarkable.

Amar'e Stoudemire should make a huge difference. Surrounding a single star player with even semi-competent role players is usually enough for 20-25 wins. Don't believe me? The Clippers made the playoffs with Elton Brand, flanked by Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley. Or, just take a look at the Miami Heat over the past two seasons. From there, you're looking at 17-22 wins the rest of the new Knicks are going to have to generate.

This team is much better developed to run Mike D'Antoni's system, with Azubuike and Gallinari spreading the floor from the perimeter, Randolph running the floor and filling gaps, Felton running the pick and roll, and Amar'e finishing with a flourish. Throw in Chandler, who in a backup role is much more appealing, Ronny Turiaf as a capable rebounding center, and Toney Douglas as a combo guard with athleticism. That's a solid D'Antoni built team. The floor for this team is likely still a six game improvement over last season, but its ceiling is probably high enough to make the seventh seed.

There are still questions galore about this team. Can they defend, at all? Can they rebound? Will they stay healthy enough? Can Amar'e really thrive without Steve Nash? Is Felton enough of an upgrade at point to have the system function? What role will Eddy Curry play? Okay, I'm kidding on that last one. No one asks that. But there are doubts as to whether the Knicks will be anything more than the best lottery team next season. But taking a look over the East, it's hard to say they won't be right there for the playoffs if things go according to plan.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:34 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 9:30 pm
 

Will the Knicks make the playoffs?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question..

Will the Knicks make the playoffs?

The Knicks are brand new. Fresh out the oven, piping hot, clean waxed, new car smell, brand spankin' new. And that's certainly a good thing as all but the last remnants of the epic failboat that was built there over the last decade have been cleansed and a new team stand in its place, faster, younger, and better built to contend. The Knicks have a bonafide star in Amar'e Stoudemire, a solid point guard in Raymond Felton, a tantalizing wing in Danilo Gallinari, a workhorse in Ronny Turiaf, a floor-spreader in Kelenna Azubuike, and whatever you would call Anthony Randolph.

The questions are, first, is this team good enough to make the playoffs, and two, is there room in the playoffs for them? Let's work backwards.

If we're looking at potential playoff teams, the traditional approach is to take last year's crew, throw out anyone that isn't going to make the cut, then add the new entrants based on likelihood. Well, I think we can go ahead and toss the Cavs out of the "definite" category and into the "maybe" pack down there with the Knicks. Celtics are a lock, Magic are a lock, the Hawks are a near-lock with only a chemistry-based nuclear meltdown as the variable in question. The Bulls are a lock with their additions in place. It's hard to say that the Bucks will take a step back, we'll put them in "near-lock" with the Hawks. The Bobcats haven't lost anyone beside Felton outside of Tyson Chandler, who rarely played for them anyway due to injury. Felton's loss is significant, but counting out Larry Brown before the season gets started is something that's gone on a lot the last few years and worked out badly each time. And you know, I think Miami just might be a lock too, you know, if things go well and all.

So that leaves only one open playoff spot with a bunch of middle teams vying for the chance to be swept off the planet. Still, making the playoffs is a big deal. And there's an opportunity in play.

The second question is if the Knicks will be good enough. From that standpoint, there are positive, but liquid, signs. The Knicks won 29 games last season, leaving them 11 out of the playoffs. Think about that. A team with Chris Duhon, Al Harrington, and Wilson Chandler as the big contributors won 29 games. You can put almost any lineup on the floor in the NBA regular season and win close to 20 games. That's what made the Nets so remarkable.

Amar'e Stoudemire should make a huge difference. Surrounding a single star player with even semi-competent role players is usually enough for 20-25 wins. Don't believe me? The Clippers made the playoffs with Elton Brand, flanked by Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley. Or, just take a look at the Miami Heat over the past two seasons. From there, you're looking at 17-22 wins the rest of the new Knicks are going to have to generate.

This team is much better developed to run Mike D'Antoni's system, with Azubuike and Gallinari spreading the floor from the perimeter, Randolph running the floor and filling gaps, Felton running the pick and roll, and Amar'e finishing with a flourish. Throw in Chandler, who in a backup role is much more appealing, Ronny Turiaf as a capable rebounding center, and Toney Douglas as a combo guard with athleticism. That's a solid D'Antoni built team. The floor for this team is likely still a six game improvement over last season, but its ceiling is probably high enough to make the seventh seed.

There are still questions galore about this team. Can they defend, at all? Can they rebound? Will they stay healthy enough? Can Amar'e really thrive without Steve Nash? Is Felton enough of an upgrade at point to have the system function? What role will Eddy Curry play? Okay, I'm kidding on that last one. No one asks that. But there are doubts as to whether the Knicks will be anything more than the best lottery team next season. But taking a look over the East, it's hard to say they won't be right there for the playoffs if things go according to plan.
Posted on: August 2, 2010 9:54 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 10:09 pm
 

Report: Bulls-Knicks Christmas Day

Posted by Matt Moore

When the NBA decided to try out this whole "let's make revealing the schedule a big event on NBATV!" thing, there were a few things they were going to have to manage. The biggest of which was trying to contain leaks of the schedule to reporters, considering the massive number of people the schedule will arleady have been released to. So far, the league has not exactly shown itself to be an impenetrable fortress of information.

After today's slip of the Orlando-Heat game for October 28th, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has our first Christmas Day release . Isola reports that Bulls-Knicks will play on December 25th, with LeBron James' first trip to the Big Apple with the Heat on December 17th.

The sheer number of people that already have access to the schedule means that keeping a hold on its release was highly unlikely. But they, they did a pretty good job. They managed to keep it under wraps for an entire weekend in which no one was working. It took reporters more than twelve hours to start getting information...

Yeah, not exactly NSA here.

The Chicago-New York match is interesting. It's a rivalry day, and building a New York-Chicago rivalry is pretty genius. Both teams feature improved rosters, and counter each other well. And by that I mean, Chicago will stomp them because Derrick Rose is much, much better than Raymond Felton. But two big markets back in the spotlight on Christmas Day? That's just what the league thinks is best.

Update: Isola also reports the Knicks will open play against Toronto on October 27th. An interesting note, this means the Orlando game againt the Heat will NOT be the season opener as previously reported. This likely indicates that the season will begin as it has s the past few years on a Tuesday, the 26th.

Posted on: July 22, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 11:11 am
 

Offseason Reviews: Southeast Division

Posted by Matt Moore

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

Atlanta Hawks

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

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

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

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

Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats

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

Philosophy: "Slight derivatives"

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

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

Grade: C-

Orlando Magic


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

Philosophy: "The fear of losing out."

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

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

Grade: C-

Miami Heat


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

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

Philosophy:
"So, that went pretty well."

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

Grade: A

Washington Wizards


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

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

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

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

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

Grade: B-
Posted on: July 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




 
 
 
 
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