Tag:San Antonio Spurs
Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:14 pm
 

The biggest lockout loser could be Miami

Posted by Royce Young



With an NBA season hanging in the balance, thoughts are shifting to who has the most at stake right now. Who loses the most without a season? Players? Owners? Fans? Teams?

All of the above, really. But in terms of dollars and cents, Miami loses the most. Not the Heat though -- the city.

According to CBS Miami, the city will lose some $200 million without an NBA season. Parking next to the arena is currently going for just $3. A nearby Buffalo Wild Wings has already seen its sales drop dramatically from last year.

It shouldn't be surprising though. When a $4 billion business disappears, things are affected. A report from Cleveland says the NBA accounts for 35 percent of annual downtown restaraunt revenue. Estimated losses for Portland are $59 million. For Oklahoma City, $60 million. For San Antonio, $90 million.

Some cities like Memphis have considered filing a class action suit against the league because taxpayer funds were used to build a new arena that now is sitting empty.

We all know that a season without the NBA greatly changes things for a lot of people. We've all heard players pretend to apologize to arena workers about it. We've all heard David Stern pretend to call this a tragedy. People are hurt by this. Cities are being damaged. Maybe it's irresponsible for businesses and cities to put so many eggs into the NBA basket, but it's just the way it is.

I live in Oklahoma City. And the overhaul the city has seen in the three years the Thunder have been here is incredible. But right now, a newly renovated arena is sitting there with new outdoor video boards and a brand new grand entrance that nobody is using. And the city is not only paying for that still, but not reaping any of the rewards that were promised to it because of a team.

Projections in OKC early on said the city would add an extra $50 million to the economy with an NBA franchise. But that number is around $60 million now and growing. People wanted an NBA team here regardless, but to that casual person, the promise of an economical boost was enough to vote yes on a new tax to get a team. And now citizens are getting absolutely no return on their investment.

Everyone is losing. Everyone. Except the lawyers. They're winning big.

Via The Post Game
Posted on: November 5, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Report: Spurs GM R.C. Buford arrested for DWI

Posted by Ben Golliverr-c-buford

The San Antonio Spurs and their management staff are generally held up as the "model" NBA franchise.

That model took a major public hit on Friday night, when KSAT.com reported that Spurs GM R.C. Buford was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after he allegedly drove through a fence.
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after he crashed into a fence, San Antonio Police said. A police spokesman confirmed Buford was arrested after crashing into the fence in the 500 block of N. Leona just west of downtown late Friday night.

The police department said an officer from the Bexar County Hospital District first responded to the scene. SAPD then arrested Buford.

Records at the magistrate's office show Buford was charged with driving while intoxicated with an open container.

KENS5.com reportsthat Buford was booked after 3 a.m.
Court documents say Buford was booked into Bexar County Jail at 3:38 a.m. Saturday. He was released on a $2,500 bond.
Buford has served as GM of the Spurs since 2002, overseeing NBA championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Prior to serving as GM, a position he inherited from coach Gregg Popovich, Buford rose through the ranks in the scouting department and also worked as team president. 

WOAI.com reports that the Spurs released the following statement regarding the incident on Saturday.
RC Buford, president of sports franchises for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, was involved in a single car accident on Friday evening in San Antonio. The event involving Buford, who is a type 1 diabetic, was precipitated by a severe low blood sugar reaction. A San Antonio police officer responded to the scene and Buford was subsequently detained and charged with possession of an open container and a DUI. No injuries were caused by the accident.

“I take great pride in being a positive member of our community and deeply regret this incident,”  said Buford. “I apologize to our community, our fans and the entire Spurs family.”

The Spurs and Buford indicated they will have no further comments on the incident. 

In a 2005 Sports Illustrated profile, Buford expressed his fondness for adult beverages.
Ask them about their working relationship or who is responsible for what, and they both go coy. "Philosophical differences?" says Buford. "Well, Pop likes wine, and I drink beer. That's about it." Says Popovich, "R.C. tells me when I'm full of crap."
A WIBW.com story from 2008 features Buford re-telling a favorite story, when he and University of Kansas coach Bill Self brought a keg to the 1985 World Series.
Self and Buford pulled up to Royals Stadium, beer in tow, and, amazingly, were able to buy face-value tickets along the third-base line to watch the Royals beat the Cardinals.

That, and they became the most popular guys in town when beer stopped flowing. Who else had cold Budweiser on tap after the seventh game of the World Series –- in their car?

"We were the only guys in Kansas City with beer," Buford said.

Buford is the third member of his family to be arrested for mixing drinking and driving in the last 30 months.

Back in February 2011, Alexis Mang-Ikri Wangmene, a University of Texas basketball player from Cameroon, was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Austin. Buford was serving as Wangmene's legal guardian, according to MyFoxAustin.com. Back in July 2009, Chase Buford, R.C.'s son, was arrested on DUI charges in Lawrence, Kansas, where he was a member of the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, according to KMBC.com.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 8:13 pm
 

Biggest Game of the Night We're Missing 11.4



By Matt Moore
 

The Mavericks and Spurs have had some titanic battles through the course of the past decade-plus during this time of contention for both teams. For the first time, we would be seeing the Mavericks as the defending champs, as the team that figured things out, while the Spurs are the team that couldn't put it together, who fell apart at the wrong time.

These battles are precious. We're only going to see Dirk Nowitzki go at Tim Duncan so many more times as both head towards retirement. Already Duncan is not the player he used to be, as Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker take more of a role. But it's still Duncan vs. Dirk, Parker vs. Jet, Manu vs. well, whoever the Mavs put on him. The Mavericks now have the bruisers inside, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, while it's the Spurs with the defensive sieves in DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.

This game would still be a huge clash of juggernauts, though, especially with the shooters on each side. Both teams had titanic offenses last week, while it was only the Spurs who ran into the iceberg against Memphis.

Jason Kidd against Tony Parker is a smarter matchup than it seems, while Kawhi Leonard would be facing Caron Butler in a past-face-present. It would have all the rivalry that Texas teams demand, and the drama of a battle between two teams with five championships and six Finals appearances over the past twelve seasons.

And we get none of it.

Today is Day 127 of the NBA Lockout.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Does the league care about competitive balance?

Posted by Royce Young



The NBA wants you to believe something. We’re fighting for the little man. We’re sticking up for the small market team that can’t fend for itself.

That’s what Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver hammered home this week while basically announcing that the league is screwed right now.

“I know we’ve had lots of back and forth with people in this room, but we think that a team that spends $100 million on its payroll versus a team that spends $50 million is at a huge competitive advantage. It’s not a perfect one-to-one correlation, but there’s a huge competitive advantage that comes from the ability to spend more time. And there’s a reason we believe why the NFL has been so successful from a competitive standpoint with a hard cap and a reason that the NHL has been so successful from a competitive standpoint with their flex cap type system which has a hard, absolute cap at the top of the band.”

Before that, David Stern went on and on during his media blitz about how the Sacramento Kings are trying to live in a world where they spend $45 million to the Lakers $100 million. It isn’t fair. No way around it. It’s not. Historically, the trophies live in the big markets. Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles — over the past 60 years, 36 championships were won by those cities (40 if you count the four won by the Minneapolis Lakers). Four cities accounted for 60 percent of the NBA’s champions since 1950. There’s never, ever been a precedent for competitive balance in the NBA. Never has the playing field been level.

And has the league grown? Has it succeeded? Yes and yes. Most would say the top of the mountain for the NBA was the 1990s with Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Or if not that, the 1980s with Magic’s Lakers battling Bird’s Celtics. Or if not that, maybe right now with the plethora of talent littered throughout the league.

This isn’t to say small markets haven’t ever won. There’s the Spurs, who have served as the beacon of hope for little guys. Except remember: When those boring Spurs were winning, that was kind of a dark time for the league. Scoring was down, ratings slipped and interest waned. That could’ve been because of a post-Jordan hangover, but the 2000s weren’t great for the league.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who plays in a small market, wouldn't speculate on what the league's real intentions are.

"If they're saying it, then hopefully they're trying to do it," he said after Sunday's charity game in Oklahoma City.

Which is kind of what you have to think with it. If they're saying it, then hopefully they really mean it.

But even with the league preaching that, I get the feeling it’s a red herring to divert attention away from the fact the owners are trying to squeeze the players out of a 20 percent (or so) paycut. It’s the owners’ version of “Let us play!” Preach fairness and tug at the heartstrings of small market fans to win support. All while reaching in the back pocket of the players. Preach parity and win public support. It’s a brilliant move. Maybe they mean it this time, but the league’s never really cared much for competitive balance, so why now? With proper revenue sharing, big market success often leads to more small market money. Or at least, more money and more success for the NBA. Which is what it’s really all about, right?

"I just want the fans to trust us and know that we're far from greedy," Chris Paul said following the charity game. "We just want a fair deal. We want to get out there and play more than anybody. But we understand that at the end of the day, we're the product. We're the reason the fans come and we just want a fair deal.”

The league though, says it wants to make life fair for a team like Paul's Hornets (which it happens to own, but nevermind that). The league wants to give equal opportunity to everybody not in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Boston. Last season's champion Mavericks? They had a payroll upwards of $90 million. That would never happen in Sacramento, Minnesota or Oklahoma City, where all the stars gathered Sunday.

The Thunder have become a poster child for parity, the beacon of hope to every struggling small market franchise. Before them were the Spurs. Even playing against the system, both teams built a perennial contenders. Why? Brilliant management, shrewd financial discipline and a good amount of luck.

Luck? Yeah, don’t deny it. OKC's general manager Sam Presti’s done wonderful work in the draft, but let’s face it: He drafted No. 2, 4 and 3 in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2007, he snagged the fifth pick in Jeff Green. Kevin Durant fell in his lap after Portland whiffed on Greg Oden. Now to Presti’s credit — and you won’t find anyone that sings his praises louder and more often than me — he’s three-for-three. Where other general managers pick duds — Hasheem Thabeet, Oden, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo — Presti has taken players that not only fit well into his roster structure, but have develop-able talent.

The Thunder thrive on rookie contracts and high-value veteran. Why? Because it’s the cheapest labor there is. There’s no coincidence that on every “underpaid NBA stars” list the Thunder register three or four players. The question is though: What happens with Serge Ibaka and James Harden? After Durant and Westbrook see their paydays, will Clay Bennett have the pockets to keep Ibaka and Harden too? If the Thunder were in Los Angeles or New York, it would happen. Will it in OKC?

Once upon a time, Geoff Petrie was Mr. Genius in Sacramento when he was rolling with Chris Webber. Kevin McHale drafted Kevin Garnett in for the Wolves and built a playoff contender. Eventually the well runs dry. At some point, Tim Duncan’s going to retire. And the Spurs will either reload or have to go through some small market pains.

(The opposite example has been the Knicks over the past decade though. Tons of money, tons of spending and tons of futility. Money doesn’t always equal wins. Management does. The league is cyclical. Sometimes your team is good, sometimes it’s not. Do the big markets have an advantage? Sure. But does it always matter? Nope. Do I like asking myself questions? Sometimes.)

But it’s worked so far in Oklahoma City. It worked in San Antonio. Which is why some are quick to wonder why it can’t work in Sacramento, Minnesota or Milwaukee. Why? Because there aren’t 10 Tim Duncans. There aren’t 10 Kevin Durants. And there sure as hell aren’t 10 Sam Prestis or R.C. Bufords. It’s the world we live in — some people are better at things than others. And when you’re better, you see success. Are organizations like the Thunder, Spurs, Wolves and Bucks at a competitive disadvantage? Sure they are. But is it a death sentence for mediocrity? Absolutely not. History says it’s harder to win, but it’s not impossible.

History also says the league doesn't really care. The league always has and always will look to do what's best for it, and its owners as a collective whole. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop put it well: “Instead, the league asks us all to celebrate competitive balance—so long as the pain of creating it is felt primarily by the players. When owners could do something real to make the league more competitive, like change the playoff format or pay Chris Paul far more on the open market, they lose interest.”

What does the league want this upcoming season? An NBA Finals featuring the Celtics and Lakers or a competitively balanced Finals with the Bucks and Kings. I think we all know the answer to that. Don't sell me on looking on for the little man, because we all know what you're really after -- getting your checkbooks competitively balanced.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:20 pm
 

10 great games we're missing out on

Posted by Royce Young



There will be an NBA season. You can take that to the bank. Or to the grocery store. You can take it somewhere.

But what there won't be is a first two weeks of the season. Those are canceled. Ninety-nine games... gone. Which totally sucks, but that's just the reality. Blame who you want to blame, yell about it to your cab driver, write letters to your congressperson (that's what you're supposed to do, right?), but it doesn't matter. Until the players and owners -- very rich people, mind you -- can agree on how to split up some $4 billion in revenue, we won't be seeing basketball.

Two weeks could very well be the tip of the iceberg. Which would really suck. And what are we missing? Cover your eyes, diehards. It may be too much for you. Here are the 10 best games that vanished like a fart in the wind Monday night.

Bulls at Mavericks (Nov. 1)
Opening night in the NBA was going to be a real treat. It always is because we're all excited the NBA is back, but kicking things off with the Mavericks getting their rings and then taking on the MVP Derrick Rose and one of the East's best teams? Oh yes please.

 It was probably going to be a great game, but just the atmosphere in Dallas as the Mavs took one last victory lap around their trophy was going to be special. Granted, it'll happen eventually, but now it's tainted. It's just not the same anymore.

Thunder at Lakers (Nov. 1)
Wrapping up opening night was young versus old with a delicious matchup of Kevin Durant versus Kobe Bryant. The Thunder and Lakers quietly have a nice little rivalry going that started in the postseason two years ago, but stepped up a bit more when Oklahoma City acquired renowned Laker-hater Kendrick Perkins. Russell Westbrook always goes full tilt against the Lakers -- especially in L.A., where he's from -- and the game's are almost always good.

Plus, this was to be our official introduction to Metta World Peace.

Heat at Knicks (Nov. 2)
It's great that this old rivalry is back to meaning something, but holy starpower Batman. Carmelo. LeBron. Bosh. Amare. Wade. Chauncey. I don't really have to give you more reason as to why this one's a bummer to miss, right?

Magic at Heat (Nov. 3)
The Magic are a curious bunch. They could be good this season. They could be average. But whatever the case, they're going to be fired up to play their neighbor from South Beach. Dwight Howard always brings his best out in big games and I'm having visions of Orlando's awesome 3-point barrage comeback right now from last season.

Alas.

Mavericks at Spurs (Nov. 4)
Dirk and Tim Duncan -- how many more times will we get to see this matchup of titans? With both hitting the twilight of their careers, each time they square off, it's something precious to hold. Like the few sips of a Neapolitan shake from In-N-Out.

Thunder at Mavericks (Nov. 5)
The "REMATCH REVENGE RIVALRY" hook is a good one and definitely a top reason to be excited for this game, but it's also the type of matchup that almost guarantees a great game. Because here's the thing: If OKC blows out Dallas, Durant's giving you an awesome performance. If Dallas blows out OKC, Dirk probably dropped a ridiculously efficient line.

There would be flashbacks to their great Western Finals series and you know Russell Westbrook would be ready to try and stick it to his critics.

Hornets at Lakers (Nov. 6)

Remember how Chris Paul completely torched the Lakers in the opening round in last season's playoffs? Remember how he, and he alone, gave the Lakers a good scare?

He was probably going to do something like that again. Sad face.

Clippers at Bulls (Nov. 8)
Blake Griffin? Derrick Rose? Yeah, I like watching both of those guys play. What's that? I could've been watching them both play AT THE SAME TIME? Pretty much the NBA equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.

Spurs at Lakers (Nov. 9)
Time's running out for both these teams. Each year it feels like the Spurs will start to take a dip and then they win 60 games again. Same goes for the Lakers. These two franchises don't exactly like each other, which happens when you're always competing against the other for a trophy. Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich relish beating the Lakers and always bring their best to Staples.

Thunder at Bulls (Nov. 10)

You know how we're all talking about how the NBA's in such a good place right now, especially because of the young players who will inherit the spotlight? This is kind of the Super Bowl for that idea. Rose, Westbrook and Durant are three superstars under the age of 24 and all who have great attitudes and understand the game.

Plus, their teams are really, really good.

Too bad this game, or really, all of these 99, don't exist anymore. I'd take Timberwolves-Raptors 10 straight times at this point.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:06 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 10:07 pm
 

Virtus Bologna 'only' option' for Manu Ginobili

Posted by Royce Young

Virtus Bologna may have made a big splash recently with their major offer to Kobe Bryant, but they're also targeting another NBA All-Star. One with a prominant bald spot and a paralyzing step-back jumper.

Via an interview with DiarioShow.com via Sportando
, Ginobili confirmed that Virtus Bologna is the "only option" if he decides to play overseas during the lockout.

"I did not say NO to the proposal. In Bologna I had great time and my wife Marianela loves Italy. There is a possibility that I will join Virtus Bologna during the NBA lockout. I have to give an answer by the end of the month. I had also an offer from Brazil but if I leave San Antonio Spurs during the lockout, I am going to play only with Virtus Bologna. It would be just for few months and then I will be back to Spurs"

Obviously Ginobili, like a lot of other players, is willing to take his time in making a decision. There are more meetings and still time for a deal to get settled. But there's no doubt he's interested. Bologna apparently has a solid financial backing and is willing to pony up some solid money for a player like Ginobili.

Why it's the "only option," I don't know. But Ginobili's home country of Argentina doesn't exactly have a strong professional league and Bologna is one of Italy's larger clubs. Same goes for Brazil.

Ginobili is aging and has dealt with injuries in the past, so I'm sure he's a bit hesitant to that risk in playing overseas, but he'll get his contract insured. Like he said, it would just be a quick stint and he'd be eager to return to the Spurs.

My question is: Why not play with Tony Parker for his ASVEL club? Probably because Parker can't pay Ginobili anywhere near what Bologna is looking to, but that would be a cool wrinkle.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
 

First up for each team in a post-lockout world

Posted by Royce Young



So the lockout could be ending soon, depending on who you're listening to. Maybe it extends into the season, but if it doesn't and a deal gets settled in the next few weeks, we're going to have one heck of a free agency period. Really, no matter when it's settled, we're going to have one wild free agency period.

(Unless we were to miss all of 2011-12 and you combined this class with next year's group. Now that would be something.)

If you thought the summer of 2010 was a frenzy, try cramming it all into a two-week period. Maybe I'm just thinking of how horrible it'll be for me. Regardless, you can be sure that all 30 teams have a pre-written itinerary on what they want to accomplish once the lockout is lifted. They have been planning, plotting and preparing to target the players they want or finish up a few final transactions on the roster.

But what's the first order of business for everybody? What's the priority, the thing that each team wants to get done right away? Here's a stab at each team's top job.

Atlanta Hawks: It really appears that the Hawks are ready and willing to let Jamal Crawford walk, but there's still a decision to made whether or not they want to compete for him in the free agent market. He was a key part of the team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Eastern Semifinals and re-signing him could be a priority. Problem is, they don't really have the funds for it.

Boston Celtics: What happens with Jeff Green? The Celtics have already tendered him a qualifying offer, but someone surely will extend him an offer sheet. The Celtics have issues at center still and Glen Davis is unrestricted, but figuring out Jeff Green's situation is probably weighing heaviest on Danny Ainge's mind.

Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats made a big splash in the draft, but if that's going to matter, they've got to get Bismack Biyombo on the team. His buyout could still be a major issue and though he says he'll be on the team when training camp starts, that's definitely up in the air.

Chicago Bulls: Wing scorer. Say it with me, wing scorer. Derrick Rose needs help (and an extension) in a big time way and it's up to Gar Foreman and company to find that help. Jamal Crawford maybe? Caron Butler? J.R. Smith if he wasn't in China? Someone has to give Rose a little offensive help and that's the top priority for the Bulls.

Cleveland Cavaliers: First thing? Putting Baron Davis on the scales to make sure he doesn't weigh 300 pounds. After that, there isn't a whole lot to be done in Cleveland. The club's rebuilding around their two lottery picks and you don't want to crowd the roster in a way that stunts their development.

Dallas Mavericks: The defending champs have a whole lot on their plate once the lockout ends. Caron Butler's contract is up. So is J.J. Barea's. So is DeShawn Stevenson's. So is Brian Cardinal's (just kidding -- well it is up, but you know what I mean). But the first order of business for Mark Cuban is to get Tyson Chandler re-signed. Not just that though, but to get him re-signed to a number that makes sense for the make-up of the roster.

Denver Nuggets: Despite the lockout, the Nuggets have kind of been gutted. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are in China until at least March. Danilo Gallinari signed in Italy but has an NBA out. But all of that doesn't matter near as much as getting Nene re-signed. Without Nene, it doesn't matter. With Nene, there's still something worth building around.

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are kind of trying to quietly usher out the old and bring in some new. Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, but I don't think they care. What'll be most interesting is how they handle Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons drafted Brandon Knight in June with Stuckey already their point guard. Do they want Knight to take over? Do they want to play them together? Share the role? Sorting out Stuckey's future is definitely what Joe Dumars has to do first.

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be players in free agency, but really, it's about deciding once and for all if Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry really are the backcourt tandem of the future for the team. If there's a time to move on, it's now when both of their values are still high. The Warriors flirted with dealing Ellis last season but it didn't happen. They're probably planning on revisiting that.

Houston Rockets: First order of business: Properly sending off Yao with a jersey retirement ceremony. After that, the Rockets are fairly settled, though you know Daryl Morey is just itching to pick up a phone and start transacting once the lockout's over.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have a number of expiring deals and aren't likely looking to re-sign them (maybe Josh McRoberts, maybe Jeff Foster). Larry Bird has been hunting more pieces to add to his mediocre roster for a while and you can be sure the Pacers are going to target some of the bigger free agent names in this class.

Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon is ready for an extension, but the Clippers better be ready to match any offer DeAndre Jordan gets. You might not think that's a big deal, but forget Chris Kaman. The future of the Clips frontcourt is Blake Griffin and Jordan. You seven-footer from Texas A&M finally started figuring himself out a little last season and he's not far off from becoming a major defensive impact player.

Los Angeles Lakers: Shannon Brown's unrestricted, but he's really not that much of an impact player to be that concerned with. The Lakers might have to focus on how to re-structure the roster to suit a new CBA that could greatly cut into their total salary. Will they have to move Lamar Odom? Metta World Peace? But first things first: Giving Kobe and Mike Brown a proper introduction and letting them figure out the direction of the offense.

Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol. That's it for Memphis. It'd be nice to get Shane Battier back, but it's all about Gasol.

Miami Heat: It's kind of been overlooked, but Pat Riley and the Heat have a busy couple weeks waiting on them. Mike Bibby, Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and James Jones are all unrestricted and Mario Chalmers is restricted. It's decision time for the Heat. Do they start restocking with veteran talent or look to get younger and develop?

Milwaukee Bucks: That first practice in Milwaukee is something Scott Skiles has probably been thinking about for a while. "Brandon, this is Stephen. Stephen, this is Brandon." The Bucks have some new talent as Stephen Jackson joins Brandon Jennings, but how will they get along?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Here's what David Kahn's to-do list looks like: 1) Hug Ricky. 2) Hug Darko. 3) Overpay a questionable free agent at a position you already have three guys. What it should look like: 1) Convince Kevin Love somehow to sign an extension. 2) Get rid of Michael Beasley and let Derrick Williams have the starting small forward spot all to himself. 3) Tell Rick Adelman to do his thing.

New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphies is an important piece of business but his re-signing goes hand in hand with the larger thing: Proving to Deron Williams that this is a place he wants to re-sign. The Nets have to take advantage right away of showing Williams they're serious about winning. And you do that by getting him some immediate help.

New Orleans Hornets: It's all about David West for the Hornets. Yes, he suffered a major knee injury last season. But he chose to become an unrestricted free agent and a team like the Nets is likely to come calling quickly. Can the Hornets hang on to Chris Paul's buddy?

New York Knicks: The Knicks have a little bit coming off the books but really they need to try and resist the urge to do something drastic in this free agency period. Which they will because of the big names coming up in 2012. Still, they want to field a solid team for this season -- and Mike D'Antoni needs them too -- so adding a quality veteran to help on the inside would be good.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The young Thunder roster is pretty much entirely set up. But Sam Presti has something to do right away once the lockout ends -- get Russell Westbrook his extension. Presti brought Kevin Durant his at midnight last July to make sure there was no doubt about locking up his superstar. Presti better be stalking Westbrook's house on the whim he lockout ends so he can extend the same treatment to his other star.

Orlando Magic: First order of business for Otis Smith and the Magic? Resume begging Dwight Howard to stay. One way to show it would be to get him some help, but Smith sort of laid those cards on the table last year in the Gilbert Arenas/Hedo Turkoglu trade. So it's back to convincing Howard there's a plan for the future and that it'll get better.

Philadelphia 76ers: Someone is ready and willing to give Thaddeus Young a serious offer, so the Sixers better be ready to match anything and everything.

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash's trade value will be highest at the beginning of the season, so it's up to Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver to figure out if they're ready to move on. Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent so if the Suns lock him up by matching an offer sheet, that'll be an indication that the Suns are preparing for life without Nash.

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are in love with Nicolas Batum, so extending him could be the first order of business, but really, the Blazers need to find a new general manager first. And whoever that guy is needs to decide that if for the off chance someone gives Greg Oden an offer, if he's willing to match. Oden already has an $8.8 qualifying offer, which is huge, so once Oden signs that, he'll likely be signing with the Blazers for another year.

Sacramento Kings: The Jimmer-Tyreke backcourt is going to be an interesting experiment, but Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the more intriguing free agents out there. The Bulls are likely looking at him long and hard right now. He's restricted, so the Kings could keep him, but the question is, with Tyreke moving off the ball for good and Jimmer handling the point, is it worth paying Thornton to just have him come off the bench?

San Antonio Spurs: Um, I guess just resume the typical day-to-day of the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach with a team and R.C. Buford probably isn't looking to go do anything drastic in this market. The Spurs are definitely aging, but there's not a lot to be done about that right now.

Toronto Raptors: Assuming the Raptors actually have Jonas Valanciunas for next season, Dwane Casey and company have to figure out if he's ready to cover for Andrea Bargnani on the inside. Can those two really play together and handle enough rebounding and defensive duties? The Raptors are in a place where they have to wait and see with some young players and aren't likely targeting any big names in the open market.

Utah Jazz: Most likely, Andrei Kirilenko won't be re-signing with the Jazz. So Kevin O'Connor will have to make a choice when the lockout's over: Does he try and restock a roster that can maybe squeak out the eight-seed, or does he commit to rebuilding around Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and others and just let them play it out? The Jazz would love to get some wing scoring help, so O'Connor will probably at least look that direction, but we'll have to see how serious he is.

Washington Wizards: It's not an earth-shattering decision, but Nick Young is a restricted free agent. And with his scoring ability, someone is ready to pay him. Do the Wizards want to keep him? Do they want to look elsewhere and maybe target say, Marcus Thornton? Or do they just let Young walk and see what Jordan Crawford's got?
Posted on: September 9, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Reports: Italian club pursuing Ginobili, CDR

By Matt Moore

Virtus Bologna is an Italian basketball club. Earl Boykins played there a few seasons ago. Orlando Woolridge, too. Travis Best, Charlie Bell, there's a handful of NBA guys who have donned their unis. But with the lockout and the availability of NBA talent, it would appear Bologna is opening up its pocket books for some of the bigger names. 

First, Sportando reports that a former Memphis Tiger and current Milwaukee Buck is taking off for the northern region of the boot:
Despite the meetings to avoid the lockout are going on, Chris Douglas-Roberts decided to leave NBA and land in Italy where he will play for Virtus Bologna.

The two parts reached an agreement in principle and the small forward has just to sign the one-year contract without NBA out with the Italian team.
via Virtus Bologna close to Chris Douglas-Roberts | Serie A | Italy | Sportando.

CDR has never fit in in the NBA. He landed in an unstable, volatile situation in New Jersey as management, coaching, and ownership changed hands in the handful of years he was there. He landed in Milwaukee, but since he's not a gritty veteran defender, he has a hard time getting time with Scott Skiles. Well, that and his skillset on a coordinated team level is like giving a goldfish a bicycle, even if the bicycle is really long and quite fast, the goldfish still can't do anything with it.

In Italy, he could be a star. CDR's claim to fame outside of a prolific Twitter account and his time with Memphis is his awe-inspiring one-on-one record which was at one point unblemished. Give him the ball and stand aside, Italianos! Let's hope his coach enjoys ISO sets.

The next is a report out of the San Antonio Express Newsthat involves a much bigger name. Manu Ginobili.
Manu Ginobili’s agent, Herb Rudoy, on Thursday confirmed an offer made to Ginobili to rejoin the Virtus Bologna team in the Italian League, but said no response has yet been made to the offer.

Ginobili’s brother Leandro, working as a television analyst at the FIBA Americas tournament, also confirmed the offer for Manu to play again in Italy if the NBA lockout continues.

“I don’t think Manu is thinking he will go play in Italy for two months before returning to the Spurs,” said Manu’s 41-year-old brother.
via Spurs Nation » Ginobili has offer from his former club in Italy.

You would think the only way Ginobili is going to test his legs by playing somewhere other than San Antonio is in Argentina after he retires from the NBA, a likely possibility. But the fact that Bologna is making such offers shows their commitment. It's also intriguing, as compared to hyper-controlled China and the instability of Besiktas in Turkey, Italy is a real vacation spot. Live well, eat well, enjoy the countryside, see the piazzas... that sounds like a fine way to spend a lockout. Too bad Ginobili is focused on international competition and then likely trying to stay healthy to start the season for once. 
 
 
 
 
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