Category:NBA
Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:02 pm
 

ESPN: LeBron will announce decision Thursday

Per independent sources, ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that LeBron James will be announcing his free agency decision live on ESPN Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

That's right, NBA free agency has officially jumped the shark. Hopefully to complete the effect, LeBron will lay out four hats, start to pick up the Chicago one in the middle, only to have a Cleveland cap underneath. Then he'll proudly put it on, hug his mother and this whole "recruitment" will have gone full circle.

But as high school-ish as this all sounds, what's cool is that LeBron's people reportedly requested the option to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of America. I can dig that. As childish and self-centered this whole free agency thing can be, that's a pretty selfless, quality gesture. And good PR as well, mind you.

Obviously everyone is probably thinking what I'm thinking right now: So does ESPN already know? According to the report, no they do not. And supposedly won't until LeBron announces it live on TV.

Brian Windhorst also tossed out that ESPN was in talks with LeBron about filming his free agency "tour" but those talks ended after the Cavs bowed out in the playoffs to the Celtics. So LeBron was already planning out this televised special while he was playing in some of the most important games of his life? I think you can draw your own conclusions there.

So I guess we can all stop worrying about this Thursday night. Until then, speculate like you've never speculated before. Because even as draining and mind-numbing as this is, it's kind of fun, isn't it?

-Royce Young


Posted on: July 6, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 9:35 pm
 

Berger Says: The Chris Bosh stalemate


All's quiet on the free agency front. Too quiet. As we wait for the next bombshell, we decided to check in with Ken Berger and ask him for the latest on Chris Bosh's situation and how it affects the rest of the dominoes:


Matt Moore: Chris Bosh has all of a sudden moved into a catalyst-type position, if the reports of the sign-and-trade Cleveland option is true. Let's start there. What exactly would the Raptors be looking for in a package back, cap space and picks, or veteran assets?


Ken Berger: First, yes, the Raptors have told Bosh and his agent, Henry Thomas, that they're willing to explore a sign-and-trade with Cleveland. It's the most advantageous circumstance for everybody involved: LeBron stays and gets his max deal, Bosh leaves and gets his max deal, the Cavs become even more of a championship contender, and the Raptors get quality assets in return -- some combination of Anderson Varejao/J.J. Hickson, Anthony Parker/Jamario Moon, plus Delonte West (who'd be waived by Toronto with $4 million in savings because only $500,000 of his salary for next season is guaranteed) and possibly draft picks. (The Cavs don't have any extra ones, but have their own picks to offer). The problem is, Bosh doesn't want to go. He much prefers Miami, Chicago or the Nets. Thus, stalemate.

MM: We've been hearing strong indications the whole way through of Bosh to Miami. How many times has Bosh actually met with Pat Riley and Co., that you know of, and are you hearing the same?

KB: Once that I know of, and it's still in play. Miami also has explored Amar'e Stoudemire (committed to the Knicks) and Carlos Boozer (whom the Jazz are claiming they want to re-sign) as a running mate for Dwyane Wade. If Bosh wants to go to Miami on his own (without a sign-and-trade), it's more than doable; the Heat have the cap room. Problem is, Bosh would wind up with less money than Wade because of the 8 percent raises and five years he'd get vs. 10.5 percent raises and six years from Toronto. If Bosh is OK with that, Miami makes the most sense. If he wants to push for the sign-and-trade, the obstacle will be the Raptors; Miami doesn't have nearly the assets to trade that Cleveland does. One thing to consider: since Bosh would be going to a team with cap space, Toronto would get a massive trade exception, which will be very useful at the trade deadline when teams that are falling out of the playoff race are desperate to get out from under contracts. Bosh-to-Miami might not get the Raptors an immediate replacement -- a tough sell in the short term -- but with a little patience, they might do better in a few months. Is that a risk they're willing to take?

MM: Is New Jersey still in this thing at all?


KB: Although the Nets are on Bosh's preferred list if LeBron goes with him, those discussions aren't gaining any traction because the Cleveland scenario clearly takes precedence for the Raptors. Even the Rockets, in Bosh's home state of Texas, have some attractive pieces to offer (free-agent Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza). So the Nets are in a little bit of a danger zone. Do they try to push things forward by making a play for Boozer, thus making themselves more attractive to Wade or LeBron (as the Knicks tried with Stoudemire?) Another option is David Lee, who wants to stay in the New York area and clearly isn't going back to the Knicks. Lee, probably attainable at $11-$12 million a year, is a better deal than all the other power forward on the market.

MM: How does Amar'e agreeing to a deal with New York affect Bosh? Does it raise or lower his value?


KB: Bosh's value is pretty much set; $125 million if Toronto pays him, $96 million is somebody else does. What Stoudemire going to the Knicks did was remove one possible destination and force LeBron and Wade to accelerate their decisions. The last thing either one wants is to return to his existing team with no superstar coming with him; although the Cavs believe they have the best to offer LeBron, having won 60-plus games two years in a row. With Stoudemire off the board, Bosh has the ability to lure LeBron or Wade with him. But if he wants to get all the money possible, he has to work with the Raptors. And to this point, he hasn't.

MM:  Are all the free agents basically waiting on each other, or do you expect one to kick-start the rest of the dominoes?


KB: One team executive told me Tuesday that the market has come to a "screeching halt" while teams and free agents wait for LeBron, Wade and Bosh to make a decision. To a degree, their decisions are intertwined. But at some point, each player is going to have to do what's best for him. When one of them shows his cards and commits to either staying put or leaving, the rest of it will come together in a flurry of activity that will be the opposite of the paralysis we're currently witnessing.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Is Gerald Henderson making the jump?

Gerald Henderson was drafted out of Duke with a lot of promise. Then he fell into the endless pit that all rookies fall into under Larry Brown. It's like the gigantic sand monster in Return of the Jedi . But the Duke prospect has an opportunity this season, even with Stephen Jackson in front of him, to make an impact. And the work he's putting in in Summer League may help get him there.

Henderson dropped 21 points today after leveling 20 yesterday. He had the whole range of his offense going, and added 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Henderson could help the Bobcats out dramatically if he can come in and provide backcourt depth this season, allowing them to focus on a replacement point guard with Reymond Felton likely departing and Tyrus Thomas a restricted free agent.

Henderson was also crazy efficient, scoring those 21 points on just 11 shots, getting 11 shots from the line. Henderson has to come out guns blazing through training camp if he's going to work his way into LB's rotation. Orlando Summer League has at least been a good start for the sophomore.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 6, 2010 5:34 pm
 

The Bosh Conundrum

Deciphering the riddle of Chris Bosh with what we know so far ...
So if Chris Bosh wants the extra year, and wants to play with LeBron, then he might be able to go to Cleveland, New Jersey, or Chicago.

If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and Wade wants to go to Miami, he can go to Miami, but can't get the extra year.

If he wants to play for the Knicks, well, tough.

If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and get the extra year, he'll have to convince Wade to go to Chicago, New Jersey, or conceptually, Cleveland.

If he wants to play for the Clippers, he's obviously incurred brain damage.

Does that wrap things up?

Bosh no longer has one decision to make, he has several. He has the options in front of him, and now has to choose which road. Does he take the money, and the security? Or the best chance to win a championship? Does he take the weather? Or the fame? In one sense, Bosh has become the catalyst in all this. He commits to a sign-and-trade with Cleveland, that may be enough to pull LeBron back. He doesn't, and he's left waiting, staring at James in a game of chicken they both lose in. On the other, the onus may now be on Bosh. If he wants to get the perfect situation (a move to Chicago that gets him the extra money, and the city he wants, and a superstar contending core), he'll have to talk either Wade or James into leaving home. That doesn't seem like something Bosh has much interest in, but then again, trying to figure out Bosh's priorities at this point is as much a Nintendo Duck Hunt as it is with the other two.

There's a weird standoff taking place. For as much as the three have talked and discussed playing together, every indication is that each wants what he wants and wants the others to want what he wants as well. How's that for a tongue twister? James wants to stay home and not stab the state of Ohio in the heart, while contending for a championship and getting his extra money. Wade wants to stay home where he's made himself part of the community through charity and business, and most importantly, wants to contend for a championship again.

Bosh? No one knows what his angle is. But whatever he decides may end up deciding the future of the league for the next half decade.

No pressure, Chris.
Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:39 am
 

Report: Cavs have trade for Bosh in place


Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that the Raptors have agreed to a sign-and-trade of Chris Bosh if Bosh agrees to such a deal.

Whoa boy.

So right off the bat, there are conflicting reports . Secondly, again, Bosh has not agreed to such a deal, and Broussard reports that he is cold to the idea of being by the Lake instead prefers Chicago (yes, I know, also by a lake, go with me), New Jersey, or Miami. Miami is out, according to Broussard because they lack the pieces the Raptors would want in a sign-and-trade. Both Chicago and New Jersey have players the Raps would be interested in, but not moreso than what the Cavs have to toss in.

So what's the big deal? Isn't Bosh an unrestricted free agent, able to sign anywhere?

That's true, but the Raptors can let Bosh have his cake and eat it too. He can sign for more money and more years with Toronto, then be sent to where he wants to play, with who he wants to play with.

The tightly held puzzle of free agency is starting to loosen.

If Broussard's on the money, and the Raps can't figure out a deal of high enough value with Chicago or New Jersey, then Bosh will have to decide between the extra money and security, or his own autonomy and a bigger market. It's a tough decision, but consider that once again, LeBron James has the impetus to control the situation here. If LeBron signs with Cleveland outright, he could force Bosh's decision, especially if Wade is still on the fence.

Meanwhile, the report has significant implications for both Miami and Chicago. The time may have come to divert attention from James and to Wade, in an effort to get him off the fence and in their respective uniforms first. With Amar'e in New York, off the market, and Joe Johnson locked up in Atlanta, both Chicago and Miami will have to make significant moves to avoid being left out in the cold if they feel like talks with the Raptors are stagnant. Bosh may be reticent to go to Cleveland but he's now looking at extra money and a direct courtship from LeBron James. That's enough to open some eyes to the beauty of Cleveland.

Things are starting to shake loose. We'll keep you updated on where the next piece falls.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:47 am
 

Your Morning Shootaround 7.6.10

What's going on in the NBA world...

Dwyane Wade cancelled his press conference for this morning in Miami. No reason was given. Let's not try and get ahead of ourselves, but whichever way you lean in the whole thing, it's curious.

Mikhail Prokhorov told advisers he thinks Chris Bosh will join Dwyane Wade in Miami. He's still hopeful to land LeBron James. Most interesting to me from the notes was Prokhorov's statement about Bosh and Wade's agent Henry Thomas not being aware of the global business implications. If this was leaked intentionally, that provides a whole new context to these statements.

The Magic signed Chris Duhon to a four year deal , which should help with almost none of their needs.

LeBron James is giving indications he plans on announcing his decision on his next team via his own website . Which will, inevitably, crash when he does announce it. I like this plan, already.

Allen Iverson wants to return to the NBA. This should end well. And by "well," I mean "in a turnover."

The Cavs and Suns have started talks about a Leandro Barbosa for Delonte West and Jamario Moon swap.

We'll have more on these stories and more throughout the day.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 8:00 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 8:16 pm
 

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Now that the signing of Amar'e Stoudemire by the Knicks has been agreed upon (though it can't be finalized until Thursday), we have to look at several angles. But how Stoudemire will fit on the Knicks is a question that has yet to be answered, because there are other max free agents in play for the Knicks. We can't look at the impact for Amar'e without knowing who could really be playing next to him (KB has some info on a possible sign-and-trade for a Knicks point guard ).

But what we can look at is if the Knicks made the right decision, committing close to $100 million towards Stoudemire. Amar'e comes with tremendous explosiveness and top-level scoring ability. But he also comes with significant questions as to whether he can play elite level defense, or even acceptable defense, and if he's a good enough player when he's not on offense. So the question is, would the Knicks have been better off if they'd managed to get Chris Bosh?

I took a look at the numbers on each player defensively via Synergy Sports . Synergy Sports tracks every moment of every NBA game and brings you an in-depth look, possession by possession, on how players do not only overall, but in certain situations. For example, their key stat is PPP, points-per-possession. It factors how many points are scored with a player as the primary defender, and then divides by the number of instances a player was in that certain play scenario. It factors turnovers, free throws, and points to bring you how many points per each possession a player gave up overall, and in certain possessions.

I looked at four specific play types breakdowns for Bosh and Amar'e in comparison: overall, pick-and-roll man (guarding the player providing the pick and rolling (as opposed to the ball-handler), isolation (pretty simple, one-on-one defense), in the post, and spot-up (off a pass in a catch-and-shoot situation). The results were pretty surprising.


Play Type Amar'e PPP Bosh PPP
Overall .86 .89
Pick-and-roll man .76 1.13
ISO .95 .65
Post-up .89 .84
Spot-up .84 1.03


Right off the bat, Amar'e Stoudemire allowed fewer points per possession last season than Bosh did. The first thing that you'll say is that the Raptors' defense was a crime against basketball. And you're absolutely right. It's certain that Bosh's defense was impacted by how terrible the rest of his team defended.  But the individual play types are kind of startling in terms of where he was good and where he was bad. The same can be said for Stoudemire. Pick and roll being the biggest alarm bell if you're a team out there still looking at Bosh as your signature big. Stoudemire, despite being known as a terrible help defender, was ranked 18th in the league overall as a pick and roll defender, one of the more complex defensive sets requiring combination and knowledge of where your teammates are.

But Stoudemire certainly struggled in ISO situations. If you put him straight up on a player, he gave up .96 points per possession, a far cry from Bosh's .65. And there were nearly twice as many instances of ISO defense versus pick-and-roll man situations. At the same time, help defense is something you can account for, and switching assignments is something Mike D'Antoni can do to alleviate a situation where Amar'e is getting taken repeatedly straight up.

How about the post-up numbers? I had anticipated a huge advantage for Bosh in this area, with a more physical reputation and Amar'e's notorious softness. Yet Amar'e is still allowing less than .89 in the post, and Bosh is at .84. A difference of .05 points per possessions? Not exactly what I would have expected.

Finally, spot-up, which deals with recovery, is probably the most affected by the Raptors' terrible defense. Bosh was repeatedly having to overcompensate to help his teammates, meaning his man was open for jumpers as he tried to cover too much defense to recover. It's a terrible mark for Bosh at 1.03 while .84 is reasonable for Stoudemire.

The big takeaway here is that Bosh is a better defender, no doubt. But the separation is not one where you would feel the Knicks made a horrific mistake in getting Stoudemire. Stoudemire's defensive numbers match up favorably with Bosh, both play in high-possession systems last year, and both have issues in various defensive sets.

Many will claim that the Knicks got the rough end of this choice between Bosh and Amar'e. But if the evidence from last year is any indication, the Knicks may have gotten a better deal than the consensus believes.


Posted on: July 5, 2010 6:41 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 6:54 pm
 

Amar'e Stoudemire already rocking No.1 for Knicks

The Knicks wasted no time to announce the acquisition of Amar'e Stoudemire as KB told you the were closing in on . Once an agreement was reached today, the Knicks had this image on the front of the Madison Square Garden Marquee, courtesy of Howard Beck of the New York Times on Twitter:



Read more on Amar'e headed to the Five Boroughs from Ken Berger .



 
 
 
 
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