Category:NBA
Posted on: July 1, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 5:41 pm
 

Amar'e Stoudemire hedging away from Phoenix

And things looked so promising just a day ago for the Suns to re-sign Amar'e Stoudemire.

So much for that idea.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes that talks between Amar'e Stoudemire and the Phoenix Suns have reached an impasse . The impossible roadblock? Amar'e wants five years, the Suns want to offer 4. That extra year is so vital, Ric Bucher of ESPN reports that Amar'e is now a longshot to return, and is considering Miami.

Pat Riley is trying to convince Stoudemire using what is referred to as the "power of three" PowerPoint presentation that outlines how championship cores are built on a nucleus of three. Much like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal. But anyway, it's a good pitch, and Riley is pitching Florida's no-state tax as a selling point. The probably issue is going to be that Stoudemire has never felt he's a third banana. Being the least important cog in a Dwyane-Wade-LeBron-James-Amar'e triangle may not sit well with his ego. That's before we start to consider how much Stoudemire would have to adjust to the play of the other two.

Phoenix still remains in this thing, with Stoudemire's agent Happy Walters trying to get a deal done. But Walters is adamant that no deal will be done without that fifth year, and Robert Sarver isn't known to be the kind of owner who buckles when things get tough financially. But in this kind of free agency climate, we've already seen two teams buckle to the demands of their stars to keep them with Joe Johnson in Atlanta and Rudy Gay in Memphis. The Suns will need to give Stoudemire what he wants if they want to keep him. The market has decided his value, not his performance. And it's that value that will impact his decision. Not his loyalty.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 1, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Phil Jackson returning

The news is spreading like wild fire. Via the defending champion Lakers , Phil Jackson is returning. Jackson had spent the last three weeks considering whether to return, but has decided after consulting with his physician to return for another season.

Jackson will have to sort out some things. First off, he doesn't want to travel with the team anymore, which means he'll have to figure out how to coordinate that with his staff. That likely means that Brian Shaw will handle the team on the road, after Shaw withdrew from the Cavs' coaching race earlier this week. Jackson will also have to sort out the matter of his contract, with Jerry Buss expecting a paycut for Jackson, especially considering his limited time on the road.

But in the end, Jackson will be back for what he says is his last hurrah, with a loaded roster still in its prime. He has a chance to win his 14th ring, his 12th as a coach, which will cement his legacy as the greatest professional basketball coach of the modern era. When you look at it that way, with everything he's accomplished and how easy it may be for him to reach the finish line once more, how could he say no?

Besides, somebody's got to buy Ron Artest some books.
Posted on: July 1, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 9:46 pm
 

Free-agency layup line: Knicks, Nets feuding

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

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

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

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

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

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

In lesser known free-agency news:

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

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

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

-Matt Moore




Posted on: July 1, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Bucks still working to re-sign Salmons

As free agents start agreeing to deals (before the July 7th date they can sign), many teams are trying to take care of their own business before looking elsewhere. The Bucks in particular have been focused on re-signing John Salmons, who is the B-grade version of Joe Johnson in this year's free agency.

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that Salmons is close to signing a 5-year, $39 million deal with Milwaukee. A person involved in the process told CBSSports.com today that Salmons' deal "might get done with Milwaukee, might get done with somebody else."

"Nothing's done right now" the source added.

With Salmons along with recently acquired Corey Maggette to go along with Brandon Jennings' development and a healthy Andrew Bougt, the Bucks would likely feature a balanced, versatile offensive attack. Wing was really their weakest position last year, until a mid-season trade for Salmons with the Bulls helped boost their attack, only to see Bogut go down with a broken wrist.

The Bucks may not be looking to add any of the max free agents, but Hammond has been very active in the offeason thus far. And we're less than a day into free agency.
Posted on: July 1, 2010 1:55 pm
 

Darko gets 4 years, $20 million from Wolves

On the "David Kahn: The Greatest Hit s" mixtape, there will be a plethora of sweet tunes. My favorites being "The Night I Drafted Three Point Guards " and "I Don't Love You Anymore, Al Jefferson." Of course none will rival his seminal diddy, "Please Come Home, Ricky Rubio " but his latest chart-topper is sure to bring music to people's ears. It's a rip-roaring sing-along. What's it called?

"Darko Milicic Is My Answer At Center, Now And Forever ."

Kahn today reached an agreement with Darko Milicic on a 4 year, $20 million dollar deal , Chad Ford of ESPN reports. That's a lot of green for a guy widely considered to be one of the biggest draft busts in modern history. Kahn has been enamored with Milicic since he traded for him last year. While downplaying (and destroying the trade value) of Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, Kahn feels that Darko is the center of the future for the Wolves.

Can't you see it? Darko and Ricky Rubio running the pick and roll, Darko clumsily lumbering towards the rim towards a misguided pass Rubio has trouble adjusting to agianst NBA length? Missed alley oops, poorly executed pick and rolls, and of course, wasted possessions with Darko in the block. It's a dream come true!

In all seriousness, this is the beginning of the end for Al Jefferson in Minnesota. He's assured to be gone now, it's just a matter of figuring out where to dump him and how much of a loss they're going to take on the promising young power forward with excellent touch. After all, who needs those thing when you've got a 7-foot Serbian who loves the idea of thretening referees and their daughters and who was ready to head back to Serbia this summer.

And the hits just keep on coming...

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 1, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Bucks sign Gooden to MLE.. wait, what?!


Let's take a minute and look back at what the Milwaukee Bucks have done in the past ten days.

Traded for Cory Maggette.

Traded for Chris Douglas-Roberts.

Kept Carlos Delfino.

Drafted Larry Sanders.

And now, they've signed Drew Gooden for the Mid-Level Exception, at a clip of 5 years for $32 million (via Yahoo! Sports). This despite having Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on roster, both whom are considered high-upside, versatile, talented players, and Gooden having spent time in more cities than a mid-70's hobo.

So what in the name of Bogut is Bucks GM John Hammond up to?

The Gooden signing makes sense if you listen to Bucks blog BrewHoop, which says the team needed veteran depth at power forward. And Gooden certainly provides that at 29. You do have to wonder about the contract, the length of the contract, and how Gooden fits. The Bucks' offense was definitely their weak point last season. They do need someone who's able to produce offense. And Gooden averaged 15.7 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes last season .

The problem is usage (estimated percentage of possessions used). Gooden had the 12th highest usage of any power forward in the league playing at least 30 minutes last season. That's a lot for a guy who is considered a journeyman role player. His efficiency numbers are good, and Gooden comes with a wide range of verstaile skills. It's just curious that the Bucks seem to have loaded up so much at the forward positions, especially with John Salmons still drifting in unrestricted-free-agent land. Probably most curious was the fact that Hammond committed five years to a 29 year-old role player when he has such a young nucleus.

It makes you wonder if Hammond is done with moves beyond re-signing John Salmons and other free agent Luke Ridnour.

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 1, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:36 am
 

Free-agency layup line: LeBron's gift edition

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

A mystery team dropped a "small square box" containing a gift off at LeBron James' house at 11PM Wednesday night, according to the New York Daily News .  Our best guesses as to the gift are the heart of a lion, whatever was in the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction ", or a Russian doll containing $2.4 million in bonds.  (HT: FanHouse )

Richard Jefferson opted out of his contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean much for the team basketball-wise. Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell reports that with the team significantly over the cap still, Jefferson's opt-out doesn't clear them to make any significant moves and leaves them with a hole at small forward. You have to wonder if Tony Parker and his contract may be even more on the block.

Chris Bosh is predictably keeping track of his free agency exploits on Twitter. As of 4EST, he had met with the Bulls, Raptors, Heat, and Rockets (check out more on our discussion of Houston's chances ). You have to wonder if it's better to be early or late in these discussions. The Knicks seem to be taking the latter approach, since they went and visited Mike Miller first thing last night.

Darren Rovell of Sports Biz reports that part of the Nets' offer for LeBron James is a clothing line via Jay-Z . These are the kind of advantages teams have to pull out. There's so much more going on here than just money and a good core of players, though those things are up-front the most important.

Via Wizards blog Bullets Forever , Yahoo! Sports reports that Washington is looking to fill that whole at small forward quickly . They've already spoken to both of their expired small forwards (Mike Miller, Josh Howard) and are looking at Ryan Gomes, Travis Outlaw, Rasual Butler and even Josh Childress who is still in Greece. With the acquisition of Kirk Hinrich, the Wizards have to be thinking on the cheap with this contract, and likely won't want to commit to anything long-term. Then again, they traded for Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian, so there's no telling what they're going to do next.

John Hammond is "cautiously optimistic" that the Bucks will be able to re-sign John Salmons. Then again, we think Hammond is "cautiously losing his mind" for giving Drew Gooden a 5 year, $32 million deal when he has Ersan Ilyasoava and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute along with rookie Larry Sanders to pair with Andrew Bogut. Hammond's either gone around the bend or is in pursuit of something...


Posted on: July 1, 2010 9:51 am
 

Clippers 'honored' to visit LeBron

The Clippers can't even suck up right.

As Free Agency began, the Clippers sent out a press release to their fans to inform them that they have reached out to various free agents. Fair enough. A little unnecessary, and kind of a goof move if your pitch doesn't land anyone, but hey. But then there's the language. Via Clippers press release (bold mine for emphasis):

“We are perfectly positioned to engage this summer’s free agent marketplace and we have every intention of playing an active role.  A little after midnight eastern time on July 1, we contacted the representatives of several free agent players in whom we have interest.”
 
We are honored to be one of the select organizations to have been invited to meet with LeBron James and his team. At that time, we intend to present the many reasons why his joining our organization is the best possible choice he could make .”

“Key among those reasons is our extraordinary nucleus of players. We have a core group in place which is made up of talented players at every position, a component which would prove attractive to any free agent. “

As events unfold and in accordance with NBA rules, the Clippers will provide updates as necessary.

Now, I get that this is what you're supposed to do, kneel at the feet of the King. But really, Clippers? You felt the need to send out a press release telling everyone that you're "honored" to meet with LeBron? You should have actually referred to him as "the King". Or "our liege." "My lord" may be going too far, but you're already halfway there.

What's best about this is the approach they're taking and how delusional they must be in this scenario. The Kings and Grizzlies have cap space. They're not pitching LeBron. You know why? They know they won't have a chance and have better ways to spend their resources. But the Clippers instead have elected to say the following:

"Yo, LeBron! You should totally come to the Clippers, man! We've got:

1. An exciting group of players including the top overall rookie in 2009 who hasn't played a single game for us despite being drafted last year.
2. No coach, whatsoever!
3. One of the most inconsistent, injury prone point guards you'll ever see in the league, and we've got his contract for several more years!
4. An undersized shooting guard who's pretty good!
5. Chris Kaman!"

Somehow I imagine that the King didn't feel nearly as "honored" to extend the invitation, but he is listening to all offers. As long as they're in a major market.

I sincerely hope the Clippers extend a similar email for when they meet with Richard Jefferson.

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