Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 3:07 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Caron Butler is now an NBA champion. And a free agent. Though with both, he didn't really contribute much to either cause the last few months.
Butler had knee surgery in January which forced him to shut down his 2010-11 season early. He tried to return for the NBA Finals but just wasn't completely ready. The Mavs won without him but with quite a bit of roster uncertainty in the future, Butler being a part of that, it's a question as to what the Mavs would do with him.
But if Butler gets what he wants, he'll be re-upping long-term with Dallas. Via ESPN Dallas, Butler's agent Ray Brothers sees him staying for a while in Big D.
"After the championship was over," Brothers said, "[president of basketball operations] Donnie [Nelson] texted me and told me he wanted Caron to be part of the team long term."
Brothers also told NBA.com that the lockout actually might be helpful to Butler too. With the extra time to rehab and get back to 100 percent, Butler isn't going to be rushing anything when training camp starts.
"The lockout's good for Caron Butler," Brothers said. "It gives him more time. He's already passed the time necessarily for him to heal, but he's going to come back stronger and better ... when I could talk to the (Mavericks') doctors, they told me that his knee's probably going to be better than it was before."
It's all about giving the Mavs confidence that he can return to form. Butler is Dallas's No. 2 or 3 option in terms of scoring and really helps fill a hole at either shooting guard or small forward. Because of the injury he might not require a hefty salary and is probably a pretty attractive option for Dallas.
Someone will pay him because he can play. Yeah, the injury might slow him down but he should recover and be back to normal. In our free agency rankings, we slotted him 15th, and that was really only because of injury concerns.
Butler definitely wants to return to the Mavs because it's a good team, a good market and a place with money. And if Donnie Nelson really wants Butler back, then I'm sure that's where he'll be.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 3:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The whole players going overseas during the lockout thing is pretty insignificant news unless a player actually, you know, signs. A guy saying, "I'll keep my overseas options open" isn't news at all, but if the player is a star, it kind of becomes important.
So with Kevin Durant telling Sports Illustrated that he's 50-50 in terms of playing abroad during the lockout, we may have reached the all-time low with this theme.
"I love playing in the States," Durant said. "But I want to play somewhere. If you have an opportunity to [play overseas], it's something you have to think about."
Durant's agent, Aaron Goodwin, recently said that he was exploring overseas options for his client, but nothing was certain. Durant has a pretty good international following having played in the Philippines in two exhibition games last week along with wrapping up a recent two-week trip to China. He's not quite the international superstar like Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, but Durant did just complete his fourth season and is only 22.
He's a basketballholic though and the thought of not being able to play would absolutely devastate him. He's optimistic a deal will get done, but you can be sure that Durant is going to find some kind of competitive basketball if the lockout drags on.
Durant, who is the Thunder's player representative, hasn't been very involved in the negotiations because of other obligations, but told SI that he wants to be in the mix more going forward.
"I just want to make sure I'm in the loop with everything," he said. "I went to one meeting during All-Star weekend and we were so far apart I knew it was going to take awhile. The owners don't want to give in on the things that we want. As players, we have to stay together. But I really want to get [a deal] done for the fans, the people who enjoy watching the game."
And I'm sure he wants to get a deal done so he can keep playing with his good friends in Oklahoma City and not in some unfamiliar city in Europe. He might be 50-50 right now, but you can be sure that if he gets his way, that would be more like a zero percent chance because it wasn't necessary.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:05 pm
Posted by Royce Young
You may not remember Rodney White, but in 2001 the Pistons made him the No. 9 overall pick after an impressive career at UNC-Charlotte. He never really amounted to much in the NBA, but here he is 10 years later making headlines. Not the kind you hope for though.
According to the Charlotte Observer, White, 31, was arrested and charged with managing what investigators called "an elaborate" marijuana-growing operation in Alexander and Iredell counties in North Carolina.
Detectives received a tip about the operation and the two men involved -- White being one -- admitted guilt. White is jailed under $25,000 bond, and his partner is being held under $5,000 bond.
White played parts of five seasons in the NBA but sort of fizzled out. He played some professionally in Europe and Asia but never lived up to his lottery status. During his five years he played for the Nuggets, Warriors and 76ers before being cut by Philadelphis in 2005 and ending his NBA career. He had recently signed a contract with Anyang in South Korea.
In five seasons, White appeared in just 218 games and averaging 7.1 points per game. His best season was in 2002-03 with the Nuggets where he started 19 games for the 17-win Nuggets that year and averaged nine points a game.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 2:45 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Don't ever tell Serge Ibaka he can't do something. His story is borderline ridiculous. One of 18 children, Ibaka grew up in a country battling itself in a nasty war. He used basketball to escape a war torn country, now speaks five languages and after not playing organized basketball until his late teens, is one of the best defensive enforcers in the league. Heck, I'm sure someone even told him dunking with a foot behind the free throw line wasn't happening, but he didn't care.
But that's just the beginning for Ibaka. As you might imagine for someone that's as driven and persistent as him, he wants more. He wants to be an All-Star. And he thinks he can do it sooner than later. He told HoopsHype.com, "Yes, I see it happening in one or two years."
I can see it happening too. Ibaka led the league in total blocks, was eighth in field goal percentage (54.3 percent) finished averaging 9.9 points and 7.3 rebounds and in the games he started after Jeff Green was dealt, nearly averaging a double-double. And this is with him being just 21 years old and not at all completely developed.
Ibaka made a giant leap this past season adding in a consistent mid-range jumper that made him a new pick-and-pop threat for Russell Westbrook to dish to. Last season Ibaka walked into every game with the potential to go for 15, but against the Nuggets showcased that he could be a primary threat in any given game. In Game 3, he went for 22 points, 16 rebounds and added four blocks for good measure. He was easily the best player on the floor that night.
And that's the type of player that indeed could blossom into an All-Star. Because of the roster he's on, he's not really going to be a focus. I would guess that Scott Brooks has maybe two plays in the whole playbook actually drawn up for Ibaka and I bet they're both alley-oops. But he finds points because he works tirelessly on the glass. And you never have to worry about his effort defensively.
Where he needs to improve a little to really take that next step is simply in consistency. You can't have one night of 13 points, 14 rebounds and then the next get in foul trouble and go for four and two. That was an issue sometimes for Ibaka. Last season he got the minutes he needed to be productive though and now this season, he'll be Oklahoma City's starting 4 from day one. That's big for him.
On top of that he needs to improve as a man-to-man post defender. Dirk Nowitzki kind of torched him in the Western Finals and he struggled against Zach Randolph in the Semis. He's an all-world help defender, but he's got to figure out how to use his body to lean, push and maintain position against a good offensive player. Good news for Ibaka: Nick Collison is one of the best in game at that stuff and I'm sure he's happy to give a lesson or two.
Is he All-Star material right now? Probably not. He has some of the hype needed with news fans getting an introduction to him in the dunk contest and then in the postseason where he had a number of really impressive games. But power forward in the West is pretty stacked. Last season's All-Star power forwards in the West were Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. And maybe Dirk depending on how you want to classify him. Topping those guys, especially with young players like Griffin and Love in the mix for a while, could be tough. Not to mention Luis Scola, LaMarcus Aldridge, David West (depending on where he goes), Randolph and Paul Millsap.But don't give up on Ibaka. Because he's keen on proving people wrong.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 1:29 pm
Posted by Royce Young
In March, word came out that Jalen Rose had been arrested for drinking and driving. That was bad and then things got worse when he was suspended because he didn't tell his ESPN employers about the incident. And now Rose has been sentenced to 20 days in jail for the offense, according to Fox News in Detroit.
Rose was involved in a crash in his hometown Detroit in March after veering off the road. A hospital test showed his blood-alcohol content as 0.12 percent, above Michigan's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent. According to the report, he informed police he had six martinis that night before driving home. He plead guilty to the offense.
He was also given one year probation. He'll begin his sentence next Tuesday.
Rose played 13 NBA seasons and is now an NBA analyst for ESPN.
Photo via Fox News Detroit
Posted on: July 26, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 3:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Tremendous stuff from Tim Donahue of 8 Points, 9 Seconds on what the real issues are in this labor negotiation:
I’ll just let you think about that for a second.
Now, it’s kind of a common feeling that while the NBA’s system has issues, at the same time a lot of this mess was caused by bad business by owners. This is otherwise known as the Travis Outlaw Rule. Give a marginal player $6 million that he absolutely does not deserve and that’s why you find yourself in a position to lose money. Tom Ziller’s excellent “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” series is summing all of that up wonderfully.
In the current system, owners are on the hook for 57 percent of the BRI — no matter what — to go to player salaries. That’s why as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported a few weeks ago that owners owed the players some $126 million. Revenues were up so much that in order to meet that 57 percent, some extra cash had to be dropped.
So point is, owners can “save” all they want. In the end, they’ve got to pay that money out. You could choose to not pay Travis Outlaw $6 million or Gilbert Arenas $500 million or whatever he makes. That would definitely save you money in terms of not losing it on crappy players. But in the end, you still owe the players 57 percent of everything you made, whether you give it to them in a contract or in an escrow payout.
Better business can absolutely spare that at the same time though. It’s not just player salaries that are hurting owners, even though that’s what the owners are primarily blaming. The costs everywhere have risen. For example, chartered travel costs a ton now.
There are a bunch of factors as to why the league says it’s losing money. Player salaries are a part of it, and a big part. But really, as I’ve said all along, the system is just as much a problem and it needs fixing. Even the players have acknowledged that as they previously agreed to scale back their percentage of BRI to 54 percent in one bargaining session. The owners want more though, because as the league’s revenues skyrocket over the next 10 years, they don’t want to be stuck paying out $125, $150 or $200 million in escrow after each season.
It’s a complicated matter, this lockout.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 3:40 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It's now day 26 of the NBA lockout. It's also been 26 days since the two sides came together to discuss a new deal. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that a session wasn't likely before August, but once August hit some sessions could be carved out.
That appears to be the case as SB Nation reports.
A National Basketball Players Association spokesman confirmed to SBNation.com that the union and NBA are hammering out details for the first bargaining session of the NBA lockout, to be held within the first two weeks of August.I think I speak for everyone when I say, it's about dang time. There are only some 60 days or so until the first preseason game would be canceled. That's not a lot of time to get a deal hashed out. And with the sides being so very far apart, it probably won't even matter.
But nothing can be accomplished unless they're talking. And early August is better than early September. During the 1998-99 lockout, the two sides didn't reconvene until Aug. 6. Of course 30 games were missed that season.
The two sides briefly met last week as Berger reported, but that was more to arrange future sessions and other logistics going forward. The meeting early in August will be the first full blown bargaining session since the lockout began July 1.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 3:11 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The first victim of the lockout was Summer League. The second? The NBA's annual Rookie Transition Program. Via a tweet from Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the program has been postponed because of the lockout.
The event was scheduled for Aug. 9-11.
This shouldn't come as any surprise with the way the league has handled things so far. With the scrubbing of NBA.com, the white-washing of NBA TV and threats of $1 million fines for any team employee that speaks a player's name, the fact the league has postponed this event was expected. Still, the NFL -- whose lockout I realize was totally different -- went ahead with its Rookie Symposium anyway, though it was put together by the players' union. The NBA means business when it says everything shuts down.
The program is probably most famous for bad behavior more than anything. You'll recall a couple years ago Michael Beasley was fined $50,000 for being involved in whatever Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers did in 2008 to get sent home. So it's a shame we'll be missing out on that.
But it's a good thing, really. The players all show up without their entourages, without their agents, without designer clothes and all sit in a seminar for a couple days learning about life in the NBA. Former players, executives and coaches all speak about situations to avoid, caution about decision-making and explain how easy it is to blow through that rookie scale contract.
It'll be rescheduled eventually, but there will have to be a new CBA signed before that happens. So who knows when this year's crop will get educated.
And who knows, maybe in this year's rundown, they could've added, "How to prepare yourself for a lockout." I'm sure that one would've been heavily attended.