Tag:Charlotte Bobcats
Posted on: March 9, 2011 11:27 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Carlos Boozer sprains ankle, X-rays negative

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer sprained his left ankle during the fourth quarter of a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Posted by Ben Golliver.
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Update (Thursday): Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says Boozer will miss "between a few days and a week" and is listed as day-to-day, according to the Daily Herald.

When you're Kwame Brown, sometimes you've just got to let the frustration out. That's what happened during the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's game between the Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls, as Brown flagrantly fouled Bulls forward Carlos Boozer with the Bobcats trailing big. 

Boozer suffered a left ankle sprain on the play and departed to the team's locker room without shooting his free throws. The Associated Press reported that Boozer's "left leg bent awkwardly as he hit the floor." 

After the game, the Chicago Tribune reported that Boozer underwent X-rays on his ankle, which came back negative. The paper also noted that Boozer will be "re-evaluated on Thursday" and that he was not immediately available to the media after the game. The Bulls next play on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks in Chicago's United Center. Boozer's status for that game is not yet known.

It's been a tough season injury-wise for Boozer. Back in January, Boozer sprained the same left ankle, an injury which caused him to miss some time and forced him to wear a protective boot. Before the regular season started, he fractured his right hand, an injury which caused him to miss October and November.

Boozer finished the game with 10 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one block in 26 minutes. The Bulls defeated the Bobcats in Charlotte, 101-84. The win improved Chicago's record to 45-18 and dropped Charlotte to 26-38 on the season. 
Posted on: March 4, 2011 6:03 pm
 

Opposite of race: Who finishes 8th in the East?

Posted by Royce Young



Here's the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture best summed up: The Detroit Pistons, who are 22-41, still have a realistic shot at making the postseason. They're really just a five or six game winning streak away from being right in the hunt.

Save your comments about how bad these teams are for later. Yes, I know Golden State would be an Eastern playoff team right now. Yes, I know 12 teams in the West are better than the current eighth place team in the East. Yes, I know the Clippers would have a legit shot at making the postseason. The bottom of the East is really bad, alright?

That's kind of become just the way it is in the East over the years. The conference has become extremely top heavy, with three heavyweights sitting on a perch (Boston, Miami, Chicago), three other talented-but-not-there teams (Orlando, Atlanta, New York) and then the final two stragglers.

The question is, who exactly will be those stragglers? Like I said, it's kind of wide open. The Pacers looked dead in the water before firing Jim O'Brien but they won a few games and jumped right back into eighth. That's kind of the way it goes right now.

And the bigger question: Does it even matter who finishes in those last two spots? Does any of the East's bottom playoff dwellers really have a chance of pushing the Heat, Celtics or Bulls in the first round? Most definitely, probably not, but still, being one of the final eight teams in your conference is a big achievement in itself and something to build on.

THE PROBABLES

Philadelphia 76ers (30-30)

Somehow, one of the classic teams in the league in a great sports city have remained almost entirely under the radar, despite putting together an impressive run over the last two months. The 76ers were 15-23 on Jan. 11, but since then have gone 15-7 to get to 30-30. They've gone from being a team poised to blow up the roster, sending players like Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala out, to a group that's kind of mildly scary.

Doug Collins has a reputation for being a first season miracle worker and this campaign with the Sixers has been no different. Philly will almost definitely be in the final eight, but the real question is if they can actually push anyone to six or seven games. They've gotten to .500 largely by beating up on the dregs of the East. They take care of business against teams they're better than and stay competitive against teams they aren't as good as. That's a recipe to hang tough against anyone.

Best-case scenario: Philadelphia keeps up its current pace and doesn't just make the playoffs, but actually pushes the Knicks for sixth in the East. It's entirely possible too. Right now, the Sixers are just 1.5 out of sixth. If they got there, they'd get Chicago in the first round and actually, they match up decently there.

Worst-case scenario: It's hard to see Philly slipping so far to fall out of the postseason, because come on, look who's chasing them. But they could certainly fall and slip to eighth. Their goal needs to be finishing above .500 for the season, so a worst-case would be with less than 41 wins.

Indiana Pacers (27-33)

I can't get enough of this team right now. Under interim coach Frank Vogel, they've been scoring like crazy, playing with confidence and beating good teams. I can promise you, the Heat don't want any part of these Pacers in an opening round series.

They have a leg up on their next closest competition in Charlotte because the Bobcats recently sold off some of their better players. That doesn't guarantee them anything though. Getting to 38-40 wins will most likely lock in eighth in the East and the Pacers look to have the best shot at getting there. They're hot, they're playing together and they have a new energy to them. Plus, they actually have a little talent in Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison.

Best-case scenario: Consider who they're chasing. It's not like the Sixers are some dominant group. There's definitely potential for Philly to slip. It's hard to see Indiana catching all the way up to the Knicks, but there's no reason the Pacers can't push for seventh and therefore, setting up a seven-game series against the Heat, a team they've played really well thus far. I doubt Indy could top Miami in the opening round, but it could definitely steal a game or two and build some momentum for next year.

Worst-case: They lose five straight and drop out of the picture. Eighth in the East right now is about as fragile a position there is in the league. One moment, you're a playoff team. They next, you're 10 games under .500 and headed for a high pick in the lottery. Indiana definitely is riding that line.

THE OTHERS

Charlotte Bobcats (26-34)

Before the Bobcats did the right thing and became sellers at the deadline, they looked to be prime contenders for a playoff spot. But losing Gerald Wallace hurts a lot. There's still enough talent to compete because come on, it's not like they've got to win 50, but it's an uphill climb.

Best-case scenario: Best-case is actually worst-case for Charlotte in this case. They aren't doing themselves any favor by making the playoffs. It'd be nice to sell those tickets for two home games and get that experience, but this team is trying to rebuild so sacrificing that lottery pick probably isn't worth it. So best-case, they drop a number of games, slip further down the ladder and get a higher pick.

Worst-case scenario: The Bobcats don't feel far off from really falling far down the ladder. But they also aren't far off from assuming control of eighth. If Charlotte pulls together with Tyrus Thomas coming back, they could easily takeover Indiana and have the right to get swept by Boston in the opening round.

Milwaukee Bucks (23-36)

I wish someone could explain to me why the Bucks aren't in the playoffs right now. There's really no excuse for it, especially considering it doesn't take much effort at this point. The team is basically the same group from last season's surprise postseason squad. Yes, there have been injuries. Yes, Andrew Bogut isn't entirely healthy. Yes, they have 46 power forwards on the roster. But this team has talent and for the 50th time, it doesn't take a lot to get there!

Best-case scenario: The Bucks have already put themselves in a hole so just getting to eighth is probably their best shot. They do have the talent to push someone in the opening round though. When you play defense like Milwaukee, you can hang tough against anyone. Nobody is fearing the deer this season, but they could at least run out in front of a contender and dent their car.

Worst-case: They go numb and slip way down. They're just another injury away from becoming about as relevant as the Wizards in the East.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Gerald Wallace trade came down to the wire

The Portland Trail Blazers made a last-minute play for Charlotte Bobcats All-Star forward Gerald Wallace. Posted by Ben Golliver.

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PORTLAND -- The 2011 NBA trade deadline was as wild as it gets, with seven late trades clogging up the league office, and an eighth - a potential deal that would have sent O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers - that wasn't executed in time. As crazy as it was for fans and media to process shortly after the noon PST deadline, things were even more hectic for the executives in the minutes just before.

According to Portland Trail Blazers GM Rich Cho, his organization did not agree to trade for Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace until just seven minutes before the deadline. "The trade did not get consummated in principle until 11:53 AM this morning," Cho said at a press conference Thursday afternoon in the Rose Garden. "All the variables in the trade, the terms and conditions, we didn't come to an agreement until the very end."

Wallace, an All-Star and NBA All-Defense player in 2010, was finally swapped for Blazers center Joel Przybilla, center Sean Marks, backup forward Dante Cunningham and two future first round picks. Cho said the last-minute exchange wasn't entirely expected. "This morning we thought would stand pat. We were sitting in my office, me and my staff, and thinking 'Well, it doesn't look like anything is going to happen.' All of a sudden we had about five deals we could have done."

The late scramble happened despite the fact the Blazers first broached a Wallace trade as far back as "a few months ago" and the fact that acquiring Wallace "was at the top of the list" of Cho's trade deadline priorities. "He exemplifies everything we are looking for in a player," Cho said. "He plays both ends of the floor, his work ethic is tremendous ... He has a lot of toughness, his nickname is 'Crash' for a reason. He just plays really hard."

As we all know, motivation to deal increases exponentially as the clock ticks. Cho compared his team's trade to the one made by the New Jersey Nets that nabbed Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, noting that the type of assets present in both deals made the late execution possible. "One thing I really believe in is accumulating assets, acquiring picks and young players. It's for this very reason: to acquire better players to improve the team. If you look at some of the deals that were made recently, like the Deron Williams trade that Utah made. One of the big reasons they were able to make that trade is because they had those two picks and that was really attractive to Utah. I really believe in accumulating assets and turning those assets into players to improve the team."

As the deadline neared, the thought of long-term salary cap relief and the hope that two draft picks represent was apparently too much for the Bobcats to pass up. A few more minutes of indecision, however, and Wallace would still be in Charlotte.

The Blazers brass was clearly happy the trade clock didn't run all the way out. "We're thrilled to death to have him," Cho said, cracking a slight smile.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:54 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Bobcats trade Wallace to Blazers

The Charlotte Bobcats have traded forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers. Posted by Ben Golliver and Royce Young.
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Portland Trail Blazers receive Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats

by Ben Golliver

Years of rumored interest culminated on Thursday when the Portland Trail Blazers acquired Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace for reserve center Joel Przybilla, reserve forward Dante Cunningham, reserve center Sean Marks and two first round picks.

Wallace, famously nicknamed “Crash”, is a prototype for the type of basketball Blazers coach Nate McMillan likes to play: hard-nosed, aggressive, versatile, two-way and old school. He will find himself in like company alongside Blazers guard Wesley Matthews and forward Nicolas Batum, who both share his enthusiam for defense and high-intensity play.

This trade does not push the Blazers over the top into the realm of championship contention, but the fact that it didn’t require Portland to give up any of its major assets makes it a trade more than worth doing. None of the pieces sacrificed were critical or irreplaceable, and allowing Przybilla’s contract to expire this summer wouldn’t have helped the Blazers financially, as they are almost certainly committed to being over the cap for the foreseeable future thanks to long-term contracts already given to Aldridge and Roy, as well as big money that will need to be committed to center Greg Oden. As for the picks, the Blazers can always purchase draft picks in the future as they often have in the past. This trade comes down to cashing in multiple smaller assets into one big chip, a move the Blazers have been hesitant to make in previous years, much to their fans’ collective disappointment.

Pulling the trigger on this trade simply boiled down to whether Wallace was worth adding to the roster at his salary price of $10.5 million. Given his all-NBA defensive pedigree and the fact that two major division rivals – the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets – lost their franchise players this week, that question feels like a no-brainer. The Blazers get better, without a doubt, while the competition got worse. Portland is now poised to compete for the Northwest Division title and has improved its chances of winning a playoff series, something that would mean a lot to Allen and his management team given how injuries to Roy and Oden seemingly derailed the team’s carefully-constructed championship blueprints. 

The trade leaves Portland thin in the frontcourt, but the Blazers have found success playing small ball lineups because of a string of injuries this season, and Wallace should fit nicely into that plan. When the Blazers move LaMarcus Aldridge to center, McMillan will be able to use Matthews, Batum and Wallace nearly interchangeably on the perimeter.  The rotation could get tight, though, when guard Brandon Roy continues to make his comeback from knee surgery but the Blazers could opt for a big lineup with Roy playing the point guard spot on offense and defending off the ball on defense.

A few questions remain: Are there enough minutes for both Batum and Wallace, how will Portland address the age of key players like Andre Miller and Marcus Camby and where will Portland turn to address its lack of frontcourt depth? But this trade made the Blazers better this season and it didn’t meaningfully compromise their future flexibility. That adds up to a strong start for first year GM Rich Cho.

Charlotte Bobcats receive Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first round picks from the Portland Trail Blazers

By Royce Young

It had been something on the table this entire season. It was whispered by many, but it didn't appear that the Bobcats were going to get serious about truly blowing up the roster and starting anew. 

Wednesday, there was a lot of chatter that Charlotte was in active talks with Portland about sending former All-Star Gerald Wallace to the Blazers. And after a good amount of back and forth with one report saying Michael Jordan was getting cold feet, it finally happened. 

Wallace is headed to Portland for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first-round picks. The Bobcats decided to set fire to the roster and it was about time. 

The price of this trade is the two first rounders, but also Przybilla, whose contract is up after this season. Charlotte is now setting itself up to actually rebuild, instead of just treading water. 

They are still in the Eastern playoff hunt and they'll likely slip from there, but it's worth it. That just means they get another lottery pick this season. At some point, hanging on to mediocrity just isn't worth it. If you're actually going to contend and make a dent in the tough top tier of the East, you've got to do better than what Charlotte was putting out. 

Yes, losing Wallace hurts. He was under contract through next season and had a player option in 2013. He was making almost $10 million which isn't a ton, but it was painfully clear that he wasn't the type of player that really was going to be a true building block. He's a great player, a great rebounder and a good scorer. But the Bobcats need to find a new identity and the best way to do that is by creating financial flexibility and stockpiling picks. 

In this NBA atmosphere, you're either trying to contend now or build for later. The Bobcats had caught themselves in a Bermuda Triangle in between of being good enough to win sometimes, but never with a vision to actually be a true contender. The step to blow up and is rebuild isn't easy and that's why Jordan probably hesitated, but this was the right move. 

 

Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:37 pm
 

Trade Tracker: Bobcats trade Wallace to Blazers

An updating list of trades at the NBA Trade Deadline. Posted by EOB staff. 

The Charlotte Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham and two first round picks

Charlotte receives: Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first round picks
Portland receives: Gerald Wallace

Analysis: The Bobcats look to the future, moving Gerald Wallace and his eight figure multi-year contract for the expiring contracts of center Joel Przybilla and forward Dante Cunningham, netting two first round picks in the process. Przybilla, a veteran center who has been slowed by injury, isn't likely to be a major factor for the Bobcats, and has hinted that he might prefer a buyout and/or retirement in the near future. Cunningham, a talented but undersized power forward with a high basketball IQ, had demonstrated the ability to knock down a mid-range jump shot and defend a variety of players both in the post and on the perimeter. Marks is a friendly, fringe NBA center on the tail end of a long career. The Blazers have reportedly coveted Wallace for years, and will add his defensive versatility to a team that features other tough-minded perimeter defenders like Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 12:03 am
 

NBA Trade Deadline: Ten Most Wanted

With the NBA trade deadline approaching, we take a look at the league's ten most wanted players for acquisition before Thursday afternoon.
Posted by Matt Moore

The NBA trade deadline is just three days away (Thursday, February 24th at 3 p.m. EST). The Melo trade has held up a lot of movement but there's a lot of talk bubbling beneath it. With it expected to be resolved in the next 24 to 48 hours (like we've said about ten times, but bear with us), it's going to be a fast and furious final trade season under the current CBA agreement.  Many are predicting a toned down deadline due to the CBA, but there are enough buyers (Houston, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey) and enough sellers (Portland, Indiana, Charlotte) to make for some interesting developments as we head down the stretch. But who are the players that everyone's clamoring for? And why are they worth that much?

Saddle up, partner. Here's the true grit behind our NBA Trade Deadline 10 Most Wanted. 

1. Carmelo Anthony: Melo, naturally, is the most wanted. It's not just the vast history of all this nonsense; it's how it's come down to the wire. Two teams, both of which will be located in New York in 2012, with rich, eccentric owners, throwing out asset after asset to try and acquire the All-Star. Anthony's worth it. Even with his defensive issues and relative inefficiency compared to his fellow elite players, Anthony can score anytime, anywhere, anyway. He's a clutch performer who can take over a ballgame and having a 1-2 punch between him and either Amar'e Stoudemire or Brook Lopez would significantly boost the Knicks' or Nets' hopes for the future. His agents have kept the pressure on since July, and Denver has been slowly losing their resolve to keep him. The odds are heavily favored that Anthony will be moved sometime this week and it will kick off a series of deals with the other front offices around the league. And then the New York/New Jersey circus will really kick off. 

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports Monday that that the Nets may actually be trying to get two of the assets the Nuggets would get in a deal with the Knicks for two first rounders. If that works out, the Knicks and Nets will combine to give Denver two starters and three picks. It's not the loaded deal the Nets were offering for Anthony, but it's still an insane wagon-full of assets. If they wind up with Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and three first-round picks in exchange for just Melo and Billups, they've still lost because they lost an All-Star. But they also will have successfully set the team up to immediately turn around and compete right off the bat. They'll still be able to move J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and have Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo to build around along with Nene. This is the dream scenario for the Nugget if they have to trade with New York. 

2. Andre Iguodala: Iggy has been on the market for literally years. He's the consummate supporting player, able to pass, rebound, and score. He's never played alongside a top-flight point guard (sorry Philly fans, Jrue Holiday's not there yet), and has had to play the part of the primary offensive option, which he's ill-suited for. The Sixers have recently made quite a bit of noise about him not going anywhere, which frankly, baffles us. They have Evan Turner who has shown significant signs of progress as the season has progressed, and his value on the market trumps his value to the team as it tries to build a new core. But he has $44 million left on his contract, which is a big price tag to swallow for a guy who should probably be no more than third option on offense. That's not a knock on Iguodala, as we've come to understand the things he does defensively and in support for the system are nearly invaluable, and that's before we factor in his locker room leadership. If a team decides it wants to make a big move and has young assets to spend, Iguodala is a prime target for a late push.

The real answer to whether Iguodala will be moved is whether Rod Thorn and coach Doug Collins think that he's able to co-exist with Evan Turner, and if they think Iguodala can continue to be the face of the franchise with so much young talent around him. Jrue Holiday, Turner, an improved season from Thaddeus Young, and even with Elton Brand performing better than expected. At the same time, the Sixers are right in the playoff hunt, in an underwhelming middle of the Eastern Conference, and a great shot at making a run this season. However, the Sixers would be foolish to commit to Iguodala, turning down a good offer for him just to make the playoffs and get run out of the building in the first round. Part of putting your team in a position to win championships isn't just figuring out what will work, but what won't. Iguodala will continue to elicit calls right up until the deadline, big contract or no.

3. Andre Miller:  Old man game in the house!  Miller is an aging, veteran point guard who has proven he can still drop 40 every once in a while. You know exactly what you're getting with Miller. He is a consistent, reliable scorer who lacks upside and athleticism, but always manages to find a way to get it done. He's a relative steal at $3.6 million (prorated) for this season and $7.8 million non-guaranteed for next season. That means two different types of teams can vie for him: those seeking a veteran point guard upgrade to push them over the top, and those looking to dump salary next year while giving their team a reliable fill in for the remainder of the year. The Blazers have been so-so on Miller since he arrived as a free agent in 2009, clashing with Nate McMillan. But those problems were resolved quickly and he's grown to be a strong force in the locker room, the steady hand on a ship filled to the brim with the injured. Yet, he's 34 and the Blazers look to go younger. Miller has repeatedly been listed as a target in a potential Devin Harris trade, among others.  The Blazers may look to keep him order to push for the playoff income, especially given his ability to connect with LaMarcus Aldridge, but if Rich Cho elects for a full-scale revamp for the long-term, Miller will be one of the first assets put on the block, and one of the first to attract multiple offers. 

Miller's attitude may be a huge factor. He doesn't want to leave the Blazers, but is also tired of being discussed under trade talk. Moving to a rebuilding project, however, would be extremely difficult for him at this point in his career and could create an ugly situation with any team that trades for him who isn't on the up and up. On the flip side, he's a perfect option for a contending team looking to acquire a capable back-up point guard to get them over the top. While there's been little noise about this, Orlando would be one team you'd think might be giving Portland a call to inquire about Miller, should the Nets not immediately move Harris for Miller in the next few days, either through Denver or independently.

4. Marcus Camby: Speaking of the Blazers, they've got another aged, talented, productive player starting for them, and he too could be on the move. Camby has a little less than $17 million (prorated) left on his contract. He's a versatile, talented defensive center who can impact a game at both ends, is reliable and capable. He's a seasoned veteran who does his job, has an expiring contract after 2012, and can push a contender over the top. The only problem? He doesn't want to leave. Sources have said he would "contemplate retirement" if he was traded to a rebuilding situation, and his agent has talked strongly about how much he wants to stay in Portland, where he's moved his family. We've seen this before, as older players really love the atmosphere and lifestyle of raising their families in Portland, on a team with a loving fanbase that always tries to contend. Still, Camby can't control what happens, and if presented with an opportunity to win a ring, he would likely welcome the opportunity wholeheartedly. 

The same problem exists for Rich Cho with Camby as it does with Miller. They're both huge reasons why the Blazers are still in the playoff hunt and moving them would almost certainly result in a drop to the lottery. The Blazers are likely aiming to get a deal that frees them up long-term while still taking on players of a solid caliber. They know it will be difficult to improve with a trade for Camby, but they may be able to move his conract while still adding talent to keep them in the same place. Houston has been mentioned by CBSSports.com's Ken Berger as a possible destination for Camby.

5. O.J. Mayo:  Talk about a bad year. In Summer League, the Grizzlies pressed O.J. Mayo to play point guard, resulting in some terrible, turnover-filled performances after which he was yanked following a handful of performances. He was cut from Team USA despite their need for perimeter shooting. In preseason, Lionel Hollins questioned him publicly. He started the year in a shooting slump, so significant that Hollins decided to move him to the bench, in order to improve their bench scoring, the first time Mayo has come off the bench in organized ball in his life, mostly likely. His name started to appear in trade rumors. He watched as Mike Conley got a $40 million extension, with Lionel Hollins backing him for two years despite his struggles, while Mayo was yanked to the bench at the first sign of a slump. He got into a fight with Tony Allen on a team flight over a gambling dispute and got his lights knocked out. And then he got busted for a performance-enhancing drug, earning him a ten-game suspension. 

So why then is Mayo then such a popular trade prospect? Because he's very good. In his first two years in the league he was a high-level perimeter threat, able to score both in spot-up situations and off the dribble. He has a ways to go on defense, particularly against larger two guards where he's almost always undersized, but he shows great quickness and anticipation. He's still on his rookie contract and will be an RFA under the newly modified CBA next summer, meaning he's not a risk to depart a team that acquires him. And he's one of the few players who is truly capable of dropping 30 on a given night when he's hot. He's everything you want in a trade prospect. Unwanted by his team, available for affordable extension, talented, still with upside, and with low trade value due to off-the-court issues and team decisions which don't signify long-term problems. The Grizzlies have consistently said publicly that they plan to re-sign Mayo and not trade him. But there have been suggestions across the league that teams have inquired about him and received positive feedback that he can be had for the right price, though that's expected to possibly be too high. Mayo is teetering on the very edge of a move. If a GM gets itchy to acquire a player of that ilk, he's likely to go. 

6. Aaron Brooks: Seems like only yesterday he was carving up the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs, prompting L.A. fans abroad to ask "Who IS this guy?!" Now he's an upcoming free agent without an extension, disgruntled and unhappy as the Rockets have done what they usually do. Get the most out of a player's ability without ever over-committing to a contract they would regret later. They did the same thing with Carl Landry, eventually signing him on the cheap, then trading him to Sacramento for Kevin Martin. Now they face a similar situation with Brooks, only he represents an expiring contract, increasing his trade value. 

Brooks' value on the open market isn't sky high. He's an undersized point guard who's not particularly efficient. He doesn't have insane athleticism, nor does he possession tremendous vision .He's just a good, solid, young point guard who can be had for a reasonable price. And even with the depth of the point guard position, those are still valuable. Brooks has incredible speed and is a tremendous finisher at the basket. He's had some trouble with Adelman but this season has been the first where he's struggled with team issues. What's more, the Rockets won't horde him, trying to get the most value out of him. Instead, he can be had in a combination package with some of the rest of the Rockets' young talent. But Brooks can be used as the centerpiece in the deal. A team looking for a backup point guard to provide scoring will likely look to Brooks first when they go to market. 

7. Andrei Kirilenko: It's baffling that in the midst of what seems more and more like a disastrous season for the Utah Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko's name hasn't started foaming from sources' mouths like the sources have Russian Freak Wing Rabies. Kirilenko is 29 with several good years still left in him, averages 13, 6, and 3, with 1 steal and 1 block in 32 minutes per game. But biggest of all? He has a $17.8 million expiring contract. Close to $18 million coming off the books. There's been a lot of talk that expiring contracts won't hold as much value this year with the CBA coming up, which doesn't make a lot of sense. For starters, the new CBA likely won't affect luxury tax payments for this season. Next, even if the cap is decreased significantly, and even if it is made into a hard cap, space under that cap will still be valuable. Especially for teams looking to park contracts like Kirilenko's to get rid of their players and change things up. Kirilenko isn't the star the Jazz hoped he would be when they signed him to his last contract. But he's still a tall, strong, veteran player who can contribute to a contending team, or help a rebuilding franchise transition. Kirilenko will likely start popping up in rumors as the deadline draws nearer. 

The problem is that even by paying for a rental with Kirilenko, you don't know what you're going to get. His time with Utah has been described with significant high points and low points. He's been a big reason for the Jazz' continued success, but has also never taken the next step that management thought he would when the signed him to the extension. Teams trading for him have little way to tell how he would react in another locker room, and that's a big gamble for the remainder of his $17.8 million contract. 


8. Devin Harris: Harris was thought to be the building block of the Nets' rebuilding project when they traded Jason Kidd for him. But he's only been above average, never great, especially after that first season. When the Nets were in the lead for the John Wall sweepstakes last year, which of course they lost, there was rampant talk that the Nets would trade Harris once assured of the No.1 pick. We never got to find out the answer to that as the Nets wound up with Derrick Favors, instead. Harris isn't as young as some folks think, turning 28 three days after the deadline. But he's in his prime, and still able to run an offense, has little injury history, good explosiveness, nice scoring ability and good vision. Which is why he's been a part of the Nets' talks for Melo since the beginning, and why should a deal fall through for Anthony, he's likely on his way out anyway. 

Harris has suffered with poor teammates but the thoughts from several front office officials is that he could produce were he on a contending team. It's difficult to go from a playoff team like Dallas to a rebuilding project, especially when his second season in New Jersey was historically bad. Throw in the weight of trade rumors hovering overhead and there's enough to cloud the issue of Harris' performance. But the Nets will have to capitalize while that value is still in effect or they'll wind up with nothing for him. Portland has expressed interest several times, including the aforementioned deal for Andre Miller, and Dallas has shown similar interest. 

9. Stephen Jackson / Gerald Wallace: One of them will probably go. Not both, most likely, but one. The Bobcats need to cut salary. They're looking at an uphill climb to the playoffs, and even then the odds of any progress there are nonexistent. They need to get rid of some of the older players on large, sizeable contracts, and these two represent their biggest sale items for such a move. Jackson has been involved in more talks. He's a veteran scorer who can drop 30 regularly, has played on a championship team (Spurs 2003), has led the most unlikely upset in NBA playoff history with the Warriors, and is respected across the league as a fierce competitor and locker-room leader. 

Sure, he's a little nuts, but who isn't? Jackson's off the court issues have vanished with age, and now his biggest liability is his contract. Golden State surrendered a massive extension to him that leaves over $20 million still left on his contract over the next two and a half years, all guaranteed. Jackson will be 35 when his contract expires. That's a pretty old player with a less-than-elite ceiling to be paying over $10 million to. But considering the possibility of CBA rollbacks on current contracts, and the chance for Jackson to contribute to a winner, he's likely going to be high on the list. The Mavericks have been most prominently discussed as a viable buyer, with Caron Butler's expiring as bait.

Wallace on the other hand was an All-Star last season, is only 28, and is a high-price addition. He's got $21 million left on his deal over three-years, and a player option for the third year. But Wallace could contribute immediately to a contender. He's a wing that can rebound, provide assists and scoring, and is an elite defender. He's reliable and has no discernibly blatant weaknesses in his game, despite a low ceiling for performance. Wallace isn't going to drop 40 on you, but he is going to stuff the stat sheet every night. Jackson has received more attention, but it's Wallace who may wind up getting stronger offers he can't refuse as the deadline nears.

10. Ramon Sessions: Sessions was drafted in the second round, spent time in the D-League, then showed up with the Bucks and  immediately showed promise. But he was then buried by Scott Skiles, and wound up signing an offer sheet with Minnesota, who of course, mishandled him, then traded him to Cleveland. Sessions has played for most of the season as the starting point guard for the team who lost the most consecutive games in history (with Mo Williams missing significant time due to injury). So why are so many teams interested in him?

Because he's talented, consistent, and efficient. Sessions has a strong ability to attack the basket, good handle, and is cheap. He's got just $10 million left on his deal over three years with a player option in the third year. He has a 19 PER and has proven to be coachable, talented, and has considerable growth potential. He's simply been passed from one bad team to the next. On a good team he could wind up as a serious addition off the bench. Which is why the Knicks and Hawks have both made inquiries about him. Sessions is the kind of player who deserves a fresh start. Maybe he'll get one to get off this disaster of a Cavs team. Either way, expect a lot of talk about him before Thursday afternoon.

(All salary info courtesy of ShamSports .)

Posted on: February 19, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Trade Deadline Rumor Round-Up: Non-Melo Edition

Trade rumors abound about people other than Carmelo Anthony, including Anthony Parker, Ramon Sessions, and Nene. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Believe it or not, there are trade deadline rumors that don't involve Carmelo Anthony. I know, we're amazed, too. Here's a round-up of what's going on outside of the... ugh... I'm sorry. I can't call it Melodrama anymore. I just can't do it without getting physically ill. Anyway, trade rumors!

Celtics, Bulls vying for Anthony Parker

ESPN reports that both the Celtics and Bulls are vying for Anthony Parker, the wingman for the Cavs. Parker's not having a great season (I know, a Cavalier having a bad season, who would have thought?), but he is shooting 40% from the arc. The best thing about Parker currently is that he's a bargain deal. The Bulls or Celtics can reportedly get him for either a young big man or a draft pick. The Celtics have Semih Erden and the Bulls have Omar Asik. With the playoffs coming up, rotations are shortened and Erden and Asik are unlikely to get time (provided Joakim Noah and/or the Celtics twin O'Neals stay healthy), so they're expendable. Parker provides help where both teams need it. 

The Bulls need a longer perimeter wing to go behind Luol Deng while the Celtics are struggling with Marquis Daniels out for several weeks. Parker is a fit in both places as an athletic veteran. This is the kind of bargain deal that good teams pursue while other teams are knocking themselves out chasing after big names. 

Everybody loves Ramon

Earlier this week Ken Berger reported that the Hawks were interested in Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions. That interest is spreading like a disease, now, with Portland and the Knicks also reportedly having interest

But the Akron Beacon Journal reports that the interest is one-sided, with the Cavs not showing particular enthusiasm for moving him.  Because the one thing you know is that when you lose 25 games in a row, you don't want to switch things up. 

We've already argued that the Cavs need a total and complete firesale, and Sessions shouldn't be exempted. If they can get someone to take on another deal with him, so be it. Yes, he's a young talent, and yes, he's arguably their best player. But the Cavs' problems are so severe as to warrant whatever changes they can make without taking on long-term money. Portland is an attractive situation with veterans on expiring contracts and younger players, while the Knicks? Well, the Knicksdon't need Eddy Curry if the Melo deal falls through so they can afford to take some of the Cavs' flotsam in order to take on Sessions. But the Cavs have to reach that level first. 

Speights to the Party

Speaking of the Blazers, Berger said they'd be active, and they're in just about every rumor we've got. Including this one, which has them interested in sending young Dante Cunningham to Philadelphia for Marreese Speights. Speights is just 23, and his per-minute numbers continue to climb even as he gets fewer minutes and a smaller role in the offense now that Elton Brand has put in a better season. Perhaps most important, Speights' rebounding figures are starting to catch up with his scoring ability, while he's gotten his FG% over 50%. 

Cunningham by comparison has done a lot for the Blazers as their lone remaining healthy center (knock on wood, you knock on wood right now).  But he doesn't have the versatility Speights has and Speights' upside is still formidable. He's got a solid mid-range J, crazy athleticism, and has never had resources devoted to his development. 

But it looks like Philly is doing the most aggrivating thing teams can do, keeping a talented young player buried while also not listening to trade offers. 

Nene not looking to relocate, regardless of Melo

There's been talk of Nene possibly looking to get out of Denver should Melo walk. But Yahoo! Sports reports that family issues may keep Nene there long-term. His wife's pregnant and from Colorado. Often overlooked in players' desire to win or chase big markets or money is the impact of family. Nene may wind up being the building block the Nuggets will need him to be going forward regardless of how the Melo situation works out after all. 

Diaw the Fix-It-All (Okay, not really, but it rhymed, kind of)

Boris Diaw has an expring contract, an oversized midsection, and a versatile game, still. Yahoo! also reports that the Bobcats are looking to move Diaw (to "change their team a bit").  Diaw is undersized as a five and a four, oversized as a three, has good handle, can shoot, attack off the drive, play the post and work as a passer in the pinch-post. He just can't do any of those things exceptionally well. With a $9 million expiring, he'll be a target for teams. 
Posted on: February 15, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 11:25 am
 

Paul Silas to receive 1-year contract extension

Bobcats coach Paul Silas to receive one-year extension from Bobcats. Posted by Matt Moore and Ben Golliver.

Apparently beating the defending champs on the fourth game in five nights on the second game of a back-to-back at home goes a long way. Yahoo! Sports reports that the Bobcats are "finalizing" a one-year contract extension with Paul Silas to coach the Bobcats through 2011-2012. Silas has helped the Cats to a 15-12 record under his watch and has brought them out of the offensive swamp they were mired in. 

At the same time, you have to wonder if Silas is a long-term answer. The Bobcats still need a substantial blow-up to start over and begin a true building process. But for a short term solution while Michael Jordan stabilizes the finances, he'll do. 
Update
The Charlotte Obesrver reports that the Bobcats are expected to announce Silas' extension during a Wednesday press conference.
The Bobcats have called a noon press conference today where they're expected to announce a contract extension for interim head coach Paul Silas. A source confirmed Tuesday night that the team and coach had been in discussions about taking the interim tag off and giving the 67-year old Silas a contract through the 2011-12 season. Since taking over for Larry Brown on Dec. 22, Silas has led the Bobcats to a 15-13 record..

Back in December, Silas was hired after former coach Larry Brown stepped down.

 
 
 
 
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