Tag:Free Agency
Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:44 pm

Nene says money won't decide his free agency

By Matt Moore

Nene is arguably the biggest name in free agency. He's a veteran center who's not too old to contribute and yet still mean as all get out in the paint. He's going to be an extremely valuable commodity on the open market, whenever it opens. So naturally, Nene is looking to cash in, right? This is the big final contract before he heads off to build churches in Brazil? That's got to be his biggest priority. Money. 

Well, Nene  says that's not the case. From the Denver Post

Whenever the NBA gets going again, Nene will be a free agent, after opting out of the final year of his Nuggets contract ($11.6 million). He reiterated that it's possible he could return to the Nuggets but suggested that one of the reasons he wants to play elsewhere is for a more immediate chance at a championship.

"After nine years, I have goals and I'm a team player," said Nene, who has averaged 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in his career. "I'm very competitive. I want to accomplish everything. It's a big opportunity, and it's the only one in my life to be a top free agent. So I want to enjoy this moment. If people think it's about money, they're wrong. I've saved my money. I could retire today. I don't need to prove points. I like it a lot here."
via Nuggets' Nene stays in shape playing soccer during lockout - The Denver Post.

A lot of players talk about money not being the important thing, but with Nene it's likely true. He's long said that he's not in basketball to make as much money as possible. The only question will be what effect money not being an issue will have on where he ends up. 

If money's not most important, is loyalty? Because that would lead him back to Denver. Denver has the cap space to pay him a max contract, but if that's not his biggest goal, it may be irrelevant.

If money's not important and it is winning, there's a concern from many about another possible destination: Miami. Miami desperately needs a center, a veteran center, and a good veteran center. Nene would make them an even more dangerous team than the Finals participant from this season.

Other candidates if Nene's just looking to pursue a title include Boston (a mean-mug replacement for Perkins) and New York (imagine how many dunks he'd get in that system).  But Nene's been a star in Denver and finally has the spotlight to himself with Melo out. It's a tough decision but a fun one to make. When money's not the only thing that matters, you get to see what your options are a bit more. 
Posted on: August 11, 2011 2:41 pm

Dwight Howard ain't mad at ya, Orlando

By Matt Moore

Dwight Howard layed out some criticism this week towards Magic fans about how loud the arena is in the regular season. In the face of Howard's upcoming free agent after the 2012 season (you know, if there is one), combined with the fact that Orlando fit the bill on the new arena and the fact that they really have been one of the better crowds for a playoff team over the past four years, it didn't really go right. 

Howard's not really the "I don't care what people think about me" type, or at least it seems that way from the massive amount of exposure he pursues. And that's not a bad thing, too often the reckless loner is a tired act that only excuses borish, rude behavior. It's a cliche in and of itself in bucking cliches. Regardless, Howard contacted the Orlando Sentinel, who he and his coach think are too hard on him anyway, to try and clear up the matter and difuse any problems from the Orlando Magic faithful. 

In an effort to make sure Howard wasn't taken out of context, they printed his full statement. Excuse the heavy blockquote, we want to make sure Howard's comments are taken in full: 
“I want to clear it up. In no shape, form or fashion am I criticizing our fans. My whole statement was when the season’s around, and the playoffs come, it’s a different atmosphere. And if you want to win a championship, we all gotta act as champions. That’s players, coaches, and even our city. The city can win a championship, especially a city like ours. We need to come together, and not just for a couple games and the playoffs. If we’re together all season, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can win a championship. I will know that I have my city behind me.“

It wasn’t me criticizing any of my fans because I appreciate all the people that come and sell out the arena. Just know there’s a difference, and you can put this on there or not, I just know there’s a difference between the regular season and the playoffs. There’s no difference between the regular season, playoffs, whatever… I’m going to give 100 percent every time I step on the floor. Like I said, most people don’t get but one opportunity to see their favorite player. People who have season tickets, they get to see them play whenever, but most people only have one opportunity, so if you don’t go out there and play as hard as you can for the one person that may not ever see you again, they will be disappointed. So I go out, play hard every night. This city’s been supporting me, and I want to show them how I feel about them by playing hard every night.”
via Dwight Howard wants to clear air with Orlando Magic fans – Orlando Magic BasketBlog – Orlando Sentinel.

Setting aside the season ticket holders comment (don't they pay for each and every chance to see the players give 100 percent, not to try and hope they catch that effort on a few out of the 41?) because that really is needless nitpicking (which I just did), there's a quick solution here. If Howard wants to set aside any bad feelings about his relationship with the fans? Sign an extension. Stay in Orlando. Everyone will love you then, no matter what you do.

Somehow, we don't see that happening.

Howard at least did care enough to make the statement, which does count for an awful lot. But it should be noted that this follows a similar pattern to all the other departures we've seen, with small pockets of conflict between the player and fans (like Nuggets fans booing Melo last season). Not to say that this points towards anything, just that it's part of a larger pattern. Maybe he'll buck the trend and stay in Orlando. That would certainly give the fans something to cheer about.  
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:47 am

Danny Granger wants better for Indy at PF

By Matt Moore

The Indiana Pacers are working on building off of momentum. They made the playoffs and gave a good show against the Bulls. With Darren Collison, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and Danny Granger, and now adding George Hill, they're in a position to look for a player to get them to the next level. In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Danny Granger, resident Indiana star, Granger identified several free agents he'd like to see added to the team, and these aren't exactly value pick-ups. He wants the big guns.  
Q: Free agency will be a lot shorter once the lockout ends. What area do you guys need to address most?

GRANGER: I think with what's on the market at power forward, we have the opportunity to go get one of them. David West, Nene and Carl Landry are available. There are some good power forwards out there. I think we need to be deeper at that position.
via Q&A: Pacers' Danny Granger frustrated with NBA lockout | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

West has been linked with the Pacers in the past, as has Landry. Nene is widely thought to be joining a contender if he doesn't return to Denver in a mega-deal. These are all bigger names, along with Glen Davis that make up a strong power forward free agency class.

It's notable that Granger played 18 percent of his minutes last season at power forward, and that Tyler Hansbrough proved to be a suitable option at the position. Granger's public support of an upgrade doesn't speak well to Hansbrough keeping the spot. Of course, how much money Herb Simon will want to commit to the team given its eight-seed status isnt' known at this point, nor is it known how much money will be available for the Pacers to spend under the new CBA, of course. But Granger's comments do speak of the direction of the Pacers, or what Granger thinks it should be, which is a move away from youth and towards veterans that can help them contend.  
Posted on: July 21, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 12:36 pm

Vince Carter wants a 'couple more years' in NBA

By Matt Moore

Vince Carter is 34 years old. There's only so much time left in his NBA career. So to watch the end of it spent in a lockout has to be pretty frustrating. But Carter's definitely not through. Carter told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he's got some time left in the NBA: 
"You may not know where, but you have to be ready to play. I still want to play a couple more years," said Carter, who shows no interest of playing overseas during the lockout, as others have talked about. "I'd rather just wait and see what happens."
via With future uncertain, Vince anxious for lockout to end - Columns.

 Carter's effectiveness has been slipping considerably over the past few years, though his decline has been exaggerated somewhat due to his unpopularity surrounding perceived minor injuries holding him out and his unceremonius exit from Toronto. He's going to receive a $4 million buyout from the Suns once the lockout ends. It's a good decision to stay at home instead of pursuing a job overseas, due to his injury situation. He needs to be in prime condition when the season resumes. 

Carter's going to want to look for a contender, most likely, but it's hard to see most contenders looking to add him. Even if Carter is willing to take a reserve role, Carter still comes with ego and a very specific skill set which doesn't fit well to a certain type of role player.  It'll be interesting to see who takes a shot on Carter in the twilight of his career.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 1:20 pm

Jason Richardson eyes a contender in free agency

Posted by Royce Young

One of the top targets in free agency -- whenever it happens -- for a lot of teams is guard Jason Richardson. He's unrestricted and at 30 yeard old, still should have a good number of years left in him.

He finished last season playing for the Magic and while he had trouble finding a solid role for the team, he's still going to be a valuable pickup for somebody. He isn't going to land anything near the $14.4 million he made in the final year of his deal, but he recognizes that and is fine with it.

"I want to go to a great place for my family," Richardson told the Saginaw News. "I've been blessed by God to play in the NBA for a lot of money. I'd like to go someplace that has a chance to win a championship.

"I probably have five or six seasons left in the NBA, so I want to go somewhere I can stay."

Hard not to appreciate a player that understands a window might be closing and that money isn't necessarily the most important part to having a fulfilling career. Like Richardson said, he doesn't have a lot of run left in him so going to a rebuilding situation just for money probably doesn't interest him.

So what are his best options? Here are three:

1. Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are definitely in the market for a scoring option next to Derrick Rose. Keith Bogans was a fine defensive stopper and occasional 3-point threat, but as the series against the Heat showed, Rose can't do it all. He needs wing scoring help. He needs not just a shooter to kick to, but a guy that defenses have to worry about. Richardson would fit nicely in between Rose and Luol Deng. The question is, will the Bulls have the space to sign him? And if not, just how serious is Richardson about this not-in-it-for-the-money thing?

2. Orlando Magic: He could just re-sign with Orlando. The hiccup there is that if he signs long-term, the Magic could quickly go from contender to rebuilding depending on what Dwight Howard does. The Magic are built to at least make a push and he fits pretty well in there as a second or third scoring option. He'd have to take a cut in pay and be willing to risk the future a bit depending on other decisions.

3. Dallas Mavericks: Maybe the ideal situation for J-Rich. A lot of this depends on what Dallas does with Caron Butler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson, but the Mavs could easily move on from one, two or even all three and bring in Richardson. And even pay him decently. With Butler's injury concerns, the Mavs might be hesitant about bringing him back and Richardson could certainly fit in well to the Maverick starting five. The Mavs don't have the window open for too much longer, but definitely for at least three or four more seasons.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 6:11 pm

Battier expects career to continue with contender

Posted by Matt Moore

Shane Battier made the biggest shot in Memphis Grizzlies history. That may not sound like much to you, but every serious sports franchise has to start somewhere.

The Grizzlies started, really started, with Battier's game-winning 3-pointer at the end of Game 1 in San Antonio vs. the Spurs. It was his out-of-nowhere three that led to the first playoff win in Grizzlies franchise history, and kick-started the process of the first playoff series win in Memphis history. Not bad for a guy not known for his offense.

Battier's a free agent, whenever this nasty lockout business is through. And the question will naturally arise if he'll be rejoining Memphis to make good on all the success of last year.

Don't count on it.

In a wide-ranging talk with the Houston Chronicle, Battier discussed his situation. He talked about how disappointed he was with Houston for trading him, how that team came within Yao Ming's injury of having a real shot, and about how the Grizzlies are set up for the future. But he also made it clear to the Chronicle that he expects to play for a contender next season. From the Chron: 
Battier expects to draw interest from contenders, which is one of the reasons the Rockets elected to trade him. Don't be surprised if the next time the Michigan native takes the court he is spotting up outside the 3-point line for the Chicago Bulls or taking charges for the Miami Heat.
via Solomon: Midseason trade still irks Ex-Rocket Battier | Jerome Solomon on Sports | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle.

Now, those are the author's suggestions filling in, not words from Battier. But he made it clear that he'll be chasing a championship in the twilight of his career. Memphis will be one of the better overall teams in the league, still relatively young and with loads of potential to make good on the promise set forth in 2011.

But they aren't real contenders. Whether it's because of their market, sub-star stars, their limited roster thanks to money devoted to the players who got them to this point, or just plain ol' history, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone, inside or outside Memphis, who thinks they are ready to chase a title.

Playoff run?


Meaningful basketball?

Absolutely. But there's still some time before Memphis is "there."

And as long as that's the case, Shane Battier won't be.

Chicago's not a bad thought, though he doesn't bring enough offense to really help them. New York, much the same deal. Boston's a great fit, with the veteran atmosphere, its need for depth and his defensive presence. The Lakers would be sickening for Battier's fans to watch, but it makes a bit of sense if they did some restructuring. San Antonio's another great fit -- after all, he likes Texas and plays defense. Miami's a hard one to envision, but he could definitely be used to teach the team a thing or two about chemistry and to be the defender on the wing they need.

Wherever Battier goes, he'll bring with him success and an outspoken attitude that rarely vibes with the traditional NBA player mind.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 11:52 am

Nene? David West? No, the Nets want Humphries

Posted by Matt Moore

The New Jersey Nets need to get good, fast. They've got pretty much a year (and probably a lockout-shortened one at that, if they get even one) to convince Deron Williams to stick around for the move to Brooklyn. Which means they need steep upgrades in player personnel inside that year. Whenever the lockout ends, they're going to have options to improve their frontcourt. They'll have the resources and market to attract players like Nene or David West to play next to Brook Lopez (and teach him to rebound). 

But instead the Nets are targeting Kris Humphries to return. And in actuality, it's a pretty smart move. From the New York Daily News
Despite two veteran power forwards becoming free agents, the Nets are still targeting Kris Humphries as their starting 4, according to a league source.

Denver’s Nene, 28, and New Orleans’ David West, 30, have been linked to the Nets after opting out of their respective contracts. But Humphries, 26, is both younger and likely cheaper than the pair of proven vets.

It seems the Nets, who are primed to have one of the best cap-space situations once the CBA is negotiated, want to maintain their flexibility for a trade or for the heralded 2012 free-agent class, which includes Dwight Howard.
via Source: Kris Humphries remains Nets target, even with D. West and Nene on the market | New York Daily News.

Humphries' value has been inflated a bit. Some people actually thought he played so well last season that he averaged a 20-10. In reality, his per-36 numbers only yielded a 13-14, but he did shoot 53 percent from the field, and had a 17.8 PER, good for second on the team among players who played at least five games, just behind Lopez.

Humphries is young, cheap, and unheralded, so he'll likely be a value pick-up versus Nene and David West, both of whom are older and will cost through the nose. Yes, Humphries is best known as being a Kardashian fiance, but he can actually play. The Nets are well-positioned to make smart moves that aren't knee-jerk.

Or, you know, to not do what the Knicks have done pretty much for the past ten years.  
Posted on: July 5, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 8:19 pm

Report: New York would like Kurt Thomas back

Posted by Matt Moore

The Knicks need centers. So, so badly. The original idea wasn't bad. Ronnie Turiaf, acquired in the David Lee sign-and-trade, could have worked out. And even if he didn't, they had Timofey Mozgov. In a coin-flip at least one of them would work as a legitimate opion at center. But Turiaf is best suited as a reserve, and Mozgov got traded as the "barn" in the farm James Dolan sent for Melo. So they need centers. And according to the New York Daily News, their target is heavy on the familiar side.  
According to a team source, the Knicks intend to make a run at reacquiring Thomas this summer, or whenever the expected NBA lockout ends. The veteran power forward is a free agent who spent last season with the Chicago Bulls and has made it clear that he wants to play at least one more season.

Thomas will likely decide between the Knicks and Bulls, although he remains hopeful that his hometown Dallas Mavericks will reach out to him as well. Thomas attended all three NBA Finals games in Dallas.
via New York Knicks plan to make effort at reacquiring veteran Kurt Thomas, the NBAs oldest player.

Thomas was a productive member of the Bulls last season, and even started several games with Joakim Noah out. As an option for the Knicks, he works on several levels. A veteran defensive presence, he has familiarity with Mike D'Antoni after two years with him from '05 to '07, and he'll come on the cheap. The downside, of course, is that he's going to be 39 next season. 

Thirty. Nine.

So yeah, he's only going to be a stop-gap and there's no way of knowing when his final bit of ability is going to fade. But he's still a viable center option. With the Bulls able to groom Omer Asik into a larger role, and the Mavericks full-up on bigs, New York might be the best fit. He won't fix their defensive problems, but he won't hurt them, either.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com