Alright, sorry folks. I’ve been off the NBA train, work has been crazy but free agency has been even crazier, so I’ve been letting some of it digest. A fun past few weeks makes for an even more fun next few weeks, so let’s dive into what’s happened since the draft shall we?
Objects in Motion…
A lot of moving parts here, the NBA is gonna have quite a different look come fall. A quick recap of some of the bigger happenings around the league…
- Knicks give Zen Master the boot. Knicks give Zen Master the boot. Phil Jackson was fired by MSG’s court jester James Dolan, and there are a variety of theories as to why, besides the Knicks sucking during Jackson’s tenure. The apparent refusal to buy out Carmelo Anthony many think was a signal to Jackson that they would stick with their star over him, people point to Jackson fielding trade offers for the best thing to happen to their franchise since Ewing as a reason for the firing, and also Jackson’s over emotional connection to the triangle. Does this solve the problem? Many say no, and I would agree-it’s a problem with management as a whole, not with the scapegoat of the management. Oh and the Knicks still owe Phil 20.5 million, so who walks away laughing?
- Rockets Land CP3. Just a couple of hours later, the Rockets send Pat Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, and a first round pick with a top 3 protection to the Clippers for the star point guard. I don’t hate the trade from either side- Paul has one year left worth $45 million, so good move as the Rockets can determine whether or not the Paul/Harden backcourt works well together, and if not cut bait. If he works out the Rockets pull away with the W, if not the Clips do, but that’s usually how these trades end up right? The haul that the Clips got was decent considering the Rockets may have traded for a Chris Paul rental, and not shelling out just over $200 million for Paul’s next contract was a good move cap-wise. They get a top 3 perimeter defender in the league, a rookie shooter with some good potential, a natural scorer and runner up for last year’s sixth man award, a first round pick, and cap space to go after a free agent. I am extremely curious as to how this will work out considering the Rockets just devoted a lot of time to converting James Harden into a point guard, but for the record I am very much in favor of the idea of this backcourt tandem.
- Chad Buchanan hired as new Pacers GM. Buchanan was hired out of Charlotte, where he was the assistant GM of the Hornets for two years before accepting this offer from the Pacers. Before that he spent the 10 years leading up to it as the director of college scouting with the Portland Trail Blazers. Have fun, Chad!
- Gordon Hayward declines player option for the 2017-2018 season. And, it officially began.
- Bulls waive vet point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo was owed over $13 million by the bulls for the next season alone, and that would have been guaranteed after the Friday deadline. I am genuinely curious to see where this man goes, and I would put my money on a team like the Miami Heat, who are thin on established guard talent and could seriously use some veteran leadership in front of Josh McRoberts and Goran Dragic. Another posisble location I could see is the New York Knicks, if Rondo be-ith so brave. The Knicks need veteran leadership, especially at point guard where they are reportedly looking for a mentor to Frank Ntilikina.
- Jazz making moves. The most inappropriately named franchise in all of sports traded for point guard Ricky Rubio, sending a top 14 protected first round pick from Oklahoma City to the Wolves for the smooth passing Spaniard. I like this trade for both sides, considering the Jazz were most likely bracing for George Hill’s departure, more on that later. The jazz got what they needed and when you do that it seems like any price is doable, and for the Wolves they finally got rid of what they have wanted to for years, and got a nice mid-maybe late first rounder to play with. And, if Jimmy Butler has taught us anything, it’s that good pieces are found in the latter half of the draft, and Thibs knows how to find them (See also: Taj Gibson)
- Blake stays in LA. The Clippers offered Griffin a 5 year, $173 million deal and Blake accepted, effectively making him the new leader of the Los Angeles Clippers. Honestly what else were the Clippers supposed to do? They are effectively held hostage by Griffin, which is not terrible. Blake is the only person that has the chance of attracting other free agents, but at the same time that salary puts them in a harder place cap-wise. Let’s not forget Blake Griffin is a force, and when healthy is a player you definitely want on your team. Retaining both Griffin and Deandre Jordan will keep them competitive enough, but don’t expect them to be making deep playoff pushes unless Austin Rivers becomes the star that only Doc thought he could be.
- The Pacers are fucking stupid. That fateful night the Indiana Pacers shipped Paul George to what amounts to the same as Indiana (Oklahoma) in exchange for a bad contract and a rookie with name recognition and some potential. Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis were the chips received for George, a four time All-Star, and I just don’t get it. While reports of the offer the Celtics put forward have been fabricated, there is no way the Celtics didn’t make some sort of offer, and any of the Celtics assets are better than what the Thunder have to offer, although I did undersell Sabonis-he could be very nice. But is this a Sacramento/ Buddy Hield situation all over again? or are the Pacers just trying to tank? My guess is the former, because if the Pacers really wanted to tank they could have done that and still gotten a better return for George. The Celtics had the cap space, send Jae and a few picks for PG13 and boom, that is a much better offer than the Thunder’s. But maybe we don’t have the whole story. Either way I just don’t fucking get it, stars in this league are getting traded for way below their actual value left and right and I for one will not stand for it much longer…
- Patty Mills Stays in SA for 4 years/$50 mil. Classic Patty Mills taking a team friendly deal. The Timberwolves also found their replacement guard in Jeff Teague, who comes to Minnesota for 3 years/$57 mil.
- Does Steph Curry deserve to be the highest paid player in NBA history? The two time NBA MVP and finals champ inked a 5 year, $201 mil contract on this day, gaining more fuck you money than any other pro athlete with a simple stroke of the pen. Hats of to you for getting some, Steph. Also on this day the dubs resigned Shaun Livingston for 3 years and $24 mil. I think the Livingston signing is amazing value for a player like Shaun- a lengthy point guard who gets the scheme of the warriors like the palm of his hand, for $8mil a year. Taking a look at some of the other PG signings (looking at you, Jrue Holiday-5yrs/$126mil, and Jeff Teague-above) this is a steal. Oh, and the warriors brought back David West and ZaZa Pachulia blah blah blah.
- JJ Reddick signs with the Philly 76ers for 1 yr/23mil. The process is definitely happening, that much is for sure. With JJ and Amir Johnson (1 yr/11mil) joining the 76ers, this gives them a few solid vets to pair with their youth movement along with a shooter on the outside that Markelle can pass to when he gets bottled up inside. Great moves Philly! (actually though)
- Cavaliers have already grown tired of Deron Williams, signing veteran guard Jose Calderon to a one year, 2.3 million dollar deal, and apparently punting yet again on guard defense.
- The Warriors keep their Golden sixth man in Andre Iguodala for three years and $48 million, and remain heavy favorites to win the next
- Kyle Lowry (3 yrs, $100 million and Serge Ibaka (3yrs, $65 million) rejoin the Raptors in their never ending push to lose in the NBA finals.
- Paul Millsap probably just wants to get high, signing a three year $90 million contract with the Denver Nuggets. The best part for Paul is that on top of that money, weed is probalby way cheaper in Denver than Atlanta, especially considering he can say he has back pain from being a pro athlete and get medicated for next to nothing. Good on ya Paul!
- Kevin Durant has been talking with Tom Brady, it’s not confirmed but it definitely happened, after the swingman inked a 2 year, $53 million dollar deal, taking less money so that the dubs could resign players like Livingston and Iggy, while also giving chef the max.
- Couple big stories on independence day, the first being that Sacramento singed George Hill (3yrs, $57 mil) and Zach Randolph (2 years, $24 mil) and fill out their roster with a couple of vets. De’Aaron Fox can learn under Hill for the first three years, and Zebo can teach that frontcourt a thing or two about #Grit.
- The Nets, in a surprising twist, made even more bad front office decisions, offering Washington wing Otto Porter Jr. a modest 4 year, $106 million dollar contract. Not much else to say honestly.
- LA Clippers get wing Danilo Gallinari in a three team deal. Clips get Gallo, Hawks get Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, and a 2018 first round pick, and Denver gets a 2nd round pick from Atlanta via Washington.
- Alright, by now you probably know, but yes Gordon Hayward has declared his intent to sign with the Boston Celtics. A whirlwind of reports and rumors, but with his players tribune article he made it clear Boston is where he wanted to be. Boston cleared cap space by renouncing Kelly Olynyk, trading Avery Bradley also for below his actual value, and not resigning Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson. While the new look C’s will be more of a force in the East, this is goodbye to one of the most fun team in a while for many Celtics fans.
- Dion Waiters goes back to Miami on a four year, $52 million deal
- The Warriors have just given a huuuge middle finger to the rest of the league, signing Swaggy P to a one year, $5.2 million deal, and telling the rest of the league “hey we can continue winning even with two players that absolutely nobody wanted before they got here” (@Javale McGee). Genius move.
- Andre Roberson, known for literally only his defense, signs with Oklahoma City for three years and $30 million, great value for a reverse one way player like Andre.
- The Dallas Mavericks brought back Dirk for pennies on the dollar. Dirk signed a two year, $10 million deal and somehow is getting paid less than Dion Waiters, or Andre Roberson, or Rudy Gay, and let’s not forget Otto Porter Jr. Good on ya, Dirk. The thing that amazes me the most isn’t that he could command a lot more money on the market, or that he is willingly not commanding that money for the good of the team, it’s that he is doing that for the Dallas Mavericks, a team with not many future prospects outside of Dennis Smith Jr. (my dark horse for ROTY) and who haven’t done much for Dirk lately.
- European sensation Milos Teodosic inked a two year, $12.3 million deal with the LA Clippers, as the heir apparent to Chris Paul’s floor general role. Add one more to the list of people somehow getting paid more than Dirk.
- Celtics should-be-guard-but-had-a-late-growth-spurt-so-he-plays-center Kelly Olynyk signed a 4 year, $50million contract with the Miami Heat, giving them a floor spacing big to open up more room for Dion Waiters to shoot.
- In what sneaky might be the best signing of this offseason, the Spurs sign vet forward Rudy Gay to a two year, $17 million dollar deal. Gay provides a solid option at wing behind
robotstar Kawhi Leonard, and gives the Spurs a good shooting and scoring threat off the bench on a great contract. This is just a classic Popp move.
- The Kings have acquired even more vet presence with the signing of the oldest active player in the league Vince Carter. Vinsanity, 40, signed with SAC for 1 year and $8 million dollars, not a terrible move but also not an amazing one, although good for Vince for squeezing 8 million dollars out of a franchise as a 40 year old. As a Vince Carter fan I 100% approve, but as a basketball and common sense fan I don’t really understand the move from the Kings. Is he just a vet presence of the bench there to coach along the youngsters? Or is he a serious player of the bench expected to fill a 7 or 8th man role? Only time will tell…
- Let the craziness of the New York Knicks continue. The Knicks put out an offer sheet of $71 million over 4 years to a player they traded about two years ago, and the Hawks can still match this offer. In 2015 the Knicks sent Hardaway to the Hawks in exchange for the draft rights to Jerian Grant. Look, this is the Knicks, so let’s all stop being surprised at the decisions they make, even sans Zen Master.
- In the days following the Avery Bradley AND A SECOND ROUNDER for Marcus Morris, the reasoning was that the Celtics can’t afford Marcus Smart, Isaiah, and Avery Bradley next year when they are all free agents, and to an extent I agree with that, but that doesn’t make this trade easier to swallow. But honestly, if all you’re getting in return is a god damn Morris twin, than why not just keep your best defender (not debatable) for another year, see what kind of contract he’ll ask for (maybe he takes a team friendly deal in order to stay with a team he is comfortable with, although that’s never happened ever in basketball or any other sport so I’ll stop dreaming) and let him walk if he wants to?! Again, the return value was a Morris twin (below Bradley’s value smh), I can live with not having him on the roster and taking a shot at a free agent big next year, especially considering we signed Baynes to try and patch up our frontcourt AND we have some young bigs who are itching for minutes (@yabu @Zizic) AND more picks. The celtics needed to clear up something like $2 million. First of all, what’s the harm in politely asking Gordo if he would knock off like $3 million off his deal? If he says no he says no, he’s not gonna walk back on his decision because we asked him if he would take A MINISCULE DECREASE in his salary, and if he did screw him, that’s a scumbag move to make when you will still be making north of 100 million dollars over four years. What about waiving Jordan Mickey, who has been underwhelming and his contract is not guaranteed, letting Jerebko and Young walk along with Kelly, and trading Jae and Demtrius Jackson for a cheap contract/a pick? That would have cleared up enough space. The response would be “but you still have to decide who to pay next year, better to make a deal now and not have to worry about it then”, to which my response would be, “that’s fine”. Again, I don’t see the harm in letting Bradley walk at the end of next year if all we got for him in a trade was A MORRIS TWIN. I just don’t see it. Bradley was the feet in the body analogy of that Celtics team- Brad is the mind, Jae is the heart, Isaiah is the soul, Marcus is the muscle, Bradley was the feet-he does the dirty work to keep everyone upright. The Celtics lost the Marcus/Avery backcourt combo that would make even the Warriors shit their pants. RIP Avery Bradley as a Celtic, you will surely be missed.
- Bojan Bogdanovic, whom the Washington Wizards traded a first round pick for at the trade deadline, just left the Wizards for a 2 year, $21 million contract with the Indiana Pacers. lmao @Washington Wizards
- The Cavaliers continue their effort to fix their roster via patchwork by signing wing Jeff Green to a one year, $2.3 million dollar deal. I actually don’t hate this deal, it’s a cheap contract and if Green is going to get his act together there are a couple teams he has the best shot of doing that with, it’s the Cavs. This gives the Cavs a backup to Lebrun who is capable of scoring and defending multiple positions
when he feels like it.
- The Knicks should thank the Hawks, maybe with nice gift basket, after Atlanta matched New York’s 4 yr, $71 million offer to Tim Hardaway Jr. Look, for all the shit we give the Knicks, they are still a pro sports team in NYC, a place where people will always want to be, so shelling out that much money dries up funds for free agents who want to come to New York, especially considering the payday Porzingis is due after his rookie deal. I’m a big Tim Hardaway Jr. (and senior) guy, but just not for $71 million over four years.
- James Harden and the Rockets agreed to a four year, $228 million extension, the highest paid extension ever given to an NBA player. The extension kicks in after Harden’s current deal is up, which still has 2 years and $59 million.
- Lifetime Sixth Man award winner Jamal Crawford and the Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a 2 year, $8.9 million contract, further bolstering Minnesota’s push for the 4 seed and a possible WCF appearance
- The Toronto Raptors are trading wing Demarre Carrol to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for young Center Justin Hamilton. Great steal by the Nets as it stands right now, and maybe Hamilton pans out, but for now we can say the Nets actually made a solid deal, especially considering they got a 2018 first and and second round pick in Toronto’s effort to clear cap space.
- Boston signs Aussie center Aron Baynes to a 1 year, #4 million contract. Filling a position/area of need for cheap is never the wrong move, and this remains true. Baynes gives the Celtics a nice big presence in the post and can inhale boards on this Celtics roster.
- Atlanta Hawks sign Center Dewayne Dedmon for 2 years and $14 million, that includes a player option for the second year. This is a great deal for both the Hawks and for Dedmon- the Hawks get a serviceable big who started 37 games under Poppovich last season and was an advanced stats darling, posting a rebounding percentage of 21.1, a defensive rebounding percentage of 30.1, 5.2 win shares (3 on defensive side), a 64.5% true shooting percentage, and 3.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus, which, per basketball-reference.com is a box score estimate of the defensive points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player, translated to an average team.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signs with the LA Lakers for one year, $18 million. Does Pope deserve to be one of the 10 highest paid shooting guards in the league? Who knows… My take is that Pope doesn’t warrant this kind of money, but for only one year I don’t really see any harm done to the Lakers, if they find a free agent guard or they keep their draft pick net year and take a guard there they can just let him walk, and if they liked the sample size they can get him on a bigger contract.
Welp, that’s it for now. I know, sorry about the length, but the summer hours have me tied down like a psych ward patient, so I do hope you can accept this humble apology. More to come in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!