– Darius Rice has left the immortally named Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants from the Phillipines, and is about to sign with Montegranaro in Italy. I think that translates as “Bread Mountain”. I hope it does, anyway.
– A previous blog post talked about how Ivan Radenovic had had his contract with Akasvayu Girona extended. That news is now bunkum, for Girona have gone bankrupt, and are not playing this upcoming season. This leaves Radenovic now unsigned, unattached and undervalued.
– The “points per shot” fans amongst us were extremely happy to hear that the Philadelphia 76ers have signed shooting guard Kareem Rush to form an incisive and efficient off-guard partnership with the incumbent Willie Green. These two players have a role to play for the Sixers, in that they are the only two guards currently under contract who can actually hit a three-point shot. This is a positive. But the negative side-effect is that both of these players are otherwise lacking, and for score-first players, they are not efficient. The pair are both deemed “one-dimensional scorers”, but neither is doing it optimally. Green last season scored 921 points on 870 shots, for a bad 1.06 points per shot, a number that still somehow managed to raise his career average to a heady 1.02. Rush was worse, though, scoring 588 points on 569 shots last year for a 1.03 PPS average, against a far below par career average of 1.01.
For the sake of a point of reference, free agent Sixers backup point guard Kevin Ollie has a career points per shot average of a modest 1.21. That from a man who has nine made career three-pointers. Technically, on paper alone, if you need someone to hit a shot, you are better served going to Kevin Ollie than Kareem Rush or Willie Green. All while that statement lacks important context (shot difficulty, creation, etc), it’s something to think about. Supposed “scorers” do not shiine at scoring, and it’s not difficult to see this.
– Speaking of the Bulls, after re-signing Luol Deng, they also then waived guard JamesOn Curry, leading to a round of “JamesOff The Team” jokes from people who should probably know better. Curry’s salary was only $100,000, thus waiving him saved the Bulls $169,403 (Curry’s $711,517 salary, minus the $100,000 amount of his guarantee, and the $442,114 cost of his rookie replacement, something which I have just assumed will happen.) This is the kind of purse-string dalliance that the Bulls will be regularly flirting with now, determined as they are to not pay the luxury tax. Cedric Simmons, don’t even bother unpacking.
– Good news: Bobby Jones was claimed off of waivers. Bad news: Miami did it. Why is this bad news? Because Bobby Jones has already spent time with Miami, and going back to a team that he has already been with doesn’t help Jones’s quest to have briefly been on the roster of every NBA franchise before the start of the 2010 season. So far, in two seasons in the NBA – and if we rather generously include the 2006 draft, as Jones’s rights were traded that night – Bobby has spent times with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Denver Nuggets, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Houston Rockets, the Heat, the San Antonio Spurs, Denver again, the New York Knicks, and now Miami again. That’s eight franchises in 24 months, a rate that not even an in-his-heyday Josh Davis could match. So, Miami – do us a favour and trade him to Atlanta for his namesake Solomon Jones or something. Don’t be selfish.
– And now news of a trade that hasn’t happened yet. The Sacramento Kings will trade Ron Artest to the Houston Rockets for an assortment of goodies, including Bobby Jackson, Donte Green, and a first-round draft pick. (Patrick Ewing Jr and Sean Singletary will apparently be included for salary matching, and will then be waived.)
That trade owns for Houston. It’s a risk, for it is a risk whenever someone acquires Ron Artest. But it’s a risk worth taking. Artest is on an expiring contract, and if things don’t work out, it need only be a one-year investment. With Tracy McGrady starting to show signs of age, Houston’s championship window is pretty small, but this move demonstrates that they clearly understand that and will give it a shot while they can.
The defence that the new Rockets line-up can put together is awesome. The Rockets now have two of the most versatile and skilled defenders in the league at the forward spots in Artest and Shane Battier, and McGrady is not bad either. Rafer Alston tries hard, even if he sometimes doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing, and Yao Ming intimidates just by being there. Off the bench, the Rockets boast more good defensive forwards in Mike Harris, Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey (maybe), while Luther Head doesn’t do all that badly defending players that are often bigger than him. The Rockets also boast an underrated defensive head coach in Rick Adelman.
Offensively, the Rockets still have questions. The guards either can’t shoot or don’t know when they’re supposed to, and while the Rockets continue to look for shooters, the only player consistently able to create shots for others is McGrady. However, Artest will help the Rockets on the offensive end too; even though he has little concept of offensive continuity, he can power through for a few.
It’s not too bad for the Kings, either. Not going anywhere fast, they’ve managed to get a promising young player, a draft pick, and an expiring contract that doesn’t interfere with their salary situation. Greene may be one of the biggest chuckers in professional basketball right now, but he has offensive skills, and maybe one day he’ll either learn to shoot like Kobe Bryant (which would somewhat justify his shot selection), or realise that he can’t and stop trying to. They can also pretend that Jackson will play like he did during his first stint in Sacramento. And they might even get Ewing and Singletary back.
I think we’ve found a trade that makes sense.
– Walter Herrmann re-signed with the Detroit Pistons. Good move. I had assumed, without any real evidence, that Detroit’s decision to not tender Herrmann a qualifying offer would mean that Herrmann would have gone back to the beautiful continent of Europe, from whence he came. But it would appear that their decision not to do so was solely one of financial motivations – Herrmann has re-signed with the Pistons on a one-year deal that pays a significant amount less than the fully guaranteed qualifying offer would have done. So it works out better for Detroit this way. More importantly, they now have a bench player who can score and shoot from the outside. They could still use a guard with a jump shot – the back-up guard rotation of Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Arron Afflalo and probably Lindsey Hunter will hit about 39 threes between them, and you can guarantee that I’m going to bump this post if that number proves to be anywhere close to accurate. Yet Herrmann gives them a shooter and a perimeter scorer off the bench that they had previously lacked. Plus, he’s Walter Herrmann. That’s a positive in itself.
– It’s time for a threesome.
Oklahoma City gets two decent players and $10 million in expirings for what essentially constitutes, for them, nothing at all. Cleveland gets the best player in the deal for two rather redundant expiring contracts. Meanwhile, Milwaukee trades the best player, arguably the third best player, and receives a sack of salary in return.
I know why they did it. I think we all do – the pairing of Maurice Williams and Michael Redd wasn’t working out, never foreseeably could, and needed splitting up. I get that much. But, if you’ve just traded the contract of Bobby Simmons for an in-his-prime Richard Jefferson, does this not signify that:
a) You’d quite like to win now?
b) You’re probably not going for the ol’ 2010 plan?
So when why you dump one of your better players (and a decent back-up in Mason) for another back-up and some filler, just to save some money? It’s not like Ridnour is even expiring, and if the Bucks perceive that he has some vital usage for them on the court, they’re optimistic on that.
By all means trade Williams. Break up the worst defensive backcourt in basketball. Open the way for Ramon Sessions. Save a few quid. But at least get a decent player in return. May I suggest a power forward as a decent starting point.
Was this really the best deal out there, and they couldn’t get back a player better than Luke Ridnour for a 17/6 scoring guard? One whom they just tied in to a market value long term contract? I hope that it was. I also hope that it wasn’t.
– Devean George has agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks for the third time, after almost doing them a favour when he voided the first Jason Kidd trade back in February. It’s also been announced that the Mavs don’t plan on extending Kidd, which doesn’t seem like a bad idea given how quick Kidd’s decline has become. However, the side effect of that is that the Mavericks are now in grave danger of having traded Devin Harris and two first-round draft picks in what amounts to little more than a salary dump and Antoine Wright. That won’t be pretty if it happens. Trading Kidd’s mahoosive expiring at some point this year might not be a bad idea.
– The Cavaliers still haven’t re-signed Delonte West, and reportedly they aren’t offering more than the $4 million+ per year that they just gave to Daniel Gibson. West, as is seemingly everyone, is also reportedly considering European offers, which seems odd, given that $4 million a year seems like the perfect ballpark for both him and the team. It’s a strange market we’re living in.
– Hey Bulls fans! Do you remember back when we had P.J. Brown’s expiring contract, and were trying to use it as the main ingredient in a trade for Pau Gasol, but the deal was doomed to fail when outgoing Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace decided that he wanted every decent young player in the Western world in exchange for Pau, rather than the salary savings offered up by Brown’s contract? Do you remember how bitter we were when this didn’t go down? Do you remember how much that bitterness was reaffirmed when, twelve months later, the Grizzlies changed their minds and traded Pau to the Lakers for what was, primarily, salary relief? Do you remember how we lambasted the Bulls’ General Manager John Paxson for not turning Brown’s contract into at least someone useful? Do you remember how we particularly rued not trading for Donyell Marshall and Shareef Abdur-Rahim? Well, a quick update. Donyell was just waived by Oklahoma City with a year of his contract remaining, and he is basically done. Shareef is even more done – he has two (count ’em!) seasons remaining on his contract, coming off of a season in which he had six games, 10 points and 9 fouls total, and the cost of him not playing well will be $12.8 million over those two years. In hindsight, maybe now we can see why the Bulls were right not to deal P.J’s expiring salary for any old offer, and were right to just let it expire and use the salary saving themselves. This rings particularly true when you consider how, right now, we’re trying to tightrope the luxury tax while re-signing Ben Gordon. Food for thought there. (Also: the New Jersey Nets copped a lot of stick when they voided their agreement to trade for Shareef because of knee trouble found in his medical, despite Shareef having only missed I think one game the previous season with a knee problem. In hindsight….it looks like they were right.)
– From Donyell to Dorell: Dorell Wright re-signed with the Heat for a certain amount of money over a certain amount of years. For a few years now, Pat Riley and company have excitedly spoken excitedly about how excited they are about their new, athletic and exciting line-up, just to then resort to form and use veterans such as Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker and Jason Williams to win either the lottery or the NBA Championship. It was a cute act which got Smush Parker some guaranteed money. However, since most of the old guard has gone now, their vision of an athletic line-up is about to come to fruition, whether they like it or not. As things stand, the Heat’s non-golfing front nine are to be Mario Chalmers, Daequan Cook, Dwayne Wade, James Jones, Wright, Michael Beasley, Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem and Mark Blount, and apart from Haslem and Blount, that’s a line-up of all good jumpers, if not all good jump shots. And even Blount moves pretty good for a centre. Deeper down the bench, there are yet more good athletes to be found, with players such as Yakhouba Diawara, Marcus Banks, Joel Anthony and Stephane Lasme. The Heat have finally found an identity. Good for them.
– While we’re on the subject of Bobcat centres, their former (and perhaps future) training camp fodder Deji Akindele has signed with Scavolini in Italy. For fun, here’s a Babelfish translation of the Italian press’s coverage of Akindele’s performances for the Toronto Raptors summer league team.
We have gone to analyze the figures of new pivot biancorosso the Deji Akindele. Along of the Spar Digging, in first left with the mesh of Toronto Raptors, it has left in quintet, and in the defeat against the Kings in 22 minuteren it has put to sign 13 heads, with 4 at 8 from 2, and 5 at 5 to the free ones, flavored from 7 bounces. In the challenge lost against Denver, in the 12 minuteren in Akindele field it has totaled 3 points, with 1 on 2 from 2, and 3 bounces. Against Philadelphia, the pivot nigeriano in 17 minuteren it has put 8 points, and recovered 7 bounces.
It is now my mission to accommodate “flavoured from 7 bounces” and “signed 13 heads” into day-to-day NBA verbiage.
NBA journeyman Amal McCaskill has signed in the Phillipines, with a team named the Magnolia Beveragemasters. The standard of basketball might be lower over there, but the money’s good, and the team names are faaaaaaaaantastic.
– Three months after drafting him, and many weeks after pretty much all other first rounders were signed, the San Antonio Spurs finally took care of business and signed George Hill. More importantly, however, they also signed Salim Stoudamire. I’m sort of happy about this. Salim’s a good player and a good fit for the Spurs, but he’s now one of 18 players on a 15-man roster, and one of only a few without a guaranteed contract. Also, if San Antonio decides to keep an extra shooter – and they should – then the odds favour Desmon Farmer, a man coming off a blazing-hot season down in the D-League, and no less of a fringe NBA talent than Salim. Desmon’s advantage over Stoudamire is that he is of a normal shooting guard’s height. With Hill now signed, Tony Parker as the lifelong starter and Jacque Vaughn here whether they like it or not, the Spurs probably won’t want four guards that are 6’2 or under. And that’s a damn shame.
– Yuta Tabuse has decided to enhance his NBA dream by leaving America. After three years of barely playing in the D-League, Tabuse has gone home to Japan, to play for a team by the wonderful name of Tochigi Brex. Tabuse will be the highest-paid player in Japan, and his contract contains an NBA escape clause, for he believes this move to be an important step in his long-awaited return to the NBA.
This decision might surprise some people, but there is one thing I can say for certain: I have not changed my mind on taking on the challenge of playing in the NBA.
Good luck with that.
– Josh Childress has balls of steel. Depending on who you believe, it’s all but a done deal that Childress is going to sign with Olympiacos in Greece, in what is either the biggest deal ever signed by a European team, or close to it.
There are people scattered all around the internet who can write, will write, and who are writing considerably longer articles about what this move will mean for the long term future of the NBA, and particularly the perils and pitfalls of restricted free agency, something which I personally hope dies a miserable death. (Through a combination of the draft, restricted free agency, and being traded, some NBA players can go their whole careers without ever being able to choose their place of employment. How is that fair, even with the massive salaries that they get?) I won’t. But I will commend Childress for his fortitude – trapped in a situation without any real leverage, he managed to find some, a victory for humanity and oppression everywhere. And for Europe, obviously. (By the way, for those who love to say things like “Childress won’t fit in in Europe because he’s not a very good shooter”…..there’s more to European basketball than shooting, you know.)
– Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar has also gone to Europe, signing with Dynamo Moscow (that’s in Moscow) for three years. The weird pile-on effect from the Childress move is the subsequent over-analysis of the decision for every player who signs in Europe, such as Nachbar and Carlos Delfino. Suddenly, every European signing is symbolic of the demise of the strength of the dollar, or of a systematic failure of the NBA machine. But caught up in that overexuberance are two key oversights:
1) Nachbar and Delfino both started out in European leagues, so going back there isn’t all that alien of a concept.
2) They are average NBA players at best. Average-to-fringe NBA players have occasionally signed in Europe for a while now. It is a direct by-product of the NBA teams signing and drafting so much European talent for themselves – there are only 450 spots in the NBA for about 600 deemed to be worthwhile players, and so some people are going to lose out.
Things are changing, but Bostjan Nachbar isn’t a symptom.
– The Cavaliers finally re-signed Delonte West to a fair deal, completing a pretty good offseason. They’ve re-signed West and Daniel Gibson for decent value, traded peripheral bits for a starter and scorer in Maurice Williams, made two good draft picks in J.J. Hickson and Darnell Jackson to reinforce their weakest position, and made a good depth signing with Tarence Kinsey. They still signed Lorenzen Wright (if you need a veteran third string centre, fine, but Wright was really poor last year), but it mostly went well. If they find a way to turn Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring into a talented player, they might get over the hump that they’ve been painfully short of lately.
– A post from the dark ages informed you that Thunder draft pick DeVon Hardin had signed in Turkey. However, I’m now here to inform you that he’s no longer signed in Turkey, for the team let him go due to a stress fracture in his right foot. That’s what they do in the continent – they release you if you hurt yourself. Seems harsh.
– Gabe Muoneke was also released, by ASVEL Villeurbanne in France, but not because of injury. Apparently he didn’t “fit” the team’s “profile”. So it would appear that ASVEL think they have room to be choosy when it comes to signing fringe NBA players.
– In spite of the fact that this is ostensibly a list of ‘signings’, the last two entries were the opposite of that, and this one makes three straight. More than once (i.e. twice), I have made reference to the ongoing Jumaine Jones saga. For those uninformed, Jones somehow managed to sign with two teams at the same time, causing a legal battle. This saga has now been resolved – Jones has been suspended by FIBA for a year, and since FIBA and the NBA respect each other’s contracts and suspensions, this means that Jones is now out of basketball for a year, a worrisome proposition for a 29-year-old with NBA aspirations.
– In a bizarre move, the Suns and the Rockets swapped young guards D.J. Strawberry and Sean Singletary. This move is interesting (if you’re a nerd) because it’s a move that could save both teams money. The Rockets are trying to save money to be able to re-sign Carl Landry and Dikembe Mutombo without paying the luxury tax too much, if at all, and the Suns are trying to save money because they’re the Suns. So in this deal, they may have both found what they were looking for. With the minimum of 13 players under contract once Goran Dragic officially signs his deal, the Suns’ depth chart is pretty much done, and Strawberry figured to be the last man on it again. However, as a second-year player, he was to earn the minimum of $711,517, whereas a rookie on the minimum would earn only $442,114. Therefore, swapping Strawberry and Singletary saves the Suns the difference between those two sums ($269,403), doubled for tax ($538,806), and yet they lose nothing on the court, because neither player is going to take it. (Note: Singletary’s salary is only partially guaranteed, but he’ll make the team anyway, because if he doesn’t, they’ll have to pay someone else as well.) The Rockets meanwhile take on the more expensive player, but Strawberry’s contract is not guaranteed, and so they save the whole of Singletary’s salary, while also losing nothing on the court. It’s all very interesting stuff if you’re the kind of person that will forego a social life in order to reinvest that time into calculating Greg Buckner’s trade kicker.
(Note: If the Rockets keep Strawberry, then forget I said anything.)
– Some things happen really quietly in the NBA. So quietly, in fact, that they aren’t actually announced at all. In the last six weeks or so, the Bulls have signed two players without telling anyone: restricted free agent Demetris Nichols accepted his unguaranteed qualifying offer, obviously aware that it’s for more than he will get elsewhere, and #1 overall pick Derrick Rose signed his rookie contract back in early July. For some reason, there was no press conference on this – one can only assume that they held off deliberately so that they can announce his signing at a later date in conjunction with the signings of, say, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. That way, they can do one of those “Meet The Next Generation” type of press conferences, and maybe even get Jonathan Frakes as a guest speaker. However, as Ben Gordon has decided to court the market on his contract situation (more on this later), that plan hasn’t really worked out. Nevertheless, Rose has signed, so all you conspiracy theorists….disperse.
– The New Orleans Hornets re-signed Ryan Bowen. Their bench now reads thusly: Mike James, Rasual Butler, James Posey, Bowen, Hilton Armstrong, Julian Wright, and Melvin Ely. Who out of that lot do they expect to be a sixth man, exactly? They appear to have moved on from Pargo and Bonzi Wells, two players always willing to fashion a shot, even if they’re not always a good idea. So who’s going to provide the bench offence here? I’m aware that Chris Paul is basically Jesus who could get even me an easy basket, but the real Jesus had a few days off, too. (He got his carpentry NVQ at a young age. Good plan. It’s always a good idea to have a fall-back option.) So the Hornets could really use someone that can find, take and make a shot off the bench. Mike James isn’t getting it done, and Ryan Bowen really isn’t getting it done.
– The Josh Smith played itself out thusly: Atlanta refused to budge from their lowball of a five year, $45 million offer; Smith looked elsewhere; Smith signed a five year, $58 million offer sheet from Memphis; Atlanta quickly matched. So that’s pretty sensible all around. The news that Memphis isn’t entirely against the idea of spending their cap room comes as a welcome relief, though.
– Speaking of the Warriors, they’ve been the busiest team in the NBA this offseason, but in one fell swoop, they pretty much finished up their business. After Kelenna Azubuike signed an offer sheet with the L.A. Clippers last week, the Warriors began negotiating with Orlando free agent guard, Maurice Evans, with whom they agreed a three-year contract. However, Evans then changed his mind, and held out for more money. Golden State, not willing to wait, countered by matching Azubuike’s offer sheet, something which they weren’t originally going to do. They then tidied up A.O.B. by trading for Marcus Williams to fill the back-up point guard spot (this actually happened beforehand, but play along), re-signed Monta Ellis to a big money long-term deal, and signed second-round draft pick Richard Hendrix. A good couple of days for the Warriors then. Their only remaining drama on an otherwise-completed roster is the re-signing of Andris Biedrins, which hasn’t happened yet, but will.
– Speaking of the Clippers, a few hours before losing out on Azubuike, they made the sort of the trade that I absolutely love when they dealt Brevin Knight to Utah for their own former starlet, Jason Hart. I LOVE trades like this. Love them. How can you not?
I’ve always wondered who initiates trades like this. Who picks up the phone first? Did they ring each other at the same time? What roster holes do the teams think they are filling? Did Utah, recognising their need for improved perimeter shooting, mistakenly identify Brevin Knight as the solution, inadvertently obtaining one of the only point guards in the league that shoots worse from the perimeter than Jason Hart? Or were both teams just in “let’s look busy, the boss is coming in this afternoon” mode? Plus, if you’re a Bobcats fan, there’s the added bonus of the two players involved once forming a two-headed Bobcat point guard monster, and now they’re being traded for each other. Good times all around. Stupid, but fun.
Also, speaking of the Clippers, if you take my salary figures as being entirely correct – a dangerous proposition at any time – then this is how the current Clippers salary situation looks:
Baron Davis: $11,200,000, ish.
Marcus Camby: $10,000,000
Chris Kaman: $9,500,000
Cuttino Mobley: $8,925,000
Tim Thomas: $6,049,400
Eric Gordon: $2,623,200
Jason Hart: $2,484,000
Al Thornton: $1,776,240
Nick Fazekas: $886,517 (qualifying offer/caphold, restricted free agent)
Josh Powell: $854,957
Mike Taylor: $442,114
DeAndre Jordan: $442,114
That, against a salary cap of $58,680,000, leaves the Clippers with just under $3.5 million to finish up their roster. It’s not an exact figure, because Baron Davis’s salary is not guaranteed accurate (it’s within $100,000 of that, at least.) It is, however, near enough to make my point.
The reason I mention this is that, if it were for slightly better cap management, they could have even more cap space. I shall explain.
As you probably know, the salaries for first-round draft picks are set by the rookie salary scale, a scale of pre-determined numbers that dictate the salary for each first-round draft slot, for every year of the current CBA. There does remain a bit of room for negotiation, though – players can sign for up to 120% of the amount outlined by the scale, or for as little as 80%. It is standard for all teams to sign their players to the full 120% of the scale: it is very rare for anyone to take anything differently. (The only two players in recent years to do otherwise were Sergio Rodriguez, who took 100%, and Ian Mahinmi, who took 80% in the first year of his rookie deal to help the Spurs avoid the luxury tax. Whether he did this magnanimously, or because the Spurs wouldn’t offer differently, is unclear.) Eric Gordon, as is the custom, signed for the full 120%.
However, in the window between drafting a first-rounder and signing them, the draftees have a cap hold for 100% of the rookie scale only. Thus, by signing him to the 120% of the scale while still under the cap, the Clippers just lost $437,200 in cap room. ($437,200 is the difference between 120% and 100% of the rookie salary scale for the 2008 #7 pick.)
This may seem inconsequential, but it might not be. If you take that $437,200, add it to the $484,000 difference between the salaries of Jason Hart and Brevin Knight, add that to the $854,957 cap hold of the unguaranteed salary of Powell that could easily be done without, add that to the $884,228 that could have been saved by not signing Taylor and Jordan already (unsigned second-round picks do not have a cap hold), add that to the $886,517 that would have been opened up had Nick Fazekas been renounced, add the $3,496,458 of cap room from the maths outlined above, and subtract $1,768,456 for the four roster charges that would be charged for only having right players under contract….
…..and you get $5,274,904. That’s the cap room that the Clippers COULD have right now.
As mentioned above, it’s not an exact figure, but the point it demonstrates remains valid. Right now, the Clippers have just a fraction less than $3.5 million in cap room remaining, but if they’d jiggled it a bit more, they could have nearly $5.3 million. It wouldn’t have cost them a significant player, either: Gordon, Jordan and Taylor would still have been signed, but just a bit later. And the idea that Fazekas and Powell would have been snapped up in the mean time – or the idea that it would have mattered in any significant way if that had happened – is far-fetched.
The Clippers could have one and a half times their current cap space. The difference between $3.5 million and $5.3 million in cap space over the span of a five year contract is $10.44 million dollars. A contract starting at $3 million over five years with maximum raises totals $20.3 million, and a contract starting at $5.2 million with maximum raises totals $30.74 million.
But, alas, it’s too late. They can still renounce Fazekas and waive Powell, but it won’t be optimum. The Clippers could have traded for Marcus Camby, signed Baron Davis, and still have had as-near-as-is an MLE left over. But they won’t now.
– The L.A. Clippers signed Jason Williams, thus pretty much concluding their business for the offseason. At times in these posts, I have slated the Clippers for what I deem to be some cap mismanagement. (I stand by it, although it has been pointed out to me that the Eric Gordon signing was probably necessitated by the common practice that dictates that rookies won’t play in summer camps without a contract. I sort of knew that already, but I’m willing to concede the point anyway.) However, they deserve due credit: this summer, they have signed Baron Davis, Ricky Davis, Brian Skinner and Williams as free agents, while also taking on the market value contract of Marcus Camby while giving up nothing. That right there is a succession of moves that sees decent-to-fine players obtained for good value – Baron Davis signed for far less than the maximum, Ricky Davis signed cheaply for one year, Skinner taking the minimum, Williams may as well have done, and Camby is tied in for two years at an extremely good price for an elite centre. For this, the Clippers deserve their due. I still worry about their long term future, or lack thereof (although they do have something of a 2010 plan on the go), and they aren’t going to win much other than a playoff spot in the immediate future. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and signing good players for good prices never is.
– Andris Biedrins re-signed with the Golden State Warriors for six years and $63 million. This is not a bad price for Biedrins, a rare commodity as a 22-year-old centre who doesn’t suck. The Warriors may suck at rebounding and defence, but it’s not his fault. It’s the fault of everyone other than him.
The move rounds out Golden State’s roster, one which could be worse, but which remains inherently flawed. Who, for example, is to be the primary ball-handler? By default, it has to be Monta Ellis, but he’s never shown the ability to consistently do this. Who in the backcourt can shoot from outside? Ellis can’t. Marcus Williams is OK. Corey Maggette has been a poor shooter for his entire career except last year, and I am labelling last year as the outlier until further notice. Marco Belinelli can, but he’s the only “pure” shooter. Ellis also figures to be the team’s second-best rebounder, which can’t be good.
It’s a weirdly constructed team with massive question marks. Don Nelson tends to do better with weirdly constructed teams than most, but that doesn’t make it advisable to build flawed roster. If Ellis can learn to bring the ball up against pressure, perhaps they’ll be fine. However, given that every point Andris Biedrins has scored in his lifetime has come from the pick-and-roll, he may never score again in his life.
– Nenad Krstic is the latest player that you have heard of to sign in Europe, signing for Triumph in Russia, the same team as J.R. Bremer above. This move makes a lot of sense – Krstic has value to almost any NBA team, but his value is low due to his poor season last year, brought about by a severe knee injury. With this move – a move that allows him to return after only one season – Krstic will be able to prove his health, get his standard of play back to where it should be, earn a lot of money in doing so, before being able to leave and rejoin the NBA should he so wish. See, this is the problem I have with people denouncing the recent trend of players signing in Europe for competitive money – there’s nothing wrong with it. Stop saying that there is.
– And finally, what you’ve been waiting for – recently cut Nugget (so to speak) Taurean Green is about to sign with some team in some country in Europe. And I forgot to write down who and where. What you’ve just witnessed, ladies and gentleman, is the work of an amateur. Be proud. Give generously.