It took nearly a month of free agency to do it, but the last big free agency name was eventually taken off the board at the end of July. The Houston Rockets finally agreed to re-sign free agent centre Clint Capela to a deal reported to cost them only five years and $90 million, of which only five years and $80 million is guaranteed. My use of the world “only” there was very deliberate. That is not a lot of money for a player of some calibre, and who is a roughly ideal fit for what the Rockets are doing with their team. It is considerably less than the maximum salary of five years and $147,710,050 (or four years and $109,509,175 with another team) that he could have signed for, and it is a lot less than Houston probably expected they could get him for when headed into free agency. In a tough free agency period in which they lost Trevor Ariza to the Phoenix Suns and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute to the L.A. Clippers, and given a maximum contract to Chris Paul that will be of questionable value in the back end, the Rockets needed to win on this one, and they have done. In large part, this was due to their patience. Taking this full month allowed the relative impatience of the competition to take effect, and as the other cap space teams spent their money up, Capela quickly ran out of bidders. The Rockets have been significantly aided in this quest, though, not only by Capela’s restricted free agency, but also by a flat overall market for ‘big men’. Positional distinctions are increasingly hard to do these days. Still, with that disclaimer in mind, here is a list of all the new contracts given out to veteran ‘big men’ in […]
By unpopular demand, I won’t talk about baseball. Instead, I’ll talk about basketball. I shall retread the observations of the hundreds of other writers who are covering the subject, while adding no unique spin. It’s how we roll around here. 1) There’s no reason why Lamar Odom shouldn’t be able to defend Kevin Garnett better than he does. None whatsoever. He has the length to bother his jump shots as well as anyone can bother them, the athleticism to prevent any easy drives to the basket, and the reasonable man-to-man post defence to cope with the rare times that Garnett plays back to the basket. But he doesn’t do it that well. And not only does he struggle at it, but he doesn’t do it much at all, as Pau Gasol seems to end up with the assignment a lot of the time. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Also, this is somewhere where Andrew Bynum would come in handy. 2) Something that also doesn’t make a lot of sense is Vlad Rad starting and playing as much as he is. I understand the Lakers’ need for shooting and spacing. I do. But Radmanovic is bad in all other aspects of the game. (His rebounding numbers in this series have been quite good, but try and think of a single Radmanovic rebound. You can’t – they were all gimmies that his replacement could have gotten, too.) And when you’re matched up against a team that starts Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Garnett at the 2-3-4 spots, you’re left with the unattractive prospect of having Radmanovic guarding one of those three, particularly when Kobe Bryant spends so much time on Rajon Rondo. And Radmanovic just can’t do that. Leave him in as a token starter if you must, but […]
After the completion of the Grizzlies’s second consecutive poor season, Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro immediately returned to his native Spain. Immediately. And why wouldn’t he? A free agent this offseason, Navarro has been roundly stiffed by Memphis, who have managed to mismanage his situation rather spectacularly, in the way that only they know how. Let’s recap: 1: Memphis traded a protected first rounder to Washington for the draft rights to Navarro. 2: They then sign Darko Milicic to a big deal, taking up most of their cap space. 3: Then, the Grizzlies completely inexplicably sign Casey Jacobsen and Andre Brown to minimum salary deals before completing negotiations with Navarro, as well as sign Mike Conley to his rookie deal (thus making his cap number 120% of the scale, not the 100% that was billed before he signed.) As a result, they were left with only just above the minimum left from their cap room to give Navarro ($538,050), after he had already sealed his buyout with Barcelona. Navarro, as a result, had to take the only offer that Memphis could give him – one made unnecessarily poor by those inconsequential Jacobsen and Brown signings – and wound up playing for an overall financial loss last season. Memphis then sucked all year, and also traded away Juan’s mate, Pau Gasol. In the end, Navarro left Europe to come to the NBA, where he was treated with less money, less minutes, less acclaim, less wins, and less friends than he had just left his native country for. So no, I shouldn’t imagine that he’s entirely sold on the idea of coming back.
Do you ever stop and think about that time that Mark Madsen shot seven three-pointers in an overtime game, when Minnesota and Memphis had the most blatant tank-off that history has ever seen? No, nor did I. That is, not until this morning, when I woke up thinking about it. It’s not an entirely normal thing to wake up thinking about, even for the most hardcore Madsen fans amongst us. (For we are all Mark Madsen fans, obviously.) But some part of this must have ruffled my feathers, stoned my crows and enraged my loins, because this was all that i could think about for about three minutes after waking up. It is now a permanent blot on the NBA landscape. The situation Minnesota found themselves in – not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to bottom out without trying to – left them deliberately trying to lose games. It needn’t have done, but General Manager Kevin McHale had already trded away Minnesota’s first rounder that season, as it was owed to the L.A. Clippers along with Sam Cassell in exchange for Lionel Chalmers and Marko Jaric. The pick, however, had top ten protection, and so in order to be able to keep it, Minnesota had to lose with a bit more regularity and finesse than they were doing up until that point. They did this with aplomb, telling Kevin Garnett to stop playing (or so we thought), playing their better players for merely token minutes, and letting their lesser players do whatever the hell they wanted, in what then-head coach Dwane Casey called “letting them have some fun” (to be read as “playing really badly so that we lose”.) The fact that they met an equally-tanking Memphis team, who were tanking for a different reason, was an […]