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Posts Tagged ‘free agency

Could the Lakers get both Lebron James and Kevin Love?

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The Lakers have been long been rumoured as a Lebron destination. I’ve always taken it with a grain of salt. Remember when Kevin Love was supposed to be obsessed with playing with the Lakers, then laughed it off and resigned with the Cavs? How about DeMar Derozan returning home? The Lakers have a lot of fans, so writing about them conquering all in free agency is a good way to get page views. 

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The biggest obstacle is getting enough talent. Sure Paul George wants to play there, but is that and kids enough to beat the Warriors? They could use a 3rd all-star. What if he’s on the Cavs, available for a trade in the case of Lebron leaving, and happens to be an L.A. native?

Let’s say the Lakers signed George and got both Lebron and Kevin Love, either in a large S&T or in separate deals. Their starting lineup could be Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Paul George, Lebron and Love. Not bad. It’s taking the Lebron and Love combination which was enough to win the East this year without a lot of help and greatly improves their perimeter in a matchup with GSW. Unlike the Cavs perimeter, the combination of Ball, Ingram and George is perfect to defend the Warriors by switching everything to cover their shooters much like the Rockets did in the conference finals. Ingram and George are two of the longest wings in the league and Ball is a 6’6 PG who shined on the defensive end this year. Unlike the last two finals where the Cavs had no answer for Durant 1 on 1, George is one of the best fits in the league physically to defend him.

Offensively the combination of Lebron and Love’s floor spacing and post play remains lethal. The Lakers could even resign old friend Channing Frye to play the same spacing role he did in Cleveland. George gives them a 20 point creator on the perimeter and Ingram is on his way to being one. Much of their fortunes could lie in the hands of Ball’s development as his shooting could make him hard to play if he continues to struggle. Nevertheless they could look for a veteran PG as a ring chaser or shop him at the trade deadline if Ball doesn’t work out.

More than just Love improving the Cavs talent level with a 3rd all-star and offensive creator beside Lebron and George, it’s about experience and trust level. Love faced GSW in the finals three times, he’s seen Game 7s. He was one of the guys Ty Lue started in Game 7 against the Pacers with Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson beside Lebron because he wanted players who’d been there on the championship team. With a player like Julius Randle or Kyle Kuzma in Love’s place there’s always the chance they’re the next Rodney Hood and fall apart consistency wise in the playoffs.

How does LA get Love while retaining the capspace to sign Lebron and George? A requirement may be dumping Deng’s contract to Cleveland. Last rebuild without Lebron the Cavaliers used capspace to get assets and young players knowing they weren’t going to be a free agent destination, so they could do the same by taking Deng for compensation. With assets like Kuzma, Randle (sign and trade), Josh Hart, Cavs 2018 1st, Lakers 2019 1st, there’s a lot of pieces that could make it worth it for the Cavs without trading Ball or Ingram. A deal like Kuzma, Randle sign and trade and a 1st would be a nice rebuilding package for them to swap Deng for Love. With the Cavs at about 102 million without Lebron and Deng making 6.1 million less than Love next year, there should be enough wriggle room for the Cavs to take on Deng, Kuzma and Randle (if they want him) while staying under the tax and apron.

Overall the Lakers with just Lebron, George and kids like Ball and Ingram may not be quite enough, but with another all-star at center in Love it could be enough to put them as a believable contender in Lebron’s eyes. It takes the Cavs two all-stars, but makes their perimeter far more Golden State match-up friendly by giving them a 20 point scoring, Durant defender in George and two other long high potential starters in Ball and Ingram. This is a clear upgrade.

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Written by jr.

June 11, 2018 at 11:48 pm

The case for and against Toronto maxing out DeMar Derozan

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The struggles of DeMar Derozan has been an ongoing playoff storyline, scoring only 17.7 points on .395 TS% through 11 games after a career year in the regular season. The worry for Toronto is this isn’t just missing open shots. His unreliable 3 point shot has allowed teams to go under pick and rolls to prevent this driving game and leave him to take inefficient midrange jumpers.

Toronto’s price to keep Derozan will likely be a max contract no matter how he plays the rest of these playoffs. The Lakers have been itching to prove they are a marquee free agent destination and the new TV deal will afford many other teams the capspace to make a run at the 2 time all-star in his prime.

There’s arguments for and against Toronto paying Derozan:

Keep him

– Like the Raptors Derozan is not a finished product. His .338 3P% and 0.6 3pt makes per game were career highs and with his work ethic he could continue to improve his 3 point shooting to manageable levels in addition to clearing up other weaknesses. His teammate Kyle Lowry is proof players can continue to push their game to new heights after the age Derozan is now.

– Lowry has struggled to stay healthy by the playoffs the last two seasons in addition to a track record in Houston of getting banged up. Derozan taking the defensive pressure he does off Lowry could be important to keeping him healthy going forward.

– With the Nuggets Masai Ujiri resigned Nene to a hefty 5 year deal, then traded him to Washington half a season later. Even if the Raptors don’t love Derozan’s max contract, signing him and then seeing what trade offers are out there half a season or a year afterwards could be the best way to maximize value out of the situation.

– The regular season matters. Being the 2nd seed is just about the best thing the Raptors have going for them. It gave them home court and a beatable opponent in Indiana in Round 1 and home court against Miami in Round 2 instead of playing Cleveland. If Derozan helps them repeat as a top 2 seed next year this is worth it.

Let him go

– The Raptors offensive success is despite finishing 30th in Assist % on 2 point field goals this year, 9th on 3s. They have been a poor passing team throughout the Lowry and Derozan era. Letting Derozan go may be the best way to transition towards the ball and player movement teams needed to contend.

– The Raptors have young talent that could break out without him. Jonas Valanciunas is showing all the signs of an all-star in the East if you run the offense through him. Terrence Ross could take the next step especially playing SG full time. Norman Powell has shown flashes of brilliance and the Raptors have the 9th and 27th picks to add more talent. Add in DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph’s minutes at SG and the team would not be left to dry for wing talent.

– Including draft picks but not including Derozan or Biyombo, Toronto has about 73 million on the books next year. That’s not enough to sign a max player like Al Horford or Nic Batum but if a player of that level wanted to sign there, they would could be a cap clearing move away like trading Ross or Carroll. All the teams with capspace this summer makes it perfect conditions to move an existing salary if necessary. The best argument against resigning Derozan may be if the Raptors need the money for someone else.

Written by jr.

May 9, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Is Portland a threat to sign Kevin Durant in 2016?

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9 years after passing on him for Greg Oden and after a history of bad breaks since their 1977 title, it would be a great story if Kevin Durant signed with the Portland Trailblazers in 2016.

Portland has been rarely listed as a possibility for Durant’s free agency. Portland isn’t known as as a big enough market to be a free agent destination. His hometown Washington has become a popular Durant free agency talking point. There’s also the likelihood Portland will have Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge on max contracts and Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez both making over 10 million a year by 2016. This makes them a less obvious fit capspace wise even though Nicolas Batum’s contract expires that summer.

Here’s my retort to each of those problems:

Portland as a free agency destination

Portland’s lack of free agent history doesn’t bother me because from an outside perspective it appears Durant doesn’t care about the size of his market. Durant is already swimming in endorsement deals and fame playing in Oklahoma City. We just saw Kevin Love spurn the Lakers but embrace playing in Cleveland because he wanted to win. I’m guessing the competitive Durant has the same mentality: It’s all about winning. If he leaves Oklahoma City after 9 seasons my money is on it’ll be because he has more faith winning championships and enchancing his legacy elsewhere.

Washington: A red herring?

I’m strongly against the odds of Durant leaving the Thunder for Washington for this reason. Does Washington provide a better opportunity to win than Oklahoma City? Washington has a star PG and competent defensive big men but so do the Thunder. Washington’s coaching and management in Randy Wittman and Ernie Grunfeld do not have a more trustworthy history than Scott Brooks and Sam Presti. Durant’s sentimental attachment to his hometown may still pale to the sentimental attachment to staying with the team that drafted him. Washington would need Bradley Beal to become more of a 3rd star than Serge Ibaka to really sell Durant that Washington is a “talent upgrade” in my opinion, but Beal’s 3rd season has been barely more productive than Jeremy Lamb’s. Some argue the move from the West to the East in competition could help sell Durant on switching. But the main difference between the West and the East is likely to come in the first 2 rounds which Oklahoma City hasn’t struggled with anyways by making the conference Finals the last three years Russell Westbrook was healthy. In the conference finals and Finals you play 1 West team and 1 East team to win the title no matter which side you are on so I don’t buy conferences are a major swinging factor by that point. Furthermore with teams like Cleveland and Chicago in the East and up and coming teams like Toronto who could be dangerous by 2016-2017, making the Finals in the East would not be a cakewalk.

What I like about Portland’s case is they conceivable *could* provide that elusive talent upgrade. Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge are two other true perennial all-stars compared to one in Oklahoma City in Russell Westbrook. If they can keep Wesley Matthews this also gives them an excellent starting shooting guard who fits perfectly on a team with other stars. A case can be made Matthews is as valuable at SG as Serge Ibaka is for a PF. Terry Stotts is also a coach of the year contender and appears to be ahead of the ball more than Scott Brooks in terms of offensive creativity. A team headlined by Lillard, Matthews, Durant and Aldridge with Stotts coaching could conceivably be enough of an upgrade over Oklahoma City to draw Durant’s attention.

Salary cap problems

Now a big retort to Portland is how getting Durant would work under the cap. While Portland currently has all but nothing signed after 2016 it’s a no brainer Aldridge and Lillard will have max deals by then. Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez are unrestricted free agents this summer and should easily clear over 20 million a year combined if they both resign. Portland is contending now and most likely won’t let either go for a longshot chance at Durant.

Their saving grace is the upcoming TV deal where capspace is expected to rocket in 2016. This doesn’t mean Portland will have enough capspace to have all of Lillard, Aldridge, Matthews, Lopez on the books and still sign Durant. But consider what will happen in the rest of the league in 2016. There will be a massive oversupply of capspace compared to quality free agents available. Even in a non-TV deal year teams who expected to hit it big in free agency strike out and are forced to overpay whichever free agent is left. In 2016 the prices for the available free agents could be a ridiculous bidding war.

What this also means is sharp teams could end up seeing a more appealing alternative: Using capspace to trade for players with expensive contracts. This allows them to take on contracts that were signed in the pre-TV deal era and many of these contracts would only have an affordable 2-3 years left.

Because salaries will be so liquid a case can be made Kevin Durant could sign on virtually any team in the league. For example say Durant wanted to sign with the L.A. Clippers but they are blocked by a new Deandre Jordan contract at over 12 million a year, plus Spencer Hawes and JJ Redick’s mid-level deals. The Clippers in this situation may find it very easy to dump Jordan, Hawes and Redick to teams who have tens of millions in capspace but are garnering no free agent interest. Just as Houston this summer managed to move Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin’s contracts relatively easily to make room for Chris Bosh if he had chosen to sign there. I suspect that only the worst NBA contracts will be unmovable in 2016 considering the amount of excess capspace that teams will have. Even for the ones just over the line of untradeable, throwing in a 1st round pick could help grease the wheels to move a contract.

I suspect in 2016 Portland could simply move however many non-Lillard or Aldridge contracts they need to make space for Durant, such as trading Robin Lopez or an MLE signing made in the summer 2015 to bolster their depth to a team with capspace. I haven’t checked the math close enough to see if keeping Wes Matthews along with Lillard and Aldridge and signing Durant at the same time is possible but if push comes to shove, moving Matthews to make room for Durant is still a no-brainer. All in all for teams like the Blazers, Clippers and Rockets I don’t see the salary cap getting in the way of signing Kevin Durant. The real race for Durant is to see who can offer him the best chance of winning a championship after 2016 if he doesn’t have one by then. If he feels Oklahoma City’s chance from 2016 on is as good as anyone else’s I doubt he leaves. If Portland’s supporting looks more dynamic by then, I would treat them as a big a threat as anyone.

Written by jr.

December 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm

The case against Kevin Durant going to Washington

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The persistent rumor of Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City for Washington reared its head again when Grantland’s Zach Lowe mentioned “rumblings” of Durant narrowing his 2016 choice down to the Thunder and Wizards.

Let’s break down the case for and against the Wizards as a Durant destination

Should the Thunder be worried about Durant leaving?

Absolutely. By the time of his free agency in 2016 he’ll have played 9 seasons in the league and the media pressure will be eating at his legacy if he hasn’t won a championship yet. The Thunder will have had 4 seasons after the James Harden trade to prove they made the right choice and Durant will have to consider whether the next 4 years will be any different. That Oklahoma City’s inability to win a title so far has been so heavily affected by its owners refusing to pay the luxury tax or amnesty Kendrick Perkins, may also rub Durant the wrong way. Oklahoma City’s owners are not doing everything in their means to win a title.

Why Washington?

Those making a case for Washington are doing so for two reasons. First, Washington, D.C. is Durant’s hometown. Secondly, Washington has appealing young players like John Wall and Bradley Beal along with other pieces like a centre in Marcin Gortat, to help Durant contend immediately after making the move. Playing in the weaker Eastern Conference also helps the new Wizards become a powerhouse, albeit if Lebron’s Cavaliers and Durant’s Wizards are both in the East and West no longer has a Thunder with Durant, the days of conference imbalance may have shifted.

The case against

I have a hard time buying into the Wizards as this major a threat for Durant, for the same reason the years of Kevin Love to the Lakers rumours never sold me. The problem is most of what Washington can provide is similar to Oklahoma City’s case. Durant playing in his hometown has sentimental appeal, but does it have more sentimental appeal than staying in Oklahoma City with the love he has for the city and long time teammates there? Likewise, Washington has young talent, but playing with the Wizards talent like John Wall, Bradley Beal and an older Marcin Gortat is not a more elite core than playing with Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III, etc. The Eastern Conference would only be easier than the West in the first two rounds which hasn’t been Oklahoma City’s problem. Facing down a conference final-Finals combination like Cleveland and the best West team isn’t an easier task to the title than the Thunder have now. If Durant is dissatisfied with Oklahoma City management and coaching, this doesn’t play in Washington’s favour as their current ownership/management/coaching core of Ted Leonisis Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman has often been derided.

As mentioned before, the key reason for Durant leaving Oklahoma City is losing faith the franchise can win him a title. Does moving to the Wizards really solve this problem for Durant? Or is it just a lateral move?

I haven’t even mentioned yet that Oklahoma City will also be able to offer Durant the highest maximum salary, likely the biggest contract the league has ever seen at that point. Durant is the type of competitor who would take a pay-cut to land in the best situation, especially with his sizeable marketing income, but it’s another reason why Washington has to provide a clearly better situation than Oklahoma City, not just one as good.

Is there better candidates?

So if he leaves, what we likely have is a Durant who’s played 9 seasons without winning a title and despite his love in many ways for playing in Oklahoma City, has to find a better spot to achieve in goals and fulfill the potential of his career.

What I want is a team with two other veteran superstar players, like Miami had. Then when adding Durant, they become a “super-team” everyone should fear. The part that’s playing against Oklahoma City is that the cap is expected to rise heavily due to a new TV deal, which could give more teams the available cap-space to chase after Durant.

There’s 3 teams that stand out to me:

L.A. Clippers – No star wants to go the Lakers anymore, so the Clippers may as well take their place for the L.A. team who’s success attracts the big stars leaving their teams. More-so, in terms of willingness to spend whatever luxury tax it takes, surely Steve Ballmer would be the utter opposite of Oklahoma City’s owners. Durant joins two other superstar talents in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and while Paul would be heading into his 12th season, he has the skill and smarts to age beautifully, especially if he’s the 3rd scoring option of this core.

Getting Durant to L.A. is tricky financially, as Paul, Blake, J.J. Redick and Spencer Hawes combine for 56.2 million already signed in 2016-2017 and this is before considering Deandre Jordan’s likely sizeable next contract. The cap in 2016-2017 is estimated to be at something like $88.8 million based on a 45% increase from 2015-2016, but Durant may also have to be paid something like $25-30 million in his first year to match the increase.

Why I believe it can work is if the cap blows up this heavily in the summer of 2016, there will be more capspace than free agents to sign with it which could lead to a comically insane bidding wars for the free agents available. Because of this, teams may realize the sharper move is to absorb contracts from other teams to make use of their capspace. Therefore if it takes the Clippers moving Jordan, Redick, Hawes or other contracts to make room for Durant after he agrees to sign, considering the cap conditions this may be a fairly easy roadblock to get past. The important number is that Paul and Griffin’s combined 43 million owed in 2016-2017 is so far below a projected cap number like $88 million, that fitting Durant after a few moves looks more than feasible.

Houston Rockets – The appeal is similar to the Clippers. They have two stars in James Harden and Dwight Howard and would promise a super-team to Durant. In addition the owner/GM combination of Les Alexander and Daryl Morey is one of the most reliable and committed in the league. The upside is a more complimentary fit, with a defensive anchor in Dwight beside Harden and Durant instead of two offensive stars like Paul and Blake. But Dwight also represents the downside, as he’d be heading into season 13 and has a style of game expected to age less gracefully than a player like Chris Paul. Dwight will always be both gigantic and a smart players, so I expect he wouldn’t be chopped liver, but the longevity of the trio is less clear-cut.

Financially the Rockets are set to make a run at Durant. Dwight Howard will likely opt out of his 23.3 player option in the summer of 2016 considering the new TV deal’s prices and the bidding war that will come with it and could cost more than Durant to keep. However, Harden only makes 16.7 million in 2016-2017 so this helps make the combination more affordable. Trevor Ariza’s 7.8 million in 2016-2017 is the only other notable contract for the Rockets, unless Terrence Jones is extended a year early. In any case like the Clippers, moving contracts that aren’t Harden and Dwight probably won’t be hard.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Oh, did you forget these guys? Yes, the immediate question is if Lebron James is blocking Durant from SF and Kevin Love is blocking Lebron from going to PF again, how do you start all three? But to me it’s not out of the question that eventually Cleveland decides its favorite lineup is Lebron at power forward and Kevin Love at center, a godly mismatch even before adding Durant at the three.

Financially it’s the most difficult of these options, considering Lebron will also be getting a new contract with the TV deal. Kevin Love has an opt out in the summer of 2015, but financially he may feel the best decision is to opt in, then get a mega contract the summer after. This is before considering Kyrie Irving’s 14.8 million and Anderson Varejao’s new 10 million extension. Getting all of Durant, Lebron and Love would likely require both Love signing next summer at a smaller deal and moving Irving and Varejao’s contracts first. Otherwise perhaps the Cavaliers just let Kevin Love go in free agency and still manage to win over Durant into playing with Lebron and Kyrie. Either way, if Durant’s goal is to win a title the frontrunners are the teams with the most talent and Cleveland fits that bill.

Written by jr.

November 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Are the Houston Rockets a Lebron James darkhorse?

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Last week Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne posted a Lebron to the Clippers possibility article. While it would take significant trades for the Clippers to get the capspace, the logic of the idea seemed to be Lebron isn’t leaving without a fantastic situation to join, thus the Clippers are more likely than a Lakers or Cavaliers even if in less easy cap position to do it.

Let me throw out another name: The Houston Rockets. First off, the Rockets finding the capspace to sign Lebron straight out is not hard to envision. It’d take simply moving Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik off next year’s books to create near-maximum capspace. If for some reason finding a taker for those talented players is not simple, the Rockets have other assets to sweeten the deal such as Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverly, draft picks, etc. And of course even if it came down to it, if it took packaging even Chandler Parsons in a deal to create capspace for Lebron to join James Harden and Dwight Howard, well the choice there is simple. When added to the likelihood somebody would want Lin or Asik anyways, the Rockets should have little obstacles putting themselves in Lebron-signing position if he wanted it.

The question thus is whether Lebron would sign there. The incentive is clear. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are heading into their 11th seasons next year, Wade’s body is a physical mess. Even if the team makes it to the Finals for the 4th straight year, how many years do these guys have left where they can contend? Not to mention Lebron is aging himself and increasingly carrying the team wouldn’t help.

But Houston is an amazingly cushy situation for the last third of Lebron’s career. Along with finally playing with a star center and defensive anchor in Dwight Howard, James Harden who isn’t turning 25 until this summer, could be in his prime until the day Lebron retires. Lebron could age gracefully like Tim Duncan slowly conceding to Tony Parker as the offensive star of the team, or Kareem to Magic Johnson. He would become more playmaker and defender than league leading scorer, blending in with his star teammates. And if the Rockets managed to sign Lebron while keeping Chandler Parsons, Parsons could be a nice fit stretching the floor for his star teammates, either starting beside Lebron at SF-PF or as a 6th man of the year candidate.

The big carrot naturally is the number 6: That is, Michael Jordan’s 6 titles. If staying in Miami the rest of his career, it’s hard to imagine him getting there with the age and physical/mental fatigue of the core. In Houston or following the Clippers idea, it’s game on. The Rockets could easily get the 3 or 4 titles needed to catch Jordan, even if the last 1 or 2 is with a well aged Lebron. If Lebron wants to go down with an all time title reign, jumping to a team like Rockets or Clippers are a better bet than the Heat, but especially the Rockets with how smoothly Lebron, Harden and Dwight would fit on both ends compared to Paul, Lebron and Griffin, a more offense-first trio. That’s why if they move Lin and Asik’s contracts which they would be wise to do just for the shot at Lebron, the Rockets become the most compelling Lebron destination.

Written by jr.

February 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Why I’m no fan of the Greg Oden signing for the Heat

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Greg Oden wallpaper

Greg Oden wallpaper (Photo credit: A Stern Warning)

Miami won the take a flier on Greg Oden sweepstakes – and at a cheap, minimum salary price considering his demand from other teams.

The move has been favorably received. Why not right? Best case scenario Miami becomes unbeatable, worst case it’s just an end of the bench roster spot burned.

I’m not as enthused.

Because James Jones, Rashard Lewis and Joel Anthony are on guaranteed deals next season, if they’re not waived that’s already 3 roster spots to players the Heat shouldn’t want to play. Thus the opportunity cost of Oden’s roster spot, is likely a player nearing on, if not in the rotation. Norris Cole, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem are also not stellar options in the rotation and can be replaced by the right signing. If the Heat signed a big like Chris Wilcox, Ivan or Anthony Tolliver or a perimeter player like Daniel Gibson, Beno Udrih, Delonte West, Mike James, Daequon Cook, Ronnie Brewer, it would not be a surprise if they were in the rotation in the playoffs, before even accounting for the possibility of an injury bringing them into play.

The Heat still have 2 roster spots open after Oden to sign players like the above, such as to replace Mike Miller’s shooting and live body on the wing – but it’s clear that Oden taking a roster spot, means a free agent is left out.

It may not seem like a world changing difference for Chris Wilcox to be called on in a playoff game instead of Joel Anthony, or for Daniel Gibson to replace Norris Cole’s minutes if more productive, but what if it is? The Heat needed every point against the Spurs to defend their title. A few possessions the Heat’s last three wins in the Finals going the other way would’ve changed the result. And the 9th and 10th players in a rotation can make that small difference.

As for his health, it’s a clear longshot. He has to go from a player whose health has prevented a GP in nearly 4 years, to his health staying at least afloat for the next 9 or 10 months until the end of the 2014 playoffs. Whether he can play in November or January is irrelevant to the Heat, only if he’s healthy at the end. There’s a chance Oden is there in the playoffs, but it’s a hail mary throw with a much greater chance of being batted down. In the Heat’s position there was nothing wrong with a 3 yard shovel pass instead.

A problem for the Heat is that becoming a lot better next year may not be worth more than becoming a little better, if in both cases it leads to the title. But becoming a little worse could mean everything if it costs them the title. So is taking the risk of becoming a little worse for the chance to be a lot better, really worth it for the Heat? It would be for the Dallas Mavericks, for whom the upside of Oden could bridge the gap to contention. But for the Heat it may be jumping at a massive upside they don’t even need. You don’t get a bigger trophy for easily winning the title than narrowly winning it.

Oden is a more fun and exciting signing than a player like Chris Wilcox or Ivan Johnson, but I’d side against it being the smart signing. But I’m cheering for Oden to make this post look foolish.

Written by jr.

August 7, 2013 at 10:39 pm

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Deron Williams and the Indiana Pacers: A match made in heaven that is unlikely to happen due to silly reasons

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Deron Williams NBA Draft 2005

Deron Williams NBA Draft 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since Dwight Howard picked up his player option with the Orlando Magic, Deron Williams has been the big free agent prize of this summer. He’s an elite talent with size and explosiveness, elite playmaking and feel for the game and an outside shot – easily a top 5 player at the PG position. Deron has had a turbulent handful of seasons since a fed up Utah Jazz sent him to the NBA’s version of Siberia in the New Jersey Nets, then on the verge of a team-up with Dwight Howard, a W.T.F. move from his Dwightness by picking up next season’s player option left Deron without the assurance he’ll have Howard if he resigns with the Nets this year. Furthermore the “other option”, the Dallas Mavericks, certainly don’t look like a plum deal. Dirk Nowitzki may be a 2nd star, but he just finished his 14th season which is as far as the primes of even the most longevity friendly stars go and both he and the Mavericks certainly didn’t look like themselves this year. The Mavericks also have next to no long term, young talent to surround Deron Williams with. The Mavericks are not a great long term situation for Deron. Their appeal likes with Marc Cuban’s strength as an owner/GM – But is that enough?

The truth is there’s a perfect situation for Deron Williams out there – and they have the capspace enough to sign him this summer. It’s the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are in the 2nd round after a 50 W+ equivalent season and have a loaded group of talented forwards in Danny Granger, Paul George, David West, Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert. The biggest thing holding them back is the lack of a finger to pull the trigger on that gun – the backcourt creating talent to make it all come together. If they made a stat comparing PG production to replacement level, they might as well call it “Wins over Darren Collision” – Oh and Collision is their starting point. The Pacers have the frontcourt offense and defensive talent that a star guard would likely make them contenders. Who could be a better fit than Deron Williams? The Pacers would be the perfect supporting cast for him. Granger gives him a secondary perimeter scorer, George hits open 3s and defends at an elite rate, he can play the pick and pop/roll game with David West, and Hibbert anchors the defense and scores in the post. It’s a team with both the talent level and fit to contend for an NBA title year in and year out. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

May 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm