NBA Free Agency Round-Up
What’s up everybody! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, mainly because I’ve been busy setting a new career path, enjoying my personal life, ofcourse, and focusing on my Podcast, which I thoroughly enjoy doing. In fact, I plan on Videocasting in the very near future, so stay tuned.
Although I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’d like to write about – Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, General Motors, Allen Iverson – everyone’s been asking me about free agency. As a result, if for no other reason than to avoid having to tweet about this every hour of the day – I’m just going to go and focus on a chunk of the NBA so everyone will know what’s going. And…what impact I expect moves and non-moves to have.
Take a look:
Please spare me with all this talk about Allen Iverson and the LA Clippers. That’s a pure disaster waiting to happen, and even Iverson, himself, knows as much.
Don’t get me wrong: I totally understand why the Clippers would want Iverson. Forget the fact that he’s not a mix for this young squad, and that Iverson paired with Baron Davis will almost ensure that rookie Blake Griffin never sees the ball, especially with Mike Dunleavy as their coach. Concentrate, instead, on the Clippers needing someone – anyone — with box-office appeal. Especially since the reigning NBA Champions happen to share the same building with them.
Still, that doesn’t explain Iverson’s interest. Perhaps $$$ explain it best. More specifically, the perceived leverage any interest from the Clippers would automatically have, possibly provoking the Miami Heat to get with the program and bring “The Answer” to South Beach – which is exactly where both he and D-Wade would love for him to end up.
As for Lamar Odom, I’ve got to admit that my first inclination upon hearing that he hadn’t reached an agreement with the Lakers was to say, “To Hell with Odom!” I mean, considering his lack of consistency, his apparent lackadaisical approach and his penchant for skittles and twizzlers (which he stupidly allowed to be featured on ABC/ESPN….in a contract year, no less), Odom wasn’t a bout to get any sympathy this way.
That is, of course, until I learned that he had already agreed on a per-year salary ($9 mil) with the Lakers, but debated the numbers of years being offered, ostensibly infuriating Lakers’ owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who yanked the offer off the table.
To me, that’s just a sleazy thing for Buss to do. It’s also the latest excuse for him to use before dismantling something that wasn’t broken, just as he did with Shaq years earlier.
Say what you want about Odom, but his talent is still difficult to match. His length makes the Lakers a very formidable frontline to contend with. Odom had already agreed to a $5-mil per year pay cut and, oh, they are the World Champions.
I could easily spend significant time scratching my head, wondering what Buss is doing, yet again. But I have a better question:
Since the Lakers already lost Ariza and may lose Odom, leaving them dependent on the sporadic Andrew Bynum, I’m wondering what Kobe has to say about all of this???
A few more teams to touch on:
Boston: With the acquisition of Rasheed Wallace, the Celtics have emerged as the team to beat, in my eyes. They still have Kendrick Perkins. KG will return healthy. They’re motivated, experienced and blessed with true leadership from multiple sources, coach Doc Rivers included. And in Wallace, they captured the two ingredients Rivers said they needed most: A veteran and a shooter.
Result: From my eyes, the only thing that can stop Boston is if Andrew Bynum suddenly becomes significant for the Lakers in the postseason. Aside from that, the Celtics can’t be stopped, much to the chagrin of newly acquired Cavs’ center, Shaquille O’Neal – who called me to ask “What the Hell is Wrong with you, Stephen A!”???
Cleveland: The Cavs acquired Shaq. Good for them. They’re better, which means this could be their year. But we said the same thing last season – when they still had size on their frontline – only to learn their miniature three-some (Mo Williams, Delonte West and Daniel Gibson) were no match for the sizeable shooters Orlando had in their arsenal. Shaq does not help that cause.
Result: Cleveland should’ve gotten their hands on Shawn Marion , too. They allowed Dallas to do so, instead. And that’s why I believe the conference finals is where it will end for them again. Before both Shaq AND LeBron leave for New York.
(Note: That’s Right! I said it, Damnit!)
Orlando: Picking up Vince Carter was huge. But picking up former Mavs’ forward, the tough and athletic Brandon Bass, may have been even bigger. Dwight Howard desperately needed some toughness alongside him on the Magic’ frontline and that’s exactly what he pulled off.
Still though, losing Courtney Lee and Hedo Turkoglu is something I question.
Result: Orlando is still good enough to beat Cleveland again, although that may not happen. They won’t beat Boston with this roster, though.
Others: Detroit’s better with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, but not significant in the championship picture. The same could be said for Atlanta, who improved by acquiring Jamal Crawford but inexplicably signed an aging and no-defense-playing Mike Bibby to $18 mil over 3 years. No one else in the East really matters to me. That includes Miami…unless20they get Allen Iverson. If that happens, it’ll take one of the big three to knock off Miami.
San Antonio: They still have Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. And after suffering without a healthy Manu Ginobili the last two years, they acquired Richard Jefferson for big-time insurance.
Result: They’re the second-best team in the West, easily, with a healthy Manu. But still are a frontline player short from knocking off LA. If the Spurs get that, things could get very interesting, but they don’t have it yet. Sorry.
Utah: They had better match that four-year, $32-mil offer sheet from Portland for Paul Millsap. If not, they’ve got to pray Carlos Boozer will stay healthy. This is a good solid team. Re-signing Mehmet Okur was good, too.
Result: It’s too bad that Kirilenko hasn’t panned out to be more that we expected. This is a tough team, but only at home. They’re close to nothing on the road. And all you’re left to do is feel sorry for Deron Williams, the second-best PG in the NBA, as far as I’m concerned.
New Orleans: Th e only reason I’m mentioning them is because of Chris Paul, the game’s best PG. That’s all. Tyson Chandler has to get healthy. David West and the rest of his crew needs to show a pulse
Result: Not much. Paul keeps them competitive, but they seem like one-year wonders right now.
Denver: The Nuggets are legit. They’re a piece – a Marcus Camby-type away – from being potential champions. Everything else is in place.
Result: They would be in the Finals if the Lakers weren’t around. But they are. Enough said.
Dallas: The Mavs are what they are. Solid. Well coached by Rick Carlisle. Blessed with deep-pocket ownership in Mark Cuban. And it all means nothing.
Result: That they acquired Shawn Marion is decent, but he’s not the difference maker. They need a legitimate big man. Marcin Gortat is solid, although certainly not THE answer, but anything – and I do mean ANYTHING…..outside of K-W-A-M-E Brown – is an upgrade from Erick Dampier.
Too bad the Magic agreed to match that offer sheet Dall as extended to Gortat. Now the Mavs are back to square one.
Portland will be trouble if Utah isn’t able to match their offer for Millsap. Houston’s done…but McGrady is still a story to watch, since he’ll play EVENTUALLY for a new contract before the season expires.
If someone else is worth mentioning, forgive me, but I can’t figure it out.
I’ll wrap to you folks later. Take care.