Saturday, June 30, 2012
What is the market value for point guard Jeremy Lin? Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald can’t wait to find out now that Lin officially has his early Bird rights after the NBA dropped its appeal last night.
According to people familiar with the Knicks’ strategy, Grunwald will be patient in the Lin negotiations and allow the market to set Lin’s price tag. Because Grunwald can match any offer, he can sit back and wait.
Lin becomes a free agent tomorrow at 12:01 a.m. and Grunwald can offer him a maximum four-year deal starting at $5.5 million with 7 percent raises — a package worth $24.5 million.
Don’t expect it. Grunwald will see if Lin gets an offer in that neighborhood as the first full-fledged, free-agent period since the lockout plays itself out.
Kevin Garnett is staying with the Celtics. The Herald has learned this morning that Garnett has informed the club he will be back.
The 36-year-old considered retirement, but ultimately decided to return for an 18th NBA season — and more.
According to an NBA source and a source close to Garnett, the sides are working out the details of a deal that will be for at least two years and could possibly include a third.
“The decision came down to whether KG wanted to keep playing,” said one source. “And once he decided that he did, it was going to be Boston. He wasn’t going to leave Doc (River) and those guys and play anywhere else.”
via Boston Herald
The Suns’ interest in retaining (Steve) Nash does not come at all costs, setting up a possible parting where both sides can shrug and say they tried to stay together. The Suns do not appear willing to meet his wish for a three-year deal, which Toronto and Brooklyn would do. They also are expected to be millions away from the eight-figure annual salaries he will get elsewhere, including with his former team and best buddy Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas. The Mavericks would likely limit an offer to a one-year deal, reserving next year’s space to pursue center Dwight Howard.
Nash earned $11.7 million last season as an All-Star point guard who finished second in the NBA in assists for a team that missed the playoffs. He will command close to that annually, although the Suns do not seem prepared to approach that. The Suns’ negotiations to retain Grant Hill (twice) and Channing Frye in recent years started with low initial offers before Managing Partner Robert Sarver stepped in late with above-market offers.
(Austin) Rivers said he would be comfortable playing either point guard or shooting guard.
(Monty) Williams likes the idea of restricted free agent Eric Gordon — whom the Hornets expect to re-sign — and Rivers playing in the back court together at times, giving New Orleans two players in the backcourt who can create their own shots from either the perimeter or on the drive.
Rivers is also eager to see how the presence of (Anthony) Davis helps him and fellow Hornets guards run the pick-and-roll offense.
“I’ve been thinking about it all the time. … I can throw the ball basically anywhere and those long arms can go and catch it and dunk it,” Rivers said. “It’s going to be cool. I know Eric is probably grinning, too, and Jarrett Jack and (Greivis) Vasquez — all these guys.”
Rivers said he hoped he would get to play for Williams in New Orleans, and so did his family. Williams became friends with Doc Rivers when they were teammates with the New York Knicks in the 1994-95 season. They spent part of a second season together in San Antonio. Rivers was later Williams’ coach in Orlando for three seasons.
The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents guard Jerryd Bayless and guard-forward Sonny Weems. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.
In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its rights of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent it must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal in favour of the NBA team for which the player last played.
The Boston Celtics came close to trading for Memphis’ O.J. Mayo just before March’s trading deadline, and it appears their interest remains just as strong now.
A league source said the C’s continue to be enamored with the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, and are considering making another run at him.
The source said no deal is imminent, but it appears the Celtics are willing to offer up Brandon Bass via a sign and trade.
Bass, who opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, would have to agree to such a deal.
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats) went 1-2 in the 2012 NBA draft, marking the first time in the common draft era that college teammates were selected with the first two picks.
Overall, Kentucky had six players (Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller, Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist) drafted in the first two rounds, a high for any school in the first two rounds in the common draft era.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The Los Angeles Clippers have engaged in trade discussions to bring Lamar Odom back to the L.A. team that drafted him, according to sources close to the situation.
Yet the deal, sources said, could hinge on the willingness of a third team to take on the contract of Clippers veteran guard Mo Williams, which would allow the Dallas Mavericks to send Odom to the Clippers with no significant money coming back to the Mavericks.
With a Friday deadline looming for the Mavericks to buy out the final year of Odom’s contract for $2.4 million, Dallas officials have green-lighted Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, to try to find a new home for Odom this week via trade. The Mavericks and Schwartz also have discussed pushing the deadline back into July if an Odom trade can’t be struck before Friday.
The Mavericks’ interest in an Odom deal, though, is purely to gain financial flexibility, which likely necessitates a third team to take on Williams. If no trade can be struck, either this week or before an adjusted deadline, Dallas is expected to eventually buy Odom out and make him a free agent, with big-market teams such as Miami and New York also planning to pursue him in that scenario.
The Cavs are bringing in Washington wing Terrence Ross for a private workout on Wednesday. That’s odd for a couple of reasons. One, it’s highly doubtful that Ross is seriously in the mix at No. 4. Second, there’s no way he’ll be on the board when the Cavs pick again at No. 24.
What’s going on? I think the Cavs are still exploring moving up in the draft. But now it sounds like they’re also seriously looking at moving down a few spots if they can pick up additional assets. I’ve been told that’s likely in the 7-10 range, but it’s unclear what they could be getting back that would be better than just taking Kidd-Gilchrist, the small forward who sits at No. 2 on the Big Board behind Davis. As for Ross, the Cavs had better get a pick in the top 11 if they want him. If Tyler Zeller is off the board, I believe the Bucks are leaning toward taking Ross at No. 12.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Kentucky won bragging rights after beating North Carolina in hoops last season. The Wildcats also claimed the national championship. In search for some late redemption before turning pro, former Tar Heels forward John Henson wishes he and his old teammates could get one last crack at the Wildcats before Thursday’s NBA draft.
“They won the championship, so rightfully they get all the attention,” Henson said. “Something we wanted to do was win a championship, but it didn’t roll that way. But their guys in the draft, our guys in the draft, we should drop everything and play 5-on-5, 4-on-4. It would be a good game.”
One way North Carolina could get the better of Kentucky is by having a better showing on draft night. The Heels, though, are already an underdog. The Wildcats should have the No. 1 pick overall for the second time in three years as forward-center Anthony Davis is expected to go to the New Orleans Hornets. Kentucky has another prospect expected to go in the top five in small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Wildcats have four other draft prospects in Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller.
Other NBA teams have apparently taken those comments as a dare. As Thursday’s draft draws near, the Wizards are discovering that No. 3 is in demand. According to two league sources, the Wizards have been fielding calls in recent days from teams interested in moving up to possibly select Kansas big man and District native Thomas Robinson.
The Charlotte Bobcats hold the second pick in the draft and are reportedly interested in taking Robinson but they also need to acquire more assets after finishing 7-59 last season. Cleveland has been mentioned as a possible trade partner for the Bobcats, since it holds picks No. 4 and No. 24.
The Cavaliers have interest in Bradley Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and could risk losing out on the player they covet most by standing pat — which adds to the intrigue leading up to the draft.
The Wizards have interest in three players — Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes — and believe they are in a great position to address their needs for an upgrade in perimeter talent. It would likely take a knockout offer for the Wizards to budge, but they are picking up the phone.
The Detroit Pistons have traded Ben Gordon and a lottery-protected draft pick in 2013 to the Charlotte Bobcats for Corey Maggette, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday night.
The deal will save the Pistons approximately $14.7 million on the two years remaining on Gordon’s contract. He’s slated to make $25.6 million over the term of his deal.
Maggette has $10.9 million left on an expiring contract.
The Houston Rockets have traded center Samuel Dalembert and the 14th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the Milwaukee Bucks for the 12th pick and three players, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
In addition to the 12th pick, the Rockets will receive guard Shaun Livingston and forwards Jon Leuer and Jon Brockman. The deal allows the Rockets to move up in the draft as they continue to try to compile assets for a possible trade for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard or Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Houston now owns the 12th, 16th and 18th picks.
The chances of a playoff team getting (Bradley) Beal are slim, but Finals runner-up Oklahoma City has invested quality time figuring out a way to get up high enough to land Beal.
Beal told ESPN.com Wednesday that Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti told him during an interview in Chicago that he was interested in trying to move up to draft him. The Thunder’s first-round pick isn’t until No. 28.
“He told me he was going to decide what they’re going to do and considered getting up there,” Beal said.
To get Beal, the Thunder would undoubtedly have to move James Harden, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. League sources said the Thunder wouldn’t be able to avoid serious tax issues if they had to pay lucrative contracts to all four of their marquee players in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Harden. The first two won’t be moved. But to trade Harden to a team such as Charlotte would be a risk for the receiving team since there is no guarantee Harden would sign a long-term deal beyond the one year remaining on his contract. Also, the Thunder would be disrupting a team that was three wins away from winning an NBA title.
Though most attention has turned to Kevin Garnett, and whether the Celtics center will return for one or two more seasons, the team has other aging concerns it will attempt to address in Thursday night’s NBA draft.
The Celtics’ plan to sign Jeff Green will be the most important step in filling the small forward role once Paul Pierce starts contemplating retirement, but this team does have an ongoing need for shooters.
Regardless of whether Ray Allen returns — a good question both in the minds of the player and the team — the Celtics have to get younger and more athletic on the wing. The Celtics, with the 21st and 22nd picks in the first round, aren’t currently in line for a Cadillac scorer. But they have hinted at a desire to move up.
If they trade up
General manager Danny Ainge and his staff took advantage of their second visit to Miami during the conference finals to get a look at two of the best perimeter players on the board — North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Washington’s Terrence Ross.
New Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan has started to reconfigure the franchise’s baskeball operations department.
On Sunday, Hennigan fired Assistant General Manager Dave Twardzik and six scouts.
In addition to Twardzik, regional scout Tom Conrad, international scout Rudy D’Amico, international scouting coordinator Sam Foggin, pro scout Bob Staak, regional scout Greg Stratton and NBA advance scout Al Walker were let go, team spokesman Joel Glass confirmed.
Scouting coordinator Brian Wright will remain on the staff, Glass said.
Hennigan declined to comment.
(Harrison) Barnes is still a lock to go in the top five, but he might not wind up with the Cavs.
The Charlotte Bobcats are believed to be high on Barnes — keep in mind the Michael Jordan/North Carolina connection — but don’t want to take him second overall. That’s why so much speculation persists on the Cavs and Bobcats working a deal that would give the Cavaliers the No. 2 pick and access to anyone not named Anthony Davis, while the Bobcats would drop down two spots, still in position to take Barnes, and would presumably pick up the Cavs’ extra first-round pick (No. 24 overall).
Off the court, Barnes is smooth and polished. He speaks well, seems thoughtful and appeared for media interviews at the combine wearing dress pants and a sweater while almost everyone else appeared in shorts and T-shirts. Barnes said he did it because this was a job interview and he was taking it seriously.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Upon hearing of Sunday night’s developments, one rival general manager told ESPN.com that he believes Houston’s real aim is acquiring two top-10 picks this week to turn around quickly and offer both to the Orlando Magic as part of a considerable trade offer for Dwight Howard.
The Rockets’ willingness to trade for Howard — even without the All-Star center’s signature on a contract extension — is an open secret around the league. But it’s believed that two top-eight picks, assuming Houston managed to complete trades with both Sacramento and Toronto, would seriously pique the interest of new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, who could then quickly start following the same sort of roster-building blueprint relied on by his previous employers in Oklahoma City.
Acquiring those early lottery picks, though, only represents half of Houston’s challenge if Howard is indeed the Rockets’ target. The other hurdle is convincing Hennigan, who hasn’t even been on the job for a week in Central Florida, to part with Howard so quickly. As much as he’s been schooled in building through the draft while working alongside Thunder GM Sam Presti, Hennigan could opt to take a more measured approach, make one more run at trying to convince Howard to sign an extension before entering the final year of his contract and then trade him later in the summer if those efforts go nowhere.
The Bulls want to give Omer Asik and Taj Gibson new deals, so they’re exploring ways to trade Luol Deng and/or Joakim Noah to teams that can send them a trade exception and a No. 1 pick.
When NBA free agency begins at midnight July 1, Brooklyn Nets star guard Deron Williams will be choosing from a two-team list that only features the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com on Saturday night that, while this summer’s No. 1 free agent remains “up in the air” about which team he’ll ultimately chose, Williams already has made the decision to narrow his list of potential destinations to those two franchises.
Other teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, had been hoping to lodge their own bids for Williams once free agency begins, sources said.
In what is perceived to be a draft deep with talent, Donnie Nelson believes the Dallas Mavericks are positioned to pick up a quality player when the NBA holds its annual draft at 6 p.m. Thursday in Newark, N.J.
The Mavs hold the No. 17 and 55th picks in this year’s draft.
And considering 10 of its current 15 players are projected to be free agents on July 1, the Mavs could use an abundance of help.
“It’s that time of the year where we’re looking at everything and the kitchen sink at 17 and trying to figure out who’s going to fall where,” Nelson, the Mavs’ general manager, said. “It’s a crazy time of the year, and the coffee machines are working overtime.
“We should be able to come up with something that can help us. Hopefully it’ll be a rotation-type player.”
The 2012 NBA Finals – the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder to become NBA Champions – generated the most-watched and highest-rated five-game average for The Finals since 2004 and the second most-watched in ABC history, according to Nielsen.
The Finals averaged 16,855,000 viewers (P2+) and 11,584,000 household impressions, up five percent from 16,084,000 viewers and 11,061,000 household impressions in 2011. The series generated a 10.1 household rating, up six percent compared to a 9.6 last year through five games.
Thursday’s Game 5 broadcast delivered a 10.9 HH rating, 18,461,000 viewers and 12,538,000 household impressions, up 1 percent compared to Game 5 last year (10.8 rating, 18,313,000 viewers and 12,472,000 household impressions).
NBA Finals Game 5 was the highest-rated program of the night and helped ABC win the night among all programs on broadcast and cable. This marks the 30th consecutive time the NBA Finals have led ABC to win the night.
2012 NBA Finals – Top 10 local markets: 1.Oklahoma City (43.8); 2.Miami (33.1); 3.Tulsa (26.9); 4.West Palm Beach (20.1); 5.Cleveland (17.4); 6.Memphis (15.9); 7.New Orleans (14.4); 8.Atlanta (14.2); 9.Chicago (14.1) 10.San Antonio (14.0).
ESPN Digital Media’s average audience during the five game days of the NBA Finals, which includes ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Web and ESPN’s ScoreCenter app, was 81,504, up from 56,400 in 2011. The NBA section of ESPN.com saw more than 1.7 million average daily unique visitors spending more than 15 million total minutes on game days during the NBA Finals, up +9 percent and +12 percent, respectively, compared to 2011.
The NBA section of ESPN’s mobile website saw an average of 1.5 million daily uniques on game days, up +24 percent compared to last year, while the NBA card on ESPN’s ScoreCenter app had 984,000 average daily unique visitors on game days, up from 336,000 in 2011.
ESPN3/WatchESPN: Game 5 of The Finals on ABC, live through special simulcasts on ESPN3, logged an average minute audience of 122,251 across computers, smartphones and tablets via WatchESPN and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE. All five games of the NBA Finals averaged 330,000 unique viewers and 17.7 million minutes, with an average minute audience of 105,621 across all ESPN digital platforms. The average live Finals game was up +42 percent for total uniques and up +49 percent for total minutes spent compared to the average of NBA Playoff games on ESPN3 and WatchESPN this season.
Kia NBA Countdown averaged a 3.5 rating and 5,353,000 viewers during The Finals on ABC, which is up 16 percent in rating (vs. 3.0) and 13 percent in viewership (vs. 4,738,000) in 2011.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Scotty Brooks’ contract as OKC coach ends when June ends. The widespread assumption persists that Brooks and the Thunder will hammer out a new deal now that they no longer have a deep playoff run to manage, but sources close to the process continue to caution that A) extension talks have been slow-moving for weeks now and B) concern is rising within the organization that the sides are not nearly as destined to reach an agreement as everyone else around the league presumes.
Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Thunder have offered Brooks an annual salary “north of $4 million.” But those same sources maintain that the length of the deal is the primary holdup. Brooks is said to be seeking a guaranteed four-year deal; sources say OKC prefers a two- or three-year deal.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
As for (Thomas) Robinson, Friday looms large for his chances of being the second overall pick as he is scheduled to work out against Connecticut center Andre Drummond for the second time in three days. The two squared off in Cleveland on Wednesday, which never would have happened if Robinson didn’t change his own strategy and tell his management team that he just wasn’t a one-on-none type of guy.
After flying solo at a workout in Washington on June 13, Robinson told his agents, Tony Dutt and Jason Martin, that he was done with the individual workout approach. To Drummond’s credit, he obliged. And Robinson, who I spoke with over the weekend as his strategy was changing, was thrilled to get his way.
“We’ve been going (in this draft process) for a long while, just practicing and not being in a game atmosphere,” he said. “I want to go out there and compete, to get that game feeling. You don’t get that just playing (in an individual workout). It’s even worse because it’s not like you’re training for college and you’re going back to a place you know. With training, you don’t’ know where you’re going to go.”
Yet while Robinson knows he won’t be going No. 1, he made it clear at the Chicago predraft camp earlier this month that he thinks he should be the top pick. It’s all part of a personality that is the most fiery in this entire bunch and part of the gritty makeup that makes him so attractive to teams who are confident he’ll be a high-level, reliable forward for years to come.
A number of GMs are legitimately concerned with what their doctors found concerning (Jared) Sullinger’s back. They claim it’s much more serious than what Sullinger’s camp is saying. We will continue to try to get a handle on this situation in the next few days.
Still, there will be a certain spot in the draft where Sullinger’s reward outweighs the risk. I’m not totally sure this is it, but the Nuggets need a 4 who can bang down low, so this might be a win-win for Sullinger and Denver.
The Bobcats continue to talk with teams about trading the No. 2 pick. But if they keep it, most of the signals coming out of the organization point to (Thomas) Robinson being the man. He is a super athletic, physical 4 who should be an instant upgrade over Tyrus Thomas and D.J. White.
I’m hearing Harrison Barnes may be in second place on their wish list. Apparently, MJ is a fan. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal are in the mix, too, though I’m told MKG didn’t blow anyone away in his workout for the Bobcats on Monday and also hurt his back a little.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
After trading starting center Emeka Okafor to the Wizards on Wednesday, the New Orleans Hornets are more likely now to give serious consideration toward using their No. 10 overall pick in the draft on June 28 to select North Carolina 7-foot center Tyler Zeller, sources confirmed. Although Hornets General Manager Dell Demps won’t say for sure who they will select, their need to obtain a center has increased significantly.
With center Chris Kaman set to become a free agent July 1 and unlikely to re-sign with the Hornets, power forward Jason Smith is the only player on the roster who has played any significant time at center.
The Hornets traded Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza to Washington in exchange for forward Rashard Lewis and the 46th overall pick in the second round of the draft.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) today released its first-ever overall international top selling jerseys list and five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant has the most popular NBA jersey internationally. The top 15 list was based on sales at adidas locations outside the United States during the 2011-12 NBA season.
Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Miami’s LeBron James, Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Orlando’s Dwight Howard, round out the top five. The list features three players in the NBA Finals: James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant. International stars such as Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol from Spain, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki from Germany, San Antonio’s Tony Parker from France, and Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio from Spain made the top 15.
The NBA also announced the top five selling jerseys in key regions: China, Europe and Latin America. In China, Bryant has the top selling jersey for the sixth straight season while Rose moves up to No. 2. Bryant had the top selling jersey in Europe and Latin America this season.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Friday morning that the team has interest in former Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who has made it clear that he will try to play in 2012-13.
“It’s a possibility,” Myers answered, when asked if the Warriors would have interest in Roy. “He’s an easy phone call to make.”
“I told (Roy) when he was amnesty-ed … ‘I hope this isn’t it for you. Make sure this isn’t it. He’s said publicly he wants to come back, so I’ll start to talk to him. It depends how everything goes for us and what his expectations are and all of that. But absolutely I’ll talk to him.”
As Charlotte continues to ponder its decision at No. 2, numerous executives expect the Bobcats to be approached by Cleveland (No. 4) about the possibility of swapping picks (if it hasn’t happened already) in order for the Cavaliers to land Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal. While Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving is known to be a huge proponent of drafting North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes, it appears Beal has shot up their big board just as he has so many others, and it’s widely believed that he won’t get past Washington at No. 3 if they don’t make a move.
The Cavs have four picks (Nos. 4, 24, 33, 34), and those could be enticing to the Bobcats as assets should they decide to pursue both quality and quantity in this draft. It would make some sense, considering they’re coming off such a horrific season (league-record-low winning percentage of .106) and need so much roster help. What’s more, if the widely held opinion that Washington would take Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the No. 3 spot if Beal was gone held true, the Bobcats could still get Barnes at No. 4 if that’s the direction they wanted to go.
Meanwhile, somebody forgot to give the top five picks a map that included Sacramento.
Despite having the fifth pick, it appears the Kings will not work out the player that they may very well wind up taking. Someone is bound to slide from the top-tier group that includes (Bradley) Beal, (Harrison) Barnes, (Michael) Kidd-Gilchrist and (Thomas) Robinson, but they have all decided against working out in Sacramento and — unless something changes — don’t appear to be scheduling anything in the eleventh hour here, either. Nonetheless, the Kings aren’t expected to hesitate on taking any of those players just because they didn’t take part in a workout.
The Kings have drafted a player who didn’t work out for them before, as that was the case with Gerald Wallace when he was taken 25th overall by Sacramento in 2001.
The Wizards made the first big trade of the offseason, sending Rashard Lewis and the 46th pick to New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. With the deal, the Wizards essentially upgraded their front court — Okafor will likely be their starting 5, Nene their starting 4 and Ariza their starting 3.
With John Wall running the point, that leaves them with one big hole at the 2. I think this makes Bradley Beal a no-brainer for the Wizards, who are lacking a lights-out perimeter shooter. He’s a perfect fit for this new roster.
(Mike) Miller might do it to himself — to his NBA career, anyway — and he might do it soon. He says he will meet with doctors, “see what parts work and don’t,” and then talk it over with his wife, his coach, his owner, and with team president Pat Riley. Miller has three years left on the five-year, $25 million contract he signed in 2010, but he doesn’t want to steal anyone’s money. He wants to be fair to everyone, starting with his family but also including his teammates. He doesn’t want to be a burden on them, take up a roster spot next season if he can’t contribute.
This would be a hell of a way to go out, Miller knows. I told him as much, said I wasn’t trying to chase him out of the NBA but, man, what a way to go. He smiled wearily again, nodded, said it was a very real option.
“If it is [the end], I couldn’t paint a better picture to go out on top like this as a champion,” he said.
All-Star point guard Steve Nash, an unrestricted free agent, said Wednesday that he would weigh an offer from the New York Knicks, should they choose to make one.
“The Knicks are a great franchise and I live in New York City (each summer), so I’d definitely consider them if they were interested,” the Phoenix Suns’ mainstay said at a promotional appearance in Manhattan.
Nash, who’s 38, said he doesn’t feel old and wants to play three more years. He won’t make a decision about his destination until after free agency begins July 1.
“I want to wait and see what’s actually on the table,” he said. “I’m open and excited. I’m looking at every possibility right now. It sounds like there are a number of teams that are interested.”
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke with free-agent center Kevin Garnett last week, but Ainge said no decision on Garnett’s future is imminent. That leaves Boston’s offseason plan in a state of uncertainty with the new league year approaching July 1.
Despite a strong finish to his 17th season in the league, the 36-year-old Garnett is pondering retirement and needs time to make a decision about his basketball future.
“Kevin and I had a good conversation last week and the conversation was mostly on how he needs time before he makes that decision,” Ainge said during an in-studio appearance Wednesday afternoon on Boston sports radio WEEI-93.7 FM. “I think we’ll talk within the next week, but I’m not so sure that’s a decision day for him. He may want to wait and see what sort of team we have. I’m not sure.
“I know that he wants to come back. I know he likes Boston, and I know he loves playing for (coach) Doc (Rivers). He loves everything about the team and the city and so forth. I think that his decision will be, ‘Do I really want to play? Or do I not want to play.’ ”
Friday, June 22, 2012
Still, that hasn’t quite been enough – something the Bulls learned after getting bounced by the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs.
That’s one big reason general manager Gar Forman is keeping his options open heading into the draft and free agency.
And the options are there.
In fact, the Bulls own an option on the contract of backup point guard C.J. Watson. Also, the deals belonging to shooting guards Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer (believed to be $5 million apiece) expire at the end of next year. That makes them valuable trade commodities.
On top of that, the Bulls own the No. 29 pick in the draft. Their goal, some will tell you, is to move up, perhaps even into the lottery.
In order for that to happen the Bulls will have to offer a player (or players), and probably include their first-rounder. They’re said to have their eyes on guards such as Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb, Syracuse’s Dion Waiters or Duke’s Austin Rivers.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Was really suprised of Finals played out. Not so much that Miami won just that they won in five games and won four straight. After watching the Finals I kinda feel like San Antonio had a better chance. I think the Spurs are more disciplined. I guess experience really pays off. Going into the finals I felt certain the Thunder would win. The Thunder did not look like a championship team at all. Miami sure did. They were not the big 3, they were like the big 8. Everyone pitched in. The supporting cast was superb. Players don't win championships. Teams do. I think the series with Boston pushed them to the top of their game and they were primed and ready for the Finals. I think it obvious Lebron is the best in the league. He is unguardable. But he is still nowhere near Jordan. Lets put that to rest.
Like (Brandon) Bass, (Mickael) Pietrus expressed a desire to return to the Celtics.
“Mike enjoyed his year there and I think he gave Boston a significant lift in the playoffs,’’ (Bill) McCandless said. “Obviously, the Celtics have to consider who, what, and where for their team. Does (Kevin) Garnett come back? Does Ray (Allen) come back?
“The reality is, Mike really enjoyed the season and he loves Boston, he really does.’’
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Memphis is in great need of perimeter shooting and help at point guard. But who knows what talent will be available to the Griz at the end of the first round. (Chris) Wallace, though, is confident he can reel in a player capable of helping the team next season.
“It’s going to come down to the classic dilemma of whether you take need or talent and upside at what wouldn’t be deemed a need position,” Wallace said. “The further you go back in the draft the more you look for one thing that’s a real identifiable, certified NBA characteristic a guy has — whether its shooting, athleticism, rebounding, whatever — something that will enable a guy to get on the court.”
Last season, the Griz grabbed Kansas freshman Josh Selby with the 49th pick in the second round, in large part because of his athleticism and raw scoring ability. Now, the organization is trying to determine which guard position Selby will play.
There’s a possibility that former CEO Donnie Walsh will return to the franchise in some capacity, multiple sources told The Star.
It’s uncertain what role Walsh will play with the franchise.
That question should be answered next week when team owner Herb Simon returns to Indianapolis for meetings to help clear up the team’s murky front office situation.
Walsh has attended some of the Pacers predraft workouts at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, according to sources.
The rumors are true, and for better or worse, Brandon Roy is going to give it another go. Roy’s friend Will Conroy said on Twitter that he and Roy were together answering questions Friday night, and provided photo evidence.
Roy retired this season due to his knee condition which robbed him of most of his games over the past three seasons. But Roy has hinted more than once in media interviews over the past six months that he intends to make a comeback. And if the conversation with Twitter via his friend Conroy actually was him, he confirmed the rumors. Brandon Roy wants back in the game.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins said he has talked with former Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett and believes the 17-year veteran wants to return to the NBA next season.
Garnett did not speak with the media after the Celtics’ Game 7 loss to the Heat June 9 and has given no hint of his plans next season. He hugged Doc Rivers after exiting Game 7 and gave the coach a pat on the head, moving Rivers nearly to tears.
Garnett is an unrestricted free agent and could re-sign with the Celtics or test the market and be courted by teams for the first time in his career. Garnett has never been an unrestricted free agent.
“I feel like if he does return to basketball, I think that that would be the team,’’ Perkins said of the Celtics. “I heard Kevin say a few times that he wouldn’t want to play for anybody but Doc, so it will be interesting to see. I still think he got a lot more years in him. He got a lot of love for the game and it would be hard to see Kevin walk away from the game right now.’’
Monday, June 18, 2012
The Suns might need the franchise’s next point guard soon. They also are putting a priority on finding a wing scorer who can create his own shot.
Those are needs, but the Suns’ most glaring need after missing consecutive postseasons for the first time in 24 years is talent. Saturday’s draft workout at US Airways Center made it clear that a talent influx also could come in the form of another big man, despite drafting power forward Markieff Morris last year, returning Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat and planning to retain restricted free agent Robin Lopez.
The Suns close workouts and do not announce or comment on visiting prospects, but league sources revealed that on Saturday they hosted an impressive group of big men who are all first-round candidates. The workout featured North Carolina’s John Henson and Tyler Zeller, Illinois’ Meyers Leonard, Baylor’s Perry Jones and Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie, as well as Vanderbilt small forward Jeffery Taylor.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Hawks general manager Rick Sund is likely to remain with the franchise after his contract expires at the end of this month but his future role in the front office still isn’t clear.
Sund said he’s still in discussions with Hawks co-owners Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr. about continuing to work for the Hawks in some capacity beyond the draft.
“All I’m going to say is Bruce and I are kicking around a few ideas and when something gets totally resolved we will let you know,” Sund said today after the team worked out draft prospects.
The Charlotte Bobcats have gone through a lot of pain the past two seasons to have salary-cap flexibility. They could be as much as $21 million under the cap this summer.
The chance to spend that money to sign impact free agents could be slim.
Of the dozen top-100 players becoming unrestricted free agents this summer, eight are so deep into their careers (at least 11 seasons) that it makes little sense to sign one for a rebuilding project.
That can’t be good news as the Bobcats set out to fix a roster that went 7-59 last season. In addition to the No. 2 draft pick, the Bobcats’ greatest tool is their cap flexibility.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Great video. Two of the best shooters in the game. Especially Ray Allen. Arguably the the best shooter ever. Great advice at 4:38. When he says the ball should feel like it is going right through you. From your toes to your release. So true. The trick is getting to that point when you are jumping your highest. Of course you can do that when you are not jumping but to get that feeling when you are going game speed and jumping hard is the key. Fluidity.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Game 1 goes to OKC. Durant sure has been getting a lot of praise for his game one performance. As he should. Russell Westbrook also had a great game. I love watching Westbrook play. Because of the position he plays and his understanding that it is best for the team, he distributes quite nicely. But I think he is such a threat. I feel like he can score whenever. When he is in attack mode he is scary. The little hesitation and pull up is there whenever he wants it and if they play up on him he can get to the rim with ease. I know Durant is the man and he is a way better shooter. I still believe Westbrook can create a shot better and is more unguardable. Heat are in trouble!
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
2012 NBA Finals
#2 Miami Heat vs. #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Game 1 - Tuesday, June 12: Miami at Oklahoma City, 9:00 p.m.
Game 2 - Thursday, June 14: Miami at Oklahoma City, 9:00 p.m.
Game 3 - Sunday, June 17: Oklahoma City at Miami, 8:00 p.m.
Game 4 - Tuesday, June 19: Oklahoma City at Miami, 9:00 p.m.
Game 5* - Thursday, June 21: Oklahoma City at Miami, 9:00 p.m.
Game 6* - Sunday, June 24: Miami at Oklahoma City, 8:00 p.m.
Game 7* - Tuesday, June 26: Miami at Oklahoma City, 9:00 p.m.
Note: All times Eastern. All games can be seen on ABC. Home games at Miami will be played at the AmericanAirlines Arena while home games at Oklahoma City will be played at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. * indicates that game will only be played if necessary.
When the Oklahoma City Thunder signed five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher late in the season, it added a veteran guard with oodles more NBA finals experience than the rest of the roster he was joining.
Whether Fisher can prepare his Thunder teammates for what they are about to face is another matter.
While the Miami Heat is returning to the finals for the second consecutive season, it will be an eye-opening experience for most of the Thunder's youthful players when Game 1 tips off Tuesday in Oklahoma City. Only Fisher, starting center Kendrick Perkins and backup Nazr Mohammed have made it this far before -- all winning titles with other teams.
But for all the leadership Fisher has provided since joining the Thunder in late March, he doesn't plan any lectures for the team's younger set, which includes three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant and All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.
"With my experience, I've found it better to on some level allow guys to experience things for themselves in its natural state," Fisher said. "You can't always tell someone what they should feel or what they should be thinking as they get ready to go into what may be the biggest moment of their life or their career.
"I think it's important to allow people to be who they are and experience it the way they naturally would."
Seeking redemption for last year's finals loss to Dallas, the Heat should be aware of what's to come. The lion's share of the team is back from last season, and Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem were on the 2006 squad that won it all. LeBron James will be making his third finals appearance, including one with Cleveland.
"It's been a long 12 months. But obviously when you lose in the finals, it hurts," Wade said. "And you have to come into the season, you have to forget it. But you can't forget in a sense. So you play and you try to get back to this moment again, so you can in a sense redeem yourself or in a sense put yourself in that position again to succeed."
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
SEATTLE – It was a cold, gray and wet Thursday in Seattle, just perfect for longtime fans of the Seattle Supersonics to mourn the NBA franchise that morphed into the Oklahoma City Thunder and dispatched the San Antonio Spurs to make the NBA Finals.
It has been a series of gray days and "what ifs" for fans of NBA basketball in the Pacific Northwest.
For four decades the Sonics were Seattle. They brought home the first hardware with the 1978-79 NBA championship, and as such were as deeply ingrained in the Puget Sound psyche as Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks.
Then Clay Bennett came from Oklahoma City with a big bundle of cash when Starbucks founder and then-Sonics owner Howard Schulz wanted to sell. Bennett said he would work to keep the team in Seattle, but he bolted for his hometown almost as soon as the ink dried.
Just like that the Sonics were no more.
"It's horribly painful for us," said Adam Brown, the Seattle-based producer of the documentary Sonicsgate, which chronicled the history of the franchise and the gaping hole that was left when the team relocated — a much politer word than some Sonics fans use.
"It's painful knowing that Seattle drafted all the key players —Russell Westbrook, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant. … In This team was built on the backs of Sonics fans. This was our team for 41 years. They ripped it away, and it's one of the biggest (sports) scandals of our time."
That has led to some cross loyalties for those who grew up on the Sonics. Or, in the case of Slick Watts, someone who grew up as a Sonic. He spent the first 4½ years of his career with Seattle and still lives in the area.
"The first thing you do is to try not to be a hater," said Watts, who is helping to lobby for a return of the NBA. "You understand in life that things have to have a perfect setting, and right now, Oklahoma is going through a perfect setting.
"They have some good young kids in Kevin Durant and the kid from UCLA (Russell Westbrook). They play hard, and you have to respect any team that comes together and plays with heart and desire the way they do.
"But as a fan, you feel they should be here."
Bartender Priscilla Angelico, a lifelong Oklahoma City resident whose "thunder thighs" are covered in Thunder-themed tattoos, doesn't feel guilty at all that her city, not Seattle, has the NBA Finals team.
"If there's any guilt, it's maybe about the way the team got here. Even that's worn away with time. You forget," Angelico said. "Here's the deal: They could've kept their team there if they raised the money. I don't know what they were doing. They were at the coffee shop. They dropped the ball."
One of those with a chance to go to Oklahoma City with the team was longtime radio announcer Kevin Calabro. He spent two decades as the voice of the team and chose to stay in Seattle, although, as it happens, he called Wednesday's game for ESPN Radio.
"There was a twinge of envy when they won last night," Calabro said. "I watched the celebration and I flashed back to 1996, when we beat a really tremendous Utah team to make the finals. As I walked out of the building, I realized what a great asset the team is for Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma.
"I view this not as a failure for Seattle but as a catalyst to bring NBA basketball back. This will get the debate going about bringing the NBA and the NHL to Seattle."
The timing is about right. San Francisco-based hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who grew up in Seattle, is trying to get the political birds in line to build an arena in SoDo, the same Seattle area that is home to the MLB Mariners and NFL Seahawks. June 14 will see Hansen host a rally in support of the return of the NBA to Seattle. Calabro will be the emcee.
That rally will come in advance of a June 20 meeting of the Seattle City Council, when Hansen is to appear to pitch the idea. Hansen and other as-yet-unnamed private investors say they would contribute $290 million if the city, King County and the state can come up with another $200 million.
"We are one act away from getting an arena approved," said Brian Robinson, the president of arenasolutions.org. "There has been resentment over what happened, but we have to move on. We have to stop complaining about what happened and work toward bringing a team back."
Any team that comes to Seattle — the troubled Sacramento Kings are a possibility — will be the Sonics. As part of the deal with Bennett, the "Sonics" name belongs to the city.
"If this is the motivation we need to get the Chris Hansen deal passed, it'll be good," Brown said. "We have never said anything bad about the fans of Oklahoma City. They have great fans there. They support the team very well. They deserve a team.
"It just shouldn't have come from Seattle."
Derek Knowlton, a lifelong Oklahoma City resident, is co-owner of the Warpaint Store, which has been printing t-shirts with "OKC" on the front and "Thank you Seattle" on the back. The store's Twitter account got 7,000 mentions about the T-shirts, mostly negative.
"We definitely did not expect this kind of backlash, but it's all good," Knowlton said. "Even as hateful as they're being, it's whatever. It's fine. We wanted to have a little something funny on the shirt. It was not a malicious intent. Everyone knows that. There's no way around it. …
"The only thing I feel guilty about is, I don't understand why we bought their legacy. I want to start over. We don't need their championship banner. We don't need their trophies. We don't need their history, at all. It's not ours. We should just start over. And when they get a team back, they can have all that back. We don't need their history because we're about to create our own."