Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal debunks the misconception that the Cavaliers will be forced to spend big in free agency this summer as a result of the NBA's minimum team salary floor requirement. Next season, teams will be required to spend at least 90 percent of the league's salary cap number next year. Although Cleveland's total amount of committed salaries could fall short of that number, Lloyd points out that the Cavs will be allowed to make up for the difference by dispersing the remaining required amount to its players. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- After initial struggles, Jeff Green appears to be looking more like the player the Celtics envisioned when they inked him to a 4-year, $36MM deal this summer, says A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com
- Brook Lopez's recovery from a sprained right foot hasn't progressed as quickly as the Nets have hoped, writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York.
- Count George Karl among those who thinks that Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is primed to eventually win an NBA title (Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York reports).
- Pacers head coach Frank Vogel is considering more playing time for guard Ben Hansbrough and forward Jeff Pendergraph at the expense of those who have been struggling in Indiana's current second unit lately.
- Several of HoopsWorld's analysts weighed in on who they feel are the most surprising teams in the NBA thus far. Out of the Eastern conference, they referenced the Knicks' dominance, the Bobcats' improvement compared to last season, and the Raptors' difficulty in living up to expectations.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times says that the ticket to Bulls forward Jimmy Butler earning playing time has been his defensive versatility.
- John Denton of NBA.com examines the niche that Moe Harkless has found with coach Jacque Vaughn, who likes the progression his rookie has made in the starting rotation. Denton also provides a minor update the current statuses of Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington, saying that while Turkoglu still appears to be out indefinitely, Harrington could return in the next two weeks.
- Raptors guard Alan Anderson went through his workout today without any pain and believes that he is one practice away from returning (Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun reports).
Mark Montieth of Pacers.com has a new mailbag column that addresses several topics relating to the Pacers, who are off to a disappointing start to the 2012/13 season. Here are the highlights:
- Monteith believes the hot start to the season for Lance Stephenson is sustainable because of the fundamentally sound form to his shooting stroke.
- Despite the hole that Danny Granger's injury creates in the team's lineup, Monteith writes that Donnie Walsh is not presently planning to pursue a trade or free agent as a stopgap.
- The Pacers want to keep forward David West, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. However, Monteith doesn't believe they will discuss an extension before summer.
- Monteith doesn't think rookies Orlando Johnson and Ben Hansbrough will see playing time anytime soon, because it would throw an already-uncertain rotation even further off.
There seems to be an increasing reluctance to lock fourth-year players up to extensions prior to their restricted free agency, Sean Deveney writes in his latest piece for The Sporting News. With this year's extension deadline looming, only Blake Griffin and Serge Ibaka have re-upped with their respective teams so far. As we wait to see which other extension candidates may sign new deals in the next few days, let's tackle a few odds and ends from around the Association:
- Emiliano Carchia of Sportando passes along word that Jamar Smith, who was cut from Celtics camp, has joined Gilboa Galil in Israel.
- There are whispers that Greek team Olympiacos has agreed to release Joey Dorsey, tweets David Pick of Sportando. Dorsey may have an agreement lined up to join an NBA team -- he hinted as much on his Facebook page, but has since deleted the post (hat tip to Sportando).
- The Suns will carry a pair of undrafted rookies, Luke Zeller and Diante Garrett, on their roster to start the regular season, says Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Neither player figures to see regular time in the Suns' rotation, but GM Lance Blanks is optimistic about the Suns' player development staff working with the young duo.
- The last of the Pacers on a fully non-guaranteed contract, Ben Hansbrough is hoping to stick around Indiana, writes Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star.
- With Robert Pera's purchase of the Grizzlies having been approved by the league, the team will remain in Memphis long-term, and Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal thinks that's worth celebrating.
- Sam Smith's latest mailbag at Bulls.com touches on James Harden, Gilbert Arenas, and plenty of Bulls-related topics.
- The Jazz brought Randy Foye aboard this season to be a shooter, but it turns out Foye is seeing plenty of time at the point, says Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune.