Month: February 2024

Odds & Ends: Smith, Kidd, Van Gundy, Thibodeau

Linkage from around the Association..

  • Jason Fleming of HoopsWorld wonders if the teams that have yet to use the amensty provision will pull the trigger this summer and looks at some potential candidates.
  • Hawks forward Josh Smith had some rough patches with Mike Woodson in Atlanta but says that he's happy for his former coach's success with the Knicks, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday.
  • Sources close to Jason Kidd told Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld that the guard wouldn't be opposed to staying with the Mavericks next season in a reduced role.  Kidd also told Kennedy that he would someday like to become a general manager.
  • More from Kennedy as a growing number of people within the Magic organization believe that Stan Van Gundy will quit after this season, mainly because he doesn’t want deal with the Dwight Howard circus again next season.
  • ESPN's Chris Broussard (video link) could see former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni possibly landing with the Clippers and has also heard his name linked to the Wizards.
  • Pacers guard George Hill says that he was emotional when he first learned of the trade that sent him from the Spurs to Indiana, writes Mike Monroe of the Express-News.  Hill, 25, is averaging 9.4 points in 23.9 minutes per contest this season.
  • The Bulls players hope to see coach Tom Thibodeau get the contract extension that he seeks, writes Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel thinks that the Heat should use their $3MM mid-level exception this summer to add a big man.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Garnett, Knicks, Nets

Last night, Kevin Garnett made it 6-0 against his former team, the Timberwolves.  Here's more on the Celtics and the rest of the Atlantic Division..

  • During the second quarter of last night's game in Minnesota, a fan hollered at Garnett, "Hey Kevin, please come back next year!" and the forward simply muttered: "No way," according to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press.
  • Knicks rookie center Josh Harrellson isn't sure if his former coach at Kentucky John Calipari is suited to succeed in the NBA, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • The Nets pulled out an exciting win in Golden State last night but it will cost them in the draft lottery, writes Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger.  The Nets' pick will belong to the Trail Blazers if it falls outside of the top three.
  • Former Knicks guard Stephon Marbury helped propel his team to the CBA championship and now hopes to someday coach the Chinese national team, writes Guan Weijia of Sheridan Hoops.

Hoops Links: Olajuwon, Garnett, Pacers, Thibodeau

On this day in 1982, the NBA and the Players Association reached a four-year deal that included a revenue-sharing plan, the very first of its kind in team sports.  Under the 1982 deal, players received 53% of revenues starting with the 1984-85 season and payroll minimums and maximums were installed.  While that's just the cliffnotes version of the deal, today's Collective Bargaining Agreement is decidedly more complicated.  Here's a look around the basketball blogosphere this week..

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Prospect Profile: Anthony Davis

What better player to kick off our "Prospect Profile" series than the 2012 NBA Draft's consensus number one overall pick?  As we noted earlier today, Anthony Davis was named AP Player of the Year.  While the Kentucky big man has not yet officially declared for the draft, it's hard to imagine his draft stock getting any higher.  Davis leads the Wildcats into the Final Four tomorrow against Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals. 

Labeling Davis as "long" is almost misleading.  Seemingly every draft prospect with size gets that label these days.  Davis defines long.  He is 6-foot-10, but he has a 7-foot-6 wingspan.  Davis just turned 19, and in only his freshman year at Kentucky, has averaged 4.6 blocks-per-game.  That is not a typo.  In addition to his length, Davis is incredibly athletic and agile for someone his height.  He can cover ground quickly and once he gets there, he is a quick (and excellent) leaper who has showed good shot-blocking instincts.  For the same reasons, Davis excels as a rebounder as well.  Defensively, he is a game-changing talent.

There is plenty to get excited about with Davis on the offensive end too.  His athleticism and length  makes him an ideal target for entry passes or alley oops and most importantly, he is very coordinated.  Davis was a 6-foot-3 guard at age 16, and the early development of those skills is evident.  Davis has a good looking shot and can hit from three.  His handle and passing are light years ahead of what you would expect from someone who averages nearly 5 blocks-per-game.  He is truly a unique talent. 

Davis has drawn comparisons to Marcus Camby, which is understable given his propensity for blocking shots.  But as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes, some people, including Davis, can see him developing into a shot blocking version of Kevin Durant.  Are you starting to understand why there is little debate as to who will go number one overall?  Here is what Davis said regarding the Durant comparisons:

"He plays how I play – go in the post, shoot the ball, dribble.  I love the way he plays: Not afraid of anything and takes on all challenges. That’s the mark of a great player.”

Former NBAer and Kentucky star Jamal Mashburn, who has gotten a close look at Davis calling Wildcats' games on the radio, had the following to say:

“The way he shoots, the way he passes – he throws alley-oops. You don’t teach that.  The NBA game has really changed. You only have one dominant center (Dwight Howard). You see more of the Kevin Garnetts and Dirk Nowitzkis dominate the game. A guy like Anthony Davis fits that mold.”

So what exactly are Davis' weaknesses?  There aren't many.  If he truly wants to be more than just an interior presence in the NBA as the Durant comparisons suggest, he will obviously have to continue to develop his perimeter game and jumper.  His post game could use some polish as well, as his overwhelming athleticism masks some of his deficiencies in the college game.  Without those two things, it will be tough for him to be a go-to type scorer at the next level.  But with his dominance on defense, that would hardly stop him from being an elite player. 

The knock on Davis is his size.  He is listed at 220 pounds and at 6-foot-10, that is rail thin.  He will have to bulk up to bang with NBA big men but his frame seems big enough to do so.  The question is, if he does so, will he be less able to play on the perimeter?  Finding that balance between ideal size and style of play is the big question for Davis heading towards June's draft.  And it may be the only one. 

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Kevin Garnett

There has been a lot of talk lately about the impending unrestricted free agent status of Celtics veteran forward Kevin Garnett.  Garnett wants to stay, and Doc Rivers expressed interest in bringing him back.  So while there is certainly a chance that Garnett is not going anywhere, the 2004 NBA MVP would definitely generate significant interest should he hit the free agent market. 

The age of the Celtics roster has been well documented in the media, and Garnett, who turns 36 in May, is obviously part of the reason why.  While the Big Ticket is not the franchise centerpiece he once was, he was been able to maintain a consistent level of contribution over the past four years. 

Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen teamed up to win the 2008 title in Garnett's first year as a Celtic.  Since that season, there seems to be a general sentiment out there that Garnett is declining, but is he?  While 2007-2008 may have been his last year as a superstar, his numbers since have been encouragingly consistent.  His 2008-2012 points-per-game averages have been 15.9, 14.3, 14.9 and 15.6 while his rebounding averages have been 8.5, 7.3, 8.9, 8.1 respectively.  That doesn't look like a decline to me, but at 35-years-old, the cliff has to be approaching.

Garnett is no longer an elite defender, but he is still above average and most importantly, he has stayed relatively healthy (played 69 and 71 games in the last two seasons).  His leadership and on-the-court intensity are his signatures.  Those aspects to his game will make him very attractive to contenders looking to add a final championship piece or even a younger team on the rise looking to learn how to win.  The Nets have apparently already expressed interest.  Who else could?  The Pacers, 76ers and Mavericks all fit that mold, and could have the cap room to spend depending on what happens with their rosters.

It's hard to predict a price for Garnett because, let's face it, guys like him don't come around very often – he is in his 16th year and has produced at a high level in nearly all of them.  The only certainty is that his $21MM+ days are numbered.  Tim Duncan, who is also an unrestricted free agent after the season, faces a similar situation in San Antonio.  It wouldn't be surprising if they received very similar deals, with one of them setting the market for the other.  It all depends how many productive years the buyers think Garnett has left in him.  With his consistency in the last four years, he has certainly made that hard to predict.

Odds & Ends: Clippers, Bobcats, Horford

With 12 games on the docket, let's round up links from around the league on this Friday night:

  • In an insider piece, ESPN's John Hollinger takes a look at what he calls a flawed Clippers' roster.  While Vinny Del Negro is taking most of the heat for the team's recent struggles, Hollinger says that poor defense and the lack of a true wing player to go with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the true culprits. 
  • In the same story, Hollinger says the Bobcats coach Paul Silas has let his son, Stephen Silas, run the team on certain nights and that nepotism is rampant in the NBA.  Situations like the one in Charlotte enable guys like Stephen to build their resumes in hopes of landing a bigger job.
  • Hawks' beat writer Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution tweets that injured center Al Horford has been cleared for weight work and while he may be able to return for the playoffs, would not be at full strength. Horford has surgery to repair a torn pectoral in January.

Southwest Links: Boykins, Thomas, Hornets, Mavs

With the Mavericks in action in Orlando and the Rockets hosting the Grizzlies, here is a look at some links from the Southwest division:

  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News provides some interesting Spurs tidbits centering on how the international play of Patrick Mills and Boris Diaw helped to lead the two recent additions to San Antonio.
  • NBA sources have told Fox 26 in Houston that the Rockets are likely to retain guard Earl Boykins and forward Malcolm Thomas after their 10-day contracts expire, tweets Mark Berman.  Boykins signed his contract on March 26 and Thomas signed his on March 27.
  • Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated thoroughly examines the state of the Hornets franchise, which is expected to be sold by the NBA in the coming weeks in a deal that will keep the team in New Orleans until at least 2024.  Thomsen says the Hornets are headed towards profitability and he also delves into the vetoed Chris Paul trade. 
  • Jason Terry's comments aside, there was some other news after the Mavericks Thursday night loss in Miami.  ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon writes that Lamar Odom has shown signs of effectiveness lately for Dallas.  With Delonte West back in the lineup, the duo could provide a much needed boost down the stretch. 

Stein On Wilson Chandler, Coaching Rumors

In his latest Weekend Dime,'s Marc Stein says that Wilson Chandler's long-term deal with the Nuggets isn't worth quite as much as had been previously reported. According to Stein, the contract is for $31.7MM in total, starting at $5.5MM this season and topping out at $7.2MM in 2015/16. Only $2MM of that final season is guaranteed, Stein adds.

The rest of Stein's rumors this week revolve around coaching positions, so let's dive in….

  • The Bulls hold a team option on Tom Thibodeau for next season, but the Chicago coach is "dismayed" that he hasn't been offered a lucrative contract extension, according to Stein. Stein hears that Thibodeau's displeasure with his contract situation is an "open secret in team circles."
  • Mike Woodson is increasingly hopeful of keeping the Knicks coaching job, though if Phil Jackson expressed interest in the position, rival teams assume James Dolan would do whatever it takes to sign the Zen Master.
  • The Clippers may be in the market for a new coach this summer, ideally one who could convince Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to remain in Los Angeles long-term.
  • If Stan Van Gundy were to be replaced as the Magic coach, Nate McMillan appears to be the top candidate, says Stein.
  • Stein spoke to "[John] Calipari experts," who suggested the Wildcats coach may not be inclined to give up his power and prestige at Kentucky to coach in the NBA.

Atlantic Notes: O’Neal, Garnett, D-League, Davis

The Celtics announced today that Jermaine O'Neal underwent successful surgery on his injured left wrist. And as A. Sherrod Blakely of tweets, all went well with Chris Wilcox's heart surgery yesterday too. Wilcox was waived by the Celtics earlier this month, and Boston could choose to let O'Neal go as well if the team needs to use his roster spot. For now though, the Celtics don't appear to be eyeing any free agents.

Here are a few more Friday afternoon updates out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics big man Kevin Garnett appeared on WEEI's Mutt and Merloni show yesterday, and made some interesting comments, as Rich Levine of writes. "I never wanted to be pieced around, or treated like a pawn, or a piece on the board," Garnett said. "Loyalty in this game has been depleted on both sides. The business of this game is terrible for players. It's all over the place. I have to choose and make a decision to whether to be part of the future of that. I wish players would take more of a stand in our league and understand that it's a player's league." Reading between the lines, Levine surmises that Garnett may have been referring to the lockout, the trade deadline, or both.
  • The NBA's D-League has turned into more of a true minor league system and is helping players reach the NBA, writes Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Castillo's piece is an interesting read, with a focus on the Nets' D-League call-ups, including Gerald Green and Jerry Smith.
  • The Knicks' offseason addition of Baron Davis fell under the radar following Jeremy Lin's emergence, but Lin's injury has given Davis a chance to re-enter the spotlight, says Keith Schlosser of the New York Times.

Rasheed Wallace Unlikely To Play This Season

Barring "a sudden change of heart," it doesn't appear Rasheed Wallace will come out of retirement to sign with a contender, tweets Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida.

Wallace worked out for the Heat earlier this season, and at one point was rumored to be on the verge of joining the Lakers. Miami used its final roster spot to sign big man Ronny Turiaf — the Lakers still have an empty spot, but don't seem to be actively looking to fill it.

Wallace last appeared in an NBA game in the 2010 Finals for Boston against the Lakers. While he hasn't played in the league in almost two years, The 37-year-old was still moderately productive during his final season with the Celtics, averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 13.1 PER in 22.5 MPG over the course of 79 games.