Posted on: July 12, 2010 10:07 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 10:43 pm
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Report: Utah nearing deal for Jefferson (Updated)

Posted by Royce Young

UPDATE : Based on this tweet from Jazz CEO Greg Miller, I'm assuming the deal is done.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that the Utah Jazz have emerged as the front-runner for Minnesota big man Al Jefferson. Originally, the Mavericks were thought to be in the lead, but Utah's cap situation obviously has improved with the subtractions of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver due to free agency.

As Stein says, Jefferson's contract would slide into the $14 million trade exception that Utah created earlier this week in its sign-and-trade deal with Boozer.

As mentioned when Dallas was in play for Jefferson , the Wolves are looking for quality assets and not necessarily just a salary dump, though Minnesota would prefer not to take much back.

If the deal goes through, clearly the Jazz re-emerge as a major contender in the West. Jefferson still hasn't entirely recovered from a second knee injury, but the Minnesota big man is just 25 and averaged 17-9 last season for the Wolves. Team him with Paul Millsap inside with Deron Williams setting things up and you've got a quality roster.

Also, as is with any deal involving Minnesota, KAAAAHHHHNNN.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 9:37 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 9:38 pm
 

Gilbert fined $100,000 for using Comic Sans

Posted by Royce Young

Just kidding. But David Stern did say late Monday in a press conference that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been fined $100,000 for his ranting letter about LeBron James' departure from Cleveland. Not for using the font though.

Stern called Gilbert's letter "extreme" and clearly didn't find the humor in the fact Gilbert wrote it in such a hilarious font.

If you don't recall, not long after LeBron's national television announcement, Gilbert popped off a heated letter on the official Cavaliers website , declaring LeBron an enemy of the state. Gilbert called LeBron's decision "narcissistic" and "cowardly." And as a cherry on top, he guaranteed the Cavs would win an NBA title "BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE." All caps Gilbert's emphasis, not mine.

Stern, who doesn't take these sort of things lightly, said it wasn't just the letter though that brought down the 100K hammer. Gilbert gave an interview to AP radio shortly after The Decision and called LeBron a quitter. Stern said that also played a factor in the number against Gilbert.

Gilbert also responded earlier in an official statement to Rev. Jesse Jackson's comments that basically compared Gilbert to a slave owner. Gilbert said, "I strongly disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson's recent comments and we are not going to engage in any related discussion on it." 

Posted on: July 12, 2010 6:14 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 6:57 pm
 

John Wall's debut: More than a stat sheet

Posted by Matt Moore

We marvel at the attention brought upon LeBron James in the past two weeks and especially following last Thursday night, but the seeds of NBA star hyper-attention are sowed in more than just the top rung. Nowhere is this more evident this week than in Las Vegas, where at NBA Summer League Sunday night, John Wall made his professional preseason debut with the Washington Wizards. Media attention was in a frenzy, the gaggle three times as big as it was for any other player. Wall wanted the attention and spotlight that comes with a #1 overall pick, he's got it.

And his game? Lots to discuss , both ways. 28 points, 8 assists... and 8 turnovers. Wall was overly excited, nervous, and it showed. He pushed the ball too much and occasionally whipped passes to no one in particular. He also had his jumper going, which had been a major concern for him in pre-draft talks. The release was sharp and on-target, his follow-through right. He had strong passes to teammates and ran the offense, including several alley-oops to JaVale McGee. It was a good debut, with some things to work on.

But the most important part of the night? The most impressive thing Wall did had nothing to do with ball-handling, shot-release, vision, athelticism, or speed (but Lord Almighty, is he fast). It was something outlined by Wizards blog Truth About It's Kyle Weidie today :

He wasn’t just vocal on both ends of the floor in his Summer League debut, an 84-79 Wizards win over the Warriors, he was loud. If his teammates don’t hear his instruction, it’s not his fault. They aren’t paying attention. And he doesn’t just use his vocal chords, pointing to talk is just as much a part of Wall’s game as that extra gear of speed he has over all others on the court.

Want more talking and leadership? When out of the game, Wall placed himself toward the front of the bench, talking with assistant coach Ryan Saunders, talking to his teammates, yelling out instruction toward the floor. Over the course of the game, you’re looking at 30 minutes if you total the amount of time Wall spent talking with Sam Cassell, who is heading the Summer League coaching staff for the Wizards. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point, Sam I Am is always in Wall’s ear and Wall is always listening.

 

That's exactly what you want out of your #1 overall pick. Focused intensity, determined leadership, and coachability. Wall is already showing a lot of what the Wizards need, what they've needed for years. The predictable next question?

How's Gilbert Arenas going to react to this rookie taking charge?

But there's time for that. For now, everyone can watch what is looking like a phenomenal prospect already hitting the ground running. His passes aren't always on target, but his focus is. The ability is there. The drive is there. All that's needed now is time.

Show time.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 5:40 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 6:00 pm
 

Derek Fisher will remain a Laker

Posted by Matt Moore

You didn't really think Fisher was leaving the cuddly warmth of home, now, were you?

Derek Fisher has released a statement and has decided to stay with Kobe, turning down what are almost assuredly more lucrative offers, including a likely offer from the Miami Heat, to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers. Fisher has been outraged by the Lakers' intiial offer of two-years at $2.5 million and had met with the Heat over the weekend. But whether it was a slightly better deal (terms of the deal are not known at this time), or the simple realization that Bryant had essentiallly made his career, Fisher has decided to return to Hollywood and see if he can't win one more.

Fisher will likely lose his starting position for the first time this year, after the Lakers signed Steve Blake. There's simply not enough to keep Fisher as the key point guard with as much as his skills have declined with age. He's more reliant than ever on veteran tricks like chest bumping the guard coming across the timeline to draw offensive fouls, a move that got him whipped around on several occassions late in the season when players adjusted. He's also fan of the hesitation dribble one-hand runner which works well in the playoffs because no one expects it. But his athleticism hurt the Lakers against the Thunder before Kobe Bryant checked Russell Westbrook, and Fisher had a hard time throughout the playoffs, though he did of course hit his usual number of wide open clutch corner threes, the biggest reason he's in the Lakers' system.

Fisher knows what to do and does it well.

Miami can add all the pieces they want. But the reigning point guard for the NBA champions is staying where it's safe and comfy. Behind the Mamba's gaze.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 4:56 pm
 

Haslem back with the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel reports Udonis Haslem will be back with Miami next season. Evidently, as Winderman says, Haslem even turned down bigger offers from Denver and Dallas to remain with the Heat.

Haslem sent a text message to the Sun Sentinel: "
Turned down full mid level from Dallas and Denver. See u next season." The Sun Sentinel reports that Haslem is expected to sign a four-year deal and take about a third of the potential $34 million over five years he would've earned elsewhere.

Whether it's the no state tax thing, the playing with three superstars thing or in general people in Miami just feel incredibly charitable, it's pretty wild that Haslem was willing to take considerably less to stay with the Heat.

The Heat definitely have work to do still though. While Haslem surely shores them up some inside and adds much needed depth, currently Miami doesn't have a starting center. There are still some veterans out there like Etan Thomas, Shaq, Jamaal Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas or they could just throw second-round pick Dexter Pittman into the fire.

Whatever Miami does, Pat Riley and company deserve a tip of the cap for building a quality roster thus far around the three stars on the cheap. Mike Miller is expected to sign soon and now plus Haslem, the all-important role players are starting to take shape.

Category: NBA
Posted on: July 12, 2010 3:11 pm
 

Pacers will not be Thunder'd, staying in Indy

It was coming down to the wire, but it looks like the city of Indianapolis has locked in the Pacers to keep the franchise in its native city, which it has been in since 1967.

Think about that for a tick. When the Pacers started playing basketball in Indy, the Beatles had three more years left in them (kind of). They pre-date the musical Hair . The Super Bowl is a hair older than them. But times are tough, and the Pacers' basketball decisions tougher, and there's been talk of the team relocating if a new arena deal couldn't be hammered out, with team ownership looking for the city to absorb operating costs at Conseco Fieldhouse.

But the Indianapolis Star reports today that ownership and the city have come to an agreement , where the city is not fronting a majority of costs for the arena, but is taking on over $33 million over the next three years. To coincide with that payment, strict penalities of up to $15+ million have been put into place if the team were to attempt to leave early. That's in addition to an early termination penalty of $20 million, essentially locking in the Pacers until 2019 and keeping the franchise home.

It's a good agreement, with solid compromise on both sides, that is being met with fierce opposition, as pretty much anything that involves tax dollars is these days. Billionaire owners wanting a hand with cleaning the floors does not go over well, in this, or any economy. Seattle decided as a city to stick to their guns and not buckle to ownership demands about the arena, and paid the price when it gave Clay Bennett the opportunity to relocate, which he was looking to do anyway. This is an issue that will continue to be fiercely debated until a standard is set in the courts or elsewhere.

But for right now, Pacers fans can breathe easy knowing their team will be playing in Indy for the forseeable future.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 12, 2010 2:00 pm
 

Report: Quentin Richardson to sign with Orlando

Posted by Royce Young

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reports former Heat guard Quentin Richardson will sign with the Magic under a multi-year deal. Money terms haven't come out yet.

Richardson, 30, averaged 8.9 points per game and shot almost 40 percent from 3 in 76 games for Miami. And with his signing, two things possibly happen: 1) The Magic don't match on J.J. Redick's offer from the Bulls and 2) Matt Barnes might say peace out from Orlando.

Or I guess three, the Magic pick either Barnes or Redick to keep with Richardson. Common sense says Orlando doesn't have use for all three. Orlando's entire offensive scheme is built around the drive-and-kick and Richardson definitely fits that mold, clearly moreso than Barnes.

But if signing Richardson means the Magic lose Redick, that just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. One shooter on the way out, while the other is finding his way. Obviously if GM Otis Smith decided to go that way and keep Richardson, it has to be a money decision.

Who would've thought Quentin Richardson could set off such a chain reaction?
Posted on: July 12, 2010 1:53 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Raptors and Suns and Bobcats, Oh My!

Posted by Matt Moore

So this big ol' series of trades went down late last night , and it's now evolving into something even more complex (KB has the rundown ). Here's the rundown for you for where we're at, with pieces still moving. We'll keep you updated, but as it stands:

Suns get: Hedo Turkoglu
              Josh Childress

Raptors get: Leandro Barbosa
                   Boris Diaw
                   Tyson Chandler

Bobcats get:
Jose Calderon
                   Dwayne Jones
                  

Hawks get: Trade exception

Okay, then. Glad you boys were able to find ways to amuse yourselves. Let's break it down team by team.

Suns: This is an incredibly complex deal for them with lots of variables and moving parts. To simplify. Hedo Turkoglu still has some life left in him and the magical healing powers in Phoenix could do wonders for him, but putting him at power forward could be outright disastrous and it otherwise creates a traffic jam at the wing. This is all besides the fact that he's really expensive. Childress on the other hand is a steal, who can run point forward, play from the wing, hit from the perimeter, is young, versatile, and is a tremendous pickup, especially at the sign-and-trade price they're getting him at.

The angle that gets really bizarre in this whole thing? The Suns have been reportedly pursuing agent Lon Babby for their general manager position. Okay, kind of a step outside the box, but nothing too weird. Except who are two of Babby's clients?

Josh Childress and Hedo Turkoglu.

Well, then. This rabbit hole seems to go a ways down. But all in all, this is a strong effort from the Suns who have given themselves options and depth with their moves after Amar'e. While they're definitely going to lose some punch, they may have acquired enough to stay in the race in the West, provided Steve Nash keeps being, you know, Steve Nash.

Raptors: You want a rebuilding project? Brian Colangelo will show you  a rebuilding project! If Colangelo is able to get both of these deals he will have moved over $71 million in assets between Calderon and Turkoglu in under 12 hours, taking on $45 million for a defensive center who can actually rebound (when healthy), a versatile combo-forward-center, and a speedy 2-guard that can provide sixth man punch.

When you rebuild a team, you have to gut it. You can't wait around hoping to turn your piecemeal collection of underachieving assets into something good with the right additions, unless they're very young (Thunder). You take your biggest remaining contract and you ditch it. Then you take your next biggest contract and you try and ditch it. Then you fill in with talented guys at the end of their deals looking to hit free agency.

And that's what BC has done here. He hasn't brought in a savior, but he's brought on good players with short term deals. Chandler in particular will be the most attractive expiring contract on the market this year at $12.6 million. Barbosa has a player option for 2011 which he may exercise, depending on the CBA and how this year goes. And Diaw also has an expiring at 9 million. He hasn't just cut payroll with these moves while bringing in talent to tide the team over, he's done it in such a way as to give him even more tradeable assets.

Meanwhile, in shocking news, this team won't be able to defend anyone. As bad as they were on defense last year, and they were bad , they might be worse this season. Chandler hasn't proven he can stay healthy and his impact has been limited since New Orleans. Barbosa and Diaw are sieves and they lost their best defender in Bosh. But with Amir Johnson, there's some hope, along with Weems and DeRozan.

Bobcats: The team that rebuilds through trade keeps rolling along. Continuing a pattern of consistent trading throughout Larry Brown's time with the team, the Bobcats have moved yet another series of components in order to fill needs. Moving Chandler and Diaw makes room for Tyrus Thomas and cuts down their payroll while adding an actual legit point guard in Calderon. It does create some shallow depth down low, but also fills an immediate need at point guard with Raymond Felton dishing to Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. This isn't a coup, but it cuts salary and brings in offense, two things that Charlotte desperately needed.

Larry Brown is proving that you don't have to draft well to improve your team. There's more than one way to.. er, skin a cat.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com