By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, we ask KB about what the Hornets and Magic should do, what the Bulls are looking for, and when things will pick up for free agency. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. Good gravy we started fast, didn't we? If you were going to tell the Hornets and Magic one thing that you learned from the Melo Debacle, what would it be?
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Don't panic. Nuggets VP Masai Ujiri's best trait during the Melodrama was patience. He surveyed the landscape, recognized what cards he was dealt, and let everything play out until he extracted the best deal he could get under the circumstances. He also cultivated a positive relationship with Anthony so there was mutual trust. Otis Smith must do this with Dwight Howard, and Dell Demps with Chris Paul. But having said all this, the time pressure on the Magic and Hornets will be exponentially greater than it was on the Nuggets, who always knew they held the key to Anthony getting a max extension with the team of his choice. My reading of the new rules is that Orlando and New Orleans can't risk their stars playing this out and getting to free agency. If they do, there will be considerable angst and even more considerable risk that their stars will leave and they'll get nothing in return. One more thing, while we're on the subject: The Magic and Hornets have the benefit of a shortened season, which would make the short-term ramifications of a blow-it-up-and-start-over trade fairly fleeting. Plus, cap space in a better free-agent market next summer and a superb draft could speed the reloading process.
2. What are the Bulls looking for in a two-guard?
KB: They're looking for more offensive production, but aren't willing to break the bank to get it. They'd like to upgrade, but they did win 62 games with Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer at the two. Not a catastrophe if they don't make a major upgrade, and they're definitely not going to overpay. Jason Richardson is the best fit basketball-wise, but not sure how he'd otherwise fit -- and the Bulls may want someone younger who can grow with Derrick Rose.
3. Nene's clearly the biggest name out there. But sussing out his motivations has been tricky. Is he looking for the money? The ring? Some combination of the two?
KB: Well, if he pushes for a trade to Miami (no assets) or Dallas (some), he'd be signaling that he wants to win. But this might be the only chance he'll get in his career to get a max deal. Only in this free-agent class could a guy who averages 14 points and seven rebounds get a deal starting at more than $17 million.
4. Players are reportedly going to vote on the deal on December 8th, with training camps starting December 9th. Do we always have to cut these things so damn close? (Marty McFly'd)
KB: Yeah, it's going to go down to the wire. It's going to be a marathon for the lawyers to get this deal in shape and resolve all the B-list issues in time to vote. Same thing happened after NFL lockout, when players essentially voted as they reported to camp. Once all the heavy lifting is done over the next few days, the voting process for both sides should be a formality -- with one exception. Do dissident agents have enough support from clients to get Billy Hunter ousted as executive director of the NBPA as a condition of ratification? My overwhelming opinion is no, but the way this process has gone, expect another flareup of drama before it's over.
5. How much of a scramble are front office executives in to try and figure out this deal which isn't even done yet?
KB: That's why there's been so little real activity; agents and teams are trying to digest what players are worth under the new rules, what the new rules are, and what impact they will have on their books/strategy for the next few years. I think you'll begin to see teams begin to make firm offers over the weekend, and the activity will pick up starting Monday.