July, 6, 2010
By Henry Abbott
- Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns on saying goodbye to big man Amare Stoudemire: "Phoenix Suns fans have seen the best and the worst of Amare. They’ve seen the 50-point game against Portland, the 49-point dominance against Indiana, the playoff series when he averaged 37 against Tim Duncan and the Spurs as well as the season-long greatness that has led to five All-Star appearances. But Suns fans have also seen him at his worst. Although he tried a bit more than usual this season, he’s still a minus defender, a guy who doesn’t figure to ever get much better because he just has poor basketball instincts. His rebounding has always left much to be desired (how does a 6-foot-10 force of nature like Amare never average double-digit boards?) and he never was quite able to get the Suns over the hump in the postseason. The Suns will miss Amare’s ability to suck in the defense, the way defenses often had to play 2-on-3 to defend the Nash/Amare pick and roll, which left countless shooters open from deep. But they won’t miss his propensity to say stupid things at the wrong time or how he always wanted to be “The Man” even though everybody knew he was best playing the superstar sidekick to Steve Nash."
- Mike Kurylo of Knickerblogger: "Bosh is two years younger, and has advantages with regards to rebounding and passing. And it’s arguable that dollar for dollar Amar’e is not an upgrade from David Lee. But often perception trumps reality. For the Knicks this day isn’t necessarily about this signing, but the next one. And if grabbing Stoudemire, a five-time All Star, nets New York another big free agent then the extra cost is undoubtedly worth it."
- LeBron James is on Twitter. His spokesperson and others have confirmed it's really him. Chris Paul says he was part of convincing James to join the cool kids, but the @KingJames name was booked in March 2009, and there could be no better time to build an audience for a potentially valuable Twitter account. This feels more strategic than spur-of-the-moment. UPDATE: James' first tweet also credits Paul with inspiring him.
- Can Hakim Warrick replace Amare Stoudemire on offense in Phoenix?
- The second-biggest deal of the summer -- after the free-agent signing of LeBron James -- may be the expected extension to keep Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City.
- If some team uses up all of its cap space signing huge-name free agents, and needs a point guard to play for the minimum, who might be around? Kevin Pelton (Pacers' statistical consultant and all-around smart guy) digs in on Basketball Prospectus, and Derek Fisher's name pops up, but this one is most interesting: "I'd target Anthony Carter. Even in his mid-30s, Carter remains an excellent defender who can run an offense. If he made threes at a reasonable clip as he did during the 2007-08 season, Carter could play the Fisher role for a championship team. Eddie House could complement him as the offensive part of a platoon of sorts. House's three-point percentage should rebound from last year's 34.8 percent mark--the first time he's been below 39.0 percent since 2003-04--and he has relevant experience playing alongside Boston's Big Three."
- Still confident in Cleveland.
- Chris Bosh is seen as the bluest of blue-chippers among free-agent big men. Amare Stoudemire is a tad behind, in no small part because he is not as good at defense. But are we sure about that? The data does not paint a clear picture.
- Joe Dumars throws cold water on the idea he'll be taking over the Nets.
- John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog: "The James-D’Antoni-Amar’e pick-and-roll would have been perhaps the single most unstoppable offensive set in the history of the NBA. (According to Synergy, LeBron was a more efficient scorer as the pick-and-roll ballhandler than Steve Nash was last year. Consider this, and also think about who James’ roll partners were.)"
- Rob Mahoney of the Two Man Game calls Dirk Nowitzki's sub-maximum deal the best of the summer to date. Is he wrong?
- Zach Lowe of CelticsHub on Paul Pierce's new deal: "Sentimentality aside, this deal is not a no-brainer. The notion that some team with leftover cap space -- the Nets or Clippers -- would have thrown a pile of cash at Pierce is not on its own a justification for overpaying Pierce. And I’m not convinced that scenario would have happened, given Pierce’s age and declining numbers. The Celtics management is smart, so they know Pierce will be overpaid at the end of this contract. But the last year of any NBA contract always brings the possibility of a decent trade, and this contract brings the possibility of Pierce retiring in a way that helps the team financially. The greatest small forward in Boston history did that, so why wouldn’t the second-greatest?"
- After considering candidates like Brad Miller, Tyrus Thomas and Lou Amundson, Jeremy of Roundball Mining Company is warming to the idea of Jermaine O'Neal as a big man for the Nuggets to target: "O’Neal is not perfect, but he is a center who can significantly boost the Nuggets defensive presence in the lane. A foursome of Nene, Kenyon, Birdman and O’Neal would be a step up from last season’s rotation. Would it bring Denver’s front line to the level of the Lakers’? No, but it would put them in a solid position to compete and that is a step in the right direction for next season."
- Former Sun Paul Shirley seems to have reservations about Amare Stoudemire as a teammate.
- Sherwood Strauss at WarriorsWorld on David Lee's bad defense: "Lee has been a comically bad defender despite all that brilliant guidance from Eddy Curry and Starbury. His brand of defense is the absence of it. David’s the napping security guard at the museum, wake me when he blocks a shot. To say a man sucks at defense is easier than figuring out why. One year, Kevin Durant is ushering foes to the hoop; the next he’s a rabid pterodactyl on the wing. Ray Allen was the Sonics’ sieve but Thibodeau gave him another life in a different paradigm. He turned stingy."
- The evolving relationship between David Lee and the Timberwolves.
- Danny Granger: Now officially a bargain at the five years and $60 million the Pacers were criticized for in 2008.
- Digging deep into Yi Jianlian's statistical production.
- A little summer league tussle.