July, 2, 2012
By Beckley Mason
- The Heat won the title, but Miami's owner, Micky Arison, says the team still lost money.
- One reason Eric Gordon is likely to receive a max contract: Louis Williams might be the second-best available shooting guard.
- John Hollinger handicaps the Steve Nash sweepstakes (Insider), with this fascinating point: "By all rights, the Pacers should be the favorites to land Nash. At the moment, they aren't even on the radar. The Pacers will have about $12 million in cap space this summer, including the cap holds on restricted free agents Roy Hibbert and George Hill. Indiana could offer Darren Collison in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix and give Nash a three-year deal worth about $45 million, which would put the Pacers on equal or near-equal footing with every other suitor for his services. Meanwhile, basketball-wise this is by far the best team for which Nash could sign up and still be paid market value. The Pacers would just need to re-sign Hibbert and Hill and fill in the gaps on the wings with exception money, and Indy would give itself a three-year run at winning a championship. Could you imagine this offense with Nash at the controls, all that outside shooting at spots 2 through 4 and Hibbert in the paint?"
- Hollinger also designates Houston, a team with six first-round picks from the past three seasons to trade, as front runners to nab Dwight Howard (Insider).
- Some great Joe Dumars quotes. Vince Goodwill of the Detroit News quotes Dumars sounding a bit like Hillary Clinton and talking about Andre Drummond and player development: "I know as a parent, raising a child, it takes a village. You have to have that child, or that player, surrounded by good people. It should never fall on one person. It's the environment, the culture." Brendan Savage of Michigan Live quotes Dumars saying this about how his front office has changed since drafting Darko Milicic: "After I drafted Darko, from that point on, the amount of background we do on every single player that you see us draft is ridiculous. We do as much or more background than any other team in the NBA because of that. The background on (Milicic) was about 20 percent of what we do now. I look back on it now and realize you didn't know half of the stuff you needed to know." And one last Joe Dumars story, in which he was apparently ready to literally fight for second-round pick Kim English.
- A guide to San Antonio's free agency options.
- Royce Young of Daily Thunder explains why the Thunder are unlikely to retain all four of their outstanding young players: "So let’s speculate, and realize I’m probably horribly underpaying Harden and Ibaka, but bear with me for the sake of the illustration. Add up Harden (roughly $11.5 per year) and Ibaka (roughly $9.5 million per year), Perry Jones III (roughly $1 million per year) and the whatever pick next season (let’s say $1 million again) and a D-Leaguer or something, which fills out a 13-man roster. (KD, Westbrook, Thabo, Perk, Ibaka, Harden, Collison, Aldrich, Reggie Jackson, Lazar Hayward, Minimum D-Leaguer, Perry Jones and 2013 Rookie.) That brings the Thunder to about $79 million. That’s about $9 million over the tax line. Which means, the Thunder would be paying $1.75 for every dollar over (because they’re paying over $5 million the tax threshold, but less than $10 million), bringing the tax payment to $15,750,000.
- Five big name free agents that just aren't worth pursuing (Insider). All have had bright moments in the league but are now older than 30, except for Brandon Roy, whose knees are collecting Social Security.
- Paul Flannery of WEEI in Boston quotes agent David Falk speaking about his client, Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger: "I told him I hope he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder, I hope he has a boulder,” Falk said. “It’s his nature. There are inherent biases in the NBA against players with his body type. There’s a bias against them in favor of players like Tyrus Thomas, Anthony Randolph, Michael Beasley, none of them who were qualified yesterday. The GMs always love the high flyers." For the record, Randolph and Beasley weren’t extended qualifying offers, but all three have been professional disappointments. Falk continued, "That’s why 50 percent of the players drafted in the top 10 fail and why only nine teams in 32 years have won an NBA championship. Because teams make the same mistakes year after year in evaluating players. They only look at their upside as opposed to worrying whether they have a downside.”
- Omer Asik, who has reportedly been offered $25.1 million over three years by the Houston Rockets, played much better in 2012 when he was alongside fellow defensive presence Taj Gibson. It's unlikely he'll pair with similarly awesome defender in Houston.
- Steve Toll, on Philadunkia, writes optimistically about Maurice Harkless, though he also notes: "It’s likely that Philadelphia is one of the five worst teams in the NBA for Maurice Harkless to be a rookie on."