Friday, February 22, 2013
First Cup: Friday
By Nick Borges
- Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Don’t look at the Hawks as a basketball team. Look at them as a spreadsheet. The NBA trade deadline passed Thursday. Josh Smith is still a Hawk. Why? Because for general manager Danny Ferry, this season realistically isn’t about winning a championship, it’s about preserving the wonderful landscape without another volcanic eruption of red ink. There were potential trade partners willing to send the Hawks players for Smith, possibly even name players. But after ridding the franchise of one debilitating financial virus (Joe Johnson’s contract), the last thing Ferry was willing to do was take on, say, Amar’e Stoudemire and an economic Bubonic plague (about $54 million for the next 2½ years). … Ferry is clearing land with the belief that others will buy in and he’ll be able to build his Shangri-La, not a Knights Inn. Here’s the problem with what happened Thursday: There is a chance Josh Smith walks after this season for nothing. Even if he has overvalued himself and doesn’t get the contract he hopes for in free agency, he still may leave. Ferry obviously wasn’t enamored with any of the players he was offered in trade, but aren’t weak assets better than potentially no assets?
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: J.J. Redick, who is in the final year of his contract, said he hasn’t spoken with the Bucks yet about his long-term plans. “I think with them bringing me in I assume they want to get into the playoffs, make a playoff run and try to get as high a seed as possible,” he said. “Hopefully, I can help them do that and we’ll deal with the summer when the summer happens.” Redick, who will turn 29 in June, will become an unrestricted free agent in July because his current contract can’t be extended. Hypothetically, he could sign with the Magic, but he doesn’t see that as a realistic possibility because the Magic are headed in a different direction. “I think that door is probably closed, and that’s just my assumption,” he said. “I can’t imagine a scenario where that would be the case. Will our paths cross at some point in the future? Who knows? But in terms of this summer, I don’t see that happening. I have no hard feelings. None whatsoever. I just can’t remember that ever happening in the NBA [where someone was traded and then signed a few months later].”
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: Bucks general manager John Hammond didn't come away empty-handed, however. He still pulled off the biggest deal of the day by acquiring Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick in a six-player trade. Redick joins Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis to form a talented three-guard rotation as the Bucks approach the final 29 games of the regular season and try to secure an Eastern Conference playoff spot. "People underestimate J.J.'s overall ability because he's such an effective three-point shooter," Hammond said Thursday. "He's a quality defender, a good ball handler, a good decision-maker. "He gives us an opportunity to go with a true three-guard rotation. I don't want to say we have the best three-guard rotation in the NBA, but we've got to be in the discussion." … Now the Bucks will have intriguing contract situations to ponder with Jennings, Ellis and Redick in the off-season. Jennings will be a restricted free agent, and the Bucks can match any offer made to him. Ellis has an $11 million player option for next season and can become an unrestricted free agent. And Redick will be a free agent. "We have decisions to make this summer, as we do in every off-season," Hammond said.
- Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: Shoring up the point guard position at virtually no cost, Toronto acquired well-travelled Sebastian Telfair from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. It fills a need on the roster, no doubt, but it’s hardly a deal that will reshape the team’s immediate fortunes. And while sticking with the plan may be a solid longer-term philosophy, the team the Raptors are currently chasing in a difficult race to the post-season upgraded itself. The Milwaukee Bucks, who began play Thursday night in eighth place in the East, picked up J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic in a definite upgrade. … The word from the Raptors to their fans is obvious: “We’re on the right track, hang with us as we grow internally.” Whether that works or not is impossible to tell — and Colangelo is still going to have discussions about an Andrea Bargnani trade around the late-June draft and early-July free agency period — but the team president seems content with the pieces that are in place.
- Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: The Charlotte Bobcats did a deal at the trade deadline Thursday, but it won’t exactly change the course of the franchise. The Bobcats moved one little-used power forward, Hakim Warrick, for another little-used power forward – Orlando’s Josh McRoberts. This makes the Bobcats a bit younger: McRoberts, who played collegiately at Duke, is in his sixth NBA season, while Warrick is in his eighth. It also shaves about $800,000 off the Bobcats’ salary cap. Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho said they’ve had interest in McRoberts for a while and want to explore his potential the rest of this season.
- Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman: Ronnie Brewer is coming, a defensive whiz acquired from New York for a future second-round draft pick. He is a relative unknown in these parts, unless you remember him playing at Arkansas or you worship at the House of Sutton — then you know his dad played for Eddie. But if you love Thabo Sefolosha, you're going to love Brewer. Eric Maynor is going, the third-string point guard shipped to Portland for a trade exception. He hasn't played meaningful minutes for months, the result of never quite returning to form after a devastating knee injury. But really, neither of those deals is major. So, why didn't the Thunder strike a big deal? It all comes down to money. On a day when no title contenders made any blockbuster moves, the Thunder fell in line. It has decided to basically stay the course with its current collection of players. Same could be said for the Heat and the Spurs and the Pacers and the Clippers and pretty much everyone else in serious contention. Everyone is mindful of the new collective bargaining agreement.
- Candace Buckner of The Columbian: Portland acquired guard Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder in return for the draft rights of international player Georgios Printezis. The Blazers made the deal by using the same $2.4 million trade exception that they received last July in the swap of Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas for Jared Jeffries. With the trade, the Blazers needed to waive veteran backup guard Ronnie Price to make room on the roster. By doing so, Portland takes its first steps in improving a low-performing bench, which was once believed it could be built from within. “This was the best deal we could construct,” Olshey said on Thursday afternoon. “Eric fits into our culture. He’s a great guy in the locker room and he’s a really good guy on the floor. He upgrades our talent base in terms of the point guard and backcourt positions.”
- Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com: The 76ers made a relatively minor move at Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline, acquiring backup point guard Charles Jenkins and cash from the Warriors in exchange for a protected second-round pick the Sixers may not end up having to pay. The Warriors sent the 23-year-old Jenkins, the 44th pick in the 2011 draft, to the Sixers and Jeremy Tyler to the Hawks, which allowed them to avoid having to pay the luxury tax. The move leaves the Sixers with the maximum 15 players under contract. They just guaranteed the contract of point guard Jeremy Pargo on Monday for the remainder of the season.
- Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle: The Warriors avoided paying the league's increasingly punitive luxury tax at the last possible second, dealing away end-of-bench players Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler minutes before Thursday's trade deadline. Jenkins, the team's third-string point guard, was sent to Philadelphia, and Tyler, the team's 15th man, was shipped to Atlanta. Both players were moved along with cash considerations for future protected draft picks that are never expected to be conveyed to Golden State. The Warriors are one of seven teams that have never incurred the luxury tax since its inception with the 1999 collective bargaining agreement. Owner Joe Lacob said he would be willing to pay the tax if necessary in the future, but thought it financially wise to avoid the penalty this season when the team stood just $1.2 million over the $70.3 million luxury tax threshold.
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: The Suns were not just acquiring the lottery-pick talent of Marcus Morris by finalizing a deal Thursday with Houston. They feel like they are acquiring a new Markieff Morris as well with the move. The Suns have been interested in pairing the Morris twins since the 2011 draft. They nearly gave a first-round pick to do it 20 months ago but gave up only their second-round pick in June’s draft to get Marcus on Thursday. … Before Thursday’s trade deadline, the Suns also dealt Sebastian Telfair, who was replaced in the rotation by rookie Kendall Marshall three weeks ago. Telfair was moved to Toronto for center Hamed Haddadi and a 2014 second-round pick that will be the latter of Toronto’s and Sacramento’s picks, with top-36 protection. The Suns waived rookie Luke Zeller, who made 16 appearances, to clear a spot on the 15-man roster for the new Morris. The Morrises will be the only twin teammates in NBA history besides the Suns’ Dick and Tom Van Arsdale in 1976-77. This is no novelty act or short-term flier. The Suns feel they acquired a future tandem and sacrificed only a pick at about No. 35, where a draftee would have a hard time making the team over two potential Suns first-round lottery picks.
- Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post: The Heat invested nearly three seasons in Dexter Pittman’s development. If it pays off for Pittman, it will pay off for the Grizzlies. Pittman was dealt before Thursday’s trading deadline, along with a second-round pick, in exchange for Memphis’ trade exception and a foreign jump-shooting center (Ricky Sanchez) who was drafted back in 2005, plays in Argentina and isn’t all that likely to play in the United States. So what was the point? “Roster flexibility,” Erik Spoelstra said.
- Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: The Griz were able to absorb Pittman’s salary with a trade exception created by Sam Young, whom the team also used to acquire the rights to Sanchez in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers last season. … “Dexter is a player who gives us some additional size,” Griz CEO Jason Levien said. “We saw it as an opportunity to add a player to our roster who can potentially be helpful to us this season. And doing due diligence, we received favorable feedback on him as a person. Also, we think that using one of our trade exceptions to gain a player and the additional asset of a second-round pick is something we saw value in.” The Griz could have three second-round picks in the June draft. Memphis owns second-round picks from Miami and Toronto. The Grizzlies’ second-rounder goes to the Los Angeles Lakers only if they finish with one of the top five records in the NBA.
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: On Thursday, Washington traded the disgruntled third-year shooting guard to the Boston Celtics for injured veteran guard Leandro Barbosa and seldom-used veteran center Jason Collins, getting minimal return for a player who had been the team’s leading scorer until last month. “Jordan did not fit into our current plans . . . or our future plans,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said during a news conference to announce the trade. “At this time, we thought it was in the best interest of everyone if we make this trade. It will be a good situation for Jordan. He might get an opportunity to go to a better team and help them and it will allow us to continue on the path that we’re trying to build in the locker room, with work ethic and team play, where everybody is on the same page and wanting to play for the same reasons. Being unselfish offensively and playing good, aggressive defense.”
- Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: The Celtics negotiated until the final moments before the 3 p.m. trade deadline Thursday, trying to work deals that would upgrade the current roster and add youth and talent to future ones. But the only move president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could muster was a three-player deal that landed Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford — once renowned for his dunk on LeBron James at a Nike Camp while at Xavier — for injured guard Leandro Barbosa and veteran center Jason Collins. … Rivers and Wittman are close, and the Celtics coach acknowledged Crawford’s attitude issues in Washington. “I know he can score and that’s something we needed,” Rivers said. “Losing Barbosa [to a torn left ACL], I kept saying that’s hurt us. We don’t have that wild card off the bench, and I hope [Crawford] gives us that. I know about the other stuff, too. I’m hoping, obviously, [with] our staff, and we have some veteran players around him, that he can grow.”
- Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: In a desperate search for another sharpshooter, the Dallas Mavericks got rid of a defensive specialist Thursday in return for an offensive specialist, trading Dahntay Jones to the Atlanta Hawks for Anthony Morrow. Morrow averaged 5.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game while playing 24 games for the Atlanta Hawks this season. A sharpshooter, Morrow shot 42.3 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range this season for Atlanta. “We’ve talked about this since training camp, trying to upgrade and address some of our shooting issues. This really gives us a chance to spread the court and make some people’s job a little bit easier, because you certainly can’t come off a guy like Anthony,” Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said.
- Marc Berman of the New York Post: At Thursday’s trade deadline, Grunwald opened up a roster spot for Kenyon Martin’s addition by shipping out-of-the-rotation guard Ronnie Brewer to Oklahoma City for a 2014 second-round pick. Martin will sign a 10-day contract but is not expected to play either Friday night in Toronto or Sunday against Philadelphia as final details get worked out. It wasn’t much of an upgrade for a club that has lost four of its last five games, was humiliated in Indiana on Wednesday night and has been a .500 team since mid-December after beginning the season 18-5. Martin, with the Clippers last season, hasn’t played this season. “That’s our goal. That’s what this organization is trying to do — move toward an NBA championship,” Grunwald said on a conference call, the first time he has talked to the media since Oct. 1. “Hopefully, we’ve made great progress on our goal. I think we have the parts to do so.’’