Javaris Crittenton hasn’t been doing a lot of public appearances lately, and when he does he apologizes a lot.
Which is exactly what happened when his former college coach Paul Hewitt got him on his radio show on 790 The Zone in Atlanta and asked him what he wanted to say to the public about the gun incident that led to him and Gilbert Arenas being suspended for the season.
“Just that I am sorry for the incident to all of my fans and all of my family too, all the kids that look up to me. It wasn’t good. At this point, just moving forward and having positive thoughts and just working really hard getting ready for next season.”
“Yeah that is it. I just want to put this behind me. It was definitely a mistake. A mistake that shouldn’t have happened, but you know everything happens for a reason and really opened my eyes and I just want to move forward. Positive thoughts and positive people around me and doing the right thing.”
Crittenton has learned the hard lesson for players, that the NBA is not about basketball and only basketball.
I had to learn the hard way that this is a business. It really opened my eyes, the first time I was traded. I really was like, wow, this is a business. This is for real. It’s not just about basketball. Sometimes those things can be good and sometimes those things can be bad when you know that it is a business because in a way I fell to this sometimes. It is a business and everything is business-minded, it almost makes you lose your love for the game sometimes.”
Crittenton has game – he is very quick with pretty good handles. He can get to the rim and finish. The problem is hitting any kind of jumper, and he turns the ball over too much (both bad things for a guard in the NBA). He’s one of those guys where you see the potential but wonder if he can ever live up to it. He’s running out of chances to prove he can. But he will get another chance. Somewhere.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.