How badly does Tony Battie want to win?
He is one of the prime candidates to be bought out today, and if the deal is done by the league-set midnight deadline he can sign with another team and be on their playoff roster.
Battie is owed about $1.7 million for the remainder of this season (on his $6.5 million deal). The Nets would not miss him and would be happy to send him on his way, but they also have no motive to do so unless they can save money. So Nets President Rod Thorn is offering Battie the chance for his freedom, the chance to sign somewhere else and for his season to have meaning, but at a rate well below what Battie would make if he stayed put.
“Honestly, I’m not sure,” Battie told ESPN.com. “I’m going to be professional about it, and whatever happens happens. That’s kind of where I’m going to leave it because I honestly feel that way.
“It’s not smart to leave money on the table knowing that you still have to go out and find a team that’s going to be a taker, so you don’t want to put yourself in limbo to leave a situation and not have a 100 percent guaranteed deal waiting somewhere else,” Battie said.
On one hand Battie doesn’t strike you as a guy with a lot left to give — he has battled a foot injury all season. has played in just 15 games for the Nets, averaging 2.4 points per game on 35 percent shooting. If you can’t crack the six-win Nets rotation, whose can you can you crack?
But he is a 6’11” center who could provide some playoff minutes off the bench — last season he played in 21 playoff games for the Magic. He played a small but effective role for them. With playoff teams such as Atlanta and Denver (maybe Cleveland?) looking for a little front-line depth for the post-season, Battie likely would have suitors.
But will he leave money on the table just to win?
Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.
Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.
This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.