Quietly, seemingly unnoticed (save for Ken Berger at CBS) the agents for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have joined forces with the Godfather William Wesley in one company — CAA.
If this were a corporate merger, the government would stop it to review if it was a monopoly.
What does all of this mean? Simply put, the top three NBA free agents are all under the same representation umbrella — an advantage that will allow them to freely share information about what will be a dizzying, unpredictable free-agent signing period. The college coach who would make the biggest splash and most money if he returned to the NBA soon could be on board in the form of Calipari, via Wesley. It is a nexus of power not seen since 1996, when David Falk represented free agents Jordan, Alonzo Mourning, Juwan Howard, Dikembe Mutombo and others at a time there was no maximum contract. The domino effect could result in what one rival agent described as “sweeping changes” in the NBA landscape by the time it’s over.
“I think the process is going to entail three individual circumstances, but the knowledge is centralized on all three,” one NBA team executive said. “It gives them absolute control of the market, for one. You have the three most sought-after clients.”
Since those three guys are all going to get max offers, the money is going to be the money, CAA or no. But if one wanted to coordinate players landing together, or making sure players get the coach they want, it could be done. CAA also will be able to share information on offers and situations among their clients.
And whatever the big three do will have a trickle-down effect through the league. That is the big impact.
And CAA will be in a position to potentially set the agenda.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.