Michael Redd who?
We kind of forgot about the All-Star sharpshooter the way the Milwaukee Bucks finished off the season so well, but Redd is under contract with the team. He had knee surgery again this season and hasn’t been around the team during his rehab.
In his place, John Salmons has come in and just killed it. He averaged 20 points a game and as a sign of his overall game had a PER of 17.6 (well above the league average of 15). According to Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Bucks are negotiating to keep Salmons around next season.
He said the Bucks are “quietly negotiating” a two or three year extension to keep Salmons in a Bucks uniform.
Redd has an $18.3 million player option for next season, the last year of his current deal. He is 31 and has now blown out his knee twice, so he’s not going to get paid elsewhere and is going to pick up that option, but Hunt suggests the Bucks may not want him around.
Although he has that massive option for next season, my guess is he’ll never play for the Bucks again. Even if he successfully rehabs from a second major knee surgery at age 31, it’s possible he could continue to stay away by mutual unspoken consent until the Bucks try to unload what might become a desirable salary slot at the next trading deadline in February. With the Tracy McGrady case, there is precedence…
If Salmons stays, Redd, who was once the face of the franchise, would be put in the awkward spot of returning as an $18 million backup, That’s because it has become abundantly clear that the Bucks, as paradoxical as it might sound, are a better team without their 20-point scorer. One trademark of the surprising 2009-’10 Bucks is that the ball has found a variety of scorers. The ball has moved better without Redd on the floor, and that is to say nothing of the record with and without Redd these last two years.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.