I’d just like to take a moment and applaud those NBA cities with cap space that haven’t completely degraded themselves in an attempt to grab headlines related to LeBron James by throwing themselves at him with gimmicks. Thanks for that.
Hey LeBron James, here’s your backup point guard.
The Cavaliers cleared out a roster spot a couple of weeks ago letting Chris Andersen go, that was all about creating a space for a quality player waived by another team to come in.
How about Deron Williams? The Dallas Mavericks waived him just after the deadline passed on Thursday, the team announced.
Multiple reports say that once he clears waivers, he plans to sign with the Cavaliers.
It makes sense, Williams gets to contend for a title and will make a lot of playoff money with the run the Cavaliers make to the Finals (more than $300,000 if they get that far).
At age 32, Williams has accepted a smaller role and evolved from elite into a solid NBA point guard, averaging 13.1 points and 6.8 assists per game this season and shooting 34.8 percent from three. He’s more a floor general than a dynamic scorer anymore, and he’s not a great defender, but he will be perfect in the 15-20 minutes a night he has to play with Kyrie Irving resting.
Cleveland also is expected to make a run at landing Andrew Bogut, who the Sixers will waive in the coming day.
During the All-Star weekend in New Orleans, an at times frustrated Paul George sat down with the Pacers ownership and front office and told them, in so many words, “I want to be a Pacer for life, but only if we can build a team that can contend for a title.”
Fans from Los Angeles to Boston only seemed to hear the second part of that, then when the trade rumors started to fly people were convinced he was on the move.
The Pacers focused on the first part of that sentence. Which is why he’s still a Pacer tonight.
Indiana went out and kicked the tires on deals, talking to a lot of teams. We know Boston came hard because this was the first time they have put one of their prized Brooklyn picks the next two seasons on the table.
The Hawks were trying.
Denver wants to make a run at the big time — remember they came hard at Dwyane Wade last summer — and they made a run at George.
Although, this would have gotten Denver to back off.
Those teams were not alone, but in the end, the Pacers passed on all of it.
Why? Because they heard the first part of that sentence above — they love Paul George and want him to be their cornerstone. They listened to offers, not nothing rose to the Godfather offer level it was going to have to for the Pacers to deal away their star and start a massive rebuilding project around Myles Turner.
That said, this conversation is not over.
Only two things will keep Paul George in Indiana past his free agency of 2018 (and if he leaves then his hometown Lakers are seen as a clear, runaway favorite). First, Larry Bird is able to build a contender around George in the next year. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.
The other is that George makes an All-NBA team this season, if that happens, the Pacers can offer him the “designated player” larger contract, around $210 million over five years (and $30 million more than he could make anywhere else). George may have frustrations and issues in Indiana, but he’s not leaving that cash on the table.
If George is not an All-NBA player this year (he’s on the bubble, but likely just outside the list with the top six forwards), and if Bird cannot quickly construct a contender, then the Pacers have to revisit these trades and try to get something back for their star.
They just weren’t ready to go there on Thursday.
The Clippers face a make-or-break offseason.
It seems they might have already handled their major business.
there is a belief that Redick already has committed to re-sign in July. Like Griffin and Paul, Redick is viewed as a core piece, and while his $7.3 million price tag is likely going way up, there is a belief that Rivers and the Clippers are ready to pay it.
The capped-out Clippers will have no mechanism to adequately replace Redick if they re-sign Paul and Griffin. Exceeding the cap to re-sign Redick is the only feasible path to maintaining contender status – a must with Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in place.
If Redick agreed this early to re-sign, that suggests he’s not going to extract every penny he can from the Clippers or that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is willing to spend big. Redick really could have put the screws to the Clippers by playing hardball through free agency.
His leverage due simply to the Clippers’ cap situation would have been immense, but the rest of the league would have also provided a safety net. The 3-and-D skills that make Redick valuable to the Clippers would help any team.
All this said, Redick – and Paul and Griffin – can’t re-sign until July. No matter their intent today, there’s plenty of time for these deals to fall apart.
But the Clippers having assurances from all three to stay would be a big deal.
The Toronto Raptors went into the last few weeks in a slump on the court and with the need to improve at the forward slot if they had any dreams of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals again.
Then the Raptors added Serge Ibaka.
Now they have added P.J. Tucker from the Suns to the mix, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This is a strong move for Toronto. Tucker is a physical guy who can play the three or the four, and he brings a strong defensive presence to the court — he is statistically one of the better defending small forwards in the league this season. He and DeMarre Carroll can give the Raptors a needed boost on that end, and Tucker is going to be great as a defensive matchup in certain playoff situations.
Toronto has made its move — first they hope to get back up to the two or three seed in the East (and avoid Cleveland in the second round). Then to make a stronger run at Cleveland in the conference finals — remember they took the Cavs six games last year.
What the Suns wanted was the picks. Sullinger is a solid player who can step into their rotation now, but is a downgrade — especially defensively — from Tucker. What the Suns start doing is looking for draft steals they can find in the second round.