Cleveland is still in the mourning phase.
Utah has moved on to the “what do we do now?” phase of rebuilding a team after losing a star.
Except Utah is not really rebuilding, they are restructuring. The Jazz are in pretty good shape. In part because they have Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the game to build around. In part because they have a team that buys into coach Jerry Slaon’s system.
Paul Millsap (who the Jazz wisely matched an offer to last season and have for three more years) will get the bulk of the minutes at the four. Which is good. When Boozer was out last year, Millsap averaged a double-double. He’s not as complete an offensive player as Boozer, but Millsap is quality.
FanHouse asked Utah’s general manager Kevin O’Conner his thoughts and he said what they need is front line depth. Because he’s too smart to count on Andrei Kirilenko staying healthy all season.
“I think addressing the need,” O’Connor said of what the Jazz will do. “We want to remain competitive. That’s an important thing. We’re not looking to say, ‘We’re not going to sign anybody. We’re going to go into next season.’ We’ll look for a player that will help us win games, and it doesn’t have to be somebody that scores 20 points.”
The Jazz also picked up Gordon Hayward out of Butler in the draft, who it appears from Summer League is a guy that can find some minutes off the bench and contribute points right away. He will not be quite Kyle Korver, but he can start to fill that role.
Then there is the future. After this season Kirilenko’s $17.8 million salary comes off the books, the Jazz have only $36 million on the books for 2011-12. They can look at some free agents or trades that bring them another quality player or two.
Utah is still going to be good this year. And they are primed to restructure on the fly. How many other organizations could pull that off
NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Pelicans say they have signed free-agent forward Terrence Jones and re-signed guard Tim Frazier.
A person familiar with the negotiations says Jones, a four-year veteran, signed a one-year deal Friday for the NBA minimum of about $1.14 million, while Frazier has signed a two-year deal worth about $4.1 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Pelicans have not released contract terms.
The 6-foot-9 Jones, who was Anthony Davis‘ teammates on Kentucky’s 2012 national championship team, has spent his first four NBA seasons with Houston, posting career averages of 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Frazier played in 16 games for New Orleans late last season, averaging 13.1 points, 7.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 29.3 minutes per game.
Deron Williams will be back with the Dallas Mavericks next season — and be ready to go by the start of the season.
He’d like to say he’d be back for the next few seasons, but coming off a Sports Hernia injury his options were a little limited. However, his recovery is going well he told NBC Dallas in an interview from American Century Championships celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe (which you can watch this weekend on NBC).
“Feeling really good. It’s healing pretty well, I’m doing a lot of work on and off the court. I haven’t got the full-go clearance yet, but that’s coming soon. I’ll be ready to go definitely by the time training camp rolls around.
“I’m running, I’m jumping a little bit. I’m just not going crazy. I kind of have to wait for August 1 for that, to go see the doc and get the go ahead. But it’s not much restriction right now.”
Williams averaged 14.1 points and 5.8 assists per game for the Mavericks last season and was solid at 32. His efficiency slipped a little (to be expected as he is on the wrong side of 30 and has plenty of miles) but he played well for Dallas.
Dallas signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal. Williams was hoping for a little more security.
“I was happy to come back. Would have liked a little longer deal but I’m back for one year and hopefully can build on last year and improve. I think there’s room for a lot of improvement. Hopefully I can stay healthy. I think that’s the biggest key but I’m excited about this year and this team.”
The one-year deal is more about Dallas than Williams — they could see a significant shift in plans when Dirk Nowitzki steps away (he inked a two-year deal but the second year is only $5 million guaranteed, so he could be in his final run if he wants).
Dallas added Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut from the Warriors to a starting five that also includes Nowitzki, Williams, and Wesley Matthews. If they can stay healthy — no little thing with that group — it’s a quality starting five that coach Rick Carlisle is going to love.
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.