Denver needed Al Harrington.
When next season tips off, Chris “Birdman” Anderson and Kenyon Martin will still be sidelined. They had Nene at center but needed a four. Plus Denver wanted a bigger and deeper front line to deal with the Lakers come the playoffs.
So they went pretty big with Harrington — five years and $33 million, the full mid-level exception. And that got it done, as Harrington himself tweeted:
Yo my Tweeples. Appreciate the Love and Concern. But I’m taking my Talents to the MILE HIGH. Lol. Love Yall Lego DENVER!!
ESPN’s Marc Stein had it first.
Dallas had appeared to be the frontrunner and even had owner Mark Cuban make a personal pitch since both were in Las Vegas. But money talks, and Denver opened the wallet wider.
Denver is a team that, once healthy, could be a very good fit for Harrington. He’s athletic, can put the ball on the floor and is a shooter with range, giving the Knicks 17.7 a game last season while shooting 34.2 percent from three. He loves to shoot. Sometimes a little too much, which leads to some questionable shot selection. And since you don’t shoot on defense, he can be disinterested on that end of the floor.
Denver may still need one more big to start the season.
But when fully healthy the Nuggets have forwards who want to go inside and bang. Harrington will give them some scoring off the bench and a guy who can pull help defenders away from the basket because of his range. He gives George Karl matchup options.
This certainly means Denver will not match Linas Kleiza’s offer from Toronto of four years, $18.8 million.
Everyone else thinks Dwight Howard is getting out of Houston this summer.
Jason Terry isn’t convinced.
Dwight Howard has a player option this summer, which he is expected to exercise and become a free agent. For one thing, he’d do it for the pay raise — he wants a max contract, starting at about $30 million. The other reason is he and James Harden have not blended in Houston, and Howard wants a fresh start.
But Jason Terry isn’t convinced yet. Terry was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and told Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson Howard may stay put. Here is the quote, via Hoopshype.
“I wouldn’t rule (a return) out. He has yet to opt out. Again, it’s just going to depend on if you get the right coach in there. At this point in his career, he’s not going to be the focal point offensively. They’ve made that clear. He’s gonna have to, if he remains in Houston, buy into the role fully, commit himself to setting screens, rebounding, running the floor, blocking shots and working on his free throws, obviously.”
In theory, a coach could come in and convince Howard to stay. In theory, I could capture Bigfoot and prove his existence to the world. Those have about the same odds of happening.
Forgetting the whole “Howard wants another max contract” thing, what Terry said about Howard accepting a role is the issue. Howard said he went directly to Rockets GM Daryl Morey and asked for a bigger role — and he was shot down. Howard does not want to accept a lesser role where his primary job is rebounding and defense, just like he never wanted to accept running more pick-and-roll and working less from the post even though he was much better at the former than the latter. Howard wants what Howard wants.
And I’d be shocked if he doesn’t want out of Houston.
A good rule of thumb: If LeBron James is getting few breakaway dunks, the other team is in trouble.
Enter the Toronto Raptors, who got to watch a dunking clinic by LeBron as he had multiple breakaways during the Cavaliers’ 38-point win on Wednesday night. LeBron played well, and the Cavaliers got a balanced attack from their stars — 25 points from Kevin Love, 23 each from LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Watch LeBron’s night above. Toronto needs to find a way to keep him from having another game like this Friday.
After a beatdown at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 — a loss where he was just 5-of-12 shooting, a loss that has the Raptors on the brink of playoff elimination — Kyle Lowry did what he had to do and went in front of the media to answer questions and try to explain that loss.
But really, his face when he walked into the interview room and saw the box score summed up the Raptors night perfectly.
Lowry and the Raptors need to turn it around and win at home Friday night to keep their playoff dream alive another day.
The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.
It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.
Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.
Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.