Erick Dampier’s “instantly” expiring contract was supposedly one of the off-season’s biggest trade chips, yet the Mavs were only able to get Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca in return. That’s not quite in line with Dallas’ lofty summer goals; Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban were shooting for a sign-and-trade with the biggest free agents, and were also connected to the Timberwolves in a possible trade for Al Jefferson. All of those potential moves fell through, and with only a few options left on the table, Dallas opted to grab a back-up center for next season. Not a bad move, just not a particularly good one in light of what could have been.
Dampier is now a Charlotte Bobcats…for the moment. The Bobcats will either waive Damp, making him an unrestricted free agent and wiping his salary off their books, or try to flip him for more value. However, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer found out, such a trade would be a bit more difficult than the one the Mavs just pulled off:
Since these [trade] rules can get complex, I emailed the league, and here’s what I was told:
Dampier’s contract CAN be traded right now, but couldn’t be
aggregated with another salary to make a deal work until 60 days after
being acquired by the Bobcats. In other words, if the Bobcats needed to
move about $17 million to make a trade work, they couldn’t combine
Dampier’s salary with Matt Carroll’s ($4.3 million) to approximate that
number until mid-September.
Without the ability to combine Dampier’s salary with another player’s salary for trade purposes, Charlotte’s options will be limited. Still, at this point they’re just looking for any value. As long as trading Dampier doesn’t come with long-term financial burden (which it likely would; What other incentive would a team have to trade for him? Especially considering he’s going to be made a free agent and will sign for far, far less than $13 million?), acquiring something is better than nothing.
With time running down in the third quarter, LeBron James went hard to the basket for a layup, and the shot was contested by Jeremy Lamb, who ended up poking LeBron in the eye on the play.
It isn’t intentional, but it looks painful.
That blow could have LeBron sitting out Saturday night when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards in Cleveland. From Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.
James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”
He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.
The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Booker dropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.
And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.
Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.
The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”
NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.
Booker himself responded this way.
There was no hesitation. None was expected.
After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.
Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.
Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.
The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.
And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.
Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”
Jerry West said he loved him like a son.
Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”
The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.
Check out the highlights above.