Helpful tip for NBA free-agents. If you’re looking at possible teams to join? Try looking at their roster first. If they happen to employ someone who plays your position and plays at well, for more money and is younger? They’re probably not interested. If they employ two, halve that percentage they’re into you.
Shaquille O’Neal thinks that tip is dumb.
NBA FanHouse’s Tim Povtak reports that Shaq is lobbying the Celtics to sign him for the veteran minimum so he can join the Eastern Conference champs. I’m going to do this bullet points because it makes my head hurt and it’s simpler this way.
- The Celtics signed Jermaine O’Neal this summer to the MLE.
- The Celtics still have an injured but coming back Kendrick Perkins on roster.
- Shaq is older than most of the remaining fossil fuels on the earth.
- Notice how all of the rumors about Shaq joining teams are coming from Shaq’s camp.
- This move would only further seek to resuscitate the Kobe-Shaq feud which is dead in the cold, cold ground.
Shaq can still play. He can. He can rebound, He’s still got more touch around the basket than Dwight Howard, plays defense in the post, can pass, has some quickness, and has all the veteran tricks.
He’s also a monstrous liability in pick and roll defense, can’t extend out to mid-range, is still out of shape, is very old in NBA years, and has been known to be a locker room problem because of the size of his ego.
So there are pluses and minuses.
Perkins is facing a hard come back and the Celtics do need frontcourt help, especially to battle Dwight Howard and Miami’s triple threat.
But Shaq is 38 years old, will still want a starting spot, and we’ve yet to hear any indication that the Celtics are interested in going in this direction. The Celtics taking on a player who isn’t versatile in their help defensive sets doesn’t seem very likely. This isn’t Penny Hardaway being discussed for the Heat, but you can see it from here.
The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:
Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.
Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.
But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.
His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.
Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.
So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.
The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.
Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.
After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).
But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?
The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.
He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.
But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.
I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.
John Wall didn’t like how Jusuf Nurkic bumped him, so Wall shoved the Nuggets center from behind and sent him to the floor.
An overreaction to the bump? Probably. Wall got hit with a technical foul.
But I’m mostly just impressed Wall was strong enough to push over Nurkic.