What do you want out of your role players? Hustle. Energy every night. Guys willing to do the little things to win. Guys who sacrifice themselves and have surprisingly solid games.
So why is Louis Amundson still on the market again?
He did all those things for the Suns last season, showing he can be part of a strong bench (one that was key to helping Phoenix reach the Western Conference finals). Yet he sits unsigned after a parade of names — Kwame Brown anyone — are already inked.
We said yesterday that the Hornets were considered the frontrunner for Amundson, but the Warriors apparently think they have a chance.
Amundson’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, expressed his confusion it took this long NBA.com.
“Teams talk all the time about how they want guys that play hard, that have a great motor,” Bartelstein said. “It’s not until after they lose him that they realize they miss the guy that knocks balls loose to grab offensive rebounds and kick it out for open 3-pointers.
“Those guys are so valuable for winning basketball. Because he’s not the most skilled guy in the world, teams can take that for granted. Players like Louis Amundson win you a lot of games. His numbers don’t justify what he does. If you’re not watching him play every night, you don’t appreciate how good he is. If all you do is look up his stats, you have no idea the difference he makes in game.”
It may well be about the money. There were rumors Amundson was asking for more than the average bench guy, but he is likely to end up in the $2 million a year range (the Warriors can offer $2.1).
But at that price, Amundson — a big man off the bench who brings it every night — is a steal. Someone needs to snatch this guy up.
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.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.