With all the movings and goings on in free agency, every team has had concerns about their star moving on. The Magic are trying to get ahead of that speeding train by locking up Dwight Howard to a longterm extension. In years past, the only question about stars re-signing was if the team was willing to commit to the max money. But the Miami Heat, even as they struggle through the first ten games, have changed things.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Dwight Howard is “not automatic” to sign an extension this summer. Their sources say he might wait, possibly until he enters free agency, simply based on his desire to win a championship. Howard apparently wants to see whether or not he’ll determine he needs further help than what the Magic have. The Magic’s playoff performance this spring will also impact the situation. The Magic have money coming off the books with Vince Carter, and Rashard Lewis’ contract is at least within sight of ending, even if it’s still unmovable. Jameer Nelson has shown he can be a terrific complimentary player, but no one on the Magic is in the level of what the Heat have, of what Boston or LA has. He doesn’t have that dominant partner to draw attention.
So Howard will wait and see if he needs to seek the possibility of going elsewhere. Losing Howard would of course be devastating, as devastating as losing Shaq was in the previous decade. Of course, if the Heat were to fall flat on their face, that might send the kind of message needed that superstars that handcuff your team can’t get you to the promised land. Either way, it’s another sign that we’ve entered an era where stars not only want the best, they want the best on their terms. They want their championship cake and to eat it with a golden fork.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.