Fredette stands with NBA Commissioner Stern after being selected by the Bucks as the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark

NBA Draft day trade wrap-up… because we all got confused


There was a point while putting up PBT’s pick-by-pick updates through the draft that I thought every pick on the board started with “He was selected for Team X as part of a trade…”

To help sort it all out, here is a breakdown of all the draft day trades.

• Bobcats, Bucks, Kings big three-team deal. This was the trade of the day, the one that totally reshaped the draft. In the end, here’s how it works out:

The Charlotte Bobcats gave up their leading scorer in Stephen Jackson and end up with Bismack Biyombo and Corey Maggette out of this trade. How this pans out really comes down to how good Biyombo turns out to be, high ceiling but he could be Joel Anthony Part II. (They also ended the day with Kemba Walker, but not as part of this deal.)

The Milwaukee Bucks end up with Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, No. 19 pick Tobias Harris of Tennessee and reserve point guard Shaun Livingston. This is a team that needed more creativity on offense. They got that… and a lot more technical fouls.

The Sacramento Kings gets John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette (which is who the owner Maloof brothers had pushed for, and in the end owners get what they want). Not sure all these moves makes them a better team, but it does make them more marketable.

• Portland, Denver swap point guards. Portland gets Raymond Felton, a younger, better shooting from three version of Andre Miller, Denver gets in Miller a guy that works for them with a much shorter contract. I’m not sure either team really got better in this deal.

• Indiana and San Antonio take some risks. Indiana is bringing home combo guard George Hill. He’s a solid, smart player going to a team that needs more of that and fewer projects. But they gave up potentially good players to the Spurs to do it — No. 15 Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State (very athletic and the best small forward on the board), No. 42 pick Davis Bertrans of Latvia (considered a first round pick talent) and 2005 No. 46 pick Erazem Lorbek of Slovenia (yea, I got no idea either). I understand why Indiana made the move, but they have good guards already. How this trade is viewed down the road depends on how Leonard pans out. It could be another big Spurs win.

• The Mavericks get older still. Dallas acquired Rudy Fernandez (and the rights to Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen) from Portland for Jordan Hamilton. I think Fernandez is a fit in Dallas, if they can dip him in the fountain of youth like they seem to all their veterans. Fernandez has seen his game slip in recent years, if it rebounds this is a great pick up for more scoring off the bench. For Portland, they get a good young prospect at forward for a guy they don’t care about, so a win.

• Houston and Minnesota swap picks. Houston really wanted No. 20 pick Donatas Motiejunas, because no team is complete without a 7-foot Lithuanian project. To get him they also took on Jonny Flynn, who they are shopping again already, plus the Rockets will save about $10 million over the course of this deal.

The Timberwolves end up with No. 23 pick Nikola Mirotic (Serbia), No. 38 pick Chandler Parsons of Florida, a future first-round pick, and whatever is left in the tank of Brad Miller. I’m not a Parson’s fan, maybe he proves me wrong, so it’s about Mirotic. Really, the winner of this trade is whoever ends up with the better of the European project players, so ask again in three years.

• Celtics and Nets swap picks. Boston made the kind of move you see from Patriots coach Bill Belichick — they traded down two spots to get a future second rounder. They end up with No. 27 pick JaJuan Johnson of Purdue. They gave over to New Jersey No. 25 pick MarShon Brooks of Providence — a volume scorer in college but a guy with a potentially higher ceiling in the NBA. Good deal for the rebuilding Nets, they need guys like that.

• Orlando and Cleveland swap picks. The Magic get No. 32 pick Justin Harper of Richmond — a guy who can hit threes and fits their system — and the Cavaliers get two future second-round picks. Yawn.

• Golden State buys a player. Charlotte drafted big man project Jeremy Tyler at No. 39. Golden State needs a big man that doesn’t suck, and they have an owner with a lot of cash. The Bobcats are a tiny market team that needs cash. So, everybody wins a little something.

• New York buys a player. At No. 45 the Hornets drafted likely NBA stiff Josh Harrellson of Kentucky, but the Knicks are so desperate for size they paid cash to get him and give him a shot.

Report: NBA increases 2017-18 salary-cap projection to $103 million

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The NBA is reportedly closing in on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the new deal will still call for owners and players to split Basketball Related Income about 50-50.

So, July’s projection of a $102 million salary cap in 2017-18 still carries weight – except it’s been updated.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Why the change?

Perhaps, the shortfall adjustment – which increases the cap when teams don’t spend enough the previous year – is being revised in the new CBA.

More likely, the league anticipates more revenue. These projections tend to start conservative then rise as July nears.

Rip Hamilton says 2004 Pistons would beat 2016 Warriors

CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Richard Hamilton #32 of the Detroit Pistons looks up during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 22, 2009 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Cavaliers won 99-78.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Add Rip Hamilton to team #getoffmylawn.

The long list of veteran players who somehow feel their legacy is threatened by this era’s Golden State Warriors and their freestyling system has now added one of the key players from the 2004 Pistons title team to their ranks. CBS’ NBA Crossover asked the masked man Rip Hamilton about it, and he thought the vaunted Pistons defense was well designed for dealing with the Warriors.

“It would be no comparison.” Hamilton said on CBS Sports’ NBA Crossover. “We can guard every position. Every guy from our point guard to our five, can guard any position. We were big. We were long.”

Hamilton is right that it would be an interesting defensive matchup. The book on the Warriors — especially when facing the smaller “death lineup” — is to switch everything, and those Pistons would have been well suited to that task. Of course, there are two ends of the court and the Warriors are also a good defensive team going against a Pistons team that had limited offensive options (people underestimate how great Chauncey Billups was playing during that 2004 playoff run, he was elite, but that was not a deep offensive team). The real issue would have been pace — the Warriors want to play fast, the Pistons wanted to grind it out, who won that battle would be huge?

But that last graph talking strategy doesn’t address the biggest question: Whose rules are the games played under? 2016 or 2004?

Those 2004 Pistons were the height of the grabbing/hand-checking on the perimeter era that would be an automatic foul today. (There was a lot more hand checking uncalled in the NBA last season, but not the level of grabbing and holding that was allowed in 2004 and before back into the Jordan era.)

Tayshaun Prince said it well.

“It depends on what the rules are.” Prince said. “Because back when we played, we could play hands-on, physical. As you can see from the Pacers rivalries and all of the rivalries we had back in the day, we were scoring in the high 70s, low 80s. We were physical. So now if you play this style of play, where they’re running and gunning and touch fouls and things like that, all of sudden we would start getting in foul trouble because back when we played, we were very, very aggressive on defense.”

He gets it.

The Warriors are built for this era of basketball, one where the rules encourage space so players to have freedom and can be more creative with their playmaking. The Pistons were built for the 2004 physical games of that era. (And most of you who remember that era fondly do so through rose-colored glasses, there’s a reason ratings were down for those 84-78 slugfests.) It’s possible to have great teams built differently for different eras and say that’s okay.

But it’s the nature of sports fandom to compare things that can’t actually be compared apples to apples. So have at it in the comments (and I expect one person to tell us how Jordan was better than all of them, because somehow people always feel the need to defend his legacy in these debates).

51 Questions: Does Al Horford change perception of Celtics?

al horford

We are in the final days PBT’s 2016-17 NBA preview series, 51 Questions. For the past month we’ve tackled 51 questions we cannot wait to see answered during the upcoming NBA season. Today:

Does Al Horford change the perception of the Celtics?

This summer, Al Horford shattered the myth that Boston couldn’t attract elite free agents.

It was always a perception that lived more in the heads of frustrated Celtics fans than it did NBA reality. The Larry Bird-era Celtics didn’t attract free agents because there wasn’t free agency until that dynasty was starting to slide (and free agency didn’t fully take hold for a few years after that). Then the Celtics struggled for a long stretch, and we know it’s hard to get players to go to a team that’s not winning. During the most-recent big three era, the Celtics did land name free agents — Rasheed Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Terry — that helped round out a roster already loaded with stars.

The past couple of summers, Celtics fans saw the potential, but the reality was the team was not yet ready to win on the big market — even as much as players raved about Brad Stevens as coach. It took the Celtics getting to 48 wins and showing real promise to get the attention of top free agents. Last summer the Celtics finally in position, and they got their man in Horford.

Now Horford should put that perception to rest.

For one thing, he will throw open the door to more wins — just through the preseason the spacing of the Celtics’ offense looks better than last season. Watching them through these games, the early high dribble-hand-off move the Celtics often use between Horford and Isaiah Thomas to initiate the offense has defenses spread out. Follow that with good ball movement off the multiple actions from that early set and defenses scramble with help coverages. Celtics are getting open looks. The Celtics pretty-good-but-defendable-in-the-playoffs offense of last season already looks far more dangerous, plus we know Horford will help on defense, too.

Horford puts the Celtics on the brink of contention, either the second or third best team in the East (depending on what you think of Toronto). If you’re worried about perception, know that other players (and their agents) notice that. They notice the ball movement, they notice the players like the coach. Another strong season will cement Boston as a team where other stars will want to go because of that coach, because of the system, because they can win, and most importantly because they can get paid (it’s always about the money).

In that sense, Horford does change the perceptions of the Celtics. Although Stevens had already started that process, opening the door for Horford.

It remains more likely that the next star the Celtics land is via trade. They have the picks, they have the young players a team losing a star and considering a rebuild likely wants, plus they have a couple interesting veterans whose contracts only have a couple of years left — Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. It’s the worst-kept secret in the NBA — right up there with Rudy Gay is not loving Sacramento — that Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge is working the phones for any star player who becomes available. What’s holding those deals up is not a perception of the Celtics, it’s that trading for a star is difficult. Very difficult.

Celtics fans, enjoy what should be a very special season. Boston had the point differential of a 50-win team last season, and Horford makes them better on a number of levels. This is a team poised for a strong regular season and a deep playoff run. They are still a player away from challenging the team LeBron James is on, but so is everyone else east of Oakland. That shouldn’t diminish the joy of the ride this season.

And know the perception around the league of the Celtics is very good.

Anthem singer at Heat-76ers game kneels during performance (video)


MIAMI (AP) — A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami on Friday night did so while kneeling at midcourt, and opening her jacket to show a shirt with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

The singer was identified by the Heat as Denasia Lawrence. It was unclear if she remained in the arena after the performance, and messages left for her were not immediately returned.

Heat players and coaches stood side-by-side for the anthem, all with their arms linked as has been their custom during the preseason. Many had their heads down as Lawrence sang, and the team released a statement saying it had no advance knowledge that she planned to kneel.

“We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue. We’ve had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action.”

The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing. Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports – and many levels, from youth all the way to professional – have followed his lead in various ways.

“All I can say is what we’ve seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in New York earlier Friday, at a news conference following the league’s board of governors meetings. “It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do.”

The NBA has a rule calling for players and coaches to stand during the anthem.

Heat guard Wayne Ellington often speaks about the need to curb gun violence, after his father was shot and killed two years ago. He had his eyes closed for most of the anthem Friday, as per his own custom, though was aware of Lawrence’s actions.

“At the end of the day, to each his own,” Ellington said. “If she feels like that’s the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her.”

Making a statement in the manner that Lawrence did Friday is rare, but not unheard of in recent weeks.

When the Sacramento Kings played their first home preseason game earlier this month, anthem singer Leah Tysse dropped to one knee as she finished singing the song.

Tysse is white. Lawrence is black.

“I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans,” Tysse wrote on Facebook. “I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability.”