Dalembert considering Heat, Knicks, Rockets

3 Comments

Centers are at a premium in this league, that should be evident by now. Nene, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, all will lead this free agency class. Dwight Howard headlines the next. Chandler’s defensive impact was a primary factor in the Mavericks winning the title. So Samuel Dalembert will be getting his fair share of calls in the next few weeks as teas vie for his services. More importantly? Dalembert’s willing to take less to play for a contender. Say hello to Miami.

From FoxSportsFlorida.com:

Soon, the Miami Heat might have a basketball volunteer in Dalembert. The team desperately needs a center, and the 6-foot-11 Dalembert is a free agent. And the Heat is high on his list as the free agency signing period is expected to begin Dec. 9 following a five-month lockout.

Joining the Heat “would be fantastic,” Dalembert said Sunday night from Haiti in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. Miami is where more than 50 of his relatives live and is about one hour south of his home in Boca Raton.

via Dalembert: Joining Heat ‘would be fantastic’.

Dalembert would provide a major upgrade for the Heat who very nearly won the title anyway. Joel Anthony would work a lot better at power forward alongside Udonis Haslem. Having size inside to deter opponents inside would help the perimeter weapons of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and take pressure off Chris Bosh, the starting power forward. Dalembert’s strengths would play perfectly to the Heat’s style and his offense is just strong enough to make him a better offensive weapon than Anthony.

But the Heat aren’t the only option on Dalembert’s radar. He also lists the Knicks and Rockets. The Knicks are starting Ronny Turiaf. There really shouldn’t be any further discussion, but sure, why not. Dalembert’s mobile enough to function in D’Antoni’s offense while not only providing defense at the rim, but rebounding which is an inherent issue in the Knicks’ coach’s system. However, as long as the Knicks are focused on acquiring Dwight Howard in 2012, the Knicks will likely tread lightly in their approach. If CP3 is their primary objective, though, Dalembert would improve the Knicks and make them a more attractive option.

Finally, Dalembert also regards Houston as a potential landing spot, since they need a center with Yao gone. The Rockets are making a lot of noise about being active in free agency, with Nene also a target according to reports. But Dalembert doesn’t make the Rockets that much better, which is what the Rockets really need.

Dalembert’s going to have his options, and his decision could impact who wins the next NBA title.

Shaq on free throws: ‘I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand’

Leave a comment

Rick Barry famously made 90% of his free throws while shooting underhand.

Shaquille O’Neal infamously shot just 53% on his free throws, inspiring hack-a-Shaq.

Why didn’t Shaq use Barry’s technique?

Shaq, via Emmanuel Ocbazghi, Noah Friedman and Graham Flanagan of Business Insider:

Shaquille O’Neal: Because it’s boring.

Business Insider: But it’s been proven to be somewhat effective.

O’Neal: No, it’s not. It’s not proven. Just ’cause a couple guys did it doesn’t mean anybody can do it.

I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand. I’m too cool for that.

O’Neal is somewhat trying to protect his larger-than-life, jokester image. But he’s also speaking to truth.

Barry would have been a good free-throw shooter overhand, too. Shooting underhand wasn’t necessarily going to fix Shaq’s problems at the line. Just because it worked for Barry doesn’t make it a “proven” technique.

Yet, every poor free-throw shooter – from Shaq to Andre Drummond to Andre Roberson – has been pestered about shooting underhand. It might be the right form for some players, but it’s no silver bullet.

Report: George Hill unhappy after Scott Perry promised him, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter that Kings would compete for playoffs

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
2 Comments

After a recent Kings loss, George Hill tweeted:

Reading too much into vague tweets is often folly, but Hill hasn’t looked happy in Sacramento. Despite signing him, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter last summer, the Kings are 8-18.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.

But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.

Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources

The Kings aren’t bad because they shifted direction after Perry left for the Knicks. They’re bad because they lack talent.

This team was mostly assembled by the time Perry departed, and it looked lousy. To whatever degree Sacramento is emphasizing youth post-Perry – Garrett Temple, Randolph and Hill rank in the top four in minutes – the won-loss record wasn’t changing much.

If Hill, Randolph and Carter didn’t know that, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Smart veterans like them should have understood the bargain they accepted.

Hill ($40 million guaranteed over two years), Randolph (two years, $24 million) and Vince Carter (one year, $8 million) took the money. In exchange, they’re stuck on a bad team. And that’s fine. Many of us prioritize salary in career decisions.

But now they’re dealing with the downside of that arrangement – grinding through a long, losing season. It’s disingenuous to sulk and blame Perry (though, if Perry pledged a team realistically competing for the playoffs, he overpromised).

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Sacramento isn’t making rapid improvement overnight. So, something might have to give with Hill’s mood.

Tristan Thompson: Cavaliers’ stated 3-4-week timeline for my injury was never realistic

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Tristan Thompson suffered a calf injury early last month, the Cavaliers announced he’d miss 3-4 weeks.

More than five weeks later, Thompson still hasn’t played.

Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

Thompson:

Who said that was the real timetable? They told you guys three to four weeks. That was never the case. The first week, I was on crutches the whole time. So, there was no chance. So, I don’t know. I don’t know who told you three to four weeks. For that, I’m sorry.

Thompson sounds close to returning, so this issue should pass. But teams are usually conservative in these estimates so as not to expose their players to criticism for not working hard enough in rehab. Thompson was left hung out to dry here.

Maybe Thompson, who’s famously low-maintenance, doesn’t mind. But if a 3-4-week timeline was never realistic, I wouldn’t blame him for resenting the Cavs.

Poor communication on injuries might not be limited to only the 76ers.

Heat’s Dion Waiters: ‘I’m not coming off no bench’

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
3 Comments

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Dion Waiters must be more efficient.

But Waiters’ effective field-goal percentage this season (46.1) is nearly precisely his career mark (46.2). It appears last season’s career high (48.8) in a contract year was the outlier.

What if Waiters just can’t change? Could Miami bring him off the bench?

Waiters, via Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post:

“I’m a starter in this league, man, that’s who I am. We’re going to nip that in the bud right now. I’m not coming off no bench.”

This is peak Waiters, supremely confident/cocky. He’s not good enough to demand a starting spot, but here he is doing it anyway.

That make’s Spoelstra’s job trickier if he’s considering bringing Waiters off the bench. It might be the optimal basketball move, but NBA coaches must also deal with their players egos.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Waiters should come off the bench. Miami’s starting lineup – Goran Dragic, Waiters, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside – is outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. (The Heat are -3.4 per 100 overall.) That unit defends, and Waiters eases the playmaking burden on Dragic.

But if I were the Heat, I also wouldn’t take the possibility of not starting Waiters off the table. At an underwhelming 12-13, they don’t have the luxury of never experimenting – even if it might upset Waiters.