Richard Hamilton has been perfecting his sulking game in Detroit over the last year or so, and the Pistons are finally done with him. According to Perry Farrell of the Detroit Free Press, the Pistons have agreed to buy out Hamilton’s contract and make him an unrestricted free agent.
Farrell makes the important distinction that Hamilton is not being waived by way of the amnesty clause; this is a good old-fashioned buyout, though the terms of which have not yet been disclosed. Regardless, Hamilton’s full $12.5 million will stay on the Pistons’ books for cap purposes this season, along with whatever portion of his salary is guaranteed in 2012-2013. This also means that Hamilton will enter the free agent pool without incident, as opposed to amnestied players who would first enter into an auction system exclusively for teams under the salary cap. Hamilton may immediately sign with the team of his choosing, so long as they have cap room or salary cap exceptions to spare.
The Chicago Bulls — who have been linked to Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler, and various other shooting guard candidates in recent weeks — immediately come to mind as a possible landing spot for Hamilton. Having both Crawford and Hamilton on the market could make both players a bit more affordable, and all things considered, Hamilton seems like a better fit. Hamilton is relentless in his pursuit of open spot-up jumpers, and his work without the ball in his hands would seem to complement Derrick Rose’s ball-dominant style rather splendidly. Chicago wants the ball in the hands of its best player, and Hamilton — who is also a pesky defender and a competent three-point threat — may be the best wing addition to keep control of the offense with Rose.
That said, if Chicago is looking for another ball handler to alleviate some of the pressure on Rose, Crawford may be their guy, making Hamilton available to what’s sure to be a long list of suitors. With the mess in Detroit behind him, there’s no reason Hamilton can’t be a very productive player for a team in need of backcourt scoring. The deconstructed Pistons just weren’t a good match for him anymore, as evidenced by the mutually beneficial decision to buy out his contract. Hamilton is by no means a player worth some huge salary commitment (he’s 33 years old, after all, and shares in Crawford’s inefficient reliance on mid-range jumpers), but a quality, two-way wing tumbling into the free agent bin could change a number of teams’ plans.
CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.
Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.
James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.
Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.
Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.
After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”
Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.
Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.
This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.
One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.
LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.
Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.
That lasted about a minute.
LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.
For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.
The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.
With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.
I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.
That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.