While we were all focused on Kevin Love and Eric Gordon’s contract extensions (well, in the case of Gordon the lack of extension), there were a few other notes that flew under the radar.
For one, the Denver Nuggets extended center Kosta Koufos for three years, $9 million, something first reported by Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated. Koufos is only averaging 10 minutes a game for the Nuggets, but he brings real size to the table and they lock up a reliable backup big man at a good price (bigs always get more than you first thing they should).
In other contract extension news and notes.
• New Jersey decided not to extend Brook Lopez. He will be a restricted free agent after this season. Not a shock here, the Nets would like to bring him back but at a lower price than he would ask.
• Orlando decided not to extend Ryan Anderson. Having the best season of his career, but his value as a stretch four in Orlando goes way down if they can’t keep Dwight Howard. But he’s playing his way into a nice payday this year.
• Indiana decided not to extend George Hill and Roy Hibbert. Indiana is going to let the market determine their worth, but they hope to keep both of them this off-season. Hibbert, in particular, is having the best season of his career and is playing himself into a pretty big deal. (If D’Andre Jordan makes $10 million a year….)
• Houston did not extend Jonny Flynn, Courtney Lee, Hasheem Thabeet and Terrence Williams. Again, no real shocks. None of them should have been extended, but the Rockets want to keep Lee around.
• Washington did not extend JaVale McGee. So much talent but so inconsistent and undisciplined. You can’t give him big money right now. Let the market set his price.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.