Sometimes in the NBA players just need a change. Boris Diaw needs one about once a year, apparently.
In Charlotte Diaw was fat and too comfortable. Literally fat. He came back from the lockout probably 50 pounds heavier than last season and that combined with a mercurial personality and sharply declining performance was more than Paul Silas would put up with.
The question with Diaw was never talent — big man with court vision skills as a passer and midrange shooter who can run the floor and get you offense in the paint, too. It was the commitment to working on the talent, to bringing it nightly, to avoiding the buffet tables that was always the concern. Especially in Charlotte. Diaw as a Bobcat was a starting center scoring 7.4 points on 41 percent shooting and loafing around this season.
So the Bobcats just waive him in March. Dump him. He signs a deal with San Antonio… and he fits right in, giving them a post player who blends well with what they want to do on the court. Of course he does, because that’s how things go with the Spurs.
“I think adding Boris Diaw has been huge for them,” said Clipper coach Vinny Del Negro. “Everyone talks about Stephen Jackson, and that was a great pickup for them in terms of depth, but Boris gives them another facilitator out there, a guy who shoots it, can guard, a guy who can take some pressure off Tim (Duncan). At the elbow he’s a pass-first guy then they spread you out with their shooters.”
This is not the first time we have seen a Diaw renaissance. He was wasting his time in Atlanta then got to Phoenix and running the floor with Steve Nash put up 13.3 points per game of 52.6 shooting his first year. Then he faded. He got sent to Charlotte midseason and averaged more than 15 points a game for the Bobcats for 59 games. Then he faded. Badly. Got sent to San Antonio. And here we are.
Diaw is a free agent at the end of this season, but don’t expect the Spurs to overpay to keep him. He fits, but GM R.C. Buford is smart and knows the pattern.
But for right now, for this playoff run, the energized and slimmed-down Diaw is another weapon that just works for the Spurs.
Deron Williams will be back with the Dallas Mavericks next season — and be ready to go by the start of the season.
He’d like to say he’d be back for the next few seasons, but coming off a Sports Hernia injury his options were a little limited. However, his recovery is going well he told NBC Dallas in an interview from American Century Championships celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe (which you can watch this weekend on NBC).
“Feeling really good. It’s healing pretty well, I’m doing a lot of work on and off the court. I haven’t got the full-go clearance yet, but that’s coming soon. I’ll be ready to go definitely by the time training camp rolls around.
“I’m running, I’m jumping a little bit. I’m just not going crazy. I kind of have to wait for August 1 for that, to go see the doc and get the go ahead. But it’s not much restriction right now.”
Williams averaged 14.1 points and 5.8 assists per game for the Mavericks last season and was solid at 32. His efficiency slipped a little (to be expected as he is on the wrong side of 30 and has plenty of miles) but he played well for Dallas.
Dallas signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal. Williams was hoping for a little more security.
“I was happy to come back. Would have liked a little longer deal but I’m back for one year and hopefully can build on last year and improve. I think there’s room for a lot of improvement. Hopefully I can stay healthy. I think that’s the biggest key but I’m excited about this year and this team.”
The one-year deal is more about Dallas than Williams — they could see a significant shift in plans when Dirk Nowitzki steps away (he inked a two-year deal but the second year is only $5 million guaranteed, so he could be in his final run if he wants).
Dallas added Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut from the Warriors to a starting five that also includes Nowitzki, Williams, and Wesley Matthews. If they can stay healthy — no little thing with that group — it’s a quality starting five that coach Rick Carlisle is going to love.
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.