It’s part of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement — it is better financially for a potential free agent to become a free agent and re-sign with his team than to just sign an extension. So even if a sure max player has no intention of leaving a team, he has to at least dip his toe in the free agent waters to get paid.
Which means if you want to call up Chris Paul this summer and try to sway him away from the Clippers, you can try. It almost certainly will fail, but you can try.
Dwight Howard’s agent is going to get a lot of calls. Smart money says he still takes the money — larger raises and one more guaranteed year — that the Lakers can offer. But at the start of the season it seemed a lock he would stay, now nothing about the Lakers seems a lock. Howard is not getting traded and when push comes to shove it’s unlikely he walks away from L.A.
But the Rockets are still going to make a push to get him, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN. However, it’s the other player the Rockets may go after that is more interesting.
Two of the toughest questions a GM could face this summer are “How much would you pay Andrew Bynum a year and for how many years?” When healthy and playing he is one of the rare quality old-school centers in the league. He can defend, rebound and score in the paint. But how healthy will he be and for how long?
In part the answer to those questions will be based on how he plays once he returns to the court. The money is going to be big — if not max pretty close to it — but the question is length. How long do you want to be committed to a guy with knee issues?
Philly should be in the drivers seat in negotiations, but if another team — say Houston — stepped in with more money or more guaranteed years, would Philly match? The Sixers got him to be an anchor to build around in the East, a counter to the small ball Heat. But what is the number where they think it’s a bad deal.
Point is, expect the Rockets to be poking around looking for some inside to go with James Harden and Jeremy Lin on the outside.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.