Now that the Raptors have locked up the services of a superstar general manager on the rise, the next order of business for Masai Ujiri is to correct the mistakes that have been made under the previous regime.
The biggest of those involves Andrea Bargnani, the former number one overall pick who still has two more years and more than $22 million remaining on his contract.
It’s no surprise, then, that trying to rid the team of that burdensome commitment is at the very top of Ujiri’s to-do list.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
It would be difficult to see a willing trade partner lining up to take on what has become a terrible contract for two more seasons, and that’s putting it mildly.
Bargnani has been limited by an elbow injury in each of the last two seasons, and he was forced to miss the Raptors’ final 19 games of the one that just concluded. He doesn’t defend well, he’s never been anywhere close to consistent as a rebounder despite his seven-foot frame, and his shooting numbers would be seen by most as barely being average.
Stranger things have happened, and remember, Ujiri did get quite a bit of assets in return for Carmelo Anthony, even when he was dealing from a position of considerable weakness. But even if no one wants Bargnani and his contract at any price, the good news is that the Raptors may still waive him under the league’s amnesty provision, thus giving Ujiri and the fan base in Toronto their highly coveted fresh start.
The Rockets traded for Tyler Ennis., sending Michael Beasley away in the deal.
Which is why it was a bit of a surprise on Monday when early reports had the Rockets waiving Ennis, but either the report was off or the Rockets changed their minds.
With Patrick Beverley out injured, this leaves the Rockets thin at the traditional point guard spot. However, in practice James Harden, Eric Gordon and others will initiate Mike D’Antoni’s offense, so the bigger challenge will be defensively. Prigioni was not much help there at this point in his career.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a team snaps up Prigioni as insurance, or he certainly can make money overseas. Prigioni played last season as a backup point guard for the Clippers.
Miami’s Hassan Whiteside is a lot of things: An elite shot blocker, up-and-coming NBA star who worked hard for the right to be that, a Heat cornerstone.
I’m not sold, but he’s showing off his groove in this Twitter video.
When you get a $98.6 million contract, you can do whatever you want. So he can be a dance if he wants to.
LeBron James is the best player on the planet when he dials it up, and he reminded every one of that leading his Cavaliers to the NBA title last season.
On the other side of the scale, after losing the title, the Golden State Warriors reloaded by adding Kevin Durant to a roster that already won 73 games and went to Game 7 of the NBA Finals last season. Along those same lines, the Spurs added Pau Gasol to replace Tim Duncan, and the Celtics picked up Al Horford to bolster a strong young team.
Joe Varden of The Cleveland Plain Dealer asked LeBron what he thought of all these teams stacking up.
“I know teams switch and pick up new coaches or new players, and their whole goal is kind of they want to beat me,” James told cleveland.com, in a candid discussion about the upcoming year and his place in the sport at age 31, in this his 14th season. “It’s never just about me, but I always hear them saying, ‘We gotta beat LeBron.’ It’s not just me on the court, but I understand that teams get together in this conference and across the league to try to beat me.”
If anyone should be used to having a target on his back, it’s LeBron.
And he’s not wrong. You can argue he did the same thing in Miami, but he’s not wrong in this case.
The Warriors adding Durant was all about confounding how Cleveland and everyone else can defend the Warriors — particularly the small-ball “death lineup.” Oklahoma City and Cleveland had success putting their best defensive forward (Durant of OKC and LeBron for Cleveland) on Draymond Green and switching his pick-and-roll with Curry, then hoping Harrison Barnes didn’t make their big pay in a mismatch. Barnes couldn’t, it worked.
Now take out Barnes and put in Durant. Good luck defending that lineup now.
LeBron is right, the Warriors did target him. He’s the champ. He and the Cavaliers are the bar to clear. Can he and Cleveland rise up o task is the real question?
ATLANTA (AP) — NBA TV personality Kristen Ledlow says she was robbed at gunpoint at her home.
The host of “NBA Inside Stuff” said on Twitter and Instagram Sunday that she was held up the day before “by three men who knew who I was, where I lived and were waiting for me when I got home.”
She says in addition to stealing her car, purse and phone, the thieves took her “sense of security.” She says she’ll be taking a break from social media as a result of the incident because she says she “will not become a slave to fear.”
Ledlow didn’t say where the incident took place. NBA TV is based in Atlanta.