Things move fast on the free agency rumor wire.
It was just this morning when the Clippers were said to be involved in trade talks with the Raptors to deal for Andrea Bargnani, but as it turned out, the Knicks are the team that has acquired his services.
From Howard Beck of the New York Times:
[T]he Knicks are closing in on a deal to acquire Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto Raptors’ jump-shooting 7-footer, according to a person involved in the talks.
The Knicks are offering a package built around Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and two future draft picks, one in the first round and one in the second. Several teams have pursued Bargnani, but the Knicks have emerged as the “strong favorites” to land him, and a handshake deal could come soon, the person said.
The Times updated the initial report to say that the trade has been agreed upon by the two teams, and is awaiting approval from the league office.
The future first round pick is the painful part of this deal for the Knicks, even though Bargnani — with his remaining salary and recent injury history — is an underwhelming free agent choice in and of itself.
While the teams may have changed since this morning, the facts on Bargnani have not. He is owed close to $23 million over the next two years, and has only managed to appear in a total of 66 games over the last two seasons due to injury.
It’s worth noting that the reigning Executive of the Year in Masai Ujiri just took over the operations in Toronto, and the fact that he may be able to squeeze draft picks out of anyone for an albatross like Bargnani should be commended — but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.