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.
The No. 28 pick, R.J. Hunter became the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to fall out of the NBA when the Celtics waived him.
He won’t be out of the league for long.
The Bulls, the only team with an open roster spot, appear close to adding him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.
Gerald Green was drafted by the Celtics and spent two seasons with them before being traded (in the Kevin Garnett deal).
After stints with the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns and Heat, he signed with Boston this summer.
Think he’s happy to be back?
Abby Chin of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Joel Embiid couldn’t endear himself by playing in an NBA game, because he’s been too injured to do that in two pro seasons.
He’s had to resort to witty nicknames, practice-gym dunks, fun-loving stunts, attention-seeking tweets and self-deprecating humor.
Embiid is scheduled to make his NBA debut tonight, when the 76ers play the Thunder. Soon, we’ll judge him more for what he does on the court.
But, first, Embiid went out with one last bang of a quote.
Embiid, via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
“You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
LeBron James might be the greatest athlete in NBA history.
But even he has shown signs of decline at age 31.
He has gotten multiple back injections and even took a break during the season to rehabilitate in Miami. The forward has treated the last two regular-seasons as glorified warmups for the playoffs.
Just where does LeBron stand physically?
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue gave quite the answer.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Lue said James, at 31, “had a chance to get tested this summer and they said he had a body of a 19-year old. Maybe he’s getting younger. Benjamin Button.”
It was a little perplexing because neither James, nor his personal trainer, Mike Mancias, nor general manager David Griffin had any real idea what test Lue was talking about.
This reminds me of Derrick Rose attributing the Knicks and Warriors being super teams to “They’re saying.” Who is they, and what are they smoking?
That LeBron, Mancias and Griffin won’t cop to knowing is quite revealing.
LeBron does not have the body of a 19-year-old. Years of other-worldly play and long playoff runs has taken a toll.
Because he’s declining from such a high peak, LeBron should remain elite for a while. His athleticism might even fluctuate as it trends downward overall.
But Father Time is undefeated, and LeBron didn’t just get a mid-career reset to his rookie physical form.