In the last two years, a dozen players have posted 17 points and nine rebounds in a season. Here’s the list with the terms of each player’s most recent contract or extension in parentheses:
- Blake Griffin (five years, $95 million)
- Dwight Howard (five years, $83,235,900)
- David Lee (six years, $79,537,680)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (five years, $65 million)
- Al Jefferson (five years, $65 million)
Kevin Love (four years, $60,825,938)
- Al Horford (five years, $60 million)
- Josh Smith (five years, $58 million)
- Andrew Bynum (four years, $57.2 million)
Pau Gasol (three years, $57 million) Tim Duncan (three years, $30 million)
- DeMarcus Cousins (four years, $15,800,134)
Cousins, whose salary was set by the rookie scale, stands out like a sore thumb. But given his production – he hit 17-9 in both of the last two years – Cousins, who’s eligible to sign an extension before the season or will become a free agent after it, is about to get paid.
That’s why, at a time many front-office personnel are jetting around the country in pursuit of free agents, the Kings are meeting with their own player. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
Sacramento Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro, coach Michael Malone and former NBA player Junior Bridgeman – a friend of new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive – visited center DeMarcus Cousins in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday to let Cousins know they consider him a cornerstone of the franchise’s future.
“DeMarcus is a really talented player and we look forward to him being a major part of this team,” D’Alessandro told Yahoo! Sports. “We want him to get better as a player and help him get there. That’s our mission. We love him in this role. I’m sure he’s excited about it.”
Cousins wants a max extension, and he might be worth it. But he can also be difficult for teammates and coaches to deal with, which makes committing so much to him dangerous.
However, players with his upside are rare, and the Kings won’t easily have an opportunity to replace his talent if they let another team pay him. If at some point they deem his mercurial personality not worth the trouble, there will be options to deal with that.
In the meantime, Sacramento’s new regime should make every effort to build a positive relationship with Cousins, giving both sides a chance to assess whether they trust the other in the long term, and appears to be what’s happening.
Could such a deal happen?
Miami is clearly sending out word from its end: No.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Dragic on Erik Spoelstra, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:
“He just said those rumors, they’re not true.”
Teams get the most from players when they’re happy, and job security pleases most people. So, teams often assure players they won’t be traded. If a team violates that trust by dealing a player anyway… that’s no longer the team’s problem. The player is fuming elsewhere.
I don’t know whether the Heat will trade Dragic this season. Their assurances and signals mean something, but only so much.
I do know Dragic is on the wrong side of 30 and has a long-term contract that makes little sense on a rebuilding team.
The Cavaliers should be fine at point guard in games that matter.
But Cleveland wants to limit LeBron’s and Irving’s playing time to preserve them for another long playoff run, which means finding a more traditional backup point guard for the regular season.
The Cavs have Kay Felder, but the transition from the Horizon League to the NBA is a difficult one for anyone, let alone a 5-foot-9 rookie who was drafted No. 54 overall. Mo Williams is somewhere between injured and retired. They might like to add Mario Chalmers, but he’s not healthy enough yet.
Another option: Trade.
The Cavaliers are pursuing a trade to acquire a backup point guard and are hoping to make a deal before the season starts Tuesday, sources told cleveland.com.
The Cavs are in advanced discussions with at least one club, according to a source, and could make one or multiple trades to fill the one, glaring need on a team otherwise built to defend its 2016 championship.
Whom are the Cavaliers targeting? Your guess is as good as mine.
Whom could they trade? That’s much easier to predict, but far from certain. Shumpert could be the odd man out, especially since J.R. Smith re-signed. Cleveland will probably drop one of Jordan McRae, Dahntay Jones or John Holland before the regular season, but I doubt any of those three would return much. The Cavs also have multiple trade exceptions and draft picks, though they have already dealt some picks.
This situation was predictable as soon as the Cavaliers let Matthew Dellavedova leave for Milwaukee. Did they not see it coming, or do they have an ace up their sleeve at the last minute?
Anthony Davis missed a chunk of the preseason after spraining his ankle in a game against the Rockets during the league’s tour of China. He was considered questionable to return for opening night.
He came back faster than that, in time for New Orleans’ final preseason game Thursday night — and he looked good doing it. Very good.
Davis had 33 points, 13 rebounds and four assists’ in the Pelicans’ 114-111 overtime loss to Orlando. He was red hot from the start as he scored 16 points in nine minutes of the first quarter.
This is a good sign for the Pelicans, who are going to need Davis (and rookie Buddy Hield) to carry the scoring for the team to start the season as they are without Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans for an extended period.
ATLANTA (AP) There was a buzz in the Hawks’ locker room after their long-awaited first look at their new starting five together.
Clearly, Atlanta’s new big man has generated big expectations for the season.
The Hawks’ final home preseason game on Tuesday night provided the first chance for forward Paul Milsap, who has made three straight All-Star teams, to play beside center Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Milsap was brought along slowly following a non-surgical procedure before training camp to reduce swelling in his right knee before making his first start in Atlanta’s 96-89 preseason win over New Orleans.
Seeing Howard and Milsap finally playing together boosted small forward Kent Bazemore‘s enthusiasm for the season.
“The ball moves really well for us,” Bazemore said. “Paul and Dwight have really good chemistry and they’re going to be passing the ball a lot to each other … so they looked really good tonight.”
Howard signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal in July, giving Atlanta the legitimate center it lacked through much of the Al Horford era.
Horford, now with Boston, was a big reason the Hawks reeled off nine straight playoff seasons, but even he said he wasn’t a true NBA center. No one has ever said that about Howard, whose defensive rebounds and blocked shots have coach Mike Budenholzer thinking about fast-break opportunities.
Howard, entering his 13th NBA season, is still only 30. He sees his move to his hometown as a fresh start and an opportunity to repair his reputation following eight seasons with Orlando, one with the Lakers and the last three with Houston.
“I really want to show the Hawks fans how dedicated I am to winning,” Howard said. “I think a lot of people have probably got it twisted with the things that have happened in my past but I’m very dedicated to this sport, very dedicated to myself and winning and being whatever I can be for this team.”
Here are some other things to know about the Hawks:
NEW POINT: The other new piece in Atlanta’s lineup is point guard Dennis Schroder, who moves up after playing behind Jeff Teague for three years. Bazemore said Schroder, like Howard, boosts the Hawks’ defense. “Defensively he’s a stud and that’s where it starts,” Bazemore said. “We’ve got one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the league at point guard. It’s just a pleasure playing with him and the grit he brings every night. It’s huge for us.”
JACK NOT READY: Schroder’s backup to open the season will be rookie Malcolm Delaney, because veteran Jarrett Jack is still recovering from surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee last season with the Nets. Delaney, from Virginia Tech, has played in Europe for five years. Budenholzer said Delaney “is not your typical rookie” and could be headed for more than a short-term role as Schroder’s backup. “I just feel very good about the way he has progressed and fit in with the group,” the coach said.
KORVER’S ROLE: Kyle Korver, 35, likely will open the season as the starting shooting guard, but for how long? The 3-point specialist saw his scoring average fall from 12.1 in 2014-15 to 9.2 last season. The Hawks could bring Korver off the bench if they opt for a bigger lineup with Bazemore at shooting guard and rookie Taurean Prince (6-8, 220) or Thabo Sefolosha (6-7, 220) at small forward.
FOR OPENERS: The Hawks open at home against Washington on Thursday. After trying a later 8 p.m. tipoff for most home games last season, most night games will start at 7:30 p.m. this season.
THE TRY FOR 10: The nine straight playoff seasons is the longest in franchise history and the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks set a franchise record with 60 wins in 2014-15, when they made their first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals. They fell back to 48 wins last season.Powered by WordPress.com VIP