The Pistons, by their actions, showed what they thought of Brandon Knight as the point guard of the future for them.
In the middle of last season they traded for Jose Calderon, moving Knight to a shooting guard role. Then this off-season they traded Knight for Brandon Jennings.
The Bucks have veteran Luke Ridnour who can play the point, plus you know O.J. Mayo is going to want the ball in his hands. But in speaking with the Detroit News, Knight said he just needed more time playing the point at this level to get used to it.
“If you think about it using common sense, (the) first year (2011-12) was a lockout … ,” said Knight, who averaged four assists and shot 37 percent from 3point range last season.
“Next year, played half the year (at point guard). I pretty much played it for a full year. Some of the best point guards don’t take a year to develop into what they are. They are given an opportunity to develop. Using common sense, I played it (around) 80 games.”
Knight can knock down threes (36.3 percent last season) and he is quick enough and has the handles to get into the lane. But when he does his decision making needs work. He turns the ball over on better than 17 percent of the possessions he uses (too high a number), and when he does drive into the paint he struggles to finish. Look at his shot chart from last season.
The Bucks can give him time to develop, the question remains can he improve his decision making and finishing? Or is his NBA future as a three-point shooter?
Knight is going to get the chance he wants, let’s see what he does with it.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.