Officially no team can talk to a free agent until July 1. For example, the Bulls/Lakers/Rockets/Heat/etc. may want to talk to Carmelo Anthony, but they can’t make any kind of official contact with him until the calendar flips to July. (There are a myriad of ways to send a message through back channels to a player to let him know you’re interested, but that’s another story.)
With that, there are a lot of rumors right now and a lot of them come from agents who want to make it seem like there is real demand for their clients, driving up the price.
But sometimes the rumors make sense, in a basketball and money way. Like this one about Andray Blatche and the New Orleans Pelicans, via Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
The Pelicans have a potentially powerful front line with Anthony Davis and a hopefully healthy Ryan Anderson next season. Last season those two were supposed to be paired with Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma, but that didn’t work out so well. Smith is a free agent and they could bring him back on an affordable contract, but they would like another quality big in that rotation.
Blatche is a quality big. His style of play would blend well with Davis and Anderson, and with how Monty Williams wants to play. There is a potentially good fit.
Of course, the Nets want him back and there will be other teams trying to get in the mix as well. Which is to say Blatche is going to make more than the $1.4 million he made last season. He has a nice raise coming.
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.