Washington likes what they have on the roster. John Wall has emerged into one of the better point guards in the game. Bradley Beal may be the real star of this team in a few years. When Nene is healthy their defense is Top 10. They just need to make a few tweaks and keep the team together.
That includes big time free agents Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat. Ariza’s importance recently just jumped with word Martell Webster had another back surgery.
How important is keeping Gortat around to back up/play with Nene? The Wizards’ front office is flying to Poland to persuade him to stay in the nation’s capital next season, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.
Now that the NBA draft is over, the full-court press is on to convince Marcin Gortat to remain with the Wizards, who are sending a contingent to Poland before the free-agent negotiation period opens July 1, CSNwashington.com has confirmed with multiple persons with knowledge of the situation.
Coach Randy Wittman and Tommy Sheppard, senior vice president of basketball operations, are leaving Friday to visit Gortat who has been coordinating basketball camps across his homeland.
Washington traded for Gortat when Emeka Okafor went down before last season. Gortat took a while to mesh with Wall, but Nene understood from the start how key Gortat was and was his big supporter. Eventually everyone in the Wizards organization came around.
The question, of course, is money.
Gortat made $7.7 million last season and at age 30 is a good gamble for a three or four-year deal in roughly that same ballpark salary wise. Depending on where the salary cap ultimately falls (likely in the $62 million range) the Wizards will have about $16 million in cap space. That should let them retain Gortat and Ariza plus bring in a little depth.
If they pull all of that off, the Wizards could again find themselves in the top half of the East next season.
Do Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant hang out these days? Probably not.
But do the to respect each other? The answer, apparently, is yes.
During an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, O’Neal said he knows that Kobe respects him because of a certain play. That play?
Prepare yourself for this one Portland Trail Blazers fans: it’s the famous alley-oop with 41 seconds left from Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals that put the Lakers up by six points.
That play was the exclamation point on an impressive fourth quarter, one in which the Blazers went hilariously ice cold from the field while the Lakers made up a huge deficit.
Here’s how Shaq tells the story:
Game 7. We’re down. I’m telling Kobe ‘Hey man, I’m open’.
[And Kobe responded with] I got you.
He crosses up Scottie Pippen, and he catches eye contact with me like, ‘OK this is the one you wanted.’
He throws it up super, super, super high. I have to go up and get it and throw it down. Puts us up by five [it was six] and I know we’re going to win, we’re going to the Finals.
If you go back to the footage after we win [the game] who jumps in my arms? Kobe Bryant.
Meanwhile, a 12-year-old Dane Carbaugh’s heart still aches from that game.
Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City thunder.
Man that is still really weird to type.
But this has been an insane offseason, and nevertheless the former New York Knicks forward is now a teammate of Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
We are not sure how these teammates are going to play together next season given their propensity for high-usage play, but we are definitely all ready to watch it very soon.
Meanwhile, Anthony was greeted by fans in Oklahoma at the airport after arriving to be with the team.
Do you think this will get Carmelo to stay in OKC?
Guess we will just have to find out.
Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls reached a buyout agreement — he will take an $8 million haircut to become a free agent. Not that we should feel bad for Wade, I wish someone would pay me $15 million to go away.
The next question: Where will Wade play this season?
The smart money is on Cleveland, but it’s not that simple. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN got the ball rolling, but others chimed in.
OKC is an interesting option on the court, if their ownership group is willing to eat a little more tax to make it happen (the Thunder would pay about $24 million, based on their current payroll). Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype shed a little more light on that and other options.
It’s probably going to be the Cavaliers — his good friend LeBron James is there, they are the best team in the East so a trip to the Finals (and a shot at a ring) are very possible, and he could start for them. That’s probably enough to get the deal done.
Expect Wade to take a little time with this decision. Veterans are not big fans of training camps, he may be willing to miss a little, spend some time with the family, listen to pitches, then choose
Cleveland where he wants to play this season.
CHICAGO (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Chicago Bulls and forward Nikola Mirotic have agreed to a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been announced. The Bulls hold an option on the second year.
The 6-foot-10 Mirotic averaged 10.6 points last season. He has scored 10.8 per game over three seasons.
The Bulls are rebuilding after winning 41 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. They traded All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night for three players 23 and younger – Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen.
Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement.
More AP NBA: http://www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball