The Heat lost the best player in the game when LeBron James chose to join the Cavaliers in free agency, but they’ve done a nice job of maintaining a solid overall roster that may still very well be able to contend for the Eastern Conference crown.
Chris Bosh returned on a max contract, Luol deng is a capable All-Star who will replace James in the starting lineup, and Dwyane Wade is expected to be back, once the exact dollar figure and years on his next deal have all been sorted out.
Miami was also able to get its point guard to commit to re-sign, further maintaining a decent level of continuity despite LeBron’s decision.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Mario Chalmers is returning to the Miami Heat on a two-year deal, sources tell ESPN
Chalmers has been the starting point guard for the Heat for the last three seasons, and while his averages of 9.8 points and 4.9 assists in 29.8 minutes per game last year are simply serviceable, there’s a comfort level there with Erik Spoelstra trusting him on the floor when the game matters most.
The short-term deals the Heat are constructing, like this one and the similar two-year deal for Deng, are being done to maintain maximum salary cap flexibility to continue to have the ability to add talent in the very near future. LeBron isn’t likely to return when he an technically become a free agent in two years himself, but Miami is going to keep its options open in case he — or other high-impact All-Stars — seek Miami as a destination when that time comes.
Hopefully, this does not develop into something chronic.
After a promising rookie season and an impressive Summer League in Orlando where he averaged 18.8 points per game, Thunder second year player Cameron Payne had surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, the team announced Monday. Here it is from the Thunder’s press release.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Cameron Payne underwent a successful procedure today to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
The team is optimistic he will be ready to go by the start of the season (there is usually a 6-8 week timetable), but Payne and the Thunder need to be patient here. The fifth metatarsal is the bone that runs from the base of the little toe up to the ankle on the foot. While surgery can repair it, healing can be slow because that is not an area of the foot with great natural blood flow. The Thunder were down this road before with Kevin Durant, he came back eight weeks after the surgery but ended up needing a couple more to get everything fixed and missed 55 games because of it.
Payne played well as a rookie and is expected to see a healthy bump in playing time next season as a scoring guard off the bench behind Russell Westbrook. He just needs to get right first.
Coaches who win rings often get a pay bump. Guys who break a 52-year championship drought deserve one.
That includes guys who only coached half a season — especially ones working on the same contract they had before taking the big job.
Tyronn Lue and the Cavaliers just agreed to a healthy contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
That seems fair.
What Lue got that his predecessor David Blatt never could was real buy-in from LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers. Blatt came off as wanting to be the smartest guy in the room at all times — and don’t you dare discount his experiences coaching in Europe — while Lue was more humble and more direct. He didn’t get to put in everything he wanted, and the team didn’t play faster for him (statistically) as he wanted, but there was better chemistry.
This isn’t rocket science for Cleveland — if you have a coach that your franchise player backs, and said coach has proven he can win, you keep him.
Since the day after Kevin Durant said he was going to sign with Golden State — which came as a shock to a lot of people with the Thunder organization — there has been a sense from the Thunder and people close to it that they thought they could keep Russell Westbrook. That ultimately, he would prefer to stay. Few around the league were buying that, but OKC believed it.
Maybe it’s optimism. Maybe it’s reality. But the question isn’t about the 2016 season that starts in October; it’s the 2017 season. Does Westbrook want to stay with the Thunder long term and sign an extension to prove it? Or when he’s a free agent next summer does he want to at least listen to his other options? Because if it is the second option, even if Westbrook says he likely stays, well, the Thunder just went down that road and got burned. They have no choice but to move him. And he knows it. He just didn’t expect to have to make this decision now.
Westbrook doesn’t like the idea of being traded, reports Royce Young at ESPN.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, he doesn’t want to be traded. He wants to play next season with the Thunder. It’s the year after that which is in question. There’s a growing belief Westbrook will think heavily about an extension but will first weigh every angle before doing it.
That extension would put $9 million more in Westbrook’s pocket next season (because the Thunder are under the cap) and he would get raises off of that for three more seasons. It’s a good deal, what he would ultimately lose is one more guaranteed year on the end of his contract if he left the Thunder, two if he stayed.
The real question is: Does he want to be wooed as a free agent next summer?
If the answer is yes, the Thunder have no choice but to trade him — and other teams will have lowball offers unless he guarantees to re-sign where he is traded (no team is giving up many quality future assets to rent Westbrook).
If the answer is no, he should go the James Harden route and sign an extension.
Either way, the answer is coming this summer.
More than just a new name, they may need to call in Robert Irvine for a “Restaurant Impossible” makeover.
Kevin Durant‘s restaurant in Oklahoma City KD’s has closed its doors — which makes a lot of sense, that’s not a name that’s going to sell much in OKC anymore. Brianna Bailey of the Oklahoman has the details.
Kevin Durant’s Bricktown restaurant closed Sunday, but vows to open with a new theme after Labor Day, Hal Smith Restaurant Group said Monday.
“The concept will offer an updated atmosphere with a similar menu to what has been available at that location in the past,” the restaurant group said in its announcement.
The restaurant had mixed Southern food classics — fried green tomatoes, po’ boys, fried chicken — in with steaks, burgers, and classic American fare.
The restaurant has been a popular eatery for years, and the ownership group said that didn’t change even after Durant decided to take his talents to Golden State. Still, seems a smart move to have name/theme change after Durant’s decision. I just recommend avoiding a California cuisine theme.