Is there a place for Hasheem Thabeet in the NBA?
We’ll soon learn the answer to that question, but if there is, it sure isn’t in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder have Steven Adams, Mitch McGary and Kendrick Perkins at center. And if they kept Thabeet past Aug. 31, they’d have to guarantee the final year and $1.25 million of his contract.
So, Oklahoma City could have simply waived Thabeet, increased its flexibility and maintained enough center depth.
Instead, the Thunder have gone a more complicated route.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Because Thabeet’s contract is unguaranteed, the 76ers don’t have to pay him. Any money they got from Oklahoma City is profit.
Essentially, Philadelphia rented its cap space in exchange for a little revenue – and had to rent it only temporarily. Once Thabeet is waived, the 76ers will have just as much cap space as they began the day with, which is to say more than they know what to do with.
The Thunder, in addition to getting a $1.25 million trade exception, trim their roster to 14 players. Perhaps, that final vacant spot could go to Josh Huestis, but why mess up your advantage?
Sitting $2,806,033 below the luxury-tax line, Oklahoma City has time – and a trade exception – to tinker with its roster between now and the trade deadline.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.