Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Suns cost themselves money by buying out Greg Monroe rather than just waiving him

Leave a comment

The Suns just keep taking Ls.

They bought out Greg Monroe, a logical move considering everyone’s motivations at the time (even if those motivations were questionable).

Phoenix is going nowhere this season, so Monroe – who’d likely leave in free agency next summer – had no place in the present or future there. The Suns want to strike in free agency this summer, so they refused to trade Monroe for long-term contracts (the most questionable motivation). They also determined he couldn’t be useful in a trade (probably correct considering their parameters, but questionably timed, a week before the trade deadline). And, owned by Robert Sarver, Phoenix is a cheap franchise that surely welcomed the immediate savings.

Monroe wanted to join a better team. He was dealt to Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe trade due to his expiring contract, not his on-court fit.

So, Monroe surrendered $1.5 million of his remaining salary in a buyout. Then, he signed with the Celtics for $5 million.

But the Suns agreed to remove their set-off right while waiving him, standard procedure in a buyout. They saved $1.5 million. Monroe gets his full $5 million from the Celtics. The end.

However, if the Suns had just waived Monroe without a buyout – which they could have done unilaterally – they would have saved more money.

When a waived player signs elsewhere, even outside the NBA, the team that waived him can “set off” a portion of his new salary from what he’s owed. The formula is half the difference between the player’s new salary and the minimum salary for a first-year player. So, the waived player is still incentivized to get as much as he can from a new team, but the more he earns from a new team, the less his old team must pay him.

Monroe’s salary in Boston is unusually high for a bought-out player. It’s so high in fact, the set off for Phoenix would have been $1,843,695.

That’s $343,695 more than the Suns saved in the buyout.

Obviously, they didn’t know Monroe would earn so much as a free agent. Monroe and his agent, David Falk, certainly weren’t incentivized to tip their hand (if they even knew at the time).

But everyone knew the Celtics’ had that $8,406,000 Gordon Hayward disabled-player exception and could use a scoring center. Monroe’s contract wasn’t a shocker. In fact, some argued Boston should have paid Monroe even more so it’d have an easier time re-signing him with Non-Bird Rights next summer.

I’m obviously evaluating with the benefit of hindsight, but the fact remains: The Suns got outfoxed out of $343,695. I’m curious how that sits with Sarver.

(hat tip: Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops)

Kevin Love returns to Cavaliers lineup Monday vs. Bucks

Associated Press
Leave a comment

The last time Kevin Love suited up for the Cavaliers, it was still January and Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, and Jae Crowder were still on the team.

That is about to change tonight — Love will return from a fractured hand and play for the Cavaliers, but on a minutes restriction to start, interim coach Larry Drew confirmed.

Cleveland needs Love back. The Cavaliers went 11-9 without him in this stretch (and 6-7 since the All-Star break) with an offense that has still been top 10 in the NBA but a defense that is holding them back. The Cavaliers’ defense is just not on the same page right now, and the more time the regular rotations guys get to play together, the better they should be before the playoffs start.

As Love rounds into form, the Cavaliers have to figure out their rotations. Does Love start Love next to Larry Nance Jr., or does Nance come off the bench again? Probably the latter, but the Cavaliers will toy with the rotations (and do that more when Tristan Thompson returns).

Former NBA All-Star Steve Francis cited for public intoxication

Getty Images
1 Comment

What happened to Steve Francis [after his playing days]? I was drinking heavily, is what happened. And that can be just as bad (as drug use). In the span of a few years I lost basketball, I lost my whole identity, and I lost my stepfather, who committed suicide.”
—Steve Francis, writing in the Players’ Tribune earlier this month, about his journey from selling crack to the NBA, and what happened after.

Addiction, once it’s got you, never goes away. The fight to stay sober/clean is a new one every day.

Steve Francis was cited for public intoxication in Burbank, Calif., after an incident at a hotel bar, according to TMZ (since confirmed by other reports).

Francis, 41, was arrested around 11:40 PM after police were called for a disturbance between two men at a hotel in Burbank.

Law enforcement sources tell us when cops arrived, Francis was intoxicated. He was arrested for being drunk in public.

Francis was transported to jail … before being given a citation and released around 7 AM Monday morning.

Francis denied in the Players’ Tribune article rumors he had a drug problem, but he owned up to drinking.

Lakers coach Luke Walton: I thought Pacers’ Paul George trade was ‘lopsided’ in favor of Thunder

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said the Pacers “could have done better” than trading Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Gilbert would have company with egg on their face if more people shared their views on the deal when it happened.

Lakers coach Luke Walton – whose team plays Indiana tonight – joined the club with an admission.



Originally, I thought it was kind of a lopsided trade, but I’m man enough to admit that I was wrong. Indiana has, I think they’re probably the surprise team of the season so far. They’re playing unbelievable. They have that three seed. And both of those players they got in the trade, they’re playing some really, really good basketball. So, obviously, a good trade for both teams.

Me too, Luke. Me too.

George is basically who we thought he was. But Oladipo and Sabonis have taken major steps forward. Sabonis’ growth as a second-year player was more predictable. Oladipo’s breakthrough seemed far less likely – and has carried far larger ramifications.

Oladipo was fine in Oklahoma City and Orlando, but he got into the best shape of his life and developed his outside shooting, particularly off the dribble. He has become a true star, putting up big offensive numbers while remaining a plus defender.

All the credit goes to Oladipo for making it happen and Pacers president Kevin Pritchard for ensuring Indiana reaped the rewards. I bet even Pritchard is surprised by Oladipo’s level of play, but Pritchard bet on Oladipo. Pritchard gets credit for the outcome.

People like Walton and myself eat crow.

Rajon Rondo on Ray Allen’s book: ‘He just wants attention’

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Ray Allen wrote a book that spills a lot of dirt on Rajon Rondo – how Rondo told Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Allen and other Celtics he carried them to the 2008 title, how Rondo clashed with Doc Rivers.

Rondo, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:

“He just wants attention,” Rondo said. “I need actually some sales from [the book], only [publicity] it’s been getting is from my name. I need some percentage or something.”

“Obviously, that man is hurting,” Rondo said of Allen. “I don’t know if it’s financially, I don’t know if it’s mentally. He wants to stay relevant. I am who I am. I don’t try to be something I’m not. I can’t say the same for him. He’s looking for attention. I’m a better human being than that. I take accountability for my actions. Certain [stuff] happens in my life, I man up. But he has a whole other agenda.”

“He’s been retired for whatever years, and now he comes out with a book,” Rondo said of Allen. “People do that in that situation they need money. He should have hit me up and asked me for a loan or something. It’s no hard feelings.”

Obviously, Allen wants attention. He’s promoting a book.

But that doesn’t make the stories in the book inaccurate.

Allen and Rondo, now with the Pelicans, have feuded for a while. Neither is completely reliable about the other. Both are too colored by their dislike for each other.

I doubt Rondo knows about Allen’s financial situation. Rondo is just trying to dig at Allen, like Allen dug at Rondo in the book. Famous people write books for many reasons. Financial gain isn’t necessarily Allen’s primary motivation. Allen has a lot of time in retirement.

I’d rather hear Rondo address the book’s claims. He’s extremely forthright, even admitting he’s difficult to coach. He might corroborate the stories involving himself and Rivers. Telling Garnett, Pierce and Allen he led them to the championship? I’d like to know Rondo’s side of that story.