Dan Feldman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 07: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards shoots in front of Ryan Anderson #3 of the Houston Rockets during the second half at Verizon Center on November 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Report: Ryan Anderson was so certain he’d sign with Wizards this summer, he texted John Wall about it

1 Comment

Entering free agency last summer, the Wizards’ top target was reportedly Ryan Anderson and the Rockets’ top target was reportedly Al Horford.

Somewhere along the line, those priorities swapped. As Washington chased Horford – eventually losing him to the Celtics – Anderson signed a four-year, $80 million contract with Houston.

J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

Anderson expected to be in a Wizards uniform, multiple league sources confirmed at the time. He’d even told John Wall via text that he believed that he was headed to D.C. But president Ernie Grunfeld never called back after an initial conversation in free agency and wasn’t willing to go that high to acquire his services.

That’s a strange turn, leaving many questions: What made Anderson so certain he’d be a Wizard? Did Grunfeld change his mind, or was there a miscommunication about his intentions? What changed with the Rockets where they offered more than Washington would? Did the Wizards ever have a realistic chance at Horford? Could Washington have signed Anderson for its desired price if it acted more quickly on him?

The Wizards wound up with Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Smith, maybe a lesson in free agency tactics and potentially a sigh of relief if Anderson continues to struggle defensively and inside the arc offensively. But Washington can’t feel like it dodged a bullet unless Ian Mahinmi performs well once he returns from injury. Nicholson and Smith have certainly struggled.

The biggest winners in this story are the players who got paid and Boston, which got Horford.

Report: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive doesn’t want to trade DeMarcus Cousins

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 30:  Vivek Ranadive' owner of the NBA Sacramento Kings speaks at a press conference prior to the start of the opening nignt game between the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena on October 30, 2013 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins trade speculation won’t die as long as the Kings struggle, and they’re 6-9 – on pace for their seventh losing season in his seven-year career.

But that doesn’t mean Sacramento will actually deal the star center.

Jackie MacMullan on CSN Northeast:

I asked about Cousins just recently again, and Vivek Ranadive, the owner of the Sacramento Kings, does not want to trade DeMarcus Cousins. And so as long as that’s the case, all this talk is just that. It’s talk.

Remember, Ranadive recently said he doesn’t have much basketball involvement. This is just another example of why that’s difficult to believe.

Ranadive desperately wants to win now, and Cousins provides the most direct path. Dealing him for draft picks and younger players would extend a seemingly perpetual rebuilding process even further.

That might be the right move. Cousins becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018, and it might be better to get something for him now than lose him for nothing.

It might also be the wrong move. The Kings’ problems extend well beyond Cousins, and they’re not winning with him now anyway. Dealing him won’t fix the culture that makes Sacramento basketball hell.

It all depends what Cousins would return in a trade, and that’s unknown to me. What I do know: I wouldn’t be categorically opposed to dealing him.

Evan Turner so stunned by $70 million offer from Trail Blazers, he – against agent’s advice – couldn’t keep it secret

Portland Trail Blazers guard Evan Turner (1) drives to the basket over Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)
AP Photo/Bob Levey

Tyler Johnson threw up when he found out about his four-year, $50 million contract.

He wasn’t the only free agent shocked by the offer he received this summer, when new national TV deals launched the salary cap into the stratosphere.

So was Evan Turner, who signed a four-year, $70 million contract with the Trail Blazers.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

He was almost as stunned as you by Portland’s mega-offer, by the way, which turned out to be for four years and $70 million. Turner’s agent made him promise not to tell anyone about the proposal until he signed it. Turner was too giddy, though. He hung up with his agent, immediately called Andre Iguodala, still a close friend and mentor, and blurted out, “Yo, Dre! They offered this!” Turner recalled, laughing. Iguodala told him to take the deal right away.

Andre Iguodala cares about players getting paid. His advice to Turner was sound. Take the money.

It’s not Turner’s fault the Trail Blazers overpaid for the player who ranks last in the NBA in real plus-minus.

Adam Silver: I’d prefer teams rest players at home, but rule probably isn’t answer

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver attends the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The NBA is comprised of 30 teams competing with each other.

But it’s also a league of 30 teams working together to compete with other forms of entertainment.

That’s reflected through the entire system, including revenue sharing and the salary cap itself. If those 30 teams were isolated actors rather than a unified business, it’d probably be illegal to conspire to cap employees’ wages.

But, again, sometimes they’re 30 teams competing with each other.

That inherent conflict plays out when teams rest players, usually on the road. The visiting team is making a strategic decision to maximize its on-court performance in the long-term. The home team’s fans will have a lower-quality product that night.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via SiriusXM NBA Radio:

I get it for those disappointed fans. Part of me would prefer that, if you’re going to rest a player, rest him for the home fans, because they get to see that player all the time. But on the other hand, I recognize it’s matchup specific. Once again, I’m not sure that having an absolute rule that if a player is rested, he must be rested at home works either. So, it’s not an easy issue to resolve.

It’s good Silver is thinking deeply about these things rather than overreacting.

A flaw in Silver’s logic: Home fans in a particular city are a different set of people each game. Many fans attend just a few times, or even once, per year.

Left out of Silver’s argument: Teams frequently rest players on back-to-backs, and most back-to-backs occur on the road.

Still, his overall premise is sound: Resting players on road undermines the cooperation that makes the NBA so profitable. Teams that rest players more are essentially free riders, relying on the marketability of other players to boost the league’s revenue.

Silver is also correct that a rule banning resting players at home would produce more negative unintended consequences than positive intended consequences. Parsing when players are actually injured as opposed to just needing rest would be an enforcement nightmare.

So, Silver is doing what he can – being open to the need for rest, reducing the number of back-to-backs. Finding the exact formula is tricky, but it sounds as if Silver is soundly considering the issues at hand.

Dwyane Wade: Nuggets, not Heat, were second choice to Bulls in free agency

Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, right, takes a three-point shot over Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Dwyane Wade had a complicated exit from Miami this summer, leaving the Heat for the Bulls.

But Wade – who called himself a “HeatLifer” just two years ago – said Miami wasn’t even his second choice in free agency. That honor (honor?) went to the Nuggets, who made a lucrative push.

Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:

It’s somewhat surprising Wade, who still seems to care about his Miami legacy, would admit this publicly. Perhaps he just wants the Heat to feel bad about not offering as much money. Perhaps Denver’s pitch was that impressive. Maybe some of both.

The Nuggets are young and at least fringe playoff contenders. At best, Wade would have provided veteran leadership and boosted Denver’s playoff chances. At worst, he would have impeded the development of Gary Harris and Jamal Murray.

From Kevin Love to Blake Griffin to Wade, the Nuggets have targeted stars over the last few years. If their pitch is as impressive as Wade said, maybe they’ll eventually land one.