Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap are out in Atlanta, and that left a huge defensive gap along the front line.
Enter Dewayne Dedmon.
The man who played some quality defense off the bench for the Spurs last season is taking his talents to Atlanta, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports and confirmed by Sam Amick of the USA Today.
With a front line that includes Miles Plumlee, Mike Muscala, and John Collins, Dedmon could get serious run. If he does well and that and wants to test the market next summer and get paid, he can do that (although it’s going to be a tight market).
Statistically, Dedmon was one of the best defensive centers in the NBA last season — for example, he was second in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus among centers behind Rudy Gobert last season (yes that is a flawed statistic, we’re using it here just as a snapshot). He is athletic and bouncy, he can block shots and is in the right position.
The challenge for Dedmon is to provide something on offense and make teams guard him and not just help off him. He’ll get his chance next season with a rebuilding Hawks team.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the best free agent left on the market.
The Pistons decided not to pay big money to the 24-year-old restricted free agent, a long and athletic defensive wing who shot 35 percent from three last year and is working to become a more varied offensive threat. They went and got Avery Bradley and changed direction.
Caldwell-Pope met with the Lakers on Tuesday, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The Lakers are only offering one -year deals, so he is being patient.
Several teams that previously were hesitant to pursue Caldwell-Pope have gotten engaged with him after the Pistons removed the threat of matching, sources said. Other teams in talks with Caldwell-Pope that have some cap space have been looking to create more, sources said.
The Lakers currently have $17 million in cap space but can get to $18.3 million in space. They are interested in doing one-year deals to protect their cap space in 2018, when the free-agent market will be loaded with stars.
The Lakers also met with Rajon Rondo Tuesday.
Caldwell-Pope would prefer more money — he thought he could get maxed this summer — and a longer deal. He could take a one-year deal and go back on the market next summer, but there are going to be few teams with money next season — the market is going to be tight. The top guys — LeBron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, etc. — will get paid, and even the second tier guys teams want to keep will be fine (Andrew Wiggins, for example), but beyond that, it could be tough for guys to get what they think they’re due.
Expect this to drag out for a while, Caldwell-Pope’s agent is Rich Paul, and he has no fear of letting things play out over a long time. Teams will be shifting around cash, and eventually, he will get the offer he can live with.
Gordon Hayward‘s decision to take his talents to Boston was a punch to the gut many in the Utah Jazz organization didn’t expect. Ownership and the front office was confident they could win him over and made an appeal based on both basketball and emotion. The fans were on edge, but they wanted to believe he would stay.
But Rudy Gobert had a sense Hayward was leaving.
That’s what the Jazz center told Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.
“I’m not surprised Gordon left,” Gobert said. “I could sense he was leaning toward Boston.”
Gobert was part of the pitch to Hayward, flying out to San Diego to try to keep the All-Star wing on a Jazz team on the rise.
Gobert was checking out the Jazz Summer League team in Las Vegas, where he told reporters he has been impressed with rookie Donovan Mitchell, who dropped a Summer League best 37 points on Tuesday.
The Detroit Pistons need outside shooting to go around Andre Drummond in the paint and the slashing game of Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris.
Which means they are bringing back Anthony Tolliver, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Tolliver shot 39.1 percent on his 3.5 threes per game in Sacramento last season, and he fills a role as a stretch big off the bench. The Kings waived him on his 32nd birthday, so he was a free agent this summer. He’s a solid NBA rotation player who fits a need in Detroit, and they got him at a good price.
Way back in the run up to free agency — just a few weeks ago on a calendar but a seeming lifetime ago on the NBA clock — the biggest question of the summer was “Will the Clippers pay up to keep both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? Is Steve Ballmer willing to pay all that tax for a team that hasn’t gotten out of the second round?”
Paul answered that question for them — he decided he was going to Houston to play with James Harden, and the Clippers could either trade him and get something back or lose him for nothing. The Clippers did better than should have been expected in a shotgun trade, but the decision had been made.
Paul said that the trade was good for him and for the Clippers, speaking to Marc Spears of The Undefeated at ESPN.
“I feel like the last six years we’ve had a great run. I felt like it was not only a good time for change for me, but for the team, too. Everyone says, ‘We get killed. We can’t get there. We just can’t get over the hurdle.’ I felt like it was time for change.
CP3 reiterated that the reason for the move was not his relationship with Austin Rivers, it was wanting to play with Harden after being recruited by The Beard.
Just how excited he would be about the opportunity. It showed a lot of selflessness. The fact that it’s all about winning. We talked, obviously, he had a great year last year. Everything was about winning games. … He just said he wants to win.
What Paul says in this interview is the stuff that gets glossed over by media and fans as we focus on how Paul and Harden will fit together on the court and what it means for the Clippers playoff hopes — this was a difficult move for him personally. His son cried when he got the news they were moving. Paul has deep ties to both Clippers fans and charities in the Los Angeles area. He’s uprooting a family and moving them halfway across the country — that factors into the decision. This isn’t just about money and rings, players are people with families and lives outside of basketball, and like the rest of us switching jobs is difficult and disrupting, even if it’s the right thing.
Go read the entire story, it’s worth it.