You have to love that Denver is rolling the dice. It’s a good gamble, even if the team is just being used as leverage.
Dwayne Wade wants three years, or at least two years and $50 million, out of the Miami Heat. Pat Riley has only offered two-years, $40 million.
Enter the Denver leverage.
Good luck finding anyone around the league who thinks Wade is Denver bound.
Wade averaged 19 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in the regular season; then in the playoffs had a few old-school Wade performances where he nearly single-handedly won games. However, he’s 34, has chronic knee issues (despite playing 74 games last season), and he’s in decline (Wade’s efficiency took a step back last season, he had his lowest PER since his rookie season).
Eventually Wade and Miami will reach a deal. Bank on it. Everything else is leverage.
With Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi up front, there are not a lot of minutes at center for the Wizards left. The ones they do have are going to go to a sort of stretch five who loves the long two.
The Wizards are bringing in Jason Smith, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
How much of that is guaranteed is unclear.
Smith is fine as a third center, but he’s a guy who loves — I mean LOVES — the long two: Last season 65 percent of his shot attempts came from 16 feet out to the arc. He shot an impressive 47 percent on them, but that’s still a lot of long twos. He works in the pick-and-pop. He’s not a great rebounder or defender.
This is just the Magic rounding out their roster.
The San Antonio Spurs are in the Rocky Mountain Review summer league up in Utah — which is a really well-reviewed stop on the circuit by teams — and here is some shocking news:
They still play just like the San Antonio Spurs.
Selfless ball movement from Summer League guys trying to rack up stats and get noticed? That’s about the most Spurs thing ever.
Every time the Utah Jazz have made a move this off-season, the reaction has been: “That’s a smart play. This is going to be a good team.”
This latest news fits right in line with that: The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to trade French forward Boris Diaw to Utah, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
As noted by Woj, the Spurs are doing this for one reason only — to clear out the cap space needed to sign Pau Gasol, and this does that. With Tim Duncan leaning toward retirement, Gasol can step into that role (with more offense but less defense) and keep them as an elite team. The Spurs are doing what they need to do in a West were it feels like Golden State won the arms race.
Utah is building a deep, versatile roster that is certainly going to be a playoff team, and wouldn’t shock me if they are a fourth or fifth seed. That started with trading for George Hill to play the point (along with Dante Exum, who should be back from injury) and runs right through this move.
Diaw is kind of a point forward — he can’t truly run the point but he has a point guard skill set in some ways, shot 36 percent from three last season, and is one of the best passing bigs in the league (remember how key he was as a facilitator on the 2014 Spurs). While conditioning can be an issue, he’s more nimble than he gets credit for and plays solid defense because of it. Plus, Diaw is slated to make a very reasonable $7 million this season, with a team option for $7.5 million next season.
This is a win-win for both teams. But mostly, it’s just another sign of where the Jazz are headed.
David West wants a ring. Badly.
Last year he gave up $11 million to leave the Pacers and join the Spurs, and while he played well for them as a big off the bench, the Spurs didn’t get that ring. He chose to opt out of that contract before free agency started, and in this market he could have made eight figures because of his skill and highly-valued locker room leadership.
He is joining the Golden State Warriors and not taking the big checks to do it, as first reported by David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT.
The veteran minimum for West is $1.55 million, with the league picking up a chunk of that (the Warriors will pay out less than $1 million). That doesn’t change the basics with this signing.
Last season West’s minutes and raw numbers went down as he transitioned to a reserve role, but his efficiency went up. He averaged just 7.1 points and four rebounds a game, but he had a career-best true shooting percentage of 57.3 percent, and he shot a career-best 42.9 percent from three because of the good looks he was getting. He was simply getting better shots — last season he took 48.7 percent of his shots inside 10 feet of the rim (up from 35.7 percent his last season in Indiana). He’s a pick-and-pop threat with a good midrange jumper, and he’s a physical on-ball defender. He’s not the force he was seven years ago, but he’s still a quality NBA player.
The bottom line: The Warriors just added an above-average NBA player for the veteran minimum. This is what other teams feared would happen — good players taking less to chase a ring with the Warriors. Golden State got a good deal with this one.