He may be a big drop off from the guy they thought they were getting, but if Zaza Pachulia were on the market Thursday, he would have been the best center available.
So the Dallas Mavericks traded for him.
The cost was a second round pick to the Bucks, and the team confirmed the move in its official statement.
Pachulia averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a game last season, plus he is a solid, physical defender. He’ll be tough. He’ll play solid minutes.
He’s not DeAndre Jordan, but he’s not bad, considering what is on the board for the Mavericks as they scramnble.
Portland giving Enes Kanter a $70 million max offer sheet seemed a move done in part to make the Thunder pay. The Trail Blazers already have Meyers Leonard under contract, then they traded for Mason Plumlee and signed Ed Davis to a free agent deal. Do they need another center? One that doesn’t play much defense?
But the Thunder need scoring inside, and Kanter gives them that. He is a gifted offensive player. Plus, with Kevin Durant’s looming free agency you will not find a team in more of a win-now mode than OKC and they see Kanter as part of that now.
The Thunder have three days to match (until Sunday) and they likely will, GM Sam Presti told Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman.
The Thunder have Serge Ibaka as their starting four with Nick Collison behind him. At the five there would be Kanter and Steven Adams in rotation — they can play for offense or defense — plus they have Mitch McGary.
Kanter is a defensive liability — their defense was 6.5 points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the floor than when he was sitting. The Thunder offense was 3.5 points per 100 better when he was on the court. Overall, OKC was -0.7 points per 100 when Kanter was on the floor — and by the way they still had a terrible defensive rating of 107.5 per 100 when Kanter and Ibaka were paired.
But expect the Thunder to keep Kanter.
This is a market max deal — it’s overpaying under the current salary cap, but as the cap spikes by more than $40 million over the next two years due to the new television deals, that contract will not be so bad.
And in a worst case scenario where Durant (and likely Russell Westbrook behind him) leave OKC, under the new contract will not be as burdensome under the expanded salary cap, meaning it could be traded fairly easily.
Chandler Parsons is the John Calipari, the secret weapon recruiter for NBA teams. His efforts were part of the reason Dwight Howard chose Houston a few years back.
Now a Maverick, Parsons was heavily involved in recruiting DeAndre Jordan to the Mavericks. And it worked… at first. After verbally committing to the Mavericks Jordan changed his mind and in the final 24 hours decided he wanted to stay with the Clippers and re-signed with them. Without so much as a phone call to Dallas.
Chandler Parsons was bent about how all this went down.
He went off on Jordan, speaking to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
“He wasn’t ready for being a franchise player. He was scared,” Parsons said. “He was scared to take the next step in his career. There was no other reason other than that he was comfortable and he has friendships there. How you make a business decision like that is beyond me. How you ignore an owner like Mark who is in your hometown just waiting for a chance to talk to you is beyond me.
“I don’t think he made a mistake. I think he’ll be good in L.A. He’s got a good team, he’s got a great point guard, he’s got Blake, but I think he could have been a superstar in Dallas. He could have been the man in Dallas. Never in a million years did I think that this was even a possibility.
“I’ll still be friends with him, but I can’t get over the way that he’s put our entire franchise in jeopardy. It’s normal to get cold feet. It’s normal to get second thoughts, but you don’t back out of a commitment of this much magnitude this late in the game and just leave us high and dry.”
First off, I want Mavericks at the Clippers on opening night, then the Clippers at the Mavericks on Christmas. Make this happen, NBA schedule makers.
Part of the frustration for Parsons, Mark Cuban and the rest of the Mavericks — and a concern about other teams around the league — is that there was a cascade of other moves by teams based on Jordan going to the Mavs. It started with Dallas signing Wesley Matthews — Cuban said he offered to let Matthews out of the deal, but Matthews wanted to stay with Dallas. Beyond that a lot of moves and trades — Roy Hibbert, Kosta Koufos and others — might have been different if Jordan had said from the start he would be a Clipper. Cuban said the Mavs may have decided to tank the season if that had been the case.
In the end, Jordan landed where he wanted to be, and he didn’t violate any rules.
But he’s made more than a few enemies.
DeAndre Jordan had a change of heart and mind, and decided to back out of his verbal commitment to the Dallas Mavericks and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jordan never called or reached out to Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban. There has been a lot of criticism online of that action.
Clippers GM and coach Doc Rivers is good with it.
Rivers addressed the media on Thursday about the re-signing of DeAndre Jordan and other summer moves by Los Angeles. He said Jordan didn’t have a responsibility to call Cuban, as reported by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
Here’s where I think Rivers is wrong on this count — Jordan had reached out to the Clippers and started to backtrack without his agent, Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports. Fegan was reportedly not getting his calls answered by Jordan either on Wednesday.
I will defend Jordan’s right to change his mind — we’ve all had buyers remorse and in his case the system allowed him to change his decision. It may not be professional, he should have thought this through first rather than become entranced by Dallas’ pitch, but he has the right to change his mind. And I don’t blame the Clippers for pushing for the change once Jordan called saying he was wavering.
But Jordan’s a 27-year-old man, he should have been mature enough and strong enough to talk to Cuban and tell him what he had decided. If you break up with someone, have the cojones to do it face-to-face.
Not shockingly, by the way, Doc Rivers is pretty good with the moratorium as it is right now. Which is good, because it’s 11 days next year, and it doesn’t sound like the union will want to change it.
On a team that wants to play up-tempo for George Karl and has DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos up front, plus Rajon Rondo as the point guard, you would think the goal with the cap space the Kings have left would be to add shooters.
Or, Josh Smith.
Smith, a career 28 percent shooter from three who improved all the way up to a barely passable 33 percent with the Rockets last year, is high on Kings wish list, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports adds one reason the Kings may look at Smith.
The Kings do have some floor spacing shooters in Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli, but they could use more. Opposing teams would be more than happy to let Smith fire away from the midrange or three (he hit 38 percent from three in the playoffs, but opposing teams are not going to believe that is the new normal yet).
Another question: In a locker room where there are already chemistry questions — Cousins and Karl having tension (something even GM Vlade Divac admitted Thursday), plus the injection of Rondo into the mix after his Dallas experience — is the strong personality of Josh Smith the right fit?
That said, Smith can still get points, get rebounds and defend at a quality level. He would bring some real depth and versatility to the Kings front line. With a lot of free agents off the board, the Kings may not have a better option.
But it comes with risks.