Kurt Helin

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

Report: Jeremey Lin considering signing with Dallas Mavericks

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The Dallas Mavericks are set at four positions: DeAndre Jordan is now in the center slot, Dirk Nowitzki at the four, Chandler Parsons at the three, and Wesley Matthews (coming off Achilles surgery) at the two.

But point guard is a big hole.

There are conversations to bring back J.J. Barea but he alone is not enough.

Jeremy Lin is considering putting his name in the Mavericks’ 10-gallon hat — and taking less money to do it, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Dallas only has limited funds to offer, but sources told ESPN.com that Lin is giving the Mavericks strong consideration even though he can likely make more money elsewhere.

Lin’s relationship with Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons from their days as teammates in Houston, sources said, has kept Dallas in the race despite its lack of financial flexibility. Parsons, of course, had a huge hand in the recruiting of DeAndre Jordan to the Mavericks in the richest free-agent score in team history.

What would be smart for Lin is a two-year deal with an opt-out after one. He could ideally show off an improved game — one with fewer turnovers, ideally — and how he helps a contender, then re-enter the free agency market as the cap spike.

Lin is a respectable reserve point guard in the NBA — when allowed to be aggressive in transition, and in the pick-and-roll, he can make things happen. But he turns the ball over on 17.7 percent of his possessions used and he isn’t much of a defender.

He likely can make more than the minimum or, at best (if they waive and stretch Raymond Felton) $2.6 million the Mavericks could offer, but there may not be a better opportunity for Lin than Dallas.

Spurs reset franchise for post Tim Duncan life in one impressive week

150705_LaMarcusAldridge
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This coming season, the San Antonio Spurs are going to be a force to be reckoned with: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and the core that was a legitimate title contender last season, and now they’ve added the 20-and-10 talents of LaMarcus Aldridge. Plus the Spurs are not done, they are in the mix for David West and other quality role players. They will be as good as anyone, serious contenders to win another Larry O’Brien trophy.

That’s not even the most impressive part of what the Spurs did this summer.

In one week, San Antonio has ensured that when Tim Duncan walks away — very possibly after next season — the Spurs will remain at the top of the West for at least the next four years.

The Spurs will keep being the Spurs.

Of course, it didn’t all happen in just one week. This started June 23, 2011, the night of the NBA Draft when the Spurs shipped out George Hill — a good point guard and a player Gregg Popovich was very fond of — for the rights to Kawhi Leonard. It was a gamble, but the Spurs saw the potential in the long, athletic, big-handed Leonard to bring them defense and scoring from the wing they had not been getting.

This week the Spurs secured that promise — they locked Leonard up to a five-year, $90 million max contract extension. Leonard is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA and a former Finals MVP, plus he brought 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game last season, with an efficient true shooting percentage of 56.2 percent. He is a franchise cornerstone piece on the wings.

Aldridge gives them that in the paint for the next four years — when Duncan steps away Aldridge slides right into that slot.

Like Duncan, Aldridge has good footwork and moves in the post, but he will kill you from the midrange. (Yes the midrange jumper is going out of fashion in the NBA, but like the stolen base in baseball it’s a good strategy if you hit a high-enough percentage and Aldridge shot an excellent 44 percent from 16 feet out to the arc last season).

Like Duncan, Aldridge is a good defender (not as good as peak Duncan, but good). And like Duncan, he is underrated for his toughness — he was supposed to have surgery on his thumb last season but came back to play out the season because he thought the Trail Blazers could contend.

Just as happened in 2011 with the Leonard trade, credit Popovich for knowing what needed to be done. Popovich is no recruiter by choice, but when Aldrige was on the fence, he came back out to Los Angeles for a second lunch to talk specifics with the big man. Aldridge had more questions, pressed for details, and liked what he heard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Aldridge and Leonard are the core for the next four years, but as always the Spurs will have quality talent at below-market prices around them.

Danny Green is as good a “3&D” guy as there is in the NBA right now and when you look at what the others in that class got — DeMarre Carroll was given $60 million from Toronto — the Spurs this week re-signed Green at a steal of four years, $45 million.

Then there is Tony Parker, who could have made more than the $13.4 million he will make this year but is locked in now for three more seasons at a price that will be a bargain as the salary cap spikes. Boris Diaw will make $22 million over the next three years, but the next two years of his deal are not fully guaranteed if the Spurs want to make a move. Patty Mills is going to make just a little over $7 million total the next two seasons.

Plus, Popovich plans to stick around for a little while.

All of which is to say, the Spurs didn’t just reload this week to make one more run at a sixth ring for Tim Duncan.

This week the Spurs set themselves up to contend for titles long after Duncan has retired to spend more time at his custom auto shop.

The Spurs are going to just keep going on, being the San Antonio Spurs

Who should Clippers get to replace DeAndre Jordan? How about Blake Griffin.

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Three
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It was midway through the fourth quarter of Game 7 of an epic first-round series, and the San Antonio Spurs had just gone on an 8-1 run to take a five-point lead. Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers decided to make a move and pulled DeAndre Jordan for Matt Barnes, going small and putting Blake Griffin at center.

The Clippers rode that small-ball lineup for almost the entire remaining 5:24, which included a late 7-2 run that gave Los Angeles the 111-109 victory and moved them on to the next round. (Jordan did sub in for a couple defensive possessions late.) The Clippers scored 19 points with that small lineup.

Those minutes could be the window to the future for the Clippers now that Jordan has bolted the Clippers to get a bigger role in the offense — and, more importantly, the recognition he feels he deserves — from the Dallas Mavericks.

Doc Rivers rode Jordan hard last season — he was seventh in the league in minutes played at 2,820 (more than 34 minutes a game for the full 82 games). Jordan was in the six most used Clippers lineups last season (and their regular starting five was leaned on heavily by Rivers, who didn’t trust the bench Doc Rivers the GM had given him). Jordan delivered 11.5 points on 71 percent shooting, but more importantly he was a beast on the boards at 15 a game, his offensive rebounding warped teams fast break efforts, and on the other end he was first-team NBA All-Defensive team because of his rim protection.

The Clippers cannot replace Jordan with anything near equal talent. Not with the money they have available. Once Jordan signs in Dallas and the Clippers fall below the tax line, they could have a full mid-level exception they can use (depending on Paul Pierce’s signing), but that is just $5.5 million — the money that got them Spencer Hawes a year ago (and the Clips just traded Hawes to get Lance Stephenson). The Clippers are pushing to send Jordan to Dallas in a sign-and-trade that would create a big trade exception they could use to get a big. (That alone can’t land them Roy Hibbert, who makes north of $17 million with a trade kicker; it likely would take a complex three-team trade involving the Pacers and Mavs to do that, and it is highly unlikely.)  The Clippers might try to trade Jamal Crawford for a big, suggests Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, and maybe his salary (plus filler) could net someone like Kosta Koufos of Memphis (who is currently a free agent but might do a sign-and-trade).

The Clippers do need to land another center, but he’s not going to be the same as the guy they lost.

What the Clippers do have is the ability to go small.

That small ball lineup that Doc Rivers used against the Spurs — Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, and Blake Griffin — played just 19 minutes last regular season. But they were +59 points per 48 in that very small sample size, with an offensive rating of 134.4 points per 100 possessions.

The Clippers just signed Paul Pierce, who has had his best success in recent seasons as a four in a small lineup that spaced the floor in Washington. The Clippers are trying to chase David West now (although that is a long shot at best).

The pieces are there for Doc Rivers to go small, play fast and overwhelm teams on offense. At least for stretches — longer stretches than he was willing to try it last season. It can work. It’s not going to work the same as Golden State, a team that suffers no real defensive drop off when they go small thanks to Draymond Green’s versatility. The Clippers don’t have that kind of defender (nobody else does).

But small can work for the Clippers. And it may be their best chance to stay among the elite of the West.

If they were willing to go to it in Game 7 against the Spurs, with their season on the line, they shouldn’t fear it when next season tips off.

 

 

Report: Derrick Williams agrees to two-year, $10 million deal with Knicks

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
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Derrick Williams has figured out a niche in the NBA — he can score the rock. He shot 39.4 percent on corner threes last season. As word spread around the league that defenders had to close on him from the corners, he showed the ability to put the ball on the floor, drive to the rim and put up dunks that got him on SportsCenter. Kings fans loved him for it.

Now it will be Knicks fans turn.

The Kings decided not to make Williams a restricted free agent, and he has chosen to bolt to Madison Square Garden, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.

Williams averaged 8.3 points a game last season in Sacramento.

Williams ability to score had him looking pretty good in George Karl’s system in Sacramento, but his game is fairly one-dimensional. The former No. 2 pick isn’t much of a passer — once he decides to shoot he seems to get blinders on, and open cutters are ignored.

His style isn’t exactly triangle friendly, but he is a talent upgrade at the three and can fit next to Carmelo Anthony if New York plays ‘Melo at the four. At this price, it’s a fair pickup for New York, giving them another role player.

Report: Tobias Harris reaches four-year, $64 million extension to stay with Orlando

Brooklyn Nets v Orlando Magic
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Tobias Harris was a restricted free agent that a lot of teams with young talent looking to improve — read: Lakers — were going to chase come July 9.

The key word there is “were.”

Harris has reached a deal to stay with another up-and-coming team in Orlando. Shams Charnia of Real GM was the first report this.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/617160842430291968

This is a bit of a surprise for one reason: The Magic hired Scott Skiles as coach. Skiles had coached Harris in Milwaukee and buried him on the bench, not really giving him much run. It wasn’t until Harris was traded out from under Skiles thumb and he was in Orlando that he blossomed.

This is a good signing for the Magic, keeping a quality young forward in house, and doing so on a deal that will look like a steal as the salary cap spikes.