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.
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.
DeMarcus Cousins. Rajon Rondo. George Karl. All in the same locker room for an NBA season.
Welcome to the Sacramento Kings, who had gone hard after Rondo since July 1 and on Friday they got their man. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports was first with the news.
This has been confirmed by other sources, with the salary being set at $9.5 million.
Rondo was a complete train wreck after being traded to the Dallas Mavericks last season.
Rondo is a high IQ player, a gifted passer and a plus defender (although his defense is not near as good as its reputation). But it his shot that is the problem, here is his shot chart from last season:
On the Kings, defenders will sag off Rondo as he goes over the pick and work to clog the lane — don’t let Cousins do his work in the paint, make Rondo (and Rudy Gay) beat you with jumpers. (To be fair, the Kings did add Marco Belinelli.) If the Kings try to play offensively-limited rookie Willie Cauley-Stein along with Cousins, it just makes things that much more crowded in the paint. And if you think Rondo is there to help push the pace, you should ask Dallas about that (the coaching staff was frustrated with how he slowed the game down).
Off the court, Rondo can be moody, competitive and combative. Rondo couldn’t get along with Doc Rivers in Boston (and everyone likes Doc). Then he melted down during the first round of the playoffs for the Dallas Mavericks and the franchise paid him to go away mid-series. So have fun with that, George Karl.
Rondo is going to Sacramento; the Kings got their man.
And they are going to be very interesting to watch because of it.
The Dallas Mavericks now have DeAndre Jordan at center, Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and Chandler Parsons as the small forward. That’s as good or better than any front line in the NBA.
But they still have some work to do.
Right now Devin Harris would be the starting point guard (Jordan will find he’s not quite CP3) . They have Wes Matthews at the two, but he is coming off Achilles surgery and may not be the same player. Dallas is already at work to fill out a couple of their guard bench spots with role players, as reported by David Aldridge of NBA.com and Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Both J.J. Barea and Richard Jefferson were with Dallas last season, playing reserve roles primarily. Barea averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 assists a game, playing just less than 18 minutes a night at about a league-average level of efficiency. Jefferson averaged 5.8 points a game in almost 17 minutes a night, but efficient wouldn’t be the word you would attach to them
They both make good reserves, solid role players off the bench. But if Dallas wants to run with the big boys in the West next season — Golden State, San Antonio — they need to land a quality starter for the one and some depth for the two spot.
You can add Corey Brewer to the list — with Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews — of guys that spurned more money from Sacramento to play somewhere else. It’s been a rough couple days in the California capital.
Brewer was considered someone the Kings would target — a defender who can get steals, the king of the leak-out, but not a guy who can shoot — but he has decided to stay with the Houston Rockets, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (and since confirmed by multiple sources).
This is a good fit for both sides. Brewer played 25 minutes a game and scored 11.9 points a game for the Rockets after being traded there from Minnesota last season. He’s not efficient (a career 29 percent from three) but he plays well off the bench for an up-tempo team like the Rockets.
Plus Brewer connected with fans in Houston, doing things like walking to Game 7 against the Clippers and taking pictures along the way.
This is another deal where the $23.4 million over three years might seem high for a guy who made $4.5 million last year, but the Rockets had to come close to what Sacramento was offering. Plus, a salary like $8 million a year will be a steal in two years when the salary cap jumps by $40 million (thanks to the flood of money from the new national television deal).
Washington has done pretty well for itself this summer despite Paul Pierce leaving for the Clippers (which he might regret right about now).
They already had Otto Porter — who is ready for a step into the spotlight — reached a deal with solid veteran Jared Dudley, and they drafted for the potential future on the wing with Kelly Oubre. They can keep playing smaller at the four (as they did with Pierce in the playoffs), and they will have depth.
Now they’ve added more help on the wing with veteran shooter Gary Neal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
J. Michael at CSNWashington.com explains how they filled a real need with this signing — and in a way that doesn’t hurt plans down the line.
Neal fills a glaring hole behind Bradley Beal at shooting guard, giving the Wizards a 6-4 career 38.1% shooter from three-point range. The deal also meets a key requirement for the Wizards: short-term and no impact on the salary cap for 2016 when they want maximum money available to pursue Kevin Durant.
The Wizards still have their mid-level exception to use. More than that, they have been shopping Nene around the league and as other teams miss out on their free agent targets those talks may gain more traction.