Kurt Helin

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks - Game Five

Why didn’t Marcin Gortat play much during Game 6? Food poisoning.

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Marcin Gortat started the second half for the Wizards in Game 6, played 4:10, then never set foot on the court again. Ultimately, the Wizards were eliminated by the Hawks. Washington could have used Gortat’s rebounding, his defense in the paint, his big picks, but he never got back in the game, coach Randy Whittman calling Kevin Seraphin’s number.

Why?

Food poisoning, reports our friend J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.

“March was sick all night last night, throwing up all day today, IVs last night, IVs all day today, he tried to do what he could do but he didn’t have any energy,” coach Randy Wittman said. “I appreciate him giving me the effort and trying.”

 

Seraphin played fairly well, with 13 playoff points. Nene played in crunch time for the Wizards, he had five points in what had been a challenging series for him. But the Wizards missed what Gortat brings in the biggest game of the season.

Just another tough break in what had been series of tough breaks for the Wizards.

With Grizzlies out of playoffs Marc Gasol’s free agency starts. But he’s not going anywhere. Probably.

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six
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He’s one of the two biggest names on the free agent market this summer.

Marc Gasol’s free agency doesn’t officially begin until July 1. Unofficially, the speculation was bound to start to ramp up the second the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs Friday night.

Few around the league think Gasol is leaving Memphis — this is the city where he went to high school (he and his parents moved there when his brother Pau Gasol went there), he’s on a borderline contender that fits his style, and the Grizzlies can offer more money than any other team.

That’s the feeling in Memphis. Well, sort of, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Spurs are the wild card that should make fans in Memphis and Portland nervous. There are a lot of things that would need to fall in line — basically Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have to retire — but if they do they are going to be a very attractive offer.

Think of it this way: Your Duncan/Aldridge and on July 1 your phone rings, you pick it up and hear “This is Gregg Popovich, how would you like to come play for me, next to Kawhi Leonard, in our system on a max deal, and you can contend for a title for the next four years.”

Tempting. It’s the only real temptation people around the league think can sway Gasol, who is not going to consider the Knicks or Lakers in a serious way, or any other rebuilding project.

But most likely Gasol is suiting up next season next to Zach Randolph, playing the grit and grind, forcing a league that increasingly wants to go small to pay the price against a powerful front line.

PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Bulls lack of shooting did them in

chicago bulls
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Cleveland’s defense isn’t that good. It certainly improved mid-season with the additions of Timofey Mozgov and Iman Shumpert (as well as system changes to play to their strengths) but it was never more than a little above average.

Not that you would have known that watching them against the Bulls this past series.

But the issue was more the Bulls’ lack of shooting and how that made things easier on the Cavaliers than anything the Cavs did brilliantly. And the stats at NBASavant.com bear that out.

PBT has partnered with the fantastic NBASavant.com to break down the Sports VU Camera data and look more closely at the advanced stats of the NBA playoffs and what decided a series.

Cleveland’s defense is still going to get exposed; it just may be the Finals before the run into a team that can do it. The fact Chicago couldn’t should raise a lot of red flags in the Windy City.

PBT Extra: It’s time for a coaching change in Chicago

Cleveland at Chicago, Game 6
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Watching the Chicago Bulls lay down for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6, it became clear:

The Chicago Bulls need a new coach.

It’s time for Tom Thibodeau to move on (likely to New Orleans). It’s not that Thibodeau isn’t a good coach, but this team clearly needs a new voice and a new direction.

Beyond that, whoever comes in will have a lot of roster questions to answer: Just how much can Derrick Rose really give anymore? What about Joakim Noah? Can Tony Snell and Doug McDermott be real contributors on a regular basis? There are many more.

Just getting a new coach is not enough in Chicago.

Celtics’ assistant GM: Boston will be “very, very active” this offseason

Boston Celtics Vs. Brooklyn Nets At TD Garden
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No team may be better poised to make some moves this summer than the Boston Celtics.

They have roughly 5,932 draft picks to move (that may be a little high, but they have a lot). They have some interesting young players they can move. They have the cap space to take on salaries. Plus they have the tradition of the Boston Celtics (although tradition doesn’t sell players like it used to).

That doesn’t mean that Kevin Love, or LaMarcus Aldridge paired with Wesley Matthews, or DeMarcus Cousins, are coming to Bean Town — those are both long shots at best — but Boston will be active in shaping the roster this summer.

Don’t take my word for it, look at what Celtics’ assistant general manager Mike Zarren told the Boston Herald.

“We’ve got a lot of opportunities to do something significant this summer,” said Zarren. “There’s going to be a lot of good free agents. We could move up in the draft. We’ve got assets of every kind that other teams like.

“It’s too early to really know what’s going to happen — the lottery hasn’t even happened yet — but we’ll be very, very active in all phases of front office work this summer.”

This summer, the dynamics are unique. Every team knows that the salary cap is going to spike by more than $20 million after this season, and another $17 million or more the following season (thank you new national television deal). That means teams will be willing to make moves and take on contracts knowing that in a year what looked like a bad contract will be far less of a burden against the cap.

“There’s a lot of teams that are going to be active this summer, so that makes for a more liquid trade market for us,” said Zarren.

What that will translate into in terms of players wearing Celtics’ green next season remains to be seen. Don’t think GM Danny Ainge will make moves for the sake of making moves.

But no team may be better positioned to pounce financially than Boston.