Rule number one of trade leverage: Don’t look eager to make a move. Pretend you’re not interested at all.
That could be what is going on here with the Brooklyn Nets.
Or, maybe the report from ESPN’s Marc Stein is accurate — maybe now, after buying out and waiving Deron Williams thereby dramatically lowering their payroll, the Nets have no intention of trading Joe Johnson.
That last part is true, the Nets have no lottery pick to tank for. With Johnson, plus the re-signed Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, they stand a legitimate chance of making the playoffs in the East. They are not going to challenge Cleveland for supremacy, or frankly even Chicago/Washington/Miami/Atlanta for that second tier. But they could get an invite to the dance.
Still, this is in a rebuilding mode, just one with a couple of key pieces in place. Johnson is not part of the long-term future, and if a team offers the right combination of picks and players to move that rebuilding along faster, the Nets have to strongly consider it. That may not happen with his steep price tag, but it’s possible an offer comes because this is the last year of his deal.
The Nets just don’t want to look eager.
The Miami Heat are going to be one of the most entertaining and better teams in the East. They will start three potential All-Stars (Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), and they are putting a nice bench behind them.
That now includes Amar’e Stoudemire, who officially signed with the team on Friday. It is a one-year, veteran minimum deal at $1.5 million.
“We are very fortunate that a proven All-Star like Amar’e has chosen the Miami Heat,” Miami President Pat Riley said in a statement. “He is going to bring gravitas, leadership and a hardworking mentality to our team as we look to win another Championship in Miami.”
Stoudemire, 32, is no longer a franchise cornerstone kind of player, but he does have a role.
Last season — split between New York and Dallas — he averaged 11.5 points a game and shot 55.7 percent, with an impressive PER of 20.3. His minutes need to be monitored, he’s going to miss games because of his knees, but when he plays he’s going to provide value on the court.
Miami likely starts Bosh at the four and Hassan Whiteside at the five. Their bigs off the bench as of right now are Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen (although the Birdman could be moved in a deal). Stoudemire will get run in that mix and provide them some quality minutes.
Don’t sleep on the Heat this season.
The Mavericks have their point guard.
The Brooklyn Nets are going to save some money.
Deron Williams has agreed to terms of a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets and will sign a new two-year deal with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, something first reported by David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT.
The Brooklyn Nets and point guard Deron Williams, considered joined at the hip just three years ago in a marriage that announced Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s determination to spend whatever it took to build a contending team quickly, divorced for good on Friday, with the team and Williams reaching agreement on a buyout of the remaining two years and $43 million on his contract.
The deal allows Williams, once he clears waivers, to sign a deal with his hometown Dallas Mavericks—the team he almost went to in free agency in 2012 before agreeing to stay in Brooklyn on a five-year, $98 million max deal.
Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN have the figures on the deals.
It’s win-win. Or at least about as close to win-win as things could happen considering how bad William’s contract was ($43 million left over two years). Williams gives up a little money but gets out of Brooklyn, which he wanted.
For the Nets, they save serious cash and this deal is believed to get them below the luxury tax line. That’s both smart business and really necessary if he is going to find a buyer for all or part of the team (as has been rumored for more than a year, although he has denied it).
For Dallas, they will be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the West now. They lost DeAndre Jordan but with a likely starting five of Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews (once fully healthy after his Achilles surgery), Zaza Pachulia and now Williams, they can compete with Utah, Sacramento, the Lakers and other teams in the West that think they can jump into the playoff picture. (Oklahoma City will make that leap now that they are healthy.)
I know I tease my brother (he’s earned it). That’s just kind of how guys are with each other.
Brook Lopez was already in New York when he re-signed this summer with the Brooklyn Nets. Now he will be joined in New York by his brother Robin Lopez, who signed with the Knicks.
Two brothers, both now in New York.
Brook welcomed Robin to the Big Apple with some serious roasting on WFAN (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie for the transcription).
Q. Did you help recruit your brother to the Knicks?
A. I did help recruit my brother to the Knicks, but as a non-Knicks supporter I helped recruit him there. I think he’s going to be a detriment to them, absolutely.
Q. You have always gotten the better of him in head-to-head matchups, so maybe that’s another reason, right?
A. Right, absolutely. I’m kind of the Robin Lopez Kryptonite, and there’s a lot of Robin Lopez Kryptonite in the world.
Q. Will you guys consider living together here in New York City?
A. I’ve been telling a few people I’m going to, first off, charge him rent definitely. I’m going to kind of go the Harry Potter route, like the Dursleys kept Harry Potter under the staircase in the cupboard. Something like that….
Q. Is there anything that Robin Lopez does better than you?
A. He loses better than I do. I know that. That came to me right away.
That is awesome. And well done with the Harry Potter reference as well.
Brook and Robin are pretty tight; the twins played their high school and college ball (Stanford) together. This is all in good fun. Not like Robin and those mascots.
Now, they both likely miss the playoffs together in New York. That’s another real bonding experience.
There have been two hard-to-believe story lines this free agency.
First, the DeAndre Jordan change of heart that made the Clippers contenders and left Dallas in the mud.
Second, the saga of the Sacramento Kings. There’s friction between coach George Karl and star DeMarcus Cousins. There’s an unpredictable owner. There’s an inexperienced GM in Vlade Divac who has upgraded the talent on the roster but made a baffling trade. Then they inject Rajon Rondo right into that mix.
In this latest podcast, we break down both of those topics with special guest Bill Herenda, the Kings’ insider for CSNBayArea.com, PBT’s Kurt Helin and NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard. (Note: This was recorded just before news of the Caron Butler signing broke.)
Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.