Author: Matt Moore

Brendan Haywood, Darko Milicic

How Brendan Haywood’s contract structure could help the Mavs reload


The Dallas Morning News shared an interesting note about Brendan Haywood’s seemingly albatross contract that could be huge this summer.

Haywood has what one NBA executive called “the best spread provision in the NBA” in his contract. In layman’s terms, any team that waives Haywood can spread out the payments for the remainder of his contract until 2026, according to an NBA source.

That means the team that owns his rights and waives him would be responsible for no more than $2 million per year over the next 14 years.

That clause in the deal is a huge incentive when it comes to including Haywood as a possible sweetener in trade talks that are going fast and furious as teams gear up for the frenzy that will begin as soon as the NBA finals end. Other teams see that as a very appealing contract.

via Clause in Haywood’s contract could make him ‘sweetener’ in trade talks | Dallas Mavericks News – Sports News for Dallas, Texas – SportsDayDFW.

To be clear, the Mavericks can’t waive him, his money still goes on the books. But they can trade him, a team can waive him, and then pay him out. For a team like the Bobcats with oodles and oodles of cap space, that’s huge. Every little bit of space the Mavericks can fanagle is going to help them with their plans for the summer and acquiring Deron Williams and/or Dwight Howard.

That’s a big deal. The spread provision hasn’t been used yet in the NBA but it’s a major help to any team looking to save money. The Bobcats, for instance, could acquire Haywood and then spread out not only the money owed to Haywood which helps for cap purposes, but the cap hit as well. It’s a pretty phenomenal boost for a team that needs it. Any team that takes on Haywood can get a year of service out of him, then minimize the damage.

This could help Dallas out in a big, big way.

Celtics-Heat Game 7: Erik Spoelstra’s redemption

Erik Spoelstra

I’ll say it, I buried him.

I absolutely buried Erik Spoelstra after Game 5. He had failed to make any meaningful adjustments, had allowed the Celtics to dominate the structure of the series, and had squandered opportunities to put this series away. I buried him.

And hey, shocker, I was wrong. He’s not buried. He’s the coach for the Eastern Conference champs, again. And when he had to, he made adjustments. Again. He’ll get zero percent of the effort for the Game 7 win, instead as always, his victories are considered the product of talent and talent alone. But if you really want the truth, if you care about what actually won Game 7 and sent the Heat to the Finals, you’ll recognize that Erik Spoelstra, in the biggest game of the year, outcoached Doc Rivers.

He trusted Chris Bosh, finally, coming off his injury. This is significant. Playing a good player may seem obvious, but there are a lot of coaches who would have held back on Bosh, not wanting to ruin his endurance for the end. Spoesltra managed him perfectly, and gave him the timeouts necessary to keep him winded. That adjustment changes the game. Kevin Garnett’s lobs no longer appeared unscathed, Bosh snatched them away, and the Celtics’ chances alongside.

He kept Battier off of Bass. This is huge. It’s not about Bass, who scored anyway, muscling in and doing work. He transitioned Battier onto Pierce and Rondo and Pietrus and let him make the little plays while others helped out on Bass. That was huge. He stemmed the bleeding.

He drew up the plays that worked, trusted Bosh in the corner, which was a major gamble, and didn’t get in LeBron’s way. He’ll get no credit for that. Which is ridiculous. Want to know why? It’s the most tried and tested way for a coach to win and make his starts happy.

From Bill Russell to Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant, stars say the same thing. “My coach trusted me to make the right play.” Spoelstra did that with James, not pulling him, letting him play it out, take them home. That seems obvious. It isn’t, and that line of thought is a big differential.

Spoelstra didn’t coach a great series. He didn’t coach a good series. He was outworked, but much of that came when he lost his starting power forward, a fact I overlooked when I buried him.


So now Spoelstra’s back in the Finals, matched up against another young coach with championship aspirations coaching three stars. He’ll have to have the defense he constructed control three terrific scorers, have his offense beat a shot-blocking menace. He has to manage minutes and rotations and do it for a team coming off a draining, exhausting seven-game series.

But for now, Erik Spoelstra has redeemed himself. He’s not dead.

Not even close.

Report: Larry Bird no longer has a relationship with GM David Morway

Former NBA player Bird attends premiere of Magic Bird in New York

When Larry Bird was retained as President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers, there was an interesting wrinkle. Kevin Pritchard, not longer-tenured David Morway, was tapped for the GM position under Bird. It was thought that was because Morway, having interviewed for vacant positions around the league, was simply headed elsewhere. Turns out that’s true, but not because Morway’s going to get another offer (though he may). The Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells reports:

Bird no longer has a relationship with soon-to-be ousted general manager David Morway, according to multiple sources.

Sources say the fizzled relationship is the one of the main reasons why Bird plans to replace Morway with Kevin Pritchard as general manager once Bird agrees to a new deal with owner Herb Simon to remain as president when the two meet later this week.

Pritchard was hired to be the Pacers’ director of player personnel last summer.

It takes awhile to earn Bird’s trust and once you burn that bridge he’s done with people. That’s the case right now with Morway.

via Pacers: A poor relationship is the reason Bird wants to replace Morway | Pacers Insider | The Indianapolis Star |

Wells goes on to say that the big clincher for Bird was Morway’s mishandling of the attempted acquisition of O.J. Mayo. That failed debacle where Morway reportedly pushed the Grizzlies too hard to take on Brandon Rush (eventually shipped to Golden State) cost Morway huge points.

Morway has a pretty good shot at multiple openings, most notably the Orlando job, where he’s considered a finalist for the gig. But it’s interesting that Bird lost his confidence in him. It’s also interesting because for a while it seemed that Bird would leave the job, Pritchard would leave the job, and Morway would take over. Now Morway’s the only one on the outside.

Sometimes this happens with people who work together. Not unfair to support either side.

Video: LeBron James hits a massive dagger three to end the Celtics’ hopes and dreams

Miami Heat's James reacts after a foul is called on Boston Celtics'  Pierce  in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoffs in Miami, Florida

The Bosh threes were what won the day. The Wade and-one and jumpers were what ran them out. But this LeBron James dagger pull-up three with 5:46 to go? That was when the Celtics knew. It was not their day. Their day is over. It is the Heat’s day, the Heat’s world, the Heat’s time, in the East, for now, and again.

And you can’t be upset if you’re Boston. What are you going to do? That’s an impossible shot. It’s not a good shot. It’s not quality offense. It’s the same kind of shot Paul Pierce hit in Game 5 to put the game to bed for Boston, only so much more dramatic. The Celtics would not get closer than five after that shot.

Game over.

Celtics-Heat Game 7: A fade from green to black

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Four

It’s possible, however remotely, that Miami’s 101-88 win in Game 7 wasn’t the end of the Big 3 era in Boston. It’s not inconceivable that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers could elect for one more ride. But it doesn’t feel like it. It doesn’t feel like it because of how close this team came to being blown up before the season, during the season, at the deadline. It doesn’t feel like it because of the economic realities and the difficulty in retaining said players at market rates while not squandering their window of opportunity to rebuild around legitimate, motivated talent. But mostly, it doesn’t feel that way because of the look on the Celtics’ faces in the fourth quarter of Games 6 and 7. Last year they could throw out Rondo’s injury, or the way the roster was constructed. But this year is different. This year is a  team they liked, a team they trusted, a team they believed in. And in the fourth quarter of Games 6 and 7, the truth was etched on their faces. Not The Truth, but he truth.

The Heat are just better than they are.

The belief was there, even for three quarters in Game 7. That effort and execution would trump talent. That heart and grit would trump ability. That sheer force of will was more important than strength, speed, and athleticism. But then, as these things do, the reality set in. Santa Claus is not real, there is no gold at the end of the rainbow, and the Miami Heat are a better team than the Celtics.

As much as a Game 7 can prove such things.

So now there’s a whole other world waiting for them, a summer that will deal with free agency for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, with Allen already having speculated about moving on. The Celtics wouldn’t get into the discussion of whether they will finally pull the trigger on the detonation Saturday night, it wasn’t the time. But if this is it, it’s important to note what they leave with.

An NBA championship for Boston, first and foremost, having carried the title back to Beantown when it had been absent for twenty year. Two Finals appearances, a year cut down by an injury to Kevin Garnett, and then, the Big 3 era in Miami. (The Heat have never lost a playoff series in the Big 3 era to Boston. There’s a fun small-sample stat). They brought us Ubuntu, they validated the careers of Allen, Garnett, Pierce. They made Doc Rivers into arguably the best coach in the NBA, certainly the coach most want to play for. They gave us dedication, sacrifice, intensity, and a whole lot of fouls. They resurrected the Lakers rivalry and may have been primarily responsible for “The Decision” and the formation of the Big 3. They were the superteam before there were superteams (apologies to the Spurs).

It was an amazing run.

But the truth is that it’s over.

It’s time to look to the future, to get Rondo some running mates his age (or younger). It’s time to move forward and look for the next great Celtic. It’s time to let go of the past. Because this team gave everything anyone could have asked of them, and it wasn’t enough. The time has come, and Ainge and Rivers know it. They’ve known it for a while, but they chose to believe in miracles. And for a while, this team of over-the-hill veterans made them believe. But at the end of the rope there’s an anchor. It’s time to let go.

There will be a great many questions about this Celtics team going forward and looking back. Were they truly one of the great teams of their time, or is their lone title not enough to justify the hype about them? Were they victims of fate (Garnett’s knee in 2009, Perkins’ knee in 2010) or simply flawed in trying to win with older players in an athletic age? Is Rondo the lone reason they were able to compete for so many years, or are teams unable to win a title with him as the best player? Should the Celtics have made a move sooner? What about the failed deal for David West? The questions will haunt the city and sports talk radio and are worth asking.

But beyond that is a team that deserves to be remembered not as three superstars that came together to win titles. But a team of great players who all bought in to something greater than themselves and came out with a bond greater than that of just teammates. They won together, they lost together, but they fought through everything the league, the world and fate threw at them. They fought to the bitter end. There’s no shame that the Heat were better. There’s only a pride in being another in a long line of great Celtics teams.

And for the city with the most NBA championships, a grateful hand is extended, even as the question is on their lips.

“Where do we go from here to win Banner 18?”