Tag: Marc Gasol

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

Hassan Whiteside, Draymond Green spar on twitter over small ball


Golden State won its NBA title this year going small β€” Draymond Green at the five was not something the Cavaliers had an answer for. The two years prior, the Miami Heat won a couple of titles playing Chris Bosh at the five, spacing the floor with his jumpers.

Small ball works. Not for everyone β€” Green allows the Warriors to go small and not get hurt defensively β€” but it has proven to work with the right lineups.

Just don’t tell Miami center Hassan Whiteside that.

The Warriors Draymond Green saw that tweet and fired back.

Then they exchanged a couple more barbs.

Whiteside may want to note that the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies to get to the Finals, and last I checked Marc Gasol was pretty good at scoring inside. Same with Zach Randolph. Didn’t do them any good. To be fair, part of it is the Warriors are versatile β€” they can go small, play bigger, and they remain very effective on both ends of the floor. But their core identity is smaller and faster.

For two years prior, even Whiteside’s own team leaned small to win β€” Chris Bosh as the five and LeBron James at the four for long stretches. It’s what created matchup problems for opponents. It’s what worked.

There will always be a place for a skilled big man in the game, but the old basketball adage “tall and good beats small and good” doesn’t always ring true anymore. Not if you have the right smalls.

Report: Tristan Thompson rejected $80 million contract offer from Cavaliers because his perceived peers got more

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Tristan Thompson and the Cavaliers were reportedly near a five-year, $80 million contract.

Then, they weren’t.

What happened?

Was the report inaccurate? Did the Cavaliers pull the offer? Did Thompson back out?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Thompson and the Cavaliers had reached an agreement early in free agency that was believed to have been centered on a five-year deal worth some $80 million. The problem with doing a deal at that number is that virtually everyone in Thompson’s talent range got substantially more, most receiving the NBA maximum salary, some for less years, but most for the same year one dollar amount.

Thompson’s camp pulled back from the $80 million number, wanting the Cavs to step up with more based on what virtually everyone else in Thompson’s peer range got.

I’m not sure who Thompson considers his peers, but I place him solidly behind Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Draymond Green, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap and Tim Duncan in the next group of big-man free agents.

Does that warrant more than the $16 million per season the Cavaliers reportedly offered?

Here’s how much other free agents in the tier will get annually, using data from Basketball Insiders:

  • Enes Kanter: $17,515,007 (four years, $70,060,028)
  • Robin Lopez: $13,503,875 (four years, $54,015,500)
  • Tyson Chandler: $13,000,000 (four years, $52,000,000)
  • Thaddeus Young: $12,500,000 (four years, $50,000,000)
  • Amir Johnson: $12,000,000 (two years, $24,000,000)
  • Omer Asik: $10,595,505 (five years, $52,977,525)
  • Kosta Koufos: $8,219,750 (four years, $32,879,000)
  • Ed Davis: $6,666,667 (three years, $20,000,000)
  • Brandan Wright: $5,709,880 (three years, $17,129,640)
  • Jordan Hill: $4,000,000 (one year, $4,000,000)

Thompson might think he’s in the same group as Monroe (three-year max contract) and Green (five years, $82 million), but he’s not as good as those two. They deserve to be paid more than Thompson.

But deserve has only so much to do with it.

Thompson holds major leverage. If he takes the qualifying offer and leaves next summer, the Cavaliers won’t have the cap flexibility to find a comparable replacement. They can sign Thompson only because they have his Bird rights. That won’t be the case with outside free agents.

The Thunder were in the same boat with Kanter, which is why they matched his max offer sheet from the Trail Blazers. Thompson should point to that situation for comparison. The Cavaliers, though, would probably tell Thompson to bring them an offer sheet, like Kanter did with Oklahoma City.

But Thompson has even more leverage. He shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron James. Cleveland surely wants to keep LeBron happy, and LeBron wants Thompson back.

Thompson might get more than $80 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got his max ($94,343,125 over five years). It just won’t be because his on-court peers all got that much. The max-level free agents – with the exception of Kanter – are a class above in actual ability.

But that Kanter comparison works for Thompson, and he and Paul should hammer it until the Cavaliers relent. No need to bring up that Kanter signed well after Thompson’s talks with Cleveland broke down. This is only minimally a discussion about logic and production.

It’s mostly about leverage, and no matter what flawed viewpoints got us here, Thompson still has leverage.

Grizzlies, in need of third center, sign Michael Holyfield

Michael Holyfield, Chris Singleton
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Grizzlies, despite their reputation as large and interior-oriented, had fewer centers last season than most teams.

Starter Marc Gasol is back. Brandan Wright is now the backup, replacing Kosta Koufos, who signed with the Kings.

But Memphis didn’t really have a third center. Jon Leuer, a slim power forward, nominally filled the role, and the Grizzlies traded him to the Suns.

Have they found a true third center?

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

If the Grizzlies keep Holyfield into the regular season, that one-year minimum contract will essentially become a standard contract.

Can he stick?

Memphis has 14 players with guaranteed contracts plus JaMychal Green ($150,000 guaranteed). Green’s guarantee gives him a leg up.

So does his ability. Holyfield faces a steep increase in competition from the Southland Conference. His size advantage is much less pronounced in the NBA, and he has yet to show the skills necessary to handle it.

But Memphis could use a third center for insurance. Gasol is on the wrong side of 30. Wright, though healthy last season, played just 58, 64, 49, 37, 39 and 38 games in his other six NBA seasons. Zach Randolph could handle the position if pressed, but that’s not ideal.

It makes sense for the Grizzlies to waive Holyfield and assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, the Iowa Energy. It also makes sense for Memphis to find a third center, someone better than Holyfield. Until the latter happens, I wouldn’t consider the former a total lock.

Memphis farm creates gigantic Marc Gasol crop maze (PHOTO)

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol re-signed in Memphis last month, locking up his future with the Grizzlies long-term. Understandably, the city of Memphis is extremely happy about this β€” he’s their most important player and one of if not the best center in the league. The Agricenter, an urban farm in Memphis, celebrated Gasol’s decision to stick around with this awe-inspiring crop maze featuring Gasol’s likeness:

This is dedication. It shows what Gasol means to the city and the team that an organization would take the time to create something like this in an industry that has nothing to do with basketball. Well done.

(h/t The Friendly Bounce)

Dante Exum injury revives debate about risk, reward of playing for national teams

Dante Exum

It was one of the big topics of last summer, sparked by the injury to Paul George at a Team USA exhibition:

Can these national team injuries be avoided? Should players be potentially risking their careers over this? Where is the line between the reward of playing for one’s country and the risk of injury?

Those injuries hit NBA teams much harder than they do a national team (particularly a deep USA basketball roster). George missed most of what was a lost season for the Pacers because of that gruesome leg injury, all to play in a FIBA World Cup that draws yawns from fans in the United States (winning it did earn the USA an automatic berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics). That has long been Mark Cuban’s issue β€” if he and the Mavs have to assume the risk of Dirk Nowitzki getting injured playing for Germany, they should get some of the financial rewards of the event. That doesn’t happen.

The potential ACL injury to Utah’s Dante Exum playing for Australia this summer has revived this discussion.

That injury hasn’t slowed the more than 40 players who will be in Las Vegas for the Team USA mini-camp this summer because guys still want to make the Olympic squad. That is the event we care about stateside, plus it is a massive platform internationally to grow a brand. Players are not giving that up. However, a number of name players coming off injury or just feeling tired β€” Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, among others β€” will attend but not participate in drills during the camp.

Bottom line: Exum’s injury β€” a setback for an up-and-coming Jazz team β€” has people talking.

The big issue is wear and tear. It’s a question of rest.

Guys can suffer injuries anywhere β€” in a pickup game at UCLA, working out at a Las Vegas gym, during the NBA season, or trying to get out of their car. Injuries happen. The fact is withΒ national teams (particularly Team USA) and international competitions, these guys play fewer minutes and have very good training staffs around them. Injuries are going to be caught faster, and the player taken care of better with Team USA than at private workouts. USA basketball’s staff and facilities are top notch.

And if you are a player who wants to learn from and test yourself against the best, USA Basketball is the place to do it.

The question is how much should guys do for their national teams? When will they get enough rest and let their bodies recuperate? We already know that the NBA is working to adjust its schedule β€” doing away with four games in five days, reducing back-to-backs β€” because of concerns about the body needing rest. That marathon grind is seen as the reason for the rash of high-profile injuries that plagued the NBA last season.

β€œOf course it’s a concern when players are getting injured. It’s not necessarily worse than it’s been historically. But it’s to the point, especially when you see star players going down and missing serious numbers of games, it’s something that we’re focused on…” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the NBA Finals (not long before Irving suffered his knee injury).

β€œWe’ve revamped the entire scheduling process this year to try to do everything to clear more windows at our arenas, to clear more broadcast windows,” Silver said. β€œβ€¦ I think the science over time zone travel has gotten much better, where moving four time zones, we think, may have an effect on players’ bodies that we may not have understood historically.”

Since there is no chance the league and players will agree to shorten the NBA season (nobody is giving up that revenue), these are at least some smart steps.

But if players are with their national team during the summer, are they getting enough physical down time? This is not a new concern β€” China never let Yao Ming rest, he played every summer for the national team, until his body started just to give out on him. Foreign players β€” such as Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol of Spain, or Exum in Australia β€” face added pressure because, unlike Team USA, there isn’t the same depth of talent. If the Gasols don’t play for Spain, that team is not nearly as good, there are no comparable replacements.

Cuban wants the NBA to put on its own World Cup, so at least they get paid. That seems unlikely.

But the NBA and FIBA need to talk and come to an understanding. One major tournament every four years β€” the Olympics β€” is enough. Soccer, where the World Cup is the biggest event, turned Olympic soccer into an under 23 tournament. There is still some good young talent out there, and these are younger players who can handle the additional training and games more easily, but the big name veterans get to rest more.

There are real challenges in getting this done β€” all centered around money, of course β€” but it’s the direction basketball needs to go. We’ve seen the data and it’s clear β€” players need more rest. International competitions cut into that, and there need to be some limits.

And even if they do all that, injuries will happen. It’s part of the game.