Stability and continuity matter in the NBA.
No team is ever static, but there can be continuity of vision and a player core, and that matters. That’s what wins. It has mattered for the San Antonio Spurs for pushing two decades, and that stability has turned them into the model franchise in the league. More recently, Atlanta finally has some stability of system under Mike Budenholzer and they jumped to the top of the East with 60 wins (even while we debate if they can sustain that).
Then there are the Golden State Warriors. Since new ownership came in they have stuck with their vision and it paid off with a ring and a parade.
After seven seasons in Sacramento, Jason Thompson was traded to the Warriors (via Philadelphia) this summer and is excited by the idea of stability, he told the Associated Press.
“I haven’t been around much winning this past seven years,” said Thompson, sitting in the Warriors downtown practice facility Thursday. “A lot of instability with seven coaches in seven years, 180 teammates and things like that. That doesn’t ever lead to winning. To come to an organization that has and coming off a championship, that’s great for myself.”
The other thing stable organizations do is create competition for playing time — Thompson is going to have to earn minutes that could go to Festus Ezeli or Marreese Speights.
The obvious take away from what Thompson said is another insult piled on the Sacramento Kings. And it is that. But he’s also not wrong or alone. DeMarcus Cousins’ frustrations with the Kings have been over this same issue of instability of system (and players).
I don’t know that the Vlade Divac/George Karl combination is the answer in Sacramento — and I’ve got plenty of questions about their lineup, too — but Vivek Ranadive, stick with one combo and style for a while. Give this plan a chance to take root and work before you decide to rip it out and start over. This isn’t fantasy basketball, stability and continuity matter. A lot.
Players have been traded, but it was all about the money.
The Golden State Warriors agreed to send Gerald Wallace to Philadelphia in exchange for Jason Thompson (Wallace had come to the Bay Area in the David Lee trade with Boston). The Sixers also get some cash and the right to swap the lower of Miami or Oklahoma City’s 2016 picks (the Sixers have the rights to both) for the Warriors’ pick. (That pick swap borders on meaningless, Golden State likely has a top three — top five at worst — record next year.)
Why did the defending champion Warriors make this move? To save money at the end of the bench without hurting their rotation. Former Nets executive and now Twitter star Bobby Marks breaks it down, n0ting you need to consider this move in tandem with the David Lee trade.
Thompson, who has spent his entire career in Sacramento not living up to his potential, is not going to see a lot of playing time behind Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli on the bench. Thompson provides some inconsistent but at times solid defense, and he doesn’t take a lot of shots on offense.
Why do the Sixers make this move? To add some money to the payroll this season — they want to try to get to 90 percent of the salary cap number, which is the salary floor — plus save some money next summer. Wallace will get $10.5 million in this last season of his contract. Thompson makes “only” $6.4 million this season but has a $2.8 million guarantee next season (on a $6.8 million contract). Don’t be shocked if the Sixers just waive Wallace.
Neither guy is going to make a difference on the court for these teams. This was just moving some money around.
I don’t know what’s more surprising – that the Warriors extended Ognjen Kuzmic a $1,147,276 qualifying offer or that he didn’t immediately accept it.
Now, it’s too late for Kuzmic.
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:
This is the last day teams can unilaterally rescind qualifying offers.
Kuzmic now becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Warriors still hold his Early Bird Rights, which allow them to exceed the cap to sign him. Given their luxury-tax issues, I wouldn’t expect them to offer more than a minimum salary ($947,276). Then again, I didn’t expect them to extend a qualifying offer.
Kuzmic can pursue a deal with other NBA teams, who might be more willing to offer now that Golden State doesn’t have a right to match. Still, it’s tough to see much of a market for Kuzmic.
The No. 52 pick in the 2012 NBA draft, has played just 164 minutes in two NBA seasons. He’s 7-foot-1 and fairly athletic, but there just isn’t much to go on.
If the Warriors don’t re-sign him, they could look for another big man to play behind Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Marreese Speights. They have the minimum-salary exception and a portion of the taxpayer mid-level exception about equal to a minimum salary.
David West said he wants to play for a championship contender.
He already put his money where his mouth is by opting out with the Pacers and forgoing a guaranteed $12.6 million. He’s unlikely to recoup that money as a free agent.
But just how much is he willing to sacrifice?
Sam Amick of USA Today:
According to a person with knowledge of his situation, the free agent forward … has serious interest in playing for the San Antonio Spurs or the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors have the taxpayer mid-level exception ($3,376,000). Perhaps, they’d sign West and trade the similarly styled Marreese Speights ($3,815,000) to save a little money – savings that would be multiplied due to the luxury tax. Or they could keep both and have riches of big-men depth with Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. That becomes more palatable if West will take a minimum contract.
The Spurs could look to West if they strike out on LaMarcus Aldridge. If they get Aldridge, they’d still have the room exception ($2,814,000), though that probably goes to Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili. Most likely, West would have to take a minimum contract.
If he wants to win a title, though, Golden State and San Antonio are excellent places to look.
Remember when the Knicks thought they had a chance with Marc Gasol?
How the feeble have fallen.
Not even David West – who was reportedly headed to New York – will sign with the Knicks. He makes that darn clear.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR:
This is the type of foresight Carmelo Anthony might lack. West doesn’t want to take a big payday and get stuck somewhere he doesn’t want to be.
West, via Kravitz:
“At this point in my career, it’s all about winning, and again, I don’t want to be in a position where we’re just fighting to make the playoffs, I want to be in a spot where we can legitimately taste the finals,” West said.
For what it’s worth, West also didn’t like the Pacers’ public case to convince Roy Hibbert to opt out. West, via Kravitz:
“That’s one thing where I wish they would have handled better was the situation with Roy,” West said. “I’ll be honest with you, that bothered me a little bit, and I told Roy that. I’m the type of guy who feels like we’re all in this fight together and I’m not designed in that way to put it all on one guy. That did rub me the wrong way. That threw me off. I started reading some of that stuff, I started thinking, ‘Whoaa.’ I just didn’t feel good about that. I told Roy that it bothered me, that he’s still my teammate.
Hibbert opted in, and West opted out.
Now, West is seeking greener pastures. He’s obviously serious about winning over money – he opted out of $12.6 million – and he should have his pick of teams. Anyone should want West on a minimum contract, and most contenders (at least the ones not over the apron) should like him on a bi-annual exception. Someone might even give him the mid-level exception.
The bigger challenge is finding a contender where West would play a reasonably large role.
Are the Raptors, with DeMarre Carroll in the fold, good enough? Would a minimum salary convince West to back up Blake Griffin on the Clippers? How about West signing for less than Marreese Speights and allowing the Warriors to trade Speights?
West will have options. The less money he’s willing to take, the more teams that will pursue him.