Tag: New Jersey Nets

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets, Game 2

Cuban says the Mavericks almost traded for Kobe in 2007


The summer of 2007 was the summer of Kobe Bryant’s discontent.

Since the Lakers had traded Shaquille O’Neal they had not put new pieces around Kobe that could help win a title, and Kobe let the world know. He asked for a trade, he pressured management, he ripped Andrew Bynum to random guys with a video camera in a parking lot.

And the Lakers did have serious talks with Dallas about a trade, Mark Cuban confirmed while on ESPN Radio in Dallas, as transcribed by the Dallas Morning News. Things were so serious that Cuban — who was doing Dancing With the Stars at the time — thought it would get done.

When I was doing Dancing with the Stars, I was taking breaks because I was talking to Kobe’s agent because Kobe wanted to get traded,” Cuban explained on the Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. “Literally, between Dancing with the Stars practices I had thought we traded for Kobe Bryant. I even talked to their owner and thought we were going to have done deal, and [Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak changed [Kobe’s] mind and brought him back.”

Not sure if the Los Angeles Lakers would’ve taken Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Devin Harris, Erick Dampier or Josh Howard in return but Cuban assures that Dirk Nowitzki was not in the deal.

“It wasn’t Dirk for Kobe,” Cuban said before admitting that the Lakers were smart by not letting it happen.

While the Lakers were exploring, I’m not sure they were as serious as Cuban thought, I’m not sure they ever would have traded Kobe until their hand was forced (ie. he could leave via free agency, the way Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard gained leverage to force a trade). Kobe is too valuable to the Lakers brand.

It’s moot. At the next trade deadline the Lakers swung a deal for Pau Gasol and went to the next three NBA finals, winning two. And Kobe was happy again. A couple years later, the Mavericks and Cuban would get their rings, too. You just wonder if there would have been more with Kobe.

Mark Cuban is really pissed at Jason Kidd. I mean ticked.

Mark Cuban Jason Kidd

Mark Cuban thought he had a fallback. The Mavericks were going to go hard after Deron Williams, but that might not work, the Nets were always in that picture (and really always in the lead).

But if D-Will didn’t work out — and he didn’t, he signed to stay in Brooklyn — then there was Jason Kidd. Cuban thought he had a deal there with a guy he could trust, a guy who was part of the Mavericks title team. Cuban thought he had a three year, $9 million locked in to keep Kidd.

Then Kidd backed out last minute and signed essentially the same deal with the Knicks.

Cuban is pissed. Still. His business sensibilities were offended, and his feelings were hurt. Here is what he said on ESPN Dallas Radio’s “Ben & Skin Show (via ESPNDallas.com).

“I was more than upset. I thought he was coming. I was pissed,” Cuban said. “J-Kidd is a big boy; he can do whatever he wants. But you don’t change your mind like that. That was … yeah. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of now, I wouldn’t put J-Kidd’s number in the rafters.

“It hurt my feelings, period, because I felt that we had developed a relationship, and I thought that he was committed to the organization. It sure seemed that he was. I mean, J-Kidd was active in going out there and talking to Deron Williams the whole time. I guess it was more shocking and surprising than anything else.”

I’m sure Cuban has never left any of his business partners feeling this way. Well, except for the guy that sued him saying Cuban falsified the books for the Mavericks (a judge did toss that suit out). And there are probably a lot of other guys who feel Cuban stepped on them on the way to the top.

Cuban will eventually come around. Probably. But don’t expect Kidd’s number in the Dallas rafters anytime soon.

As for Deron Williams… that was business. No hard feelings there.

“I don’t want to pick on Deron Williams because he’s a great, great, great player, and so it’s not necessarily him, per se,” Cuban said. “The conversation we had going back and forth — and obviously the decision was to go for him — but the conversation was, ‘OK, once you add $17.1 million in salary to what we’d have with Dirk and Trix (Shawn Marion), then what do you do?’ That’s your squad. And it’s not just your squad for this year. It’s your squad for next year other than the $3.3 million mini midlevel.

“So that was a challenge that we had because we want to win, and everybody talks about Dirk’s window. Well, not only would it have been difficult to add players, then it also would have been difficult to trade players, and in reality that was the same problem that Deron had. Because he looked and saw the same thing and said, ‘OK, now what are you going to do?'”

Chris Paul out eight weeks after thumb surgery, likely misses start of camp

London Olympics Basketball Men

Chris Paul injured his thumb early on in USA Basketball training camp for the Olympics, while the team was still in Las Vegas. It held him up for a few days, but he came back and played well — Paul was huge in the second half of the USA’s gold medal winning game over Spain.

But the thumb injury was more serious than Paul let on.

Paul had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, the Clippers announced. The surgery was done by Dr. Steven Shin, a hand specialist from the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

Paul will be out eight weeks — that has him returning about the middle of NBA training camp if everything heals in a timely fashion. He could be back before the season starts but should miss a chunk of training camp.

Blake Griffin, the Clippers other star, left Team USA training camp with a knee injury that required surgery. He is expected to be back and ready to go for training camp.

These are real concerns for the Clippers, who want to take a step forward after a 40-win season and making it to the second round of the playoffs. They want to challenge the Lakers, and even though that may be unlikely this year they, San Antonio and Denver could battle it out for the three seed. This is a franchise looking to grow, looking for a way to break away from its history. And having key players coming in from off-season surgery is not the best way to do that.

The Clippers need things to go well this year or Chris Paul could leave as a free agent at the end of the season. He will have played out his contract.

Paul’s injury was discussed at the time, it frustrated coach Mike Krzyzewski because it held up the team’s development — he had an injured Paul and a distracted Deron Williams (his free agency was just getting taken care of). But they both came around, team USA never lost a game. But it was never discussed as this serious, and it didn’t really show much in Paul’s play.

Here are your top-10 NBA highest-paid players for 2012-13

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA salaries are basically set for next season, minus a few tweaks for late pickups and drops. While there are a few good players still out there as free agents, said players are discovering right now the market is pretty dry. I hope they all like the veteran minimum.

So who is going to make the most money next year? Glad you asked. The fine folks at Hoopsworld (Eric Pincus in particular) have that salary info handy and compiled this list.

1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers) $27,849,149
2. Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) $20,907,128
3. Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) $20,463,024
4. Amare Stoudemire (Knicks) $19,948,799
5. Joe Johnson (Nets) $19,752,645
6. Dwight Howard (Lakers) $19,536,360
7. Pau Gasol (Lakers) $19,000,000
8. Chris Paul (Clippers) $17,779,458
9 (T). Chris Bosh (Heat) $17,545,000
9 (T). LeBron James (Heat) $17,545,000
(Bonus) 11.Dwyane Wade (Heat) $17,182,000

A few thoughts on the list:

• Unlike recent years, there are no massive duds on the list (Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis type contracts). You can thank the new CBA’s amnesty provision for that. But just wait, there will be future bad contracts handed out to make these lists. Be patient.

• Kobe will make nearly $7 million more than anyone in the league in salary.

• There are three Lakers in the top 10, three Heat (if you count Wade at No. 11), and a couple of Knicks. But sure, small market competitive balance is alive and well.

• I think it needs to be repeated: When you talk about oversized NBA contracts, these are not the guys to point at. (If you want to say as a society we overvalue entertainers and undervalue teachers and firemen and librarians, etc., then by all means go ahead. But that is not the debate at hand.) Kobe is paid handsomely but what he generates for the Lakers in terms of ticket sales (and with that beer sales, parking, etc.), sponsorships, television rights revenue and so on vastly outweighs what he gets paid. Same with basically everyone on this Top-10 list. What hurts is more the upper middle class of the NBA — Jose Calderon making $10.5 million, Hedo Turkoglu making north of $11 million. Those are the kins of salaries that hurt teams bottom lines.

Monday And-1 links: Looking at the Lakers offense with Howard

Dwight Howard

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• With all the hits Dwight Howard took on the public relations side lately, we tend to forget the guy is a damn good offensive player — 20.6 points per game on 57 percent shooting last season, and that was down from the year before — and here is a fantastic breakdown of he does well and why it should fit in with what the Lakers want to do.

• Another great post looking at the Lakers and how they might work in some Princeton offense sets — it will be a hybrid — by our man Rob Mahoney.

RIP to Simon Gourdine, the former NBA and Players Union executive.

• If you ask Chris Paul who the best player in the NBA is, he will say Chris Paul. Which is pretty close, he’s up there, but probably not who most of us would pick.

• Dwyane Wade talks about his knee, says he’ll be ready to go.

• If the Bucks are going to make the playoffs this year, it is because Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis played good defense. (Great stuff from Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie.)

A look back at the career of Sixers great and coach Billy Cunningham.

• There are reports Yi Jianlian wants a two-year contract totalling $5 million from Real Madrid. Which is a lot considering the time he could miss with the knee injury suffered in the Olympics.

• That might explain why Real Madrid has interest in Darko Milicic, although he has said he wants to stay in the NBA.

• If you are looking for a $4.7 million home in the Atlanta area (and I know that’s most of you), Joe Johnson’s is for sale.

• Roy Hibbert is hosting his Area 55 tryouts — his special group of fans in the Indiana arena. If the Pacers are going to be the third seed in the East and threaten the big boys Hibbert is going to have to win about 15,000 people a night over into his section with his play.

• Could Kim English work his way into the Pisons’ rotation?

• Morris Almond has signed with Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.

• Former Pistons second round pick Vernon Macklin has signed with Turkish team Gaziantep BSB.

• Former NBA player Anthony Parker has joined the Magic as a scout.

• Pau and Marc Gasol’s younger brother Adria Gasol is going to be a walk-on freshman at UCLA next season. But don’t expect much, Bruins fans.