Eight guys likely waived under new CBA amnesty clause

7 Comments

Next time you’re positive you know who is going to get cut with the coming NBA amnesty clause, remember this: In 2005 it was nicknamed the Allan Houston clause after the wildly overpaid Knicks guard. Except the Knicks didn’t cut him.

We don’t know who will get cut this time around, but we have heard an amnesty clause that allows a team to wipe a player off the official payroll (luxury tax and salary cap) is almost a certainty in the new labor deal. It’s a one time shot.

Remember — the players will still get paid. The amnesty will wipe a player’s salary off the official books, but this is a signed contract and the checks will keep flowing. Chris Bernucca at Sheridan hoops is right — this is essentially a do-over for the wealthy teams and gives overpaid players a chance to still get paid and sign with a contender for less. But if you were smart with your contracts and managed your budget, this doesn’t help you at all. As always, the owners just want protection from themselves.

Here are our guesses for the eight guys most likely cut, plus one interesting scenario in the Pacific Northwest.

Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons. He is owed two years, $25.3 million. In theory they could keep him around to trade him, but there hasn’t been much of a market for him in the past year — and the market will shrink with the new labor deal.

Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards. He is owed two years, $43.8 million. He may be the poster child for the amnesty clause. He also can still contribute and some team is going to get him for a song and he will help them (Miami may be the most likely).

Gilbert Arenas, Orlando Magic. He is owed three years, $54.3 million. They have a few choices, such as Hedo Turkoglu (three years, $34.8 million), but Arenas has the worst deal. Orlando needs to shed salary and bring in talent if they have any hope of keeping Dwight Howard after next summer.

Baron Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers. He is owned two years, $28.6 million. I know he is excited to mentor Kyrie Irving, but the Clippers were desperate to get rid of him (giving up the pick that became Irving) to stop him from mentoring their young team.

Brendan Haywood, Dallas Mavericks. He is owed five years, $45.3 million. The Mavericks gave him a big deal, then it turned out Tyson Chandler was the big deal they really needed. Dallas will bring back Chandler and let Haywood go, but he is still a solid center who can help some teams.

Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers. He is owed two years, $11.4 million. Another guy with NBA game that can help another team. He was a good triangle fit but may not work with the Mike Brown offense, plus the Lakers are going to need to trim salary whatever the new system is.

Travis Outlaw, New Jersey Nets. He is owed four years, $28 million. That he played just shy of 30 minutes a game last season in New Jersey speaks to the Nets roster issues. He is not part of the future and the Nets could use the cap space to maneuver.

Andris Biedrins, Golden State Warriors. He is owed three years, $27 million. He was going to be the center of the future, but his confidence fell apart faster than his free throw form. Or maybe they collapsed together. Either way, this franchise needs a change in the middle.

The biggest amnesty question is:

Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers. He is owed four years, $68.4 million. His knees have robbed him of a game that was worth that money. He was one of the franchise’s anchors, but while he can still deliver spectacular playoff fourth quarters he can’t deliver every game any more. On paper this seems an easy cut, but there are emotional ties here in Portland that make it more difficult. This will be owner Paul Allen’s call.

Paul George says he talked to Nike about his shoes after Zion Williamson injury (VIDEO)

Getty
Leave a comment

The basketball community lost its collective mind on Wednesday night when Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson was injured after blowing out a pair of Nike basketball shoes in a rivalry game against the University of North Carolina.

Williamson’s injury was such that shares of Nike actually fell come Thursday. Meanwhile, the debate about whether Williamson should continue to play for free in the NCAA raged on all day.

Of course Williamson was wearing Paul George‘s signature shoe when he experienced the blowout, which apparently prompted the Oklahoma City Thunder star to contact Nike about it.

Via Twitter:

George’s shoes are very popular across basketball, and he told reporters that this had never happened to his knowledge.

I do wonder if players will be more reticent to wear one of the more popular shoes in the NBA. Then again, Williamson is a freak of nature in of himself so it’s not likely that the forces created by his power would be exerted by a normal player in the league.

Zion Williamson’s sprained knee became bad day for Nike

Getty Images
1 Comment

When presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson went to the ground, his knee twisting, early in Duke’s game against North Carolina Wednesday night, the basketball world collectively gasped.

Former President Barack Obama was there and quickly recognized the problem:

It did, unquestionably. The  6-foot-7, 284 pound Williamson was wearing the  PG 2.5 PEs (the Paul George signature line of Nikes), and when he made a hard cut the shoe gave out and Williamson went to the ground in a heap. The television cameras closed in on the busted Nike.

That’s not good press.

Fortunately, Williams suffered only a mild, Grade 1 knee sprain, and is day-to-day.

Nike released a statement to multiple media outlets that said, “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

Nike stock dropped one percent on Thursday, although that level of fluctuation is not serious.

Bottom line, if this remains an isolated incident, Nike’s reputation — and position as the dominant force in basketball shoes — is not in danger. Fans and players will forgive one random incident. Have it happen again to a high-profile player and… Nike doesn’t want to find out.

 

Marcus Smart on today’s NBA: “Everything’s become real cute… Everybody’s scared to get hit”

Getty Images
5 Comments

“I think it’s wonderful what we’re seeing in the league right now, some of the rules changes we’ve made in the last few years that really focus on skill-based playing. I’d like to think that young people around the world are able to look at this game and say, I can be as great as my desire to dedicate myself to this game, especially when it comes to shooting and ball handling. I get it, you can’t dream about being seven feet tall, but you can dream about having ball-handling skills like Steph Curry.”

That was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver All-Star weekend in Charlotte, and television ratings and overall interest in the league back him up — NBA ratings have been largely rising for years, both on the local and national level. Fans seem to gravitate towards fast-paced, entertaining teams and games.

But not everybody loves it. Charles Barkley can lead the “get off my lawn crowd.” However, there is a role for throwback players in the game. Guys who would have thrived in the 1990s, or the 1960s. Boston’s Marcus Smart is one of those guys — he told Mirin Fader of Bleacher Report he wishes there was more physicality in the league.

“Back in the ’60s, ’70s, my mindset and the way I play would be perfect. They play like that every game,” Smart says…

“That’s just what it is! Exactly!” he says, a smile breaking through. “I think we kind of lost that in today’s game. Everything’s become real cute. Everybody’s scared to go to the rim. Everybody’s scared to get hit. Everybody’s scared to touch.

“I thrive on the contact. Contact is in my nature.”

The NBA has always had to strike a balance between physicality and allowing skill to flourish. Right now the pendulum has swung well over to the skill side, and some fans romantically recall 1990s basketball when the pendulum was on the other side. They think of Michael Jordan or Allen Iverson and remember the era fondly through the haze of time. Of course, what that time obscured were the slogs of games with scoring in the 80s and maybe 90s, they forget how hard it could be to watch Mike Fratello’s Cavaliers clutch and grab their way to a slow, tedious, and coach-controlled four quarters. The 90s were not filled with the beautiful game.

But in any era, a guy like Smart has real value because he’s a good basketball player. Plain and simple. Just one who would like to be allowed to be a little more physical.

 

76ers coach Brett Brown: Markelle Fultz didn’t mean to insult Philadelphia coaches

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
4 Comments

After getting traded from the 76ers to the Magic, Markelle Fultz said, “It just excites me really to know that I have coaches that’s going to push you to be better and not just going to tell you what you want to hear.”

I don’t know whether Fultz intended that to sound like a shot at Philadelphia coach Brett Brown. But it sounded like a shot at Philadelphia coach Brett Brown.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

Brown said Fultz “didn’t mean that.”He said the two have spoken back and forth.

“He’s a good kid,” he said. “He’s a good young man, and, truly, we wish him well.”

I’d prefer to hear that directly from Fultz. But I doubt he’ll do any more interviews this season until he plays again – and who knows when that will be?

Still, it can be difficult for a player to compliment his new team without sounding like he’s admonishing his old team. There was always a good chance that’s all that happened with Fultz. Brown’s explanation makes that even more likely.