Tyson Chandler shocked the known basketball world yesterday with an acknowledgement that he doesn’t expect to be back with the title-winning Dallas Mavericks next season. For a variety of reasons, the Mavs have reportedly underwhelmed Chandler with their offers thus far, and their starting center — and the key to their half-court defense — could walk in free agency as a result.
Yet the Mavs’ Jason Terry will be there through every step of the process, whispering in Chandler’s ear and insisting he return back to the team that made him a champion. From Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas:
“You can’t see my fingers or toes, but they are crossed hoping Tyson’s coming back because he was a big part to what we have accomplished here,” Terry said. “And, we’ve laid a foundation. To go back and take a step backwards would be terrible. Not saying that we wouldn’t have a chance to win this year if Tyson does not come back, but definitely puts things up against us.”
…”I’ve spoken to him every day for the last two weeks and he wants to be here, he wants to be a Maverick next year,” Terry said. “Now, it’s on ownership to make it happen.”
…Terry said he’s been actively recruiting Chandler to stay in Dallas. The 7-foot-1 center who finished third in last season’s voting for Defensive Player of the Year is considered a top-three free agent with Denver Nuggets center Nene and New Orleans Hornets power forward David West.
“He’s big. Again, without Tyson on this team last year I just don’t know if we win a championship,” Terry said. “It’s just letting him know how much we want him to be a part of this team this year.”
Chandler’s on-court impact is both significant and highly visible; it was easy to see the difference he made with the Mavs last season, and GMs around the league are trying to bottle that same defensive impact for their teams. If Dallas were fully committed to the preserving their championship core, Chandler’s departure wouldn’t be a very realistic possibility.
But Chandler and the Mavs are caught in a tricky situation. There is a desire on both sides to keep Chandler in Dallas, and the two-year buffer preceding the new luxury tax penalties kick in would theoretically allow the Mavs to retain Chandler and sort out the tax implications later. Yet with Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson looking to manage Dallas’ cap room for 2012 and drive the payroll back towards the tax line, Chandler could be left with an insufficient offer from his incumbent team.
Cuban and Nelson are doing their best to balance championship contention in the coming season and the construction (or at least attempted construction) of a competitive core for the coming decade. Chandler — and the massive contract he’s soon to sign, in Dallas or elsewhere — just so happens to be the key piece that will push the Mavericks down one path or the other.
The Nets are hot on the heels of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
What could put Brooklyn over the top to land those star free agents?
Maybe DeAndre Jordan.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
If Jordan would help the Nets attract Durant and Irving, great. Sign Jordan.
But Jordan would also fit well at center if Brooklyn signs Durant and Irving.
The Nets need another center with Jarrett Allen, as Ed Davis hits free agency. They could ideally use someone bigger, like Jordan. Though Allen has positioned himself well as Brooklyn’s long-term center, Jordan could even start – if he comes motivated.
Jordan has drifted lately. He fell out of favor with the Clippers, never meshed with the Mavericks then finished last season with the losing Knicks rather than taking a buyout. Jordan has ability as a finisher and rim-protector, but he’s not as active as used to be, and energy is important for playing that style.
The Nets’ room exception, which projects to be worth nearly $5 million, might be the right amount for him.
Andre Iguodala is a smart businessman who is heavily invested in tech startups (as are several Golden State Warriors players). That — and the fact he’s a famous NBA player — made him a good guest on CNBC’s Power Lunch show Monday.
Iguodala also has a few good connections to the thinking of the Golden State Warriors’ free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Here is his response when asked about free agency and the Warriors on the show.
Of course, he said he expects Durant and Thompson to come back to the Warriors, what did you expect him to say? However, it was the exit line that got noticed:
“Nobody’s going to the Knicks. Sorry.”
More and more it’s looking like that.
Sources have said Thompson is staying with the Warriors since the start, he was never in play. Durant and the Knicks have been linked all season, but suddenly rumors of him going to Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving (and maybe Durant’s good friend DeAndre Jordan) have gotten a lot louder around the league. Brooklyn may be the frontrunner, with the Clipper still on the fringes of the conversation. The Warriors may be on the outside looking in.
The Knicks want a meeting with Kawhi Leonard, but that is a two-team race between the Raptors and Clippers, with Toronto seeming to have the edge after winning a title.
The smart play by the Knicks, if this happens, is not to spend wildly on the next tier of free agents but rather to sit on their cap space, develop and add to their young core, and wait for another star. That seems to be the plan, but how long before James Dolan gets impatient and forces something stupid to happen. For the Knicks, that’s always a concern.
Portland is always on the search for some quality play and shot creation at the forward spots (something that is a long-running weak spot), and with this trade the Trail Blazers get a little better.
Atlanta is sending Kent Bazemore to Portland in exchange for Evan Turner in a straight up, two-player trade, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Both players are in the final year of their somewhat overpaid contracts, Bazemore will make $19.3 million while Turner will pull down $18.6 million. Atlanta does save about $640,000.
This trade makes a lot of sense for Portland. Bazemore is a quality wing rotation player who averaged 11.6 points per game, is athletic and can create shots. Last season Bazemore was on his way to a career year until a mid-season ankle injury, and while he did come back to the court he was never healthy and the same player. He’s not a knock-down three-point shooter but he has usually been at around 35 percent or a little higher five of the past six seasons (he was down to 32 percent last season because of the ankle injury). This is more than just Rodney Hood insurance, this is an upgrade.
Turner was the guy Portland counted on as another shot creator, but he could not do that consistently or under pressure. He averaged 6.8 points per game last season, shot 21.2 percent from three, and is not a great defender. He is a popular teammate and good in the locker room (something useful with a young Hawks squad), but this is not an upgrade for the Hawks.
Then why did Atlanta make this trade? Good question. The franchise does save $640,000, which is helpful but not earth-shattering. Maybe it’s a favor to Bazemore to get him on a team that went to the Western Conference Finals a season ago and is a threat going forward. However, the best reason may be the Hawks have three young players they like — Kevin Huerter, plus just-drafted DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish — at the same spot and this frees up minutes for them to play.
Whatever the reason, the deal can get done soon, before free agency opens.
Knicks owner James Dolan escalates fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after…
One of his latest battles has been with the New York Daily News, the newspaper that urged him to sell the team. The Knicks have repeatedly denied Daily News reporters access. Barring the Daily News from a recent press conference apparently crossed a line.
The NBA announced today that the New York Knicks have been fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s rules regarding equal access for media.
The Knicks did not allow the New York Daily News access to their post-draft press conference on Friday, June 21 while allowing all other credentialed media who cover the team to attend.
The organization has agreed to comply with NBA Media Access Rules moving forward.
The Knicks released this statement:
“The Knicks acknowledge that we did not comply with the NBA’s media policy, and made an error in interpreting Friday’s announcement as an invite only event. As we do throughout the year, we have and will continue to provide access to credentialed media as per the League’s policy.” <
This has been a dumb plan by the Knicks. Even executed as designed, it makes them look bad.
The Knicks should be trying to generate enthusiasm around No. 3 pick R.J. Barrett and double-max cap space (which could turn into Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving). Instead, the Knicks are drawing attention to their thin skin and pettiness. And they’re not stopping the Daily News from writing about the team, anyway.
For Dolan, a $50,000 fine is small. But it’s larger than my confidence his franchise will abide by the league’s media rules – which are designed to ensure fans receive information – going forward.