It’s nice to see the Suns welcome one of their former players back for a free agent visit, even if the same people who sent him away via trade are the ones pursuing him once again.
Phoenix rolled out the orange carpet for Goran Dragic this week, with team employees lining his entrance route back into the US Airways Center. Near the very end of the video, that’s Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby who’s all smiles hugging Goran at the end of the line.
The trade that sent Dragic to Houston didn’t seem like a bad one for Phoenix at the time. The Suns sent the Rockets a first round pick in addition to Dragic for Aaron Brooks, who was clashing with the Rockets coaching staff after winning the league’s Most Improved Player award the season before.
Dragic was struggling with injuries at the time, and came to the team when the previous basketball operations staff was running the show. The new regime didn’t have the same investment in Dragic, and felt that Brooks would do well in Phoenix after getting what GM Lance Blanks called at the time a “fresh start.”
Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. Dragic emerged as maybe the best backup point guard in the league, while Brooks ended up in China as a casualty of last summer’s lockout. The Suns retained the rights to Brooks as a restricted free agent by extending him a qualifying offer last week.
The latest reports have Dragic and the Rockets very far apart from a numbers standpoint, so he’s not expected back in Houston next season. The Suns have the cap space to make Dragic a lucrative offer and rectify their mistake, but the team also has many other decisions to make in terms of how it wants to rebuild the roster after Steve Nash’s departure.
“The recruiting process is really going alright. It’s going alright. I’m trying,” Beal said. “This is new for me. I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for.”
Beal was too smart to name names — that would have brought a fine from the league — but he said some guys asked if he was happy where he was, while other guys he talked to about the possibilities in Washington.
The problem is while the Wizards will have some cap space after trading Otto Porter and Markieff Morris (and assuming they don’t pick up the option on Jabari Parker) but they will be nowhere near the max cap space needed to land the elite free agents at the All-Star Game (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, etc.). Even the second-tier All-Star free agents such as Khris Middleton will get max offers. Same with players who just missed the game, such as Tobias Harris.
If the Wizards renounce free agents they can get to $9 million in cap space, stretch and waive Ian Mahinmi and they can get to $18 million. That’s the top end. Meaning the Wizards will have room to make moves for good rotation players, but with John Wall‘s supermax extension kicking in at $38 million next season flexibility is limited. Genuine upgrades will be hard to come by.
Predicting what Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld will do next summer is a fool’s errand, but Beal is doing his part to try and bring more talent into Washington.
Kevin Garnett says 2000 Olympic team had $1 million bounty to dunk on Yao Ming
Team USA earned a Gold Medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, led by Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, and Alonzo Mourning. Lithuania made the Americans work that year, losing by just nine in pool play then by two points in the semi-finals.
That’s not what anyone remembers from those Olympics, they remember Vince Carter doing this to 7-footer Fredric Weiss of France.
Everything just paused. First of all, people didn’t know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming. The whole USA team had a bet. We had a million dollar bet on who was going to be the first person to dunk on Yao Ming. None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss. So, the first thing I thought of when I saw Vince dunk over Frederic was oh s***, you won the million dollars. But then I realized it obviously wasn’t Yao. I pushed Vince, and if you look at the clip, he almost punches me in the face by accident. But my first thought was, oh s***, you won, you got the million.
KG has the best stories.
MSG denies rumor James Dolan looking to sell Knicks
“The story is 100% false. There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions – nothing.”
That’s pretty unequivocal.
While Dolan may entertain the idea on some level of selling the Knicks, until he takes concrete steps to do so — not rumors, but actual, documented moves — I’m not buying it. He’s sitting on a gold mine that keeps going up in value, despite how he manages it, so why sell now? Knicks fans that buy this rumor will likely end up like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.