When Omri Casspi signed with the Warriors last summer for the minimum — turning down more money and potentially more minutes with the Nets — I was in the group that thought this would be great for both sides. The Warriors added another shooter on the wing to their roster, and Casspi had finally found a place where he would shine because the playing style (uptempo with a spaced floor) would fit his game.
Casspi was solid, but often battled injuries and didn’t really take off. He appeared in 53 games for the Warriors and averaged 5.7 points per game, shooting 45.5 percent from three. However, recently it looked more and more like he would get waived as the Warriors solidified their playoff roster, and Saturday night that happened.
Why? Because with Stephen Curry out for the first round and Quinn Cook playing well on his 10-day contracts as a reserve point, the Warriors need to sign Cook and that meant creating a roster spot. Someone had to go, and it wasn’t going to be a big, as Marc Stein of ESPN noted.
Each of those big men — Zaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Kevin Looney, and Damion Jones — bring a little something different to the table, and coach Steve Kerr said before Saturday’s loss to the Pelicans he may well use every one of them in different situations.
So if a big wasn’t going, Casspi was.
Casspi cannot be picked up by another team at this point for their playoff roster, that would have had to happen by March 1. He is a free agent this summer.
Why did the Lakers, after securing LeBron James, sign Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson? Their explanation leaves plenty to be desired.
What will the Lakers do with Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma now that none of those four are being traded for Kawhi Leonard? Their plan there is far more intriguing.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
“We may not see this on day one, but the coaching staff is eager to see our version of the [Warriors’] Death Lineup with Lonzo [Ball], Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, [Kyle] Kuzma and LeBron,” a second Lakers executive said.
LeBron at center is a dangerous weapon. The Cavaliers showed it more during the 2017 playoffs – to positive effect.
But LeBron isn’t Draymond Green, who makes Golden State’s Death/Hamptons Five Lineup function. Green possesses a unique combination of rim protection and – through his ball-handling and especially passing – ability to get into offense quickly. LeBron isn’t as good at protecting the paint, and though he’s lethal in transition when he wants to be, he’ll be fighting years of slow-down habits.
I also wonder how much LeBron embraces the physical toll of playing center. The Lakers have only JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac and Mo Wagner at the position. Are they banking on LeBron playing there a significant amount during the regular season?
LeBron would likely accept the role more enthusiastically in the playoffs. But Ball, Hart, Ingram and Kuzma will be tested – at least initially – by the heightened level of play. I’d be wary of overly relying on that lineup.
But this is the best way for the Lakers to get talent on the floor and overcome spacing concerns. I’m absolutely excited to see it in action. Whatever concerns I have about it are only multiplied with other potential Lakers lineups.
Michael Porter Jr. underwent back surgery in November, missed nearly his entire freshman season at Missouri then slipped to No. 14 in the draft amid injury concerns.
The Nuggets have been noncommittal about their plans for Porter, but they’ve given an eyebrow-raising update.
Michael Porter Jr. has undergone surgery of the lumbar spine at The Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Tex. The Procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett. There is no timetable for his return to basketball participation.
Porter is a talented forward with the length and skill to make a major impact as a scorer.
But, as this latest surgery underscores, drafting him carried terrifying risk. Denver will have to bear that for a while.
Dirk Nowitzki is set to play his 20th season – breaking Kobe Bryant’s record for most seasons with a single franchise and tying Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis for most seasons in the NBA.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks declined Nowitzki’s $5 million team option, but he was never signing elsewhere. He was either going to retire or play for Dallas.
Once he decided to return, the only question was money.
The Mavericks declined Nowitzki’s option to maximize their flexibility for upgrades, namely signing DeAndre Jordan. Once Yogi Ferrell agreed to an absurdly team-friendly contract, Dallas had enough cap space left to give Nowitzki his team-option amount. If necessary, he would have taken the $4,449,000 room exception.
Nowitzki has had a great career, and this could be his farewell tour. But he also remains a helpful rotation-level player. Though he’s a defensive liability, his outside shooting as a big goes a long way toward floor spacing.
The Mavericks expected Yogi Ferrell to accept his qualifying offer.
Turns out, they’ll keep him on an even more team-friendly deal than the one he could have unilaterally signed.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
This is an awful deal for Ferrell.
As reported, he’ll earn between $2,548,077 and $2,760,417 next season. That range is less than his qualifying offer – which would have paid him a fully guaranteed $2,919,204 next season.
That reduction is acceptable if Ferrell got something in exchange – but he gave Dallas the concession by adding an unguaranteed second year. If he plays well, the Mavericks will keep him at a cheap salary. If he doesn’t, they’ll waive him for no cost. They have all the control.
The promise of the backup shooting guard job is probably just lip service. Teams don’t stick by that if the player struggles. If he produces, he would have gotten the job anyway.
Dallas has plenty of point guard types – Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, J.J Barea, Jalen Brunson and Ferrell. Rick Carlisle uses two of them simultaneously often enough that Ferrell should land in the rotation. But it’s far from a lock.
With this deal, Ferrell is taking all the risk and the Mavericks are getting all the upside.