Blog Entry

Free-Agent Buzz

Posted on: June 30, 2010 2:01 am
 
If you’re all LeBron-ed out … if you don’t care whether there was a free-agent summit or not … you’ve come to the right place. Here’s some free-agent news that has nothing to do with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh:

While those elite free agents prepare for an unmitigated frenzy set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, a certain gentle giant who’s a couple years away from any such courtship is quietly beginning to formulate a plan that he’d like management to execute. And it turns out that Dwight Howard, the most physically gifted big man in basketball, wants to team up with the most physical gifted little guy in basketball: Chris Paul.

On the eve of the most anticipated free-agent signing period since 1996, when Howard was 10 years old, the Magic center has formulated a short list of players he’d like GM Otis Smith to pursue this summer. No. 1 on the list, according to a person with close ties to Orlando management, is Hornets point guard Chris Paul.

Reports in the past week have noted that Orlando was one of several teams to inquire about Paul’s availability – mostly after CP3 was quoted as saying he’d be open to a trade if New Orleans wasn’t committed to investing in a championship-caliber roster. It turns out Smith was either prescient or had a pretty good idea of what acquisition would please Howard the most.

The idea of Paul tossing alley-oop passes to Howard is tantalizing, to say the least. But is it realistic? George Shinn, the Hornets’ lame-duck owner, issued a joint statement last week with prospective buyer Gary Chouest that reaffirmed the team’s commitment to building around Paul but didn’t rule out any avenues to improve the team. Whoever winds up owning the Hornets would prefer not to move Paul, a franchise cornerstone in every sense of the word. But financial and competitive realities – the Hornets won 37 games last season and are due to be a tax-paying team again in 2010-11 – have conspired to put all options on the table. Even trading Paul.

The Hornets have a point-guard-in-waiting, Darren Collison, who would mitigate the loss of Paul on the court, if not at the ticket office. Any team in the mix for Paul would have to agree to take back Emeka Okafor, scheduled to make $11.8 million next season and $53.2 million over the next for season. The last three seasons will come under a new collective bargaining agreement, in which owners are seeking to dramatically slash salaries. So the full magnitude of taking on such a contract is unknown at this point – but certainly not pleasant.

But one Western Conference executive called the scenario “plausible,” if nothing else because the Magic have shown themselves to have “deep, deep pockets,” the executive said.

To soften the blow from losing Paul, New Orleans would likely insist – and the Magic would agree – on the inclusion of Jameer Nelson in any such trade. Nelson was exposed as a liability in the Magic’s conference finals loss to the Celtics, but could bridge the gap to Collison with a cap-friendly contract that pays him $8.1 million in each of the next three seasons. The Magic have internally explored including Vince Carter in various trades they’re considering, sources say, but Carter’s $17.5 million salary next season might require a third team to get involved or force the Magic to explore another deal for him.

Another player on Howard’s short list, sources say, is Utah free agent Carlos Boozer, who would allow Howard to flourish as a defensive and rebounding force without having to handle the bulk of the scoring on the block, too. The capped-out Magic, of course, would have to acquire Boozer via a sign-and-trade arrangement. The Jazz might be enticed by Brandon Bass and free agent J.J. Redick, for starters.

As an aside, Howard and I obviously think alike. Some of you may recall the “Perfect Team” exercise I performed over several weeks during the 2009-10 season – putting together what I deemed to be the best possible roster that adhered to the $57.7 million salary cap. My center: Howard. My point guard: Paul. It’s not clear whether those two teaming up in Orlando would be perfection. But they would be formidable and fun to watch, for sure.

Here’s some more free-agent buzz with less than 24 hours to go before LeBron-a-Geddon:

• As the Knicks put the final touches on their pitch to James, unofficially scheduled for Thursday in Ohio, team president Donnie Walsh continues to ramp up efforts to trade Eddy Curry and his $11.3 million contract. The extra cap space that would be added to the Knicks’ $34.1 million would either facilitate the pursuit of three max free agents – a new wrinkle in the Knicks’ plan – or allow them to get two max players and retain unrestricted free agent David Lee. SI.com’s Ian Thomsen wrote that the Knicks plan to allow James to play fantasy GM on Thursday and choose his own sidekicks. The Knicks will suggest, SI.com reported, that James consider Atlanta free agent Joe Johnson as a better fit than Dwyane Wade, who like James is at his best when handling the ball the majority of the time. The problem with the plan, short of an unlikely salary dump of Curry’s contract, is all three free agents (James, another wing, and a power forward such as Chris Bosh or Amar’e Stoudemire) would have to accept significantly less than the max to fit into New York’s cap space. One rival executive described New York’s attempts to peddle Curry “a tough, tough sell,” and noted that the only way a team under the cap would be willing to absorb Curry is if Danilo Gallinari were included in the trade.

• While Miami completed the anticipated buyout of James Jones to creep closer to the space needed to combine two max free agents with Dwyane Wade, the Nets are on the verge of clearing more space with a buyout of forward Kris Humphries, sources say. If the Nets could trade Humphries’ $3.2 million contract to a team that’s under the cap, they’d achieve the coveted space to import two max free agents. But with no takers for Humphries so far, a mere buyout would require further housekeeping to secure the necessary space.

• There are strong indications that a decision could be coming by the end of the week from Doc Rivers on whether he’s stepping down as the Celtics coach or returning for another championship run – assuming Boston’s core will stay together. That’s an open question, and Rivers’ future and the potential return of free agents Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are as intertwined as they could be. Former Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, who would be a strong candidate to replace Rivers if he steps down, had dinner with Donald Sterling Tuesday night to discuss the Clippers’ job for which he’s a finalist with former Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey.

Lakers assistant Brian Shaw leaving Cleveland without a job offer from the Cavs – while Byron Scott’s agent, Brian McInerney, was publicly congratulating him – provided the latest strange twist in the Cavs’ offseason. A person with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday that Shaw and the Cavs were entering the negotiating phase, but it’s not clear how that’s done without a job offer.

• Amar’e Stoudemire and his agent, Happy Walters, sat down with Suns owner Robert Sarver and coach Alvin Gentry in Los Angeles Tuesday in what sources described as a productive meeting aimed at keeping Stoudemire from opting out of his contract and hitting the free-agent market. It wasn’t clear if Sarver, who has taken on the role of conducting basketball business with GMs and agents after GM Steve Kerr and assistant David Griffin left the front office, increased his contract offer to the maximum. Either way, sources with knowledge of Stoudemire’s situation believe there’s a strong possibility that not even a max offer would keep him from opting out and testing the market with teams that have cap space, such as the Knicks, Nets, Bulls and Heat.
Comments

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2010 1:16 am
 

Free-Agent Buzz

KoMe wouldn't have amounted to anything if they didn't get one of the biggest trade thieveries ever with Gasol Since when has giving up 2 first round picks been considered "thievery"?  It must be similar to when the C's got Ray Allen and Glen Davis, right?

and nightly ref favoritism You mean the same favoritism that they got when Shaq was on the team?  Or the Bulls used to get?  It's what happens for superstars.  That's why Steve Nash is allowed to take 4 steps when he's penetrating.  Welcome to the NBA.

Fact is, KoMe can't stand anyone else getting the spotlight and forced Shaq out.   Read the article, bro.  It's Shaq that called the Lakers "Diesel's team".  Kobe called Shaq out for coming to camp fat and out of shape, which nobody disputed.  Just look what happened in Miami, when D-Wade made comments about Shaq coming to camp fat and out of shape.  Why do you think that fans in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Miami have come to despise Shaq after he leaves?  Because he's an ass.  Try reading a little about what his former coaches and former teammates say about him right after he's gone.  You think they're all just bitter?  Shaq is a malcontent.  I mean, honestly, even Phil Jackson called Shaq out and it's not like Phil ever had to coach the Lakers ever again.  He could have gone to damn near any team he chose.  Seriously, bro, quit buying into the fake image that Shaq portrays to the media.

Why don't you watch the Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame : Kobe Bryant for the break up of the Lakers.  A show created for people who like to pick out one scapegoat as if that was the only thing that screwed things up.



Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2010 9:26 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

Hopefully your name "the real guro" is not a jab at me. That said. Why do people continue to try to match carlos boozer with undersized centers. boozer is solid and reasonably athletic, but he is short for today's NBA and though productive, he really doesn't play all that good of defense. Chris bosh or amare stoudamire would fit better even though stoudamire doesn't really  play d either. He can hit that 15 footer though and his freethrows. This will crreate space. Chris Bosh is the stud pf of this draft. Orlando would do well to consider eddie curry. I know. I know. He had only one good season. But a few good ones. He could play center and allow dwight howard to slide over to his more natural pf position. Curry just doesn't rebound, but i'll take his scoring over someone elses rebounding on most days. And he did lead the league in fg% a couple times. don't let the knicks weird style of basketball or d'antoni and his penchant for putting players in the doghouse instead of the game throw you off. The team that takes a chance on curry will reap major benefits. orlando could also use james jones that was just bought out by miami.



Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2010 7:10 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Yeah, like if Shaq had the chance, he wouldn't have done the same thing to Kobe.  Perhaps you should know that, even people in Los Angeles, were calling for Shaq's head every year when he came into camp out of shape.  Showing little dedication to the team.  Kobe didn't throw Shaq under the bus.  They didn't like each other and Shaq regularly belittled Kobe's importance to the Lakers.  Lakers ownership and management decided they wanted Kobe and not Shaq.  The reality is that they saw the future was with Kobe, not Shaq.
LOL, if that's how you want to  color it, then all the power to you. Fact is, KoMe can't stand anyone else getting the spotlight and forced Shaq out. KoMe wouldn't have amounted to anything if they didn't get one of the biggest trade thieveries ever with Gasol and nightly ref favoritism. But you're like any other Laker fan, too blind to see facts for what they are.





Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: June 30, 2010 6:04 pm
 

Chris Paul not a good idea...

Getting Chris Paul would be the wrong move for the Magic. I believe C.Paul is overmythed, not a contender team player, but only a small team player. He couldn't lift his small team to anywhere respectable either; in 2009 the Hornets were the lousiest team in the playoffs, and in 2010 season they performed more poorly. C.Paul always blames the other players, but I believe the team can do even better without him, that is with Collison.  With Paul the Magic would not make a better "team."  Howard's message-giving to the management, naming players to be acquired, reminds me one thing though : C.Paul's interference with the decision of the management last year regarding replacing the coach. He had voiced displeasure /disagreement with management's decision to fire the coach, and I believe he had willingly prolonged his injury to punish the management by showing to them how much the team was dependent on Paul and how badly the team would fail without Paul. But, after observing that team was in fact winning more games with Collison, Paul had abruptly announced that his injury had healed "sooner than expected..."   I don't like the kind of player that wants to put himself before the team, sees himself authorised to interfere with management decisions; that path would not take the teams anywhere desirable.  Every player, including Howard, should be accountable for his own performance, or weak performance, should mind his own job. 



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

It's funny how Lakers fans are calling Dwight Howard as throwing Nelson under the bus, especially when Kobe essentially forced Shaq out of LA. Talk about hypocritical.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Yeah, like if Shaq had the chance, he wouldn't have done the same thing to Kobe.  Perhaps you should know that, even people in Los Angeles, were calling for Shaq's head every year when he came into camp out of shape.  Showing little dedication to the team.  Kobe didn't throw Shaq under the bus.  They didn't like each other and Shaq regularly belittled Kobe's importance to the Lakers.  Lakers ownership and management decided they wanted Kobe and not Shaq.  The reality is that they saw the future was with Kobe, not Shaq.




Since: Apr 26, 2010
Posted on: June 30, 2010 5:14 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

 For my money, Chris Paul is as fine a combination of talent and character as you will find in sports period. He might just be the answer in Orlando or any of a number of other places. Hopefully he will wind up in an organization that is commited to winning a championship.



Since: Jan 14, 2010
Posted on: June 30, 2010 4:45 pm
 

Chris Paul made Tyson Chandler look good...

At least he made him look a lot better.  Imagine what he could do with Howard?



Since: Feb 20, 2007
Posted on: June 30, 2010 4:06 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

I remember another player that got his nose into management wanting to be a player/G.M, that player is none other than Vince"dunking is over rated" Carter. He wanted Akeem Olajuwon, convinced the team that the reason they didn't advance in the playoffs the year before had nothing to do with him being jet lagued for going to N.C but that they needed a big time center. Well we all know how that worked out, he cried himself out of Toronto and went to a good N.J team that started a downward spiral as soon as he got there. The magic were looking for someone to get them over the hump last year so they go and get Carter...What were they thinking? I like dwight as a person and as a player but he needs to keep his childish lists to himself. As he is a player he should leave the business decisions to the business people, he has no clue how difficult these moves are to make. I agree with the others that say he needs to worry about improving as a player and leave the G.M stuff alone. Did he really need to inform them that he would like to play with Paul??? Who doesn't!



Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2010 3:36 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

It's funny how Lakers fans are calling Dwight Howard as throwing Nelson under the bus, especially when Kobe essentially forced Shaq out of LA. Talk about hypocritical.



Since: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2010 3:14 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz

Im so tired of these guys and their lists. Im a heat fan and that includes Dwade. Instead of trying to get Chris Paul or Boozer, Howard needs to work on his post game. His game is as limited as Lewis' and Carter's games. If you keep Howard more than 10 feet out the paint he can be a nonfactor offensively. When hes dominant like Shaq was than he can make demands. Hes not even a free agent himself so he needs to be improving his game and not worry about what Otis Smith does. I hope Smith tells him where to put that list. 


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