Posted on: July 8, 2010 12:17 am
Edited on: July 8, 2010 12:50 am

Free-Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

In anticipation of LeBron James' free-agent decision, stock in Madison Square Garden Inc. jumped 6.4 percent to $21.57 per share on five times the normal trading volume Wednesday. If only James could capture some of that value as part of signing with the Knicks.

Well, despite a Forbes Magazine report last month that James could pull off such a coup, he can't. Please return to your regularly scheduled free-agent absurdity.


The Warriors and Knicks are in advanced talks about a sign-and-trade arrangement that would send free-agent power forward David Lee to the Bay Area for Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf, two people involved in the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com. The trade is being set up as a contingency plan for the Knicks if James chooses to sign with another team Thursday. If James chooses to sign with the Knicks, they will have to renounced his rights -- and thus the rights to sign and trade him under the Larry Bird exception -- in order to clear the necessary salary cap space. Lee's agent, Mark Bartelstein, also is believed to have maintained contact with the Nets, who are in danger of getting shut out in the free-agent chase. But the Golden State scenario for Lee has legs, to an extent.

"It's got legs," one of the people involved in the talks said. "But it needs arms, a torso and a head."

The Knicks, who like other teams in the hunt for James have no clue what he's going to announce Thursday, are exploring other scenarios in which they re-sign Lee -- although Lee is believed to be ready to move on. If James says no to the Knicks, and team president Donnie Walsh orchestrates the Lee trade, then Randolph and Turiaf will go down in ignominy as the players the Knicks got instead of LeBron. If nothing else, that would take some pressure off Amar'e Stoudemire, who will be introduced Thursday in a news conference at MSG.


After Ray Allen agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal to return to the Celtics Wednesday, with a player's option on the second year, Boston continued to explore acquiring a big man to fortify the frontcourt while center Kendrick Perkins is out with a knee injury suffered in the NBA Finals. A person familiar with the Celtics' plans said they were in discussions with free agent Jermaine O'Neal, who also was talking with the Nuggets and Mavericks.

Posted on: July 5, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:34 pm

LeBron-a-Palooza: Day 5 (UPDATE)

This is LeBron James’ world, and we are all just living in it. Ditto for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“We are all witnesses right now to this charade,” one frustrated team executive said Monday as Day Five of LeBron-a-Palooza (term coined, I believe, by Newsday’s Alan Hahn) rolled on.

James, Wade and Bosh were “still evaluating information” Monday, according to a person with knowledge of their plans. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that James was unlikely to announce any decision until his three-day Nike camp concluded Wednesday night in his hometown, Akron, Ohio.  In fact, James made a surprise appearance at his camp Monday -- he wasn't scheduled to arrive until Tuesday -- and was wearing (what else?) a Yankees cap.

Wade returned Monday morning to Miami, where about 50 Heat fans – wow, what a turnout – and some team employees were waiting to greet him. At the wrong terminal. Wade was later seen at American Airlines Arena with Heat owner Mickey Arison. Such is life in the grips of the black smoke monster known as the Summer of 2010.

Tika-tika-tika-tika-tika-tika-tika ….

All NBA business essentially is tied to the Big Three free agents and what they decide to do. The only deadline pushing them is Thursday, when contracts and trades can become official once the 2010-11 salary cap is set and the moratorium on player movement is lifted. But not everybody is waiting for LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Two free-agent power forwards are getting close to making decisions on their futures – Amar’e Stoudemire and David Lee.

Stoudemire is in New York City Monday to meet with Knicks officials – either to agree on a five-year, $99.8 million contract or agree to hunker down and await for word from LeBron or Wade on whether they’re coming to New York or not. But one player who may not be willing to wait for the Knicks to handle their other business is Lee, who is getting inundated with calls from teams interested in taking him off the free-agent board regardless of what the Big Three do.

Lee, who averaged 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds last season, already has met face-to-face with the Bulls, Nets, Heat and Timberwolves. A league source with knowledge of the market for Lee told CBSSports.com Monday that the Knicks are engaged in discussions with Utah, Toronto, Houston, Golden State and Charlotte about sign-and-trade arrangements involving Lee. This could be a key piece of the puzzle in the decision process for LeBron or Wade. Some of the Utah scenarios involve Carlos Boozer coming to New York, and some of the Toronto scenarios involve Bosh. Both players are high on the lists of power forwards both LeBron and Wade want to encourage to team up with them.

What does that mean for Stoudemire? Potentially nothing. Potentially everything. The Knicks are prepared to give LeBron or Wade a choice of big men to play with, and this feeling-out process could be the first step toward determining which of those options is viable.

Charlotte and Golden State are involved because A) both covet Lee, and B) each has a point guard who’d complement Stoudemire if he wound up being the Knicks’ only top-tier signing. The BobcatsRaymond Felton and WarriorsMonta Ellis have been on the Knicks’ radar for some time.

Posted on: June 22, 2010 5:53 pm

Warriors trade Maggette to Bucks

The first of what figures to be many draft-related trades went down Tuesday when the Warriors agreed to trade swingman Corey Maggette to the Bucks for Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.

By acquiring Maggette, Bucks GM John Hammond took on $30.8 million over the next three years but also cleared the way for John Salmons -- a key to Milwaukee's playoff appearance -- to leave as a free agent. Salmons intends to opt out of his contract, and the Bucks need someone to replace his scoring. According to sources, Hammond still hopes to have Salmons back, but needed to make a pre-emptive move to avoid leaving what would've been a gaping hole in the Bucks' offensive production.

The Bucks save about $1.5 million next season, but Golden State clears about $6.2 million in 2011-12 cap space by making the deal.

Posted on: April 5, 2010 10:56 am
Edited on: April 5, 2010 11:52 am

On verge of record, Nelson snubbed for Hall

Don Nelson, one win away from breaking Lenny Wilkens' career record for NBA coaching victories, has once again been denied entry to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The official announcement came Monday morning from the Final Four site in Indianapolis.

Nelson tied Wilkens' mark of 1,332 victories Sunday with a 113-112 victory over Toronto and can pass him Tuesday night against the Wizards in Washington. If not, he'll have five more chances before entering a summer of uncertainty. The Warriors are up for sale and a major front-office shakeup could follow. Nelson, 69, has one year and $6 million remaining on his contract and has expressed no desire to step down, or aside, or in any other direction. But depending on how the ownership change shakes out, it may not be Nellie's decision to make this time.

The inductees Monday were Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, Cynthia Cooper, Bob Hurley, Sr., Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, along with two celebrated teams: the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team and the 1992 USA Basketball “Dream Team.” The Class of 2010 also includes three legendary players who will be enshrined postumously: Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira.

The enshrinement ceremony will be held Aug. 13 in Springfield, Mass.
Posted on: February 11, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 6:33 pm

Kobe, Iverson out for All-Star (UPDATE)

DALLAS -- Kobe Bryant's injured ankle will keep him out of Sunday's All-Star Game, with hometown point guard Jason Kidd replacing him for the West. Allen Iverson also will miss the game while he tends to his ill daughter, replaced by David Lee.

Bryant, who tied Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Kevin Garnett, and John Havlicek for the third-most All-Star selections with 13, missed the Lakers' last three games before the break with an assortment of injuries. A sprained left ankle is what KO'd him for Sunday.

Kidd's selection means that Golden State's Monta Ellis gets snubbed for the third time. Chauncey Billups and Chris Kaman were previously picked as injury replacements over the Warriors' guard, who is sixth in the league in scoring.

Iverson, an 11-time All-Star, has been out since Feb. 3 to deal with his daughter's undisclosed health issues. Lee, a first-time All-Star having the best season of his career, gives the Knicks their first All-Star selection since 2001. Lee was named MVP of the rookie challenge in 2007.

East coach Stan Van Gundy and West coach George Karl will decide who replaces Bryant and Iverson in the starting lineups.

The NBA's official All-Star roster denotes starters with an asterisk (*) and injury replacements with an ampersand (&). Allow me to suggest using the asterisk for Kidd, whose appointment to the West squad was as much about the weather as anything else. Dallas was beseiged by a persistent snowstorm Thursday, with 7-9 inches predicted before it's over. Kidd, reportedly in Phoenix, will thus have a shot at actually making it to Dallas by Sunday.

Posted on: November 16, 2009 11:51 am
Edited on: November 16, 2009 1:05 pm

Jackson gone; now the real fun begins

Stephen Jackson has been rescued from Golden State, and he's going from playing for one hard-to-please, curmudgeonly coach to another.

The Warriors obliged Jackson's trade request Monday, sending the disgruntled swingman to the Bobcats along with Acie Law for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic. The deal resolves one of many complicated plotlines for the tumultuous Warriors, but leaves several others still unsettled.

Jackson was miserable with the Warriors, despite having been rewarded with a three-year, $28 million extension that kicks in next season. Jackson and Monta Ellis, who was even more richly appeased with a $66 million deal two summers ago, believe Warriors management failed to deliver on promises to add a veteran, playoff-caliber supporting cast this past offseason.

The arrangement with Charlotte put a crimp in the Cavaliers' plans to add more scoring punch to their lineup via Jackson; several members of the Cavs organization have a history with S-Jax and believe that could've tamed his wild side, a task that now falls to that noted lover of reclamation projects, Larry Brown. It also avoids what would've been a circus-like atmosphere Tuesday night, when the Warriors pay a visit to the Cavs.

UPDATE: The removal of Jackson lowers the volume on the circus music emanating from the Warriors for the time being. As CBSSports.com reported Friday, an alternative to an imminent Jackson trade that gained renewed traction last week was a scenario that would've seen coach Don Nelson step into a consultant role with lead assistant Keith Smart taking over the head coaching duties. Despite denials from team president Robert Rowell, who was scheduled to meet with Nelson after the team's current road trip to discuss the direction of the team, the rise of Smart to the first seat on the bench is an option that has been contemplated since last season. In fact, Smart already has been assured that he is Nelson's heir apparent, according to three people familiar with the situation.

One of the sources with knowledge of the team's plans to address the chaos generated by Nelson's rifts with Jackson and Ellis said Sunday that the possibility of accelerating Smart's takeover emerged as an agenda item around the middle of last week. Nelson, who has vowed to honor the two-year, $12 million extension he signed this past summer, was in full control of that scenario, added a source who said the timing of any handoff to Smart would be Nellie's call. Nelson, who is 20 victories away from becoming the NBA's all-time winningest coach, would still be honoring his contract even if he'd concluded that it was time for Smart to take over.

Concerns that airing Nelson's plans would hinder the team's efforts to trade Jackson are now moot. Thus, the coaching succession plan will likely return to the back burner. But one transfer of power will occur without delay: Ellis taking over Jackson's role as the team's disgruntled star.

UPDATE: Why does Charlotte do this trade? Beats me. Why does a Brown-coached team do any trade, besides for the fun of having to someday undo it? Here's one theory: Vlad-Rad's contract is much worse than Jackson's; at least with Jackson, you get a productive player for $10 million a year. The Warriors are now stuck with Radmanovic's $6.9 million next season, though Bell's $5.3 million comes off the books in '10-'11.

More importantly, where were the Cavs in all of this? All indications point to the fact that Jackson was Danny Ferry's for the taking, and he opted not to be a taker.

Posted on: November 13, 2009 3:53 pm

Nellie addresses rifts with Jackson, Monta

NEW YORK -- The Warriors apparently made it through their shootaround Friday without any shouting matches. This qualifies as progress for a team cloaked in controversy. Afterward, coach Don Nelson was unapologetic about his verbal confrontation with Monta Ellis, which took place at practice a day earlier.

"I disciplined a player in practice, and that’s part of my job description," Nelson told CBSSports.com after the shootaround in preparation for Friday night's game against the Knicks. "I've done it before and I’ll do it again, and that’s all I’ve got to say about it."

Nelson confirmed that it was Ellis, his $66 million guard, who received the brunt of the discipline. "Yes, it was Monta," he said. "But I'm not going to go into it. I disciplined the player, it’s over, and that’s all I have to say about it."

Asked if he and Ellis were OK going forward, Nelson said, "You need to talk to Monta about that. I’m OK."

Ellis wasn't available for comment after shootaround.

The Ellis situation, which boiled over in full view of the team's beat writers and ended with Nelson waving his hands in disgust and Ellis barking at him, is hardly the only issue consuming the Warriors. Anthony Randolph's undefined role, the awkward attempt to pair Ellis and rookie Stephen Curry in the backcourt, and of course, Stephen Jackson's request to be traded have shadowed the team's every misstep on the way to a 2-5 start.

Nelson said Friday there were no developments in the team's attempt to oblige Jackson's trade request. As Nellie recently noted, Jackson is the definition of difficult to trade because of the three years and $28 million left on his contract after this season. But while other teams -- Indiana with Jamaal Tinsley, the Knicks with Stephon Marbury, and the Sixers with Allen Iverson -- have sent troublesome players home while attempting to trade them, Nelson said that's not an option with Jackson.

"Jack is a good player, and even though he may not be able to perform up to what he did a year ago because he doesn’t want to be here, he can still be a positive factor and help us win some games," Nelson said.

Speaking after shootaround, Jackson said he's still on speaking terms with Nelson, but added, "It's not what it used to be." No surprise there, considering Jackson's agent, Mark Stevens, recently ripped Nelson publicly by questioning his trustworthiness.

"I think at this point, I come out here and respect him as a coach and do my job and leave it at that," Jackson said. "I think that’s the best thing for me right now. Just give him the respect he deserves as a coach and do my job. And then once I leave the gym, I'm on my own."

Posted on: November 12, 2009 5:36 pm

Warriors in Chaos: Now it's Nellie vs. Monta

Things are so bad with the Warriors that they can't even get through a practice without an altercation between Don Nelson and name-that-player.

This time, it's Nellie and Monta Ellis butting heads. The two got into a brief but heated exchange after the team practiced in New York in advance of playing the Knicks Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

The whole thing unfolded in plain view -- and apparently within earshot -- of beat writers Marcus Thompson II and Rusty Simmons. Their skilled, detailed accounts of the latest Golden State blowup can be found here and here.

The condensed version is as follows: Ellis and guard Acie Law were sitting on the bench after practice when Nellie walked by. Ellis, known to be at his wit's end over the Warriors' dysfunction and his ill-fated pairing with Stephen Curry, asked Nelson, "Coach, why do I get blamed for everything?"

"What have I ever blamed you for?" Nelson responded, and away they went. The exchange ended with Nelson waving his hands in disgust and Ellis saying, "See, that's why I don't do it. I just won't do it."

More Friday from shootaround at MSG, where the Warriors will see if they can walk through their game plan -- assuming they have one -- without another hissy fit.
Category: NBA
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