Even though it seems as though the only thing occurring in the NBA right now pertains to Chris Paul and the Lakers, other movements have taken place. Here is a rundown of the pick-ups – or right-on-the-doorstep deals – that have caught my attention so far.
- As many expected would occur, Caron Butler no longer will be wearing blue and white. (My opinions on the way the Mavericks’ management has been handling this offseason – not to my liking – will have to be put on hold for another post.) The Clippers signed him to a three-year deal worth $24 million. Signing any NBA player coming off a knee injury always has risk involved since many players never recover to their previous level of play. If Butler wears his jersey more than his suits in Los Angeles, he will provide the Clippers with the “tuff juice” they need from a swingman.
- Speaking of coming off a knee injury, the Trail Blazers retained their 2007 #1 draft pick – Greg Oden – with an $8.9 million one-year contract. Since the Blazers didn’t give up much for this signing, I don’t see a problem with the move. However, they better not expect much from Oden. In addition to missing the entire 2011 season, he has no timeline for when he will return to play this next year. He has played an entire NBA season worth of games (82) in four NBA seasons. He just can’t seem to get rid of the injury bug and this re-signing seems like a last gasp from the Blazers’ management to make themselves feel better about drafting old-man-Oden instead of #35.
- It’s been reported that Tyson Chandler has struck a deal with the Knicks. Another report mentioned that the Warriors swept in and put a deal on the table that outbids the Knicks. Either way, the key point here revolves around the fact that the Mavs haven’t even been mentioned as a candidate for this All-Defensive Second Team center. Again, discussing the Mavs’ poor management – in this instance, offering Chandler only a one-year deal – will be put on hold for now…
- One of the best moves I’ve seen thus far has to be the Suns grabbing Shannon Brown. The deal lasts one year for $3.5 million. Whenever I watched Brown play for the Lakers, I felt as though Jackson’s triangle system constrained this high-flying athlete. Furthermore, backing up one of the best players to ever play the game might prohibit consistent playing time and a place to develop. Playing for Alvin Gentry, and more importantly with Steve Nash, will most assuredly allow the 26-year-old to blossom into the highlight reel he’s been waiting to become. (Blake Griffin might need to share some of the ESPN top 10 spots.)
- To my surprise, Tayshaun Prince will not be moving teams this next season. The Pistons have reportedly offered the lanky, small forward a four-year contract worth $27 million, and he will accept it. The Pistons have given the impression that their two most veteran players – Prince and Richard Hamilton – would not be with the team much longer, having many trade rumors revolve around these players throughout last season. Hamilton even had time last year when he refused to play because he felt as though he was being disrespected by the organization. I thought the Pistons were headed towards rebuilding and Prince didn’t fit in with that picture, but I speculated incorrectly. Hopefully Prince doesn’t mind helping this team crawl out from the bottom of the Eastern Conference because it will be a struggle.
- Shane Battier tweeted that he plans to join the Heat once free agency officially begins this afternoon. Even though the Heat have signed yet another veteran to a squad overwhelmingly consisting of old players (other than their Big Three), any team that picks up this Blue Devil automatically becomes scrappier and tougher. Whenever he steps on the court, there is no doubt he will be putting it all out there on the floor. Additionally, Battier fits in with almost any squad he becomes a part of – just look at his ability to play a major role for the Grizzlies who center their team around youth. I am sure LeBron will gladly allow Battier to come off the bench and give him breathers.
*It has been reported that Brandon Roy is planning to end his basketball playing days and retire. He had to have major surgery on his knees last year, and the doctor even told him he only had a few more years of playing basketball in him. So, the sole reason for this early retirement pertains to his degenerating knees. Unrelated to what this does for the Blazers, when a player has to give up the sport he loves due to something he can’t control such as an injury, that’s something I always hate to see. I hope Roy can find another vocation that allows him to apply his love for basketball.
*People close to the Dwight Howard situation say he is planning to request a trade to the Nets, ESPN reports. I won’t dive too much into this since the source here is very ambiguous. However, if this ends up happening, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams have “deadly duo” written all over that combination and both of them re-signing in New Jersey becomes a high possibility. I just hope that Mark Cuban realizes Paul, Williams, and Howard all have their eyes on teams other than his right now, and most likely won’t be walking into his office next year to strike a deal.
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