Welcome Back to Dallas, Devin

6 07 2013

The day after signing their starting point guard for next season, the Mavs bring in a former Dallas starting point that will now be their backup point guard or their shooting guard.

The Dallas Mavericks and Devin Harris are closing in on a three-year, $9+ million contract, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Harris played his first four seasons with the Mavs, averaging 14.4 points and 5.3 assists during his final season with the team in 2007-08. His best years came while in New Jersey Nets when he became a 2009 NBA All-Star and was the focal point of the offense for most of his time with the team. Well, and this happened.

While with the Atlanta Hawks last season, Harris became more of a bench player rather than the starter he had been up to that point in his career. Averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 assists in 24.5 minutes last season, the 30-year-old found himself playing more of both guard positions than just the 1 and filling that role quite nicely.

Even though Harris has bounced around between a few different teams, the Mavs have remained close with Harris, making his return to the Big D not that much of a surprise. However, things will be different this time around.

He may have some more facial hair than the last time Dallas saw him, but he is still a lightning-quick athlete that can get to the rim in a heartbeat. What also hasn’t changed is his inability to finish once he gets to the rim and make his jumpers on a consistent basis. Even though he has a high basketball IQ, Harris is clearly not an elite distributor who can be a floor general. That’s why putting him at the 2 might be useful at times. Also, just as this team learned with Darren Collison, sometimes these energy-filled point guards just aren’t made to be in starting lineups. Bringing Harris back as a sparkplug off the bench could work in Dallas’ favor.

The most glaring difference between Harris then and Harris now is his health. While in Atlanta, he just couldn’t seem to find a way to remain healthy, missing a total of 24 games throughout the season. Also going after injury-ridden Andrew Bynum and Jermaine O’Neal, this Mavs front office is clearly showing some strong faith in head athletic trainer Casey Smith and his staff.

(Also, don’t worry about Shane Larkin‘s playing time. Carlisle will find a way to work all three of these guards into his rotation.)

If anything, this is nice for Mavs’ fans to see a familiar face as the franchise has been in an identity crisis since winning the championship. Now Harris has a chance to find a role with his former team as they look to move on past Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.

Welcome back to Dallas, Devin.

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Mavs Finally Make A Move—Get Pure Point Guard

5 07 2013

They didn’t get Dwight. But the franchise got another foreign point guard with the first name Jose that is a fierce playmaker.

Calderon-MavsAfter attempting to bring him to town via trade last season, the Dallas Mavericks will sign Jose Calderon to a four year, $29 million contract, accoring to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Once free agents can officially be signed on July 10, there will be a clearer picture as to the structure of his contract. (Some are questioning the duration of this contract for a soon-to-be 32 year old; however, due to the new CBA’s stretch provision, it’s not as bad as it sounds.)

Other than Chris Paul, who decided to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, Calderon was the purest point guard available from the free agent market this offseason. The Spaniard has always been a great distributor and shooter while also being very efficient with the ball.

After being traded to the Detroit Pistons last season, Calderon put up fantastic numbers for a point guard—11.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 52.7 FG%, 52.0 3P% and 89.3 FT%. And including his time with the Toronto Raptors, he led the League in 3-point field goal percentage (46.1%).

His most interest statistic, though, has to be his consistently high assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranked second in the NBA in 2010-11 (4.09), first in 2011-12 (4.50) and second in 2012-13 (4.11). Superstar CP3 has been the only player in the League with a better ratio the past three seasons. He may not be a flashy, high-rising, do-it-all guard that will light up the highlight reel…but he is certainly a great fit for a Mavericks’ team that had a tendency last year to allow turnovers to ruin games and turn many into blowouts. Dallas is getting a smart player that will work with Rick Carlisle to quickly learn his coaching methods and style of play.

Furthermore, this will make life much easier on Dirk Nowitzki as he now has a ball handler that won’t take long to understand who should be putting up the most shots (something last year’s squad just couldn’t figure out…yes, I’m looking at you Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo). Even though he won’t impress you with his athleticism, the guy knows how to be a floor general (see below).

Dirk works best with a guard that will take control of the offense and drive the team forward…there honestly isn’t a better free agency move for Dirk’s offense.
Calderon also gives rookie Shane Larkin a well-rounded mentor to learn the game from. They can both run the pick-and-roll with a center to be named along with the pick-and-pop with the Big German. Calderon is the first true vocal leader for the Mavs since Tyson Chandler was on the team; he will be ready to step in and work to win.

Dallas has had a good track record of bringing in point guards with high basketball IQs to run their offense. Steve Nash. Jason Kidd. He might not be as famous of a name but Calderon can be added to this list. Along with finding much more scoring (Vince Carter is currently the team’s second best offensive option), the next step for the Mavs is to get a rim protector to anchor this defense, especially with the signing of Calderon. Even though he has almost every skill you want from a point guard on the offensive end of the floor, Calderon lacks any sort of presence defensively, similar to the heavily-criticized Nash. Bringing in Andrew Bynum is a probable scenario, instead of Dwight Howard….

While being stuck in the middle of nothing and nowhere these past two seasons, Mark Cuban has played the waiting game for “big fish” to come to town as a No. 1 option for years to come. He has been working to clear enough cap space to sign a major player to a max contract to give these past few years a happy ending. Well, he missed on Deron Williams, he missed on Paul and he has now missed out on Howard. This move should remind you that Cuban is a good basketball businessman and does know how to make good signings—like making Calderon the point guard to build a team around.

I’m not excusing Cuban for swinging and whiffing on Howard after setting up a system in which he destroyed a championship team, decided to be bad (based on Mavs’ standards) and cleared space to bring a celebrity in…we can all agree it has failed. Real, alive people on a roster as assets have now shown to be much more valuable than simply cap space and more cap space…that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, it’s time to move onward with “Plan B.” The other two Texas’ teams are clearly superior compared to anything going on in the Big D. Time to do some work, Mark.

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Here’s Looking at You, Kidd

13 06 2013

From one of the oldest to one of the youngest, one of the NBA’s top point guards ever will now look to take his basketball knowledge to the sidelines.

Former triple-double machine Jason Kidd was introduced as the Brooklyn Nets head coach Thursday afternoon at the Barclays Center.

Kidd, 40, will now become the fourth man to be a head coach directly after being a player since the 1976-1977 ABA-NBA merger. His deal is expected to be guaranteed for three seasons with a possible fourth-year team option, league sources say.

The Nets organization has a soft spot for the kid coach who took this team from being lottery-bound year in and year out to a regular Eastern Conference champion during a six-year stint with the franchise. He will go down as the best New Jersey Net to ever play the game.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King are taking a risk—there’s no doubt. Whether you think this is a PR stunt or a move for the future, it is interesting that the Nets decided to make such a hire at this point with their current roster. This core of Deron WilliamJoe Johnson and Brook Lopez are under contract for a while and set in place for years to come; it would seem like the Nets organization would want a coach that wouldn’t need a “learning curve” as King said Thursday afternoon. That explains why they went after Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers—two established coaches that make more sense.

Kidd will also be asked to better this team right away, which means winning more than 49 games. I mean, they just fired a head coach in P.J. Carlesimo that went 35-19 and was one game away from making it to the second round. The expectations are to win now and to win big.

As much as people want to point out that Kidd was an extremely intelligent player that saw plays two steps ahead (I know, I saw it for many years during his time in Dallas), there is more to coaching than simply seeing plays. He won’t be on the court to make that play. The X’s and O’s of the game are important to this part of basketball along with the plays drawn up during crucial parts of games…and Kidd has never been one for plays. He’s a free-flowing leader that feels the game. Structure has to be emphasized as a head coach, especially with coach-killing Williams as his court leader. (Williams already said in an interview that hiring Jason Kidd is a risk…Uh-oh.)

He’s already gotten off to a bad start in my eyes as he said Gerald Wallace could be used as a point forward during his press conference. No. That would be a catastrophe. Hopefully he’ll realize that soon enough…

No matter how you believe he will do, this is exciting for the Nets and the NBA. Kidd has the chance to pull a Mark Jackson and put his imprint on this organization; he can make the Nets feel like a Jason Kidd team.

Will he succeed?

I’m skeptical. However, I’m going to give him a chance to find himself in coaching. I was skeptical he would ever learn how to shoot. And only two players in league history have made more 3-pointers. If he puts in the extra work to better himself as a coach just like he did as a player, he could destroy my skepticism.

Good luck Kidd.

Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports

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Michael Finley Eyes NBA Comeback

23 11 2012

And just when you thought there weren’t enough old ex-Mavs in the NBA, you will need to add another to the list.

Two-time NBA All-Star Michael Finley had decided he is going to attempt a comeback as an NBA player, according to ESPN.com sources.

Since he began playing some pickup games this past summer, the former 21st pick in the 1995 NBA Draft has been working toward getting his body back in NBA shape. (If he has gotten to that point is still to be determined.)

The 39-year-old has been working as a Dallas Mavericks front-office affiliate since last spring and was even a part of the recruitment team that sat down with Deron Williams in an attempt to bring him to Dallas.

Even with this new front-office career path, Finley never stopped training for a possible comeback. After Donnie Nelson made it public that both Finley and former Maverick Eduardo Najera were working for the organization, sources say Finley was later invited to the Mavs training camp before a calf injury got in the way.

Being fully recovered from the ankle surgery that ended his NBA career and his recent calf injury, the only retired piece of Mark Cuban’s original Big 3 is ready to follow the path of Rasheed Wallace and find a home for himself on a winning franchise. With the Memphis Grizzlies’ lack of outside shooting and veteran leadership, Tennessee could possibly be the next home for Finley with a roster spot still available on this 8-2 team.

Oh, these were the days…

It’s difficult not to root for Finley in this situation. The Mavs fifth all-time leading scorer has a reputation of being a hard-worker that only cares about winning. He became a fan favorite in many DFW households during his nine years in Dallas as he established himself as one of the most consistent shooting guards in the league, averaging 19.6 points during that time. The fact that he has battled back from such a nasty ankle injury is proof enough of his resilience and determination to place basketball once again.

He may no longer be a high-flying dunker or your go-to guy when the game is on the line or the laughing stock of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, but if a team out there gives this man a second chance to play the game he loves, they will have themselves a man with an attitude worth having on the court and in the locker room.

Good luck, Fin Dog.

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Mavs Playing Possum

8 07 2012

Remember this team? Remember Jason Kidd playing quarterback for the team that drafted him and having the foresight to make unexpected passes and lobs? Remember J.J. Barea and his ability to dribble through defenses as if he was weaving on a semi-circle loom?  Remember Jason Terry coming in off the bench only to look like a starter who is ready to dribble to his right and pull up to make a 3-pointer when the ball arrives in his hand? Remember the emotion and defensive presence of Tyson Chandler who provided the last key piece that this team needed in order to truly become elite? Remember Dirk Nowitzki putting together one of the best playoff runs ever seen on a basketball court? Remember that feeling when a team built around winning for 11 straight years finally achieved greatness when they became world champions?

Yes?

That is all gone.

After making it to the top, owner Mark Cuban had a tough decision to make: should he commit to many of his champions by signing them to long-term contracts or should he roll the dice by letting them go and creating salary cap space? Obviously, if you watched this team play last season, it was apparent which direction he went in.

So, they got through the 2011-2012 season, barely squeezing into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed with the hopes of another championship run.

But something was missing. What was missing were pieces that championship teams possess. Simple as that. Instead of attempting to find the right guys that fit into Rick Carlisle’s successful system – or bring back the players that proved their worth and wanted to stay in Dallas – Mavericks management went out and found (old) players that would accept short-term contracts, proving their insignificant worth to the team. The only thing that mattered was cap space for the upcoming summer.

All of this led to a 36-30 season in which they were eventually swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

This is all that needs to be said about last season. Why? It was a bridge year. It was a season that didn’t matter to anyone apart of the Mavericks organization. The entire city of DFW was waiting patiently and faithfully to see Mark Cuban reel in the big fish he promised Dirk when No. 41 took a pay-cut in his contract. Dirk put his absolute trust in Cuban to make use of the cash he was simply giving him to use for the team.

Deron Williams Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets smiles on the bench after scoring a game-high 29 points against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Nets defeated the Bulls 97-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.Part of that money was supposed to be given to Deron Williams to come back home. With the insertion of Williams, the Mavericks would shoot right back up to the upper tier of the West as other pieces would consequently fall their way. They would be the next big thing to discuss in the sports media world as Cuban would only bolster his reputability as a connoisseur in the world of business and sports management.

Since D-Will narrowed his choices down to either the Mavs or the Brooklyn Nets, the pressure was on these two teams. The two organizations shared the same basket which couldn’t hold all of both of their eggs. His decision would alter the direction each team would be headed for the next year of basketball and beyond.

Well, he chose Brooklyn. He valued the extra year and $25 million more that the Nets could offer along with playing alongside All-Star guard Joe Johnson. In fact, Williams was actually close to choosing Dallas before Johnson trade swayed him in the other direction. (Just don’t think too much about this Mavs nation. It’s over.) This duo will soon become the most dynamic starting backcourt in the league – ahead of even Russell Westbrook and practically starting two-guard James Harden. Complimenting each other is vital in becoming a quality backcourt combo, and spot-up shooting Johnson will finally not feel obligated to be the orchestrator of his offense as D-Will will happily accept this role.

There is no point in discussing how Cuban was filming his television show “Shark Tank” and Dirk was at Wimbledon watching some tennis instead of attending the team’s sit-down meeting with Williams. That doesn’t matter. The two meetings on Monday was more of a formality than anything since the ever-so-talked-about point guard knew what each franchise could offer him; he understood his options.

So, now we are at the point where every Mavs fans goes out of their way to tweet at Mark Cuban or complain to their friends about how he shouldn’t have gambled with what worked. He shouldn’t have played with cap space. He should have made the smart decision.

Even sports journalist Israel Gutierrez seems to agree.

As Gutierrez pointed out on “The Sports Reporters,” the “safer” approach to the 2011 offseason would have been to “bring back the family.” Yet, has Cuban ever been about the “safe” way? He has become who he is today by making dicey decisions and bold moves, eventually turning himself into a multi-millionaire. Deciding to risk everything he had built in Dallas by aiming for a splash this summer was a distinct choice by Cuban that went along with every other step he had taken up to this point in his profession. But finally, Cuban’s way caught up to him.

Instead of making a splash, he is sinking. Fast.

Not only did the Mavs miss out on D-Will, they have now said goodbye to their two Jasons as they both sting for their own reasons.

After having one of his most inefficient seasons, many suspected the Mavs would let JET go. His time in town was appreciated and he would most likely have his number lifted up to the rafters later on but his time was up, according to management’s supposed intentions. To put it simply, “business is business.”  The Boston Celtics jumped on the opportunity to bring in this sharpshooter, and with Ray Allen’s departure from Boston to South Beach, Terry will now become Allen’s comparable replacement.

Even though this exit might have been more expected than the other, this isn’t good for Dirk. These two established a system in the Big D where they played off each other’s strengths and ran the pick-and-pop two-man game in countless waning moments of close games. Again. And again. Before Terry was with the Mavs, Dirk had an even craftier guard running this exact scheme with him night in and night out. It’s a part of Dirk’s gameplay, and he hasn’t played a season without it.

They have also been in business together for eight years while creating countless hardships and triumphs. To put it simply – they are best friends. Having that partner in crime has helped Dirk up to this point in his career since Terry took on this role right after Nash – the man formerly known as his best friend – skipped town. There is more that will be missed than what he brought off the bench.

J-Kidd might be 39 but he sure holds a special place with the Mavs. Coming back to Dallas in his elder basketball years, he instilled a valuable demeanor unlike any other. Similar to Terry, it would be good for Dirk to have a familar face to go to war with him yet again. These two have similar humble personalities and as a result, have grown close in the 4 1/2 years they have played together.

It came down to two teams for Kidd: The Mavs or the New York Knicks. They each offered him practically the same contract. All reports were leaning toward Kidd coming back to finish his career with the team that he wants to stay with once he retires.

How does this look?

Then, out of nowhere, he decided to go to the Big Apple instead of staying in the Big D. After coming extremely close to signing with the Mavs (isn’t that becoming a prevalent theme), he did some deep contemplating while working on his golf swing. In the end, it came down to the fact that Kidd felt he had a better chance of doing big things in the latter part of his career with the Knicks than with his now former team. He looked at the rosters and simply gave the Mavs a slap to the cheek (though a polite one) in saying that they weren’t good enough for his last few years in the NBA.

Dirk even understands the Mavs dire situation.

“When we talked, [Dirk] said to go to New York,” Kidd said.

Even though this proves yet again Dirk’s genuine nature and care for his teammates even if that means losing them, this is a slap to the Mavs other cheek. Dirk couldn’t even muster up enough confidence in the only team he has ever played for to try and sway Kidd back to Dallas. When this devoted man’s faith has gone away, it is evident that Dallas has gone to a grave state.

Oh yeah, the Mavs also were going to try and convince Steve Nash to come back and play some basketball with his pal Dirk… that failed. He will be evolving Andrew Bynum into an even better center and taking a lot of pressure off Kobe Bryant’s shoulders. There’s no point in harping on the Mavs’ backup plan since it was quickly dashed before they could even consider it a viable option.

Now the Mavs must attempt to salvage their dignity and attempt to put together a respectable team for the next NBA season. They want to be successful – right?

It appears that would be partially incorrect. With the apparent players that have caught their interest (Ummm, yeah, Ramon Sessions and Anthony Randolph are clearly high-quality pieces…) and the length they want to offer them, the Mavs are about to expand and enlarge their bridge. Bridge season version 2.0 will soon be coming to an NBA season near you. They are going to have another year in which they will simply await for that big-time free agent to walk into town. Next season, James Harden, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are the three main names that stand out from the rest of the free agents, and Cuban has his eyes set on signing one of these All-Stars to a lucrative contract for years to come.

However, why would these three players want to come to Dallas? If the Mavs end up with an even worse season than this last one and end their streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances, what becomes the enticing part of playing for the Mavericks? (Having no state income tax can only go so far.) The biggest ploy for Williams to come home was the fact that he would have been coming home to a winning franchise from the past decade in its entirety. Since Cuban has taken this risky route and won’t give in until a major – and I mean major – player commits to his team, he is hurting the Mavs chances of being successful until (or simply if) this happens.

And here’s where it gets personal: this is unfair to Dirk. Using Tyson Chandler’s words, “I feel sorry for Dirk.” He has given everything to this organization. Literally. He came over to America from Germany to play for the Mavericks and has devoted his entire life to playing the absolute best possible basketball so his team can be their absolute best. He never has put himself before the team and even put the Mavs before a major paycheck during an era of professional sports when most negotiations are solely about the big payday. This level of commitment from a superstar is a foreign concept to most fan bases and only a dream to many franchises’ owners.

As Dirk begins to head down the latter part of his career, he doesn’t want to go through many struggling seasons. He even said himself that he’s too old to rebuild. He’s right. (Also, he has been spoiled with only being a part of winning teams every year he has been in the NBA, so he knows no other way.) Cuban now will throw yet another wasted year at Dirk as the owner becomes irrationally hopeful that they can ultimately land something special even though he has something special right in front of him that will be gone before he knows it.

So here we are. It has only been 13 months since the Mavericks reached the top of the NBA world and became the reigning champs for 12 months. What about now? Their future has become the unknown. Their identify has become the undetectable. The plans for next season are in uncharted territory as free agent after free agent takes their talents to anywhere but Dallas. So far, the players that are somewhat tempted to play for the Mavs only show interest because they know they can get significant minutes with the team’s depleted roster. That is the sign of a struggling NBA franchise.

The Mavs now will play possum. They will play possum as the the rest of the top teams in the West continue to improve their squads. They will play possum in hopes of yet another breakthrough summer of free agency. They will play possum as Dirk wonders where all his teammates went once training camp beings. They will play possum as the thought of Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea providing the ideal spark can only be that – a thought.

When will the possum wake up from this grueling state of nature? Once Mark Cuban realizes Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are not going to be joining his team.

Remember that.

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Johnson to Nets; Howard Not to Nets; Williams to…

2 07 2012

Current

The Dallas Mavericks had a party consisting of coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and former Maverick Michael Finley visit with Deron Williams Monday morning or afternoon. Dirk Nowitzki is in London attending the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament and Mark Cuban is in Los Angeles working on his popular “Shark Tank.” This shouldn’t have too much of an impact since Dirk and Cuban have both contacted the top 2012 free agent since free agency began Sunday.

Even though he might not be at the actual meeting, Jason Kidd might be the one person that has done the most recruiting. He spent most of last week with Williams in the Hamptons on a golf vacation and has been pushing for him to join Nowitzki and himself in Dallas, according to Marc Stein.

The Brooklyn Nets, whose party members have not been reported, will have a meeting with the All-Star point guard Monday night.

Brooklyn Nets beat writer Colin Stephenson first reported that the Joe Johnson – who is owed a weighty $89 million over the next four years – to Brooklyn move is “pretty much done.” The Hawks will take Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, a sign-and-trade of DeShawn Stevenson, and Houston Rocket’s 2013 lottery-protected draft pick in return. The Nets are planning to tell Williams about this trade during their meeting tonight.

There have been conflicting reports as to if this deal will wait to happen on William’s decision or simply go through disregarding his choice. Most recently, this deal does not have any connection with D-Will staying with the Nets, according to Chris Broussard. Yet, it seems as though the Nets wouldn’t have taken such a hit to their bank unless they received Williams’s blessing – which would solidify his choice to remain with the Nets. It could also just be another boneheaded Billy King move…

This marks off any possibility that Dwight Howard will actually get what the baby wants and be traded to the Nets. Let me repeat: Dwight Howard will not be going to the Nets if this trade goes through. Yes, he stated that this is the only team he wants to go to (for some strange reason I still can’t figure out), and Brooklyn has shown that they will not allow him to control their organization’s decisions as the big man has done with the Orlando Magic.

The NBA does in fact have a salary cap. The Nets might have nice cap room but not enough to bring on four major contracts. They already owe only three players around $50.5 million through the 2013-2014 season… that’s a lot of cash. So, Howard (or all the people “close to the situation”) will need to figure out another place he wants to play long-term. If Williams doesn’t go home to DFW, the Mavericks might actually become a lead candidate to trade for him this offseason or to sign him next offseason. Or D12 could just get the next Magic coach fired.

So, now D-Will must decide what he values most in his next NBA team.

If he goes to Dallas, he is coming to the better of the two teams with the better potential “dynamic duo” teammate with the better future. Dirk – who is a regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and champion, 11-time All-Star and has been selected to an All-NBA Team 12 of his 14 years in the NBA – is a better basketball player than Johnson – who has never made it out of the second round of the playoffs as the Hawks primary player for seven years – at this exact point in time. No question. Furthermore, with the more experienced and successful front office that has proven they do the one thing Williams has constantly stated he desires, which is simply winning, the Mavs give Williams a better chance to make many playoff runs right now and in the future. The fact that Dallas is his hometown could help or harm his decision. Even though he has claimed he would love to play where he grew up, many professional athletes don’t care to play at home since every single person that crossed their paths in life then want some special privileges since their “best friends.”

If he goes to Brooklyn, he will be getting around $25 million more with the extra year that the recently-moved franchise can offer him compared to Dallas. At his age of 28, he might desire this one extra year since he will be in his early 30s the next time he has to sign a contract. The “happenin” town also plays a part. Brooklyn will give Williams many more sponsorship deals as he becomes the main face of a fresh franchise. He would have to wait until Dirk retires to be the main image of the team. Jay-Z playing an integral role with this team and creating the new black-and-white image gives Brooklyn the “hip” edge. In general, though, most of the reasons to go up north revolve around money. There’s honestly not much else with Howard now out of the picture. But money definitely does a lot of convincing on its own in any professional sports league.

Why are there so many sources conflicting in their claims that they “know” where Williams is going? It is because they don’t. Honestly, both of these teams have features to offer that Williams is clearly interested in. (However, if the Nets had a track record like the Mavericks, I guarantee a decision would have already been made.) Williams is conflicted between these two teams and set up these two meetings in order to help himself get a better idea of where he wants to play the rest of his career. Honestly, he could be persuaded either way, and whatever way he is in fact swayed is the direction he will go in because this is going to be his decision and his decision alone.

Since this man has stated he wants to make a decision before he begins Olympic training camp, he will make his franchise-changing choice by July 4.

God Bless America.

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2012 NBA Free Agency: Day 1

2 07 2012

 

This is a list of NBA contract agreements and rumors that I have put together after reading what many reputable journalists (mainly Marc Stein, Chad Ford, Chris Broussard, Adrian Wojnarowski, Marc J Spears or their sources) have reported throughout the first day of free agency. July 11 is the first day new players can actually sign contracts agreed upon for the 2012-2013 season.

 

 

 

 

Deron Williams:  Honestly, there are more “sources” and “people close to the situation” in regard to D-Will than Dwight Howard’s demands from the Magic. Here’s the thing: Deron Williams has not made a decision yet. That’s the information you can trust. Williams has shown he’s his own man, and when he says he will visit with the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets on Monday and then make a decision, that’s what he will do. If you’re expecting to find a leak to a decision before a player makes his official statement, you’ll need to look toward another superstar who forced one of his coaches to be fired (Oh Dwight…).

 

Joe Johnson:  This one’s a little tricky. Even though it is clear that the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks are attempting to move Johnson out of Georgia, how they will exactly do this is still up in the air. Even though the six-time All-Star is obviously overpaid as he is finishing up the last year of his 6-year, $119 million contract, he still has put up 18 or more points the last seven seasons and can score in isolation. The Hawks deserve quality pieces (or simply several expiring contracts) in return. The problem? The Nets don’t have attractive players, both on the court and on the paper. Furthermore, Brooklyn is struggling to give up their one somewhat decent piece that the Hawks desire – 23-year-old MarShon Brooks. The most recent story claims the Nets have offered the Hawks Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson (via sign-and-trade) and a future first-round pick just for Johnson. That would leave Brooklyn with four players on their roster – Johnson, Brooks, Gerald Wallace, and Ilkan Karaman. As is the case with most deals this off-season, this move will rely heavily on Williams’s decision he will soon be making.

 

Gerald Wallace:  Well, even though General Manager Billy King has to figure out how to put together the contracts of Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and possibly Joe Johnson, there’s one man that he knows he will be paying and knows will be crashing down the lane in the Northeast. The Brooklyn Nets and Wallace have agreed on a 4-years, $40 million deal for the slasher. Even though this signing needed to happen so King would not regret everything he has given up for this almost All-Star (but not), it could hurt his chances of bringing in higher level players if Williams decides to stay with his organization.

 

Omer Asik:  His first two seasons may not impress any “numbers crunchers” with 2.9 points and 4.4 rebounds; however, the restricted free agent played with a high level of energy for every single one of his 13.2 minutes he averaged on the floor. The ever-changing Houston Rockets roster might soon have the Turkish 7-footer on their squad after verbally agreeing to a three-year, $25.1 million contract. This deal is done. If the Chicago Bulls have any common sense (which they do), they will not match this extremely lucrative deal for a offensively handicapped big man.

 

Ray Allen:  He might be on the downhill of his career, but don’t let that fool you: this man with the quick release will still have a major impact on the game. His many suitors prove this. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets all have reached out to the all-time 3-point scoring leader to convince him to join their winning squad (or in the Nets’ case, potentially winning squad). Whichever team ends up enticing Allen the most will be getting a player that can fit in perfectly with an already established system. Expect him to be a vital contributor wherever he lands next season.

 

Roy Hibbert:  After a breakout season in becoming an All-Star for the first time in his four-year career, Hibbert established himself as one of the very few centers in the league that can legitimately hold his own offensively and defensively. Now, he will soon bring in a huge paycheck because of this ability. The Portland Trail Blazers offered the former Georgetown Hoya the maximum amount he can receive – four years, $58 million. Even though the unrestricted free agent has value with the dearth of commanding big men, the Indiana Pacers will need to think long and hard if they want to match this grand offer.

 

Eric Gordon:  The New Orleans Hornets just drafted the No. 1 overall pick (Anthony Davis) and No. 10 pick (Austin Rivers), setting themselves up with a solid two-man game; however adding the 23-year-old that was the main counterpart to the Chris Paul deal to this duo would take them to another level. Gordon was only able to play nine games last year because he aggravated a pre-existing knee injury. The previous season, though, he averaged 22.3 points in the shadow of super superstar Blake Griffin. The Hornets can match any offer sheet signed by the unrestricted free agent and the teams looking to make an offer include the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, and Phoenix Suns along with the Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats, who are at the bottom of the totem pole. This 4-year pro that has a knack for getting to the free throw line has may not be the focus of many NBA offseason storylines. Don’t let this fool you – this kid can play. He is the top shooting guard in this year’s free agency and will most likely earn every penny of his inevitable max contract.

 

Lavoy Allen:  Last year’s postseason allowed the entire nation to see the impact this one-year pro can have on the game without stuffing the stat sheets. He still hit double-digits in scoring three times and grabbed six or more rebounds four times against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. His energy is invaluable. Well, he has decided to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-year, $6 million contract extension even though the Sixers wanted a four-year commitment. Head coach Doug Collins has constantly praised Allen’s relentless attitude on the court and will be happy to have him back on his squad.

 

Josh Howard:  The man that contributed to the fallout of the Devin Harris/Avery Johnson era in Dallas might be coming back for some redemption. Along with grabbing the attention of the Dallas Mavericks, the 9-year pro might see offers from the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics. Howard had flashes where the one-time All-Star looked to be inching closer to his former self but it never really became a consistent level of play. If he could produce anywhere close to the 15-20 points he gave the Mavs for four straight seasons, he could be a financially sound pick-up for any type of team. That possibility, though, looks to be very slim.

 

Steve Nash:  Staying in Phoenix doesn’t seem likely for the 16-year pro. Even though he has a lot of miles on his career, he is coming off an efficient season in which he shot 53.2 percent from the field – the best percentage of any point guard that year by far – while still averaging a double-double (12.5 points, 10.7 assists). Even though the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks have all shown interest, the Raptors are the only one with a concrete offer. They put a three-year, $36 million contract on the table. However, the Knicks are also planning to offer a sign-and-trade that includes Landry Fields in order to bring the passing wizard to Madison Square Garden. Nash knows the Mavs’ main concern revolves solely around Deron Williams and will wait to see how that situation pans out before making a decision. Since Magic Johnson retired, no player has made his teammates better like Nash has throughout his career. Yes, he might be 38, but he can still have this paramount impact.

 

Jose Calderon:  If the Los Angeles Lakers find a way to hold onto Pau Gasol, which might be easier than it seems since they have attempted and failed to trade him away more than the Suns attempted to get rid A’mare Stoudemire, Jose Calderon could be coming to Hollywood land if the Toronto Raptors amnesty his contract to create salary-cap space for Nash. Being in Toronto for his entire seven-year career, Calderon has not received much national attention. Yet, he has put together a solid career so far by averaging at least 10 points and eight assists three of the past five seasons. Also, you can always count on a man that has shot 87.5 percent from the line for his career. If he does in fact go to L.A., as long as expectations don’t rise too high, he will be effective at the point and much more dependable than Ramon Sessions.

 

Brandon Roy:  Retired one day, unrestricted free agent the next. After calling it quits at the end of the 2010-2011 season due to serious knee problems, Roy has decided to give the NBA another shot after receiving the same procedure as Kobe, who has continually discussed how amazing this operation has made his knees feel. Roy has reported that he will only be joining the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves or Golden State Warriors. With the low financial cost that will go right along with Roy, the risk to sign him is extremely low. If this knee surgery turns out to have turned a corner for Roy, one contending team will have a back-up point guard able to hold his own with any other starting guards. If he fails to completely come back and can’t find his touch, his new team can let him go once his short contract ends.

 

Marcus Camby:  He’s 38 and still attracting NBA teams his way. Why? The ever-so-talked-about “intangibles” comes in a Camby man package everywhere he goes. Why else would six teams be interested in a veteran that averaged career lows in points (3.8)? The unrestricted free agent has made a list consisting of the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. Since the Knicks and Rockets are included in this group, it is difficult to figure out what Camby is looking for in a team. No matter his factors, he will be an excellent veteran presence on and off the court.

 

Kyle Lowry:  The Houston Rockets don’t envision this point guard being a part of the new future that will soon begin for this franchise and Lowry knows it. He has asked the Rockets to remove him from the team as long as unrestricted free agent Goran Dragic remains on the team – which they most likely will. They have already begun talking with the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic as possible takers. However, don’t be surprised if the Rockets suddenly change their tune if Dragic ends up going elsewhere. Lowry averaged 14.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals during last season, and as these numbers show, he brought superior diversity to his Houston team. Even though he only stands six feet off the ground, he makes up for it with his pure strength and quickness – a deadly combination. He will take his game to another level next season.

 

Jamal Crawford:  Even though he may be shooter-happy, this man knows how to put the ball in the basket. A lot. The Los Angeles ClippersBoston CelticsMinnesota TimberwolvesPhoenix SunsPhiladelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers quickly became interested in the one-dimensional swingman right when free agency began. The Clippers look to be closest to finalizing a contract. Even though he has a tendency to play even better in crunch time, it’s always risky bringing in Crawford since his style of basketball (little passing, little rebounding, little defense, too much shooting) will only fit in with certain coaches and certain teams.

 

Andre Miller:  After becoming a pure sixth man for the first time in his career last season, Miller has decided to keep this role. He has agreed to re-sign with the Denver Nuggets and will most likely continue to mentor budding point guard Ty Lawson. Miller might not the most athletic, most savvy, most fast-paced guard you can find out there, but this veteran certainly brings an attitude and grit every winning team needs that he has possessed his for 13 years in the NBA.

 

Jason Terry:  It seems as though the JET has to be playing in the Big D or else things just don’t seem right; however, as is the case with every Mav not named Dirk Nowitzki, there is no guarantee Dallas will offer him a contract worth agreeing upon. Along with the Dallas Mavericks, he has already sparked the interest of the Boston Celtics (he might be Ray Allen’s replacement), Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, and Phoenix Suns. Yes, he might have had his worst season in eight years, but that is still an average of 15.1 points and plenty of clutch, 4th quarter buckets. Don’t sleep on this unrestricted free agent because he will still take the crucial shot on any stage in any city.

 

 

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