NBA PM: D-Will has Reasons to Stay in Jersey
Esteemed CBSsports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger had an interesting piece about Dwight Howard on Thursday afternoon. The main premise concerned the Orlando Magic’s handling of their star players’ trade demands, but there was an excerpt that might concern New Jersey Nets fans as well.
Rival execs are dubious that a Nets package centered around the injured Brook Lopez and first-round picks will be enough to entice Orlando. In that case, the Nets’ bid to get a third team involved will be crucial to their efforts to add the one player who could persuade Deron Williams to embrace the organization and move to Brooklyn. But with Williams’ body language already suffering during the Nets’ 1-6 start, observers say to be on the lookout for D-Will to soon lose his will to say in New Jersey long enough to make it t the New York City boroughs.
“I don’t think he feels it there,” said a person who knows Williams and his tendencies well. “I could see him saying, ‘I’ve got all the money. I can go back to Dallas. That’s my home.’ I don’t see any spunk in his game right now. He’s going through the motions.”
As reasonable as all that is to assume, there’s a lot that people aren’t taking into consideration when predicting what Williams is going to do when he opts out of his contract this summer.
At the very top of that list is Williams’ voice in the Nets front office. It’s hard to imagine him getting that kind of reverence on the Dallas Mavericks, a team many believe Williams would prefer to joining.
But in talking with people inside and outside the Nets organization, it’s clear that Williams is willing to be patient. He’s been engaged in all big-picture discussions and he’s encouraged the team to maintain roster flexibility with an eye toward next summer’s free agency period. Other stars would have demanded that the Nets add payroll (remember, they nearly signed Tyson Chandler and Nene), but Williams didn’t roll an eye when big-name free agents signed elsewhere.
As for the current state of the team, what do you expect? Last year’s leading scorer, Brook Lopez, is out with a fractured foot, which has wrecked the team’s spacing. Opponents are trapping Williams and MarShon Brooks at every turn and the team’s arsenal of 3-point shooters (Anthony Morrow, Shawne Williams and Mehmet Okur) haven’t had enough space to work with.
There’s no doubt the Nets are brutal to watch right now, but they’re not without assets. An early lottery pick and Houston’s first-rounder (top-14 protected) are tremendous pieces and they don’t necessarily have to trade for Howard to get him now. As Berger wisely points out, Bird rights don’t make a huge difference if Howard can make $25 million in the first year of his following deal as long as he stays healthy. That means signing him as a free agent will remain a possibility even if they can’t trade for him.
Rose Not Asking for Howard
Derrick Rose isn’t asking for Dwight Howard to join the Bulls, writes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.
“I haven’t talked to him ever since the summer,” Rose said Friday morning. “I know it’s been crazy for him just seeing what’s been going on. And I can only imagine what he’s going through.”
There is some speculation, Friedell writes, that Adidas doesn’t want its two biggest stars in the same market, but nobody worth quoting has really said much on that topic.
Biyombo Puts Buyout in Rearview
Give Bismack Biyombo and the Charlotte Bobcats credit.
It would have been easier for the seventh-overall pick of last June’s NBA Draft to stay with his Spanish Club Fuenlabrada instead of forking over $1 million of his own money to pay for a buyout. Even the Bobcats, who reportedly agreed to spend $525,000 to bring Biyombo to the states before trading for his draft rights, deserve some credit. They could have stashed the rookie overseas for a year, allowed him to develop, and brought him back next season.
But instead everyone involved made the effort to put Biyombo, who said he felt trapped in Spain, in a Charlotte uniform this year, and the 19-year-old big man couldn’t be happier.
“A lot of pressure (was) coming from the (Bobcats),” Biyombo told HOOPSWORLD. “They really expected me to start the preseason. You know, it was kind of impossible to start it on time, you know. But at the end of the day, they put a lot of work together… They got things together and the end of the day I got to join the team.
“I can’t lie to you,” he continued. “What was going on in my mind was, it was going to happen one day because I signed that contract, we were going to solve it. It was all about money. When you get money and things get on the table, people are going to take it.”
Biyombo isn’t getting big minutes yet (he’s averaging 12.7 per game), but he has been extremely active. In 66 minutes over a four-game stretch, the native of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo blocked seven shots and grabbed 19 rebounds. Of course, he committed 14 fouls over that time, but a lot of that has to do with the level of competition he’s now facing.
“The level of competition, guys are really competing over here,” he said. “And guys are going hard every day… That’s just one of the things that I see over here.”
The blocked shots, rebounds and fouls are all sort of intertwined. When you consider what coach Paul Silas is asking for, it’s logical to assume that some bad fouls are going to come along with that.
“I’m a young kid,” Biyombo said. “I play just like the coach and the older (guys) expect me to do, like have great energy, rebound the ball, you know. That’s all I can do and that’s all I can bring to the team. That’s all the coach asks me to do so I’m going to do that.”
Besides the all-encompassing description of “energetic,” Biyombo’s game lacks a lot of adjectives at the moment. He says he doesn’t emulate anyone and just wants to play his game, but fans will undoubtedly see a little Ben Wallace in the young man.
Of course, like Wallace, Biyombo isn’t going to break out during his rookie season. This is a player that the Bobcats need to be patient with, but he has enough athleticism at 6-9 to make such organizational fortitude worth the effort.
Check Out: ABA Throwbacks
ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas wrote on the throwback jerseys, which will be worn by certain NBA teams this season. The looks come from the old ABA, and even if your favorite team doesn’t have history in that league (like the Grizzlies and Bobcats), they could still wind up wearing some uniforms from that era.
It’s definitely an interesting piece for anyone who wants to see a Carolina Cougars uniform.
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