HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Mike D’Antoni’s New York Nightmare
By Tommy Beer
They tell us that there are eight million stories in The City. This one is about a guy who made millions but has had a really hard time catching a break since signing a big contract to coach in the Big Apple…
Back in May of 2008, Mike D’Antoni was weighing serious offers from two different organizations – the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks. Initially it appeared the Bulls were the odds-on favorites to land D’Antoni, who had averaged 58 wins over his final four seasons in Phoenix. One major obstacle in Chicago was the fact that the Bulls still owed five million dollars to former coach Scott Skiles, who was fired on Christmas Eve the prior December. Thus, Bulls management was financially hamstrung, which obviously limited what they could offer a new head coach. Eventually, the Knicks swooped in and brought major money to the table. Convinced by new team president Donnie Walsh that the organization could return to relevance and respectability, D’Antoni accepted the Knicks lavish offer of $24 million over four seasons. He was introduced as the 24th head coach in franchise history on May 13th, 2008.
Just nine days later, an upbeat D’Antoni found himself sitting on a dais in Secaucus, New Jersey, representing the Knicks in the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery. As it turned out, D’Antoni would have a front row seat for history, as the Chicago Bulls, who had an infinitesimal 1.7% probability of obtaining the top selection, shockingly won the lottery drawing. (I happened to be standing offstage as the results were announced that night and could see a wry smile briefly creep across D’Antoni’s face the moment Chicago was proclaimed the big winner.) The following month, the Bulls selected prospect Derrick Rose with the #1 pick. Rose, of course, would quickly establish himself as an NBA superstar. Within the span of a couple of months last spring he was named the 2010 NBA MVP and led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals. (We can only imagine the numbers Rose might have put as the lead PG in a D’Antoni-led offense. I digress…)
NBA Owners Seek Bailout?
By Larry Coon and Bill Ingram
Are NBA owners really just looking for salvation from their own idiocy in the ongoing labor dispute? HOOPSWORLD’s Larry Coon and Bill Ingram debate this issue!
How do you balance a budget?
It seems this one question has been at the heart of the national discussion for the past few months, whether it’s been with regard to the NFL or the NBA locking out their players or on a broader scale with the American economy teetering on the edge of disaster.
The NFL has solved its problems for the time being and our government is too busy righting with interest groups to actually seriously address those larger problems, but when it comes to the NBA there are some concrete ideas on the table that we can kick around.
Top 5 Successful Franchise Relocations
By Joel Brigham
Any conversation about teams potentially relocating starts with those franchises struggling the most in their current cities. Atlanta, Memphis, and most famously, Sacramento, all are having a hard time where they are, and in the past that’s almost always led to franchise relocation.
Sacramento is serious danger of moving to Anaheim, as we all know, and the Atlanta Hawks were recently purchased by a California businessman who says he plans on keeping the team in Georgia. Still, you never really know when a team is going to move (see: Seattle SuperSonics), so it’s a hard thing to predict.
Sometimes, though, relocation can be a good thing for a franchise, and the following is a list of teams who have gained the most from their moves to new cities. It doesn’t work for all teams, but it certainly worked for these organizations:
Looking Ahead In Free Agency
By Jason Fleming
Usually this time of year we debating the winners and losers of NBA free agency, discussing which players are good fits with their new teams and where chemistry or playing time could become an issue. Instead we are left waiting, wondering when the bonanza of 2011 free agency will be allowed to begin.
Next week? Next month? Next year?
When will the Denver Nuggets get a chance to blow their $25 million or so in cap space, depending on where the next cap lands?
We don’t know. Instead, what we are left with is looking at the free agent class of 2011 and analyzing closely who make fit where. And not just in 2011, but in 2012, 2013, and beyond…
Check out the snapshot of the free agency classes for the next six years:
NCAA: Relying On Freshmen
By Yannis Koutroupis
Enjoy Them While They’re There: There’s a saying about freshmen, made famous by former Marquette head coach Al McGuire, that the best thing about them is they become sophomores. That’s still true in most cases, except for now in college basketball most of the top freshmen go pro rather than sticking around for their second year of eligibility.
That makes it extremely important that the coaches who recruit these potential one-and-done players get the most out of them in the short time that they have them. In today’s day and age it’s almost a certainty that if you recruit a top-ranked kid, you’re very unlikely to have him for four years.
Nobody is more renowned for their work with first year players than Kentucky’s John Calipari. Year after year he sees his top freshmen bolt for the NBA, yet he bounces right back the next year with another talented class that comes in with the goal of surpassing what the previous class did.