HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
2012 NBA Free Agent Bargains: Point Guards
By Tommy Beer
Every team would love to be able to throw a max-money offer at potential free-agent studs such as Deron Williams or Eric Gordon; however, few teams have the type of cap space necessary to even consider such a shopping spree.
In reality, many contenders are flush against the cap and will find themselves searching desperately for quality free agents in the NBA’s bargain bin once July arrives. While the new Collective Bargaining Agreement didn’t implement a “hard cap,” it has limited teams spending by more severely penalizing the cost of carrying bloated contracts. As a result, there is a definite premium on finding players that are can contribute, but are willing to sign at a discounted rate. Those teams that have the majority of their cap space tied up in a couple of superstars will be looking to round out their roster by adding inexpensive pieces.
After scanning through the list of players that will become free-agents this summer, there are number of players at each position that could fit into the aforementioned criteria. Today we’ll highlight point guards that will hit the open market this summer and could provide exceptional bang for the buck…
Draft Options For The Cleveland Cavaliers
By Stephen Brotherston
The Cleveland Cavaliers entered full rebuilding mode with the loss of perennial All-Star and multiple MVP winner LeBron James two seasons ago and have spent huge dollars to acquire multiple first-round draft picks. So far, Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant has stayed on message with his disciplined stick to the plan, stick to the process and grow from within strategy.
Last season, the Cavaliers acquired their point guard of the future when the lottery pick they acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers for taking on the massive salary of Baron Davis turned into Kyrie Irving. The late first round pick acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers for taking on Luke Walton’s salary this year will not have the same impact, but it does emphasize the point Grant is trying to make: Cleveland sees their route back to contention will come via the draft.
After picking first and fourth last season, Cleveland picks fourth and twenty-fourth from this season’s much stronger draft class. Even the two early second round picks Cleveland holds should produce prospects that are upgrades over the many unsigned young players from last year’s roster.
Timberwolves ‘Aggressive Offseason’ Options
By Stephen Litel
One of the main storylines for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season was the long-awaited arrival of Ricky Rubio. Averaging 10.6 points and 8.2 assists before his injury, Rubio did not disappoint the fans who anxiously waited for his coming to Minnesota. Rubio almost immediately dazzled fans, opponents and even his own teammates with his ridiculous passing skills, making his teammates better when he was on the court.
While Rubio provided highlights and excitement not seen inside the Target Center for years, what was thought to be true ended up being proven after Rubio’s unfortunate removal from the lineup. Of course, that was the fact Rubio and teammate Kevin Love need much more consistent teammates on the perimeter—teammates who can consistently hit open shots as well as possess the ability to create their own shot—in order for the Timberwolves to build on the upswing in the team’s success from this season.
Currently, the wing players who are under contract for the Timberwolves next year other than Rubio are J.J. Barea, Wes Johnson, Luke Ridnour, Wayne Ellington and Malcolm Lee. Minnesota holds a team option on Martell Webster’s contract and they have to decide if his services are worth $5,712,000 for the 2012-13 season. If they choose to retain the services of Michael Beasley, they will have to pay him $8,172,362 for next season.
Bobcats Ready To Roll The Dice At Number Two?
By Derek Page
With two of the first 31 picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats find themselves looking to make a splash after hitting rock bottom at 7-59 this past season. The frustration of not having the opportunity to draft the consensus number one overall pick in Anthony Davis notwithstanding, Charlotte still has an excellent shot at drastically improving this team on June 28.
Although he clearly must have been disappointed, Bobcats general manager Rich Cho did his best to put a positive spin on being left with the number two overall pick.
“The last time I was with a team that picked number two, we got [Kevin] Durant so we’ll see what happens,” Cho told NBA.com recently. “You can make a case for five or six guys at number two but we’ll narrow it down and make a decision on June 28.”
Where Do The Clippers Go From Here?
By Eric Pincus
The Los Angeles Clippers are coming off of arguably their best season in franchise history. Although they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round, the Clippers made their first postseason appearance since 2006. They went 40-26 and impressed with a hard-fought, Game 7 victory in Memphis. How far could they have gone had Chris Paul and Blake Griffin been fully healthy for the series against the Spurs?
The Clippers have agreed to terms with Neil Olshey, their vice president of player operations (according to press release issued on Friday, June 1st). They opted to keep head coach Vinny Del Negro for the final year on his contract.