HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Will Rivers Ensure Paul Re-Signs?
By Steve Kyler
Chris Paul may not have liked the implication that he got former Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro fired, but there is no avoiding the fact that he was instrumental in getting Doc Rivers hired to replace him.
The Boston Celtics and L.A. Clippers reached a deal in principle yesterday that would send an unprotected first round draft pick in 2015 to Boston in exchange for the Celtics allowing Rivers out of his remaining three contract years and free to sign a new deal with the Clips.
Rivers’ new deal will keep him among the highest paid coaches in the league with a new three-year, $21 million package that some say contains bonuses that could swell the deal up to $8 million per season if the Clippers go deep in the playoffs each year.
Sources close to the situation say Paul’s insistence on Rivers helped management convince owner Donald Sterling to part with an unprotected draft pick and agree to a massive coaching contract for Rivers, something Sterling had serious reservations about doing.
Paul, who will become an unrestricted free agent next Monday, is now expected to ink a new five-year deal with the Clippers next week taking him off the free agent market.
Brooklyn In The Market For Garnett
By Lang Greene
The 2013 campaign for the Brooklyn Nets ended with a resounding thud as the franchise was eliminated in its first round playoff series versus the injury depleted Chicago Bulls.
With the disappointing setback now in the rearview mirror the franchise’s front office has been hard at work attempting to build excitement for the team heading into next season.
The current Nets roster has been dogged recently by a perceived lack of passion which many believe has contributed to the group underachieving as a unit. The first step the organization took to address this area of concern was the hiring of recently retired point guard Jason Kidd to be its next head coach.
While Kidd may lack head coaching experience, there is no denying his competitive spirit, leadership ability and the respect he commands from players around the league.
Keeping with the trend of trying to inject more passion into the locker room, the franchise may be in the market to acquire Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett in a trade.
According to a report by the New York Daily News, Nets general manager Billy King has placed an inquiry to the Celtics front office on the availability of Garnett with Boston likely in the beginning stages of a rebuilding project.
Clippers Believe Rivers Will Elevate Franchise
By Eric Pincus
The Los Angeles Clippers introduced Doc Rivers on Wednesday night, both as head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations, after a lengthy negotiation and trade with the Boston Celtics.
“This is truly one of the biggest moments in Clippers’ history,” said Vice President of Basketball Operations Gary Sacks. “We feel he is the best coach in the NBA — a perfect fit for this organization.”
It took almost two weeks for a deal to be struck, the league blocking the player portion of the deal that would have sent DeAndre Jordan and two first-round picks to the Celtics for Kevin Garnett along with Rivers. Instead, Los Angeles acquired their new coach for an unprotected 2015 first-round pick.
“We won’t be pursuing any player transactions with Boston this season,” said President Andy Roeser, a crucial part of the deal that curried league approval.
The Clippers chose Rivers over other candidates like Byron Scott, Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins.
Dwight Howard “Unlikely To Re-sign” With Lakers
Since the moment the season came to an anti-climactic end, Los Angeles Lakers fans have been wondering about the future of free agent center Dwight Howard. Yesterday, amid rumors of his uncertainty about re-signing, the Lakers embarked upon a billboard and media campaign (an unprecedented move for the organization) in order to trigger Howard’s belief in the franchise’s commitment toward him. Criticized by fans, while receiving mixed reviews from members of the media, the Lakers are clearly attempting to publicly reinforce their desire to retain the services of a man general manager Mitch Kupchak has described as “the future of the franchise” on several occasions.
This morning, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Howard is “unlikely to re-sign” with the organization, stemming from his desire to play in a system better suited to his skill set. While Broussard mentioned head coach Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant by name, there are also reports that Howard has no personal issue with either of the two. It is thought that Howard actually prefers an opportunity where he not only has more organizational influence, but can also be the featured player within the team.
With plenty of speculation about D’Antoni being the actual breaking point of possible negotiations, there are some within the Lakers organization that have doubts on whether a new coach would actually be enough to appease Howard. We’ve also been reminded of the circumstances surrounding Howard’s exodus from Orlando. The Magic eventually fired head coach Stan Van Gundy following the 2011-12 season, only to have Howard still request a trade that summer. That, aside from the fact that D’Antoni is entering just the second season of a three-year deal (team option for potential fourth year), would seemingly explain the franchise’s reluctance to bend to the apparent demands.
Undrafted Players Plan for Summer League
By Alex Kennedy
The 2013 NBA Draft is behind us and while 60 prospects were selected, many players didn’t hear their name called.
These undrafted free agents may still make it onto an NBA roster, but they’ll have to earn it. The next step for these players is to accept a Summer League invitation and try to make a training camp roster.
Here are some players who have already decided which team they’ll play for in either the Orlando Summer League or Las Vegas Summer League:
Who Gets Overpaid in Free Agency?
By Bill Ingram
The 2013 NBA Draft is now history, meaning teams are preparing to focus all of their attention on free agency. This summer’s big fish, of course, are Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. But what happens when those big names are off the market and teams that worked hard to clear cap space to sign a max player find themselves without a primary target?
They’ll get into a bidding war for second-tier talent.
At the top of our list of players most likely to get overpaid is Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. Smith is coming off of a year in which he was paid $13.2 million for averaging 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Smith is a good player, and for a team looking for a third option he could be the piece that puts them over the top. That said, he’s not a franchise player, and any team looking for him to take them to the next level on his own is going to be disappointed. Does that mean he doesn’t get overpaid once the big dominoes fall? Probably not. All he needs is for a team like Dallas to panic and decide he’s their only hope of getting Dirk Nowitzki back into contention and he’ll find a golden parachute for the last years of his basketball prime.
Let the Mediocrity Begin!
By Joel Brigham
To say that Thursday night’s draft was one of the most insane drafts in the history of the NBA would be a massive understatement, and two of the craziest events of the entire evening were a couple of blockbuster trades, each of which sent All-Star players to new addresses.
For those who have been under a rock for the last couple of days, those deals included New Orleans sending a 2014 top-five protected draft pick and Nerlens Noel to Philadelphia for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson, and Boston sending Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn for three future first round draft picks and a bunch of players who are not in the Celtics’ long-term plans.
The deals upset the fan bases in Philadelphia and Boston for obvious reasons, but if there was ever a perfect opportunity to blow things up and start anew, the 2013-14 season would be the time.
With so many top-notch blue chippers headed for next June’s draft, teams have not had this much motivation to be mediocre in over a decade. Had Philadelphia and Boston left things alone, both would’ve been playoff (or near-playoff) teams with zero chance at a championship and very little chance at a high lottery pick. In Boston, Garnett may have retired anyway, and Pierce would’ve cost about $5 million just to buy out.
By sending away huge chunks of talent in exchange for young players and/or draft picks, the Sixers and Celtics have given themselves excellent opportunities to be awful in a year where the payoff could be huge. It won’t be fun for fans of those teams right now, but there’s a great chance that things will get better in a hurry if these teams land a top pick.