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HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On September 8, 2013 @ 6:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Bucks, Suns Trade Cap Positions
By Eric Pincus
The Milwaukee Bucks were one of two teams armed with significant cap space before making a trade with the Phoenix Suns this past week for Caron Butler.
Now, the Suns are second to the Philadelphia 76ers (who can boast roughly $14.2-15.4 million in cap room).
Before the deal, Milwaukee had about $7.4 million to spend. Now they have about $1.9 million in space after acquiring Butler for Ish Smith and Vyacheslav Kravtsov.
The Suns went from no cap room at all to $5.2 million under. Phoenix also has 17 guaranteed players, two more than the maximum allowed on opening night.
The Key To the Clippers’ Contention
By Bill Ingram
This is the year.
No, this is THE year.
This is the year that Clippers fans have been waiting for since, well, 1970, when the team was founded as the Buffalo Braves.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have been known more or less as the step-brothers of the Los Angeles Lakers. While the Lakers have amassed championship after championship and are expected to contend every year, the Clippers have been little more than an annual underdog story, a true test of faith for their loyal followers.
That all changed when the team drafted Blake Griffin with the first overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft and subsequently acquired Chris Paul in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The team was suddenly on the rise, so much so that their notoriously tight owner suddenly opened up his wallet to help the team push for new heights. They acquired head coach Doc Rivers from the Boston Celtics at no small expense, grabbed a solid backup point guard in Darren Collison, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and Antawn Jamison, giving them one of the best benches in the NBA to go along with a star-caliber starting lineup.
The Clippers have done a ton of work and spent quit a bit of money this summer, but are they now ready to be called contenders?
Trade Situations To Watch – Part 7: Give This Group a Chance
By Steve Kyler
By now you have surely heard the rumors about Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge. Between what’s been reported, what’s been said by Blazers general manager Neil Olshey and what Aldridge himself has said here is what’s real:
Aldridge isn’t going to waste his career in Portland and the team has responded to that aggressively.
Last year the Blazers had a dreadful bench, as good as the starters were when they were out of the game Portland simply choked away wins.
This year the Blazers have arguably one of the best benches in the Western Conference, stacked with talented guys that could start in some situations.
The Blazers went all in this summer and the word is they believe that winning will cure all the hard feelings last season engendered with Aldridge.
By The Numbers: NBA Milestones On The Horizon
By Jabari Davis
While everyone is eagerly anticipating the return of NBA action as we head into the 2013-14 season, those of us that also appreciate the game from a historical perspective have even more to look forward to.
Of course, the season should naturally provide plenty of fascinating storylines as we are faced with a Miami HEAT team returning from back-to-back-to-back Finals appearances with the hopes of defending their titles and becoming the first team to earn the Larry O’Brien trophy in three consecutive years since the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal-led Los Angeles Lakers teams from the early 2000′s. Plenty of other teams have also either made significant improvements to challenge Miami’s title hopes or, perhaps strategically (if not covertly), positioned themselves to be in the running for the services of upcoming players like Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker among others.
Beyond each of those storylines, there are several veterans approaching some of the all-time NBA milestones to keep an eye on:
Are You Overlooking The Raptors?
By Lang Greene
On paper the top five teams at the head of the Eastern Conference hierarchy reads, in no particular order, Miami, Indiana, Chicago, Brooklyn and New York. But one of the more popular topics of note among fans this summer has centered around predicting which of the remaining teams can lock down the final three playoff spots in the conference.
One team being consistently overlooked in the entire process has been the Toronto Raptors. Admittedly, the team has had a relatively quiet summer compared to some of the other suitors seeking playoff berths but the team has the talent to remain relevant in the chase.
The Raptors have a solid mixture of guys with something to prove in contract years and young guys seeking to fully breakthrough.
The question is can the unit gel and make a run.
Five Stars With The Right To Be Upset
By Yannis Koutroupis
When it comes to building a successful NBA team, there’s nothing more important than having a star player – the kind of guy who will carry the load on a nightly basis, set the example for everyone else on the team and serve as the face of the franchise.
There are a lot of other factors that are nearly as important, but look no further than the San Antonio Spurs for a testimony on the importance of star power. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will tell you without hesitation that Tim Duncan is the reason why they’ve been so successful over the last 16 years. His presence makes everything easier.
Players like Duncan don’t come along every year, though. In fact, they’re few and far between, which in turn creates a lot of competition for their services. Teams will cultivate multi-year plans with one of the main end goals being signing another team’s top player, like the Miami HEAT did back in 2010.
With all the changeover occurring in the league today, keeping your star happy is as vital as having the right coach or supporting pieces around him. Just getting them under contract is half the battle, then franchises almost have to re-sell themselves to the player as they get closer to the end of their deal to ensure they stick around.
The Harrison Barnes-Andre Iguodala Conundrum
By Moke Hamilton
With the Golden State Warriors clinging to a four-point lead, they had simply come too far to lose. A 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs and a Game 5 on the road would have surely spelled a five-game defeat.
Mark Jackson’s team had come too far to die without a fight. No, the 19,596 fans in attendance deserved a victory, and with the hobbled Stephen Curry limited by a sore ankle that required an anti-inflammatory injection on this May 12th morning, Harrison Barnes played the game of his life and ensured that the Warriors would not go meekly into the night.
In the end, all he seemed to earn was a demotion.
Is Eric Bledsoe a Star Player?
By Alex Kennedy
Is Eric Bledsoe a star-level player in the NBA? That question may be answered as early as the 2013-14 season when, for the first time years, Bledsoe will have a team of his own and all eyes will be on the young point guard.
The Phoenix Suns shipped out Jared Dudley and a second-round pick to acquire Bledsoe in a three-team trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks earlier this offseason. Now, Bledsoe has the chance to take his game to another level and become the franchise player that the Suns desperately need.
This is the perfect opportunity for Bledsoe since he’ll be playing in an up-tempo system that really fits his strengths and he’ll be handed the reins to the team, which he hasn’t experienced since his days at Parker High School in Alabama.
Fantasy Rankings: The Too Early Top-50
By Tommy Beer
With the NFL season officially underway, and fantasy football drafts in the books, it’s about time for us fantasy fanatics to start considering looking forward towards October and the start of the 2013-14 NBA campaign.
Yes, it’s still too early to begin making definitive prognostications about the upcoming NBA season, considering training camps won’t open for another month or so; however, it’s never too soon to begin light preparation in order to get a jump on the competition.
Thus, listed below is a preliminary preview of the official Top-150 overall rankings we’ll release in a few weeks.
2013′s Hall of Fame Inductees
By Joel Brigham
The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA is an undeniably cool place. No matter how you feel about the way they induct players, coaches and other contributors of the game, the fact is that all the people who undeniably deserve to be there are there. Sure, there are snubs, but even without Jo Jo White and Jack Sikma gracing the inside of the Hall’s hallowed dome, it’s still a pretty overwhelming collection of NBA legends.
This weekend, 12 more men and women will be added to that pool of legends. It’s not necessarily something players and coaches set out to achieve the way they would, say, a championship, but once they retire it’s a five-year waiting game to see if they’ll be recognized as one of the game’s greats.
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