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HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On September 15, 2013 @ 5:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Looking Toward 2014′s Salary Cap
By Eric Pincus
With training camps just weeks away, the summer of 2013 is coming to a close. Nearly every team that came into the offseason with cap room spent. Stragglers remain (like the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns) but few free agents left on the board are worth more than the minimum salary.
Soon the focus will shift to actual game play. Of course with the season comes the trade deadline (February 20), then the NBA Draft (June 26) and once again it’s July — time for the next round of free agency.
The biggest free agent could be LeBron James, a certainty if he chooses to opt out of his contract with the Miami HEAT. Carmelo Anthony, of the New York Knicks, may be a lock to forgo the final year on his deal — although re-signing with New York is certainly not out of the question.
A New Era of Clippers Basketball
By Alex Kennedy
The Los Angeles Clippers are no longer the NBA’s laughingstock. The franchise that constantly ended up in the lottery and punch lines over the years is now almost unrecognizable. The jerseys are the same, but that’s about it.
Gone are the days when the Clippers were a bottom feeder in the Western Conference. Last season, they won a franchise-record 56 games and emerged as one of the most talented teams in the league. This year, the organization enters the season with championship expectations and may once again top their record for most wins in a single season.
Gone are the days when the Clippers would lose their star players (Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, etc.) because the grass seemed greener elsewhere. In the past two offseasons, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul each signed long-term deals to remain with the Clippers. In fact, Paul decided that he was ready to re-sign without even meeting with other teams and hearing their pitches.
LeBron Not Making Same Mistake Again
By Yannis Koutroupis
From 2008 to 2010, LeBron James’ pending free agency was not just the biggest story with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his team at the time, but the NBA as a whole. Two years worth of speculation and distractions culminated in an hour-long TV special in which James broke the heart of every Cavalier fan and announced that he would be taking his talents to Miami, where he would join fellow All-Stars and close friends Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on the HEAT.
Three years later nobody, not even Cavaliers fans, can argue that James made the right choice. He’s been to the Finals every year since and now has two championships under his belt along with two Finals MVPs and two more regular season MVPs.
However, James himself has admitted that the manner in which he handled his move from Cleveland to Miami was regrettable. That’s why as he gets ready to potentially hit the free agent market again this summer if he decides to decline his early termination option worth $20.5 million, he plans to have a completely different approach.
Pistons Banking On Brandon Jennings
By Lang Greene
The Detroit Pistons had a busy summer. Whether or not you agree with the moves the franchise made during the offseason, there’s no mistaking the team is invested in making a return to the playoffs in 2014.
The arrival of forward Josh Smith, who signed a four-year deal worth $54 million in free agency, was the club’s marquee transaction. The team also signed former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups for an added dose of veteran leadership and, in its final act, acquired point guard Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Pistons will also be led by a new head coach next season in Maurice Cheeks.
Cheeks, a former All-Star point guard, has spent the majority of his time with Jennings since his arrival preaching the importance of leadership and accountability.
Lamar Odom In a Fight For His Life
By Travis Heath
I am often asked during media appearances something to the effect of, “Dr Heath, why do people do drugs?”
The response I often wish to give goes something like this, “Because drugs work really well.”
Of course, I never actually reply in such a way. I usually dress the response up a little bit for public consumption, but the basic content of the response is accurate. People engage in drug use because they are in a lot of pain and drugs in some way mitigate that pain. Hence the reason it is so hard to watch from afar what appears to be happening to Lamar Odom.
It has been well chronicled in recent weeks what a nice person Odom is. I would share my own anecdotes, but they would simply be repetitive at this juncture as my experiences with him have been equally pleasant. Perhaps that is why the general lack of humanity around his struggles makes me even angrier.
Looking At NBA Arenas – East
By Steve Kyler
Marquette University’s National Sports Law Institute compiles some impressive data on all professional sports teams, including detailed reports on each team’s arena situation and their storylines behind each franchise. [You Can Download The Entire PDF Report Here]
While some arena details are public, because they are financed in part by local government, others are not as well known. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the NBA Eastern Conference:
“Pure” Point Guards Extinct?
By Joel Brigham
Four of the last five NBA Rookies of the Year have been point guards, a list that includes Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Kyrie Irving, and most recently Damian Lillard. Because of rule changes over the course of the last half a decade, point guards have seen more offensive success than ever before, so much so that it’s almost impossible to look at the impressive list of NBA point guards and pick only two or three per conference for an All-Star roster.
So why does recent Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Gary Payton, one of the best all-around point guards of all time, think that the position is dying?
“We don’t really have point guards in the NBA now. We really have (shooting) guards – and that’s a fact,” Payton recently told Tom King of The Republican. “I think there’s only three true point guards that play like point guards. I think Chris Paul is one, I think (Rajon) Rondo is one, and I think Tony Parker is the other.”
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