NBA AM: Williams Opting Out For New Deal?
Opting Out For A Better Deal: When an NBA Players opts out of a contract, it does not always mean that players is leaving the team. In Philadelphia’s case they will have more than an opportunity to re-sign guard Lou Williams when he opts out of his deal in July, but that doesn’t mean he’s offering a home team discount.
“At this point I just think it would be crazy for me to leave,” Williams said to John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This is somewhere where I have carved out a lane. This is somewhere where my family is and it’s my second home outside of Atlanta.
“But business is business,” he continued in the same breath. “Once it comes time to deal with that we’ll get to the table.”
Williams has one more year left on his deal worth $5.3 million, which he’ll opt-out of in the coming weeks. According to those with knowledge of his thinking, Williams is seeking a new deal similar in size to teammate Thaddeus Young who signed a 5-year, $42 million deal this season.
The 76ers have $55.95 million in salary commitments next season which includes a final year worth $18.16 million owed to Elton Brand.
There has been talk that the 76ers would opt to use their one-time Amnesty provision on Brand and dump his contract off the books in order to clear cap space. Sources close to Brand say he would be open to exercising his Early Termination Option on that final year in order to stay in Philadelphia, if a new multi-year deal were offered.
It’s unclear if that’s the direction the 76ers want to go, but it’s an option that will be thoroughly discussed in the coming weeks.
The Sixers also have to deal with Jodie Meeks and Lavoy Allen, who can be restricted free agents. Both were second round picks who have not gotten big NBA paydays, which both are seeking this summer. Both players have been in the NBA less than four years so the Sixers can lock in restricted free agent rights with a $1 million Qualifying Offer.
76ers big man Spencer Hawes however is headed to unrestricted free agency and a hefty payday.
The 76ers have said they expect to be active this summer in trying to upgrade the roster. Moving out Andre Iguodala again seems to be something the team is going to explore. The 76ers won’t be giving Iggy away, but of a team wants to make a significant offer; it seems Iggy is again available for discussion.
The 76ers have seven players under contract for next season including Brand, Williams and Iguodala, so it’s safe to assume they are going to be very busy this summer.
Is Dion Waiters A Top 5 Pick?: Syracuse guard Dion Waiters does not lack in confidence. He is a big physical guard that can play both guard positions and with so many question marks surrounding other point guard prospects, Waiters is going into NBA workouts with one goal in mind – to go Top 5.
HOOPSWORLD caught up with Waiters in Las Vegas last week while training at Impact Basketball. Waiters put the entire game on display, including a silky jump shot that was good out to NBA three.
So let’s meet Dion Waiters:
Dion’s goal of going Top 5 might be a bit of a reach; however he admitted that teams like Phoenix and Houston would really fit his style of play and with both clubs having picks at 13 and 14 respectively, that’s realistically his range.
The one thing playing in Waiters’ favor is that UNC guard Kendall Marshal may not work out for NBA teams as he is still recovering from wrist surgery. Marshall recently revealed that he also fractured his elbow and that has hampered his recovery. Marshall has been training at IMG Basketball in Bradenton and will likely do drills at next week’s NBA Draft Combine. Whether Marshall will do any head to head workouts for teams remains to be seen.
If Marshall does not work out for teams, his draft stock could take a massive hit.
Kentucky guard Marquis Teague is also considered a top guard, but more and more NBA talent evaluators worry about how effectively he can shoot the ball at the NBA level, which is something he’ll have to prove in workouts.
The top point guard prospect on the board is Damian Lillard out of Weber State, leaving Waiters to bring up the second or third best point guard spot.
Top 5 might be a stretch for Waiters, but after spending a couple of days in the gym with him, top 10 to 15 seems more likely than not.
Portland’s Front Runners: Yesterday we got into the Orlando Magic’s search for a new head of basketball operations and no sooner was that story filed than a source involved in both the Magic’s search and the Blazers’ search for a similar executive chimed in with additional news.
Now if you were following me on Twitter (@stevekylerNBA), you likely have heard this already, but if you don’t here it is.
The Portland Trail Blazers have pegged Lakers’ executive Mitch Kupchak as their top target and are willing to overpay to obtain him. Over the last year or so Kupchak has grown disenchanted with the Lakers. Mitch is not unhappy, but to suggest Mitch loves his job is not an accurate characterization either.
Over the last few years more and more power and control over the team has shifted to Jim Buss, and more and more decisions are being based on dollars and cents than basketball sense and that does not seem to be changing any time soon.
Although the Lakers are one of the top earners in the sport, they are still very much a family run business. While Dr. Jerry Buss has always funded the Lakers as needed, there has been a change recently in which Buss has refused to put money into the team and has become increasingly cost conscious. With the new collective bargaining agreement and pending NBA revenue sharing system likely taxing the Lakers more than any other team, the days of the Lakers being the top spender in the NBA seems to be numbered. Combine that situation with an ever shrinking staff and more and more micromanagement, Kupchak has been exploring other opportunities.
The Blazers have been in a holding pattern awaiting a decision from Kupchak, who may very well opt to stay in LA – he has a home there. His kids are in school there and he is basketball royalty in that market one of the largest in the sport. The Blazers are hoping their financial offer will sway him to leave, but that’s not a given.
The Blazers have continued to interview other candidates and sources involved in the process say former Warrior GM Chris Mullins could be Plan B should Kupchak pass on Portland. Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweeted recently that Clippers GM Neil Olshey also met with the Blazers about the job, and had a face to face meeting with Blazers’ owner Paul Allen in London.
So the process in Portland has not stopped, but it does seem that Kupchak is the leader in the clubhouse for Portland. He has also been linked to the Magic.
The question is will either situation be appealing enough for Kupchak to leave the Lakers? That’s something that is still very much up in the air.
Two More Years?: Maybe it’s the shortened season, but Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs are playing on a different level.
There were jokes before the HEAT and Celtics tipped off that last night in Miami that the game was the Junior Varsity game compared to the Spurs and Thunders’ Varsity matchup – having fun at the very clear disparity between the Spurs/Thunder who have been the best teams all season, versus the HEAT and Celtic shave faltered a lot this year.
While Duncan is no longer the dominating force he was the last time the Spurs were within sight of a NBA Finals berth, he has found a way to be extremely productive, but more importantly found a way to get and stay healthy.
Duncan is in the final year of his contract and jokes that he should probably threaten to leave for negotiating leverage on his next deal. Duncan says he already knows where he’ll play next year.
“I’m not going anywhere. You can print that wherever you want to. I’m here and I’m a Spur for life,” Duncan said to Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports.
Duncan understands why the Spurs system has had so much success, it’s because of the clearly defined roles each players plays.
“We’ve all found a home here in San Antonio,” Duncan said. “We all love it here.”
“It works,” Duncan said. “There’s no two ways about it. If something doesn’t work, you break it up and you do something else. We’ve all accepted our roles, we’ve evolved over the years and we’ve all been happy with it because we believe.”
Duncan is 830-352 in his 15 seasons in the NBA. He has won four NBA championships. Three Finals MVPs, two NBA regular season MVPs and was the 1997 NBA Rookie of The Year. Duncan was an All-NBA selection 13 times, an All-Star selection 13 times and an All-Defense selection 13 times as well. And for good measure, Duncan has earned $204 million in salary in his 15 years in the league.
The way Duncan and the Spurs are playing right now it’s hard to imagine that Tim doesn’t have three more years in him and what looks to be another championship if things stay as they are.
It been 48 days since the Spurs lost a basketball game, and until someone proves they can beat the Spurs just once, they have to be the favorites to win it all and Tim Duncan is still a big reason why.
Not bad for a guy with more than 46,000 NBA minutes logged.
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