NBA AM: Courtney Lee Gets His Deal
Courtney Gets His Deal The Boston Celtics tried feverishly to get a complex four team trade done yesterday that would have netted them Rockets free agent Courtney Lee, however as complex deals often do, it imploded late yesterday. The Celtics were able to revive the deal with a little help from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The deal sends out JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, Sasha Pavlovic and a second-round draft pick.
Both Moore and Williams have non-guaranteed deals and are expected to be waived by Houston. JaJuan Johnson, a 6’10 forward, has a guaranteed deal and has already made it known he’d like a trade from Houston. Pavlovic is expected to land in Portland.
The outgoing salary in Boston gets the deal valuation up over $4.7 million and a lot closer to the $5 million per year Lee’s camp was seeking. Sources close to the process said yesterday that the reported $3 million per year number kicked around when this story broke was “way off” refusing to disclose the full amount because clearly the situation was still in flux.
The Celtics have had eyes for Courtney from the very beginning of free agency and Lee has a long history with Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
The Celtics are expected to finalize the transaction later today, so stayed tuned for any last minutes details.
Jacque Vaughn? The Orlando Magic continue to work through finding a new head coach, but more and more insiders that are close to this process label former Magic player and current Spurs assistant coach Jacque Vaughn as the front runner to land the job.
Vaughn has a long history with new Magic GM Rob Hennigan and supposedly Vaughn has wowed everyone in the process from the beginning. Current Suns’ assistant Lindsay Hunter was also said to be impressive and could get an interview with the DeVos family.
The Magic have not established any hard deadlines to name a coach, but Hennigan has said nailing down his coach is a top priority now that the Magic are on the other side of the draft and summer league.
The Magic continue to work options on Dwight Howard, but free agency moves appear to be a low priority at this point as the Magic’s roster stands at 14 players including their two draft picks.
Moving The Jimmer? The Sacramento Kings had a moment of honesty just prior to the draft when they pondered their roster and what to do with the 5th overall pick. During those meetings the team arrived at the conclusion most on the outside had already reached and that was that the Kings did not have a point guard of the future. As good as last year’s 60th overall pick Isiah Thomas was, he wasn’t winning them a playoff game.
The Kings hoped Jimmer Fredette would amount to something more than a ticket draw, however after this week’s showing in Las Vegas it appears the end of the Jimmer Era may be closer than anyone in Sacramento wants to admit.
Jimmer has played in five Summer League games and recorded a 30 point outing Monday, but is shooting a dreadful 35.8% from the field and an even worse 21.9% from three on the tournament.
The Kings have entertained some Jimmer trade discussions; mainly because with the arrival of Aaron Brooks in free agency Jimmer’s camp has made it known they want assurances of a role or a trade somewhere Jimmer can get a chance to play.
The Utah Jazz are an easy trade partner to speculate about mainly because of Jimmer’s tremendous fanbase in the region, however sources say as much as the Jazz like what Jimmer is they are not in any hurry to trade for him.
It’s becoming clear that both the Kings and Jimmer would like to see a deal, however it’s not clear if there is really a market for him.
A Big Year For Larry Sanders It’s been two years since the Milwaukee Bucks made Larry Sanders the 15th pick in the draft and while Sanders has had some bright spots in his two year NBA career, this year looks to be a pivotal year for the 6’11 forward.
The Bucks drafted John Henson out of UNC after acquiring Ekpe Udoh at the trade deadline last year. Add in returning big man Ersan Ilyasova and big man Samuel Dalembert who was acquired in trade this offseason and Sanders’ role with the team gets extremely murky.
Larry is playing Summer League for the Bucks and HOOPSWORLD caught up with him to see how things are progressing.
As Dwight Turns Like sands through the hour glass, the soap opera that is Dwight Howard and his quest to get out of Orlando continues to change on a daily basis. Yesterday there were reports that Howard was open and willing to sign a long-term deal with the LA Lakers in July if he were traded there. However like everything in this story the news changes from day to day.
Dan Fegan who is the agent for Dwight Howard told ESPN’s Ric Bucher that his client has not agreed to anything and that regardless of where Dwight was traded, he’d be hitting free agency in July and exploring his options.
Now there are a couple of concepts to wrap your head around.
First, Extensions are dead, long live extensions.
NBA players at the top of their market value will no longer be signing contract extensions. Outside of rookies signing their first monster payday, it’s extremely bad business to add years to an existing veteran deal because of how the collective bargaining agreement works.
The current CBA only allows for a maximum of four years in an extended deal, meaning whatever years you have left plus a number that equals four.
In Howard’s case he has one year left and can add three more worth about $68 million. If he waits until July he can re-sign for a five year deal worth $108 million.
No player at the top of their game is going to leave $40 million on the table to sooth the concerns of a team; it’s just not going to happen. It’s bad business.
Second, you can’t promise anything.
It’s illegal for teams and players to enter into verbal contracts regarding future deals. The NBA will hammer a franchise found doing that incredibly hard.
A Player can talk all day in the media about how much they like the team, the city and the franchise. They can even go as far as saying “I’d never want to leave” or “I’d like to retire here” – but verbal contracts are illegal in the NBA.
Equally a verbal promise is non-binding, meaning you can agree to anything but there is nothing holding the team or the player to making such a deal.
It’s illegal under the collective barging agreement and its non-binding, so to believe that teams are holding out deals for verbal assurances they are not legally able to except is a bit farfetched.
Now there is some truth to the idea that teams want to talk to the players they are considering acquiring, especially when you factor in how flaky Dwight Howard has been and how much of an unknown Laker center Andrew Bynum can be. But those conversations cannot contain a verbal promise, only clarity on what a player’s intentions are. Is he planning for a stroll through free agency? Would an extension be something they’d consider talking about?
That’s where things get interesting, because the two sides can start talking extension and not reach a deal, but team cannot promise anything and neither can the player.
Could a conversation like “We’d do a MAX extension now.” And “Let’s do something like that in July” – be enough to sooth concerns? Maybe.
Throughout this process there have been a number of things represented in reports that are either untrue or lack an understanding of how the process works.
Players are not signing extensions anymore, that concept is dead. Players are also not making promises about future deals because that’s illegal under the CBA.
That’s not to say that the teams interested don’t want to know where a players’ head is at, it just means don’t believe that a deal is being held up over a promise that cannot be delivered.
The Magic continue to work the process of finding a deal, but as sources close to this continue to say… there is not a deal there yet.
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