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NBA AM: Did Nic Batum Work The System?
Posted By Steve Kyler On July 19, 2012 @ 9:35 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Playing The Game: Both restricted free agents Eric Gordon and Nic Batum tried to use the media to gain some leverage in their contract situations. Both signed long-term offer sheet only to have them matched by their respective home teams, but both also used the media to create a sense that they wanted to move on.
Portland GM Neil Olshey says he spoke with Nic Batum throughout the process and that many of the things Nic was reported to have said about not wanting to be back were orchestrated by his agent and the Timberwolves.
“Nic never said that,” Olshey said of Nic not wanting to return to Portland. “Let’s be very clear. Nic made a couple of comments at the behest of the Minnesota Timberwolves and his agent. That was their agenda; it was never Nicolas’s agenda.”
“If I wasn’t in constant contact with the kid, I wouldn’t tell you that. I can tell you that Nicolas called me after those articles went out and said, ‘They asked me to do this. They put me up to it. It’s not me. I want to talk to you directly Neil. I don’t want my agent to know or another team to know. I just want you and I to be on the same page.’ He always wanted to be back in Portland. I think he would have liked to have done the deal straight up just like I would have. But he listened to his representative and that’s his prerogative. His representative did a great job. He got him a hell of a deal. Now we move on. The Portland fanbase should in no way resent Nicolas Batum for this.”
Is that the cost of getting the Offer Sheet in restricted free agency?
It seems what was said to the press isn’t lining up with what Olshey is saying. There is always the chance that Olshey is working the media too, but it sure makes things interesting going forward.
Where Did All The Money Go? In talking with several player agents this week in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League there is a trend that’s surfacing that many foresaw when the new Collective Barging Agreement was reached last December – middle tier players are seeing the dollars dry up awfully fast.
A common theme over the last few weeks as teams shower dollars on free agents is exactly what did the Lockout accomplish?
The Lockout was never about limiting one player’s salary or their ability to be overpaid. That was always something the Players accused the owners of, however that’s never been the reality.
Teams can spend their money however they want to spend it and this off-season shows that in a market economy with so many teams with money that the price for the top free agents is always going to be high.
What the Lockout seems to have done is decimate the middle class of the NBA.
O.J. Mayo in essence signed a one-year deal – the actual deal is two-years with the 2nd year being a player option. CJ Watson who started 25 games for the Chicago Bulls and had the best record in the east got the NBA minimum from the Nets.
What’s becoming clear in the process is that top level free agents will get the bulk of the free agent dollars and the middle and lower tier will fight for the scraps that are left over.
What did the NBA gain from the Lockout? It was never about the top tier guys, its about overpaying middle tier guys and that seems to have been addressed in the harshest of ways.
Meet DJO The LA Lakers assembled arguably one of the worst Summer League teams in the field this summer, which is not entirely their fault. They haven’t drafted and kept a first round player in some time and most agents know that try-out type players won’t have a shot at making the roster, so the talent level is substantially lower than most in the field.
That doesn’t mean the Lakers don’t have prospects worth looking at, and one of the biggest is 55th overall selection Darius Johnson-Odom.
DJO is a compact, stocky guard that is a relentless defender and tough as nails competitor. He’s put his defense on display in Vegas and HOOPSWORLD caught up with him about the experience.
And It’s the Lakers Again: The daily Dwight Howard circus takes another turn today with the LA Lakers again being front and center in the race to acquire Orlando star Dwight Howard.
RealGM’s Jarrod Rudolph who is as close to the Howard camp as anyone is reporting that Howard not only would give assurances to the Lakers that he’d sign long-term in July but that he would be “excited” to join a Laker team that could compete for a title right away.
The Lakers and Houston Rockets have been after Howard for most of the month, however Howard’s desires are not a key factor in Orlando’s decision making process.
Sources close to these talks in Las Vegas this week for Summer League explained that Orlando is really not looking for star level talent in return for Howard. As crazy as that may seem the Magic view most of what’s being offered and talked about as undesirable in their long-term vision for the team.
That long-term vision includes building the team around the draft and free agency where the players on the roster fit the new culture and concepts being installed by GM Rob Hennigan. Sacrifice. Buy-in to something bigger than yourself. Team play.
As attractive as Andrew Bynum may be in trade, the Magic view Bynum in much the same way they view Howard – he is unwilling to extend and commit beyond this season and he has not shown the maturity and selflessness that Orlando is coveting in their next generation of players.
That might drive Magic fans crazy, but the Magic view obtaining Bynum as “a horse with a different name” simply changing the person in the situation, as they’d have to deal with the same uncertainty with Bynum that’s surrounding them with Howard.
If Howard is going to the LA Lakers in trade, do not be surprised if Andrew Bynum ends up somewhere other than Orlando. That could change if Bynum offers to commit to Orlando, but at this point in the process beyond speaking nicely about the history of big men in that market, Bynum is staying mainly non-committal both publically with the Lakers and privately with friends.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are said to be at the table in a three-way deal with the Magic and Lakers, with Bynum possibly landing in Cleveland. However Bynum is being equally non-committal about Cleveland as he’s been about Orlando.
The Houston Rockets have been in the mix for Howard, but have also been linked to Bynum as part of a Howard deal with Orlando and LA as well.
The Magic have options for Howard, that’s been a constant in this process, but as the circus rages on, keep in mind Orlando isn’t as concerned with what comes back in trade this year, its more about what’s going out.
The Magic want to dump some of their unfavorable contracts and want as many first-round draft selections or solid players on rookie deals as they can get.
The deal that delivers that is going to be the deal that gets done.
It Wasn’t Just The Money: As the Houston Rockets gear up for their version of “Linsanity”, the New York Knicks are moving on, and while the general belief is it was the size of the offer sheet that Lin signed with Houston that was the key reason, especially the third “poison pill” year, however that’s not entirely the case.
Before we get too far into this remember no team in the history of Luxury tax in the NBA has paid in more tax dollars than the New York Knicks, so to think that the Knicks ran away from Jeremy Lin for tax reason alone overlooks a few key points.
Jeremy was not very good with Carmelo Anthony on the floor. Carmelo is the key cog of the Knicks and Lin and Melo were never super compatible. Jeremy is most effective with the ball in his hands and so is Carmelo.
Lin was also going to have to play major minutes. The fans and the media were going to require that or Madison Square Garden would have been boo-city. That’s a tremendous amount of unneeded pressure, especially on coach Mike Woodson who was never as enamored with Lin as everyone else. The role Jeremy was going to play under Woodson was going to be radically different this year.
You add the costs to the fit and then to the role and Jeremy Lin is a Rocket because of all those things.
Did money play a factor? Sure. But the truth is it was a lot more than money that prompted the Knicks to pass on Linsanity 2.0.
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