NBA AM: Let’s Make A Deal
Let’s Make A Deal: In the stock market they have an expression called “dumb money” – when investors sell stocks at a low price only to buy them later at a higher price. That’s kind of how the early stages of NBA free agency are.
With the “dumb money” having been spent, more and more teams are either looking for bargain players still left without a home or looking to solve their problems through trade.
There are several situations to watch over the next month and none of them involve the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard, at least not directly.
Too Many Guards In Sacramento? The Sacramento Kings added Aaron Brooks in free agency and word is that both Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette would like to see a trade.
The Kings have resigned themselves to the idea that Jimmer is never going to be the player they thought he’d be, and word is his camp has been pushing for either a change in role or zip code. There is not a huge market for a guard that shoots 35.8 percent from the field and 21.9 percent from the three in Summer League, but it seems if a team has interest in Jimmer there could be a deal to be made.
On Evans, it gets a little more complicated. League sources say there was a lot of truth to the Kings entertaining trade talks around the draft, but as free agency has opened, things on the Tyreke front have cooled considerably. The Kings are going to have to decide on Evans in July and some say they might pass on a longer-term deal with Evans, who was the fourth overall pick in 2009. The Kings tried using Evans as a small forward last season and the belief is that’s where he’d play this season.
The Kings do not appear to be actively looking for a trade, but sources close to the process say Evans would welcome a move, especially one that gets him back to playing with the ball in his hands.
The 76ers and Iguodala: With Elton Brand off the books by way of an amnesty cut and the 76ers passing on overpaying Lou Williams, the 76ers are surprisingly well situated going forward cap wise. It’s long been believed that Philadelphia would look to dump the contract of Andre Iguodala, who has two years and some $31.1 million remaining, however sources near the process say a deal involving Iggy is highly unlikely before the season starts.
If the 76ers draft was any indication of the future, it’s clear that the 76ers are thinking about life after Iggy, but sources close to the process say that anything involving Iguodala is something they look at down the road and that much of what’s being done is being done around Andre, not exclusive of him.
The 76ers seem to be closing in on a deal to hire former Blazers’ executive Tom Penn to be the teams’ new general manager. While Penn will have some control, current team president Rod Thorn is remaining in some capacity for the next year or so with Penn assuming the bulk of his day-to-day duties. A Penn hire will be good for the future of the team, but don’t expect a philosophy change immediately, which means don’t expect an Iguodala trade before training camp unless someone offers the world for him.
Want Some Jose? The Toronto Raptors pulled off a coup of a trade getting Kyle Lowry for basically a song from the Houston Rockets. The Raptors have said all the right things about incumbent guard Jose Calderon, but more than a few sources around the process say not only was Calderon upset with how the Raptors handled their pursuit of Steve Nash, but with the arrival of Lowry, it is time for a trade.
Interestingly enough, the Raptors would accommodate a trade. However, there still does not seem to be much of a market for Calderon despite a solid season last year.
The Raptors considered using their amnesty cut on Calderon if only to free up his $10.5 million cap hit, however there is a real belief that his ending contract could return an asset if not now, then at the February 21st trade deadline.
There is almost no question that Lowry will be the starter on day one for the Raptors. The question is can the Raptors find a trade for Calderon before they open camp in late September, or will there be a bit of awkwardness for the first few months as Toronto tries to move him around the trade deadline?
There are roughly 60 days remaining in the offseason and while some teams and executives will start taking vacations and holidays, there is still plenty of work to be done before training camps open in late September.
Team USA As We Know It: There has been a lot made over the last few weeks about how future Olympic teams are going to be formed, especially as it pertains to the use of NBA players on national teams.
As it stands, every NBA teams is required to allow their players to participate in national team play, assuming the player has adequate insurance coverage and is medically cleared to participate.
Once they are on those national teams, all bets are off, especially as it pertains to injuries. It is not at all uncommon for players to play through injuries for their national teams that their NBA teams would never allow. Equally, the quality of care provided by some of the smaller national programs is far below NBA standards.
As Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski points out, most of the concern about NBA players playing for national teams has more to do with injuries and proper medical care than almost anything, but the idea of a new World Cup of Basketball in which the NBA and its team would share in the profits from is also a key driver for change.
The NBA and FIBA, the international organizing body for basketball, have been talking with broadcast partners about selling a reformatted World Championship format which would function something like the current World Cup of Soccer – one of the largest sporting events in the world.
The idea is a massive tournament of nations to be held every four years that would be sold and marketed by the NBA and FIBA – the difference between this tournament and say the Olympics is that FIBA and the NBA would reap the profits from the endeavor, unlike the Olympics where they get very little in return. With the possibility of hundreds of millions in new broadcast money, both organizing bodies would put their full weight behind the importance of the event, which means backing off how much they push the Olympics.
A World Cup of Basketball is going to happen, so debating whether it should or shouldn’t is almost moot. The question is how a NBA/FIBA controlled product will change the Olympic format. There has been talk that the NBA would like to see a 23-year-old age limit placed on who can participate in the Olympics, turning the Summer Games into a young player showcase.
In turn, a few years later, those players would be featured in a World Cup format.
There is massive money to be made in this endeavor, and with the salary costs of players ballooning every year, the risk associated with Olympic play has become too great for more NBA owners than not. Their objections have nothing to do with national pride and everything to do with risking hundreds of millions of salary dollars and getting nothing in return for that risk.
A World Cup of Basketball is coming, so you can bank that one. The question is will the NBA and FIBA force through a rule change restricting who can play for national teams in the Olympics? That much is still very much up in the air, but when you consider what’s at stake and that with a big pile of money to spread around to national teams that compete in the Cup format, you may not see nearly the national team objection as you might think, because they’d all profit from a new format.
Selling The Timberwolves: Glen Taylor has owned the Minnesota Timberwolves for more than 18 years and while the 71-year-old billionaire has no plans to immediately divest his ownership of the Wolves, he has been talking for some time about finding a successor and apparently he has found one.
“Yes, I have [found a buyer], and we’re working on trying to put a deal together, and it would be a deal that would leave me involved for a number of years yet, but it would be a good transition,” Taylor said to Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune.
“I will be an owner for a number of years but gradually bring in a partner, if this would work out. I’d bring in a partner and … we’d work together. In the initial years, he would have less than 50 percent and then in the later years he would have more than 50 percent and would have the ownership.”
The reports on this situation say Taylor’s new investor will buy into the Wolves for roughly 25 percent and over the course of the next several years will gain a greater share of the team and ultimately control down the line.
Should something happen to Taylor, there would be a process in place to fast track an ownership change.
Taylor says he is committed to getting the Timberwolves back into the playoff hunt, and after a busy off-season the Wolves look like a radically different team. The question is are they good enough to crack the top eight in the Western Conference?
What do you think? Are the Wolves a playoff team if healthy? Drop your thoughts below.
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