NBA AM: Should The Nuggets Extend Ty Lawson?
Time To Extend Lawson?: The Denver Nuggets were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday, meaning their offseason started yesterday. Most teams have a laundry list of things to work on over the next few months, and for the Nuggets, deciding what they plan to do with guard Ty Lawson is one of the biggest.
There is almost no scenario in which Lawson is leaving Denver, and while Lawson does become eligible for a contract extension this summer, the Nuggets are under no obligation to give him one unless it’s on their terms.
The Nuggets have an exclusive window this summer to work out a deal with Lawson or they can wait until next summer and issue a Qualifying Offer and let the restricted free agent process play out.
The first option screams ‘you are our guy,’ while the second is more cold and calculating and tends to create unnecessary animus.
“He’s going to be a big part of the Denver Nuggets,” Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Masai Ujiri said to Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post. “We’re excited. Ty is going to grow even more. He made a little jump, and he’ll continue to make jumps as he gets older.”
“It’s definitely a goal,’ Lawson said of a new deal. “I want to be here long-term. I’m pretty sure my agent and Masai will talk this summer.”
The Denver Nuggets did long-term deals with forward Danilo Gallinari (four-years, $42 million) and with guard Wilson Chandler (five-years, $37 million) this season and have not only Lawson’s future to consider but that of potential restricted free agent JaVale McGee.
The Nuggets have $51.43 million in salary commitments next season including a $3.187 million Qualifying Offer to Rudy Fernandez, a $3.494 million Qualifying Offer to McGee, $3.140 million in non-guaranteed money to Timofey Mozgov and $762,000 in non-guaranteed money to Julyan Stone.
As things sit, the Nuggets will have about $6.5 million in salary cap space to spend before they have to deal with McGee or Fernandez and they have an entire year before they have to address Lawson.
If the name of the game is adding more talent, doing a deal quickly with Lawson might hinder that goal. Playing his deal out until the end of the offseason gives Denver more room to play and add talent.
Doing a deal quickly with Lawson surely sends the right message, but from a basketball point of view tying up dollars now that could be used to add more guys might means more wins.
How Denver plays this will be interesting to watch, especially with the Denver saying so boldly that Lawson is their guy.
He might be their guy, but doing his new deal last might mean more help for next season.
Who’s Number Two?: The 2012 NBA Draft is in just 45 days.
In 16 days we’ll know which team is picking first, but there is no secret which player will be the top name called on June 28th.
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is the hands-down top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and unless he gets severely hurt between now and then, he’s as safe a lock as there is on the draft board.
But who is the second best prospect? That’s something teams will debate for weeks. Kentucky’s Michael-Kidd Gilchrist could be the guy, as could Florida’s Bradley Beal. Kansas big man Thomas Robinson is a candidate as is UCONN’s Andre Drummond.
So the question to you is:
What’s The Hold Up?: As Alex Kennedy covered yesterday, it’s a forgone conclusion that the Orlando Magic will be making some changes to their front office and likely the coaching staff.
So what’s taking so long?
The Magic have both Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy under contract for next season. They are paying both of them regardless of whether they are calling the shots going forward or not.
The clock is clearly on Orlando’s side and there is a process involved in making these kinds of changes. Most NBA teams take a few days after the season ends to meet with all parties involved before making key decisions. In Orlando’s case there is a large family involved on the ownership side, and they have a voice and want say in all transactions of this kind. So don’t read much into the fact that changes have not been made yet.
The second most common question Magic fans ask is ‘Why fire Stan Van Gundy?’.
The easy answer is because he wants to be fired.
Stan’s decision to out Dwight Howard’s desire for a coaching change to the media was a calculated move. It was not a moment of honesty from Stan. It was something he admitted he considered how he’d answer. That was not a slip of the tongue by Van Gundy; it was a clear statement of how he felt about the entire situation.
Stan has not at all happy with how the Magic allowed the Dwight Howard circus to derail the team and the season, and while he has said all the right things about wanting to stay, everyone in the process admits that Stan is tired, worn thin and ready for a change.
It is possible that the Magic realize the corner they are painted into with Dwight Howard and opt to re-invent the team around Van Gundy – although that’s unlikely.
Change is coming in Orlando. That’s a forgone conclusion. The timing of the change is not material to the action, except to say that Orlando has a lot of time to consider who and what they want to do next — after all, they will be paying Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith regardless, so nothing is gained from a speedy divorce, except maybe closure, and that’s not really going to happen until Dwight Howard’s status is clear.
Olympiacos Gets It Done : Olympiacos Piraeus topped CSKA Moscow yesterday to win the 2012 Euroleague Championship.
Olympiacos star Vassilis Spanoulis was named tournament MVP, earning his second MVP trophy. Spanoulis also won it with Panathinaikos in 2009. Vassilis, who played 31 games for the Houston Rockets in 2006-2007, finished the season as the Euroleague’s second leading scorer and led Olympiacos in assists.
The Olympiacos roster also featured former NBA players Joey Dorsey and Acie Law.
CSKA Moscow was led by former Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who notched 12 points and 10 rebounds in the title game. CSKA’s roster also featured Nenad Krstic, Viktor Khryapa and Sasha Kaun.
Time to Address The Flop?: NBA Players study the rules almost as much as the game officials do. The good ones look for little areas of advantage that can swing a play their way or give their team a slight advantage.
That’s the cat and mouse of it. The refs know it. The players know it. It’s the game within the game.
Coaches teach players how to work the rules. Coaches isolate game film and show their players other teams’ tendencies. It’s tactical. It’s about playing the margin to gain a little extra edge.
Do teams look for players who lead with their shoulder on the drive? Yes; because you can draw a charge on those guys on almost every play.
Is it flopping? Sometimes, yes. And that’s something NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted needs to be looked at.
“It’s a legitimate concern,” Stern told ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the broadcast on Sunday. “Some years ago, I told the competition committee that we were going to start fining people for flopping and then suspend them—and I think they almost threw me out of the room (and told me), ‘No, let it be.’
“But I think it’s time to look at it a more serious way, because it’s only designed to fool the referee—it’s not a legitimate play in my judgment,” Stern added. “Some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies.”
Every offseason the NBA’s Rules Committee considers changes to the game based on areas of perceived problem or weakness.
You can expect a lot more emphasis on the “flop” this summer. That does not necessary mean there will be a rule change, but it’s going to be something the committee looks at.
Keep in mind that a large number of teams track “hustle” plays and charges are considered one of them.
So while the Commish may want to fine people for flopping. Some teams want to pay guys bonuses for taking charges, so finding that middle ground may not be easy and that’s where the Rules Committee tends to get into trouble.
Is “Flopping” a major issue in the NBA? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.
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