NBA AM: Teams Looking For Big Men
Looking For Big Men?: Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com is reporting that the Miami HEAT have extended contract offers to both Kenyon Martin and to Joel Przybilla in hopes of adding more size to their roster.
Martin is awaiting his clearance letter from the Chinese Basketball Association, whose regular season wraps up on February 15th. Martin was allowed out of his contract several weeks ago, however the Chinese Basketball Association is sticking firmly to their stance that NBA players who opted to come to China won’t get clearance until the season is over.
Martin has met with several teams including the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.
Martin’s camp has made it clear that he wants a contending team with a clearly defined role and minutes. Martin wants to play, not sit on the end of the bench of a contender.
Przybilla on the other hand has gotten calls from Portland, Milwaukee, Chicago and the HEAT and is expected to choose between Miami and Chicago in the coming days.
Przybilla considered retirement when he did not land a free agent offer in December, however with teams looking for size it seems Przybilla will give it one more season.
The New Orleans Hornets on the other hand are getting calls on center Chris Kaman, after announcing last week that Kaman would be made available for trade and that the two sides mutually agreed he could stay home until a deal was reached.
Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune is reporting that the Indiana Pacers may have the lead in the Kaman discussions.
While Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick also reported this week that Houston was in the running, with an offer built around seldom used center Hasheem Thabeet and power forward Jordan Hill. Terrance Williams and Jonny Flynn were also mentioned in the report.
Sources close to the situation in New Orleans say that getting back players that are still on their rookie deals is important, but the chip that will get a deal done is a first round draft pick in this draft class.
The Hornets currently hold their own pick – projected to be the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA draft. They also obtained Minnesota’s unprotected draft pick – projected to be the 12th pick – in the Chris Paul trade.
The Houston Rockets hold the rights to New York’s 2012 draft pick (top five protected) – projected to be the 9th pick as things stand today.
Kaman is in the final year of his contract and counts $14.03 million towards the salary cap after he received a 15% trade kicker in the Chris Paul deal.
The Pacers currently have $43 million in salary commitments and could absorb Kaman’s contract almost outright as they are still more than $14 million under the salary cap.
The Rockets are currently sitting on $57.2 million and would have to send out salary in their deal.
There are a couple of dates to keep in mind regarding all of these situations.
On February 6th, ten-day contracts can be signed in the NBA. On February 10th, all contracts are guaranteed for the year and March 15th, which is the most important as that’s the NBA Trade Deadline.
Winner, Loser, Winner?: Dahntay Jones’ NBA journey has been a tumultuous one to say the least. Drafted with the 20th pick in 2003 by the Boston Celtics, Jones was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on draft night for the rights to Kendrick Perkins.
Jones played four unremarkable seasons in Memphis before being allowed to leave as a free agent. He signed a deal with the Celtics in September of 2007 only to be cut about a month later. Dahntay signed another deal with the Sacramento Kings in December only to be cut in February. In March of 2008 Jones signed on in the D-League and it seemed his NBA career was over.
In July of 2008, Jones joined the Denver Nuggets summer squad in Las Vegas and earned himself a non-guaranteed training camp invite with Denver. Dahntay not only made the roster and contributed in a big way that season, but he also parlayed that into a four-year offer from the Indiana Pacers.
The Nuggets were winning games, and Indiana was not, but for Jones he had to take the money and the security offered by Indiana. The Pacers won just 32 games his first season.
This year the Pacers are sitting at 15-6 on the season, and the road ahead looks a lot better than the road behind and Jones is not allowing the success of his team to get him too high or too low.
“We’re a work in progress,” Jones said to HOOPSWORLD with a smile. “I think we’re in sync defensively and we’re all just trying to just play hard together on a daily basis and get as many wins as possible and just grow all around.”
As the elder statesman of the team, Jones has watched as the Pacers young guys have started to come into their own.
“You get a chance to watch people grow individually,” said Jones. “Our team concept is growing as players are learning and developing and learning the NBA game. Guys are a little young, but we have some vets that are helping them out. The coaching staff is doing a great job of trying to explain different ways that everybody can be effective.”
The Pacers’ success as of late has a lot to do with their youth, and that’s not lost on Jones.
“Paul, Roy, Tyler, Darren actually, people think he’s older than what he is but he’s still relatively young,” said Jones. “We’ve got a good crew of young guys who try, who listen and learn a lot. They’re very humble and they pay attention to detail and they’re taking the learning process very seriously.”
The Pacers were dismal last year under head coach Jim O’Brien, but rebounded to make the playoffs under Frank Vogel. That turnaround, as well as overwhelming support from the players in exit interviews, earned Vogel a new contract over the summer.
“He deals in positive reinforcement,” explained Jones. “He’s just sticking to who he is as a person. He’s just giving these guys a lot of praise and letting them know that they do a lot of things effectively but he’s also teaching but he’s just being positive mostly and being more of a motivator.”
“He’s coaching these guys and helping them overachieve rather than hitting the negative things all the time.”
The Pacers are one of the younger teams in the NBA. It’s rare to see a young team play as unselfishly as the Pacers have done and Jones credits the character of the players the Pacers have drafted as the key reason.
“We have a bunch of good guys who just want to win,” explained Jones. “They’re willing to do anything to win.
“We don’t know what the ceiling is yet because we’re still learning how good we can be. Coach speaks of being scary good but guys, but we played so well at times that it’s kind of scary that if we do get all in sync how good we think we can be.”
The Pacers made the Playoffs last season, so the goals this year are a little higher.
“It’s the beginning of a good thing in Indianapolis,” said Jones. “[Signing] David West. Guys getting better and better as the years go by. So we’re just at the beginning of what’s going to be… It’s home-court and just to be the highest seed we can be in the playoffs. We know that we’re a playoff team and we’re just trying to be the best team we can be.”
Jones’ NBA journey was anything but typical. But as they say during the draft process sometimes ‘it’s about fit, not pick’ – and Dahntay Jones has finally found a place where he fits and it only took five teams to find it.
Dwight Watch – Day 55: It’s hard to believe that the Magic and Dwight Howard have been at this for 55 days, but today does mark the 55th day of the cloud hanging over the Magic’s head.
Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. He asked the team to trade him before the season started and nothing has changed on that front.
Dwight’s agent provided the Magic with a list of teams Dwight would be agreeable to be traded to and the Magic fielded and listened to offers from those teams. Magic ownership ultimately decided that keeping Howard even in the short term was better than what was being offered.
This past week has been tough on the Magic after dropping five of their last seven games, some in embarrassing fashion.
Magic president Otis Smith has not handled this process well, tossing verbal gasoline on the fire almost every time he comments on the situation.
Smith recently told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that nothing much has changed on the Howard front, and that even with the teams struggles he doesn’t feel like Howard’s value in a deal as dropped.
“He’s still one of the top five basketball players in this league, period,” Smith said of Howard. “He’s the best center in this league. That hasn’t changed. That hasn’t changed because we’ve lost a couple of games, has it?”
The obvious answer is yes and no. Dwight is still an elite basketball player, but his character and leadership have been called into question on a national scale which may change how some value him in a trade.
Much has been made of Howards’ comments last week regarding the Bulls and Derrick Rose.
“If I could play with Derrick right now and God wanted that to happen, it will happen,” Howard said. “It has nothing to do with me not wanting to play with Derrick Rose. I love him. That’s my brother.”
However Smith confirmed to the Sentinel that there has been no change from Howard’s side on where he’d welcome a trade. It’s still New Jersey, the LA Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.
Sources close to the situation have maintained for weeks that Howard’s first option is the New Jersey Nets and that he is more than prepared to walk to the Nets as a free agent if the Magic cannot facilitate a trade.
The Nets will have the cap space to sign both Howard and possible free agent Deron Williams in July and sources say all sides of the equation know it.
Magic sources say that the team is not actively engaged in trade talks involving Howard with anyone, but that if and when the Magic re-open talks they plan to extract as much value out of Howard as possible regardless of where Howard wants to be.
Magic sources continue to say that the decision to trade Howard will be made by ownership not Magic president Otis Smith and the ownership is not ready to give in to Howard yet.
The NBA trade deadline is in 42 days, so the Magic have more time to ponder what they really want to do.
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