NBA AM: Waived Players Making Choices
Decision Time: Several NBA players were waived or reached buyout deals this week, and all of them have until Friday to make a decision on where they will play next in order to be eligible for the post-season.
Here is the latest on each:
Gilbert Arenas: Although Gilbert was waived early in the season by the Orlando Magic he was still considered a roster player this season and falls into the same group as players who were waived this week. Arenas has been aggressively rehabbing and getting his body right and has chosen the Memphis Grizzlies for the balance of the season. The deal is a one year deal at the NBA minimum and is subject to Gilbert passing a physical which is supposed to take place today.
Arenas did a light workout for the LA Lakers prior to the All-Star break; however the Lakers opted not to sign Arenas.
The Grizzlies are 25-18 on the season and currently sit in 5th place in the West. The grizzlies have 23 games left on their season and will face twelve teams with a winning record in that span.
The Grizzlies are not expecting a ton from Arenas, so this might be a safe environment for Gilbert to prove he can still contribute in the NBA.
JJ Hickson: The Sacramento Kings tried aggressively to trade Hickson as it was not working in Sacramento for a number of reasons. With no deal to be made last Thursday at the trade deadline the Kings reached a buyout with Hickson and waived him.
Hickson is owed $2.35 million this season meaning teams like Toronto, Cleveland and Indiana who have space left under the cap could claim Hickson off of the NBA waiver process, however all three teams have opted not to go that route. On Wednesday, Hickson should clear waivers and has told people close to him that if he clears waivers he will head to Golden State for the balance of the year.
Hickson has been linked to the Phoenix Suns who have been trying to persuade Hickson to at least visit, but it seems his mind is made up on Golden State and that could happen quickly on Wednesday.
Rony Turiaf: Turaif is getting love from a number of teams but the word is Rony is down to either the Boston Celtics who have lost Jermaine O’Neal for the year to wrist surgery or the Miami HEAT who desperately need help at the center spot.
Turiaf is owed $4.36 million this season so teams like Cleveland and Indiana could claim Turiaf, but his camp says neither team is expressing interest so he could clear waivers by Wednesday.
The 6’10 Turiaf has played in just four games this season and was traded to the Denver Nuggets along with JaVale McGee at the trade deadline in exchange for former Nuggets’ center Nene.
Derek Fisher: The end of Derek Fishers’ playing career may not be as near as once thought. Fisher who reached a contract buyout with Houston on Sunday is considering overtures from Miami and from Oklahoma City.
The Thunder are in need of a veteran backup to All-Star Russell Westbrook, while the HEAT do not seem ready to put their title dreams in the hands of either Mario Chalmers or rookie Norris Cole.
Sources say there is an offer from the Lakers to join the basketball operation staff, however such a move would require Fish to retire and sources near Fish say he is not ready to hang them up just yet.
Fisher who reportedly opted-out of the final $3.4 million he was owed, basically surrendering that money to the Rockets to gain his release, still wants to play according to sources.
Fisher will clear waivers on Thursday, and has several offers he is considering.
Josh Powell: Unlike the names above Josh was not on a roster to start the season, so the March 23rd eligibility deadline does not affect Josh like it does the others, but there are several teams sniffing around Josh Powell.
The Phoenix Suns have expressed some interest in Powell. The Suns are a half game out of the Playoff picture in the West and trail the Rockets for the 8th seed. The Suns are looking for one more piece to put them over the top with just 21 games left on the season.
The Boston Celtics who are 24-21 on the season with a three game hold on the seventh seed in the east are looking for a reserve big man as well.
Both the Celtics and Suns have been linked to other players so Powell may be a fall back option if either misses on a first option player.
The Sweet Sixteen is set in the NCAA Tournament; make sure to check out the matchup previews for every game.
Boo’ing The Owner: The Golden State Warriors planned an elaborate ceremony last night to honor former Warrior great Chris Mullin. It was supposed to be a special night for Chris however that’s not exactly how it went down.
After addressing the crowd Mullin handed the microphone over to Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob who was resoundingly boo’ed by the hometown fans.
It’s clear the boo’ing was in response to the club’s decision to trade guard Monta Ellis to Milwaukee, however Lacob who didn’t back down from the hostile crowd tried to brush off the boos after the game.
“Look, fans are upset, I guess,” Lacob explained to reporters after the festivities. “We traded one of their favorites and that’s all I can attribute that to.”
“What I feel bad about is it kind of ruined a night that was very special, that the organization really tried to do the right thing for with Chris. And I feel good that we did that.”
“I feel bad for Chris, more than anything else.”
Lacob said he did not expect the reaction he got from the crowd and that no one in the organization thought something like it would happen.
“I think we were just trying to do the right thing,” Lacob said of honoring Mullin. “I don’t think we anticipated that reaction, but it happened.”
“When you buy an NBA team, stuff like this happens. You have to have a thick skin.”
Lacob was pressed on why he thought the fans reacted the way they did.
“Obviously, probably has something to do with the recent trade and some of the fans being upset with that,” explained Lacob. “I think that they will love us, the ownership group, that is, when we win. And we will win.”
The Warriors are 18-25 on the season. The Warriors are 54-71 since Lacob and his partners bought the Warriors in July of 2010.
Lacob has promised the Warriors fans that he would make bold moves to make the Warriors an elite franchise.
Sounds like the Warrior fans might not be buying it.
Here is a YouTube video of the ceremony:
Breath Easy OKC: Several weeks ago Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant parted ways with long-time agent Aaron Goodwin. At the time there was talk that Durant was considering hiring Leon Rose to handle his business going forward.
That move should have scared the hell out of Thunder fans, because Leon Rose is kind of like U-Haul… you don’t hire him unless you are ready to move.
Rose was the architect behind getting LeBron James to Miami, Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks and Chris Paul anywhere but New Orleans.
Rose is also a great deal maker on the business side, but had Durant signed with Rose it would have only been a matter of time before the rumors of Durant leaving OKC surfaced.
The good news for OKC fans is that according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, Durant has chosen Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports.
Pelinka and Landmark rep NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, and Andre Iguodala as well as rising stars like James Harden, OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon and Derrick Williams.
Kevin Durant has four more seasons left on his deal after this year, so he is as locked in as anyone in the league.
Durant also swears he is happy and content in Oklahoma City and has never considered playing anywhere else.
The Thunder are 34-11 on the season and in command of the Western Conference, what is there really to be unhappy about?
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NBA Chats: There are three NBA chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Anthony Macri at 11am. Coach Macri works with NBA players year around with developing and improving their games and will do his best to answer your questions. Senior NBA writer Eric Pincus will hold down his weekly NBA chat at 4pm EST. Eric covers the Western Conference from LA with the Lakers and the Clippers. Stephen Litel will wrap up the day with his weekly NBA Chat at 8pm EST. You can always find the next upcoming chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.