- HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors - http://www.hoopsworld.com -
NBA AM: Where Will Chris Paul Land?
Posted By Lang Greene On May 7, 2013 @ 9:52 am In NBA | No Comments
Kiwi Gardner is training for the 2013 NBA Draft. HOOPSWORLD caught up with Gardner to discuss his game and give you a glimpse of his pre-draft workouts.Watch More Video Here
While Howard’s ultimate landing place in free agency has been a hot topic of debate all throughout the season, Paul’s final destination has rarely been questioned and most believe it’s almost a certainty the floor general re-signs with the Clippers this summer.
The smart money says the Clippers are firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to securing Paul’s autograph on a new deal, but until pen hits paper anything can happen when it comes to the NBA free agency market.
Let’s take a look at a few of Paul’s options this summer:
Los Angeles Clippers (Smart Money): The Clippers franchise recorded only two trips to the playoffs in the 15 seasons prior to Paul’s arrival. In contrast, the franchise has reached the postseason the past two campaigns thanks in large part to Paul running the show. There is no doubt the club will extend Paul the maximum five-year, $107 million deal it can offer, which is roughly $27 million more than what any other team in the league pursuing his services can provide. That’s the type of money on the table most guys are not leaving there unless there is a foundational unhappiness brewing and all indications point toward this not being the case.
In Los Angeles, Paul also would have the benefit of playing alongside an All-Star caliber performer in Blake Griffin who has yet to reach his prime. The Clippers have yet to make a decision on embattled head coach Vinny Del Negro and whether he will be brought back to lead the franchise on the sidelines, but it’s clear the team’s front office will listen to any input received from Paul throughout the decision making process. There are also reports Paul has been entrusted to provide personnel advice as it relates to the Clippers’ roster.
However, the club suffered a disappointing first round exit in this year’s playoffs and players within the organization began to question the level of sacrifice found on the team during the series. Combine this with the reported, but later refuted, tension between Griffin and Paul rumors which surfaced late in the season and you have some talking points an ambitious franchise will attempt to leverage when free agency opens in July.
Still, the smart money remains with Paul re-signing with the Clippers.
The Clippers offer the high profile market, Paul has organizational input and lastly there is enough talent on the roster to clearly show the club is headed in the right direction.
Atlanta Hawks (In Play): Hawks president of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ferry significantly cleared the team’s payroll when he took the helm last June by trading former All-Star guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn and longtime starting forward Marvin Williams to Utah.
Those moves will position Atlanta to be major players in this year’s free agency sweepstakes, should they choose to pursue the market. The team will enter the summer with only $18 million in guaranteed salaries on the books for next season.
Sources maintain the Hawks dream scenario would be to lure both Howard and Paul to Atlanta this summer to pair with two-time All-Star Al Horford. Both players have southern roots with Paul growing up and playing collegiately in North Carolina and Howard being a native of Atlanta.
There is history. The Hawks passed on Paul in the 2005 draft to select Williams with the No. 2 overall pick and while Williams was productive during his time with the team, the draft mishap has been a sour spot amongst fans for since that time.
Dallas Mavericks (In Play): One of the teams undoubtedly waiting for free agency to open so they can place a call to Paul are the Dallas Mavericks.
Team owner Mark Cuban was disappointed his team’s playoff streak was snapped this season after twelve straight trips and has vowed to rebuild on the fly – quickly.
Cuban’s goal is to surround future Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki with a legitimate superstar in the lineup and has long sought a dynamic point guard to run the team. That’s where Paul would fit into the Mavericks’ plans.
Dallas has only four players (with no options) under contract next season in Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder. Both O.J. Mayo and Shawn Marion hold options for next season, while Darren Collison and Rodrigue Beaubois are likely headed to free agency.
The biggest drawback to Paul joining the Mavericks is the fact Nowitzki would be in decline as a sidekick, while the Clippers boast a plethora of young guys who have yet to reach their prime years.
Marcus Fizer, 2000 Lottery Pick, On The NBA Comeback Trail
Professional basketball, much like most non-amateur athletics, is a young person’s game. The annual NBA Draft ensures the league’s talent pipeline continually evolves. Younger players enter the league inexperienced, but fresher with more spring in their step and most importantly to owners are less expensive than aging established veterans.
The league itself has made a more concerted effort to go younger in recent years. It’s the reason why solid veterans such as New York’s Kenyon Martin and Miami’s Chris Andersen spent the majority of this season at home watching games from the comfort of their living rooms before becoming valuable pieces of their club’s respective late season and playoff success.
Hoping to fill one those veteran leadership roles, similar to Andersen and Martin, for a team next season is Marcus Fizer, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2000 draft. Fizer, now 34, last played in the league during the 2006 season where he logged three games for the New Orleans Hornets.
“Not a lot of guys have gone through in their career what I have gone through,” Fizer told HOOPSWORLD after a workout at Impact Basketball is Las Vegas. “I have had a lot of time on the outside of the NBA, even though I’ve played in different places, and it gave me a lot of time to mature and to think about being in the NBA is definitely a gift, it’s not promised, it’s a privilege, and I took my time there for granted.”
Last fall Fizer played for Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca of Argentina, averaging 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 13 contests.
Over the past few months Fizer has dedicated even more time to the game, by shedding weight and reducing body fat in an effort to make one more comeback attempt to play at the highest level of competition – the NBA.
“I had a lot of time to think, I had lot of time to be away from the highest level of the game which is the NBA,” Fizer said. “I played in different places overseas which was probably the hardest basketball of my life, and it definitely showed me that if I had the strength and the willpower to compete there at a high level, then I know I can still compete at a high level in the NBA, so I changed my life completely.
“I’ve came here to Impact [Basketball]. I’ve been here two and a half months. I’ve lost a ton of weight: I’ve lost 20 to 25 pounds since I’ve been here. I’m down to 273, 275 and 8% body fat. I’ve been 275, 280 and had a higher percent body fat. I’ve been 260 and had 13, 14% body fat, so just being here is the training that I need: the working out, the strength training and everything has been wonderful.”
Back in 2002, Fizer averaged 12.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in his second season in the league with the Bulls.
The future was seemingly bright for the former Iowa State product, but then injuries came calling, questions about his work ethic and maturity on and off the court surfaced and just four years later he was out of the league unceremoniously.
Fizer admits the lure of being a lottery pick while playing for a high profile franchise like the Bulls went to his head and his mind wasn’t always focused on becoming the best professional player he could be because of the off the court distractions.
“The mental aspect, the mental toll, is definitely great; I was an instant millionaire at the age of 21,” Fizer said. “Just a small town kid from Louisiana, I was originally born and raised in Detroit, but I moved to Louisiana when I was 13 or 14 years old, so to go from there to Ames, Iowa and then to Chicago, it was just a total culture shock that I was portraying that I was ready for, but at the same time, I wasn’t.
“I was totally focused on the glamor and the gold with the NBA and being a high draft pick and being a Chicago Bull, it was getting me. I would come to practice, where I was one of the most athletic guys there, strongest guys there, and then when I would see guys like Fred Hoiberg and Scottie Pippen and Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis go in the training room and prepare for the next day; I was concerned about getting to my car, my Mercedes or my Range Rover, getting out to the street to do things that I didn’t have any business doing. Just not being the professional that I should have been, and God got my attention extremely fast.”
Fizer says it didn’t take him long to realize that path wasn’t a beneficial one to him and his family and has since completely changed his lifestyle.
“I’ve changed that years ago,” Fizer said of his off the court lifestyle. “I’ve been a minister; I’ve been a preacher for two and a half years now. Those, that guy, years back, has been dead, a long time ago. I understand the way I was back then, and it was just a lost kid not being receptive to coaching, not being receptive to the aspects of the game. Having all the answers but not knowing anything. Being told you were ignorant to everything that came with that aspect of being a professional, number one, being a professional athlete, and taking it as a job.”
The whole process of redemption has been a humbling experience for Fizer, but one he feels will ultimately be a valuable lesson to his children and also the future generation rising through the ranks behind him.
“If the things that I went through in my career and growing up as a man and maturing helps me raise them better, then I would take that path each and every time because it’s not about me anymore,” Fizer said. “It’s about the generation that’s coming up behind me, these young guys is coming up behind me. I can’t allow them to see the veteran that is here getting out of line, so when they’re sitting down on the bench on the side and they see me over there with the stretch bands warming up, they may not understand it now, but it’s work, it’s that longevity work. It’s that Kobe Bryant getting on the floor and just jab stepping an hour before he even takes a shot.
“Those are the little things that I didn’t do because I was always the strong and overpowering guy, but once I started having injuries, I had to smarten up, so I just got to the point in my life where I put everything together. My faith is completely strong. I know God has taken me to the things to make me stronger, and what does not kill you only makes you stronger.”
HOOPSWORLD NBA Draft – Prospect Profiles
The NBA Draft is rapidly approaching. Get up to date information on the top prospects here
Article printed from HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors: http://www.hoopsworld.com
URL to article: http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-am-where-will-chris-paul-land
Copyright © 2013 HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.