Join NBA expert Travis Heath for his weekly chat this Thursday at 11 a.m. EST.
Dr. Heath, love that article you wrote the other day about the free agent frenzy. Just how tough it is for a player to decide which team is the best fit for him long term and gives him the best chance to win a title, in this particular case with Dwight Howard? Do you think he made the right decision? And how will this effect him mentally and physically moving forward? I just really hope this is the last and final decision he makes for a very long time now.
It can be very difficult for a player to decide what team is the right fit. It can be equally difficult for a team to try and sell to the player that it is the right fit for him. From the player’s side, there are so many different factors (location, size of market, winning, coaching, franchise stability, etc.) that get weighted differently based on his personal preferences. I know fans don’t want to hear this, but not every player in the league is driven by winning a title. Most would like to win a title all else being equal, but plenty of players have others things higher on their priority lists.
As for Dwight, he made what he believed was the best decision for himself moving forward. Was it a good decision? Only time will tell. Houston is certainly an intriguing team, but to pronounce the Rockets one of the favorites to win it all next season is premature. I have to see that Dwight is healthy first. Yes, he’s been a bit of a drama king the past couple of seasons, but he has also been injured. People forget how good he was his second to last season in Orlando. He started developing his offensive game and stepping out and making a little 10-12 foot bank shot. If Rockets get that Dwight Howard, look out. If they get the one of the last two seasons, they will get a guy who will be among the league leaders in rebounds and block shots but won’t dominate offensively like Houston is hoping he will.
I don’t know if you watched the press conference from Game 7 of the NBA Finals, but just by looking at Tim Duncan and the other guys, you can tell they were depressed, most notably Duncan. He just looked so sad up there on that podium. Popovich on the other hand took it pretty well congratulating pretty much everybody on the Heat, which shows great class and all. I mean you can’t win titles all the time, right? Every all-time great has to lose once in a while in the Finals. The Spurs were 4-0 in the Finals and now they’re 4-1 all time. Do you think Duncan and the Spurs can make it all the way back there next season?
Tim Duncan isn’t exactly the most expressive guy regardless of situation. I might interpret it stoic just as much as sad. That said, Duncan had good reason to be sad. He understands that at 37 years of age this Finals appearance very well might have been his last shot. I certainly think the Spurs can make it back next season, but the West has only gotten tougher so it’s certainly not a given. Had Russell Westbrook stayed healthy, I think the Thunder would have qualified this season.
What have you thought about Victor Oladipo so far?
I think he’s not a natural point guard and Orlando is trying to play him there. Anyone who scouted him would tell you that he’s not a natural point guard. However, he’s a really good basketball player. If Orlando really wants to play him at the one, they will have to bite the bullet this season and just let him play through his mistakes. Remember, Russell Westbrook wasn’t a natural point guard coming out of UCLA and things have turned out okay for him, but not without some pretty substantial bumps in the road in his first couple seasons. Rob Henningan worked under Sam Presti in Oklahoma City, too, so he is well aware of how a “combo guard” might be groomed to be successful at the one. What I like about Oladipo is his aggressiveness and fearlessness late in games. He’s a scorer that will get to the foul line. A set up man? He’s not that, but he can learn to be more balanced. It will just take time.
hello mr heath, whats taking greg oden so long to decide, he had like a year already, shouldn’t he want to join the a teams so he can get familiar with them?
Unless a player is going to play in the summer league, which Greg almost certainly would not be, there is no rush to make a decision. Also, the big dominoes have to fall before someone like Oden will be signed, especially given his injury history. Now that Dwight and Andrew Bynum have found homes, some teams may entertain taking on Oden as a low risk, potential high reward minimum salary guy. I can’t imagine him getting more than the minimum given his injury history.
i firmly believe timmy needs that 5th ring to be considered in the same breath with kobe as best player of his generation, right now he might be number 3 behind kobe and shaq, thoughts?
I believe it’s very hard to compare guys at different positions. Tim Duncan is a dependent player since he cannot bring the ball up and create his own offense. That makes it very difficult to compare him to someone like Kobe Bryant. To me, Tim Duncan is the best power forward to have ever player the game regardless of if he wins another ring or not. As such, I would absolutely put him in the same class with Kobe, Shaq or any other great player who has ever played the game.
Travis, I’m not buying the latest buzz out of D12′s camp about the timeline of Kobe “passing” the torch to DH in LA being the issue?
I don’t think D12 has the moxie to be the face of a franchise and lead a team to a championship? He’s not wired that way.
And it still remains to be seen who’s gonna be Batman, and who’s Robin in Houston? I’m guessing that DH is coddled as usual, starts off as Batman, and then about the ASG Harden takes over?
Look, I know the Lakers aren’t used to being spurned, but I can tell you that the Lakers’ current ownership situation has others around the league chuckling. Dwight certainly has his deficiencies, but the Lakers have to address some issues upstairs. You can only live off of reputation for so long. Does Dwight need to be coddled? No question, but Houston has a younger roster with more potential upside. When the best thing the Lakers have to offer is the potential to add another star in 2014, I can understand why Dwight made the decision he did. Put Dwight on the Lakers again next season and I’m not convinced that the Lakers finish with a better record than the Rockets given Kobe’s injury. My point is that I don’t think it’s as simple as saying Dwight couldn’t handle the spotlight in LA. I think that is one piece of a much more complicated puzzle.
I have few questions for you:
- What can the Pelicans get for Gordon ? Can they snatch Batum or Gallo ? They would look great in NOP’s jersey !
- Why would the Mavs offer those lucrative contracts to often injured, older players, like Jose and Devin and put themselves in a bad situation ?
- After Indiana figures out that it wouldn’t work out with Granger, what can they get for him ?
Thanks you !
I’m not sure now is a good time to get maximum return for Eric Gordon. He only played half the season and didn’t shoot the ball well. Given the amount of money he is owed, I’m not sure too many teams would give up much of substance for him right now.
The Mavs really have no other choice. They are trying to stay competitive, and since they haven’t been able to land any of the big time free agents they have chased since winning the title three seasons ago signing veteran guys and hoping they can return to form is about the only option they have when perhaps blowing the whole thing up would be a smarter long-term move. Of course, that might involve trading Dirk, which is something I don’t believe Dallas wants to do.
Again, with Granger you are dealing with a guy who is coming off of injury. That is never the best time to trade a guy. If the Pacers want to maximize their return Granger will have to prove he is healthy first. One destination I have pondered is Denver since Brian Shaw coached Granger in Indiana and the Nuggets may be looking to make some sort of splash in the trade market after losing Igoudala. That is assuming, of course, that Shaw likes Granger as a player.
How true is the ESPN report that Dwight put the question forward about the Lakers amnestying Kobe to try sign CP3, and also because he wasn’t sure how long until the torch would be passed to Dwight? As I remember, Kobe was apparently at that meeting, so how would Dwight put such a question forward in front of Kobe?
However IF this happens to be true, what is the psych of Dwight, and will this eventually cause disruption in Houston?
I wasn’t at the meeting, so I have no idea what was or wasn’t said. I know Kobe fairly well, but have only had a few conversations with Dwight over the years. Given that context, I would find it hard to believe that anyone would say that to Kobe’s face in a meeting. Could I see Dwight or his representation making that request to management over the course of the free agent negotiations? Absolutely. However, I would tell you that star players often want some say in personnel and make various requests of management, so I don’t believe this makes Dwight particularly unique if the scenario we’re discussing actually happened. And remember, there was much talk of using the amnesty provision on Kobe in the wake of his injury, so it’s not as though this was some kind of crazy idea.
Look, Dwight is high maintenance. There’s no denying that. But he is hardly the first star in the NBA to demonstrate this pattern of behavior. Houston believes that he will be different for them. GM’s always seem to believe they can get a guy to change. There’s a certain amount of shortsightedness and arrogance in that belief, but every now and again the tiger actually does change his stripes.
What’s your take on the Nuggets’ offseason so far? The coaching change might turn out to be a good choice in the long term and maybe the decision to keep out of the Andre Iguodala and Corey Brewer business might offer long-term cap flexibility. Even after losing two starting-caliber Small Forwards, the Nuggets will still have some depth at the position after the return of Gallo. The one decision I can’t come to terms with is the signing of JJ Hickson. Why invest so much in a PF, when the position is already locked in long-term by Kenneth Faried and when the team had just traded for Darrell Arthur? Plus, JJ Hickson brings the exact same skillset that Faried has to the table. I really don’t understand it, Hickson brings nothing the Nuggets didn’t already have. And they still haven’t solved their backup center problem, at least not while Mozgov is not resigned.
What’s your take? Money well saved on Iguodala and Brewer? Money well spent on Hickson?
I think the Nuggets are a team that figures to fall somewhere in the 6-10 range in the Western Conference as currently constituted. I was never a fan of paying Igoudala big money. I like him at $10 million per season and would have been okay with $12 million. He is at best a number three on a championship caliber team, and the Nuggets were not close to be championship caliber. I could get more into why I’m not a huge Iggy guy but don’t have the time in this format. I’m okay with him walking, but I’m not okay with giving away assets. As it turned out, the Nuggets got a $12 million traded player exception and used $3 million of that on Randy Foye so I suppose one could argue they got at least something back.
As for Hickson, I would disagree that he brings nothing they don’t already have. He instantly becomes the best scoring big they have. Hickson can score with his back to the basket better than Faried, and he’s much better in the pick-and-roll. The bigger issue I see is how they get minutes for Faried, Hickson and Arthur. Makes me believe that another move is likely in the offing.
Also, I like the coaching change. I love George Karl as a person and a coach, but I think it was time for a change. When I was asked who the Nuggets should hire within an hour of his firing I said Brian Shaw. I’ve always thought he was the right guy.
Anthony Bennett, do you feel he translates better as a big SF or a stretch PF?
Well, first let me say that I love Anthony Bennett as a player. I had been saying he should go first overall for months. I also said it the night before the draft. If you don’t believe me, ask my man Yannis as he has the texts to prove it.
In today’s NBA I think he profiles best as a stretch four, but he can play some three depending on match ups.
What do you think the Miami Heat should do with their last two roster spots now that Birdman has resigned?
If I’m running things in Miami I might use a roster spot to take a look-see at Greg Oden. You lose nothing if you can bring him in at the minimum and later wish to cut him. If he can stay healthy and contribute, now you have someone who can score on the box. The Heat are in the perfect position to take some risks with those final roster spots and try and hit a homerun.
Where do you think Brandon Jennings will be playing next year?
What 1st round draft pick range do u see the Lakers getting next year?
Will the Toronto Raptors be a playoff team next season?
No. It looks like the Raptors might be trying to go the other direction and stockpile picks. I think Masai would like to put his own stamp on that team. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Raptors end up trading Rudy Gay, either.
Hi Travis, Do you think , Brooklyn & Celtics deal will have a problem..since there are different sources on who the Celtics will get in the trade..
I would be very surprised if any kind of problem surfaced given how much publicity this move has already been given and the players involved already well aware of the deal. Moreover, the Celtics have already traded a coach and hired a young one all as a matter of direction around this deal.
Travis, with detroit pistons signing Billups, do you think they will start him over Knight and let knight come off the bench with the second unit..
I would be very surprised if Chauncey started. Remember, he’s coming off an Achilles’ injury and only played 22 ballgames last season. I think he’s being brought in as a backup and mentor. I also know he has eyes on being an executive and given his relationship with Joe Dumars this could be a precursor to a transition into the front office within the next couple of years.
I have to run, folks. Thanks for all of your insightful questions and I apologize for not being able to get to all of them. I will catch you next time around. In the meantime, hit me up on Twitter @DrTravisHeath
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Join NBA expert Dr. Travis Heath for his weekly chat this Wednesday at Noon EST!
10:30am - Steve Kyler
3:00pm - Yannis Koutroupis
8:00pm - Jessica Camerato
11:00am - Nate Duncan
8:00pm - Bill Ingram
12:00pm - Travis Heath***
8:00pm - Lang Greene
1:00pm - Joel Brigham
3:00pm - Jabari Davis
1:00pm - Moke Hamilton
3:00pm - Larry Coon
8:00pm - Alex Kennedy
11:00am - Susan Bible ***
*** denotes chats that are held bi-weekly