NBA PM: Several Winners Pursue Williams
Shawne Williams Can’t Shake New York State of Mind
Presidential candidates should take notice of Shawne Williams because no one, not even Newt Gingrich, has done more to improve their image in the last season than the 6-9 sharp shooter. In his first—and possibly only—season with the Knicks, Williams shed weight (a nagging problem of his throughout his career) and bumped his 3-point shooting accuracy to 40.1%, which helped him average a career-high 7.1 PPG.
Now Williams, who has been working out diligently at IMG, is hoping to return to the Knicks.
“I hope because I’m not going to lie, that’s where I want to be,” Williams told HOOPSWORLD’s Steve Kyler. “I’ve never been with a team two years. I’ve never had a good run to go with a team two years. I feel like I’m kind of acquainted with coach (Mike) D’Antoni and the staff and I’m familiar with the city a little. We’ve got great fans so that’s a place I want to play.”
The Knicks have reportedly contacted Williams’ agent, but they’re not alone in their attempts to sign the 25-year-old forward. League sources have told HOOPSWORLD that the Lakers, HEAT and Mavericks have all made inquiries as well.
“I’ll listen to all comers,” Williams said. “I’m not going to say I’m one of the Paul Pierces or Chris Pauls of this league to pick where I want to go. As a free agent, I’ll entertain whoever offers. Hopefully if I’ll be the with Knicks. If it don’t work out, you know, I had fun with the Knicks and it was a great season last year.”
It’s worth noting that the teams who are pursuing Williams are all playoff teams who expect to be back in the postseason this year. In the past Williams was labeled as someone who didn’t work hard enough, but thanks to his efforts with a nutritionist, winning teams are actually pursuing him. Williams isn’t a perfect player, but he was completely unselfish last season and showed he can knock down open jumpers when defenders left him to cover Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
The NBA’s Pseudo Hard Cap
The NBA will continue to operate with a soft salary cap, which will presumably be around $58 million, and a luxury tax threshold of $70.3 million. However, if a team wants to use a full mid-level exception as opposed to the mini MLE (which is good for $3 million per year for as many as three years), they will need to be below the threshold.
Because teams are always interested in bending the rules, they could theoretically use the full MLE (which is worth as much as four years and $20 million) and then ultimately add salary until they cross the apron.
However, the NBA has thought of this tactic, which means even if you use the full MLE on a player before you crossed the threshold, you cannot have that deal on your books once you’ve crossed the luxury tax line. That effectively makes a $74.3 million hard cap (the luxury tax threshold of $70.3 million plus the full MLE which is $4 million per season) for any team that wants to use the full MLE as opposed to the mini MLE.
Christmas Schedule Released
Can Christmas get any sweeter for the Dallas Mavericks?
Not only will they begin their defense of the franchise’s first NBA title, but they’ll also be raising their championship banner… In front of the Miami HEAT. As ESPNDallas.com’s Jeff Caplan reported, the Mavs will raise the banner, but because owner Mark Cuban wanted input from stars Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd—whom he was not permitted to speak with during the lockout—he had to wait.
“I think he is waiting for K-Kidd and Dirk and I to come up with something,” Terry told reporters on Thursday.
Caplan wrote that Cuban considered handing out fake rings on Christmas, but decided to give Mavericks fans two chances to bask in the team’s championship glow.
The Christmas Day schedule was released Friday, and as many NBA fans have expected, the Celtics will visit the Knicks to open the season on Christmas Day. Boston and New York will tip off at noon on TNT and will be followed by a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals at 2:30 on ABC when the HEAT visit the Mavericks.
As if the first two games weren’t compelling enough, the Chicago Bulls will visit the Los Angeles Lakers at 5 p.m. on ABC and that will be followed by an Orlando Magic-Oklahoma City Thunder matchup on ESPN at 8 p.m.
And for NBA fans who like to stay up late and/or have an eye for the future, two of the league’s best collections of young talent, the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, will square off at 10:30 p.m. eastern on ESPN.
The games will be aired in 215 countries and 46 different languages, which means most of the world will be saved from having to actually talk with loved ones this Christmas. Thanks NBA!
Why Does Magic Feel Blue?
Magic Johnson has been eyeing ownership opportunities in sports since selling his small stake in the Lakers and now he may have finally found the right target.
According to ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney, Johnson is a “major player” in a potential ownership group for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Southern Californians are all well aware of the damage that previous owner Frank McCourt has done to the team, so anyone as popular in the community as Johnson would assuredly have the public’s support.
“Johnson was approached about a month ago by Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals—someone Johnson has known for about 30 years, and who once offered him a job to coach the Atlanta Hawks. Mark Walter, the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a private global financial services firm, is the money muscle behind the group, which is called Guggenheim Baseball Management. According to a fact sheet about the group, Guggenheim Partners has more than $125 billion in assets under management.
As Johnson described it, their ownership of the Dodgers—if it happens—would work this way: Walter would write the big checks, Kasten would oversee the baseball operations; and Johnson… would work as a president or vice president on both the business side and in recruiting players, when needed.”
Johnson has had success in a number of different business ventures, so those who would accuse him of knowing nothing about baseball would do well to remember that he’s usually pretty profitable in most everything he does.
Check Out: Cheap Tickets
The NBA and the NBPA are sorry. They’re really sorry. If there was a board game that could epitomize the regret they have over the NBA lockout, well, I’m sure you could imagine what that game would be.
But while both sides have publically expressed their disappointment for what NBA fans have endured, some owners are putting their money where their mouth is.
As CNBC/s Darren Rovelle reported on Twitter, “NBA teams will have more than 1 million tickets available for $10 or less over the course of the season.”
There were some other interesting things that Rovell presented on Twitter, including the facts that the Orlando Magic have 9,000 seats for $50 or less this season and the Hornets have a season ticket as cheap as $580. Front row seats in New Orleans, however, will cost $54,180 apiece for the season.
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