NBA@2: Time for Carl Landry to Get Paid
As free agents come off the board, forward Carl Landry has arguably become the best player left without a home. At 28 years old, Landry is a dangerous scorer standing 6’9, 248 pounds. He’s averaged 12.1 points per game over his career on 53.5 percent shooting along with 5.1 boards a game.
Currently, Landry is fielding interest from half a dozen teams but has been primarily pursued by the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats.
He was originally drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics but immediately traded to the Houston Rockets, where he signed just a one-year deal. After a solid rookie season, Landry entered free agency early in his career and even then the Bobcats saw a player they liked.
Charlotte issued Landry a $9 million offer sheet over three years, which was matched by the Rockets. Landry would eventually emerge as a big-time player for Houston on a very economical contract for a forward averaging 16.1 points per game on 54.7 percent shooting in 2009-10.
Houston would eventually send Landry off to the Sacramento Kings for guard Kevin Martin. After a stretch, he was dealt to the New Orleans Hornets for guard Marcus Thornton.
When he initially hit free agency last summer, Landry was patient and took a one-year deal with the Hornets at $8.5 million, nearly as much as he had made over the last three seasons.
Now, New Orleans is going in a different direction with the drafting of forward Anthony Davis and the signing of forward Ryan Anderson. Landry is looking for the best opportunity for long-term security. Naturally, he would prefer to go to a winning situation but given the bargain he was for the first four years of his career, salary is a motivating factor.
The most the Warriors can offer is $5 million in the first year ($19.4 million over four). If healthy, they may be a playoff team this year in the Western Conference with Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry, David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. Landry would certainly help bolster that chance in a bench role.
The Bobcats aren’t close to contention, but they still have sizable cap room to outspend the Warriors.
Other teams are interested but may need to make additional moves to open up cap room.
The Hornets haven’t made things easy for Landry, renouncing his Bird Rights. That means a sign-and-trade isn’t possible without cap room and currently they are slightly over the cap.
While they can get under by cutting Brad Miller (only $848k of his $5.1 million is guaranteed), the Hornets can’t generate enough cap room to facilitate a sign-and-trade for as much as the Warriors can offer with their Mid-Level Exception.
The Hornets have discussed dealing Miller to Charlotte for center DeSagana Diop, who is in the last year of his deal at $7.4 million. New Orleans is also pursuing Suns restricted free agent center Robin Lopez.
Neither situation helps Landry get a better deal.
If it comes down to just money, the Bobcats would be the favorite, but the Warriors may be the best overall bet – even if Landry once again comes at a discount.
Brandon Rush Waiting Patiently
As the Warriors pursue Landry, they also hold the rights to restricted free agent guard/forward Brandon Rush.
Rush caught up recently with HOOPSWORLD in Las Vegas at Summer League, there in support of Klay Thompson and his young teammates. Rush spoke about free agency.
“It’s been going pretty well, just talking with some teams and trying to figure out where I’ll be next year,” said Rush. “Hopefully I’ll be back in Golden State.”
While he’s been linked to teams like the Los Angeles Lakers (who went to the NBA Finals in 2004 with his brother Kareem), Rush said there’s no special sibling connection.
“No connection at all,” said Rush. “I’m happy where I’m at, this position and what lies forward for me.”
Complicating matters slightly for the Warriors, should they sign Landry, is keeping their salary total below the luxury tax line. If Landry does ink for the Mid-Level Exception, the most Golden State can give Brandon is about $3 million before hitting the tax.
Certainly the Warriors can go over the threshold. The team’s hard cap would be $74.3 million if they were willing to spend.
The Lakers can try to use their Mini Mid-Level Exception at $3.09 million (over two years) but that would take an offer sheet that the Warriors would probably match.
With a 13-player roster including Landry and Rush at those amounts, the Warriors would still be under but wouldn’t have any room to sign a 14th player without tipping over. To date, the Warriors have been clear they would like to retain Rush, even after drafting forward Harrison Barnes.
Meanwhile Rush said he’s willing to wait.
“No idea yet. It’s just still up in the air, still waiting on trades and all this other stuff to happen,” said Rush. “I’m sitting back, patiently waiting to see what happens.”
The Warriors are coming off of a down season but the team is confident moving forward.
“We had a bad year because we had a lot of injuries but everybody else, Klay and all the young guys got a chance to play,” said Rush. “I definitely played pretty well this past season – shot the ball well. We’re just looking forward to everyone getting healthy and having a great squad next year.”
As far as his individual game, Rush is working daily to improve.
“I’m trying to improve low-post scoring. I’ve been working on the block, trying to get down there when I play against little guards,” said Rush. “And getting bigger and stronger.”
Grant Hill Happy to Land with Clippers
Recently Grant Hill met with the media after signing his deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I’m glad to be here and I’m excited to be here. It should be a lot of fun,” said the veteran forward. “Obviously Blake [Griffin] and his progression, Chris [Paul] coming on board and Chauncey [Billups] and some of the moves that were made this off-season. It just seemed like a good fit and a team that I felt took a big step last season and hopefully we can take another big step.”
Hill may be the first free agent to ever spurn the Los Angeles Lakers for the Clippers
“You can go off of perception and this, that and the other,” Hill said. “But when you talk to people you know and trust and you see. We all observe and see things and I think certainly looking at [the Clipper] facilities, they’re one of the best I have seen,” said Hill. “You can’t worry or focus on what is in the past and what people might have perceived in the past. You just have to focus on now, the present, and moving forward. I like it. I’m excited. I like the team and I like the coaching staff and the front office. It seems like everyone is on the same page and moving us the same direction. It’s exciting. It’s a good spot with the guys like I said on this team, and we have a chance to do something really special.”
Andrew Goudelock’s First Summer League
After missing Summer League as a rookie due to the lockout, Los Angeles Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock got his chance the past few weeks in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, the Lakers’ squad wasn’t very good. Goudelock didn’t shoot particularly well and spent a lot of his time trying to learn how to play point guard, which isn’t his natural position.
The Lakers need a shooter, which is Goudelock’s natural skill, but at 6’3 he either needs to slide to one or prove he can guard at the NBA two. He talked about that and more in this exclusive HOOPSWORLD interview.
Ronnie Brewer to Knicks
The New York Knicks will add a capable wing defender in Ronnie Brewer, who has agreed to sign a one-year deal at the minimum.
Because the Knicks are a tax team, they don’t have their Bi-Annual Exception. Jason Kidd was given the team’s Mini Mid-Level Exception.
As a six-year veteran, Brewer will get $1,069,509 but since he’s on just a one-year minimum deal, the Knicks’ salary will reflect just $854,389.
Check out the HOOPSWORLD Team Salary Page for the New York Knicks (pre-Brewer) for more detail.
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