NBA@2: What Happened to the Michael Beasley Trade?
It was practically a done deal.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers were on the verge of a trade that would have sent Michael Beasley to the Lakers, Steve Blake to Portland and Jamal Crawford to the Timberwolves. It was the perfect trade for the Timberwolves, who were working hard to acquire a shooting guard at the deadline. It also helped the Blazers at point guard and gave the Lakers another scoring threat as they look to get Kobe Bryant another shot at ring number six.
But then word started to leak out that the deal was off, and the Blazers were making calls to other teams about Crawford, that he might be headed to New Jersey instead. When the dust settled on the NBA trade deadline, however, Crawford was right where he started – in Portland.
What happened to the trade that seemed like such a good deal for all three teams?
Frankly, the Lakers got a little greedy.
The deal was all but agreed to when the Lakers told the Timberwolves that they wanted to modify it a bit, send some salary cap baggage to Minnesota. They wanted to include Luke Walton and other “salary dump type pieces” to Minnesota, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Judging from other moves the Lakers made, it’s reasonable to guess that Jason Kapono might have been one of those pieces.
The Timberwolves weren’t willing to do that, even though they badly wanted Crawford in town, and that wound up killing the deal.
As things turned out, the Lakers still managed to offload some contracts and they go their point guard in Ramon Sessions. What they didn’t get was the scoring load that Beasley can be, while Minnesota didn’t get their shooting guard and Crawford remains stuck in Portland as they tank the rest of the season.
Every team involved would have been better off if the initial trade had gone down . . .but don’t blame the Timberwolves or Blazers for the deal falling apart. This one’s all on LA.
The Lakers are spinning a slightly different story, saying that they were attempting to send Derek Fisher to Minnesota, and that he was the piece that caused the Timberwolves to back out of the trade. Whichever pieces were added late in the talks, late addition cap baggage is absolutely what killed this trade.
Henderson Confident in Bobcats’ Direction
Gerald Henderson didn’t exactly take the NBA by storm after being drafted 12th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. Larry Brown was the head coach of the team at the time, and Brown is infamous for his refusal to play and develop young players. Henderson saw little more than garbage time minutes as a rookie, but quickly began to show his potential when Paul Silas took over as the head coach of the team. This season he’s having a career year as a full-time starter for the team.
“This is just one of those things where I always believed in myself and my ability to play,” Henderson tells HOOPSWORLD. “When I wasn’t playing I was working on my game and trying to improve, so when Coach Silas did give me the opportunity I was ready. There are still ways I can get better, though, and there are still things I’m working to improve on.”
“He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve seen,” says Silas, smiling. “He works on his game, he works on his shot, and not just shooting. He shoots as if he’s in the game all the time and that’s the reason he’s doing so well. But mentally, he’s mentally tough and that’s going to help this team and help him in the future. I look to him to have some leadership qualities as this thing goes along, but I’m very enthused about him because they were telling me that they were talking D-League (under Brown) and that sort of thing and now he’s up and coming, so it’s great.”
While Henderson is one of the bright spots for the Bobcats this season, he’s being overshadowed by the mounting losses. He says the team hasn’t gotten used to losing, and they understand the long-term vision is what’s important.
“I don’t think any of the guys in our locker room have losing mentalities, I just think that we’re losing. We prepare and we practice to win, but the results just haven’t turned out like that. The thing is, we have a young team, we’re inexperienced, and while I think we have some nice talent, we just have to continue to get better. That may take some time.”
There are definitely promising signs in Charlotte, where step one of the rebuilding project is already underway. Rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo show a great deal of promise and look like foundational pieces going forward.
“I’m not surprised at all by Kemba’s scoring,” says Henderson. “I was really looking forward to playing with him this year and he’s been a great teammate. He’s a guy who plays with a lot of passion and he’s very talented. I think he’s done a great job this year and a guy like him, he’s only going to continue to get better.”
As for Biyombo, he struggled early, as many big men do, but he’s quickly starting to look like the starting center of the future for Charlotte.
“Well, he is a lottery pick,” says Henderson. “He’s got a lot of potential and he’s picked up on things very quickly. His ability to protect the basket has helped us guards out on the perimeter quite a bit when we get beat, and he actually won a game for us the other day, blocking Trevor Ariza at the rim at the end of the game. He’s a great kid. I feel funny calling him a kid because I’m 24, but I’m still five years older than him. He’s like a sponge. He wants to learn as much as he can, as fast as he can, and he’s going to be a great NBA player.”
As for this season, it’s going to continue to be a challenge for the Bobcats and their fans. The losses will continue to mount, but Henderson has no doubt that the big picture, starting with another very high draft pick this summer, is a good one.
“I think we’ll be fine. I think we’ll be fine. We’re going through a tough time right now, so it’s easy for a lot of questions to be asked, but I think our management has it taken care of. We do have a young group now, but we have talented players who are going to continue to get better. Obviously, at the point we’re at right now it can only go up, so I’m looking forward to that.”
So are NBA fans in Charlotte.
Deron Williams Won’t Opt In
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has made quite a spectacle of himself this week, with Romney-esque flip-flopping prior to his decision to opt in to the final year of his contract with Orlando.
Deron Williams is putting on no such circus.
Williams has been clear from day one that he is going to play out this season with the Nets and then see what’s out there, never wavering from that message for even a second.
“I’m not going to opt-in. It’s not monkey-see, monkey-do,” Williams told the New York Daily News. “Wherever I go is hopefully where I’m going to retire.”
Sources with knowledge of the situation have told HOOPSWORLD that Williams has already made the decision to leave New Jersey and return home to Dallas for a championship run with Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, while sources close to the Nets are adamant that the opposite is true. Williams is committed to the team and wouldn’t dream of leaving. The two sides of that debate will rage on until free agency begins in July and Williams makes his choice.
What we know for sure is that Williams has a great relationship with Nets GM Billy King, who gives him a great deal of input on roster moves, and also with head coach Avery Johnson. We also know that Williams is enjoying some fringe benefits of being on a team that will soon relocate to Brooklyn, as he has inked five new endorsements based on that move. We know that in New Jersey he has a solid young core to build around, including Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks, and Anthony Morrow, and now a veteran x-factor in Gerald Wallace.
If the other choice is Dallas, we’ll have to wait and see how the roster looks. The Mavericks have cleaned house on most of their long-term deals and will be in a position to let Williams – their top free agency target – to choose many of his teammates.
All we know for sure right now is that Williams is very intentionally avoiding the Dwight Howard route of confusion and indecision.
“I’m not (going through the same things) because I’ve said all year I’m going to play this whole year out and see what happens,” Williams said. “So I haven’t been flip-flopping and going back-and-forth. It’s not even close to being the same situation.”
Honestly, it’s hard not to respect Williams’ approach. He said he’s not making any decisions until July, and he has steadfastly refused to move even an inch from that position.
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