The compressed offseason was supposed to be about hookups. On Friday, it was all about breakups.
Hours after being chastised by Chauncey Billups, the New York Knicks began targeting his replacement at point guard. Billups met the media in Los Angeles on Friday, less than a week after he was surprisingly released by the Knicks via the amnesty clause. The five-time All-Star is still not over it.
From Pedro Moura of ESPNLosAngeles.com: “Billups admitted he “contemplated” retiring after being claimed by the Clippers, but he was also clearly offended at being released by the Knicks. Going over what happened with New York, he mentioned the word — “waived” — seven times in a 45-second period. “You’d just never think that being waived is gonna be one of the things that happens to you,” he said.
While the Clippers appear to be overrun with point guards in Billups, Chris Paul, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe, the Knicks still don’t seem quite ready to hand the reins of Mike D’Antoni’s offense to Toney Douglas, who was elevated when Billups was cut loose.
The Knicks quickly signed Mike Bibby to a one-year deal, even though he can’t stay in front of opposing guards and really doesn’t do much more than spot up at the arc. So they have turned their attention to another aging point guard with question marks, targeting Baron Davis, who cleared amnesty waivers at 8 p.m. without being claimed.
Davis had told the Cavaliers that he was unable to practice due to a bulging disk in his back. However, SheridanHoops.com recent signee Moke Hamilton knows otherwise.
From Hamilton’s column this afternoon: “At this point, the Knicks so desperately need help with playmaking, they’re hoping a player with a reputation for being out of shape and not putting forth the effort necessary to win can be their missing ingredient. It’s a low risk gamble, so I say why not? And yes, I say that despite the prognosis that he will be out for eight to 10 weeks as he battles a severely bulging disc in his lower back. Mind you, there are a growing number of skeptics that believe that the severity of his injury is being fabricated in an attempt to scare off would-be bidders. Sources tell me Davis hopes to end up with the Knicks, and if he does, he could be available to go within two weeks.”
That’s the juiciest transaction we have right now, except for Kobe Bryant being waived by his wife, Vanessa, who has grown tired of her husband’s infidelity.
From TMZ.com: “According to the legal docs, Vanessa is asking for joint custody of their 2 daughters – 8-year-old Natalia and 5-year-old Giana – but Vanessa is asking that Kobe get visitation rights, which means she wants the kids in her care most of the time. We’ve learned the couple has NO PRENUP, so 29-year-old Vanessa is entitled to half of the empire Kobe built over the last decade. She’s also requesting spousal support … which is typical in divorce cases. Kobe, who filed his response to the divorce minutes after Vanessa filed her petition, says he will pay her spousal support.”
There’s one way to get the Clippers off the front page of the LA sports sections.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell has some interesting numbers on his Twitter account, estimating that Bryant is worth $360 million, with nearly $200 million coming from basketball.
If anyone is wondering if this will impact Bryant on the court, just remember how he performed when he was shuttling back and forth from LA to Colorado in 2004 for court appearances on his sexual assault charge. His ability to compartmentalize off-court issues was surreal, and that was with prison time hanging over his head. This will be a walk in the park.
At the same time, this isn’t exactly shaping up as a good season for the folks wearing Forum Blue and Gold.
The Lakers believed they had landed Chris Paul but had the deal scuttled by David Stern. Then Lamar Odom -supposedly headed for New Orleans – asked for a trade and was dealt to Dallas for a, umm, trade exception that GM Mitch Kupchak hasn’t quite yet figured out how to maximize.
A trade of Paul was finally approved – to the crosstown Clippers, who now are flexing their muscles and talking about turning the city rivalry into something a little more competitive than hammer vs. nail. And when the season finally starts in nine days, center Andrew Bynum – if he’s still around – will be sidelined, serving a five-game ban for his hip check on J.J. Barea.
Things aren’t exactly roses for the NBA’s East Coast dynasty, either. Celtics forward Jeff Green, who signed a one-year, $9 million deal last week, still has not practiced. Things sound like they’re getting serious.
From ESPNBoston.com: “After a brief shootaround at TD Garden Friday morning, Celtics coach Doc Rivers revealed that swingman Jeff Green had consulted new doctors about the mysterious ailment that has thus far prevented him from passing a physical and participating fully in training camp. “[Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] and Jeff went to see another set of doctors,” Rivers said, “and we’ll find out [more about Green's condition] hopefully by tonight.” Asked whether the new doctors were local or from elsewhere, Rivers responded, “Elsewhere,” but would not elaborate further. “They’re in an undisclosed location,” he said, joking, “in Mexico.”
The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn tweeted that the Celtics will have an official announcement Saturday.
There were some actual hookups Friday.
_The Heat signed coach Erik Spoelstra to a contract extension. Spoelstra was in the last year of his contract. Maverick Carter had no comment.
_The Hornets signed Jason Smith to a three-year deal worth $7.5 million, according to the Times-Picayune. If you want to be overpaid, The Big Easy seems like easy money right now.
_The Spurs signed Cory Joseph, their first-round pick, No. 29 overall. They already had signed Kawhi Leonard, whom they got from Indiana in the George Hill deal.
_And in more breakup news, the Chicago Bulls are apparently convinced Richard Hamilton can hold down the fort at shooting guard and waived both Keith Bogans and Jannero Pargo. Bogans started all 82 games last season.