Sheridan Hoops http://www.sheridanhoops.com Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:03:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Sheridan’s Top 15 Remaining Free Agents – July 6 Edition http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/sheridans-top-15-remaining-free-agents-july-6-edition/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/sheridans-top-15-remaining-free-agents-july-6-edition/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:50:38 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94551

SheridanheHow quickly things change. You looking for NBA news today? Well, aside from Manu Ginobili’s return announcement, there are these items:

_Marc Gasol will not play at Eurobasket, nor will Kristaps Porzingis. Which means the most competitive Olympic qualifier for later this summer just lost a major stud and a major draw for those who might not otherwise be inclined to watch.

_ Mo Williams is garnering interest from the Spurs and Grizzlies. Yes, the same Mo Williams who will be making the ninth stop of his 13-year NBA career. He is a shooting guard, but it has been nearly a decade since he shot 48 percent. He has played 30 minutes per game throughout his career, which now enters its next phase … towel waver?

_ Jason Terry might be rejoining the Mavericks. Or they could get Jeremy Lin. When exactly was the last time either of those two guys was relevant?

_ The Clippers are going to make a real hard push at Kevin Durant next summer, Chris Palmer reported. Actually, virtually any person, reporter or not, can tweet the very same thing, exchanging “Clippers” for virtually any other team. But no team is set up quite as well as the Wizards, as you can see here. Oh, and Durant has roots in Maryland.

_ Dwyane Wade did an impromptu Twitter chat. Said he would love to play with Kobe. (My reading on that: In Rio next summer at the Olympics).

_ Entertainment Weekly is in love with LeBron James, movie star.

_ Steve Nash is going to make a cameo appearance for the NY Cosmos B team. They play soccer.

_ The Atlanta Hawks did not renew the contract of head athletic trainer Wally Blase. He was there 15 years. They also got rid of assistant trainer Pete Radulovic, who put in 18 years. If you thought this was a cutthroat business before, do you need any more proof?

As for actual NBA free agents who can be difference-makers, the well has run dry. Reggie Jackson re-signed with the Detroit Pistons yesterday, and Cory Joseph was only on the market a couple hours after being renounced by the Spurs (to clear cap room for LaMarcus Aldridge) before he got four years and $30 million from the Raptors, who now seem to believe Lou Williams is expendable. (Sixth Man Award? What Sixth Man Award?)

Nick YoungWe will see a Nick Young trade in the days ahead, as well as a few more Lakers trades. They need to clear a bunch of room to bring in Roy Hibbert from the Pacers along with Sweet Lou. They are still a long way from being playoff material.

As we mentioned over the weekend, the heavy lifting is complete. Free agency used to be a much more drawn-out process, but this year the drama was over in an eyeblink. We will have to get our kicks from Summer League now, and you really have to be a hardcore hoops guy to endure a day of that — much less two weeks.

But with all that being said, Thursday could bring some surprises because that is when the moratorium ends, and that will be when we find out if a league that can’t keep a single secret somehow managed to keep something special under wraps. At least we know Iggy Azalea will be on pins and needles.

According to Twitter phenomenon Bobby Marks, these are the teams with significant cap space remaining:

Portland Trail Blazers: $24.3 million
Orlando Magic: $17.4 million
Philadelphia 76ers: $15.7 million
Indiana Pacers: $13.1 million
Utah Jazz: $9.3 million
Phoenix Suns: $6.9 million
Denver Nuggets: $6.5 million

Not one of those teams has legitimate championship aspirations.

Yes, we are in the dead zone.

But business is business, which brings us to this list. It is down to 11 uncrossed-out names, which means an even newer list is around the corner. Yes, sometimes you have to change on the fly. Here you go:


MEM_Koufos_Kosta1. Kosta Koufos, C, Memphis: The seven-year veteran appeared in 161 of a possible 164 games the past two seasons, averaging about 17 minutes per game behind Marc Gasol. He averaged 5.2 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 51 percent from the field. For his career, he is around 53 percent. He is 7 feet tall, 265 lbs., went to Ohio State and speaks with an American accent despite his dual American/Greek citizenship. JULY 4 UPDATE: Memphis is willing to entertain sign-and-trade offers, ESPN.com reported, stating the obvious. Of course the Grizzlies would love to get something back, but teams with big cap room don’t need to give anything back. UPDATE II: He is “on our radar,” a Lakers source tells Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times. UPDATE III: He didn’t last long. Sacramento got him for $33 million over four years.


WAS_Seraphin_Kevin2. Kevin Seraphin, C, Wizards: Probably the third-best French center in the NBA, depending on the relative merits of Alexis Ajinca. No question he is half the player that Rudy Gobert is. He averaged 21 minutes per game in the postseason, backing up Marcin Gortat. The five-year veteran had his best season in his sophomore campaign and has flatlined since. But he is 25 years old, so his long-term upside is better than the No. 3 guy on this list. JULY 4 UPDATE: His friendship with new Clipper Paul Pierce could be a factor is getting him to Los Angeles as DeAndre Jordan’s replacement, but Paul Allen’s wallet could get him to Portland as Chris Kaman’s running mate. JULY 5 UPDATE: Marc Spears of Yahoo says Lakers, Wizards, Suns and Spurs in the mix. JULY 6 UPDATE: Nothing new.


PHI_HS_McGee_JaVale3. JaVale McGee, C, Sixers (Unrestricted). This is a guy who was traded to Philadelphia so that Sam Hinkie could get to the salary floor. He was waived without a buyout in time to latch onto a playoff team, and no one bit. As of now, he is the highest-paid player on the Sixers’ roster for next season at $12 million, and there is no doubt he will join Josh Smith as a double-dipper (a player receiving paychecks from two teams). There is no getting away from the fact that he has underachieved throughout his career, and as a double-dipper, he may not be motivated to change. A major risk/reward guy who could go boom or bust depending on who signs him. JULY 4 UPDATE: Doc Rivers placed a phone call to McGee, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Also, George Karl likes him, so if DeMarcus Cousins gets moved, he can become a tutor to Willie Cauley-Stein and a cohort of Rajon Rondo. JULY 5 UPDATE: With the Lakers having acquired Roy Hibbert and the Kings getting Koufos, this could be a two-horse race between the Clippers and the Blazers. Then again, there are other teams with more cap space than the Clippers who could pad McGee’s bank account. JULY 6 UPDATE: Nothing new.


Oklahoma City Thunder

4. Reggie Jackson, G, Detroit (Restricted): It’s hard to envision GM Stan Van Gundy allowing both Monroe and Jackson to get away in free agency. In fact, he recently said that re-signing Jackson is the team’s offseason priority. Keep in mind that Jackson forced his way out of Oklahoma City because he wanted to start and turned down a $48 million extension offer. The guess here is that Van Gundy will allow the market to set Jackson’s value before deciding to match. What he will not do is play hardball as he did with Monroe, because that would make Jackson an unrestricted free agent in 2016, when the bags of TV money show up. Remember that the Pistons still have Brandon Jennings, who is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. JULY 4 UPDATE: Meeting with Pistons scheduled for today. As Vince Ellis notes in the Detroit Free Press, the Dragic deal and the Brandon Knight deal should set the market for Jackson, who put up better numbers post-trade deadline than either of those two PGs. JULY 5 UPDATE: Has agreed on a five-year, $80 million extension.


Hawks

5. Lou Williams, G, Toronto (Unrestricted): Boy, that Sixth Man Award changes the picture a little, doesn’t it? Williams is coming off a mid-level deal and will want more in this contract, because (a) he has shown that the ACL tear is ancient history and (b) at 28 years old (yes, just 28; he was born the same day as Game 7 of the 1986 World Series), this will be his last chance at a contract that doesn’t include the words exception or minimum. Toronto has cap room but also has a decision on Jonas Valanciunas. Upgrading the power forward spot is job No. 1, but keeping Williams at a reasonable number is a close No. 2, especially with Greivis Vasquez dealt to Milwaukee. JULY 1 Update: One of many players linked to the Knicks, our Michael Scotto reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Heat interested, but it would take a sign-and-trade to get Williams the money he is seeking. JULY 5 UPDATE: Williams will join a gaggle of Lakers guards after he agreed to a three-year deal worth $21 million, per Yahoo Sports. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year joins a jam-packed backcourt that includes Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jordan Clarkson and second overall pick D’Angelo Russell.


OKC_HS_Enes_Kanter

6. Enes Kanter, F-C, Oklahoma City (Restricted): Probably the best pickup of the trade deadline, even though his awful defense in the pick-and-roll and at the rim – coupled with Serge Ibaka’s absence – made the Thunder look like an ABA team down the stretch. But Kanter’s offense is a welcome addition for a team that normally uses its centers as screeners and goons, and his effectiveness – if not his production – should be even better when lining up alongside Ibaka and Kevin Durant, whose free agency clock is ticking loudly. Now all GM Sam Presti has to do is convince skinflint owner Clay Bennett to look beneath the sofa cushions for the eight figures annually that it will take to keep Kanter, either with an offer right out of the gate or by matching another team’s pitch. That means luxury tax territory for one season until the cap jumps next summer. How OKC deals with Kanter is a direct referendum on Bennett. JULY 1 UPDATE: Portland may want a meeting, USAToday reported. JULY 2 UPDATE: Knicks made contact. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Thunder reached agreement with Kyle Singler on a five-year, $25 million deal. If they are low-balling Kanter, this thing could drag into August much like the Eric Bledsoe situation did a year ago. Or, a team such as the Lakers could make a max offer, which the Thunder would be sure to match — saving themselves some money in the process because an offer sheet would contain 4.5 percent annual raises rather than the 7.5 percent raises the bug Turk would get from re-signing directly with OKC. July 6 UPDATE: Thunder have offered him a four-year deal with a $15.5 million starting salary, promising to match anything larger. This one seems as though it may drag out a while.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day

7. LeBron James, F, Cleveland (Unrestricted): He isn’t going anywhere, which is why he is randomly slotted here. Under no circumstances will I publish rankings that have Josh Smith listed above LeBron James. The only way James doesn’t finish his career in his home state is if there is some sort of irreparable disconnect between him and owner Dan Gilbert that drives The King away. And if James went elsewhere, he would need a security force that would make President Obama blush. Depending on how you look at it, he could be first on this list or not even on it because his free agency is a formality to earn him an extra half-million dollars next season – and keep pressure on management to improve the roster.  JULY 4 UPDATE: Has not tweeted since April 18. And we still do not know what his secret motivation was in the Finals. Meantime, life is good aboard a $29 million yacht, TMZ reported.


IND_West_David

8. David West, F, Indiana Pacers (Unrestricted): He opted out of the $12.6 million he is due next season, which was a risky move given his age (35 in August) and his dropoff in scoring over the last two years. His toughness is always a welcome commodity, but his midrange game is a funky fit in today’s NBA. One factor could be the direction Indiana takes going forward and whether West sees title contention in his future. Remember, he correctly picked the Pacers over the Celtics for that same reason four years ago. JULY 1 UPDATE: Appears to be a fallback option for Knicks, ESPN.com reported — and then was exposed as bunk. West said the Knicks don’t fit in with his plans to contend for a title with his new team. Willing to take less money to go to Spurs or Warriors. And upset with Lafry Bird for publicly dissing Roy Hibbert by pleading with the center to opt out of his contract. JULY 2 UPDATE: West is expected to land with either the Spurs or Wizards, ESPN reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Wizards used their bi-annual exception on Gary Neal, keeping their mid-level for West. With the loss of DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers reportedly have interest in West, ESPN reports. JULY 4 UPDATE: West has “huge” interest in playing for Cavs, according to Indianapolis Star. JULY 5: Apparently waiting to see if the Cavs pull off the Varejao/Haywood trade with Brooklyn for Joe Johnson. If that doesn’t happen, he has a nice fallback in the Spurs. JULY 6 UPDATE: Signs a veteran’s minimum deal with Spurs, leaving about $10 million on the table. No question when he says “I only want to win,” he means it.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day

9. Tristan Thompson, F, Cleveland (Restricted): He turned down a four-year, $52 million contract extension in October, which may or may not have been a mistake. Counting all options and qualifying offers, the Cavs already are on the hook for over $100 million in salaries next season. It’s hard to imagine GM David Griffin maxing out Love and giving $13 million annually to Thompson, who threatens a double-double every night and more than adequately replaced Love in the rotation during the latter stages of the playoffs.Griffin could allow another team to set the market or simply play a little hardball, which would make Thompson unrestricted in 2016. That might be a mistake, too, given that Thompson and LeBron James share the same agent, Rich Paul. JULY 1 UPDATE: Safe to say he made the right move turning down that $52 million extension offer in October. The Cavaliers and Thompson reportedy agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal. JULY 2 UPDATE: Thompson and the Cavs “are still apart” on contract talks, Brian Windhorst tweeted. But it’s almost certain he’ll return to Cleveland. JULY 5 UPDATE: Agent Rich Paul, who also represents LeBron James, wants the Thompson deal done before any talks on James can begin. JULY 6 UPDATE: Dialogue is ongoing, but getting nowhore, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports.


Rodney Stuckey headshot10. Rodney Stuckey, G, Indiana (Unrestricted): Has he finally added a 3-pointer to his arsenal? Stuckey shot .390 from distance this season, which is 73 percentage points better than his previous best. If that number isn’t an outlier, Stuckey is worth way more than the $1.23 million the Pacers stole him for last summer and may be worth more than the $8 million former Pistons GM Joe Dumars paid him. Again, there are plenty of teams that could use an upgrade at shooting guard, and Stuckey has the added bonus of being a better ballhandler that most of them. He is looking to latch on to a contender but hasn’t ruled out returning to the Pacers. JULY 1 UPDATE: Six teams have reached out to Stuckey since the start of free agency. JULY 3 UPDATE: Interest between Cavs and Stuckey is “mutual,” ClevelandPlainDealer reports. JULY 5 UPDATE: Even the power of LeBron could not persuade Stuckey to leave Indiana. Stuckey and the Pacers agreed to a three-year contract worth $21 million, according to RealGM. Our Michael Scotto says the third year is a player option.


ATL_Smith_Josh

11. Josh Smith, F, Houston Rockets (Unrestricted): After being made the scapegoat – unfairly or not – in both Atlanta and Detroit, you get the sense that he has found some peace in Houston alongside former AAU teammate Dwight Howard, even if their series against Golden State did not exactly go as planned. Don’t forget that the Pistons are paying him over $5 million in each of the next five seasons, which makes taking less money for a smaller role with a contender much more palatable. If he stays with the Rockets, his salary should be directly commensurate with Houston’s playoff success this postseason. If logic flies out the window the way it did when he signed with Detroit, anything is possible. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Kings reportedly began discussions with Smith, according to Jake Fischer. That report was later said to be false. JULY 6 UPDATE: Crickets.


CLE_Smith_JR

12. J.R. Smith, G, Cleveland (Unrestricted): When we first published this summer’s rankings, we wrote this: “He would be crazy to opt out, given his $6.4 million number for next season, the Cavs’ preoccupation with retaining Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, and the fact that the light bulb is never really going to come on.” So much for expecting Smith to do the sane thing. While a half-season alongside LeBron James seemed to calm him down a bit, his two-game playoff suspension proved that he is a cheetah who isn’t changing his spots. He has had his moments in the playoffs, especially in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta, but he is the epitome of a faulty faucet — nobody runs more hot and cold. He would have been much better off minding his P’s and Q’s for another season and hitting a fertile market next summer. JULY 2 UPDATE: With Iman Shumpert getting $40 million for four years, how high will Dan Gilbert allow his luxury tax bill to climb? That will be a factor in whether Smith stays or goes.


Los Angeles Lakers Media Day

13. Jordan Hill, F-C, LA Lakers (Unrestricted): Someone had to score and rebound for the Lakers, and Hill did his share with career highs of 12.0 points and 7.9 boards in 26.8 minutes, primarily as a starter. While that clearly is not his long-term role, he could play into his mid-30s as a team’s fourth big. The Lakers declined the $9 million option on Hill for 2015-16 to create more cap room, and turning Hill loose would allow GM Mitch Kupchak to possibly make a run at two top-tier free agents, although not both at max salaries. JULY 3 UPDATE: A fallback guy for Lakers and Mavs if they lose out on Aldridge/Jordan. JULY 6 UPDATE: May need to be renounced, or included in a sign-and-trade, in order to open the cap room to bring in Lou Williams and Roy Hibbert.


DAL_HS_Stoudemire_Amare

14. Amar’e Stoudemire, F-C, Dallas (Unrestricted): His days as a starter or even a 30-minute player in this league are over. But you could see the bounce in his step return after arriving in Dallas. Maybe Stoudemire was just happy to get out of New York, where he did more good than title-hungry Knicks fans gave him credit for. Or maybe it was because the Mavericks reduced his minutes by 33 percent and brought him off the bench, where his scoring savvy obliterated opposing reserves and his limited lateral movement wasn’t as much of a liability. With a similar role moving forward, there’s no reason to believe he cannot be an effective backup big for three or four more years at the mid-level exception. JULY 2 UPDATE: Stoudemire has received interest from the Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers and Suns, ESPN reports. JULY 4 UPDATE: Interest coming from Lakers, who missed out on Jordan and Aldridge. JULY 5 UPDATE: Stoudemire will meet with the Clippers today, Yahoo reports.


Barea15. J.J. Barea, Mavericks (Unrestricted): You may have noticed this list is chock full of Mavericks. And here are a bunch (not including Monta Ellis) who could be heading back to Big D if Mark Cuban strikes out on his big targets. (Note to Cuban: Is DeAndre Jordan really twice the player that Tyson Chandler is? Because he is going to cost twice as much money.) Barea is the original Delly, a guy who has gotten it done in the playoffs (and in FIBA competitions) without ever having been considered a must-have player. But when there is a guy who is beloved in the locker room and can play mistake-free ball (Barea is much better at this than Dellavedova), he has value. He made only $1.3 million last season, less than Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva, and is looking to double that in a multi-year deal. He will be a smart pickup for a contender. JULY 1 UPDATE: Barea is leaning towards signing with the Miami Heat, David Aldridge reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Barea is reportedly working out details on a deal with the Mavericks, David Aldridge reports. JULY 5 UPDATE: Sounds as though he will get $2.8 million exception from Mavs. JULY 6: The deal is done. Two years, $5.6 million.


The Next Five: Mirza Teletovic, Nets (restricted); Aaron Brooks, Bulls (unrestricted); Darrell Arthur, Nuggets (unrestricted); Matthew Dellavedova, Cavs; (Restricted); Miroslav Radulica, Timberwolves (unrestricted).

MORE: THE TOP 50 FREE AGENTS

Chris Sheridan is the publisher of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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PODCAST: After whiffing on Aldridge, Rockets turn focus to re-signing core, exploring trades http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/podcast-after-missing-on-aldridge-rockets-turn-focus-to-re-signing-core-exploring-trades/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/podcast-after-missing-on-aldridge-rockets-turn-focus-to-re-signing-core-exploring-trades/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:51:00 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94553

DuBoseHouston GM Daryl Morey has yet to hit a home run in this summer’s free agency, with initial target LaMarcus Aldridge spurning the Rockets to sign with the rival San Antonio Spurs. But as Houston enters 2015-16 coming off its first conference finals appearance in 18 years, was a roster overhaul truly essential?

Pat Beverley WikiJosh Reese of CBS Radio in Houston (Sports Radio 610) and the Red & Orange Report podcast joins me to discuss that and other takeaways from Houston’s busy first week of free agency, which included failed negotiations with Aldridge and Spanish guard Sergio Llull while successfully retaining swingman Corey Brewer (3 years, $24 million) and point guard Pat Beverley (4 years, $23 million).

Beverley, of course, was one of two injured starters (the other was power forward Donatas Motiejunas) absent for the entirety of Houston’s extended playoff run. Josh helps me break down whether the additions of Beverley and Motiejunas, assuming health, could be enough to compete with other elite Western teams like the Spurs and defending champion Warriors.

OTHER TOPICS EXPLORED:

  • Why cap flexibility, rather than cap space, is becoming the new NBA model
  • Could Beverley’s deal be one of the steals of free agency thus far?
  • Does Aldridge landing with San Antonio put more pressure on the Rockets to upgrade?
  • Examining the West’s hierarchy after Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan’s departures
  • Why didn’t Spanish guard Sergio Llull make the leap from Real Madrid to the NBA?
  • Now that Llull is off the board, Morey appears more intrigued with the PG trade market than those left in free agency. Who are the targets, and what players might he offer to land one?
  • Is Josh Smith coming back? Should he? If not, what alternatives are out there?
  • Among their FAs, Houston seems to prioritize K.J. McDaniels ahead of Smith. Right call?

Check Out Basketball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Sheridan Hoops Radio on BlogTalkRadio


Ben DuBose is a veteran sports reporter who has followed the Houston Rockets and
 the NBA since Hakeem Olajuwon was Akeem Olajuwon. He writes for both SheridanHoops and ClutchFans, and his podcasts with Josh Reese can be found on the Red & Orange ReportYou can follow him on Twitter.

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Bernucca: While Selling a Brand, Lakers Forgot to Build a Team http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/bernucca-while-building-a-brand-lakers-forgot-to-build-a-team/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/bernucca-while-building-a-brand-lakers-forgot-to-build-a-team/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:04:49 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94571

bernuccaheSo this is how it ends for Kobe Bryant, huh?

A top-10 all-time player, Bryant will spend his last four years as the face of arguably the most storied franchise in NBA history, watching it plunge into unprecedented irrelevance.

kobe bryantWhat has happened to the Lakers happens to a lot of successful family-owned businesses. It was handed from the patriarch to the next generation, which was in over its head. It took its brand for granted and treated the competition with disdain rather than respect. It mortgaged the future with bad deals that had very little foresight.

The Lakers have gone the way of land lines, watches and Yahoo’s search engine. Yeah, they’re still out there. And it wasn’t long ago that they were really important. But they’re virtually obsolete now.

When the fireworks stopped Saturday night – both literally and figuratively – the Lakers were one of just two NBA teams yet to make some sort of move this offseason. The other was the Utah Jazz, another family-owned business recently handed from the patriarch to the next generation that was 17 wins better than the Lakers last season and has a roster and cache of assets that the Buss family would kill for right now.

Even the Sixers, whose approach to free agency under GM Sam Hinkie has resembled a trip to the Salvation Army, already have made a move, acquiring three players, a first-round pick and the right to swap two others from the Kings. The Sixers!

The Lakers? They spent the first four days of free agency with the same misguided approach that they have since their last championship five years ago: falsely believing that their brand – whatever that is – would be irresistible to the league’s elite. What they have really put out there is a pile of horse dung with a stench so strong it has sent stars running in the opposite direction.

AldridgeSpursSnipThe list of rejectors reads like future Hall of Fame inductions. Dwight Howard. Carmelo Anthony. Pau Gasol. LaMarcus Aldridge. DeAndre Jordan. All of those stars have either walked away from the Lakers or decided not to join them, apparently unimpressed by their brand.

And why would they be impressed? The Lakers have gone from 45 to 27 to 21 wins in the last three seasons, making three coaching changes along the way. Jim and Jeanie Buss may share a last name, but don’t share much else when it comes to running an NBA franchise. The Clippers, who were a generational laughingstock as next-door neighbors, are now the glamour team in a city that runs on glamour.

All that remains is Bryant, an injury-prone, fading superstar whose supposedly magnanimous pay cut of two years ago curiously still ensured that he would remain the league’s highest-paid player – which has hindered GM Mitch Kupchak’s ability to rebuild around him.

Of course, Bryant has done some hindering of his own with his trademark stubborn belief in his will. His remarkable extended platform of greatness had everyone from fans to ownership drinking the Kool-Aid and buying the ridiculous notion that a guy with 50,000-plus minutes on his odometer could bounce back from a torn Achilles tendon as if it were a high ankle sprain.

Bryant even bought into it, continuing to sell himself as the alpha dog and letting prospective free agents know that the biggest honor they would ever receive in Hollywood would be Best Supporting Actor. That definitely drove away Howard and Aldridge and may have impacted Anthony as well. For someone who has illustrated a firm grasp of the game’s history, Bryant seems to have overlooked what Tim Duncan and Dwyane Wade have done in recent years.

Dwight Howard Steve NashHowever, Bryant is merely an accessory after the fact. This seemingly irreversible spiral into irrelevance began three summers ago, when the Lakers mortgaged their future with the trades for Howard and Steve Nash. In addition to crushing their cap, those deals still have payments due in the form of first-round picks to Philadelphia (next year) and Orlando (two years later).

The Awesome Foursome of Bryant, Gasol, Howard and Nash was supposed run roughshod over the NBA, trump Miami’s “Big Three” and return the Lakers to their customary place atop the basketball world. Instead, the Lakers changed coaches twice before Thanksgiving, alienating Phil Jackson in the process; didn’t get two games above .500 until March 10; watched Bryant literally collapse under the weight of expectations; and were swept out of the playoffs as Howard ended his brief stay in LA with an ejection in Game 4.

That squad was the most underachieving team in NBA history. Yes, bigger underachievers than the 1960s Cincinnati Royals, who at least had the dynastic Boston Celtics blocking their path. Yes, bigger underachievers than the Julius Erving-George McGinnis Sixers, who at least won division titles and playoff series. Yes, bigger underachievers than the 2004 Lakers, who at least got to the Finals before imploding.

The Lakers have been plummeting ever since, sent hurtling along by nearsighted mismanagement kicking the can down the road, false bravado and ill-equipped big-game hunting. Sunday’s flurry of activity – Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass are reportedly on the way to save the day – may look better than last summer’s troika of Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer. And it is. In fact, alongside a healthy Bryant, that Not So Big Three should be good enough to avoid a plunge into the true depths of the NBA – and trigger the conveyance of those draft picks.

jeaniebussThe Lakers are going to miss the playoffs again next year. It will be their third straight without a trip to the postseason, the longest for a franchise whose history predates the Korean War. They will be without their first-round pick in two of the next three years. The face of the franchise will be strongly contemplating retirement. And they will still be taking a back seat to the Clippers.

Yeah, I could see Kevin Durant jumping on that in a heartbeat. And Russell Westbrook the year after that. (No, I am not serious).

So here’s some parting advice for Jim, Jeanie, Mitch and even Kobe.

Wanna rebuild your brand? Start with rebuilding your team.

Chris Bernucca is the managing editor and a featured columnist for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Fantasy Spin: Sale Or No Sale? White Sox Ace Key To Daily Profits http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/fantasy-spin-sale-or-no-sale-white-sox-ace-key-to-daily-profits/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/fantasy-spin-sale-or-no-sale-white-sox-ace-key-to-daily-profits/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:53:02 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94545

KentTonight in Chicago, Chris Sale $12700 goes for a record ninth straight start with double-digit strikeouts. Though the Blue Jays ordinarily hit lefties well, Sale is extraordinary. Deciding whether to pay that high (but fair) salary is Step One toward a winning DFS lineup at DraftKings.

The 11-game MLB schedule begins at 7:05 with other fine SP options: Carlos Carrasco $10200 and Dallas Keuchel $9700 are expected to stage quite a duel in Cleveland. A.J. Burnett $9400 is a solid play at home. Pick two or follow me, with Sale and a bargain.

Chris Heston $6300 pitched a no-hitter against these punchless Mets on June 9; that’s a great price. Doug Fister $5900 scored 24.4 PTS two starts ago, when he cost $1200 more. Matt Wisler $6100 is a third possibility but the Brewers have been on an offensive roll.

DKDK matches your first deposit 100% (up to $600) with bonus funds that convert to cash. You also get a FREE entry into the Late $20K Moonshot, with 1,540 guaranteed prizes — $2,000 for first — and a maximum of 7,666 teams. It’s a smaller player pool with only three games. I like Hisashi Iwakuma $8300 fresh off the DL, Heston and hitters from the Phillies-Dodgers tilt.

Tonight’s sample lineup and Short List is for the full card. The Nationals just swept the Giants, allowing five runs in three games, so I’m giving Fister the edge as #2 starter. Sale is so expensive that we still have to compromise on hitting.

1B/C Buster Posey $4500 at home vs. a southpaw is hard to ignore, but Yasmani Grandal $4200 is also worth the money and Andrew Susac $2800 is playable when Posey starts at first.

lineup-7-6Amid trade rumors, 1B Adam Lind $4500 keeps driving up his own price every day. He’s now .348/.498/.692 for his last ten. Adam LaRoche $3600 has been successful vs. Mark Buehrle $6800, an atypical lefty who is tougher on RH batters.

Brian Dozier $4500 is one of several Twins who match up well against Wei-Yin Chen $7700. Hot 2B/3B Cesar Hernandez $3100 should be used somewhere.

Manny Machado $3900 is one of the best 3B in baseball. That’s an irresistible price; he was our top choice yesterday for $800 more. 2B/3B Matt Duffy $3500 is another possible bargain.

At SS, rookie Carlos Correa $4200 faces a tough righty and there will be easier spots. Jean Segura $3800 has been profitable all week; no reason to change.

If you don’t commit to Sale, you can afford a stud OF like Bryce Harper $5700 or Ryan Braun $5300. I’m looking for value with Lorenzo Cain $4500 and Yasiel Puig $4300. The latter has been subject to a lot of anonymous griping from teammates and might make a statement with his bat. 2B/OF Odubel Herrera $3000 is thriving in the leadoff spot for the Phils. In addition to a .913 OPS over 10 games, Melky Cabrera $3800 has scalded a few “atom balls” for outs. He’s a ridiculous 17-for-30 lifetime against Buehrle; at what point does sample size begin to matter?

Pos Premium Bargain
SP1 Chris Sale $12700 Chris Heston $6300
SP2 A.J. Burnett $9400 Doug Fister $5900
C Yasmani Grandal $4200 Andrew Susac $2800
1B Adam Lind $4500 Adam LaRoche $3600
2B Brian Dozier $4500 Cesar Hernandez $3100
3B Manny Machado $3900 Matt Duffy $3500
SS Carlos Correa $4200 Jean Segura $3800
OF1 Ryan Braun $5300 Odubel Herrera $3000
OF2 Bryce Harper $5700 Yasiel Puig $4300
OF3 Lorenzo Cain $4500 Melky Cabrera $3800

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season and we’re turning out attention to baseball for the summer. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

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Tweet of the Night: NBA players react to the US winning the Women’s World Cup http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/tweet-of-the-night-nba-players-react-to-the-us-winning-the-womens-world-cup/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/06/tweet-of-the-night-nba-players-react-to-the-us-winning-the-womens-world-cup/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2015 06:33:52 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94543

After a hard-fought tournament, getting past the likes of Germany and host nation Canada, the US Women’s National Team found themselves in the final one day after the Fourth of July. And the game provided plenty of fireworks, as the Americans, led by Carli Lloyd’s hat trick, scored four times in the first 16 minutes and never looked back as they defeated Japan 5-2 to claim their third World Cup.

Here’s what NBA players had to say about the game:

We’ll see about that in 2018, Rudy.

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Fantasy Spin: Sunday MLB Contests Close Early; Brewers Bashing http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/05/fantasy-spin-sunday-mlb-contests-close-early-brewers-bashing/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/05/fantasy-spin-sunday-mlb-contests-close-early-brewers-bashing/#respond Sun, 05 Jul 2015 14:07:45 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94517

KentHope you took some of my suggestions on Saturday and made money at DraftKings. The main purpose of this column is to provide food for thought — by improving even slightly on my player picks, you’ll beat me (and many others) often enough to turn a steady profit.

It’s a typical MLB Sunday with every team in action, 13 matinees and just two evening games. Early contests (1:05) are where the big money is, with Late (4:05; 5 games) and Later (7:05; 2 games) action also available.

On the mound, Cole Hamels $10600 vs. Shelby Miller $8600 is an interesting potential duel. The Indians managed just three hits off lefty Jeff Locke; today hard-throwing RH Gerrit Cole $10000 will try to blank them again. Former top prospect Mike Montgomery $7600 waited years for his MLB debut; after six terrific starts he remains a bargain.

Sunday is almost always getaway day, and many players — especially catchers — are rested in day games after night games. For example, Jonathan Lucroy $3800 has caught three straight on the road, one of them 11 innings, and Milwaukee is at home tomorrow. If you plan to use him, have a Plan B in place.

DKDK matches your first deposit 100% (up to $600) with bonus funds that convert to cash. You also get a FREE entry into the $80K Moonshot, with 6,155 guaranteed prizes — $5,000 for first — and a maximum of 30,651 teams.

Sorry there’s no Cody Anderson today (an excellent SP at a bargain salary) but Carlos Rodon $5400 has some upside. Ivan Nova $6700 vs. Erasmo Ramirez $5200 could be one of those games where both teams and the umpiring crew are in a hurry to leave town.

We picked C Brian McCann $4800 on Saturday (for $800 less) but he took the day off. Buster Posey $4400 and the Giants have to deal with Jordan Zimmermann $9200. The injury to Miguel Cabrera means more of recently-returned Alex Avila $3300 at 1B, so James McCann $3100 will keep catching a lot of games.

lineup-7-5aIt’s a War of the Roses sequel as Rubby De La Rosa $6900 and Jorge De La Rosa $6900 meet in Phoenix. Rubby went a strong 7 IP at Coors on Tuesday but the bullpen blew the save. Paul Goldschmidt $5600 and the D-backs’ RHB have an ideal matchup. Adam Lind $4300 helped the Brew Crew score seven yesterday off another righty. C.J. Cron $3000 drove in six of the Angels’ 13 runs last night.

Jose Altuve $5100 at Fenway vs. a rookie lefty? Tough to beat. There are several good 2B in the midrange, like Ian Kinsler $4200 and Robinson Cano $3800, and rejuvenated 2B/3B Jedd Gyorko $2900 has six hits in the first three games of this series.

3B is loaded; Manny Machado $4700 and Todd Frazier $4900 top the list. Aramis Ramirez $3700 has had a lousy season until the last ten games — 1.272 OPS — and I’m counting on him to stay hot.

Carlos Correa $5100 deserves top billing at SS and  Xander Bogaerts $4300 continues to pay DFS dividends. However, we’re saving money and stacking Milwaukee bats, so Jean Segura $3600 (3-for-4, SB) is the choice.

Ryan Braun $4800 is a no-brainer once committed to our strategy, but avoid Carlos Gomez $4700 (hand) who was hit by a pitch last night. Teammate Gerardo Parra $3500 is on a string of four multi-hit games. By saving at other spots, we can afford Bryce Harper $5500, who added to his legend on the Fourth of July, or the red-hot J. D. Martinez $5000. If you loaded up elsewhere and need to save in the OF, A. J. Pollock $4200 and Kole Calhoun $4100 are great value. Ultra-cheap Grady Sizemore $2800 is the new leadoff man for Tampa.

Pos Premium Bargain
SP1 Gerrit Cole $10000 Erasmo Ramirez $5200
SP2 Jordan Zimmermann $9200 Mike Montgomery $7600
C Jonathan Lucroy $3800 James McCann $3100
1B Paul Goldschmidt $5600 Adam Lind $4300
2B Jose Altuve $5100 Jedd Gyorko $2900
3B Manny Machado $4700 Aramis Ramirez $3700
SS Carlos Correa $5100 Jean Segura $3600
OF1 Ryan Braun $4800 A. J. Pollock $4200
OF2 Bryce Harper $5500 Kole Calhoun $4100
OF3 J. D. Martinez $5000 Gerardo Parra $3500

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season and we’re turning out attention to baseball for the summer. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

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Top 15 Remaining Free Agents: July 5 Edition http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/05/top-15-remaining-free-agents-july-5-edition/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/05/top-15-remaining-free-agents-july-5-edition/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 11:22:46 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94515

SheridanheNot every facet of the Greek economy is in shambles. There is the small quadrant occupied by free agent Kosta Koufos, became the top free agent center on the NBA market early Saturday and was signed, by Sacramento, by the end of the night.

The fallout from the LaMarcus Aldridge signing had the ripple effect of making Koufos a very rich man.

“What’s Kosta Koufos worth?” I asked a league executive Saturday afternoon.

“Mid-level.”

“What do you think he will get?” I followed up.

“Probably $18 million from the Lakers over two years.”

200px-Vlade_Divac_croppedNope. He got $33 million over four years from the Sacramento Kings, who now have an arsenal of DeMarcus Cousins, Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein at the center position, along with Rajon Rondo as their new point guard and Marco Belinelli at the 2. Vlade Divac could be one of two things — Executive of the Year or Architect of Armageddon — depending on how George Karl handles this mix of characters.

Some business remains to be taken care of around the NBA, but for the most part the party is over. It was supposed to last eight days, but instead it lasted four.

The after-party begins today, emceed by Tristan Thompson and Enes Kanter and Lou Williams and J.R. Smith and Sim Bhullar. Neil Olshey will be the lead chaparone. Sam Hinkie is the designated driver, the sober man in the room (check out how many first-round draft picks he has coming).

According to Twitter phenomenon Bobby Marks, who was let go by the Brooklyn Nets last month after 20 years of service, these are the teams with significant cap space remaining:

Portland Trail Blazers: $24.3 million
Orlando Magic: $17.4 million
Philadelphia 76ers: $15.7 million
Indiana Pacers: $13.1 million
Utah Jazz: $9.3 million
Phoenix Suns: $6.9 million
Denver Nuggets: $6.5 million
Los Angeles Lakers $5.1 million
Detroit Pistons $3.8 million
Milwaukee Bucks: $3.7 million

JaVale McGeeThere are teams out there that are starving for size, foremost among them the Los Angeles Clippers. But there aren’t many who can man the middle.

With Koufos off the market, the other serviceable centers on the market are JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin. McGee might be double-dipping in a very large way (he is getting paid $12 million by the Sixers off his last contract, which had a year remaining when he was waived.) Beyond that there is the rogue’s gallery of Kendrick Perkins, Joel Anthony, Jeff Withey, Cole Aldrich, Henry Sims, Earl Barron, Ryan Hollins and Greg Steimsma. Not much, eh?

We began this free agency reporting process with a Top 50 list, but 32 names have already been crossed off. The developments of the first 3 1/2 days of free agency have necessitated a new list. It is an unsigned free agents list, and LeBron James is on it. But he is not falling into the No. 1 spot, because these rankings are based on relative value under current market conditions. Also, Manu Ginobili is not on it because he is wither returning to the Spurs or retiring, y nada mas. He holds the edge over Samuel Dalembert on the Retiring Or Not? list.


MEM_Koufos_Kosta1. Kosta Koufos, C, Memphis: The seven-year veteran appeared in 161 of a possible 164 games the past two seasons, averaging about 17 minutes per game behind Marc Gasol. He averaged 5.2 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 51 percent from the field. For his career, he is around 53 percent. He is 7 feet tall, 265 lbs., went to Ohio State and speaks with an American accent despite his dual American/Greek citizenship. JULY 4 UPDATE: Memphis is willing to entertain sign-and-trade offers, ESPN.com reported, stating the obvious. Of course the Grizzlies would love to get something back, but teams with big cap room don’t need to give anything back. UPDATE II: He is “on our radar,” a Lakers source tells Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times. UPDATE III: He didn’t last long. Sacramento got him for $33 million over four years.


WAS_Seraphin_Kevin2. Kevin Seraphin, C, Wizards: Probably the third-best French center in the NBA, depending on the relative merits of Alexis Ajinca. No question he is half the player that Rudy Gobert is. He averaged 21 minutes per game in the postseason, backing up Marcin Gortat. The five-year veteran had his best season in his sophomore campaign and has flatlined since. But he is 25 years old, so his long-term upside is better than the No. 3 guy on this list. JULY 4 UPDATE: His friendship with new Clipper Paul Pierce could be a factor is getting him to Los Angeles as DeAndre Jordan’s replacement, but Paul Allen’s wallet could get him to Portland as Chris Kaman’s running mate. JULY 5 UPDATE: Marc Spears of Yahoo says Lakers, Wizards, Suns and Spurs in the mix.


PHI_HS_McGee_JaVale3. JaVale McGee, C, Sixers (Unrestricted). This is a guy who was traded to Philadelphia so that Sam Hinkie could get to the salary floor. He was waived without a buyout in time to latch onto a playoff team, and no one bit. As of now, he is the highest-paid player on the Sixers’ roster for next season at $12 million, and there is no doubt he will join Josh Smith as a double-dipper (a player receiving paychecks from two teams). There is no getting away from the fact that he has underachieved throughout his career, and as a double-dipper, he may not be motivated to change. A major risk/reward guy who could go boom or bust depending on who signs him. JULY 4 UPDATE: Doc Rivers placed a phone call to McGee, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Also, George Karl likes him, so if DeMarcus Cousins gets moved, he can become a tutor to Willie Cauley-Stein and a cohort of Rajon Rondo. JULY 5 UPDATE: With the Lakers having acquired Roy Hibbert and the Kings getting Koufos, this could be a two-horse race between the Clippers and the Blazers. Then again, there are other teams with more cap space than the Clippers who could pad McGee’s bank account. 


Oklahoma City Thunder

4. Reggie Jackson, G, Detroit (Restricted): It’s hard to envision GM Stan Van Gundy allowing both Monroe and Jackson to get away in free agency. In fact, he recently said that re-signing Jackson is the team’s offseason priority. Keep in mind that Jackson forced his way out of Oklahoma City because he wanted to start and turned down a $48 million extension offer. The guess here is that Van Gundy will allow the market to set Jackson’s value before deciding to match. What he will not do is play hardball as he did with Monroe, because that would make Jackson an unrestricted free agent in 2016, when the bags of TV money show up. Remember that the Pistons still have Brandon Jennings, who is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. JULY 4 UPDATE: Meeting with Pistons scheduled for today. As Vince Ellis notes in the Detroit Free Press, the Dragic deal and the Brandon Knight deal should set the market for Jackson, who put up better numbers post-trade deadline than either of those two PGs.


Hawks

5. Lou Williams, G, Toronto (Unrestricted): Boy, that Sixth Man Award changes the picture a little, doesn’t it? Williams is coming off a mid-level deal and will want more in this contract, because (a) he has shown that the ACL tear is ancient history and (b) at 28 years old (yes, just 28; he was born the same day as Game 7 of the 1986 World Series), this will be his last chance at a contract that doesn’t include the words exception or minimum. Toronto has cap room but also has a decision on Jonas Valanciunas. Upgrading the power forward spot is job No. 1, but keeping Williams at a reasonable number is a close No. 2, especially with Greivis Vasquez dealt to Milwaukee. JULY 1 Update: One of many players linked to the Knicks, our Michael Scotto reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Heat interested, but it would take a sign-and-trade to get Williams the money he is seeking. JULY 5 UPDATE: Williams will join a gaggle of Lakers guards after he signed a three-year deal worth $21 million, per Yahoo Sports. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year joins a jam-packed backcourt that includes Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jordan Clarkson and second overall pick D’Angelo Russell.


OKC_HS_Enes_Kanter

6. Enes Kanter, F-C, Oklahoma City (Restricted): Probably the best pickup of the trade deadline, even though his awful defense in the pick-and-roll and at the rim – coupled with Serge Ibaka’s absence – made the Thunder look like an ABA team down the stretch. But Kanter’s offense is a welcome addition for a team that normally uses its centers as screeners and goons, and his effectiveness – if not his production – should be even better when lining up alongside Ibaka and Kevin Durant, whose free agency clock is ticking loudly. Now all GM Sam Presti has to do is convince skinflint owner Clay Bennett to look beneath the sofa cushions for the eight figures annually that it will take to keep Kanter, either with an offer right out of the gate or by matching another team’s pitch. That means luxury tax territory for one season until the cap jumps next summer. How OKC deals with Kanter is a direct referendum on Bennett. JULY 1 UPDATE: Portland may want a meeting, USAToday reported. JULY 2 UPDATE: Knicks made contact. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Thunder reached agreement with Kyle Singler on a five-year, $25 million deal. If they are low-balling Kanter, this thing could drag into August much like the Eric Bledsoe situation did a year ago. Or, a team such as the Lakers could make a max offer, which the Thunder would be sure to match — saving themselves some money in the process because an offer sheet would contain 4.5 percent annual raises rather than the 7.5 percent raises the bug Turk would get from re-signing directly with OKC.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day

7. LeBron James, F, Cleveland (Unrestricted): He isn’t going anywhere, which is why he is randomly slotted here. Under no circumstances will I publish rankings that have Josh Smith listed above LeBron James. The only way James doesn’t finish his career in his home state is if there is some sort of irreparable disconnect between him and owner Dan Gilbert that drives The King away. And if James went elsewhere, he would need a security force that would make President Obama blush. Depending on how you look at it, he could be first on this list or not even on it because his free agency is a formality to earn him an extra half-million dollars next season – and keep pressure on management to improve the roster.  JULY 4 UPDATE: Has not tweeted since April 18. And we still do not know what his secret motivation was in the Finals. Meantime, life is good aboard a $29 million yacht, TMZ reported.


IND_West_David

8. David West, F, Indiana Pacers (Unrestricted): He opted out of the $12.6 million he is due next season, which was a risky move given his age (35 in August) and his dropoff in scoring over the last two years. His toughness is always a welcome commodity, but his midrange game is a funky fit in today’s NBA. One factor could be the direction Indiana takes going forward and whether West sees title contention in his future. Remember, he correctly picked the Pacers over the Celtics for that same reason four years ago. JULY 1 UPDATE: Appears to be a fallback option for Knicks, ESPN.com reported — and then was exposed as bunk. West said the Knicks don’t fit in with his plans to contend for a title with his new team. Willing to take less money to go to Spurs or Warriors. And upset with Lafry Bird for publicly dissing Roy Hibbert by pleading with the center to opt out of his contract. JULY 2 UPDATE: West is expected to land with either the Spurs or Wizards, ESPN reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Wizards used their bi-annual exception on Gary Neal, keeping their mid-level for West. With the loss of DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers reportedly have interest in West, ESPN reports. JULY 4 UPDATE: West has “huge” interest in playing for Cavs, according to Indianapolis Star.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day

9. Tristan Thompson, F, Cleveland (Restricted): He turned down a four-year, $52 million contract extension in October, which may or may not have been a mistake. Counting all options and qualifying offers, the Cavs already are on the hook for over $100 million in salaries next season. It’s hard to imagine GM David Griffin maxing out Love and giving $13 million annually to Thompson, who threatens a double-double every night and more than adequately replaced Love in the rotation during the latter stages of the playoffs.Griffin could allow another team to set the market or simply play a little hardball, which would make Thompson unrestricted in 2016. That might be a mistake, too, given that Thompson and LeBron James share the same agent, Rich Paul. JULY 1 UPDATE: Safe to say he made the right move turning down that $52 million extension offer in October. The Cavaliers and Thompson reportedy agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal. JULY 2 UPDATE: Thompson and the Cavs “are still apart” on contract talks, Brian Windhorst tweeted. But it’s almost certain he’ll return to Cleveland.


Rodney Stuckey headshot10. Rodney Stuckey, G, Indiana (Unrestricted): Has he finally added a 3-pointer to his arsenal? Stuckey shot .390 from distance this season, which is 73 percentage points better than his previous best. If that number isn’t an outlier, Stuckey is worth way more than the $1.23 million the Pacers stole him for last summer and may be worth more than the $8 million former Pistons GM Joe Dumars paid him. Again, there are plenty of teams that could use an upgrade at shooting guard, and Stuckey has the added bonus of being a better ballhandler that most of them. He is looking to latch on to a contender but hasn’t ruled out returning to the Pacers. JULY 1 UPDATE: Six teams have reached out to Stuckey since the start of free agency. JULY 3 UPDATE: Interest between Cavs and Stuckey is “mutual,” ClevelandPlainDealer reports. JULY 5 UPDATE: Even the power of LeBron could not persuade Stuckey to leave Indiana. Stuckey and the Pacers agreed to a three-year contract worth $21 million, according to RealGM. Our Michael Scotto says the third year is a player option.


ATL_Smith_Josh

11. Josh Smith, F, Houston Rockets (Unrestricted): After being made the scapegoat – unfairly or not – in both Atlanta and Detroit, you get the sense that he has found some peace in Houston alongside former AAU teammate Dwight Howard, even if their series against Golden State did not exactly go as planned. Don’t forget that the Pistons are paying him over $5 million in each of the next five seasons, which makes taking less money for a smaller role with a contender much more palatable. If he stays with the Rockets, his salary should be directly commensurate with Houston’s playoff success this postseason. If logic flies out the window the way it did when he signed with Detroit, anything is possible. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Kings reportedly began discussions with Smith, according to Jake Fischer. That report was later said to be false.


CLE_Smith_JR

12. J.R. Smith, G, Cleveland (Unrestricted): When we first published this summer’s rankings, we wrote this: “He would be crazy to opt out, given his $6.4 million number for next season, the Cavs’ preoccupation with retaining Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, and the fact that the light bulb is never really going to come on.” So much for expecting Smith to do the sane thing. While a half-season alongside LeBron James seemed to calm him down a bit, his two-game playoff suspension proved that he is a cheetah who isn’t changing his spots. He has had his moments in the playoffs, especially in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta, but he is the epitome of a faulty faucet — nobody runs more hot and cold. He would have been much better off minding his P’s and Q’s for another season and hitting a fertile market next summer. JULY 2 UPDATE: With Iman Shumpert getting $40 million for four years, how high will Dan Gilbert allow his luxury tax bill to climb? That will be a factor in whether Smith stays or goes.


Los Angeles Lakers Media Day

13. Jordan Hill, F-C, LA Lakers (Unrestricted): Someone had to score and rebound for the Lakers, and Hill did his share with career highs of 12.0 points and 7.9 boards in 26.8 minutes, primarily as a starter. While that clearly is not his long-term role, he could play into his mid-30s as a team’s fourth big. The Lakers declined the $9 million option on Hill for 2015-16 to create more cap room, and turning Hill loose would allow GM Mitch Kupchak to possibly make a run at two top-tier free agents, although not both at max salaries. JULY 3 UPDATE: A fallback guy for Lakers and Mavs if they lose out on Aldridge/Jordan.


DAL_HS_Stoudemire_Amare

14. Amar’e Stoudemire, F-C, Dallas (Unrestricted): His days as a starter or even a 30-minute player in this league are over. But you could see the bounce in his step return after arriving in Dallas. Maybe Stoudemire was just happy to get out of New York, where he did more good than title-hungry Knicks fans gave him credit for. Or maybe it was because the Mavericks reduced his minutes by 33 percent and brought him off the bench, where his scoring savvy obliterated opposing reserves and his limited lateral movement wasn’t as much of a liability. With a similar role moving forward, there’s no reason to believe he cannot be an effective backup big for three or four more years at the mid-level exception. JULY 2 UPDATE: Stoudemire has received interest from the Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers and Suns, ESPN reports. JULY 4 UPDATE: Interest coming from Lakers, who missed out on Jordan and Aldridge. JULY 5 UPDATE: Stoudemire will meet with the Clippers today, Yahoo reports.


Barea15. J.J. Barea, Mavericks (Unrestricted): You may have noticed this list is chock full of Mavericks. And here are a bunch (not including Monta Ellis) who could be heading back to Big D if Mark Cuban strikes out on his big targets. (Note to Cuban: Is DeAndre Jordan really twice the player that Tyson Chandler is? Because he is going to cost twice as much money.) Barea is the original Delly, a guy who has gotten it done in the playoffs (and in FIBA competitions) without ever having been considered a must-have player. But when there is a guy who is beloved in the locker room and can play mistake-free ball (Barea is much better at this than Dellavedova), he has value. He made only $1.3 million last season, less than Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva, and is looking to double that in a multi-year deal. He will be a smart pickup for a contender. JULY 1 UPDATE: Barea is leaning towards signing with the Miami Heat, David Aldridge reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Barea is reportedly working out details on a deal with the Mavericks, David Aldridge reports.


The Next Five: Mirza Teletovic, Nets (restricted); Aaron Brooks, Bulls (unrestricted); Darrell Arthur, Nuggets (unrestricted); Matthew Dellavedova, Cavs; (Restricted); Miroslav Radulica, Timberwolves (unrestricted).

MORE: THE TOP 50 FREE AGENTS

Chris Sheridan is the publisher of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Tweet of the Night: LaMarcus Aldridge will be a Spur http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/05/tweet-of-the-night-lamarcus-aldridge-will-be-a-spur/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/05/tweet-of-the-night-lamarcus-aldridge-will-be-a-spur/#respond Sun, 05 Jul 2015 09:31:10 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94512

Looking back, it was really the most likely outcome. Once LaMarcus Aldridge made up his mind to leave Portland, joining the Spurs made more sense than any other option. There’s no better coach in the game than Gregg Popovich, he’ll return to his home state, and he’ll have a chance to be the first option on a team with a genuine chance to win a ring.

Still, there were enough twists and turns in the proceedings, including the Lakers’ farcical pitch meeting and the Suns’ left-field pursuit, to keep it interesting before we wound up right where pretty much everyone thought we would.

Saturday morning, Aldridge tweeted this:

As you’d expect, his new teammates quickly welcomed him aboard:

While the Spurs should be deadly next year, spare a thought for Damian Lillard, who has now seen the other four Blazers starters from last year depart, as well as his backup, Steve Blake. I don’t want to declare Portland’s run over, but losing Aldridge, Nic Batum, Wes Matthews, and Robin Lopez isn’t the sort of thing normal teams bounce back from.

Of course, Lillard isn’t the type to let anything get to him.

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4 new ways to wear compression gear outside of the gym http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/04/4-new-ways-to-wear-compression-gear-outside-of-the-gym/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/04/4-new-ways-to-wear-compression-gear-outside-of-the-gym/#respond Sun, 05 Jul 2015 03:49:20 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94214

Compression gear may be tight on your body and expensive, but the science and technology behind them make them a must for every serious athlete. They make you look a lot better, too.

But compression gear doesn’t have to only be confined to the gym. There are benefits to wearing them even before you work out, when you sleep, when you travel and even during water sports like swimming or water polo.

To find more about the many benefits compression gear can provide even outside of a traditional workout setting, visit the Dick’s Sporting Goods blog.

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Sheridan’s Top 15 Remaining NBA Free Agents http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/04/sheridans-top-15-remaining-nba-free-agents/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/04/sheridans-top-15-remaining-nba-free-agents/#respond Sun, 05 Jul 2015 00:04:39 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=94482

SheridanheNot every facet of the Greek economy is in shambles. There is the small quadrant occupied by free agent Kosta Koufos, who just became the top free agent center in the NBA market.

The fallout from the LaMarcus Aldridge signing has the ripple effect of setting Koufos up to become a very rich man.

“What’s Kosta Koufos worth?” I asked a league executive this afternoon.

“Mid-level.”

“What do you think he will get?” I followed up.

“Probably $18 million from the Lakers over two years.”

The other serviceable centers on the market are JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin. McGee might be double-dipping in a very large way (he is getting paid $12 million by the Sixers off his last contract, which had a year remaining when he was waived.) Beyond that there is the rogue’s gallery of Kendrick Perkins, Joel Anthony, Jeff Withey, Cole Aldrich, Henry Sims, Earl Barron, Ryan Hollins and Greg Steimsma. Not much, eh?

We began this free agency reporting process with a Top 50 list, but 32 names have already been crossed off. The developments of the first 3 1/2 days of free agency have necessitated a new list. It is an unsigned free agents list, and LeBron James is on it. But he is not falling into the No. 1 spot, because these rankings are based on relative value under current market conditions.


MEM_Koufos_Kosta1. Kosta Koufos, C, Memphis: The seven-year veteran appeared in 161 of a possible 164 games the past two seasons, averaging about 17 minutes per game behind Marc Gasol. He averaged 5.2 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 51 percent from the field. For his career, he is around 53 percent. He is 7 feet tall, 265 lbs., went to Ohio State and speaks with an American accent despite his dual American/Greek citizenship. JULY 4 UPDATE: Memphis is willing to entertain sign-and-trade offers, ESPN.com reported, stating the obvious. Of course the Grizzlies would love to get something back, but teams with big cap room don’t need to give anything back. UPDATE II: He is “on our radar,” a Lakers source tells Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times.


WAS_Seraphin_Kevin2. Kevin Seraphin, C, Wizards: Probably the third-best French center in the NBA, depending on the relative merits of Alexis Ajinca. No question he is half the player that Rudy Gobert is. He averaged 21 minutes per game in the postseason, backing up Marcin Gortat. The five-year veteran had his best season in his sophomore campaign and has flatlined since. But he is 25 years old, so his long-term upside is better than the No. 3 guy on this list. JULY 4 UPDATE: His friendship with new Clipper Paul Pierce could be a factor is getting him to Los Angeles as DeAndre Jordan’s replacement, but Paul Allen’s wallet could get him to Portland as Chris Kaman’s running mate. 


PHI_HS_McGee_JaVale3. JaVale McGee, C, Sixers (Unrestricted). This is a guy who was traded to Philadelphia so that Sam Hinkie could get to the salary floor. He was waived without a buyout in time to latch onto a playoff team, and no one bit. As of now, he is the highest-paid player on the Sixers’ roster for next season at $12 million, and there is no doubt he will join Josh Smith as a double-dipper (a player receiving paychecks from two teams). There is no getting away from the fact that he has underachieved throughout his career, and as a double-dipper, he may not be motivated to change. A major risk/reward guy who could go boom or bust depending on who signs him. JULY 4 UPDATE: Doc Rivers placed a phone call to McGee, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Also, George Karl likes him, so if DeMarcus Cousins gets moved, he can become a tutor to Willie Cauley-Stein and a cohort of Rajon Rondo.


Oklahoma City Thunder

4. Reggie Jackson, G, Detroit (Restricted): It’s hard to envision GM Stan Van Gundy allowing both Monroe and Jackson to get away in free agency. In fact, he recently said that re-signing Jackson is the team’s offseason priority. Keep in mind that Jackson forced his way out of Oklahoma City because he wanted to start and turned down a $48 million extension offer. The guess here is that Van Gundy will allow the market to set Jackson’s value before deciding to match. What he will not do is play hardball as he did with Monroe, because that would make Jackson an unrestricted free agent in 2016, when the bags of TV money show up. Remember that the Pistons still have Brandon Jennings, who is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. JULY 4 UPDATE: Meeting with Pistons scheduled for today. As Vince Ellis notes in the Detroit Free Press, the Dragic deal and the Brandon Knight deal should set the market for Jackson, who put up better numbers post-trade deadline than either of those two PGs.


Hawks

5. Lou Williams, G, Toronto (Unrestricted): Boy, that Sixth Man Award changes the picture a little, doesn’t it? Williams is coming off a mid-level deal and will want more in this contract, because (a) he has shown that the ACL tear is ancient history and (b) at 28 years old (yes, just 28; he was born the same day as Game 7 of the 1986 World Series), this will be his last chance at a contract that doesn’t include the words exception or minimum. Toronto has cap room but also has a decision on Jonas Valanciunas. Upgrading the power forward spot is job No. 1, but keeping Williams at a reasonable number is a close No. 2, especially with Greivis Vasquez dealt to Milwaukee. JULY 1 Update: One of many players linked to the Knicks, our Michael Scotto reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Heat interested, but it would take a sign-and-trade to get Williams the money he is seeking.


OKC_HS_Enes_Kanter

6. Enes Kanter, F-C, Oklahoma City (Restricted): Probably the best pickup of the trade deadline, even though his awful defense in the pick-and-roll and at the rim – coupled with Serge Ibaka’s absence – made the Thunder look like an ABA team down the stretch. But Kanter’s offense is a welcome addition for a team that normally uses its centers as screeners and goons, and his effectiveness – if not his production – should be even better when lining up alongside Ibaka and Kevin Durant, whose free agency clock is ticking loudly. Now all GM Sam Presti has to do is convince skinflint owner Clay Bennett to look beneath the sofa cushions for the eight figures annually that it will take to keep Kanter, either with an offer right out of the gate or by matching another team’s pitch. That means luxury tax territory for one season until the cap jumps next summer. How OKC deals with Kanter is a direct referendum on Bennett. JULY 1 UPDATE: Portland may want a meeting, USAToday reported. JULY 2 UPDATE: Knicks made contact. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Thunder reached agreement with Kyle Singler on a five-year, $25 million deal. If they are low-balling Kanter, this thing could drag into August much like the Eric Bledsoe situation did a year ago. Or, a team such as the Lakers could make a max offer, which the Thunder would be sure to match — saving themselves some money in the process because an offer sheet would contain 4.5 percent annual raises rather than the 7.5 percent raises the bug Turk would get from re-signing directly with OKC.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day

7. LeBron James, F, Cleveland (Unrestricted): He isn’t going anywhere, which is why he is randomly slotted here. Under no circumstances will I publish rankings that have Josh Smith listed above LeBron James. The only way James doesn’t finish his career in his home state is if there is some sort of irreparable disconnect between him and owner Dan Gilbert that drives The King away. And if James went elsewhere, he would need a security force that would make President Obama blush. Depending on how you look at it, he could be first on this list or not even on it because his free agency is a formality to earn him an extra half-million dollars next season – and keep pressure on management to improve the roster.  JULY 4 UPDATE: Has not tweeted since April 18. And we still do not know what his secret motivation was in the Finals. Meantime, life is good aboard a $29 million yacht, TMZ reported.


IND_West_David

8. David West, F, Indiana Pacers (Unrestricted): He opted out of the $12.6 million he is due next season, which was a risky move given his age (35 in August) and his dropoff in scoring over the last two years. His toughness is always a welcome commodity, but his midrange game is a funky fit in today’s NBA. One factor could be the direction Indiana takes going forward and whether West sees title contention in his future. Remember, he correctly picked the Pacers over the Celtics for that same reason four years ago. JULY 1 UPDATE: Appears to be a fallback option for Knicks, ESPN.com reported — and then was exposed as bunk. West said the Knicks don’t fit in with his plans to contend for a title with his new team. Willing to take less money to go to Spurs or Warriors. And upset with Lafry Bird for publicly dissing Roy Hibbert by pleading with the center to opt out of his contract. JULY 2 UPDATE: West is expected to land with either the Spurs or Wizards, ESPN reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Wizards used their bi-annual exception on Gary Neal, keeping their mid-level for West. With the loss of DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers reportedly have interest in West, ESPN reports. JULY 4 UPDATE: West has “huge” interest in playing for Cavs, according to Indianapolis Star.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day

9. Tristan Thompson, F, Cleveland (Restricted): He turned down a four-year, $52 million contract extension in October, which may or may not have been a mistake. Counting all options and qualifying offers, the Cavs already are on the hook for over $100 million in salaries next season. It’s hard to imagine GM David Griffin maxing out Love and giving $13 million annually to Thompson, who threatens a double-double every night and more than adequately replaced Love in the rotation during the latter stages of the playoffs.Griffin could allow another team to set the market or simply play a little hardball, which would make Thompson unrestricted in 2016. That might be a mistake, too, given that Thompson and LeBron James share the same agent, Rich Paul. JULY 1 UPDATE: Safe to say he made the right move turning down that $52 million extension offer in October. The Cavaliers and Thompson reportedy agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal. JULY 2 UPDATE: Thompson and the Cavs “are still apart” on contract talks, Brian Windhorst tweeted. But it’s almost certain he’ll return to Cleveland.


Rodney Stuckey headshot10. Rodney Stuckey, G, Indiana (Unrestricted): Has he finally added a 3-pointer to his arsenal? Stuckey shot .390 from distance this season, which is 73 percentage points better than his previous best. If that number isn’t an outlier, Stuckey is worth way more than the $1.23 million the Pacers stole him for last summer and may be worth more than the $8 million former Pistons GM Joe Dumars paid him. Again, there are plenty of teams that could use an upgrade at shooting guard, and Stuckey has the added bonus of being a better ballhandler that most of them. He is looking to latch on to a contender but hasn’t ruled out returning to the Pacers. JULY 1 UPDATE: Six teams have reached out to Stuckey since the start of free agency. JULY 3 UPDATE: Interest between Cavs and Stuckey is “mutual,” ClevelandPlainDealer reports.


ATL_Smith_Josh

11. Josh Smith, F, Houston Rockets (Unrestricted): After being made the scapegoat – unfairly or not – in both Atlanta and Detroit, you get the sense that he has found some peace in Houston alongside former AAU teammate Dwight Howard, even if their series against Golden State did not exactly go as planned. Don’t forget that the Pistons are paying him over $5 million in each of the next five seasons, which makes taking less money for a smaller role with a contender much more palatable. If he stays with the Rockets, his salary should be directly commensurate with Houston’s playoff success this postseason. If logic flies out the window the way it did when he signed with Detroit, anything is possible. JULY 3 UPDATE: The Kings reportedly began discussions with Smith, according to Jake Fischer. That report was later said to be false.


CLE_Smith_JR

12. J.R. Smith, G, Cleveland (Unrestricted): When we first published this summer’s rankings, we wrote this: “He would be crazy to opt out, given his $6.4 million number for next season, the Cavs’ preoccupation with retaining Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, and the fact that the light bulb is never really going to come on.” So much for expecting Smith to do the sane thing. While a half-season alongside LeBron James seemed to calm him down a bit, his two-game playoff suspension proved that he is a cheetah who isn’t changing his spots. He has had his moments in the playoffs, especially in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta, but he is the epitome of a faulty faucet — nobody runs more hot and cold. He would have been much better off minding his P’s and Q’s for another season and hitting a fertile market next summer. JULY 2 UPDATE: With Iman Shumpert getting $40 million for four years, how high will Dan Gilbert allow his luxury tax bill to climb? That will be a factor in whether Smith stays or goes.


Los Angeles Lakers Media Day

13. Jordan Hill, F-C, LA Lakers (Unrestricted): Someone had to score and rebound for the Lakers, and Hill did his share with career highs of 12.0 points and 7.9 boards in 26.8 minutes, primarily as a starter. While that clearly is not his long-term role, he could play into his mid-30s as a team’s fourth big. The Lakers declined the $9 million option on Hill for 2015-16 to create more cap room, and turning Hill loose would allow GM Mitch Kupchak to possibly make a run at two top-tier free agents, although not both at max salaries. JULY 3 UPDATE: A fallback guy for Lakers and Mavs if they lose out on Aldridge/Jordan.


DAL_HS_Stoudemire_Amare

14. Amar’e Stoudemire, F-C, Dallas (Unrestricted): His days as a starter or even a 30-minute player in this league are over. But you could see the bounce in his step return after arriving in Dallas. Maybe Stoudemire was just happy to get out of New York, where he did more good than title-hungry Knicks fans gave him credit for. Or maybe it was because the Mavericks reduced his minutes by 33 percent and brought him off the bench, where his scoring savvy obliterated opposing reserves and his limited lateral movement wasn’t as much of a liability. With a similar role moving forward, there’s no reason to believe he cannot be an effective backup big for three or four more years at the mid-level exception. JULY 2 UPDATE: Stoudemire has received interest from the Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers and Suns, ESPN reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Interest also coming from Lakers, who appear as though they will miss out on Jordan and Aldridge.


Barea15. J.J. Barea, Mavericks (Unrestricted): You may have noticed this list is chock full of Mavericks. And here are a bunch (not including Monta Ellis) who could be heading back to Big D if Mark Cuban strikes out on his big targets. (Note to Cuban: Is DeAndre Jordan really twice the player that Tyson Chandler is? Because he is going to cost twice as much money.) Barea is the original Delly, a guy who has gotten it done in the playoffs (and in FIBA competitions) without ever having been considered a must-have player. But when there is a guy who is beloved in the locker room and can play mistake-free ball (Barea is much better at this than Dellavedova), he has value. He made only $1.3 million last season, less than Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva, and is looking to double that in a multi-year deal. He will be a smart pickup for a contender. JULY 1 UPDATE: Barea is leaning towards signing with the Miami Heat, David Aldridge reports. JULY 3 UPDATE: Barea is reportedly working out details on a deal with the Mavericks, David Aldridge reports.


The Next Five: Mirza Teletovic, Nets (restricted); Aaron Brooks, Bulls (unrestricted); Darrell Arthur, Nuggets (unrestricted); Matthew Dellavedova, Cavs; (Restricted); Miroslav Radulica, Timberwolves (unrestricted).

MORE: THE TOP 50 FREE AGENTS

Chris Sheridan is the publisher of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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