Sheridan Hoops http://www.sheridanhoops.com Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:49:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Sheridan: Midsummer Report Cards — Pacific Division http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/29/sheridan-midsummer-report-cards-pacific-division/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/29/sheridan-midsummer-report-cards-pacific-division/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:49:01 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95462

ChrisHEadshot5Not too long ago, you could make the case that Rajon Rondo was the best point guard in the NBA. At the current moment, you could make the argument that DeMarcus Cousins is the best center in the NBA. And as far as pure scorers go, it is not a reach to say that Rudy Gay is in the top 10.

Oh, and George Karl is a very good coach. Not many would dispute that.

All of those guys are now members of the Sacramento Kings, which would lead one to believe that Vivek Ranadive’s team should be considered a legit contender in the Western Conference. Not only do they have Cousins, Gay, Rondo and Karl, they added Marco Belinelli, Kosta Koufos, Quincy Acy and Caron Butler in free agency, and they drafted Willie Cauley-Stein.

Not a bad haul.

RanadiveDivacBut if you start searching online sportsbooks on the Web, it is somewhat surprising to see the Kings listed as the least likely team to win the Western Conference, sitting at odds of 2000-1, for example, at the top sports book in Antigua and Barbuda.

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Fantasy Spin: Baseball DFS Action Early & Late; Kershaw Costly http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/29/fantasy-spin-baseball-dfs-action-early-kershaw-costly/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/29/fantasy-spin-baseball-dfs-action-early-kershaw-costly/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:10:42 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95463

KentA full slate of 15 MLB games starts just after noon Eastern. Early contests at DraftKings close at 12:10, featuring excellent pitching in six games. “King” Felix Hernandez $11200 gets the call over Chris Archer $11300 and Francisco Liriano $10300 as my #1 SP. Recently-improved Justin Verlander $7200 might even duel with Archer at a much better price.

Late play on Wednesday is equally interesting, with Clayton Kershaw $15000 and Masahiro Tanaka $10200 tilting the salary scale. John Lackey $8600 is decent value and although it’s hard to beat Tanaka, Colby Lewis $7600 was very sharp in his last two.

We’re focused on the 9-game evening contests at 7:05, where Tyson Ross $10800 joins Kershaw and Tanaka as an elite SP, and Chris Tillman $6000 might be a bargain. Other affordable risk/reward options to pair with the Dodgers’ ace include Doug Fister $5500, Rick Porcello $6100 and Anthony DeSclafani $6400.

Plays of the Day

New to DK? Your first deposit earns a FREE entry into the Early $60K Moonshot, with 4,625 guaranteed cash prizes — $4,000 for first — and a maximum of 22,988 teams. It’s a $3 buy-in, multiple teams are allowed and it closes at 12:10. Or wait for the $110K Moonshot at 7:10 — $10,000 to the winner, 8,421 teams out of 42,146 earn cash.

Wrong about many things last night, we still turned a profit with consolation prizes — thanks, Sonny Gray! The anticipated 13-12 game in Toronto ended up 3-2, while others were unexpected slugfests: the Yankees scored three touchdowns in a 21-5 rout of Texas. I think the Jays bats will wake up tonight against journeyman Jerome Williams $4000. Not as keen on the Phillies, as R.A. Dickey $6500 might have the knuckler dancing if the roof stays open; it’s ridiculously hot and humid today here in the T-Dot.

lineup-7-29The Kershaw conundrum — use him and skimp on bats, or try to find bargain arms — dominates DFS strategy. Over his last three starts, he’s spun two complete games, 26 scoreless innings, allowed just 14 hits, walked nobody and and whiffed 38 helpless batters.

Russell Martin $4500 is the #1 C if you don’t pay for Kershaw. I’m going cheap with Ryan Hanigan $2700 or Tyler Flowers $2500 as the White and Red Sox have combined for 31 runs in the last two nights.

Jose Abreu $4600 went 3-for-5 with a dinger on Tuesday, while Chris Davis $4200 crushed a pair of homers, driving in five. 1B/3B Ryan Zimmerman $3300 had a single and double in his first game back.

We often recommend Kolten Wong $4100 at 2B and the salary is fair. 2B/3B Anthony Rendon $3400 returned early from a quad injury and is “only” 2-for-8 through four games: rusty vs. A.J. Burnett, pinch single, day off and last night’s 1-for-3 off Jose Fernandez plus two walks from relievers. Avoid Devon Travis (shoulder) and consider ultra-cheap 2B/SS Ryan Goins $2200 a new Jays’ regular.

Josh Donaldson $5200 disappointed last night, but scorching-hot Alex Rodriguez $5000 had two more hits and three walks. 2B/3B Martin Prado $2900, one of several players prominent in trade rumors, is playable if he’s still a Marlin at 7:10. I like Zimmerman here.

New Toronto SS Troy Tulowitzki $4100 is not expected to play; that would be a wonderful price tomorrow. Carlos Correa $4400 is simply unbelievable — 3-for-4 with a HR last night in an amazing season for any rookie, historic for a 20-year-old. Didi Gregorius $3100 has been slashing line drives into gaps recently; one of them even left the yard.

Bryce Harper $5500 deserves the lofty salary and is due for a big night. Jacoby Ellsbury $4400 and Brett Gardner $4900 are batting 1-2 in a potent lineup; Gardner reached base six times, scored five runs and homered for 38 PTS. Jose Bautista $5300 says it was only a cramp and he’ll play, but I’ll pass. Spin fave Melky Cabrera $3800 did not get two more hits on Tuesday; he went 4-for-5, three for extra bases. Back from two months on the DL, Jayson Werth $3600 is the 3-hitter in a suddenly potent Nats top five. Christian Yelich $3500 and Colby Rasmus $3100 are possibilities and if Chris Young $3000 earned another start with that monster game, he’s worth considering.

Pos Premium Bargain
SP1 Clayton Kershaw $15000 R.A. Dickey $6500
SP2 Masahiro Tanaka $10200 Chris Tillman $6000
C Russell Martin $4500 Ryan Hanigan $2700
1B Jose Abreu $4600 Chris Davis $4200
2B Kolten Wong $4100 Anthony Rendon $3400
3B Alex Rodriguez $5000 Ryan Zimmerman $3300
SS Carlos Correa $4400 Didi Gregorius $3100
OF1 Brett Gardner $4900 Christian Yelich $3500
OF2 Bryce Harper $5500 Jayson Werth $3600
OF3 Melky Cabrera $3800 Chris Young $3000

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

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Tweet of the Night: LeBron James lists most difficult teams to defend, names favorite teammates, says Thompson will re-sign and more in Q & A session http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/tweet-of-the-night-lebron-james-lists-most-difficult-teams-to-defend-names-favorite-teammates-says-thompson-will-re-sign-and-more-in-q-a-session/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/tweet-of-the-night-lebron-james-lists-most-difficult-teams-to-defend-names-favorite-teammates-says-thompson-will-re-sign-and-more-in-q-a-session/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:59:58 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95459

LeBron-JawParkIt had been a long summer  so far for LeBron James, who came so close but failed to capitalize on winning a championship for the second consecutive year after making it to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight time.

Making it to the Finals that many times in a row is impressive enough, given that the last player to do so was a legend named Bill Russell. Still, it was obvious that James was hurting badly after losing to the Golden State Warriors 4-2, openly admitted that he was trying to recover from it, and didn’t use twitter again until about mid-July – nearly a month after his final game of the playoffs.

He seems to be doing okay now, though, with all the extracurricular stuff that has been going on in his life, and decided to give his followers some attention on Tuesday. James answered a plethora of noteworthy questions, as you’ll see below:

 

This was a fantastic Q & A session by the King and hopefully, more superstars will follow suit because a simple reply to a tweet by someone of James’ stature can make a world of difference for fans around the world. Steven Ramirez probably shouldn’t hold his breath on that money/car promise, though.

Jim Park is a blogger and editor of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.

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The Basketball Tournament Enters The Home Stretch, Four Teams Remain For $1 Million Prize http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/the-basketball-tournament-enters-the-home-stretch-four-teams-remain-for-1-million-prize/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/the-basketball-tournament-enters-the-home-stretch-four-teams-remain-for-1-million-prize/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2015 01:08:44 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95456

A new champion will be crowned in the second annual Basketball Tournament.

The 97-team field is down to four, and the defending champs are not amongst the remaining squads. City of Gods, Team 23, Overseas Elite and The Ants Alumni all emerged from a weekend field of 17 that squared off on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago over the weekend to punch their tickets to New York City for the semifinals and finals of the $1 million, winner-take-all tourney.

The semifinals will take place on Saturday, August 1, before the finals commence the following day, with all games scheduled to be played at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Gymnasium. Tickets start at $20 and rise to $100 for courtside seats for the semifinals, and $200 for the same seats during the championship game.

City of Gods knocked off Boeheim’s Army, one of the tournament’s favorites, to deny New York City an area representative in the Final Four and thwart Orangeman coach Jim Boeheim’s hopes of watching a team largely composed of his former players play for the title.

In registering their 80-76 Elite Eight win, City of Gods converted seven three-pointers in the second half, not to mention while holding off a furious charge from their opponents. Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Devin Sweetney each netted 16 points in the effort to pace the victors.

In perhaps the stunner of the tournament, Ants Alumni paved the way for their New York City excursion by first knocking off the defending champion Fighting Alumni of Notre Dame, 89-84, in overtime behind Sadiel Rojas’ 20 points and 10 rebounds. Largely comprised of players from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants’ 2014 D-League championship-winning team, the Ants then downed high-scoring Armored Athlete, 76-72, behind Anthony Harris’ 14 point and steady contributions from the likes Stephen Graham, Trey McKinney-Jones, Tommy Smith and Ron Howard.

Overseas Elite advanced by holding off Dirty South behind a dominant 24-point, 18-rebound performance from former St. John’s star D.J. Kennedy. In pacing Elite to the tournament’s fifth win by ten points or less in less than 72 hours, Kennedy shot 8-of-15 to help his team overcome its dismal 31-percent overall shooting.

Elite dressed just six players for their quarterfinal victory, leaving point guard Myck Kabongo more convinced than ever they’ll be even stronger once they make it to New York.

“We’ll be at full strength in New York,” he said.  “And, we’ll be ready to go.”

Finally, 13th-seeded Team 23 from the West Region, the unlikeliest team left in the field, forced LAUNFD into 24 turnovers and held them to just 38 percent shooting in racing to a 77-56 quarterfinal round victory.

LAUNFD turned the ball over 24 times, and Team 23 tallied a whopping 14 steals as a result.

Augustine Okosun and Davin White led the way for the winners with 18 points each.

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Sheridan: Midsummer Report Cards — Southwest Division http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/sheridan-midsummer-report-cards-southwest-division/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/sheridan-midsummer-report-cards-southwest-division/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95397

ChrisHEadshot5No division in the NBA was more competitive last season than the Southwest. Every team made the playoffs, and the division champion was not decided until the final night of the season.

Now, with the summer signing season all but complete, the division appears as though it will be as competitive in the upcoming season as it was in 2014-15.

The San Antonio Spurs have added LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, the Houston Rockets have added Ty Lawson, the New Orleans Pelicans have maxed out Anthony Davis, the Memphis Grizzlies have added a couple of glue guys in Matt Barnes and Brandan Wright, and the Dallas Mavericks have added Samuel Dalembert.

OK, cheap shot right there. Guilty as charged. But if we can’t have a little fun at the expense of Mark Cuban and the Haitian Sensation, we’re all taking things a little too seriously.

Dalembert DallasOf course, Dalembert was not in the Mavs’ plans way back when the Fourth of July weekend was playing out and Cuban had received a verbal commitment from DeAndre Jordan to go with the one he got from Wes Matthews. But we all know what happened from there — Jordan changing his mind at the 11th hour and deciding to return to the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving Dallas scrambling and Cuban at Level 12 on the pissed off scale.

The Mavs will still be a good team with Matthews replacing Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki returning as he begins the final decade of his career, and Deron Williams stepping in as the new starting point guard.

But being a good team is a relative term in the West, where Oklahoma City should be back in the playoffs if Kevin Durant returns healthy, and where the Sacramento Kings have upgraded both their talent base and their potential dysfunction dynamic by bringing in Rajon Rondo and deciding against trading DeMarcus Cousins, believing the coach sometimes known as Furious George can pull off the most stunning kumbaya moment in league history.

It just doesn’t seem fair that the West can be so ultracompetitive while the East can be so blah, but this has been the trend for so long that it really is no longer a trend. It is what it is, and you can be rest assured that at least two good teams are going to be sitting in the same draft lottery room where Sam Presti was forced to be locked away last May.

Will any of those outliers come from the Southwest?

Well, when looking at the odds on the top eight teams and their chances of winning the West, five of those eight teams are from the Southwest. (Vegas is not sold on the Kings, BTW. They have the longest odds of any Western Conference team at 175-1.) So that is a pretty good indicator that what we saw last season is what we will see this season, to a certain degree.

With that in mind, let’s hand out some grades for each of Southwest teams’ offseason moves. We’ll handle it alphabetically:

mavs small logoDALLAS MAVERICKS: While the Jordan histrionics stole all of the headlines, the Matthews signing and Ellis’ departure were not as closely scrutinized. Say what you want about Ellis’ shot selection, but the guy did lead the Mavs in scoring last season, and he’s being replaced by a player who is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. Those do not heal easily, as Kobe Bryant can attest. Team doctors told Cuban that Matthews will be ready for the season opener, but Cuban added, “my doctors change their minds.” Don’t they all? “You haven’t seen guys who have just fallen apart in the last few years [after Achilles surgeries],” Cuban said. “Fifteen years ago, yes, but that really hasn’t been the case, and all I can do is listen to our doctors, and our doctors seem to think he’ll be back to form.” The scrap heap yielded Zaza Pachulia and Dalembert, and JaVale McGee remains a possibility. All in all, what looked like an unmitigated disaster on July 9 has been somewhat mitigated. Grade: B.

(RELATED: MAVERICKS SALARY CAP SITUATION AND ANALYSIS)

rockets small logoHOUSTON ROCKETS: There is no doubt that Ty Lawson is going to have to sit out a sizeable portion of the season because of his two DWI arrests. If you drink and drive and get caught and come to some sort of closure in court, the NBA suspends you. So at some point in the upcoming season, Patrick Beverley is going to be doing quite a bit of heavy lifting. But having a guy like Lawson around for the playoffs is why GM Daryl Morey acquired the speedy point guard from the Denver Nuggets, and there is no discounting how much that could mean. James Harden could not outscore the Golden State Warriors by himself in last season’s Western Conference finals, and Lawson can help. So, too, can draft picks Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell, and Morey also made two more smart re-signings with Corey Brewer and K.J. McDaniels. This is a damn good team. Grade: A.

(RELATED: ROCKETS SALARY CAP SITUATION AND ANALYSIS)

grizzlies small logoMEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: You can grit and grind and grit and grind all you want, but at a certain point you have to make a 3-point shot — despite what Phil Jackson might think. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves (5.0 per game) made fewer 3-pointers per night than the Grizzlies (5.2), and Matt Barnes is not going to change that equation very much. That being said, Barnes is a nice option to have when opposing defenses are sagging off Tony Allen to such a degree that Allen needs to come out. Wright is a nice pickup who has been let go by too many stupid teams, and let’s not forget that they did re-sign the guy who was ranked No. 1 on our original Top 50 Free Agents list — Marc Gasol. Definitely a playoff team, but definitely a playoff team that can be outscored by just about anyone on any given night. GRADE: B-minus.

(RELATED: GRIZZLIES SALARY CAP SITUATION AND ANALYSIS)

New Orleans Pelicans logoNEW ORLEANS PELICANS: Not a lot happened here, aside from Anthony Davis getting a $145 million extension and Monty Williams being replaced as coach by Alvin Gentry. Omer Asik was re-signed, Norris Cole remains unsigned, Kendrick Perkins and Alonzo Gee were added on vet minimums, and that’s about it. Given that they were the No. 8 seed and are returning basically the same roster, they are very much a bubble team when it comes to making the eight-team postseason field in a conference with nine or 10 good teams. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson are in contract years, and that is always a motivating factor — even more so this year with the amount of dollars that will be available in free agency next July. My only complaint was that Williams, a good guy, did not deserve to be fired. But the NBA coaching business is cutthroat. GRADE: B.

(RELATED: PELICANS SALARY CAP SITUATION AND ANALYSIS)

spurs small logoSAN ANTONIO SPURS: The undisputed winners among Western Conference teams, not only for their signings of LaMarcus Aldridge and David West (and retaining Kawhi Leonard) but also for their ability to find a replacement for departed centers Tiago Splitter and Aron Baynes. Does this mean we are predicting All-Rookie status for Bobjan Marjanovic? No. But these guys can use Tim Duncan, Aldridge and even Boris Diaw as paint defenders against certain opposing centers. They also always find a way to figure things out. The summer is not over, and neither, we surmise, is San Antonio’s efforts to come up with an extra big body — somebody better than Dalembert. But the bottom line with the Spurs is that they added a 20-point scorer to a team that was already loaded and cohesive. I don’t expect them to go out in the first round two years in a row. GRADE: A.

(RELATED: SPURS SALARY CAP SITUATION AND ANALYSIS)

TOMORROW: PACIFIC DIVISION

PREVIOUSLY: ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST | CENTRAL| NORTHWEST

Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Fantasy Spin: Tulowitzki Traded As MLB Deadline Approaches http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/fantasy-spin-tulowitzki-traded-as-mlb-deadline-approaches/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/fantasy-spin-tulowitzki-traded-as-mlb-deadline-approaches/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:38:31 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95445

KentDon’t use Troy Tulowitzki or Jose Reyes tonight at DraftKings. The veteran shortstops were swapped for each other last night, helping the Jays now and the Rockies in a couple of years. It’s a league-changing blockbuster in traditional fantasy formats. The only DFS impact is a thinner talent pool at SS despite a 15-game schedule.

Four SP with 5-digit salaries are topped by David Price $12800, who is dealing with the possibility of a trade. Jose Fernandez $12700 is a safer bet if you’re willing to spend that much. Rookie Noah Syndergaard $10700 faces probable trade bait James Shields $9100; neither is a bargain. Gotta like Sonny Gray $10400 on the road against Brett Anderson $6700 (Achilles) who may not be 100% sound.

While Jeff Samardzija $8500 — also on the trade block — can outpitch Wade Miley $6400, last night these clubs combined for 18 runs on 27 hits. Returning from a groin strain, Jamie Garcia $9600 might be on a short leash vs. Mike Leake $7300, yet another possibility to be dealt. In other words, check lineups near the 7:05 deadline if you plan to start any of those guys rumored to be on the move. Until Friday night, anything can happen and some of it will.

Hisashi Iwakuma $8300 is back home, stretched out to 112 pitches in his fourth start off the DL. We bet against Zack Godley $5100 in his MLB debut and got burned when he was stellar. Depending on how you envision that game, each is potentially a bargain. It was an 11-inning, 2-1 game in Baltimore last night and Julio Teheran $7500 fanned 11 Dodgers last Wednesday.

Plays of the Day

New to DK? Your first deposit earns a FREE entry into the massive $135K Moonshot, with 11,025 guaranteed cash prizes — $10,000 for first — and a maximum of 51,746 teams. It’s a $3 buy-in, multiple teams are allowed and if there’s breaking news, you can make lineup changes until each player’s game begins.

There will be plenty of runs scored in the open Dome if the Phillies get to Felix Doubront $5000 early. Toronto’s potent RH bats should feast on Adam Morgan $4300. Another game to target is in Texas, where spot starter Chris Capuano $4100 and the Yankees bullpen face Martin Perez $5200, who might improve or regress in his third start off the shelf.

lineup-7-28It’s a tossup for me at C, slight edge going to Russell Martin $4300 with that great matchup. While rookie Kyle Schwarber $3600 has preferred RHP so far, look out tonight against emergency starter Yohan Flande $4000 and the Rockies’ bullpen.

Mark Teixeira $5100, robbed of a homer by a great catch last night, might belt one tonight. Don’t be surprised if Edwin Encarnacion $4100 gets to jog his imaginary parrot. C.J. Cron $2700 walked, singled and homered last night.

Robinson Cano $4300 is making up for lost time with a sizzling 10-game stretch — 5 HR, .412/.480/.887 — and faces a rookie right-hander. The price is right again on Kolten Wong $3700, who homered as our top pick on Monday and costs $300 less.

Josh Donaldson $5800 loves to hit at home and prefers southpaws. Alex Rodriguez $5200 blasted three homers on Saturday and another (#24) on his 40th birthday. Rookie 3B/SS Tyler Saladino $2400 tripled for us last night (12 PTS total) but was shaky at third; if he fields well enough to keep batting in the 2-hole, that’s a sweet price.

Always on the Short List when he faces a lefty, Carlos Correa $4700 should be worth every penny. We have been riding along often with fellow freshman Francisco Lindor $3500, who homered last night to sustain a 10-game improvement.

Hope you have followed us on an exciting ride with Carlos Gonzalez $4400 — 6 HR, 9 R, 12 RBI in four games — and I see no reason to jump off. For the fifth game in a row, Melky Cabrera $3900 had two hits. Again, it’s reinvesting profit for me to keep using him until he cools off. Yes, it would be nice to afford Jose Bautista $5600 or Nelson Cruz $5000, but my sample lineup spends big at a few other positions so we’re cost-conscious in the outfield. Chris Colabello $3800 and 3B/OF Danny Valencia $3800 should both start for the Jays and Corey Dickerson $3400 will have a big night soon.

Pos Premium Bargain
SP1 Jose Fernandez $12700 Hisashi Iwakuma $8300
SP2 Sonny Gray $10400 Julio Teheran $7500
C Russell Martin $4300 Kyle Schwarber $3600
1B Edwin Encarnacion $4100 C.J. Cron $2700
2B Robinson Cano $4300 Kolten Wong $3700
3B Josh Donaldson $5800 Tyler Saladino $2400
SS Carlos Correa $4700 Francisco Lindor $3500
OF1 Nelson Cruz $5000 Corey Dickerson $3400
OF2 Jose Bautista $5600 Melky Cabrera $3200
OF3 Carlos Gonzalez $4100 Danny Valencia $3800

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

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Top 10 Remaining Free Agents — July 28 Edition http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/top-10-remaining-free-agents-july-28-edition/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/top-10-remaining-free-agents-july-28-edition/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:07:14 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95414

ScottoFree agency shopping at the end of July is similar to waiting all month for the giant coupon booklet from your neighborhood grocery store. With that in mind, which players will be this year’s bargains on the clearance shelf?

Can you find a scoring guard and a big man off the bench with a $2.8 million mid-level exception? Yes, that is somewhat akin to a two-for-one deal on soon-to-expire potato chips at your favorite grocery store.

Some of the unrestricted free agents in our top 10 rankings will fit that bargain bill.

Meanwhile, two restricted free agents in the rankings could set themselves up for massive paydays next summer by accepting their one-year qualifying offers. In this case, think of the salary cap going up next summer as inflation.

moneyEven the Philadelphia 76ers — the penny pinchers of the NBA — are in the mix to sign a noteworthy championship point guard listed below. If Philadelphia doesn’t loosen the purse strings in free agency, they can make a splashy trade with one of their four first-round picks in 2016.

Speaking of trades, the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets are loaded with draft picks and expiring contracts to dangle as well.

Will the New York Knicks add a big man and a scoring guard from the list with their $2.8 million mid-level exception?

Here are the best remaining players in free agency and their potential destinations:


WAS_Seraphin_Kevin1. Kevin Seraphin, C, Wizards (Unrestricted): 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 12 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 still untapped. He’d like the opportunity to play consistently and is willing to take less money to do so. 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 7 UPDATE: Keep an eye on the Clippers, who were linked to Seraphin by Dan Woike at the start of free agency. They still need a center to help replace the departed Jordan. UPDATE II: The Mavericks have expressed interest in Seraphin, a league source tells SheridanHoops. JULY 9 UPDATE: Wizards are conducting business as though they expect Seraphin to move on, the Washington Post reports. JULY 12 UPDATE: Wizards, Lakers and Mavericks have shown interest in Seraphin, Yahoo reports. JULY 28 UPDATE: Knicks, Lakers and Wizards remain in the hunt for Seraphin, league sources tell SheridanHoops.


Cleveland Cavalier's Media Day2. Tristan Thompson, F, Cavaliers (Restricted): He turned down a four-year, $52 million contract extension in October. 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 Kevin 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 nowhere, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports. JULY 9 UPDATE: Thompson and the Cavaliers are not close to a deal despite the LeBron agreement. The two are “not a package,” a source told ESPN. JULY 12 UPDATE: Cavaliers general manager David Griffin recently said, “We really like him. I think we’ll end up getting something done.” JULY 18 UPDATE: Thompson posted a photo on Instagram saying, “Always good seeing my brother @kevinlove. It’s never a dull moment with this guy!!” Certainly doesn’t seem like a post from a guy who will be leaving Cleveland anytime soon. JULY 28 UPDATE: The Cavaliers got a steal in Matthew Dellavedova on a one-year, $1.2 million qualifying offer in restricted free agency. The same fate could await Thompson by the end of his restricted free agency with the hope of a large payday in the summer of 2016 when the salary cap dramatically rises and the majority of teams will be loaded with cap space.


Knicks3. J.R. Smith, G, Cavaliers (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’s 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. JULY 7 UPDATE: Despite adding Mo Williams, the Cavaliers are intent on keeping Smith and Matthew Dellavedova, ESPN reports. JULY 12: Cavaliers general manager David Griffin made it clear he would like to retain Smith. JULY 18 UPDATE: Cleveland wasn’t thrilled Smith turned down his player option for this summer according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks also weighed in on Smith’s decision. JULY 28 UPDATE: Smith appears to be at the mercy of the Cavaliers. Rumors surfaced about interest from the Lakers, but they are loaded at the guard spots, and the rumors were shot down. It would be stunning if he recouped the $6.4 million he passed up to become an unrestricted free agent at this point.


4. Carlos Boozer, F, Lakers (Unrestricted): At this point in his career, his starting days are behind him. Boozer’s most effective role would be a scoring big man off the bench used in pick-and-roll sets with the ability to stretch the defense from the 18-foot mark. The biggest knock on Boozer is his inability to provide rim protection. JULY 6 UPDATE: Boozer has received interest from the Clippers, Spurs, Mavericks and Raptors. JULY 7 UPDATE: With the Spurs adding David West, Boozer’s chances of landing with San Antonio decreased. UPDATE II: Boozer and the Clippers have mutual interest, L.A. Times reports. JULY 13 UPDATE: Boozer has received interest from the Clippers, Spurs, Mavericks, Raptors, Knicks and Nuggets, a league source tells SheridanHoops. JULY 28 UPDATE: Knicks, Rockets and Mavericks remain in the hunt for Boozer, league sources tell Sheridan Hoops. JULY 28 UPDATE: Knicks, Rockets and Mavericks remain interested in Boozer, league sources tell SheridanHoops.


NOP_HS_Cole_Norris5. Norris Cole, G Pelicans (Restricted): Cole played the best basketball of his career in New Orleans after being acquired in a trade. Cole averaged 9.9 points and shot 44 percent from the field overall and 38 percent from downtown in 28 games. With Jrue Holiday an injury risk, Cole is a quality backup point guard who can provide defensive energy and scoring when called upon. JULY 10 UPDATE: The Pelicans are holding out hope they can retain Cole, Nola.com reports. JULY 14 UPDATE: The Philadelphia 76ers have expressed interest in Cole, a league source tells SheridanHoops. JULY 28 UPDATE: Cole continues to receive interest from the 76ers, but it’s unclear whether they will spend enough to pry the restricted free agent from New Orleans. At this point, signing his one-year qualifying offer and playing in Alvin Gentry’s system with the Pelicans remains a viable option, a league source tells SheridanHoops. In addition, Anthony Davis wants Cole back in New Orleans.


PHI_HS_McGee_JaVale6. 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. 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: In a thin free agent market for centers at a discounted price, McGee is an option for the Clippers. JULY 13 UPDATE: Dallas had emerged as a potential suitor for McGee, but there are concerns over his health. He has played only 28 games over the past two seasons. JULY 28 UPDATE: Dallas remains interested, provided McGee is healthy enough to play. Signing Samuel Dalembert shows how desperate the Mavericks are for a big man right now.


WAS_Miller_Andre7. Andre Miller, G, Kings (Unrestricted): Miller is like that old man in the park, he’s not flashy, but you want him on your team because he gets the job done. He was reunited with his former coach George Karl in Sacramento, one of his biggest supporters over the years. Miller is a proven playoff veteran who averaged 14 points per game during the 2013 playoffs with the Nuggets under Karl. JULY 7 UPDATE: At 39, Miller would like to continue his NBA career, Bleacher Report says. July 9 UPDATE: Miller and the Kings have spoken, according to The Sacramento Bee. JULY 21 UPDATE: The Seth Curry signing could spell the end of Miller in Sacramento, according to a report.


8. Jason Terry, G, Rockets (Unrestricted): How much more fuel does “Jet” have left? At 37, Terry is in the twilight of his career but still showed signs of being a productive bench player. Terry averaged 7.0 points per game and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc in 77 games (18 starts) for the Rockets last season. JULY 6 UPDATE: Dallas reached out to Terry about a possible reunion, The Dallas Morning News reports. JULY 13 UPDATE: Terry and the Rockets are progressing on a deal to retain the veteran guard, RealGM reports. JULY 19 UPDATE: Terry’s chances of returning to the Rockets have increased with the Ty Lawson trade, ESPN reports. JULY 22 UPDATE: The Rockets renounced their free agent exception rights to Terry, according to RealGM’s transaction log.


MIA_Beasley_Michael9. Michael Beasley, F, Heat (Unrestricted): The former 2008 No. 2 overall pick peaked at 22 when he averaged 19.2 points per game as a full-time starter for the Timberwolves. Since then? Beasley has played for three teams (Timberwolves, Suns and Heat) in four seasons — along with a stint overseas in China. Now, 26, Beasley finds himself fighting for the opportunity to play in the league again. If Samuel Dalembert can get a deal, why can’t a former No. 2 overall pick who is entering the prime years of his career? His struggles off the court are well documented, but his talent as a scorer is undeniable. JULY 28 UPDATE: Beasley could potentially return to Miami if he accepts a non-guaranteed deal, the Sun Sentinel speculates


Reggie Evans10. Reggie Evans, F, Kings (Unrestricted): The burly 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward is an elite rebounding machine. During the 2012-13 season, Evans led the league in total rebound percentage (26.7), defensive rebound percentage (38) and offensive rebound percentage (15.5) for the Brooklyn Nets. While limited offensively, his rebounding ability and presence as a locker room leader have drawn praise from teammates around the league over the years. JULY 28 UPDATE: DeMarcus Cousins is a big fan of Evans and has respect for the veteran forward. With a tenuous relationship between coach George Karl and Cousins, retaining Evans will help keep Cousins happy.


The Next Five: Glen Davis, Clippers (Unrestricted); Andray Blatche, China (Unrestricted); Rasual Butler, Wizards (Unrestricted); Tayshaun Prince, Pistons (Unrestricted); Ben Gordon, Magic (Unrestricted).

MORE: THE TOP 50 FREE AGENTS
THE TOP 15 REMAINING FREE AGENTS: EDITION I; EDITION II; EDITION III; EDITION IV; EDITION V

Michael Scotto is an NBA columnist for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeAScotto.

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Tweet of the Night: Former NBA player Eddie Johnson overjoyed to see highlight clip of Manute Bol’s son Bol Bol http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/tweet-of-the-night-former-nba-player-eddie-johnson-overjoyed-to-see-highlight-clip-of-manute-bols-son-bol-bol/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/28/tweet-of-the-night-former-nba-player-eddie-johnson-overjoyed-to-see-highlight-clip-of-manute-bols-son-bol-bol/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2015 04:28:12 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95419

Parkbol bolBol Bol, the son of former NBA player Manute Bol, first captured the attention of many when he was just a seventh grader due to his distinct height and the undeniable resemblance to his father.

The difference is that the younger Bol is slowly but surely developing a number of skill sets at a very young age that his father did not possess as a 7’7″ center (Bol is 6’10”), and has plenty of highlights from his freshman year in high school to show that there could be a potential making of an NBA player if he continues to develop diligently. Here is the latest clip on how Bol has grown since first clips of him surfaced a couple of years ago:

Former NBA player and current Phoenix Suns analyst Eddie Johnson saw the very clip above and was overjoyed to say the least:

Jim Park is a blogger and editor of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.

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Fantasy Spin: Invest $5 To Win $100,000 In MLB Daily Contest http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/27/fantasy-spin-invest-5-to-win-100000-in-mlb-daily-contest/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/27/fantasy-spin-invest-5-to-win-100000-in-mlb-daily-contest/#respond Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:53:17 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95400

KentOn a relatively quiet night for baseball, DraftKings offers two daily fantasy contests with $100,000 cash prizes. For a change, there isn’t a dominant superstar pitcher (or two) with an enormous salary. Top-priced Lance Lynn $11100 and the Cardinals are a heavy favorite vs. Raisel Iglesias $5500. Veteran Kyle Lohse $4900 is having such a dreadful season, the Giants and Chris Heston $9500 are “best bet” candidates.

There are a few possible low-scoring duels. Jorge De La Rosa $7700 has a 1.93 ERA and a .192 AVG allowed in six road starts. Kyle Hendricks $8200 has been sharp in July despite only five runs of support. Edinson Volquez $8600 was great on Wednesday and may repeat, while Cody Anderson $8100 can bounce back from his first poor start. Anibal Sanchez $10200 and Nathan Karns $8700 might trade zeroes in Tampa but neither is a certainty.

Robbie Ray $8000 is another road warrior (1.35 ERA, .177 AVG) with a chance. After seven starts, opposing lefty Mike Montgomery $7300 looked like a Rookie of the Year contender. He’s since been rocked in three straight.

Plays of the Day

First place is worth $100,000 for just $5 in tonight’s $250K Super Knuckleball — 11,230 win cash from 57,500 teams. New to DK? Your first deposit earns a FREE entry into the Late $18K Moonshot, with 1,380 guaranteed cash prizes — $1,000 for first — and a maximum of 6,899 teams. It’s a $3 buy-in, multiple teams are allowed and it closes at 10:10.

A couple of games might produce big numbers. A hot-hitting Rangers team might stay that way against Ivan Nova $7700 and Matt Harrison $4900 has made exactly two starts in 14 months. Although John Danks $6100 has been surprisingly good recently and can outpitch Joe Kelly $5100, both bullpens should be busy. Not sure about Alex Wood $7100, but I like the Braves vs. Kevin Gausman $4300.

lineup-7-27Using Lynn and Heston means being thrifty with bats at almost every position. 1B/C Buster Posey $4300 stands out although John Jaso $3200 is excellent value.

Can’t afford Paul Goldschmidt $6000? Yesterday, we saidDavid Ortiz $4200 and all the Red Sox have a slump-busting opportunity.” Papi scored 46 points (4-for-5, 2 HR, 7 RBI) in an 11-run outburst. 1B/OF Ben Paulsen $2900 is dirt-cheap after his own 2-homer game, just a double short of the cycle.

Kolten Wong $4000 gets the nod at 2B, with  Rougned Odor $3800 also playable. 2B/3B Matt Duffy $3600 will be in my lineups at one of his eligible spots.

Alex Rodriguez $5600 exploded for three homers on Saturday night and was rewarded with a day off. We liked 3B/SS Xander Bogaerts $3900 yesterday (4-for-5) and are considering him again. Rookie 3B/SS Tyler Saladino $2500 had three hits on Saturday and three walks on Sunday out of the 2-hole.

We told you OF/SS Hanley Ramirez $4200 and Bogaerts were “sitting on a breakout game” — position versatility helps get both into the lineup. Saladino is also an option at short, depending on what you spend elsewhere.

I’d love to fit A.J. Pollock $5400 into my lineup but have settled for Nelson Cruz $5000 as #1 OF. We touted Carlos Gonzalez $4100 all weekend (7 hits, 4 HR, 7 R, 8 RBI) and will follow him away from Coors at that price. Likewise, Melky Cabrera $3900 has been smacking two hits every day for us at low prices, prompting loyalty. If I needed to save, Angel Pagan $3100 is affordable and Corey Dickerson $3400 had two starts to get his timing back, then a day off. He’ll be a bargain one day soon.

Pos Premium Bargain
SP1 Lance Lynn $11100 Jorge De La Rosa $7700
SP2 Chris Heston $9500 Robbie Ray $8000
C Buster Posey $4300 John Jaso $3200
1B Paul Goldschmidt $6000 Ben Paulsen $2900
2B Kolten Wong $4000 Matt Duffy $3600
3B Alex Rodriguez $5600 Tyler Saladino $2500
SS Hanley Ramirez $4200 Xander Bogaerts $3900
OF1 Nelson Cruz $5000 Corey Dickerson $3400
OF2 A.J. Pollock $5400 Melky Cabrera $3200
OF3 Carlos Gonzalez $4100 Angel Pagan $3100

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

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Bernucca: 2012 Draft Class Contract Extension Scoreboard http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/27/bernucca-2012-draft-class-extension-scoreboard/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/07/27/bernucca-2012-draft-class-extension-scoreboard/#respond Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=95326

bernuccaheContract extensions for first-round picks can sometimes be a tricky business. And never is it more tricky than this summer.

Next year’s new TV deal is projected to increase the salary cap from $70 million this summer to $90 million – or possibly more. Simplistically, all that extra money should make the decision to offer a young, improving player a contract extension much easier. Realistically, it makes it much harder.

TAnthony Davis Pelicans contracthere are just a handful of teams that will not have room under the salary cap next summer to offer a player from another team a maximum contract. Among them are Oklahoma City, Cleveland, San Antonio, the LA Clippers and defending champion Golden State Warriors, who already are positioned to contend for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Most teams will either have enough room for a max player or be able to manipulate their payroll to create the room. And that creates a huge dilemma for teams with players from the 2012 draft, who are eligible for extensions between now and Halloween.

Let’s use the Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal as an example. The third pick in the 2012 draft, Beal is just 22 with a career scoring average of 15.6 points. He is certainly worthy of a contract extension, perhaps even at the max. Easy decision, right?

Not necessarily. Right now, Beal is on next summer’s books for a qualifying offer of $7.4 million and a cap hold of $11.4 million. If the Wizards sign Beal this summer to a maximum extension starting next season at a projected $20.4 million, they give away $9 million in cap room – flexibility which could come in handy of their anticipated pursuit of Kevin Durant, the beacon of next summer’s free agency.

So the Wizards should not max out Beal this summer, let him go to restricted free agency, and match any offer he receives from another team. They may even save some money because the annual raises will be 4.5 percent instead of 7.5 percent. Easy decision, right?

Carmelo Anthony Bradley BealNot necessarily. If another team presents Beal with a max offer at 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1, 2016, the Wizards will have just three days to match once the NBA’s moratorium ends. Meanwhile, Durant will have no shortage of suitors, and those meetings, followed by his decision process, may take more than three days. If Durant takes two weeks to make up his mind, the Wizards may have to match the offer on Beal, which would reduce their cap space and severely hamper their ability to sign Durant.

The Wizards do have some flexibility next summer with four player options totaling around $15 million. But they also have Nene’s cap hold of $19.5 million. And they have to be mindful of not alienating Beal, even though an argument could be made that he doesn’t deserve max money, based on his injury history and somewhat ordinary numbers through three seasons.

Another factor is the general viewpoint of restricted free agency. Many teams consider pursuing RFAs a waste of time because most players moving on to their second contracts are deemed worth keeping by GMs.

Two players from the Class of 2012 – Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Damian Lillard of Portland – already have received max contract extensions with annual salaries that clearly illustrate the historic increase the
salary cap will make next summer. Three more – Beal, Jonas Valanciunas of Toronto and Andre Drummond valanciunas1of Detroit – also could be in line for max extensions.

In all, 23 first-round picks are eligible for extensions, including two from 2011 – Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas of Houston. Of those 23, 19 are spread among just eight teams. Six teams have two players eligible for extensions, while Portland and Boston have three apiece.

Below is a look at where members of the 2012 draft class stand in terms of receiving extensions. Keep in mind that only a handful of no-brainers will sign before training camp opens in late September, such as John Wall two years ago. Most will go right down to the deadline, such as Kemba Walker last year.

1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans: Having changed coaches after the team’s first playoff trip in three years, Pelicans GM Dell Demps wasted no time securing Davis, whose presence keeps an otherwise nondescript team highly relevant for the next six years. The sheer numbers of $143 million over five years were startling, but keep in mind that they assume 7.5 percent annual raises off a first-year salary of $24.9 million – or a projected 30 percent of the cap – based on the “Derrick Rose Rule.” To receive that increase, Davis would have to (a) be selected as an All-Star starter; (b) make one of the three All-NBA teams; or (c) be named MVP. Barring injury, none of those seem out of the realm of possibility. In fact, they seem downright likely.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte: The acquisition of Nicolas Batum means MKG could be seeing considerable time at shooting guard, raising the question of whether he shoots well enough. He did make a dramatic leap last season, sinking 50 percent of his shots from 10-16 feet after languishing below 20 percent Michael Kidd-Gilchristthrough his first two seasons. He is a solid defender and turns just 22 in September. A four-year deal at around $50 million sounds about right and still allows the Hornets some flexibility in free agency.

3. Bradley Beal, Washington: As we mentioned above, the Wizards are in a bit of a tricky spot with Beal, who probably warrants a max extension. Although that will give him a higher salary than John Wall – who seems to be a bit bothered by that sort of thing – it is the right move to make if they want to lure Durant, because it will illustrate that the pieces to compete for a championship are in place and will be for a long time.

4. Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City: There is no way he is getting an extension. Thunder GM Sam Presti didn’t extend Reggie Jackson last summer and ultimately traded him, making his second contract Detroit’s conundrum. Waiters is sitting in a slightly better position than Jackson, because his restricted free agency comes when the payroll has more flexibility. But if someone offers him eight figures annually next summer, Presti may let him walk.

5. Thomas Robinson, Brooklyn: The Nets are his sixth team in three years, and he already is on a year-to-year plan, signing for the minimum. Robinson actually wasn’t bad finishing last season with Philly (8.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 18.5 mpg in 18 games). But until he understands that his long-term role is as an energy big off the bench, we will continue to see empty promises like this one. Not the bust of this draft but the bust of the lottery.

5A. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto: The Raptors have allowed bigs Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough and Chuck Hayes to walk in free agency, practically leaving Valanciunas on an island as they shift to small ball. He is not a top-10 center by any stretch of the imagination; he’s not even a double-double guy, and his rim protection leaves much to be desired. But it’s hard to imagine GM Masai Ujiri playing chicken with his only viable big man, who is just 23 years old and would probably get a max offer sheet on the open market. Don’t be surprised if he is Toronto’s highest-paid player a year from now.

6. Damian Lillard, Portland: This summer’s mass free agency exodus from the City of Roses has GM Neil Olshey rebuilding the Trail Blazers around Lillard, and he has six years to do it after giving his All-Star point guard $117 million over five years. That figure could jump to Davis’ money if Lillard can snag another All-NBA selection to go with his 2014 Third Team nod. That will be difficult playing the league’s deepest position for a team likely headed to the lottery. But if he doesn’t, he won’t exactly be cleaning windshields at traffic GSW-adidas-Harrison-Barnesstops.

7. Harrison Barnes, Golden State: The defending champions may enter the 2015-16 season with an NBA-record six players making at least $10 million. Barnes will be next to reach that threshold but won’t break the budget because Gerald Wallace’s $10.1 million comes off the books. He been remarkably durable thus far while showing improvement through his first three seasons and has had some big postseason games. He also gives coach Steve Kerr the luxury of bringing Finals MVP Andre Iguodala off the bench. Pencil him in for $60 million over four years.

8. Terrence Ross, Toronto: Of the eight teams with two or more players eligible for extensions, none has a higher pairing than the Raptors. If Danny Green is a $10 million player, then the 24-year-old Ross probably is, too. But the bigger question is whether he gets that money from the Raptors, who (a) added DeMarre Carroll, whose presence makes Ross a fifth option – or maybe even a reserve; (b) have to hold onto Valanciunas, as stated above; and (c) should be anticipating an opt-out by DeMar DeRozan, who will be looking to double his $10.1 million salary.

9. Andre Drummond, Detroit: Max salary, and probably for five years. It is clear that this is who Stan Van Gundy is building around, and he gets a bit of a break because Drummond cannot qualify for the upgrade via the Derrick Rose Rule. If you’re wondering why a max contract should go to someone who doesn’t make free throws, has a flat defensive rating and diminishing rating differentials, just look at what DeAndre Jordan received in free agency. Drummond will be just 22 when next season starts, is already the NBA’s fiercest rebounder and Andre Drummondshould be more effective on offense spending an entire season alongside Reggie Jackson. The only question is whether Van Gundy can talk Drummond into waiting until next summer and saving about $12 million against his cap hold to start the free agent frenzy.

10. Austin Rivers, LA Clippers: He hasn’t come close to living up to his billing or his draft selection. His fourth-year option was not picked up by New Orleans and he already has been on three teams. He just signed a two-year, $6.4 million deal with the Clippers, the most he could possibly receive and a considerable hit on their tax bill. It’s no coincidence that his newfound stability has come with a team on which his father is the GM.

11. Meyers Leonard, Portland: Now that Lillard is locked up, this has to be the next priority for Olshey. And he needs to do it now in order to save some serious coin. Leonard may have averaged 5.9 points in 15.4 minutes last season, but he also was a 50-40-90 guy (look it up) and averaged 14 and 10 per 36 minutes, which is about what he will be playing this season. His .420 mark from the arc would have ranked in the top 10, and at 7-1 he can run like the wind. He is a Most Improved Player candidate who will be a lot more expensive – and attractive to other teams – next summer. Four years, $40 million seems right.

12. Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte: He will forever be remembered as the guy the Thunder sold as James Harden’s replacement, which put unfair pressure on him. Lamb played his way out of the rotation more than once during his three seasons in Oklahoma City. Maybe he can reclaim his confidence with the Hornets, who need his shooting. He’s definitely playing for his next contract, but it won’t be an extension.

13. Kendall Marshall: He already has been waived three times and is trying to work his way back from a JohnHensonSH1torn ACL in January. He hopes to be ready for a possible invitation to a training camp in October.

14. John Henson, Milwaukee: The Bucks supposedly were close to reaching an agreement on an extension with Henson earlier this month but have not gotten there yet. Over the last two years, GM Jon Hammond has done an excellent job of making Milwaukee relevant again, but he has to be prudent here. While Henson has value as a third big, he is not a starter and should not be paid starter money. Hammond also has looming extensions – likely at the max or close to it – for Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer and Jabari Parker in the summer of 2017.

16. Royce White: He is unquestionably the biggest bust of this draft. No player in recent memory created more headaches while having done less than White, who came into the NBA looking to argue with anyone and everyone about his anxiety issues rather than working with the Houston Rockets on how to manage his disorder. He did not play in an NBA game during his rookie season, which was littered with refusals to report to the D-League and suspensions. He was traded after one season to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he had a legitimate chance to make a ragtag roster but was cut in training camp. He was signed by the Sacramento Kings later that season, amassing one missed shot, zero rebounds, two fouls and nine minutes over three games. He played for the Clippers in the Orlando Summer League but did next to nothing. An unmitigated disaster.

17. Tyler Zeller, Boston: The first of three players on this list who play for the Celtics and probably the one with the best chance of receiving an extension. But that doesn’t mean he will get one. GM Danny Ainge has been unable to land the big fish thus far this summer, which means either he now has to do so via a trade, which could involve the 25-year-old Zeller and his 19.01 PER, or hoard his cap room for next summer’s free agent bonanza. Neither route seems to indicate that a second contract for Zeller is on the way anytime soon, although he appears worthy of a qualifying offer.

Terrence_Jones18. Terrence Jones, Houston: The first of a pair of Rockets on this list, Jones’ future importance was increased by Josh Smith’s departure to the Clippers. However, his ability to secure an extension was decreased by the acquisition of Ty Lawson, which took Houston’s potential 2016-17 payroll to $89 million, a figure that does not include Dwight Howard’s expected opt-out and new, higher salary. There are not many players who can be effective from both the short corner and the deep corner, but Jones is one of them. It may take $12 million annually to secure him, and he will be popular next summer, even as a restricted free agent.

19. Andrew Nicholson, Orlando: Since being drafted, Nicholson was outworked and outplayed by second-round pick Kyle O’Quinn while his production dropped each season. In the last two offseasons, the Magic have either signed or drafted Aaron Gordon, Channing Frye and Jason Smith, all of whom play some power forward. And Orlando also re-signed Tobias Harris, who plays the 4 in small ball lineups. Nicholson will be lucky to get a qualifying offer.

20. Evan Fournier, Orlando: Another member of the Magic, Fournier is coming off the best – albeit injury-shortened – season of his career. His defensive deficiencies probably will prevent him from ever becoming a consistent starter in this league, but he still has projected value as a backup shooting guard who brings a stroke (career 38 percent from deep). Given that Orlando already has Victor Oladipo and just drafted Mario Hezonja, Fournier’s future is probably elsewhere. But he may get a qualifying offer.

20A. Donatas Motiejunas, Houston: He is not quite the player that Jones is but he’s not exactly cat litter, either. He also has the added feature of being a legitimate 7-footer, providing insurance for Howard that the 6-9 Jones cannot. But when it comes to an extension, he is in the same boat as Jones following the arrival of Lawson. As a 7-footer with 37 percent marksmanship from deep, he is a highly desirable commodity in a space-and-pace league and probably worth low to mid-eight figures annually as well.

220px-Sullinger_cropped21. Jared Sullinger, Boston: See No. 17, then factor in that Sullinger – while more versatile than Zeller – also has a history of injury and weight issues. He would also be a somewhat desirable return piece if Ainge were able to swing a big trade during what’s left of the offseason. Unless he has a disastrous season, Sullinger also merits a qualifying offer. But I would be surprised if both he and Zeller are still Celtics a year from now.

22. Fab Melo: Not one of Ainge’s finer moments. Melo played just six NBA games and is part of a lasting trend of underachieving NBA players from Syracuse. Since Carmelo Anthony went third overall in the 2003 draft, eight players from Syracuse have been drafted in the first round – Hakim Warrick (2005), Donte Greene (2008), Jonny Flynn (2009), Wesley Johnson (2011), Waiters (2013), Melo (2013), Michael Carter-Williams (2014) and Tyler Ennis (2015). The only one close to getting an extension is Carter-Williams, who has regressed and been traded since his Rookie of the Year campaign.

23. John Jenkins, Mavericks: He showed a bit of promise as a rookie. But his development was stalled by an injury in 2013-14, and the Hawks did not pick up his fourth-year option last year, making him an unrestricted free agent. He was buried on Atlanta’s depth chart last season but drew interest from some teams this summer before landing in Dallas on a minimum deal. Still just 24.

24. Jared Cunningham: Here’s the totals: Six teams, 40 games, 77 points. He actually played 19 of those Wrotengames for the Clippers this past season, further accentuating how bad their bench truly was. Cunningham was waived by the Sixers in January and it has been crickets since.

25. Tony Wroten, Philadelphia: He’s not going to get an extension because (a) he’s coming off a torn ACL and (b) extensions aren’t part of Sam Hinkie’s process. But he has been one of the few “assets” Hinkie has traded for that is actually a legitimate NBA player, analytics be damned. As long as Wroten, 22, is fully recovered, he has a long-term future in this league as a third guard and should at least be given a qualifying offer.

26. Miles Plumlee, Milwaukee: The Bucks looking to lock up Henson is not a good sign for Plumlee, who already is on his third team and probably would not have had his third- and fourth-year options picked up had he not been a 7-footer. After what amounted to a redshirt rookie season in Indiana, he was traded to Phoenix and caught the league off guard by showing he could play a little bit. But he regressed last season and was traded again. He may get a qualifying offer, but only because the Bucks have a boatload of cap room.

27. Arnett Moultrie: One of the many victims of Hinkie’s ongoing purge, Moultrie was traded to the Knicks and subsequently waived last October. Two months later, he signed with Jiangsu of the CBA but didn’t make much of an impression on our man in the Far East.

28. Perry Jones, Boston: We initially had him listed as a prime trade candidate, which is exactly what Oklahoma City did to lower its luxury tax bill. Jones had some moments early last season when he replaced the injured Durant but mostly is known around these parts for his propensity for trillions. Given Boston’s festus-ezelifrontcourt depth, other potential restricted free agents and Ainge’s desire to land a big fish in free agency next summer, Jones would be lucky to even receive a qualifying offer.

30. Festus Ezeli, Golden State: The backup center might be the second straight last pick of the first round to get a sizable second contract, following Jimmy Butler. He also may have to enter restricted free agency to get it, also like Butler. You have to figure that when it comes to possible extensions, Barnes would be GM Bob Myers’ priority. But there were times during the postseason where Ezeli proved more futile in 1-in, 4-out lineups than Andrew Bogut, who is 30 and injury-prone. He is a lock to receive a qualifying offer, and Golden State may have to approach eight figures annually to keep him.

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

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