SH Blog: Kobe says his two-year contract wasn’t a negotiation, Stoudemire rips Knicks for lack of ball movement

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Monday was a happy day for some, ominous for many others.

Some big news broke early in the day about the status of Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant. The news on Rose was worse than expected, while some may consider the good news for Bryant not so good. See what all the ruckus was about below.

DERRICK ROSE OUT FOR THE SEASON:

Derrick Rose Bulls sleevesAfter undergoing successful knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, the Chicago Bulls declared that Rose would miss the remainder of the season. The point guard chose the option to let his meniscus heal rather than cutting it out, which would shorten the recovery time to a few weeks but cause more long-term issues. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has details:

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the 2013-14 season after having surgery Monday to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee.

The timetable on Rose’s absence indicates he had the meniscus repaired and reattached and not removed or partially removed. Reparation is the preferred surgical option, but rehabilitation and recovery takes longer. The meniscus acts as a cushion for knee bones, and without, the chance of early arthritis and other problems increase.

“You want to save what’s there. My guess is that you want to prolong the longevity of the career,” orthopedic surgeon Alexis Colvin told USA TODAY Sports. 

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Five Things To Watch: Sacramento Kings

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Kevin_Johnson,_Mayor_of_Sacramento,_CA,_skyline_of_SacramentoFor the first time in what feels like forever, there is legitimate optimism and unabated excitement over this season’s Sacramento Kings. For one, they stayed.

I wish I were more excited about the basketball moves that the Kings made over the offseason, but make no mistake about it; Sacramento had a better offseason than any other NBA city.

It wasn’t easy. A lot of very smart people put a lot of time and energy (and funds) into keeping this team out of Seattle.

From Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his staff to multiple grassroots efforts from guys like Carmichael Dave, Mike Tavares and Crown Downtown, Blake Ellington and the “Here We Stay” movement (and many others), it took this perfect storm of support to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

And of course, none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the new Kings ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov.

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StatBox Free Agency Breakdown: Winners & Losers July 11 Update

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Most of the star players in free agency are now off the board, but there are still plenty of impact players to discuss in this updated version of the Free Agency Breakdown with unique analytic angles. We here at Sheridan Hoops will break everything down for you into bite sized Winners & Losers style pieces.

HowardThe Houston Rockets, GM Daryl Morey and Dwight Howard were WINNERS after agreeing to a four-year deal worth $88 million to finally, mercifully, ending the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Morey set out a year ago to acquire two stars to legitimately compete in this SuperTeam Era that currently rules the NBA and got them in Howard and Harden.

Houston also signed Francisco Garcia to a team-friendly contract worth $1.3 million over two years. Garcia could probably replace Carlos Delfino in a spacer-type role for Houston after shooting 37.4 percent from three last season. Houston then picked up another spacer in Reggie Williams, who needs to greatly improve from his 30.6 shooting percentage from three last season with Charlotte.

Of course, the Howard deal makes the Los Angeles Lakers the big losers of the offseason for getting nothing out of Howard and looking ridiculous in doing so. They will now try to delude themselves into thinking players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will come next offseason. Good. Freaking. Luck.

But if there is any consolation for Laker fans, I do like their signing of Chris Kaman a lot. Despite a sharp decrease in minutes with the Mavericks last season, from 29.2 to 20.7 per game, Kaman shot 50.7 percent from the field (his best percentage in a season in which he played over 40 games since the 2005-2006 season) and averaged 10.5 points with 5.6 rebounds. His Win Shares per 48 minutes was his best mark since the 2007-2008 campaign. Expect better production in LA with a slightly increased workload. And Jordan Farmar won’t be a bad player either for the veteran’s minimum.

Josh SmithDwight Howard’s good friend, Josh Smith, ended up with Detroit for four-years and $56 million and Al Jefferson cashed in for three years and $41 million with Charlotte. This brings us a really interesting philosophical question: Can these players be the highest paid, and best, players for playoff teams? The answer is likely no. But does that mean the teams shouldn’t try?

Despite a subpar year by his standards Smith is still a really good player, so the jury is still out on this signing for the Pistons. Smith will make a really good frontcourt with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but do the Pistons have the backcourt to compete? Not right now, even with the Chauncey Billups signing (two years, $5 million).

LAC_Billups_ChaunceyBillups will add veteran leadership and a fan favorite to the Detroit roster, but he’s only played 42 total games over the last two seasons. But when he’s played he’s been good, shooting 36.7 percent from three last season with a Win Share/48 number that’s well above average. It’s just hard to envision Billups being healthy all season. Billups will join Will Bynum, who Detroit re-signed to an affordable two-year deal worth $5.75 million. Bynum shot a career best 46.9 percent from the field and averaged nearly 10 points per game for the Pistons in 2012-2013.

It’ll also be interesting to see how the team uses reigning Italian League MVP Gigi Datome, who inked a two-year deal worth $3.5 million. Our resident Euro expert A.J. Mitnick told me that he’ll need to adjust to the NBA game, but the potential is there for Datome to become a nice NBA player. I’ll take his word for it…

On the Charlotte side of things, there’s no doubt that Jefferson is a really, really good player. Anyone who shoots nearly 50 percent from the field and averages nearly 18 points and over nine boards per game is really good. His defense will certainly help an inept Bobcats team in that department, but his offensive rating of 109 last season leaves something to be desired.

Can Jefferson, Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo coexist in the frontcourt? Can Jefferson be the best player on a playoff team? Jefferson has made the playoffs just twice in his nine-season career, losing in the first round on both occasions. Golden State signed David Lee to an enormous contract, and Golden State ended up okay by hitting it big by drafting Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. Charlotte will have to do that in order to not look foolish with this Jefferson signing, so, again, the jury is still out.

Evening News: Warriors add depth; Kings trade for Mbah a Moute; Ellis down to two teams

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Hello and welcome to the Evening News.

As free agency continues, we’ll keep you updated every evening.

What’s happening today?

Five reasons to feel positive about the Milwaukee Bucks

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(This is another in a series of 30 guest columns that will run in October, when optimism reigns supreme across the NBA. The theme will be “Five Reasons to Feel Positive About … ” We encourage you to follow the authors on Twitter and visit their sites. – CS)

bucks small logoHaving witnessed just one meaningful playoff run in the past two decades, Milwaukee Bucks fans inevitably seem to fall somewhere between perpetually optimistic and hopelessly cynical. And while the month of April has all too often brought out the cynical side of fans in recent years, the month of October and the promise of a new season inevitably brings reasons to feel good about what may be in store for the upcoming season.

The Bucks once again had a busy summer reshuffling their roster, addressing their lack of frontcourt size by trading for presumptive starting center Sam Dalembert, drafting UNC big man John Henson, re-signing starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova and adding former Buck Joel Przybilla as a big body off the bench.

The Bucks hope that their added size up front will help offset their lack of size in the backcourt, where Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will hope to build on their abbreviated 21-game audition together last spring. That’s the party line, at least; in reality no one seems to expect a Jennings/Ellis pairing to be the answer in Milwaukee, and in the long term there’s very little that we do know for sure about the current roster.

Thankfully, October optimism doesn’t require trivial things like long-termm certainty.

1. Whether they win or not, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings will entertain

It’s the question most casual observers seem fixated on when contemplating the 2012-13 Bucks: Can Ellis and Jennings coexist?

It’s an understandable starting point given the duo’s status as the Bucks’ most recognizable players, although it also seems unlikely that both players will be on the roster a year from now. (Ellis is the most likely departure as a potential unrestricted free agent.) Even so, Jennings and Ellis should at the very minimum provide plenty of cheap (and entertaining) thrills. They will push the tempo, gamble in the passing lanes, jack up their share of inadvisable shots, make a non-trivial number of said inadvisable shots, create easy buckets for others and – of course – provide explosive scoring at regular intervals. And if last season is any indication, they won’t prevent the Bucks from playing an attractive, ball-moving brand of basketball, either.

Even with Ellis falling short of his best, the Bucks were among the league’s fastest teams down the stretch,  and their offensive efficiency skyrocketed along with it, helping coach Scott Skiles earn the first top-20 offensive ranking of his career (13th). It couldn’t have been how Skiles envisioned the season going – it was also the worst defensive team he’s coached (16th) – but it was nearly enough to propel Milwaukee into the postseason after a difficult start.

The Bucks are hoping that a full training camp together will help Ellis and Jennings hit their mutual stride out of the gate, but the truth is that the Bucks don’t need the pair to be dropping 50 points each night to be competitive. But it would be pretty fun, wouldn’t it?

2. The defense should rebound from a disappointing season (pun intended)

It was no coincidence that the end of the Andrew Bogut Era coincided with a major dip in Milwaukee’s

Samuel Dalembert, the new starting center for the Milwaukee Bucks

defensive form, but there’s reason to expect better things in 2012-13.  For starters, it’s worth noting that the Bucks actually blocked more shots last season than in Bogut’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year-caliber season. They also allowed a slightly lower shooting percentage at the rim last season than the prior year (60.1 percent for 7th vs. 60.7 percent for 2nd). The problem is that the Bucks allowed significantly more attempts at the basket last season (26.2 vs. 23.0).

Defensive rebounding is the most obvious culprit, and among the four factors it’s the most obvious area in which Milwaukee took a major step back (from 8th to 25th). Look no further than the loss of Bogut, who for all his shot-blocking and charge-taking prowess is a top-flight defensive rebounder to boot. That’s also precisely why Dalembert’s arrival was so badly needed. Yes, he’s long been a very good shot-blocker, but he’s also equally adept on the boards, ranking 10th out of 53 centers in defensive rebound rate last season and finishing one spot behind Bogut (4th out of 60) in 2010-11. The fact that he will eat up a good chunk of Drew Gooden’s center minutes is also a very good thing, as the Bucks were a mind-boggling 12.7 points/100 possessions worse defensively with Gooden on the court last season.

It’s not just up to Dalembert, of course. But playing Luc Mbah a Moute more at small forward (where he’s an all-world defender and plus rebounder) and giving more minutes to Tobias Harris at the same spot also helps on the boards. Also worth noting: While most people tend to focus on Ilyasova’s offensive rebounding prowess, he’s always been an above-average defensive rebounder and last season was actually the first time he rated higher on the offensive boards.

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