Bernucca: NBA Buyout Season’s Winners and Losers

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I’m kinda high on what the Charlotte Bobcats did with Ben Gordon.220px-Gordon7_20091204

The Bobcats waived Gordon on Sunday, preventing him from appearing in the postseason should he sign with another team. While they may have alienated his agent – not a trifle thing in the business world of the NBA – two things should be pointed out.

1. When teams waive or buy out players at this time of the season, they are essentially establishing a price they are willing to pay to that player to not play for them.

2. In this case, the Bobcats made it impossible for Gordon to come back to haunt them in the playoffs.

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The Official 2013 Sheridan Hoops NBA Draft Trade Breakdown

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contentmediaexternalimagesmedia69Unpredictable. Chaotic. Climactic. Frenetic. Turbulent. These are just several words to describe Thursday night’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. For the first time in a while, nobody had any idea what was going to happen. And from the first selection down to the humongous blockbuster trade that went down, the theater and drama of the 2013 draft more than made up for the lack of an impact player among this year’s talent pool.

With very few surefire and safe players in the Draft, it allowed league general managers and executives to get creative and improve their respective rosters via trade. And boy were there a lot of trades, 16 by the official Sheridan Hoops count. We’ll start with the most important trade and move our way down the draft and diagnose what these deals mean for the present and future of each involved party.

Kevin GarnettBrooklyn acquires Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from Boston for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans and three No. 1 picks – 2014, 2016 and 2018, plus a pick-swap option with the Nets in 2017. 

This still seems weird to say, things could still potentially break down before the July 10 actual completion date, but this would be an absolute masterstroke from Nets GM Billy King. Brooklyn was already going to be capped out for the next several years, so dealing for Pierce, Garnett and Terry makes the Nets deeper and more physically tough inside with Garnett. Boston is now all in on its rebuild, which could take a long, long time because of its salary situation. The Wallace contract is totally toxic, but the expiring Humphries asset is a very good one.

Brooklyn now boasts the best basketball team in New York and a greater share of the back pages, which is probably exactly what the Nets wanted to do on the night their home arena was being showcased to the world. Great job.

Nerlens-NoelPhiladelphia acquires draft rights to No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick from New Orleans for Jrue Holiday and the rights to No. 46 pick Pierre Jackson.

I was in the room with Noel when he first heard about the trade, and he said he was excited to play with Holliday. Philadelphia is now on a full-scale rebuild, except that the Sixers now have two key pieces in Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. Fans need to be patient for Noel to develop on both sides of the ball, and the legendary Darryl Dawkins told Sheridan Hoops that the pressure may end up getting to Noel.

This trade is great for Carter-Williams, who now gets the “keys to the car,” as he said, as the starting point guard. And with New Orleans’ 2014 pick only top-three protected, Philadelphia has a great shot of getting a lottery pick in next year’s supposedly loaded draft.

The Pelicans now have a bona-fide starter at point guard, since they don’t seem to trust Greivis Vasquez (despite leading the league in total assists last season) and Austin Rivers may have had one of the worst rookie seasons ever. Oh, and they also got Jackson in this trade, another point guard. So New Orleans now has a glut at the position as they try to rebuild and find the right long-term pieces.

Memphis acquired Kosta Koufos from Denver for Darell Arthur and the rights to No. 55 pick Joffrey Lauvergne.

The Nuggets’ brass was never fond of George Karl’s underutilization of JaVale McGee after ownership gave him such a huge contract, and that sentiment was solidified when Koufos was dealt to Memphis. The Grizzlies get an agile player who can run the floor and a very capable rebounder, while Denver will see where they can fit Arthur into an already crowded big man rotation. The Grizzlies did really nicely here.

Trey BurkeUtah Jazz acquire draft rights to No. 9 pick Trey Burke from Minnesota for draft rights to No. 14 Shabazz Muhammed and No. 21 Gorgui Dieng.

After seeing the Jazz flail around with Mo Williams and Jamal Tinsley last season, it was painfully obvious that Utah needed a point guard. And to get the consensus top player at a position with the ninth pick has to be considered a success. A Jazz PR staffer told me that they didn’t bring in Burke for any workouts, which was a good use of subterfuge and a perfect example of a close-to-the-vest franchise like the Jazz using a misdirection to their advantage.

As well as Utah fared, Minnesota got just as good a value from the two picks they got in return. The Wolves had two glaring holes: a scorer and a shooting guard. Muhammad may not be able to do anything else besides scoring, but that’s exactly what Minnesota needed. He’ll fare well next to Ricky Rubio in the backcourt and should start right away. And to top that off Flip Saunders stole Dieng, who will at worst be a shot blocker and a strong interior defender, from Brooklyn’s lap at 21.

Kelly OlynykBoston Celtics acquire No. 13 pick Kelly Olynyk from Dallas for rights to No. 16 pick Lucas Nogueira (later traded to Atlanta.)

This Celtics pick was worth it just to see Nogueira try to fit his hat on his ludicrously large afro, but Olynyk should be a solid player in Boston’s long rebuild. There won’t be too much pressure on him right away with Wallace, Humphries, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger in the fold, and he should slowly develop into a solid role player.

Atlanta Hawks acquire rights to No. 16 pick Lucas Nogueira and No. 44 pick Mike Muscala from Dallas for rights to No. 18 pick Shane Larkin and Jared Cunningham. 

The Hawks probably didn’t want guaranteed cap space to go towards a first round pick, as they’re saving money for Dwight Howard. Muscala is an intriguing long-term prospect with a good midrange game, and should be a nice backup big right away.

Dallas did really well in trading down and getting the player they probably wanted all along in Larkin. His size could be an issue, the same applies to Burke, but Larkin has incredible athleticism and a great motor. There’s certainly a decent chance he can start at the NBA level.

ArchieGoodwinMinnesota traded Malcolm Lee and draft rights to No. 26 pick Andre Roberson (later traded to Oklahoma City) to Golden State for cash and a 2014 second-round pick. Golden State traded draft rights to No. 26 pick Andre Roberson to Oklahoma City for draft rights to No. 29 pick Archie Goodwin (later traded to Phoenix) and cash. Phoenix Suns acquire Malcolm Lee and draft rights to Archie Goodwin from Golden State for rights to No. 30 pick Nemanja Nedovic.

This is all very complicated, but these trades all intertwine. Golden State really does think that Nedovic could be a long-term replacement for Jarrett Jack as the backup scoring guard and may try to play Summer League to test himself out. Phoenix is another team embracing a long rebuild under new coach Jeff Hornacek, and it will take Archie Goodwin a long amount of time in the D-League to hone his game. The same goes for the Thunder and Roberson, which seemed like the second largest reach in the first round (to Indiana and Solomon Hill). Roberson will work on developing an offensive game in the D-League as well.

Utah acquired the draft rights to No. 27 pick Rudy Gobert from Denver for cash and the rights to No. 46 pick Erick Green.

Colleague and Euro-expert A.J. Mitnick said Thursday night that this was the ideal spot in the draft for Gobert to be taken and stashed away for a little while. But much to the dismay of Evan Fournier, Gobert will be playing in Utah when he comes to the States. Denver did get the better short-term player in Green, this past season’s ACC POY and a very capable scoring combo guard. The Nuggets really know how to find and cultivate strong depth, and Green is certainly no exception.

Allen CrabbePortland acquired the draft rights to No. 31 pick Allen Crabbe from Cleveland for two future second-round picks.

Ironically, this is a trade completed by the two teams that I thought had the best drafts. If second round picks can develop into strong rotation players, that’s considered a win for an organization. Crabbe has one really strong tool, his shooting, that should help him stick in the league for a while. Combine Crabbe with CJ McCollum and Jeff Withey, and that’s one really strong draft haul for Blazers GM Neil Olshey.

Dallas acquired the draft rights to No. 43 pick Ricky Ledo from Milwaukee for a future second-round draft pick.

After falling in the draft and being passed around a bit, Ledo finally landed in Dallas, which ended up with two high-ceiling players in Ledo and Larkin. Ledo has shown the ability to score, but he didn’t play at all in college last year. Dallas owns its D-League team, and you could be sure that a top priority for the club will be to get Ledo prepared for the pro game. He has the ability to be a really good scorer.

Boston acquired draft rights to No. 53 pick Colton Iverson from Indiana for cash.

It will be interesting to see how they integrate Olynyk and Iverson into their rotation. While New Orleans is stockpiling guards, Sacramento is doing the same, Boston seems to be hoarding big men with the hopes that a few pan out. Iverson is a really strong defender and rebounder, which should seemingly translate to the pro level.

13NBA_Draft_StateFarm_LogosheetWashington acquired draft rights to No. 35 pick Glen Rice Jr. from Philadelphia for draft rights to No. 38 pick Nate Wolters and No. 54 pick Arsalan Kazemi.

Both Wolters and Rice would have fit well on either team, actually, with Rice adding some athleticism at the three for the Wizards behind Otto Porter. They immediately turned that position from weakness to strength. And I really like Wolters’ game. He can shoot and handle and is no worse than a third point guard. He could easily be a 15 to 20 minute player in the league.

Oklahoma City acquired the draft rights to No. 40 pick Grant Jerrett from Portland for cash.

The Thunder drafted this year totally based on upside, with Steven Adams, Roberson and Jarrett. The problem is that they have so many of these players already on their D-League team that playing time is cannibalized, which may stunt their development. Sam Presti should be praised for using the D-League so willingly, but it seems like there isn’t enough room for all those guys in Tulsa.

Miami acquired the draft rights to No. 50 pick James Ennis from Atlanta for a future second-round pick.

The Heat have the luxury of not having to play first year players for a long time, and the Big West POY from Long Beach State is a rare mix of talent. He averaged over 35 percent from three, 1.3 blocks and nearly two steals per game last season. It will be interesting to see what the Heat do with him long term.

Bucknell: Five Facts for the NCAA Tourney

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Sportsbook.agDid you know Bison are savvy swimmers? Well, the experienced Bucknell bunch remained afloat Wednesday night, drowning Lafayette, 64-56, to capture their fourth Patriot League crown and sixth automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Here are five other facts you may not know about the Bison’s basketball-playing brethren:

1. Bucknell’s win over Lafayette, its 28th of the year, breaks the school and Patriot League records for victories in a season. The triumph also extended the seniors’ record for most wins by one class to 92.

2. Senior center, Mike Muscala, is a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year award winner, Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer, and only D-I player in the country to average more than 18 points and 11 boards. He also paced the nation with 22 double-doubles.

3. Muscala’s not the only offensive threat for Bucknell. Joe Willman (6-7, senior, forward), Cameron Ayers (6-5, junior, guard) and Bryson Johnson (6-2, senior, guard) have all eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau, averaged double-digit scoring numbers and have been tabbed All-Patriot League selections in their careers. Steven Kaspar, a 6-3 sophomore floor leader, is the lone underclassman in the starting five.

4. In 2005, Bucknell became the first Patriot League team to win an NCAA tournament game, upsetting No. 3 Kansas 64-63 in the opening round. The unforeseen feat reeled in “Best Upset” at the 2005 ESPY Awards.

5. Fifth-year coach Dave Paulsen has guided Bucknell through one of the best eras in program history. The Bison have won 76 games over the last three years, a program record.

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NCAA Tournament Teams Five Facts Index

2013 NBA Draft: Top Centers

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Just four days ago, the 2013 NBA draft was turned upside down when Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel suffered a devastating knee injury.

Over the past month, Noel has separated himself from the pack to be projected as the top pick in June’s draft. Instantly, Twitter blew up with reaction from fans and journalists ranging from the injury to the gruesome images to his draft stock.

In the days following it was revealed that Noel suffered a torn ACL and is expected to have surgery in the next few weeks. He should be recovered in six to eight months.

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