SH Blog: Can Westbrook Return In November? Doc Would Have Resigned Without Redick Trade

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Rose WestbrookWho has a shot to beat the Miami Heat in a seven-game playoff series?

That’s the question everybody was asking on opening night of the 2013-’14 NBA season. The Bulls did not seem worthy in their 107-95 loss.

San Antonio, Indiana, Chicago, Brooklyn and Oklahoma City all are considered elite while the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks have this season to make their case to join that group. 

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Evening News: Melo plans to recruit free agents to NY; Anonymous GM admits tanking is part of plan

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In today’s news, Carmelo Anthony gave a big hint as to where he expects to be playing next year. Meanwhile, an anonymous general manager admitted that tanking the season away is part of the game plan for his organization going forward.

Melo intends to recruit big names to New York in 2015

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that Carmelo Anthony plans to do his fair share of recruiting to bring big name talent to New York in 2015. Carmelo Anthony

While Anthony, himself, is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks next summer, the team believes he will eventually re-sign in New York under the security of a longer contract. After all, if Anthony was to leave New York, he would be sacrificing over $30 million dollars in guaranteed money.

Still, after Anthony revealed his intentions to opt out of his contract at the beginning of the month, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith criticized him for not trying harder to recruit stars to come to New York.

PODCAST: CAN ANYBODY BEAT THE HEAT?

When asked on Tuesday whether he would be an active recruiter come free agency time, Anthony responded confidently:

“I haven’t had a complaint yet in 10, 11 years in the NBA about playing with me,’’ Anthony said. “People would love to come to play in New York. When that comes, we’ll be working on that. I have a big black book, a big Rolodex. People talk about what’s going on with me in the offseason, [that] I should be getting people to come here. I am. I’m trying.’’

The Knicks will have ample cap space in 2015, when the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler come off the books. Among the players expected to be eligible for free agency, the Knicks would likely pursue Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and Lamarcus Aldridge.

GM admits tanking is part of the plan

According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, at least one general manager in the NBA acknowledges that his team is “Riggin’ for Wiggins.” Andrew Wiggins

“Our team isn’t good enough to win and we know it,” said an anonymous general manager. “So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes — and get us in position to grab a great player. The best way for us to do that is to lose a lot of games. This draft is loaded. There are potential All-Stars at the top, maybe even franchise changers. Sometimes my job is to understand the value of losing.

RELATED: AN ESPECIALLY EARLY 2014 MOCK DRAFT

“I know that sounds crazy, but if you’re an NBA general manager like me, the last place you want to be is in the middle. There are only two outcomes there: Either make the playoffs and be first-round fodder for one of the premier teams or miss the playoffs and pick somewhere around 11th to 14th in the draft. Either way, the odds are that you stay in that middle range. It’s a recipe for disaster.

“You need superstars to compete in this league, and the playing field for those guys is tilted toward a few big-market teams. They are demanding trades and getting together and deciding where they want to go in free agency. It’s tough for us to compete with that. So a high lottery pick is all we have.”

NBA Rumors and News for October 29, 2013

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LeBron Rose

Tuesday, October 29

Happy opening day! The NBA season officially gets underway Tuesday night with three games on deck, including a matchup between NBA Champion Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

To kick off the season, I want to hear from you. Please answer the survey question and challenge your NBA knowledge with the trivia below.

Daily Trivia: Which year did the Miami Heat join the NBA? Answer below.

Sheridan: The NBA All-Overpaid Team

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maloneyI know a guy who used to work for the Houston Rockets back in the 1990s, when Hakeem Olajuwon was leading the team to back to-back titles and the team played at The Summit — a rickety bandbox that has been converted into a church in the years since the team moved to the Toyota Center.

The guy tells a great story about a different era in the NBA, when money flowed as though it was wine at a toga party. Max contracts in those days lasted seven years, and the raises were 12.5 percent annually.

(When the 1998 lockout came, one of David Stern’s talking points was that NO establish business grows at a 12.5 percent annual rate, which is one of the reasons why that 12.5 percent number has basically been halved.)

In those days, in  an effort to increase scoring, the NBA moved the 3-point line from 23 feet, 9 inches to a uniform 22 feet. The change lasted two years before the NBA came to its senses and moved it back where it belongs. But during those two years, there were a heck of a lot of players who could drain it from 22 feet.

One of them was Matt Maloney, the point guard who took over after Kenny Smith hung his kicks up.

When Maloney’s rookie deal expired, he signed a new contract. My friend walked up to Maloney and congratulated him on his new three-year deal.

“Three?” Maloney said. “I got seven.”

dawsonThe friend took this information inside and brought it to Carroll Dawson, who was the team’s GM. “Did Matt Maloney really get a seven-year deal?” “I don’t want to talk about it,” was Dawson’s reply. Two years later, the Rockets cut Maloney — and ate the rest of the money they owed him.

These days, a new frugality has taken over in the NBA, and with max contracts now at four years (five if a player becomes an unrestricted free agent), we have entered a new phase both financially and journalistically. (Cases in point: The obsession in New York with Carmelo Anthony opting out of his contract at the end of this season; the hand-wringing in Miami over whether LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will opt out of their contracts; the school of thought in Cleveland that James might return to his old team).

Nobody writes about the games anymore, until the playoffs. They write about trade speculation, contract extension speculation, and anything else that makes for a good rumor.

This is the dead era in basketball journalism — but we are going to breathe some life into it today by filling you in on how much dead money is still floating around the league — and we won’t even include the players who have been amnestied and are now double-dipping — being paid by two teams.

So without further ado, the 2013-14 NBA All-Overpaid Team. As Dire Straits sang … “Money for nothing.” 

UTA_Biedrins_AndrisC – Andris Biedrins — Utah Jazz. ($9 million). This will be the big Latvian’s 10th season in the NBA, and probably his last. Then he can retire to his native Latvia and enjoy the benefits of living in a country where the female-to-male ratio is ridiculously skewed toward the female gender. In Biedrins’ nine seasons, he has played all 82 games just once. In 2011-12, he attempted nine free throws all season and made just one. Last season, he went 4-for-13 from the line in 53 games. He has shot above 60 percent from the field in three seasons, and he is 7 feet tall — two pieces of the formula for getting rich in the NBA. But this season, after the Warriors dumped him on the Jazz to clear the salary cap space to sign Andre Iguodala, he will be spending an awful lot of time watching Enes Kanter hone his game.

Utah Jazz Media DayF- Richard Jefferson — Utah Jazz. ($11.046 million). Back when I was working for ESPN and covering Team USA, we were in Macao when I struck up a conversation with the American dance team that the NBA had sent along on the trip to help enhance the “NBA experience.”Thank goodness this was prior to the age of t-shirt guns, which now are one of the few things that can prompt well-heeled fans to get out of their seats. One of the dancers told me she was engaged to Jefferson, and I envied her. She was looking at a life of luxury and largess, the type of lifestyle so many women who birddog NBA players aspire to. Then RJ left her at the altar. Whatever your opinion of leaving a bride at the altar, Jefferson saved himself a ton of money. He will make $11.046 million this season to wave a towel.

NY Knicks Media Day PortraitsF- Amar’e Stoudemire — New York Knicks. ($21.68 million) He will be on a minutes restriction this season, coming off the bench along with Andrea Bargnani as coach Mike Woodson uses Carmelo Anthony as his power forward. The days when he combined with Steve Nash as one of the best pick-and-roll tandems in the league are ancient history now, and the Knicks’ efforts to trade him have been (unsurprisingly) fruitless. He was the consolation prize in the summer of 2010 when the Knicks lost out in their pursuit of LeBron James, and it is now fair to say he was a booby prize. The talent is still there, but the knees are not. And Stoudemire’s contract is NOT insured against knee injuries.

BKN_Johnson_Joe

G – Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets. ($21.47 million) Some guys just continue to get paid ridiculous amounts of money, and Joe Johnson is Exhibit A. The deal that brought him to Atlanta from Phoenix led to the breakup of the Hawks’ ownership group, and he was considered one of the most untradeable players in the league until the Nets signed him in an effort to keep Deron Williams from bolting for the Dallas Mavericks two summers ago. We shall see what kind of money he is worth this season, as Jason Kidd has already said Joe J. will be his go-to guy when the team needs a late bucket in close games. Kidd says the analytics show Johnson is one of the best in the league at hitting game-winners. Folks in Atlanta can stop laughing at that statement whenever they choose — but it might take a while.

Kobe G – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. ($30.453 million) The only $30 million player in the league, he makes almost $8 million more than the second-highest paid player, Dirk Nowitzki. Next summer, he will be an unrestricted free agent, and he will want something resembling Kobe money — even if it prevents the Lakers from rebuilding with high-quality free agents. Danny Schayes goes so far as to say he expects Bryant to play elsewhere in 2014-15 in an effort to get that elusive sixth ring, which would match Michael Jordan’s total. But for now, he is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, no one can say with any certainty when he will be back, and his team is now an outlayer in the Western Conference playoff picture. It is not implausible that they will finish with the second-worst record in the West (no one is touching the Suns).

(RELATED: WILL THE $30 MILLION PLAYER BECOME EXTINCT?)

(RELATED: SALARY CAP STATUS AND ANALYSIS FOR ALL 30 NBA TEAMS)

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

Schayes: Why Preseason Trips, Near and Far, Can Be Onerous

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dannyschayesWith preseason winding down, the excitement is building for the start of the NBA season —  for the players, that is.

The NBA preseason is a necessary part of the game as teams prepare for the long season. However that does not make it fun. If you want fun, think baseball Spring Training. Teams go to some wonderful part of the country for 6 weeks. The players move in, bringing their golf clubs and families. They ease into the season at a baseball pace. That is leisurely. The games are like tailgate parties with the fans enjoying intimate stadiums with grassy areas for picnicking. The entire Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues set up shop within 50-100 miles of each other. All of your “road” games are a short bus ride away.

The NBA preseason experience is a much different animal.