I’m trying something a little new for me. I’m going to be attempting to provide a Thursday night blog that focuses on one of two specific sports topics. The plan is to alternate week to week between talking about the NBA and then look at the NFL the following week.
I’m kicking that off tonight with a look at just a small sample of the news in the aftermath of the NBA draft. In particular, the stories that most interest me. (Let’s face it, there is just FAR TOO MUCH news for me to cover everything. If you need to have every single transaction that happens at your fingertips, check out the NBA.com transactions page.)
Philadelphia 76ers – You would think that the flurry of signings and free agent movement would be enough news so that pitiful little stories like how Jahlil Okafor dropped his 76ers jersey on a table wouldn’t be something worth mentioning.
But feeding the beast is a never-ending process, and so the act of letting go of a jersey became a piece of scrutinized film akin to the Zapruder film. You can read more and see a clip of said travesty of clothing abuse HERE.
For a minute, let’s pretend that this is a worthy news article.
SO WHAT? He’s going from the pinnacle of basketball success at Duke to a team that is purposely trying to lose games.
Winning for Philly is like losing for Duke, I’d want Okafor to be pissed off that he’s wound up in the basketball hinterlands for the foreseeable future.
The idiots in the media should be glad he didn’t crumble the jersey up into a ball, throw it down and say, “There’s no way I’m playing for this POS team.”
Miami Heat – Dwyane Wade passing on a player option to rejoin the team this week has raised some eyebrows. He’s now an unrestricted free agent and reportedly is seeking a max deal from the Heat in order to come back. You can read more HERE.
I can see why he would want to play the free agent market even at this point in his career. Miami’s days as a legit title contender are over.
With Wade on the downside of his career and his knees not getting any younger either, it might be best for him to go to another team that could use his talents in conjunction with what they already have in place and become a contender there instead.
I’m not sure that this isn’t just a ploy from Wade to get as big an offer as possible from the Heat, but if it isn’t and he’s really ready to move on, I hope the Heat fans remember what he’s done for them since being there.
It will suck for them if the most recognizable long-term player in team history (I consider LeBron James a rental in Miami) doesn’t finish his career there but at this point only the most delusional fan(atics) would want to deprive him of a chance to contend again before he leaves the game for good.
Of course, everything I just wrote above no longer matters. I just read that Wade will sign a 1 year, $20 million dollar deal to stay in Miami.
Denver Nuggets – New Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was interviewed by SI.com‘s NBA writer Chris Mannix on the latter’s radio show last week. He talked about being fired in Sacramento, his plans for the Nuggets for next season and drafting Emmanuel Mudiay. You can read a transcript of the interview HERE.
I know that fellow YouGab blogger B.O.B. has to deal with the three-ring circus that the Sacramento Kings have become over the last couple of weeks, but I have to think that Malone getting fired was perhaps the best thing for both his sanity and career.
Golden State Warriors – Besides a rather glowing profile in Sports Illustrated last week and the NBA title itself, it has been quite a week for Stephen Curry. The NBA announced that Curry’s Warriors jersey has become the #1 selling player jersey for the league, surpassing LeBron James.
I get that marketing and merchandising professionals are likely be getting their jollies from this story. But this news pretty much left me wondering why the NBA feels it is necessary to fill up valuable newspaper space with an essentially useless bit of information.
I mean, does the league think that telling me which nba jerseys sells the most on NBA.com is going to make me skip paying a bill in order to drop that money on a replica jersey?
If so, I’ve been happily disappointing NBA execs for years.
Boston Celtics – The Celtics introduced their 4 player rookie class to the local media this week. All four players were set to start summer league practice with the team yesterday. You can read about their first media session in this Celtics.com piece.
As for three other moves by the Celtics, the team wasn’t flashy in their free agent work, but they weren’t lacking for action either.
1. The team will re-sign Jae Crowder to a 5 year, $35 million dollar deal.
I think this is an excellent move by the team because Crowder did become a valuable asset to the team’s on court performance last season. I think with more time in Brad Stevens’ system, he has the potential to become even better.
2. Jonas Jerebko has agreed to a 2 year $10 million dollar deal. He’ll be kind of a placeholder on the roster and with the 2nd year of the deal not being guaranteed, he’d be a likely component of any kind of deal GM Danny Ainge might swing in order to bring in a blockbuster kind of free agent via trade.
3. The biggest flaw in the Celtics makeup has been their lack of a rim protector.
The team may have, at least temporarily, found a solution to that problem.
They signed ex-Raptor Amir Johnson to a 2 year, $24 million dollar contract (2nd year not guaranteed). The rep on Johnson is that he’s a rim protector and if the team can improve in that area of defensive play, they can look forward to being a much better team (at least on paper).
For more on these signings and a breakdown of what the Celtics are hoping to accomplish as free agency continues, check out this Bleacher Report.com article.
Chicago Bulls – Jimmy Butler placed a bet on himself and this week that bet paid off quite handsomely in his favor.
Butler had turned down a 4 year, $44 million dollar offer that a lot of people thought he was crazy to do. But thanks to an outstanding season that saw him become an integral part of the Bulls, he now finds himself with a $95 million dollar max deal from Chicago.
If things had gone wrong for him, we’d likely be touting how foolish he was. But now we have to admire the confidence in himself that resulted in him getting an extra $51 million (to hopefully put in the bank) dollars.
You can read more about the story via this link.
Luke Ridnour – As I write this, the saga of Luke Ridnour began 8 days ago. He started off as a member of the Orlando Magic.
But thanks to a perfectly easy contract that doesn’t become guaranteed until July 10th or 11th, he’s been bounced around North America like the most unloved ping pong ball in history.
The Magic sent him the Memphis Grizzlies who turned around and sent him to the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte then sent him off to Oklahoma City. And that flurry of activity was all in the space of 25 hours. But he didn’t stay long with the Thunder either. They ended up sending him off to Toronto.
Currently, he’s still with the Raptors but it looks like that won’t last either due to the contract guarantee that is about to kick in.
I feel bad for the guy in a way. He’s been a serviceable professional throughout his career and he’s looking to play for at least one more season. And despite the articles being written clearly stating that the moves are contract related, you have to think casual observers would be wondering why this guy keeps getting moved around.
Given the low dollar amount on his contract, you’d think there’d be some team out there that would want him on their roster.
I guess the one positive to all the trades is that it happened during the offseason. Ridnour has stayed at his offseason home despite having a multitude of new work addresses.
For more on this ridiculous story, check out this Yahoo! Sports piece. (Of course, by the time you read the report it may be out of date given how much Ridnour has been moving around the league this week.)
Paul Pierce – The ex-Celtics player has reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers by signing a three year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.
I know that some people consider Pierce kind of a douchebag, but I’ve always liked the guy. A lifelong Lakers fan growing up going on to become one of those embodiments of Celtics Pride?
I’m never going to knock Pierce. I wish there’d been some way to get him back in a Celtics uniform. But it just wouldn’t work with the rebuilding plan that the Boston front office has said they have. I’m pretty sure that when Pierce is ready to retire, he’ll sign one of those one day coming home contracts and move into a front office type of role with Boston.
But while he still can and wants to play, I think getting back together with Doc Rivers is a perfect idea. And he’ll be on a team that can contend for a title if they get their collective heads out of their butts. Perhaps Pierce can be that calming leadership presence that the team has lacked.
Yes, I know you want to say that Chris Paul fills that role, but he’s been just as guilty as the other big names on the Clippers roster at screwing things up for the team in the playoffs.
For my money, Pierce doesn’t have that knock on him and since it is unlikely that he’ll find himself playing a huge role with L.A. like his Celtics glory days, providing a leadership blueprint for the younger players might be just what the team needs to get over in the West.
For details on the deal, click here.