Archive for the ‘2012 Free Agency’ Category

Steve Nash - traitor

According to multiple trusted sources on Twitter, the Phoenix Suns have traded Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers for future draft picks. This news surprised many of us at first since it seemed to come out of left field, but it actually makes sense from Nash’s perspective if he wants to win a championship before he retires. If his options were the Raptors, Knicks, Mavericks and Lakers, the latter team would understandably seem most appealing to Nash.

For Raptors fans like myself who sat trembling with anticipation in front of their Twitter accounts for days, the way Nash played the Raptors for leverage was a reminder that even the most beloved Canadian basketball player ever doesn’t want to play in Canada. OK, to be fair, it’s probably not about the “Canada” part for Nash, it’s more about the “Raptors are an unfunny joke” part. The only free agents that seem to want to sign with this franchise are mediocre ones like Landry Fields and Hedo Turkoglu — and even they need to be overpaid.

Knicks fans are understandably upset about this development as well, but frankly I don’t want to hear it. Nash wasn’t going to get them past the Heat, anyway, and they never have to worry about whether or not big-name free agents will take them seriously. We’ve got one NBA team in Canada, and convincing Nash to join the Raptors would have been arguably the biggest moment in Canadian pro sports since August 1988 when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the L.A. Kings. (I was 13. I cried. Note: After I posted this, an astute commenter pointed out that the Toronto Blue Jays’ World Series victories in ’92 and ’93 were also kind of a big deal.) Once more, the glitz and glamor of the City of Angels has seduced one of Canada’s most beloved sporting sons, and the sting of rejection is only a little easier to take now than it was then.

But enough of my wallowing, how about those Lakers! Nash, Kobe, Pau and Bynum aren’t exactly Payton, Kobe, Malone and Shaq, but they’re still extremely intriguing and imposing. Suddenly, a Heat vs. Thunder rematch in the 2013 Finals doesn’t seem like such a sure thing, and the Heat vs. Lakers championship clash so many NBA fans have been dying to see — including the ones who claim to hate both teams, trust me on this — appears to be a significant possibility.

Speaking of which… your move, Riles. This would be a good time to send another text to Ray Allen.

Deron Williams

Well, I’ll be damned. The Nets actually pulled it off. Sure, we all laughed at them when they traded this year’s first round pick (which turned into Damian Lillard) to the Blazers for Gerald Wallace because most of us probably assumed Deron Williams would leave and they’d have to convince Brooklyn fans to get excited about a team with no stars and MarShon Brooks in the starting lineup. But after they re-signed Wallace and traded a bunch of expiring contracts and a future draft pick to the Hawks for Joe Johnson, they convinced Williams to re-sign with them for the max — which works out to around five years and $98.75 million.

It’s impossible to know how the Dwight Howard saga is going to play out, but if they go into their first season in Brooklyn with a starting lineup of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, that’s a pretty damn good starting five. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted earlier tonight that the Nets will try to re-sign Humphries if they can’t make a Howard deal happen this off-season.

Let’s give full credit to Nets GM Billy King for rapidly turning what could have been an unmitigated disaster into the most compelling success story of the 2012 NBA off-season. The Nets certainly aren’t championship contenders now, but they’re probably a playoff team if they can have some luck in the health department and if King manages to fill out their roster with serviceable NBA players. Somewhere, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov is laughing his butt off while he’s surrounded by supermodels and miniature giraffes.

Jason Terry

I guess we can write the postscript for The Ray Allen Era in Boston, now that Marc Spears has reported that the Celtics have signed  Jason Terry to a three-year contract at the mid-level exception of $5 million per season. The Jet is two years younger than Ray Allen and while he isn’t on Ray’s level as a shooter (who is?), he’ll likely be the more productive option as a sixth man going forward. Avery Bradley will probably inhabit the starting two-guard spot when he recovers from shoulder surgery, leaving Terry to provide scoring punch off the bench in the role in which he excelled for his last five seasons in Dallas.

I’m obviously joshing with the “youth movement” remark in the title, but what this does signal is that the Celtics intend on trying to keep that championship window jammed open for at least a couple more seasons. As for Ray Allen, most Celtics fans will surely be sad to see him go — although we can’t entirely rule out the possibility that he’ll return to the Celtics in a reduced role — but his services will be in demand among teams that consider themselves contenders next season. Cases in point: Ray is scheduled to meet with the Heat on Thursday and the Clippers on Friday. On the small chance that he decides to retire, he won’t be hurting for money since he’s also “The World Leader in Professional K-9 Equipment”. (Note: May be a different Ray Allen.)

Yesterday we saw how the Brooklyn Nets left a giant birthday billboard outside Deron Williams’ door, just to say happy birthday and maybe remind him that everyone involved with the Nets loved him and maybe it would be cool if he signed with them but mostly just happy birthday. It was very nice of them, remembering his birthday like that.

Not wanting to be upstaged, some Dallas Mavericks fans — I am guessing that fans paid for this, but I guess it could be the team, as I don’t have the payment records — paid for a birthday message at last night’s Texas Rangers game to the man they’re hoping will be their future point guard. Whoever made the call settled on a very direct “Be a Maverick!,” but through some clever sleuthing, we were able to dig up some of the other ideas they had.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hey, do you want to know the least surprising news in the world? Deron Williams is going to become a free agent this summer, rather than picking up his 2012-13 option with the New Jersey Nets.

Aren’t you shocked? No? Not at all? I didn’t think so.

But if you were the least bit curious if he had any plans to stick around for the move to Brooklyn, maybe this will change your mind. From Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears:

“People get traded all the time,” Williams told Yahoo! Sports. “They don’t get backlash as an organization. If [players] leave, we are not loyal, we are ungrateful. People say stuff to me on Twitter. They already think I’m gone. They are out there bashing me, saying to me I’m a traitor.

“I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded. I didn’t come here being a free agent. This is the first time that I’m a free agent in my career.”

And this, when asked if Dwight Howard coming to New Jersey would have changed his mind about staying with the Nets.

“Oh yeah, it definitely would have changed things. I’ve already made it known that if he would have come I probably would have stayed.”

So other than the fact that Deron Williams is now on record as saying he didn’t ask to be in New Jersey, that he considers himself a free agent when there is still technically a way he could re-up with the Nets, that he is going to be giving up money to test the market, and that a Dwight Howard trade would have “changed things” and made him want to stay, things look pretty good for the Nets. I mean, they only traded Derrick Favors, the pick that became Enes Kanter and the Warriors’ first round pick this year as long as it’s not in the top seven for a (shortened) season and a half of Deron Williams, then compounded things by trading expiring contracts and ANOTHER first round pick this year for Gerald Wallace, who could opt out at the end of this season. That’s just four lottery picks in exchange for 94 guaranteed games* from Williams and Wallace. No big deal. Excellent rebuilding strategy.

As Deeks said at the trade deadline, the Gerald Wallace trade was about keeping Deron Williams around — probably why Williams calls himself the Nets’ “assistant GM” — in the hopes that they could convince Dwight Howard to come to Brooklyn when he is actually ready to leave the Magic. But if Deron leaves, like Deeks said, the Nets have nothing — no elite players, no assets and no plan for getting better any time soon. And since it sure seems like Deron is headed out that door, that worst case scenario is looking mighty likely.

Fun time to be a Nets fan.

*Williams’ games last year + Williams’ games this year + Wallace’s games this year + (Remaining Nets games x 2) = 94 games, assuming Wallace declines his player option for next season