Archives For 2010 free agency

Photo by lint machine

  • Things are happening everybody. Did you guys know that Lebron James was a free agent this summer? Wow, he’s probably going to make a lot of money, almost as much as Joe Johnson even! In any case, it seems that Lebron’s decision will have an effect on David Lee’s eventual destination. And although Golden State is evidently the front-runner in this little game, nothing is decided at the moment. Chad Ford reports at Truehoop:

Once LeBron announces his intentions tonight at 9 p.m. on ESPN, Lee should know pretty quickly where he’ll land. League sources tell me that the Warriors are in the lead to land Lee in a sign-and-trade with the Knicks if New York doesn’t win the LeBron Lottery tonight…If the Knicks do land LeBron tonight, they’ll have to renounce their rights to Lee in order to fit in LeBron under the cap. That will kill any chances of a sign-and-trade.

Good to know, except that the Knicks are not going to land Lebron tonight, so.

  • Speaking of the salary cap, Marc Stein at ESPN tells us that the cap for next season is actually $2 million higher than expected.
  • Which is great news because it means that the Wolves can now go right ahead and sign Luke Ridnour. Problem solved!
  • Ups, not quite. Nothing is settled until the porcelain Rick Rickert joins the Wolves’ Summer League team. There, that should do it.
  • Don’t worry, everybody, Jonny Flynn is not being traded (although now how will the Wolves find playing time for Ridnour? Right?).
  • This last thing has nothing to do with the Wolves, but Joey from Straight Bangin’ so perfectly captures my feelings on the whole Lebron/Wade/Bosh  Event (assuming, of course, that Lebron does go to Miami, as it looks like he will) that I’ve got to show it to you (although its chock full of dirty words). His points, in brief: It is cowardly; it is lazy; it is boring for basketball; it undermines the NBA; it insults history. True on all counts:

If Miami wins two, or three, or four titles, I hope that no self-respecting fan anoints LeBron as a historical equivalent of Michael, Magic, Larry, and them. Those are NBA greats who sacrificed, who struggled, who worked to impose their will, believing that ultimately they would find a way to emboss the designs for a title with their unique signatures. LeBron has chosen otherwise, shrinking from the obligations of true greatness. This is a herb move for a man who will remain lost despite a new direction.

Good use of the word “herb,” dude. Two more bodies I’d add to the pile: 1) For a man who claims to love his home state, he doled out some serious torture to the people who’ve supported him his whole life. 2) Culminating in this one-hour television special–which I’ll watch if I can find the stomach–this whole hubristic fiasco has done more to turn everyday life into a vacuous, preening spectacle than a thousand episodes of The Hills. Thanks everybody.


By now we all know that David Lee has visited with the Timberwolves. He was “really impressed” with the Wolves and believes that we have a “beautiful city,” with “very nice people”. I’ve heard that about us.

We’ve also been told that the Knicks and Wolves are discussing the possibility of a sign-and-trade with Lee and Al Jefferson. This is no surprise. And here, Oceanary from Canis Hoopus explains that Al still has good trade value this Summer (and discusses some other possible destinations). But here’s something interesting, though. John Schumann of NBA.com writes that if the Knicks still have hope of landing either Lebron or Dwyane Wade, a sign-and-trade won’t do the trick (he also has some pretty complimentary things to say about Lee, by the way):

“But depending on what else the Knicks do in free agency, they may not be able to execute a sign-and-trade with Lee. In order for New York to do that, it must maintain his Bird rights with a salary cap hold of $10.5 million, which prevents the team from signing a second major free agent after Stoudemire. The salaries of both Jefferson ($13 million) and Ellis ($11 million) exceed Lee’s cap hold, so there’s no relief in making one of those deals.

Lee’s cap hold and Stoudemire’s starting salary of $17.2 million would put the Knicks’ cap space at $6.9 million. So if they still hope to land James or Wade, the Knicks can’t make any firm plans to sign-and-trade Lee. They would have to renounce his rights to sign James or Wade.”

Does the fact that the Knicks are even considering these offers mean that they have given up on signing one of the serious stars to team up with Amar’e Stoudemire? Are they just covering all the bases? The next few days should tell the tale. Meantime, here’s Lee wearing some ultra-tight, tasseled white pants and telling a very funny joke:

That is primitive! Here he is being cheered on by a bonnetted Stephon Marbury. Wow, the Knicks have had some weird teams:

Miles of Smiles

Benjamin Polk —  June 26, 2010 — 11 Comments

Photo by harold.lloyd

Here are a few clarifying, explanatory, provocative notes from Friday’s media sessions with the Wolves new draftees, Wes Johnson, Lazar Haywood and Namanja Bjelcia, plus David Kahn and Kurt Rambis.

  • Its become clear that the Timberwolves have made re-signing Darko Milicic (and, to a lesser extent, Nikola Pecovic) a condition of trading Al Jefferson. “It’s the right time finally for us to explore this,” Kahn said. “I’ve met with Al and discussed this. If Darko comes back, there could be a need to create some playing time. We really need to get our front line settled.” This is slightly unsettling because it  suggests that Kahn and Rambis have calibrated their concept of “team need” around Darko’s presence. One wonders: did this factor into their decision to pass on Demarcus Cousins? I am now squirming in my chair.
  • Kahn predicted that sign-and-trades, rather than straight free-agent signings would dominate the landscape this summer. But, as Myles rightly points out, now that Rudy Gay seems to be off the table it’s not clear which free agents the Wolves might be pursuing. They could certainly attempt use Al to work a Chris Bosh sign-and-trade although I would think that Bosh’s first desire would be to just go wherever Lebron goes. After that, what’s left? Joe Johnson? Carlos Boozer? Amar’e Stoudemire? David Lee? Tyrus Thomas? Amir Johnson? Does any of this make sense?
  • Or might the Wolves simply save their cap room for next summer, when the Miamis, Chicagos and New Jerseys of the world have already chased their dreams and Carmelo, Joakim Noah, Kendrick Perkins, Al Horford and Nene can all become free agents? The mind boggles.
  • Kahn adamantly rejected the premise that the Wolves needed to make dramatic changes in order to attract Ricky Rubio. “He’d like us to improve, but we all would,” Kahn said. “I think that what’s important to him is that he feels that he’s ready to play. And he feels that in a year he’ll be more ready to play. Anything else is just fluff.” Ok, then.
  • This from Kurt Rambis (a sentiment later endorsed by Kahn): “Last year was just what we had to do, business-wise. Now we’re starting to build a team. I’ve always considered this our first year. Last year was just a business year.” I guess we all kind of knew that already. Not sure how much business got done but it sure wasn’t much fun.
  • Also from Rambis: “Smart players don’t have a problem picking up any offense.” That’s a bold statement. But I feel like it explains a lot of what the Wolves are doing here. They clearly have put a premium on athletic players, like Johnson and Martell Webster, who also happen to be pretty sharp fellas. They may not be the ultimate in terms of pure individual skill but, I’m guessing this thinking goes, they’ll be able to find roles within the offense. They’ll be willing  and able to move the ball and move without the ball, to be in position to make plays and then to actually make them.
  • But still, commenter Mac makes a great point. Last season, the Wolves suffered from a desperate lack of shooting, athleticism and creativity on the wing. Johnson and and Webster take care of the first two but not the third. The team still badly needs a perimeter player who can (intelligently) create his own shot.
  • I was totally charmed by Johnson’s and Haywood’s giddiness and earnest enthusiasm. They seem like good dudes. I really hope they’re good basketball players.
  • Bjelica does not speak English well at all. We can only imagine how arduous an entire day spent in the company of strangers, in a country you’ve never before visited, answering questions in a language you barely speak must have been–particularly if those foreign strangers are your future employers. The kid looked sad-eyed and shell-shocked.