Weekly Countdown (cont.)
4 questions rescued from the spam
4. I think it's really interesting that the Mavs are going for it all this summer instead of waiting for "THE" summer of 2010. Do you think this is a smart move to get players they want now instead of waiting to get a big star and potentially missing out?
I like the now-rather-than-later approach. Each season is a long and expensive undertaking, and why not make the most of it now? There are going to be an awful lot of teams with cap space next summer bidding on a few expensive players.
A franchise like Oklahoma City is wise to be patient in building around Kevin Durant, who won't peak for several more years. But the Mavericks need to win now, and their fans -- as well as those in Detroit -- should appreciate the efforts to add talent as fast as possible, as opposed to waiting for a 2010 cavalry that may never arrive.
3. What's the latest with the Hornets? Are they still looking to move Tyson Chandler, or do you think they'll go into the season with the same core?
They claim they're willing to pay the luxury tax next season, but their rivals don't believe a word of it. The Hornets may need to trim close to $10 million in payroll to avoid paying the tax. One likelihood is to hope that offseason toe and ankle surgeries will allow Tyson Chandler to return to his '07-08 form and enable them to dump his $12.3 million salary in a midseason trade.
2. Do you think some teams are or will be reluctant to pursue Carlos Boozer because of how he spurned the Cavs the last time he was a free agent?
No, that incident won't affect any team's feelings about Boozer. The bigger worry is that he is a 27-year old who has missed 134 games since he signed the big contract with Utah in '04. What kind of return will his next employer receive for extending Boozer?
1. Is there any truth to the potential selling of the Warriors? If so, would a new regime significantly change the landscape of Warriors basketball?
As you know, Kevin, there have been rumors for years of a possible sale. The Warriors' record during Chris Cohan's 14 full seasons as majority owner (38.1 percent winning percentage) is the strongest indication that the franchise needs new leadership. I believe he is looking to sell the team, but I also believe it will be a difficult transaction for a buyer to complete.
3 groups facing an important offseason
3. The Clippers. How does such a talented a team lose 63 games? It has everything to do with the injuries and suspensions that sidelined Clippers players for a total of 247 games. At the very least, they need to break this streak of bad luck by getting off to a good start with Blake Griffin. Nothing is more important than keeping their No. 1 pick healthy and preparing him for his rookie season.
2. NBA stars in their 30s. Many contenders will be relying on stars who are on the wrong side of 30 -- the Lakers' Bryant, Cleveland's Shaq, Orlando's Carter, San Antonio's Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and Boston's quartet of Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Wallace. Coming off a postseason that was decimated by injuries to Garnett, Tracy McGrady and Ginobili, among others, these players need to find a way to pace themselves through the long season. All will be needed to be on solid footing come October so they can pace themselves through the season.
1. The Trail Blazers. Actually, this is how the Blazers should spend the rest of this offseason: idling. Now that Utah has matched their four-year, $32 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Paul Millsap, the Blazers ought to stop recruiting and wait until next season. They will go into the midseason trading deadline with tons of cap space and newly weakened franchises to exploit. More players will surely be available and the Blazers will have the payroll room as well as the young assets necessary to pull off a blockbuster. I believe they'll look back on this summer and be grateful that Turkoglu turned them down.
2 unpredictable (and intriguing) teams
2. The Suns. They've retained coach Alvin Gentry and Grant Hill, and they'd like to keep Steve Nash. Amar'e Stoudemire is entering the final year of his contract and could be traded, but if they hold on to him throughout the season, the Suns could still be formidable with Jason Richardson in the backcourt and Leandro Barbosa coming off the bench. They could be quite good -- or bad -- over the next season.
1. The Spurs. They reloaded by acquiring Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess and Euroleague standout Marcus Haislip. Ian Mahinmi, a 22-year-old big man, will have a full training camp and they'll still have the contributions of Michael Finley, Roger Mason, Matt Bonner and George Hill to go with Tony Parker. But all of it will mean nothing if Ginobili and Duncan aren't healthy. And we won't know that until they've gone through the long regular season. So be patient when assessing the Spurs.
1 thought on the economy
1. The NBA recession has its benefits. It has helped the good teams grow better -- which is crucial to the league's success.
The NFL and MLB thrive in times of parity, when you never know which team is going to win the title. But that dynamic doesn't apply to the NBA, where the same few franchises and players dominate the championships. The expansion of recent decades has weakened rosters of NBA contenders, but that strength has been restored over the last year by the movement of talent from the have-not teams to the haves. The league has long-term financial problems that must be addressed, but for the time being the best teams will thrive -- and that's not such a bad thing at all.
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