The Fundamentals

» June 15, 2009 5:28 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:  “Could Bryant seal his reputation as a franchise leader by opting-out this summer… and taking a LOWER average salary in order to give the Lakers more flexibility to re-sign both Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza? Because nobody really sees a cogent way for Lakers owner Jerry Buss, even flush with cash and willing to blow some extra money because of the title, to go sailing $20M into the luxury tax. And that’s almost certainly what he’d have to do to pay Odom and Ariza close to fair free-agent market price this summer. Without either of them, the Lakers are already committed to $74.1M for 8 signed players next season, led by Kobe’s $23M (if he doesn’t opt-out), Pau Gasol’s $16.4M and Andrew Bynum’s $12.5M. The luxury-tax line was $71.15M this season… and projects to be lower than that next season, thanks to the recession. So the Lakers are already about $4M or $5M over the luxury tax line for next season, without spending a penny for either Ariza or Odom.”

Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe:  “Doc Rivers doesn’t live that far from Amway Arena. The Celtics coach has been offered tickets to NBA Finals games between the Magic and Lakers, too. But without the Celtics being involved, the admitted poor loser didn’t plan on watching any Finals games in person, no matter how easy it would be to get in.’No. I have no intent [of] going,’ said Rivers, while watching his son, Austin, play in AAU competition in Tampa yesterday. ‘I watched it because I wanted to see both teams play in preparation for next [season]. Other than that, I’ll stay away and spend time with my family. ‘I’ve been offered a ton of tickets. A lot of my friends have gone. My kids have gone, and the Magic were gracious to give them tickets. But I don’t go to [NBA] games that my team isn’t a part of.’ Rivers and the Celtics were NBA champs last season, but the team was knocked off by the Magic in the conference semifinals this season. Although some time has passed since the Celtics were eliminated, Rivers acknowledged he is still having a tough time with the reality of it.”

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:  “The time has come for Oklahoma City to decide how important a true center is for this roster going forward. The draft is 10 days away. Connecticut’s 7-foot-3 center, Hasheem Thabeet, still could be available when the Thunder picks No. 3. It could be a franchise-changing conclusion. On one hand, interior defense is clearly the Thunder’s most pressing need. Coach Scott Brooks and Co. preach defense daily but don’t have anything close to the anchor in the middle that is the linchpin on many of the league’s best defensive teams. Nine of the 10 teams that finished the season ranked in the top 10 in opponent scoring made the playoffs. The common denominator: all had an interior defender or shot-blocker at the center position. (Nine of the 10 teams that finished at the bottom 10 in opponent scoring missed the playoffs. All but two — Chicago and Phoenix — lacked a difference-maker defensively at center.) But on the flip side, with its roster under construction, the Thunder isn’t in a position to draft for need.”

Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail:  “Bosh came to him as a stick-figure freshman at Georgia Tech University trying to make the leap to the NBA at 6 foot 10 and 215 pounds in 2003. Now, six years into his professional career and a four-time NBA all-star, Bosh is at Bailey’s Furniture with an eye toward making perhaps the most difficult leap of all: from good to great. He thinks building himself up to 250 pounds – about 20 more than he played at in 2008-09 – will help the cause. ‘I know I can just show up and be good,’ Bosh says in between swigs of a watermelon-flavoured recovery drink after his workout one day last week. ‘I’d be an okay player and stay where I am now and be content with that, or I can work on getting better every day, try to better my craft and see where I can get.’  Where can Bosh get? That’s the $130-million (U.S.) question for the Raptors – and the estimated value of the contract Bosh will be looking for after next season as an unrestricted free agent, having declared that he’s not going to sign an extension and won’t take a deal for less than the league-mandated maximum.” (Via TrueHoop)

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune:  “It’s no surprise that the two teams have re-opened talks. The Suns are desperate to rid themselves of O’Neal’s $20 million salary; the Cavaliers need someone who can keep Orlando center Dwight Howard from going for 40 points and 15 rebounds. It’s amazing. Eighteen months ago the Suns trumpeted O’Neal as the missing link to a championship. Now, they’re willing to give him away for nothing. I think we can safely say the O-Neal-Shawn Marion deal was a colossal mistake. The Suns won one playoff game with Shaq – they could have done that with Marion. Shaq was unable to play effectively with Steve Nash because of their vulnerabilities covering the pick-and-roll, and he ruined whatever salary cap flexibility they might have had. Marion, for example, is a free agent this summer, meaning his $17.1 million salary would have come off the books. Think the Suns would have been in a better position as they try to rebuild?”

Sam Smith of  “Derrick Rose, Olympian 2012? Perhaps. Derrick Rose Olympian, 2016 when the games may be in Chicago? Now that would be fun. Rose will continue on his quest to be a part of the USA Basketball men’s national team starting this week when USA Basketball is expected to confirm the identities of the top young players beginning something of the tryouts for the U.S. Olympic teams. … The team that wins the World Championships doesn’t have to qualify in 2011, which the U.S. had to do in 2007 when it didn’t win the 2006 World Championships. But this time Colangelo said he is holding open the possibility of fielding a team for 2011 in the Tournament of the Americas as something of a training ground for a future U.S. team and if unexpected openings develop on the team after 2010, assuming it wins. So much remains undecided. The sense is probably eight players from the 2008 gold medal team will return: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams.”

Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times:  “As the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic tested one another’s resolve in the finals, the N.B.A. was testing a new tracking system, one that could perhaps alter how the game is watched, measured and coached. Perched high above and adjacent to the court, six high-definition cameras in a semi-circle have captured and traced the movements of each player, the referees and the basketball in Games 3 and 4 of the N.B.A. finals at Amway Arena. The cameras streamlined information into two data processing computers tucked behind the rafters that are aimed at rapidly defining an N.B.A. game in a way that has not been seen before. Through the processing computers, the data became relative and relatable. For example, the cross-angle cameras confirmed that a goaltending call on Orlando’s Dwight Howard was accurate. When Howard blocked the shot by Andrew Bynum, the ball had already descended about 3 inches, according to the computers. In a game of swift movements, when one play can decide the outcome, the technology could be an important step toward verifying the accuracy of calls made by officials.”

2 Responses to “The Fundamentals”

  1. docksquad Says:

    if the olympics are here and drose is on the squad, it would be amazing. id love to take my kids to go see him and TEAM USA win gold!

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Rose appears to be a lock to make one of those teams, but the competition at his position is pretty stiff, assuming Deron Williams and Chris Paul are still in the picture.

    D-Will is only 24. CP3 is 23. And let’s not forget Rajon Rondo, who is 22.

    But I’m with you, I’d like to see Rose make one of those squads. He has a ton of talent.


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