The Fundamentals

» July 8, 2009 10:51 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:  “The possibility of guard Dwyane Wade signing an extension with the Miami Heat might be out the door even before the door opens. While Wade can sign an extension beginning Sunday, a league source confirmed Tuesday than an arcane NBA rule would limit that extension to a maximum of three seasons beyond the two Wade already has on his current contract, the $14.4 million he is due this coming season and the $15.8 million he is due in 2010-11 in his option year. Yet if Wade instead waits until next summer and opts out of that 2010-11 season to become a free agent, he can sign a new six-year contract with the Heat. In effect, by extending his contract this summer, Wade can sign only through the 2013-14 season. However, if Wade plays out this coming season and enters 2010 free agency, he would be eligible to sign with the Heat through 2015-16. That would put him under contract through age 34. ‘That’s a big part of it. I’m in the prime of my career,’ he said. ‘You’ve got this window from 27 to 33, 34, normally, where you’re as good as you’re going to get.’”

Doug Smith of the Toronto Star:  “That Hedo Turkoglu is coming to the Raptors is not in doubt; the timing remains an issue. The Raptors will officially introduce their most significant free agent signing in years either today or tomorrow, depending on how president and GM Bryan Colangelo does in creating extra financial flexibility in a move or two he’s still trying to make. According to NBA sources, Colangelo spent most of yesterday trying to facilitate any number of sign-and-trade transactions that might benefit Raptors’ players who leave by allowing them a larger starting salary and greater annual raises. In order to clear enough cap room to finalize the five-year, approximately $53 million (all figures U.S.) deal Colangelo has with Turkoglu, the GM must get Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker and Carlos Delfino off the books. It’s unclear whether he’d have to “renounce” (release) anyone else to create the space.”

Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:  “The Nuggets’ biggest news this offseason has been their draft day move to acquire North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson, which Anthony endorsed. Meanwhile, some of the Nuggets’ outside targets are being wooed by other NBA teams. Phoenix Suns small forward Grant Hill is one of those. The Nuggets have shown interest in Hill, who recently visited the New York Knicks. The Boston Celtics are also believed to be in the running for Hill. The Nuggets also have interest in the Portland Trail Blazers’ Channing Frye, a 6-foot-11 post player who can shoot the ball from the outside and provide depth. However, the Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers are also among the leaders for Frye. ‘Every free agent that I hear about, Cleveland is on,’ Anthony said, smiling. ‘That just goes to show they are trying to get better. You’ve got to take your hat off to them for that.’ But Anthony is bullish on the Nuggets, even if they stick to re-signing their players. ‘We were there with the team that we had,’ he said of the Nuggets reaching the Western Conference finals. ‘So I feel confident about what we can do and what we can accomplish next season.’”

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star:  “In Indiana, and in many other parts of the NBA-watching world, it’s the giant white elephant in the middle of the room. Is Pacers president Larry Bird specifically trying to build a team dominated by white players? It’s an uncomfortable question to ask in these politically correct days, but how do you ignore a roster that includes Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Travis Diener, Jeff Foster and now, first-round pick Tyler Hansbrough? In a league where little more than 10 percent of the players are white Americans, the Pacers roster is racially split down the middle, making them one of the whitest teams in the league. ‘I don’t see race at all,’ Bird said recently. ‘I know a lot of it comes out of the brawl (in 2004 at Detroit), people think Indiana has to get all white guys, but I don’t buy any of that. I played in Boston, where it didn’t matter who came in or who left, it was who helped us win. (Late Celtics coach and architect) Red (Auerbach) never saw color. And I don’t, either. I just pick them. If we hadn’t taken Tyler Hansbrough, it would have been Ty Lawson. And if I could have gotten another pick (later in the first round), I would have taken Sam Young or Wayne Ellington.’”

Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:  “With Bibby returning as the starter after guiding the Hawks to back-to-back playoff berths since coming to the team in a February 2008 trade, the Hawks have plenty of options in the backcourt. On draft night both Hawks general manager Rick Sund and coach Mike Woodson maintained that Bibby was a priority in free agency, even with the additions at the position. ‘All I can tell you is to look at our team before he came here and then look at our team after we had him,’ Hawks coach Mike Woodson said last week when asked to explain Bibby’s importance to his team. ‘This guy changed our team. His teammates love playing with him, and he’s great for me, too. He made a huge difference for me from a coaching standpoint. I can’t overstate his importance to what we’re doing here.’ Falk said that Bibby’s relationship with Woodson was one of the major factors in his staying with the Hawks. ‘It has been a very good environment for Mike,’ Falk said. ‘He enjoys playing for Coach Woodson, who has allowed him to be a coach on the floor.’”

Scott Cacciola of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:  “Last summer, before the start of his senior season at Pittsburgh, Sam Young lugged an air mattress and some sheets across campus to the Petersen Events Center, where the team practices and plays games. He walked to a back corner of the locker room and inflated his bed. Young lived there for a month, the idea being that he could work out whenever he so chose. Foul shots after breakfast? Laps for lunch? Outside jumpers before dinner? It was the sort of monastic lifestyle that suited Young, who described basketball as his ‘love’ and his girlfriend as his ‘mistress.’ ‘And she knows that,’ he added last week. Young, a 24-year-old forward, was the Grizzlies’ third and final pick in last month’s NBA Draft, but perhaps the most intriguing. A third-team All-American at Pitt, where he ranks fourth on the all-time scoring list, Young has long been known for his work ethic and his determination. At 6-6 and 210 pounds, he plays basketball in a minor key, all angst and controlled rage, motivated by those who had underestimated him, written him off, ignored him.”

Tony Mejia for The Oklahoman:  “In the third quarter of Tuesday’s 91-88 loss against Indiana, Oklahoma City rookie James Harden dribbled into the frontcourt and was swarmed by Pacers hopefuls Trey Johnson and Anthony Smith, getting the ball ripped away and losing possession. Harden immediately threw himself to the floor and atoned for his mistake, tying up Johnson and then winning the ensuing jump ball. It’s that attitude and hustle that landed him in Oklahoma City, endearing him to GM Sam Presti and his front office staff. The 20-year-old Harden is a fighter, making him the perfect fit for a team trying to carve out an identity as an intense, defense-oriented outfit that will fight you for every inch. Diving on the floor for a loose ball is nothing alien in a summer league setting, but the guys typically doing it are chasing contracts and hoping to catch somebody’s eye. Harden, who scored 19 points in his first career start for the Thunder, is virtually assured a spot in Scott Brooks’ rotation. He didn’t need to risk a floor burn, but felt he couldn’t afford not to.”

Don Seeholzer of the Pioneer Press:  “Like Ricky Rubio’s contract situation, the Timberwolves’ coaching search is an ongoing process, and it’s still too early to say how or when either will end. Two Spanish newspapers reported Tuesday that lawyers for Rubio offered his Spanish team more than $3 million to let the Wolves’ No. 1 draft choice out of the final two years of his contract. El Periodico and El Mundo Deportivo reported that the club, which has rejected a $4 million offer from Rubio’s representatives, will consider the proposal this morning during a meeting of its board of directors. Earlier Tuesday, Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn again referred any buyout questions to Rubio’s agent, Dan Fegan, who hasn’t been returning phone calls. Kahn did say the Wolves aren’t receiving as many trade offers for Rubio as they did after the June 25 draft, when they followed that selection by taking another point guard, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse.”

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:  “You know that prediction I made that the Charlotte Bobcats would make the playoffs next season? I might need a mulligan on that one. Most anyone in the know in the NBA would endorse the reasoning that if you’re not getting better, you must be getting worse. In the face of what the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors are doing, the Bobcats got worse the past few weeks. The Raptors and Wizards both finished behind the Bobcats last season – the Raptors with two fewer victories, the Wizards with 16 less. Since then, the Wizards effectively exchanged the fifth pick for veterans Mike Miller and Randy Foye and the Raptors came to terms with Orlando free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu. Meanwhile, the Bobcats have done nothing to address that lack of depth at power forward.”

Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press:  “So John Kuester is nearing a deal to be the Pistons’ next head coach. Are you excited? Are you a Kuester booster? Do you have Kuester-itis? Have you called your friends in Los Angeles and San Antonio and New York to ask how jealous they are? Are you kidding me? Um, yes. Kuester is about as low-profile as a coaching hire can be. And I don’t know if Kuester is the right guy. Heck, I thought Michael Curry would be the right guy based on everything people had told me about him, and you know how that went. But the Pistons were choosing from a pool of talented candidates with obvious flaws. Doug Collins is a passionate genius — but also a perpetual burnout case. Avery Johnson has a great resume — but also a reputation for letting his ego overwhelm his personal relationships. And the Pistons’ last candidate, Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, is considered a brilliant basketball nut who has earned a head-coaching chance – but he has a reputation for being better in the film room than the locker room.”

Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports:  “John Kuester’s most recent, and most famous role was of Mike Brown’s offensive coordinator with the Cavaliers last season, a season that saw the team jump from 19th (and a very ugly 19th, at that) in offensive efficiency to fourth last season with Kuester joining Cleveland’s ranks. Yes, the Cavaliers enjoyed a solid season from new addition Mo Williams, LeBron James improves, and the club also got a full year’s run out of Delonte West; but the shape of the Cleveland offense was markedly different with Kuester on board, something you couldn’t completely pin on personnel changes and internal development. Kuester had these guys in the right places. Or did Brown have them in the right places? I guess we’ll find out in 2009-10. Delicious.  The team that Kuester is inheriting is not a championship contender, but it could rank among the best offensive sets in the NBA by year’s end.”

One Response to “The Fundamentals”

  1. Sports Satire Says:

    What are the Wolves doing with their coaching search?? Maybe they should go without one.

    Timberwolves Coaching Search Over; Feel They Can Still Suck Without One

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