The Fundamentals

» August 4, 2009 9:59 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Neil Paine of  “The Spurs aren’t asking Jefferson to be a star, a second option, or even the 3rd banana on the team (he’ll be firmly ensconced behind Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker in the team’s pecking order). And that’s a good thing for everyone, because we’ve already established that RJ plays his best when he isn’t the focal point of the offense; instead, he thrives when he’s able to get chances in transition, attack the basket, draw fouls, and keep the D honest with his serviceable jumper. Also, playing with strong passing PGs in Kidd and Sessions has helped Jefferson’s efficiency in the past, so it’s nice that he’ll be suiting up with another top-flight creator at the point in Parker. That said, he’ll be expected to slide into a role that’s a more advanced version of the Michael Finley (‘make some shots and don’t turn the ball over’) or Bruce Bowen (‘play tough/dirty D and stand around in the corner waiting for a 3 on offense’) style we’ve been seeing from the Spurs at SF in recent years. Jefferson’s a far better offensive option than either of those two, even if he is past his prime. So it’s a clear upgrade from Finley/Bowen on offense, to be sure. But the real issue is how effectively the Spurs will be able to integrate Jefferson into their defensive concept.”

Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:  “Nuggets guard J.R. Smith’s tweets are raising questions among fans. Several recent posts by Smith on his page — — are written in a way that is commonly associated with the Bloods street gang. Words that would have a ‘C’ in them are replaced with ‘K,’ or if a word has both in them, the ‘C’ is removed altogether. Smith has nearly 15,000 followers on his Twitter page. ‘Those are still little messages that are being transcended back to some of the neighborhoods,’ said Rev. Leon Kelly, executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives in Denver. ‘Not to say in no way is he promoting a gang. But people got to understand that a lot of these kids come from gang neighborhoods. Their friends are still involved in doing what they do. Just because one was able to get out of that lifestyle, many of them don’t forget where they come from.’ On a post Sunday, Smith exclaimed ‘Vegas here I kome!’ Last week he wrote that he ‘Kant wait to get bak in the swing of things.’”

Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee:  “There was a light moment in the Kings’ players lounge Monday afternoon. And this is a franchise that can use a few laughs. Before a media session, freshly signed free agent Sean May held up his new jersey, bearing his trademark No. 42. The 6-foot-9 power forward showed both sides of the garment, prompting Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie to crack, ‘Same number on the back, too?’ Yep, same number. But it belongs to a new man. ‘When I worked out for the Kings (in Las Vegas last month), I felt my career was on the line,’ May said. ‘I still feel like that with the season coming. I am ready for a fresh start. I will definitely get back to where I once was.’ May is a skilled big man in the midst of a very mixed career. He was a high school All-American in hoops-mad Indiana, and an NCAA championship leader at North Carolina. It’s the painful lows that have included ice packs and surgeries at the most inopportune time – during his NBA career – that have defined May of late and led him to Sacramento.”

Jeff Goodman of  “‘I want to be where I’m wanted,’ Davis said. ‘I love Boston, but I also understand it’s a business. I’m going wherever someone wants to pay for my services.’ That may sound selfish, but you’ve got to understand that Davis didn’t exactly grow up with much in Baton Rouge, La. His mother has battled substance-abuse problems and he was taken in by former LSU standout Collis Temple and his family. So, after slipping into the second round of the draft a couple years ago, Glen Davis would like to set himself and his family up for life if possible. He’d also like to receive extensive playing time – which is something that is unlikely this season in Boston unless there are injuries in the frontcourt. Davis said he’s fielded interest from several teams, including New Jersey, Charlotte, Cleveland and Detroit – although it seems far-fetched that any of those teams will offer Davis anything more attractive than the multi-year deal that has been proposed by Celtics boss Danny Ainge. But Davis understands that many of the teams are playing the waiting game and seeing where other unrestricted free agents land before dealing with a restricted free agent such as him. Many teams – according to multiple sources – are also fearful of his weight issues and inability to play above the rim.”

Ken Berger of  “David Lee’s existence in the NBA’s purgatory known as restricted free agency has entered its second month, and negotiations with the Knicks are ‘nowhere new,’ the power forward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Monday. The Knicks are ‘open minded’ and ‘willing to listen,’ said Bartelstein, who continues to seek sign-and-trade possibilities that are severely limited by the dearth of teams with cap space and Lee’s status as a base-year compensation player — which makes it more difficult to match salaries in a trade. Running out of options, Bartelstein and Knicks president Donnie Walsh have begun talking in general terms about a one-year deal that would make Lee an unrestricted free agent next summer, when at least half the league’s teams will have significant salary cap room. ‘There’s a possibility a one-year deal could happen,’ Bartelstein said. ‘We’re not ruling anything out. If it’s a one-year deal, we’ll try to get a one-year deal that compensates him for who he is.’”

Marc Stein of  “The official contract numbers on Lamar Odom are in. Nothing drastically different from what we anticipated Thursday when the Lakers and Odom finally reached an agreement after a month of oft-testy negotiations, but still worth passing along in the name of specificity. The overall worth of the contract based on numbers that were circulated throughout the league Monday is $32.8 million over four years, with the Lakers holding a team option in Year 4. Odom will earn $7,500,000 this coming season, $8,200,000 in 2010-11, $8,900,000 in 2011-12 and then $8,200,000 in the non-guaranteed fourth year if the Lakers pick up their team option. So that’s $24.6 million guaranteed over the first three years. If the Lakers decline their option, they must pay out a $2.4 million buyout before the fourth season to get Odom to $27 million guaranteed, matching the value of the original three-year offer that the Lakers pulled off the table in mid-July.”

Don Seeholzer of the Pioneer Press:  “Timberwolves fans anxiously awaiting the hiring of a coach likely will have to hold on until the end of the week, at the earliest. Wolves owner Glen Taylor, chairman of the NBA’s board of governors, will be in New York today for a meeting between the league’s labor committee and players union and has board meetings scheduled through Thursday.  That makes Friday the first day Taylor likely will be able to sit down with a prospective coach, which Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn has said will precede any hire. ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Houston assistant Elston Turner are the finalists. Taylor said Monday that he could end up meeting with one or more, ‘depending on how they are stacked up.’ The Wolves are the only NBA team without a coach and have been in the market since June 17, when they announced that Kevin McHale would not return.”

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:  “The name of the Orlando Magic’s new arena will sound familiar. The team and Amway Global have reached a 10-year $40 million naming-rights deal to call the new facility Amway Center. The agreement comes as the recession has made it more difficult for sports franchises to secure advertising and sponsorship deals. But in Orlando’s case, the team had a trump card: Magic Owner Rich DeVos also is the co-founder of Amway, which already held the naming rights on the Magic’s current home, Amway Arena. The latest agreement is tied for the sixth-largest total price for an NBA naming-rights agreement, according to Sports Business Journal, which first reported the deal on Monday. ‘I think that it’s a good deal [for the Magic],’ said Smith College professor Andrew Zimbalist, who has written extensively about sports economics. ‘The thing about naming-rights deals is that the market is very thin. It’s sort of like selling a luxury house. If the right person comes along at the right time, you can get a good price.’”

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Bob Finnan of the News-Herald:  “The Cavaliers were forced to do an about-face in their planning for 2010. They figured they’d have enough money to sign a major free agent next summer. Majority owner Dan Gilbert even bragged about it once when some in the national media were talking about LeBron James going elsewhere. ‘Those other teams ought to worry about us signing LeBron and another major free agent in the summer of 2010,’ he boasted in roundabout terms. There will be no major free agent. It was fun to think about adding a player of the caliber of Chris Bosh, but it’s not going to happen. The league’s salary cap will be about $58 million in 2009-10. The league office has warned teams the cap could drop to $50 million to $53 million next season. That means the Cavs will not have cap space. Once they signed Anderson Varejao, Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker in free agency, their space went up in smoke.”

2 Responses to “The Fundamentals”

  1. Chris Humpherys Says:

    I like the move, Hoff. Could be a stellar series between LA and SAS if it pans out like that.

    Again, it will still all depend on how Ginobili’s body can hold up over the entire season.

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:


    I think RJ is one of the most overrated players in the NBA. He’s extremely limited offensively, and his concentration wanders on the defensive end. That said, he’s a good addition to the Spurs. He can run the floor with Parker, and he’ll knock down the corner 3-ball that’s so essential to San Antonio’s offense.

    Everyone is picking the Lakers and Spurs in the West. Don’t sleep on the Nuggets. Denver fought L.A. tooth and nail through fives games of the Conference Finals.