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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Josh Smith has proven that if he's your best or second best player, you're not going anywhere.  However, I think he's ideal to be a team's third or fourth best guy!  He fills box scores and can pick up the slack as needed on any given night.  I think he'd be an excellent addition for Houston. 

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Jason Mark Hickok
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The NBA offseason is usually fascinating to me. Watching teams find
ways to get around the "salary cap" is very neat. Some of the GMs are
brilliant about it.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Josh Smith is a good player, but he does not deserve a max contract.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Trading Omer Asik and Lin for Smith would be win win.  Atlanta needs a PG and Lin would probably start right away.  Asik was a surprisingly effective big for Houston last year but assuming Howard plays like he did in the second half, they don't need Asik's rebounding as much as Smith's athleticism (former slam dunk champ) and offense, plus Asik's horrible free throw percentage isn't a good fit with Howard's anyway.  Smith is also a nice shot blocker and can rebound some.  He would also be the pal that Howard never had in LA. 

It's going to be interesting... By choosing mentors Kevin McHale (greatest low post moves I've ever seen in 35 years of NBA watching) and Olajuwon (also dazzling and credited with LeBron's monstrous development in the post the past two years) Howard gets his best shot to finally become the offensive force everyone expected him to be but he has yet to demonstrate.   Thus far Howard's main offensive move has been to use his size and muscle to steamroll through / over players and it has been enough to give him a lifetime 18.3 PPG average.  It remains to be seen whether he is teachable, but if he ever actually acquires a post up repertoire, the sky would be the limit.


Edited by Rick Senger on 06 July 2013 at 3:50pm
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 5:35pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Josh Smith signed a four year deal with the Pistons.  Apparently, there had not been any serious discussions to bring him to Houston.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2013 at 8:31pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Take it for what it's worth, but rumor is Asik wants out of Houston.  He has an expensive and complicated contract, though, which may make it tiricky.

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Glenn Brown
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Posted: 07 July 2013 at 4:22am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

My take after watching DH for an entire season with the Lakers is, buyer beware.

No sour grapes.  Dwight is as flawed a "superstar" as there is in basketball. Wants to be The Man but doesn't want the pressure and expectations that come along with the designation.  Wants to be the focal point of an offense but, ten years into a professional career, still doesn't have a signature go-to move in the post and believes Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon will help develop his game.

Uhmm, reality-check...ten years in, if you haven't developed it yet, it probably ain't happening.

Wants the ball in the fourth but can't hit a free throw if his life depended upon it.  Wants to be the main guy but wants to hide behind another Alpha, this time James Harden who, to date, has won...squat.

The general consensus around LA is, thanks but don't let the door hit you on your way out.  No way does Houston get past OKC, probably LAC nor San Antonio if they re-tool as usual (ie, adding players such as Belenelli).
We now know that Josh Smith isn't going to Houston, but even if he had...I don't know that anyone was shaking in fear over playing him.

I'll bet that you'll hear the same complaints coming from Dwight in a year or two...I'm not getting the ball enough.  I need more help.  I'm not happy with the coach.  I may be wrong.  But after seeing him for a year, I'm just really disappointed in Dwight as a player.  He had every right to choose another team; that's what free agency is all about.  But its time for him to start looking in the mirror and stop looking elsewhere for excuses.  It's all on him now.
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Jason Mark Hickok
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Posted: 07 July 2013 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Gotta agree with Glenn's post. Living a couple years in Orlando that is
the same sense I came away with.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 July 2013 at 12:35pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Good post, Glenn.  I have my doubts regarding DH's maturity and desire, as well.  The only counter I would offer is that LeBron was in a similar position two years ago.  Though he had far more offensive acumen, he also lacked the low post game and had played eight seasons by then himself.  It was only when he underperformed and lost the finals in 2011 shrivelling (again) in the fourth quarters that he apparently finally acknowledged there was indeed a hole in his game he had to address.  He worked intensely with Olajuwon that summer and came back a completely transformed and complete player.  He has since been offensively unstoppable where he used to struggle in crunch time and picked up two rings in two years after zero in the previous eight.

If I had to predict, I would guess Howard does not have the character or discipline to do what LeBron did and transform his game.  But then, I had my doubts about LeBron two years ago.  Still, if Howard ever is going to get it done, this is his chance.  His star has taken a big hit two consecutive years and given his autonomy to choose his situation twice in those years, he has to stop blaming his failures on bad luck or not being on the same page or not having the horses.  It's all on him now and no more excuses.


Edited by Rick Senger on 07 July 2013 at 1:07pm
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Glenn Brown
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Posted: 07 July 2013 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

One major difference between Howard and Lebron is that they play different positions.  The league has been going away from dominant bigs since Shaquille retired; he was the last of them.  Howard isn't a dominant big man.  He's either a relatively small center, a la Olajuwon, or a big forward ie Duncan who can play center.  He made up for his lack of size by being so strong and explosive in the post, which masked his shortcomings in terms of skill.  Now coming off of back surgery, a lot of those issues were unmasked.  I'll be curious to see how much explosion he gets back, because he was a shell of himself at times during his LA stint.  Lebron is an otherworldly player who now seems to have found that mental fortitude to not wilt under pressure.  Howard got thrown out of his final playoff game in LA when, with Kobe out due to injury, it was time for Dwight to strap the team on his back and at least get out of the first round and be competitive.  Instead we were swept and he got tossed.  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 08 July 2013 at 10:24am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Wanting to improve your game and turn weakness into strength is vital at every position.  LeBron in his younger years was so powerful and quick he didn't need discipline or organized, tactical posting moves.  Despite being a bruising, almost unstoppable power forward LeBron could play and facilitate basically like a point guard.  Like Howard (only better), he overwhelmed his defenders physically and it was often enough.  As you age, though, things change and it's necessary to evolve.  Kobe did it, MJ did it, Bird, Magic, Russell, all the greats do.  Howard is at that point where either he does it or he will be relegated to the "awesome unfulfilled potential" pile.   He's already halfway in that pile for me right now.

Here's an article posted 37 minutes ago relating to the LeBron / Howard connection:

link

Comprehensive and interesting article on LeBron's transformative summer two years ago:

link
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 4:38pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Man, I like what the Nets have done... they are now suddenly one of the east elite.  Just added a solid forward Andrei Kirilenko at a steep discount ($3.2 mill vs. the $10 mill he earned last year), a nice bench upgrade to match their clearly improved starting five. I may be biased with the three Celtics they recently added, but the starters are now Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez, with a bench that features Shaun Livingston, Jason Terry, Kirilenko, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche.  Their window will be short, but they should certainly be in the title conversation.

link


Edited by Rick Senger on 12 July 2013 at 4:39pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 5:22pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Just to add... steep discount is a relative term... Brooklyn's overall payroll apparently will be a staggering ~$186 mill with luxury taxes next year... The Russian billionaire owner doesn't seem to care, though.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 7:15pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I love the Kirilenko signing for the Nets!

Miami, Chicago, Brooklyn, Indiana and NY should keep things interesting in the East!
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Glenn Brown
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 8:55pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

The Kirilenko signing is raising red flags re backended deals, outlawed by the NBA.  Who gives up seven mil..?

Brooklyn has certainly assembled a squad to play inside that lovely new building but as the Lakers proved last season, just because you have the best team on paper doesn't mean that it'll all work out...
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 8:59pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

How do you mean it's raising red flags? I don't follow.
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Glenn Brown
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 9:15pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

It's being questioned whether or not Prokorov (sic) is violating the CBA by promising backend compensation in exchange for taking less money upfront...in other words, an under the table deal.  That's a violation of the CBA.  You can't say, "LeBron, come sign with the Lakers for five million but we'll give you a thousand acres of prime Bel-Air real estate and a ten percent share of the team in five years."  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 12 July 2013 at 11:20pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Kirilenko and Garnett will help shore up a porous defense that was 19th in the league in points given up last year.  The Nets are an older team now but just adding up last year's scoring averages of the 10 players I mentioned above totals an amazing 136 points of offense a game.

garnett 14.8
pierce 18.6
terry 13.5
kirilenko 12.5
lopez 19.4
williams 18.9
joe johnson 16.3
blatche 10.3
evans 4.5
livingston 7.2
                            136

Obviously minutes are going to be stretched thin so some players may see declines (though it's a plus to be able to rest KG, Pierce etal more than previous seasons)
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 13 July 2013 at 6:58am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Kirilenko made $9 million last year.  He's 32 years old and has made a total of $101 million playing basketball (not counting whatever he made in Russia for that one season or maybe when he was younger).  I don't think it sends up any flags at all that he's willing to take possibly less than market value to join a stacked team (with a Russian owner) to try to go for a title.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 July 2013 at 8:24am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Yeah, the big paycut is just one year and the Nets' promising lineup and Kirilenko's shared history with the fellow Russian owner could have swayed him.  It is a bit unusual but not unprecedented.  Karl Malone made ~$19 mill with the Jazz the year before he signed with the Lakers for a mere $1.5 mill in his ill-fated attempt to win a title.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 July 2013 at 8:34am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Another more recent example is Antawn Jamison, who made $15 mill for the Cavs in 2012 before signing with the Lakers last year for the vet's min of $1.352 mill.  It happens.
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Glenn Brown
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Posted: 13 July 2013 at 2:27pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

The difference is that Krilenko willingly opted out of the final year of his deal that would have paid him $10 mil, only to have to "settle" for the three from Brooklyn.

I'm not saying that I care one way or the other, just sharing what I've heard reported.  
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 13 July 2013 at 9:50pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

To be in a better situation.  Who cares?  
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Jason Mark Hickok
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Posted: 14 July 2013 at 7:03am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

The only problem I see with those types of signings is it tends to be a
way that the NBA allows teams to circumvent the "salary cap". I really
wish the NBA had a stronger cap.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 14 July 2013 at 7:15am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Hey Jason,

I was thinking about our chat the other day when you mentioned how the NBA is so predictable and you can name four or five teams every year that are the only ones with a legit shot at the title.  I agree that's usually the case but I think 2013-14 might be shaping up differently!  At this point I would have to say the following teams all have legit championship hopes:

Eastern Conference- Miami, Indiana, New York, Brooklyn and Chicago

Western Conference- Oklahoma City, Houston, San Antonio, Clippers, Warriors and Grizzlies

That's pretty wide open!
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