There are many teams in the NBA who are swimming in the pool of free-agency-free-for-all- summer-of-uncertainty. And whether you choose to dive in and make sense of everything with a clear head, you will notice there are a few teams who may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Though some of you may not be a fan of the way some of these decisions have been made, it appears the dust has settled and most are prepared to move on. There are three teams which stand out for me right now: the Utah Jazz; the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers. James the Dinoblogger touched on the Matt Barnes 2 year deal with the Raptors worth about 9 million, so let's tap into the teams I just mentioned.
The Bell is ringing in Utah
The Utah Jazz need to get jazzed about something after the departure of free agent Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer to the Chicago Bulls. So when Raja Bell signed with the Utah Jazz, two things went through my mind. One, what does Kobe think of this? Two, what about Bell's wrist? Bell's deal with the Jazz is worth 10 million over three years and according to Bell, he got a good deal and he's happy. Someone who may not be happy is Kobe Bryant. He's been reportedly pushing for Raja Bell to join the Lakers believe it or not and I don't blame him. Bell is a solid defender and by him joining the 'Lake Show', that would help Kobe keep the preverbial saying true: keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. These two aren't the best of friends but at least if they were on the same team, Kobe wouldn't have to worry about Bell defending him.
This is where I become a little concerned. Raja Bell has played for 6 different teams and during this time averaged more than 10 points a game. Last season he was with Golden State and Charlotte but only played six games due to his having wrist surgery. While he says he's fully recovered, a strong wrist is imperative to making baskets and being effective. Let's hope two times a charm for the Jazz with Raja Bell because like the Cavs, they don't need anymore drama.
The Sun is rising in Phoenix
The Phoenix Suns are expected to make a huge announcement Tuesday naming the team's new President of Basketball Operations. As I write this, it hasn't been made official but there is wide speculation agent Lon Babby will take on the role. As you may or may not know, he represents Hedo Turkoglu who just signed with Phoenix and formerly represented Josh Childress who also recently signed with Phoenix. Further, he represents the Suns' Grant Hill, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Boston's Ray Allen. He has a wealth of experience to bring to the job since he's also represented baseball players and was a lawyer for the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Redskins of the NFL. This obviously means Duncan and Allen are without representation if Lon Babby takes on the new role in Phoenix since how could he build and represent a team while being looking out for the opposition's interests, too. Steve Kerr stepped down after this season ended for Phoenix to return to being an NBA analyst for TNT. While he says he enjoyed his role as President of Basketball Operations for the Phoenix Suns, he expressed a need to be near family. The Suns is another team who needs to be excited about something after Amare Stoudemire turned down the Suns to sign with the Knicks. I wonder what Steve Nash is thinking about right now......
"Play to your strengths" - George Shrinks
You love watching cartoons, admit it. In a recent interview on NBA TV, Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach, Byron Scott breaks down the elements of his team and how they will come together once the 2010-2011 NBA season starts. I couldn't help but think of the episode of George Shrinks when George takes over his friend's seemingly hopeless hockey team, breaks down their weaknesses and gets them to play to their strengths. Coach Shrinks only got his team to one goal and they ended up loosing but the point remains: when things seem hopeless, break everything down into manageable parts, start rebuilding team confidence and the success will come later. Coach Scott believes JJ Hickson will be the Cavs' staring power forward and may be looking to spread out the team's current experience and talent. He is in the speculation stages right now but also sees Antawn Jamison as being more effective coming off the bench. (Interesting considering he was selected in the first round, fourth overall, of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Raptors. Then remember how Toronto traded him to Golden State for -wait for it- draft rights to Vince Carter and cash before the regular season even started. Some Raptors fans may now say the cash in that deal would have been fine. But I digress).
Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert seems to keeping his "inside words" inside now. In another statement to fans, he says thanks to all the loyal Cavs fans who offered to pay down the debt he owes to the NBA for his comments made concerning LeBron's departure to the Miami Heat. He is going to pay down the fine himself, his says. Really? As if he would take money from fans in the first place. We all know someone like this, "Oh look at me. Feel sorry for me that the big bad NBA gave me a fine for going too far with my comments". Puleeze. I really hope this isn't a case of the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" because I know other owners in the NBA are watching. Look at what the Cavs agreed to for Lebron:
- a sign and trade deal with Miami to acquire the rights to 5 future draft picks and received a traded player exception for LeBron
- Cleveland now owns 2 of Miami's 1st round picks starting in 2013 to 2017 with the Heat's 2012 second round pick from New Orleans AND the future second round pick Miami acquired from Oaklahoma
- Cleveland will also have the right to swap 2012 first round picks with the Heat.
Amazing right? I hope Gilbert is happy now and this episode of 'jumping up and down and stomping our feet to get our way' is behind us. I also hope owners of other NBA teams don't think they are are allowed to play like that either.
Basketball Beyond the Floor
Remember to join me on the DNB this Thursday when we will be dedicating a special edition of "Basketball Beyond on the Floor" to Kid Raptor and all young fans of the NBA and the game of basketball. We will be discussing works from Chris Paul of the NBA, Queen Latifah and LL. Cool J. Happy reading and see you on Thursday.