Off-Season Thoughts

Now that the first official month of the NBA Off-Season has concluded, here are some thoughts:

  • In the Elton Brand saga, I believe Mike Dunleavy and the Clippers when they say they had a verbal agreement with Brand. I also do not have a problem with Brand changing his mind and ditching the Clippers. That is the difference between a verbal agreement and a written one. Let’s remember that Brand tried to leave the Clippers once before. Back in 2003, Brand (restricted free agent) signed an offer sheet with the Miami Heat. The Clippers matched the 6-year, 84 million dollar offer and retained Brand.

  • Nabbing Ron Artest was a great, albeit risky move by the Rockets. They have a relatively small window with their aging and injury prone stars, Yao and T-Mac. How will they balance the minutes of Shane Battier and Artest? Artest can defend multiple positions, but he is essentially a small forward (like Battier). The Rockets hope that Artest will contribute some on offense but still be able to defer to their true stars. Defensively, Artest is one of the best, but tends to occasionally lolly gag and take plays and even games off.

  • The Warriors have been busy. First, they overpaid one of my favorite NBA players, Ronny Turiaf, with a 4 year, 17 million deal. Then, they overpaid Andris Biedrins. He is young and shows great promise, but was a restricted free agent. They could have waited to see what other teams offered or signed him to the one-year tender (making him unrestricted next season). No other team (NBA or Overseas) would have offered him near the 6 years, 63 million that he received.

  • Monta Ellis was also overpaid at 6 years, 66 million. He was featured in an unconventional Warriors offense that overvalued his performance. I think Ellis has the potential to be a star, but he has yet to prove he deserves that kind of money. Perhaps I am being too harsh on the Warriors, but you should understand that most NBA players are actually overpaid. We have a league currently with a very small number of teams under the salary cap. Most teams handcuffed themselves with long bloated contracts for players they thought to be their future. I respect a team like the Grizzlies for not maliciously spending their money and holding on to their cap space until they find the “right” players. Talent isn’t everything in the NBA. You need “winners.”

  • The Warriors also signed and overpaid Corey Maggette (5 yr., 50 mil.). Another player who is overpaid simply because of the ability to score points. He will continue to put up great scoring numbers for the Warriors, but he does not fit in their long-term plans. If they were indeed going to pay Ellis and Biedrins, they should have saved the rest of their money for a year like 2010 when Wade, LeBron, Bosh, and others will be available.

  • The Warriors did well to obtain PG Marcus Williams from the Nets for a lottery-protected first round pick. Williams, a disappointment so far, has great potential.

  • After making two grave mistakes in the past two off-seasons (Vladimir Radmanavic: 5 yr., 31 mil. and Luke Walton: 5 yr., 30 mil.), Mitch Kupchak did well this July. Radmanavic and Walton are both overpaid and figure to play very little for the Lakers next season. But this summer, Mitch chose not to match the Warriors' offer for Turiaf and convinced Sasha Vujacic to sign a shorter than desired 3 year deal worth 15 million.

  • The Chicago Bulls made a good decision locking up Luol Deng (6 yr., 71 mil.), but I think they should be wary of offering Ben Gordon a long contract. With Rose as the PG of the future, Gordon is an undersized SG who should not be overpaid simply because he scores.

  • Joe Dumars is showing great patience in his desire to trade some of his core pieces. The Pistons should not rush into a hasty decision. I also like the Kwame Brown signing. Maybe 4 mil is a bit much, but 2 years is a good length and Brown has proved he can contribute when healthy (see 2006 Playoffs, not 2008 season).

  • The Clippers stole a former defensive player of the year in Marcus Camby from the luxury-tax fearing Nuggets. Kaman and Camby together will work well, but the Clippers need to run next year with free-wheeling Baron Davis at the helm. I am not confident that Mike Dunleavy is the right man for the job there.

  • The Celtics were smart not to offer James Posey a long deal. He will help some in New Orleans but is not worth the 4 year contract.

  • Another example of an overpaid signing: Mavericks signed DeSagana Diop to a 5 year, 32 million deal.

  • Lastly, Memphis Grizzlies' PG Marko Jaric is now engaged to supermodel, Adriana Lima (shown above).

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