As swiftly as the transactions have come Monday and so far on Tuesday – extensions, releases, buyouts, signings, renewed tremors of franchise relocation — it would seem only fair to clear some air space in prime time this evening to provide a roundup of the frenzied activity.
But no, this isn’t July. This is March 1 and there are eight games on the docket tonight. So instead of an hour-long special to await and dissect one man’s move from Cleveland to Miami, we’re getting maybe 90 seconds or so to learn of, process and re-Tweet each of a half-dozen or more significant NBA moves occurring in broad daylight.
Carlos Arroyo released? Mike Bibby stepping into his chalk outline down Horatio’s way near South Beach? Troy (Dropkick) Murphy shipping up to Boston? Kendrick Perkins and the Maloof Brothers both getting juicy extensions? There’s enough programming there for an NBA TV post-trading deadline special.
It’s enough to make those of us who recall old-fashioned newspaper newsrooms (apologies for the obvious redundancy in that) long for the days before we did all our work on somebody’s mother’s couch in the proverbial basement. Y’know, when the wire-service machine would clack and click and spit out an actual ribbon of paper, with a bell to announce the arrival of breaking news.
Thing would be on the verge of blowing a gasket today. Forget that “In like a lion” chatter about March – this one has come in like a velociraptor.
Here are the news items and some quickie reaction:
- G Carlos Arroyo was released by Miami in anticipation of the Heat adding bought-out Mike Bibby.
Hang Time’s reaction: We’ll take this one point guard at a time. No one can blame Miami for wanting to upgrade a position that has been a weakness all season. This is like Achilles deciding that, yeah, maybe chukka boots would be a better footwear choice than sandals – gotta protect the heel, y’know. It’s unclear how much Bibby has left, but with Mario Chalmers on the depth chart, it’s not like he’ll have to outplay guys named Rose, Rondo, Billups, Williams, Nelson or Jennings every day in practice. On game nights? Well, there is that.
There’s also this: Miami is adding a lifetime 15.4 ppg and 5.7 apg game guy. Bibby is a legit deep shooter who will spread the floor. But in kicking Arroyo to the curb, the Heat also has sent a reminder to all those players who might see an easy path to a championship in south Florida: You will be expected to sacrifice salary and job security, but we won’t sacrifice anything if there’s a shot at upgrading. As soon as President Pat Riley can snag someone better, you will be out the door faster than a brain-cramped contestant on Jeopardy!
- F Troy Murphy chooses Boston Celtics over Miami Heat after getting buyout from Golden State.
Hang Time’s reaction: This was a double-whammy, of course, with the Celtics adding frontcourt help and blocking Miami from doing the same. The 6-foot-10 pick-and-pop specialist was looking at five playoff-bound teams as a way to break his league-high streak of 639 games without a postseason appearance. Boston probably needed Murphy more, considering Udonis Haslem‘s coming return from foot surgery, though it will take awhile to know how much his game atrophied from his Tim Thomas-like exile from New Jersey’s plans. But Murphy averaged 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, kept former Pacers coach Jim O’Brien happy in Indiana and, what the heck, is named “Murphy” and figures to look right at home in Celtics green.
- G/F Corey Brewer negotiates buyout from New York as Knicks clear payroll for Jared Jeffries.
Hang Time’s reaction: Brewer’s defense, energy and attitude has rightfully made him a desirable pickup among the buyout bunch. The Knicks prefer Jeffries’ 6-foot-11 size for defense inside but Brewer’s inclination and ability to harass people on the perimeter has attracted interest – according to our man David Aldridge – from the likes of San Antonio, Miami, Dallas and New Orleans. Boston and even the Lakers are said to be interested, too, although Chicago among the contenders is hungrier for outside shooting (not the former Florida draft pick’s strength at all). Meanwhile, Cleveland, which lost forward Antawn Jamison to pinkie surgery for the rest of the season, is trying to push defense now and reportedly was claiming Brewer off waivers. Good to see the Cavs get a little feisty and pro-active. As for folks who focus only on Brewer’s offense as a reason not to like him, they are missing 75 percent of what this guy brings. Every night.
- C Kendrick Perkins agrees to a four-year extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder worth a reported $34.8 million.
Hang Time’s reaction: So now we know the dollar amount that was too much for the Celtics in keeping Perkins around for a championship run this spring and for multiple years beginning in 2011-12. Boston had been thinking more in the ballpark of $22 million over four years, which in relative terms is like Fenway Park compared to Jerry Jones‘ Cowboys Stadium. Perkins’ defense and size has perked up Thunder fans, who have the NBA’s lone small-market-team-in-the-wilderness not wringing its hands about financial doom and gloom heading into the CBA talks. Extending Perkins was a no-brainer but getting it done now, at a reasonable price (assuming he stays healthy) is another master stroke by GM Sam Presti. Not so much for Danny Ainge and the Celtics, who are almost guaranteed to miss Perkins in the middle during this postseason.
- Sacramento Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof are granted an extension until April 18 for their relocation application to the NBA Board of Governors.
Hang Time’s reaction: It’s difficult to imagine three NBA franchises sharing the market in southern California. But then it was hard to see how the Corleones could divvy up New York with the Tattaglias, the Barzinis the Cuneos and the Straccis. If the fan base is big enough and the pockets deep enough and the TV/radio rights fees hefty enough, anything is possible. The extension pushes the deadline past the Board of Governors meeting on April 14-15, so in a sense this seems merely procedural.
But the climate in the NBA has changed, with commissioner David Stern no longer taking tremors of relocation as some personal failure or betrayal. He views it as business, period. And NBA business, while very good right now on the court, is likely to have a dramatically different look to it once the owner-union CBA talks are done.
The Kings staying in Sacramento? Would you lay odds on that in a Maloof casino?