Posts Tagged ‘kris humphries’

Feeling Lucky? Try 7 GMs With Decisions

HANG TIME, Texas — The clock ticks down, the trade deadline draws near and all 30 NBA general managers are burning up their phones with possibilities realistic and absurd.

Some need to make deals to solidify playoff teams, others simply can’t bear the thought of sitting still. As Thursday gets closer, here are seven GMs with big decisions to make:

Danny Ferry, Atlanta Hawks

Is it finally time to give up on the hope that Josh Smith can be more than a numbers-gatherer in Atlanta? Ferry, the first-year Hawks’ GM, wasted no time in moving out Joe Johnson’s big contract. Part of the decision was that J-Smoove would blossom without Iso-Joe taking up a big part of the offense. Instead he’s averaging 1.4 fewer points and one rebound less than a year ago, his efficiency rating is down from 21.14 to 19.90 and he’s shooting only 50 percent from the free-throw line. The sense is that it’s “just time.” Still, that doesn’t mean Ferry has to move him. He’s positioned the Hawks so that they could afford to keep Smith and still sign a pricey free agent next summer. But that won’t stop the likes of the Bucks, Suns, Celtics, Wizards and Sixers from making a run. The Rockets have long had eyes for Smith, but might be more inclined to wait to make their moves in free agency.

Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

Despite their 8-1 record since Rajon Rondo’s season ended due to torn knee ligaments, it’s too hard to see the Celtics making a serious and deep playoff run on the aging legs of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The obvious move would be with the 36-year-old Garnett and making that long-rumored deal to the Clippers (Eric Bledsoe). The challenge is getting K.G. to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. Can Ainge appeal to Garnett’s own best interest to get another ring or his loyalty to the Celtics organization to help them start over? Even if Rondo’s knee injury isn’t as severe as first thought and he’s able to get back on the floor for the start of training camp, the rebuilding in Boston has to start sometime. It might as well be now.

Billy King, Brooklyn Nets

If King could know for sure that Deron Williams will shake off the injuries and inefficiency and return to the All-Star form he showed in Utah, then he’d be more inclined to sit back and put his feet up. Or maybe not in the realm of Mikhail Prokhorov. The Russian billionaire owner is willing to shell out big bucks, but also expects immediate results and does not handle mediocrity well. See Avery Johnson, who was fired with a 14-14 record, a Coach of the Month title pinned to his resume. The Nets will likely try to get Paul Millsap from the Jazz and could be in the running for the popular Josh Smith. Last year’s All-Rookie team member MarShon Brooks is on the block. Would Charlotte’s offer of Ben Gordon for Kris Humphries be enough? The Nets have been so inconsistent that with the possibility of a first-round bounce due to a bad matchup looming, you have to believe King won’t sit still.

Donnie Nelson, Dallas Mavericks

“The Bank of Cuban is open.” That was team owner Mark Cuban’s declaration last month, but what must be determined is in which direction the Mavericks are headed right now. They enter the post-All-Star stretch six games under .500 and 4 1/2 games out of the last playoff spot in the West. If the Mavs decide they’re better off reloading with a fully-recovered Dirk Nowitzki next season, they certainly have a good trade chip in Vince Carter, who’d be a wonderful addition to any playoff contender. He could also bring in future assets for Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand.

Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets

You put him in this slot just because Morey lives with an itchy trigger finger and might be inclined to make a deal just because he can. But with the James Harden steal under his belt and the free agency hits on Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, the Rockets will probably strike only if it’s a chance at a home run. With the youngest team in the league, a position in the West playoff race and a payroll that could make them big, big players in free agency, next summer is probably when they’ll make their move. But Houston is now big-game hunting for talent to play with Harden. If a chance to scoop up a true All-Star comes their way, Morey won’t hesitate.

Mitch Kupchak, L.A. Lakers

It’s almost obligatory to put the Lakers on any potential trade deadline list, despite Kupchak saying publicly that he’s not at all interested in dealing Dwight Howard or breaking up his All-Star group of underachievers at this point. He can’t trade Pau Gasol as long as the possibility exists that Howard walks as a free agent next summer — which it does. Besides, the Lakers problems are not about needing more players but getting the ones they have to play every night with passion.

Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz

Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson? Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap? With the contracts of both of the frontcourt veterans expiring, it was assumed since Day One of this season that the rookie GM Lindsey would have to deal one of them by the deadline, if for no other reason than to make room and more playing time for Derrick Favors. It would seem to make sense, but only if the Jazz can get a bonafide star in return. That’s what the 30-24 team lacks right now. But there is no reason to make a deal just to make a deal. The future is based on a young core of Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Millsap is the more likely one to go, but maybe only for another expiring contract in return. Salt Lake City is not a desired location for free agents. But as the effects of the new collective bargaining agreement are felt and big names teams try to avoid the increasingly punishing luxury tax, players will want to simply get paid. Don’t expect a panic move here.

Rick’s Tips: 5 Players Whose Value Looks To Increase Soon

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I don’t know about you guys, but my inbox is flooded with trade offers in my four leagues. It would be great if any of the deals were better than Goran Dragic and Klay Thompson for Carmelo Anthony. Yawn. Unfortunately, most of the offers are 2-for-1 deals where I’M the one giving up the best player. The idea is to consolidate depth into a better starter, so make sure you are getting the best player in any proposed deal.

In order to get out in front of the Feb. 21 trade deadline, I’m back with several players to pick up and stash with the hope that a deadline deal will improve their fantasy value.

Kris Humphries, Nets: With the Nets talking to the Hawks about Josh Smith, Humphries could be heading to Atlanta, where he would play starter’s minutes and get back to average a double-double. Suffice to say, if the Nets are going to reunite Josh with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, the Hawks better get a lot more than Humphries in return.

Derrick Williams, Timberwolves: When you see Williams soaring through the air for alley oop dunks and stopping on a dime for long threes, you think he might be about to realize the potential that made him a #2 overall pick. Problem is, the more you watch Williams, the more you see how weak his motor is. There’s a reason why he can’t stay on the floor even when Kevin Love is out. That said, I want to give Williams one change of scenery before I label him a bust. Not sure where he’s going, but my guess is that Williams will be dealt in the next 7-10 days.

Marcus Thornton, Kings: After his trade from New Orleans to Sacramento in 2010-11, Thornton averaged 21.3 points in his first 27 games as a King. Last year, he averaged 18.7 points in 35 minutes. This year, Thornton barely plays, averaging 11.4 points in 24 minutes. I realize he’s shooting only 40 percent from the field, but I’m confident that percentage would rise with more consistent playing time—right along with his threes and steals. The Kings are usually good for a deadline deal or two, which could increase Thornton’s fantasy value.

Enes Kanter, Jazz: Speculation entering the season was that the Jazz were going to trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson to open up playing time for Kanter and Derrick Favors. As we approach the trade deadline, I am even more confident that one of Utah’s veteran bigs will be dealt. As such, beat the rush and pick up Kanter now because he may be playable as early as next week.

Moe Harkless, Magic: If the Magic decide to trade JJ Redick, then the rookie out of St. John’s will play more minutes and take more shots. Redick recently missed three games with a shoulder injury and Harkless averaged 41+ minutes during that stretch. Then Redick returned on Sunday against Portland and Harkless played only 30 minutes, racking up 4 points and 4 rebounds. If Redick goes to Chicago or anywhere else, the Magic will take a longer look at their potential small forward of the future. Harkless is a defensive stat stuffer, going for at least one steal in 6 of the last 7 games, and at least one block in 4 of the last 5.

Rondo Gets Two-Game Suspension

There’s a reason why many NBA executives hesitate when they’re asked if Rajon Rondo is the point guard they’d trust holding their franchise in his hands.

It’s not about his ability to slash, drive and get to the rim to finish. It’s not about those quick hands that can disrupt plays. It’s not even about his streaky jump shot.

It’s all about Rondo’s personality, his composure.

Everybody wants their front line players to battle and scrap. But no one needs them crossing a line and picking fights that could be costly in the standings.

Rondo already missed the second half of Wednesday’s loss to the Nets and now with the struggling Celtics a game over .500 (8-7), he’ll miss the next two games after getting suspended by the league for fighting with Brooklyn’s Kris Humphries.

The Nets’ Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000 and Boston’s Kevin Garnett $25,000 for escalating the fight.

Rondo will sit out Friday night when the Trail Blazers visit Boston and Saturday’s game in Milwaukee.

According to ESPNBoston.com, Rondo did not seem to regret his action when he spoke to the media at Thursday’s practice, prior to the announcement of the suspension:

“I know I have to be out there for my teammates,” he said. “That’s the only thing about it. But I was sticking up for my teammates. I didn’t try to start a fight. I’m not trying to be a bully. I just didn’t think the play was fair that he made on Kevin, that’s all.”

Never mind the lame excuse that the snarling Garnett needs somebody to stand up for his honor. It’s not like this was the first time for Rondo. He was suspended for a game in the playoffs last season when he bumped a referee and was slapped with a two-game suspension for heaving the ball at an official in the 2010-11 season.

As long as he keeps piling up 10- and 20-assist games and triple-doubles, Rondo’s sheer talent will keep him in any conversation about the league’s best point guard.

But when it comes to being The Guy, temperament, composure, just plain cool in the heat of the battle matters.

It’s like the old saying about the lottery: You’ve got to play to win.

Rondo Starts Fight, Ends Streak

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Rajon Rondo‘s assist streak is over, not because his teammates couldn’t make shots, but because he couldn’t control his emotions.

Longest double-digit assist streaks, NBA history
Player Year(s) Games
Magic Johnson 1983-84 46
Rajon Rondo 2012 37
John Stockton 1989 37
John Stockton 1992 29

With the Brooklyn Nets leading the Boston Celtics 51-35 near the end of the first half in Boston on Wednesday night, the Nets’ Kris Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett and then hit Garnett in the face after the whistle.

Rondo took exception to the hit (and maybe to getting swatted by Humphries earlier in the game) and shoved Humphries under the basket. And he kept shoving Humphries into the crowd as other players tried to separate the two.

The result was ejections for both Rondo and Humphries, as well as technical fouls on both Garnett and the Nets’ Gerald Wallace. That was Wallace’ second T, so he was ejected also.

At the time, Rondo had just three assists, so his streak of 37 games with double-digit assists is over, nine games short of Magic Johnson‘s record.

And Rondo, who clearly was trying to pad his assist stats at times during the streak, can only blame himself for the streak’s demise.

Nets Flying Beneath The Radar

 

HANG TIME, Texas -- Call it the luck of the Nets.

Just when it looks like they could really be building something, all everyone wants to talk about is their building, the futuristic and upscale Barclays Center.

And here in the early weeks of the 2012-13 NBA season, when a 5-2 start is enough to get Jay-Z’s toes tapping, New York and the rest of the league is dancing in amazement at the 6-0 start by the Knicks.

Yet for all that, maybe it’s quite understandable for the Nets to be uncelebrated, because theirs is a lineup that in a celebrity-driven league can go as undetected on the radar.

Deron Williams is a big-time name that belongs up on any marquee. But the trio of Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries has the bland aura of a buttoned-down law firm.

What matters, of course, is winning and the appreciation will overtake the image if the Nets continue to do that. For now, what’s changed is that the relocation to Brooklyn and the new digs has given them a bit of swagger, as was noticed by even the always-swaggering Celtics in Thursday’s loss.

But as was noted by our old friend Filip Bondy in the New York Daily News, there is still plenty of work to be done, especially at the defensive end.

“They have a lot more confidence,” Kevin Garnett noticed, about these new Nets. “They also got a lot of calls tonight.”

It was good to hear an opponent gripe about officiating, rather than smirk at another feeble effort from the home team. And here’s another change from the Jersey era: most fans actually cheered for the Nets in Brooklyn, instead of for the Celtics.

“It was a fantastic environment to play in,” Lopez said. “It hasn’t been like that here in a long time.”

Not everything is perfect. Avery Johnson has yet to completely trust his team’s defense, understandably. He ordered his players to foul the Celtics in the final minute, sending them to the line, rather than let Paul Pierce launch a possible back-breaking three-pointer. Boston missed four foul shots in those waning seconds, rendering the Net coach an accurate soothsayer.

“It was one of the bigger games that we had,” Johnson said. “To win a close game like that without Gerald Wallace means a lot.”

The Nets are now 5-2, while reminding nobody of Dave DeBusschere, Willis Reed, Charles Oakley or even Kenyon Martin. New Yorkers have always worshipped the fine art of stubborn resistance, from shot-blocking to sacrificing the body in the lane. We may have to make some new allowances for these Nets, who are doing things differently.

There will always be areas to improve and nits to pick. What would that matchup with Boston have looked like with Rajon Rondo in the Celtics’ lineup? How far to close that 30-point gap from their first run-in with the defending champion Heat?

It’s enough for now that the Nets are still upright in the Eastern Conference standings, ahead of both Miami and Boston.

Now a three-game road trip to Sacramento, the Lakers and Golden State might provide a few answers about what the Nets can be.

And who they are as well.

Lopez Must Put ‘Brook’ In Brooklyn

 

When comic actor Charles Grodin (The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run) penned his sardonic autobiography a couple decades ago, he entitled it “It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here: My Journey Through Show Business.”

If Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez were to slap a headline on his journal entries for 2012, he could pretty much use the same thing, swapping “Nets organization” for the reference to show biz.

For the first six months or so of 2012, it looked like the best thing Lopez could do for the Nets would be to leave. Leave, that is, specifically as the centerpiece of a package of players and draft picks shipped to the Orlando Magic for All-Star Dwight Howard.

Instead, Lopez will be the Nets’ center piece for their dramatic first season in Brooklyn. Never mind that snazzy Maserati in the showroom, kids. We’re driving home in the Buick!

Lopez and still-teammate MarShon Brooks made an appearance at the Nets’ inaugural team store at the Barclays Center, and Howard Beck of the New York Times wrote about the big man’s reset button getting pushed:

Lopez is one of two Nets (along with Kris Humphries) remaining from the humiliating 2009-10 season, when they lost a franchise-record 70 games. He chuckled when it was suggested he had earned this moment.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “Throughout that whole process, everyone kept talking about Brooklyn and stuff like that, how exciting it was going to be. So I just focused on making myself a better player, helping my team in any way possible. And with all the talk I heard about Brooklyn, I knew it was just something I wanted to be part of. It was something that was going to be big.”

Yeah, well, that’s what Nets fans felt about Howard. When the dominating diva, early in his soap opera-ish final season in Orlando, cited the Nets as the one destination he would accept via trade, Lopez immediately became expendable. Chattel frankly, an asset to be moved, a salary to match up against Howard’s per NBA trade rules, a facilitator of greater days ahead for the franchise with which he had spent his first four NBA seasons.

Problem was, the Nets and the Magic failed to work out a trade by the in-season deadline. Soon after the offseason opened for business, Lopez signed a fat contract extension that rendered him untradeable until Jan. 15. That was that, as far as the Orlando option, and Howard soon enough wound up with the Lakers. (more…)

Nets Good On Paper And In The Flesh?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Pin the rosters of every team in the Eastern Conference to a wall and arrange them in order, based strictly on the star-power names you see, and the Brooklyn Nets rank among the elite.

That’s the way the Nets’ master plan was designed, for the team to make the transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn with a group that could compete with the likes of the Heat, Celtics, Pacers and other East top-tier members.

As we get closer to the start of training camp, no one is more anxious to see these new-look Nets in action together than the man whose job it is to bring it all together. That’s why coach Avery Johnson‘s impressions of his crew are worth noting right now. During a trip to his old stomping grounds in Dallas, an appearance connected with “Just Say Yes,’’ an organization dedicated to empowering students, parents and educators, Johnson explained to reporters exactly what the Nets had going on the past couple of years.

The extreme franchise makeover started with retaining the services of All-Star point guard Deron Williams, Johnson told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, a move that had to happen:

“We’ve been planning this for two years,’’ he said. “We’ve always had our eyes on Brooklyn. We pretty much played the last two years all road games because we didn’t have any type of home court advantage because we were in a temporary building. Now to be at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn with sellouts every night, and our roster has been significantly upgraded, it’s exciting.’’

In addition to keeping Williams, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace, the Nets also traded for Atlanta’s Joe Johnson in July.

“Deron was a big key to the whole puzzle,’’ Johnson said. “To be able to acquire some other talent through free agency or trades or re-signing some of our own guys, it’s pretty exciting for us. We’re not there yet. We’re not a championship team. We got a lot of work to do. But at the same time, we have a much better talent pool than we’ve had the last two years.

“We’re much more versatile than we’ve ever been. Right now, we look good on paper. Now we got to take it from looking good on paper and apply the work to go (forward).’’

Avery Johnson’s perspective on his team is sobering in this day and age of overnight contenders and super teams. There doesn’t seem to be a hint of overconfidence in his words, an uncommon-but-wise thing with such a risky, high-dollar play.

The Nets should be a contender in the East on the basis of that All-Star backcourt of Williams and Joe Johnson alone. Having a solid first five should put them in the picture with the Celtics and Pacers just behind the Heat in the pecking order.

But again, that’s all on paper. Seeing the Nets operate in the flesh, though, is the only way we’ll get concrete answers to any of the lingering questions about this team.

Nets Continue Splurge, Re-Sign Kris Humphries For 2 Years, $24 Million

The Brooklyn Nets’ unprecedented offseason spending spree continued Tuesday by agreeing to terms with starting power forward Kris Humphries on a two-year, $24 million contract, according to sources.

The 24-year-old Humphries averaged a double-double (13.8 points, 11 rebounds) last season for the Nets, finishing fifth in the league in rebounds per game and displaying his talents for scoring without plays being called and keeping possessions alive with his ability to hit the offensive boards. He looked like he’d be a cap casualty earlier in free agency as Brooklyn spent lavishly on keeping Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez, and took on the remaining $89 million of Joe Johnson‘s contract in a trade with the Hawks. But sources indicated last weekend that Humphries was likely to return to the Nets rather than accept a contract offer from the Charlotte Bobcats.

Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov is a billionaire and one of the world’s richest men, but his outlay this month has been stunning, even in the max contract world of the NBA. Prokhorov has okayed a $98 million contract for Williams, assuring the Nets would retain their franchise player; a $60 million extension for Lopez, a $40 million extension for Wallace, $24 million for Humphries, the aforementioned $89 million for Johnson, $9.5 million for European forward Mirza Teletovic, $5 million for free-agent forward Reggie Evans (acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Clippers), and $2.5 million for free agent guard C.J. Watson. Including a veteran minimum deal for guard Jerry Stackhouse, the Nets have committed somewhere in the neighborhood of $330 million in new deals since the start of the free agent period July 1.

(more…)

Howard Talks Over, Nets Move On In Position Of Strength





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – At the end of the day, the Brooklyn Nets were going to have a top-10 center. Either they were trading for Dwight Howard or re-signing Brook Lopez.

It will be the latter, because the Nets are done talking with the Orlando Magic about a possible trade for Howard, according to multiple reports. And according to our David Aldridge, the Nets reached a deal with Lopez on a new four-year, $60.8 million contract.

“In talks to this point, there’s probably not a whole lot there,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said of talks with the Nets at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The Nets needed some sort of resolution on the Howard talks by Wednesday, because other teams had interest in Lopez. And if the Nets weren’t getting Howard, they had to hold onto their own seven-footer.

The Nets have been pursuing Howard since the lockout ended last December, hoping to team him with Deron Williams. They’ve seemingly been close to acquiring the three-time DPOY on a couple of occasions, and they could have signed him as a free agent today if Howard hadn’t waived his early termination option back in March, a decision he clearly regrets at this point.

Lopez was the centerpiece of any potential deal Brooklyn wanted to make with the Magic for Howard, the All-Star, three-time Defensive Player of the Year who wants out of Orlando. The Magic have committed to dealing Howard rather than replaying the soap opera that they were subject to last season, which ended with Howard opting into the final year of his contract, the team firing Coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith and hiring Oklahoma City executive Rob Hennigan as the new GM. But in a news conference Wednesday, Hennigan said that none of the current offers on the table for Howard were good enough for the Magic to accept–though he stopped short of saying trade talks were officially dead.

The Nets had offered several packages for Howard, including Lopez and several future first-round Draft picks. Brooklyn has consistently tried to include other teams in potential deals, including Portland and Cleveland, the latter part of a four-team proposal this week also reportedly involving the Clippers. But that proposal never came close to fruition. Brooklyn tried to include new teams in the deal, and the Magic looked into potential deals with the Rockets and Lakers. In one potential deal, according to the basketball website HoopsWorld, the Lakers would receive Howard, and the Rockets would get Lakers center Andrew Bynum, with the Magic getting several Draft picks from the Rockets. (more…)

The Best Of The Rest

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The moratorium period is over. Deron Williams has re-signed with the Nets, Steve Nash is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Miami Heat have welcomed Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis as their newest role players on Wednesday morning.

Other moves that have been unofficially reported over the last 10 days will officially announced in the coming hours and days. We might also find out where Dwight Howard is going to play next season!

Almost all of the top talent is off the board, but there are still some good players available. Here’s a list of the top 10 free agents who have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract…

1. Brook Lopez, C (Signed extension with Nets)
Lopez is at the center of the Howard trade talks. And if the Orlando Magic aren’t buying what the Nets are selling, Lopez is almost certainly heading to Brooklyn with Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. But according to a Yahoo! report late Tuesday, the details on Lopez’s contract haven’t been finalized, and another team (Charlotte, perhaps?) could step in and give him an offer sheet. So technically, he’s still on the board.

2. Elton Brand, PF (Signed with Mavericks)
Brand is still on the Sixers roster, but reports say that Philly will waive him via the amnesty clause in order to sign Nick Young and trade for Dorell Wright. Even then, he probably won’t be a free agent, because teams with cap space will bid on the final year of his contract. But he’s a better get than everyone below, and he will have a new team in the next week or so.

3. JaVale McGee, C (Re-signed with Nuggets)
McGee still hasn’t harnessed his freakish athleticism to become the elite defender that he really should be. If it ever clicks for McGee, it will probably happen in Denver. SI.com’s Sam Amick reported late Tuesday that the Nuggets and McGee were progressing on a new contract. (more…)