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Sports Fan

Can the Charlotte Bobcats be a contender in the East? posted by Sports Fan

I really like the direction this team is going but I'm not so sure they can really be a contender in the East this year.  The East has gotten a lot stronger over the last few years and while I think they can make the playoffs I don't really see any chance that they can really beat The Magic, the Heat, the Celtics, of the Bulls.  And I'm skeptical they can even beat teams like the 76ers or the Hawks.

What do you think? 

Continue reading "Can the Charlotte Bobcats be a contender ..."


john howard

Bobcats start keying up for playoffs. posted by john howard

The Charlotte Bobcats have had a good season and looks like they should make the playoffs.  I have really fallen in love with this team.  I hope Michael Jordan gets the team.   Here is how the Bobcats look now and could look come playoff time:

PG  Raymond Felton--He is a good leader on this team.  His minutes have gone down slightly this year from 37 to 32. So, accordingly his stats have dipped a little.  But he will be more fresh at season's end and make this team go.

SG Stephen Jackson--20pts 5reb 4ast 2st.  And, he makes 1.5 3's a game.  Oh, and he can defend too.  Not too shabby for a second round pick.   He has been rock solid for this team.

SF Boris Diaw--11pts 5 reb 4ast  He does a little bit of everything as well.  He logs in a lot of minutes and is this team's anchor.  You can't leave him open, he'll hit the 3.

PF Gerald Wallace--18pts 10reb 2 ast.  The heart and sole of this team.  He has worked himself hard to become the player he is now.  He is undersized to play inside. But he is doing and causing matchup problems.  He currently has a spained ankle, but that will be fine soon.  He is one of my favorite players.

C  Tyson Chandler--6pts 6reb 2 to.  He has been a dissappointment his last 2 years in the league.  Tons of injuries have slowed him down.  His size and athletisism cause a lot of problems for opponents.  He is working his way back from injury.  I just don't know how effective he is going to be in the playoffs.

Continue reading "Bobcats start keying up for playoffs."


john howard

NBA Playoffs Eastern conference posted by john howard

It's the All-Star break and time to asses where the season is at.  There are roughly 30 games left and the trading deadline is looming.  Here is a look at the playoffs if they were today.

1 Cleveland vs.  8 Chicago

2 Orlando vs   7 Miami

3 Atlanta vs 6 Charlotte

4 Boston vs 5 Toronto

Chicago looks like they have regressed overall from last year. But lately, they have started getting into the groove. Derrick Rose is unreal and they might win a game but they won't beat Cleveland.

Miami has one of the top 3 players in the game in Dwayne Wade.  This team could look different by playoff time. No matter how the team looks, it would take an incredible performance for even Wade to beat out Orlando.

Charlotte is a great story of over achieving.  They might be able to push Atlanta to a game 6, but that would be the best they could do.

The quietest success has been Toronto.  They are the 5th seed and no one is talking about them.  They have a shot to beat the Celtics if Boston is plagued with injuries.  But this has been a good year so far for the Raptors.

Boston has fallen from favorite to the 4th seed.  They still have the experience and firepower to go all the way. But, to do that everyone is going to have to get healthy and be at peak level which hasn't happened this year. Time is running out on the Celtics.

3 Atlanta has the best team in years.  They could be the underdog favorite after the first round.  A matchup with Orlando in round 2 is going to be fun.  Should they get past the Magic, they will be convinced they can beat anybody. 

Continue reading "NBA Playoffs Eastern conference"


Scott Shepherd

Fun With Box Scores posted by Scott Shepherd

Every Monday, with the assistance of the good people over at www.basketball-reference.com, I like to take a look deep into the statistics of teams and players from around the league in a little post I like to call “Fun with Box Scores”.

Some of the gems I came across this week:

-Quinten Richardson has gone 9 games, 275 minutes played, without taking a single free throw this season.

-Even more remarkably, Jason Kidd has taken just 2 free throws in 347 minutes this season.

 

-73% of Daniel Gibson’s shots this season have been from beyond the three point line, by far the highest percentage of any player in the league with at least 50 shots taken.

 

-Since 1986, the record for most 40+ point games before December 1st is 14. Brandon Jennings’ 55 point outburst on Saturday was the 14th time that someone has scored at least 40 this season, tying the record, and we’ve still got 15 days left in the month.

 

-Speaking of Jennings, since 1986, no player has had a better three point field goal percentage during a 50-point game than he did on Saturday (minimum 3 attempts).

 

-In that same time span, Jennings is the youngest player ever to shoot at least 34 shots in a game.

 

-Nazr Mohammed led the Bobcats in scoring on Wednesday with a whopping 13 points. In nine games this season, the Cat’s have failed to have a player reach 20 points in five of them, by far the most in the league.

 

-Golden State has given up at least 100 points in every game this season. They are the only team in the league to do so this season.

Continue reading "Fun With Box Scores"


Scott Shepherd

New Era of NBA Bigs? posted by Scott Shepherd

Have you looked at the league leaders yet this season?

There are some familiar faces atop some of the big categories. Kobe leads the league in scoring. Nash leads the league in assists. Rondo leads the league in steals.

 

You almost expect to see those guys near the top of those categories.

 

But have you taken a look at the league leaders in rebounds? It’s not exactly a who’s who of NBA big men over the past few years.

 

Here’s the top ten:

 

1. Gerald Wallace 13.8

2. Marc Gasol 11.9

T3. Chris Bosh 11.6

T3. Carlos Boozer 11.6

5. Dwight Howard 11.1

6. Joakim Noah 11.0

T7. Brendan Haywood 10.7

T7. Al Horford 10.7

T7. Zach Randolph 10.7

10. Emeka Okafor 10.5

 

I know it’s still very early in the season, and inevitably some of these names will fall out of the top ten. But as of right now, only three of the top ten rebounders have ever played in an all-star game (Bosh, Boozer, Howard).

 

Last year, six of the top ten rebounders have been all-stars. The year before that the number was five. Before that, it was eight.

 

What does it all mean? Probably nothing. Like I said, it’s still early.

 

But, it could mean that there has been a shift in the way teams are putting together their rosters.

 

Earlier in the decade, there seemed to be a real focus on finding big guys who could not only rebound, but contribute offensively as well. The logic behind that makes sense; you want a player that can do everything in your lineup.

Continue reading "New Era of NBA Bigs?"


Scott Shepherd

Fun With Box Scores posted by Scott Shepherd

In the NBA these days, it seems like there is a stat for everything. We’ve got PER, offensive efficiency ratings, defensive efficiency rating, and so on and so on.

It seems like every team in the league now employs their own stat guru. And while I’m not one to question the use of all these new statistics to evaluate NBA players (I actually kinda like them), I’m old school.

 

To me, all the new stats in the world can’t tell the story of an NBA game as well as the good, old fashioned box score.

 

Therefore, I’m starting a new feature today called “Fun With Box Scores”.

 

Every Monday, I’ll be posting some of the more interesting things that jumped out at me from the previous week’s box scores.

 

This week, they are, in no particular order:

 

The Cavs were +38 when LeBron was on the floor this week. They were -27 when he wasn’t.

 

Meanwhile, the Cavs were -3 when Shaq was on the floor and +19 when he wasn’t.

 

Rasheed Wallace took 8 shots on Wednesday…all three pointers. For the week, ‘Sheed attempted 36 shots. 25 of them were three pointers.

 

Danilo Gallinari was 8-16 from deep on Saturday. He was 1-6 on two-point shots. For the week he was 18-36 on three-point shots and 4-11 on two-point attempts.

 

Carmelo Anthony had 113 points in 116 minutes this week.

 

Greg Oden had 26 points in 99 minutes. He also had 19 fouls.

 

Speaking of fouls, Hasheem Thabeet had 8 in 24 minutes of play this week. In his defense, he did have four blocks, giving him a nice one block for every two fouls ratio.

Continue reading "Fun With Box Scores"


Scott Shepherd

First Impressions posted by Scott Shepherd

The NBA season is officially underway (unless you live in Chicago or Milwaukee).

 

After several hours parked in front of the NBA League Pass for the past two days, it’s time for some first impressions.

 

The Good

 

Ty Lawson

 

How good was he last night? I predicted the Denver Nuggets to be the third best team in the West this season, and that was assuming that Ty Lawson would play like a rookie point guard.

But his 17 points, six assists, and four rebounds, plus very solid fourth quarter minutes in a close game against a decent Utah team, shows that he may be a real X factor for this team moving forward.

 

Brook Lopez

 

Lopez was a monster last night, finishing with 27 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks, and four assists. Of course, the Nets lost, mainly because they couldn’t hold off the mighty T’Wolves down the stretch, but it certainly wasn’t because of Lopez.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

 

I know they were playing the Clippers, but the champs didn’t miss a beat. This could have been the most lopsided seven-point game I’ve ever seen.

 

If it hadn’t been for the extended period in the second quarter where D.J. Mbenga tried to show his limitless range the Clippers would have lost by 20.

 

The Lakers starters (minus their second best player, Pau Gasol), were nothing short of dominant all game. They just toyed with the Clippers for most of the game, and clamped down where it mattered most.

 

Boston Celtics

 

Continue reading "First Impressions"


Ondre Baronette

Knick of hope posted by Ondre Baronette

Hey fellow Knicknews users, the new season is here, and if you need information from a person that has contact with the Knicks beat writer, I'm your guy. I will have news and information about The Knicks, after Newsday has it of course, both are owned by James Dolan, and Cablevision (Stock ticker (CVC), I'm covering all bases right now).

The Knicks will take on the Nets tomorow, 2pm, in Albany.It will give all of us, the first glance at the team that will take on this "hump year", one that is sure to leave the fans excited and in a frenzy. If the team makes the playoffs, free agency doesn't feel as bad, but if they miss it, then all the attention turns to attracting, two of the best players in the NBA, to their organization. Bringing back some MSG magic.

I think the team will be able to sneak in the back door of the playoffs this season and probably, take out a team like the Pistons. I'll write down how i think the East will shake out.

 East-      1) Clevland 3) Orlando 5) Atlanta 7) Detroit 

             2) Boston 4) Wizards 6) Miami8) New York

WEST- 1) Lakers  3) Dallas     5)Portland       7) New Orleans

           2) Denver  4)San Antonio  6) Uthah  8) Phoneix

 I think the Knicks can make it happen this year. I know that Detroit is not going play dead, but they did not get better with the loss of Rasheed Wallace, and the addition of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanuvea, they are the same team essentially, or a tad better. Ben Gordon is a more team efficient Allen Iverson, and Villanueva, is a less defensive minded, 'Sheed. So, i think they might miss the playoffs, and take a ping pong ball in Draft '2010. Charlotte has a second year under Larry Brown, and they are also not better than their team of last year. Tyson Chandler can never stay on the court, and Eddy Curry might work best with Larry Brown, and I think Larry Brown might get productivity from him also. His and Tyson Chandler's salaries match up, but it doesn't help the cap-flexibility of either team any, so I don't think it would be that specific move. Chicago will try to ride the shoulder of Derrick Rose but I envision a scenario, where they fall short, and insert the Knicks. I know Charlotte wants that spot.

Continue reading "Knick of hope"


Brad Hurt

"The Answer" will come soon (or not) posted by Brad Hurt

Allen Iverson is expected to make his decision on the Memphis Grizzlies today.  Management says it is anyone's guess what that decision will be, saying there is a "50-50" chance he will choose the Grizzlies.  His other likely destination is the Charlotte Bobcats.  He famously feuded with their new coach Larry Brown when the pair was in Philadelphia.  However, both he and Brown are open to a reunion.  The fact that he has experience with that system and that team has a better chance of making the playoffs in the East than the Grizzlies do in the West makes me believe he may be leaning more in that direction, but he has had nothing but good things to say about Memphis.  All the Grizzlies can do is wait and see what happens.Continue reading ""The Answer" will come soon (or not)"


john howard

Bobcats need to keep Felton to improve. posted by john howard

Here is the lineup based on how many wins each player got lost year:

PG-RAYMOND FELTON 6

SG-RAJA BELL 4

SF- GERALD WALLACE 5

PF-BORIS DIAW 6

C-EMEKA OKAFOR 5

BENCH:

DJ AUGUSTINE 3--V RADMANOVIC 3--J HOWARD 1--D DIOP 1--S MAY, N MOHAMMAD, A AJINCA.

That is a total of 34 wins possibly returning.  Juwoon Howard and Scott May are free agents and are likely to leave.  May had some decent years until last year where he only play  20 something games.  Howard will likely leave to go to a contender before he retires.  If so, the Bobcats will lose a win.  But, they will gain 3 with draft pick Gerald Henderson.  The 12th spot in the draft generates about 3 wins for their team.   So that is plus 2 and moving the team up to 36 wins.  That is one more than last year's 35.  But, figure in playing together for a full year, and that may add more wins.  Also, the development of last year's first rounders Augustine and Ajinca.  Ajinca didn't earn any wins last year and might could move that up one or two as well as Augustine. If they can improve by a total of 3, then Charlotte has 40 wins and a shot to make it to the playoffs.  Howver, all this is must if Felton gets an offer that Charlotte doesn't match.  Felton is a restricted free agent, so Charlotte has the right to match any offers and keep him. If his 6 wins leave, that is devastating for the team.  Spend the money and keep him.  He is worth it.

Continue reading "Bobcats need to keep Felton to improve."

Charlotte Bobcats News

View All Charlotte Bobcats News


Deng agrees to 2-year, $20 million deal with Heat (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Free-agent roundup: Diaw stays with Spurs, Clips add Hawes + Farmar, Heat re-tool with McRob

As we enter the second week of NBA free agency, the potentially league-shifting levers on the market — chiefly LeBron James , followed by Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh , among others — are still taking meetings and considering their options. While we wait for the major dominoes to fall, we've seen a number of players and teams reach agreement on new deals — Kyrie Irving's max deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Marcin Gortat's $60 million pact with the Washington Wizards; Dirk Nowitzki's major hometown discount to stick with the Dallas Mavericks and Kyle Lowry's sounds-about-right $48 million ; and a slew of comparatively smaller deals hammered out . Let's work our way through some more  agreements reached over the past few days — "reached," but not completed, as no deal can become official until after the July 10 end of the league's annual moratorium on trades and signings — starting in San Antonio. *** • In news that will shock precisely nobody, Boris Diaw has decided to stay put with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. At literally the same minute that Diaw was announcing his decision via Instagram: ("Hey spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years," Diaw wrote . "Lets win it again #gospursgo") ... Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting the details of the 32-year-old Frenchman's new deal, which could be worth as much as $22.5 million over the next three seasons. (Diaw will get $15.5 million guaranteed over the first two seasons, but the third is only partially guaranteed, according to Woj .) It's not yet clear (beyond the partial guarantee, at least) how R.C. Buford and company will structure the payouts in each of the three years, but the $7.75 million average annual value of the first two years come in below the $8.93 million cap hold Diaw had entering free agency. With the existing deals for the 10 Spurs already on the roster, new deals for Diaw and Patty Mills , the expected addition of first-round pick Kyle Anderson, the Spurs look to have about $66.5 million committed to 13 players for next season. That would slot them in over the projected 2014-15 salary cap of $63.2 million, but below the projected $77 million luxury-tax line, which would grant the Spurs full access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, enabling San Antonio to sign a free agent to a contract with a starting salary of up to $5.305 million for the '14-'15 season. The Spurs reportedly have their eyes on Los Angeles Lakers free agent big man Pau Gasol for that MLE slot. That would be just about perfect, considering the Spurs' eternal commitment to heady and versatile international players who can pass. It could also spell the end of the line in San Antonio for one of the team's two remaining free agents, sharpshooting Matt Bonner and bruising Aron Baynes, since a Gasol addition would leave the Spurs with just one remaining roster slot before hitting the 15-player max. (Other potential Spurs MLE targets, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News , include Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder wing Caron Butler and Lakers guard Kent Bazemore.) While it remains to be seen how San Antonio elects to round out this year's roster, the decision to bring back Diaw represents something of a no-brainer for a Spurs team that, in the words of head coach Gregg Popovich, is still learning how best to deploy the big man's gifts. I'd be lying if I said I saw this coming 2 1/2 years ago, when the then-Charlotte Bobcats waived an overweight and underwhelming Diaw after he fell out of favor with head coach Paul Silas during Charlotte's dismal descent to the worst winning percentage in NBA history . Upon  joining the Spurs and longtime pal Tony Parker, though, Diaw soon began to flourish, thriving in the Spurs' free-flowing, ball-moving, space-creating offense. After years of lethargy, Diaw seemed motivated, energized by playing a fun brand of ball, taking to the San Antonio system like a duck to water as a reserve for the balance of the 2011-12 season before moving into the starting lineup for all 14 games of the Spurs' trip to the Western Conference finals, where they were eventually upended by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diaw's revitalized play carried through his first two full seasons in Texas, which saw him transform into an effective fill-in-the-blanks super-sub, averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and one combined steal/block in nearly 24 minutes per game , shooting just under 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. His two-way versatility enabled Popovich to answer a variety of opponents' lineup decisions, and pose quite a few tough-to-answer questions of his own; as he had years ago during his breakout 2005-06 campaign with the Phoenix Suns, Diaw proved capable of spreading the floor, beating plodding defenders off the bounce, punishing smaller ones in the post, holding his own defensively against burlier fours and moving his feet well enough to chase opposing floor-spacers out on the perimeter. His capacity to allow the Spurs to play, as former Miami Heat reserve Mike Miller once said, "big and small at the same time" proved vital during the final two games of San Antonio's Western Conference finals win over the Thunder, in which he averaged 19.5 points in 32.2 minutes per game. He helped stymy an Oklahoma City defense bolstered by the mid-series return of injured shot-blocker Serge Ibaka and coming up huge in Game 6 to send San Antonio to its second-straight title-round matchup with the Heat. Diaw was even more instrumental in exacting revenge on Miami. He led the Finals in assists, finished second in total rebounds behind Tim Duncan, and had 29 assists to eight turnovers. Despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range in the five games, Diaw turned in the second-best plus-minus of the series behind only Manu Ginobili; San Antonio outscored Miami by 74 points in Boris' 176 minutes of floor time. " Implementing Diaw into the lineup has given them another point guard on the floor," the Heat's James said after San Antonio's dominant Game 4 win in Miami. "So Manu, Tony, and Diaw and Patty Mills on the floor at once, they've got four point guards basically on the floor at once. So all of them are live and they all can make plays. So it's a challenge for us all." It's a challenge that Miami couldn't answer, and it's a challenge that Pop and company must be thrilled to be able to continue posing opponents as the Spurs bring back last year's title team and try to pull off something they've never done in the Pop-Duncan/five-titles-in-16-seasons era: win back-to-back championships. Plus, with that partially guaranteed third year, the new deal for Diaw maintains future flexibility for a Spurs squad that only has Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter, reserve guard Corey Joseph and (pending their post-July 10 signings) Diaw, Mills and Anderson on the books beyond next season , when the Spurs might — might — actually begin that long-awaited post-Duncan-and-Manu era. (No rush, obviously, guys.) Considering the price tag, the short-term fit and the lack of long-term risk, there's an awful lot to like about one of the summer's least surprising signings. *** [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Free-agent roundup: Diaw stays with Spurs, Clips add Hawes + Farmar, Heat re-tool with McRob

As we enter the second week of NBA free agency, the potentially league-shifting levers on the market — chiefly LeBron James , followed by Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh , among others — are still taking meetings and considering their options. While we wait for the major dominoes to fall, we've seen a number of players and teams reach agreement on new deals — Kyrie Irving's max deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Marcin Gortat's $60 million pact with the Washington Wizards; Dirk Nowitzki's major hometown discount to stick with the Dallas Mavericks and Kyle Lowry's sounds-about-right $48 million ; and a slew of comparatively smaller deals hammered out . Let's work our way through some more  agreements reached over the past few days — "reached," but not completed, as no deal can become official until after the July 10 end of the league's annual moratorium on trades and signings — starting in San Antonio. *** • In news that will shock precisely nobody, Boris Diaw has decided to stay put with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. At literally the same minute that Diaw was announcing his decision via Instagram: ("Hey spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years," Diaw wrote . "Lets win it again #gospursgo") ... Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting the details of the 32-year-old Frenchman's new deal, which could be worth as much as $22.5 million over the next three seasons. (Diaw will get $15.5 million guaranteedover the first two seasons, but the third is only partially guaranteed, according to Woj .) It's not yet clear (beyond the partial guarantee, at least) how R.C. Buford and company will structure the payouts in each of the three years, but the $7.75 million average annual value of the first two years come in below the $8.93 million cap hold Diaw had entering free agency. With the existing deals for the 10 Spurs already on the roster, new deals for Diaw and Patty Mills , the expected addition of first-round pick Kyle Anderson, the Spurs look to have about $66.5 million committed to 13 players for next season. That would slot them in over the projected 2014-15 salary cap of $63.2 million, but below the projected $77 million luxury-tax line, which would grant the Spurs full access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, enabling San Antonio to sign a free agent to a contract with a starting salary of up to $5.305 million for the '14-'15 season. The Spurs reportedly have their eyes on Los Angeles Lakers free agent big man Pau Gasol for that MLE slot. That would be just about perfect, considering the Spurs' eternal commitment to heady and versatile international players who can pass. It could also spell the end of the line in San Antonio for one of the team's two remaining free agents, sharpshooting Matt Bonner and bruising Aron Baynes, since a Gasol addition would leave the Spurs with just one remaining roster slot before hitting the 15-player max. (Other potential Spurs MLE targets, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News , include Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder wing Caron Butler and Lakers guard Kent Bazemore.) While it remains to be seen how San Antonio elects to round out this year's roster, the decision to bring back Diaw represents something of a no-brainer for a Spurs team that, in the words of head coach Gregg Popovich, is still learning how best to deploy the big man's gifts. I'd be lying if I said I saw this coming 2 1/2 years ago, when the then-Charlotte Bobcats waived an overweight and underwhelming Diaw after he fell out of favor with head coach Paul Silas during Charlotte's dismal descent to the worst winning percentage in NBA history . Upon  joining the Spurs and longtime pal Tony Parker, though, Diaw soon began to flourish, thriving in the Spurs' free-flowing, ball-moving, space-creating offense. After years of lethargy, Diaw seemed motivated, energized by playing a fun brand of ball, taking to the San Antonio system like a duck to water as a reserve for the balance of the 2011-12 season before moving into the starting lineup for all 14 games of the Spurs' trip to the Western Conference finals, where they were eventually upended by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diaw's revitalized play carried through his first two full seasons in Texas, which saw him transform into an effective fill-in-the-blanks super-sub, averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and one combined steal/block in nearly 24 minutes per game , shooting just under 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. His two-way versatility enabled Popovich to answer a variety of opponents' lineup decisions, and pose quite a few tough-to-answer questions of his own; as he had years ago during his breakout 2005-06 campaign with the Phoenix Suns, Diaw proved capable of spreading the floor, beating plodding defenders off the bounce, punishing smaller ones in the post, holding his own defensively against burlier fours and moving his feet well enough to chase opposing floor-spacers out on the perimeter. His capacity to allow the Spurs to play, as former Miami Heat reserve Mike Miller once said, "big and small at the same time" proved vital during the final two games of San Antonio's Western Conference finals win over the Thunder, in which he averaged 19.5 points in 32.2 minutes per game. He helped stymy an Oklahoma City defense bolstered by the mid-series return of injured shot-blocker Serge Ibaka and coming up huge in Game 6 to send San Antonio to its second-straight title-roundmatchup with the Heat. Diaw was even more instrumental in exacting revenge on Miami. He led the Finals in assists, finished second in total rebounds behind Tim Duncan, and had 29 assists to eight turnovers. Despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range in the five games, Diaw turned in the second-best plus-minus of the series behind only Manu Ginobili; San Antonio outscored Miami by 74 points in Boris' 176 minutes of floor time. " Implementing Diaw into the lineup has given them another point guard on the floor," the Heat's James said after San Antonio's dominant Game 4 win in Miami. "So Manu, Tony, and Diaw and Patty Mills on the floor at once, they've got four point guards basically on the floor at once. So all of them are live and they all can make plays. So it's a challenge for us all." It's a challenge that Miami couldn't answer, and it's a challenge that Pop and company must be thrilled to be able to continue posing opponents as the Spurs bring back last year's title team and try to pull off something they've never done in the Pop-Duncan/five-titles-in-16-seasons era: win back-to-back championships. Plus, with that partially guaranteed third year, the new deal for Diaw maintains future flexibility for a Spurs squad that only has Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter, reserve guard Corey Joseph and (pending their post-July 10 signings) Diaw, Mills and Anderson on the books beyond next season , when the Spurs might — might — actually begin that long-awaited post-Duncan-and-Manu era. (No rush, obviously, guys.) Considering the price tag, the short-term fit and the lack of long-term risk, there's an awful lot to like about one of the summer's least surprising signings. *** [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Free-agent roundup: Diaw stays with Spurs, Clips add Hawes + Farmar, Heat re-tool with McRob

As we enter the second week of NBA free agency, the potentially league-shifting levers on the market — chiefly LeBron James , followed by Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh , among others — are still taking meetings and considering their options. While we wait for the major dominoes to fall, we've seen a number of players and teams reach agreement on new deals — Kyrie Irving's max deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Marcin Gortat's $60 million pact with the Washington Wizards; Dirk Nowitzki's major hometown discount to stick with the Dallas Mavericks and Kyle Lowry's sounds-about-right $48 million ; and a slew of comparatively smaller deals hammered out . Let's work our way through some more  agreements reached over the past few days — "reached," but not completed, as no deal can become official until after the July 10 end of the league's annual moratorium on trades and signings — starting in San Antonio. *** • In news that will shock precisely nobody, Boris Diaw has decided to stay put with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. At literally the same minute that Diaw was announcing his decision via Instagram: ("Hey spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years," Diaw wrote . "Lets win it again #gospursgo") ... Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting the details of the 32-year-old Frenchman's new deal, which could be worth as much as $22.5 million over the next three seasons. (Diaw will get $15.5 million guaranteed over the first two seasons, but the third is only partially guaranteed, according to Woj .) It's not yet clear (beyond the partial guarantee, at least) how R.C. Buford and company will structure the payouts in each of the three years, but the $7.75 million average annual value of the first two years come in below the $8.93 million cap hold Diaw had entering free agency. With the existing deals for the 10 Spurs already on the roster, new deals for Diaw and Patty Mills , the expected addition of first-round pick Kyle Anderson, the Spurs look to have about $66.5 million committed to 13 players for next season. That would slot them in over the projected 2014-15 salary cap of $63.2 million, but below the projected $77 million luxury-tax line, which would grant the Spurs full access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, enabling San Antonio to sign a free agent to a contract with a starting salary of up to $5.305 million for the '14-'15 season. The Spurs reportedly have their eyes on Los Angeles Lakers free agent big man Pau Gasol for that MLE slot. That would be just about perfect, considering the Spurs' eternal commitment to heady and versatile international players who can pass. It could also spell the end of the line in San Antonio for one of the team's two remaining free agents, sharpshooting Matt Bonner and bruising Aron Baynes, since a Gasol addition would leave the Spurs with just one remaining roster slot before hitting the 15-player max. (Other potential Spurs MLE targets, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News , include Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder wing Caron Butler and Lakers guard Kent Bazemore.) While it remains to be seen how San Antonio elects to round out this year's roster, the decision to bring back Diaw represents something of a no-brainer for a Spurs team that, in the words of head coach Gregg Popovich, is still learning how best to deploy the big man's gifts. I'd be lying if I said I saw this coming 2 1/2 years ago, when the then-Charlotte Bobcats waived an overweight and underwhelming Diaw after he fell out of favor with head coach Paul Silas during Charlotte's dismal descent to the worst winning percentage in NBA history . Upon  joining the Spurs and longtime pal Tony Parker, though, Diaw soon began to flourish, thriving in the Spurs' free-flowing, ball-moving, space-creating offense. After years of lethargy, Diaw seemed motivated, energized by playing a fun brand of ball, taking to the San Antonio system like a duck to water as a reserve for the balance of the 2011-12 season before moving into the starting lineup for all 14 games of the Spurs' trip to the Western Conference finals, where they were eventually upended by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diaw's revitalized play carried through his first two full seasons in Texas, which saw him transform into an effective fill-in-the-blanks super-sub, averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and one combined steal/block in nearly 24 minutes per game , shooting just under 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. His two-way versatility enabled Popovich to answer a variety of opponents' lineup decisions, and pose quite a few tough-to-answer questions of his own; as he had years ago during his breakout 2005-06 campaign with the Phoenix Suns, Diaw proved capable of spreading the floor, beating plodding defenders off the bounce, punishing smaller ones in the post, holding his own defensively against burlier fours and moving his feet well enough to chase opposing floor-spacers out on the perimeter. His capacity to allow the Spurs to play, as former Miami Heat reserve Mike Miller once said, "big and small at the same time" proved vital during the final two games of San Antonio's Western Conference finals win over the Thunder, in which he averaged 19.5 points in 32.2 minutes per game. He helped stymy an Oklahoma City defense bolstered by the mid-series return of injured shot-blocker Serge Ibaka and coming up huge in Game 6 to send San Antonio to its second-straight title-round matchup with the Heat. Diaw was even more instrumental in exacting revenge on Miami. He led the Finals in assists, finished second in total rebounds behind Tim Duncan, and had 29 assists to eight turnovers. Despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range in the five games, Diaw turned in the second-best plus-minus of the series behind only Manu Ginobili; San Antonio outscored Miami by 74 points in Boris' 176 minutes of floor time. " Implementing Diaw into the lineup has given them another point guard on the floor," the Heat's James said after San Antonio's dominant Game 4 win in Miami. "So Manu, Tony, and Diaw and Patty Mills on the floor at once, they've got four point guards basically on the floor at once. So all of them are live and they all can make plays. So it's a challenge for us all." It's a challenge that Miami couldn't answer, and it's a challenge that Pop and company must be thrilled to be able to continue posing opponents as the Spurs bring back last year's title team and try to pull off something they've never done in the Pop-Duncan/five-titles-in-16-seasons era: win back-to-back championships. Plus, with that partially guaranteed third year, the new deal for Diaw maintains future flexibility for a Spurs squad that only has Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter, reserve guard Corey Joseph and (pending their post-July 10 signings) Diaw, Mills and Anderson on the books beyond next season , when the Spurs might — might — actually begin that long-awaited post-Duncan-and-Manu era. (No rush, obviously, guys.) Considering the price tag, the short-term fit and the lack of long-term risk, there's an awful lot to like about one of the summer's least surprising signings. *** [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Free-agent roundup: Diaw stays with Spurs, Clips add Hawes + Farmar, Heat re-tool with McRob

As we enter the second week of NBA free agency, the potentially league-shifting levers on the market — chiefly LeBron James , followed by Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh , among others — are still taking meetings and considering their options. While we wait for the major dominoes to fall, we've seen a number of players and teams reach agreement on new deals — Kyrie Irving's max deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Marcin Gortat's $60 million pact with the Washington Wizards; Dirk Nowitzki's major hometown discount to stick with the Dallas Mavericks and Kyle Lowry's sounds-about-right $48 million ; and a slew of comparatively smallerdeals hammered out . Let's work our way through some more  agreements reached over the past few days — "reached," but not completed, as no deal can become official until after the July 10 end of the league's annual moratorium on trades and signings — starting in San Antonio. *** • In news that will shock precisely nobody, Boris Diaw has decided to stay put with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. At literally the same minute that Diaw was announcing his decision via Instagram: ("Hey spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years," Diaw wrote . "Lets win it again #gospursgo") ... Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting the details of the 32-year-old Frenchman's new deal, which could be worth as much as $22.5 million over the next three seasons. (Diaw will get $15.5 million guaranteed over the first two seasons, but the third is only partially guaranteed, according to Woj .) It's not yet clear (beyond the partial guarantee, at least) how R.C. Buford and company will structure the payouts in each of the three years, but the $7.75 million average annual value of the first two years come in below the $8.93 million cap hold Diaw had entering free agency. With the existing deals for the 10 Spurs already on the roster, new deals for Diaw and Patty Mills , the expected addition of first-round pick Kyle Anderson, the Spurs look to have about $66.5 million committed to 13 players for next season. That would slot them in over the projected 2014-15 salary cap of $63.2 million, but below the projected $77 million luxury-tax line, which would grant the Spurs full access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, enabling San Antonio to sign a free agent to a contract with a starting salary of up to $5.305 million for the '14-'15 season. The Spurs reportedly have their eyes on Los Angeles Lakers free agent big man Pau Gasol for that MLE slot. That would be just about perfect, considering the Spurs' eternal commitment to heady and versatile international players who can pass. It could also spell the end of the line in San Antonio for one of the team's two remaining free agents, sharpshooting Matt Bonner and bruising Aron Baynes, since a Gasol addition would leave the Spurs with just one remaining roster slot before hitting the 15-player max. (Other potential Spurs MLE targets, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News , include Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder wing Caron Butler and Lakers guard Kent Bazemore.) While it remains to be seen how San Antonio elects to round out this year's roster, the decision to bring back Diaw represents something of a no-brainer for a Spurs team that, in the words of head coach Gregg Popovich, is still learning how best to deploy the big man's gifts. I'd be lying if I said I saw this coming 2 1/2 years ago, when the then-Charlotte Bobcats waived an overweight and underwhelming Diaw after he fell out of favor with head coach Paul Silas during Charlotte's dismal descent to the worst winning percentage in NBA history . Upon  joining the Spurs and longtime pal Tony Parker, though, Diaw soon began to flourish, thriving in the Spurs' free-flowing, ball-moving, space-creating offense. After years of lethargy, Diaw seemed motivated, energized by playing a fun brand of ball, taking to the San Antonio system like a duck to water as a reserve for the balance of the 2011-12 season before moving into the starting lineup for all 14 games of the Spurs' trip to the Western Conference finals, where they were eventually upended by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Diaw's revitalized play carried through his first two full seasons in Texas, which saw him transform into an effective fill-in-the-blanks super-sub, averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and one combined steal/block in nearly 24 minutes per game , shooting just under 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. His two-way versatility enabled Popovich to answer a variety of opponents' lineup decisions, and pose quite a few tough-to-answer questions of his own; as he had years ago during his breakout 2005-06 campaign with the Phoenix Suns, Diaw proved capable of spreading the floor, beating plodding defenders off the bounce, punishing smaller ones in the post, holding his own defensively against burlier fours and moving his feet well enough to chase opposing floor-spacers out on the perimeter. His capacity to allow the Spurs to play, as former Miami Heat reserve Mike Miller once said, "big and small at the same time" proved vital during the final two games of San Antonio's Western Conference finals win over the Thunder, in which he averaged 19.5 points in 32.2 minutes per game. He helped stymy an Oklahoma City defense bolstered by the mid-series return of injured shot-blocker Serge Ibaka and coming up huge in Game 6 to send San Antonio to its second-straight title-round matchup with the Heat. Diaw was even more instrumental in exacting revenge on Miami. He led the Finals in assists, finished second in total rebounds behind Tim Duncan, and had 29 assists to eight turnovers. Despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range in the five games, Diaw turned in the second-best plus-minus of the series behind only Manu Ginobili; San Antonio outscored Miami by 74 points in Boris' 176 minutes of floor time. " Implementing Diaw into the lineup has given them another point guard on the floor," the Heat's James said after San Antonio's dominant Game 4 win in Miami. "So Manu, Tony, and Diaw and Patty Mills on the floor at once, they've got four point guards basically on the floor at once. So all of them are live and they all can make plays. So it's a challenge for us all." It's a challenge that Miami couldn't answer, and it's a challenge that Pop and company must be thrilled to be able to continue posing opponents as the Spurs bring back last year's title team and try to pull off something they've never done in the Pop-Duncan/five-titles-in-16-seasons era: win back-to-back championships. Plus, with that partially guaranteed third year, the new deal for Diaw maintains future flexibility for a Spurs squad that only has Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter, reserve guard Corey Joseph and (pending their post-July 10 signings) Diaw, Mills and Anderson on the books beyond next season , when the Spurs might — might — actually begin that long-awaited post-Duncan-and-Manu era. (No rush, obviously, guys.) Considering the price tag, the short-term fit and the lack of long-term risk, there's an awful lot to like about one of the summer's least surprising signings. *** [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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