As the first full month of full-fledged free agency mayhem draws to a close, we here at the Beef bring you yet another update of what has transpired since our last posting on the subject as well as trades, a few other musings, and bits of news. It is hard to believe that free agency has only been going on since July 1 with so much that has happened so far. It seems like the events that have taken place in the span of one month could fill a span of six months. Without further adieu here are the latest moves:
Last time we wrote on the subject of Matt Barnes his future remained in limbo as the Toronto Raptors did not think to adjust for currency exchange rates, or for that matter even look at their cap room, when attempting to acquire him. Barnes, the Canadian faithful believed, would make the team tougher. With this belief the Raptor’s fan base revealed their subconscious belief that what Bryan Colangelo is not meeting with their full approval. (Chris Bosh may have relaxed on the team in the final months but Colangelo is the one to be blamed for not fostering a constructive and successful atmosphere.) Bringing in a player who now gets spotty minutes and frequently sits out games because of an ailing back is a rather unlikely candidate to make a team any tougher. Oh, Canada. At least Torontonians can take solace in their consolation prize, David Andersen. Andersen easily qualifies as the poor man’s Brian Cardinal but since he is Australian it would translate more like this: David Andersen, Australian for Brain Cardinal.
Where the Raptors have failed the Los Angeles Lakers have succeeded. Kobe Bryant, after being denied by Raja Bell, was still on his quest to bring veteran defense to Hollywood. Bryant certainly did not “flinch” at the opportunity in front of him and the Lakers. He found Matt Barnes in his state of limbo and set forth to woo him with the notion of a ring and the Lakers’ remaining $1.8 million of their midlevel exception. One of the NBA’s better known journeymen (he has played on eight teams in eight seasons) is coming home to L.A. Barnes signed a two year deal worth $1.77 million in the first year with a player option worth almost $2 million in his second year. This signing could be seen as another stinging blow that Bryant has dealt the Raptors in his career (*cough* 81 points *cough*) but chalk it up to bad front office management by the Raptors.
The same day that the Lakers signed Barnes, aging veteran Theo Ratliff, signed a one year deal worth $1.35 million. (Do not tell Dale Davis though, he may expect a knock on his door next.) This acquisition could not have come at a better time for the Lakers as Luke Walton appears to be on the cusp of missing the entire 2010-11 season and Andrew Bynum has just had another knee surgery. It seems like Bynum has had surgery on his knee or had it drained at least once for every year he has been alive by now. Ratliff now has the opportunity to become fast friends with Josh Powell, D.J. Mbenga, Adam Morrison at the end of the Lakers bench.
While the Lakers have been keen at adding pieces to their bench they have also made an effort to unload many of the pieces that we so fondly belittle here at the Beef. Currently, Los Angeles is trying to trade Sasha Vujacic. If they could unload him it would free up room to help entice Shannon Brown, whose overhyped abilities do not work at all in the triangle, to stay with the team. It has been reported that Brown has received an offer from the New York Knicks worth around $4 million a year. That would be a lot of money to turn down for a player who would likely only get spot minutes behind Steve Blake next season.
Just when you thought that David Kahn was done associating the Minnesota Timberwolves with any more point guards, he goes and trades for two more. To Kahn, point guards are pets, not quite domesticated, however. With Jonny Flynn missing three to four months after hip surgery maybe Kahn was actually the cunning one for the first time. Minnesota finally unloaded Ramon Sessions (it was well known that they had every intention to do so for some time) and packaged Ryan Hollins in a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. Yet, as is Kahn’s way (he is a madman), the trade is never to be taken at face value. It is likely that the Timberwolves will waive West because his contract is not guaranteed and then try and move Telfair. Kahn is after something, he is going after it with everything he has got as if it were a white whale or the genesis device. What the end goal actually is, only Kahn knows. For now the fans of the Timberwolves will have to remain trapped deep within Regula with only a glimmer of hope and where hours can seem like days.
Eddie House in an effort to remain somewhat relevant has chosen to follow the lead of many other has-been players and ride the coattails of the Miami Thrice. House joins Shavlik Randolph and Carlos Arroyo as the latest recruits to join the Miami Heat. The Heat now have a full 15 man roster and are ready to start the season. As a fantasy basketball roster, the Heat have constructed a mediocre lineup aside from four or five players. Despite this, there will likely be quite a number of W’s for this team in the coming season.
In what equates to a loss for the Dallas Mavericks will translate into a huge win for the Bay Area. Jeremy Lin, the Summer League standout who overshadowed John Wall in their matchup, has signed with the Golden State Warriors. Harvard University is known for graduating future presidents, Nobel laureates, and Supreme Court justices but Jeremy Lin is following another path after graduating from the prestigious institution. He becomes just the fourth player to play in the NBA after attending Harvard, and the first in 57 years. The others were Wyndol Gray, Saul Mariaschin, and Ed Smith. Lin grew up in Palo Alto, California which is 26 miles from Oakland so his joining the Warriors is a homecoming of sorts and has the Bay Area rather jubilant. Also joining the Warriors is Jannero Pargo who inked a two-year deal worth $2.4 million.
It is unfortunate that Don Nelson appears to be on his way out in Golden State once Joe Lacob, the Warriors future co-owner along with Larry Ellison (I have beef with Ellison dating back to high school, ask about it later), gets his mitts on the team. Lacob has publicly stated that “It’s not really whether Nellie is here this year or not. He’s not going to be here beyond this year, that is clear.” So obviously the writing is on the wall, not only that but it is bold, red, and embossed as well. It is a shame that that is the case. We here at the Beef have poked fun at Nelson’s coaching style and his losing ways but there is something do be said about the way he schemes and plays the most frenetic small ball in the league. Just think of a lineup with Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Jannero Pargo/Jeremy Lin, Ekpe Udoh, and David Lee on the court. That would be pure madness; it would be pure Nellie. At least on video games, the Warriors will still be fun once Nelson has been forced to pack his bags.
Josh Howard seems to be adhering to the trend of former team bashing. Howard has stated that the Wizards have given him the opportunity to play his game that he was never given previously. The one time Maverick signed a one year deal with the Washington Wizards that could net him $4 million if he meets certain incentives. Howard had surgery in mid-March and is on schedule to be ready for the start of the season, according to his agent, Derek Lafayette, but there has been no official word about when he will actually return. To resign Howard, Washington was forced to release James Singleton. Also on the injury front for the Wizards, newly acquired forward, Yi Jianlian, has injured his arm while playing in a competition in China. 哦!
Will Bynum has resigned with the Detroit Pistons, Joey Graham has signed with the Cavaliers, and Von Wafer has signed with the Celtics. The signing of Wafer is likely a response to Tony Allen’s departure to Memphis. Instead of coming back to the NBA and coat-tailing like Eddie House, Stephon Marbury has spurned the Heat preferring instead to sign a three-year deal with Shanxi Zhongyu in China. (There are contradicting stories about whether the Heat actually approached Marbury about signing with the team, but I’m going to give Starbury the benefit of the doubt. Miami needed players bad for a while.) It’s all about the Chairman Mao’s, baby!
This week Amar’e Stoudemire discovered that he has some Jewish heritage on his mother’s side and has traveled to Israel to learn more. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Stoudemire has shown interest in Judaism for some time and recently had a Star of David tattooed on his hand. This new tattoo should go along quite nicely with the prominent “Black Jesus” that he has tattooed on his neck. With the news of Stoudemire’s newly found Jewish roots the Knicks have successfully pulled off one of the greatest marketing coups that any sport has ever seen; too bad for them that he will spend the last few years of his playing career in either Orlando or Miami. (I kid, I kid!)
The team trimmed its roster down from 19 to 15 players this week. On the chopping block were Tyreke Evans, O.J. Mayo, JaVale McGee, and Gerald Wallace. Team USA begins training camp August 10 in New York City.
Shaquille O’Neal was once a professional basketball player. Now the “Big Aristotle” is just a reality television star who occasionally sings songs with Justin Bieber.