Rockets Miss Out On Bosh And Parsons, Add Ariza

Houston’s mastermind plan of adding Chris Bosh and then matching the Mavericks’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons ended up being nothing more than a pipe dream. The Rockets lost out on the Bosh, and then strangely, and somewhat surprisingly, decided not to match Dallas’ offer sheet to Parsons. It’s a serious blow to the Rockets, who many were starting to project as the second best team in the West, assuming they retained Parsons and added Bosh. Without those guys, the Rockets are left with a Howard-Harden duo and mediocre supporting players. It’s a team that is still in the playoffs, but decidedly less imposing. They couldn’t even make it out of the first round with Parsons.

The Rockets supposedly let Parsons walk for financial reasons. That’s somewhat understandable. Matching the 3 year/$46 million deal that Parsons got from Dallas would’ve been Houston’s way of saying they believed they could win a championship with a Howard-Harden-Parsons nucleus. Keeping Parsons would have hamstrung their cap for the next few years, and only given them minimal space to add other quality players. Is Parsons worth over $15 million per season? The Rockets didn’t think so. He’s only 25 years old. He has been a very productive player in the NBA so far, and is fairly versatile. His numbers might be a tad inflated playing on the up-tempo Rockets. Most fans think of him as purely a shooter, thus fitting the typical stereotype, but that really is not Parsons. He’s a good shooter, but his game is much more versatile than that. Parsons is good at putting up shot fakes and scoring off the bounce. And he’s a much better passer than he gets credit for. It’s tough to find quality footage on YouTube of Parsons’ game in college, other than the pair of buzzer-beaters he hit and general highlight clips. But in college, he basically served as a point-forward for Florida. He has great vision for a player of his size, especially one who’s primarily a scorer. Continue reading

LeBron Leaves, Miami Moves on… Quickly

You lose LeBron James. You have two options: wallow in self-pity, or shell out a max deal to Chris Bosh! That’s sort of like those annoying hypotheticals you’d hear in the 8th grade: “would you rather die of a shark attack, or a lightning strike?” There’s no right answer. There’s only two wrong answers, one maybe a little worse than the other.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

That isn’t to rip on Cleveland fans. They’ve heard it enough, and yeah, they took the anti-LeBron stuff too far in 2010, but if I lived in Cleveland, I probably would’ve reacted similarly. As would any real sports fan. But it is to say that there is another way of dealing with the loss of the greatest player in the league. After LeBron announced his return to Cleveland, nearly every sports fan in the country cheered. And per usual, when Miami fans saw other fans cheering, they naturally joined in. (Cue clueless Heat looking around confused, seeing people clapping, and then slowly joining, and then grinning widely, having no idea why he’s clapping.) Continue reading

Dominos to Fall From LeBron’s Signing with Cleveland

Over the next 24 or 48 hours, there will be a flurry of moves in the NBA as a result of the LeBron signing. LeBron altered the landscape of the NBA in one day, and there will be ripple effects felt for a long time throughout the league. Here are just some of the things that could happen over the next few days:

Chris Bosh signs a max deal with Houston.
This is almost sure to happen. The Rockets were Bosh’s backup plan all along, and they offer him the best combination of winning and money. The Rockets have to first move Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to make the requisite space, so that they can sign Bosh, and then match the Mavs’ 3 year/$45 million offer sheet on Chandler Parsons. Everyone will rush to anoint the Rockets as one of the title favorites, but a Big 3 of Howard, Harden, and Bosh is still far away from a title. Where’s the toughness in that trio?

parsons_lhuofKevin Love trade rumors EXPLODE and he probably winds up in Cleveland somehow.
Of course Kevin Love is ‘intrigued’ by joining the Cavs, and then signing there long-term. The Cavs will probably try to offer Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and some 1st round picks for Love. And the T’Wolves will say no to that. The Cavs will have to think long and hard whether they want to give up top pick Andrew Wiggins to create a Big 3 of LeBron, Kyrie, and Love. Continue reading

LeBron’s Chance At Immortality

LeBron is coming home. He’s returning to Cleveland to bring his hometown its first ever basketball championship. This was probably the most fun, most exciting way that the Decision 2.0 could end. Everyone who hated LeBron for the decision to go to Miami has to rethink to his stance on LeBron now. LeBron left four years ago and learned how to win, how a disciplined franchise is run, and how to lead. Now he can come back to Cleveland and be the veteran leader. He’ll accelerate the development of the entire roster.

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Cleveland offered something that no other team could offer LeBron: redemption. Of course, it really wasn’t that simple. Chris Broussard relayed to us that Dan Gilbert’s letter still complicated issues much more than necessary. How could LeBron play for an owner like that? Continue reading

Why Does Everyone Think Houston Is The Best Fit for Chris Bosh?

Amid speculation that LeBron may be seriously contemplating heading back home to Cleveland, there have been reports that the Rockets have intensified their courting of Chris Bosh. Born in Texas, Bosh would have a chance to chase a title with Dwight Howard and James Harden, forming a supposedly formidable, at least on paper, Big 3 in the West.

The move makes sense for Bosh personally. A few days ago, rumors swirled that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had no idea what LeBron would do in free agency. There is much less coordination on their part this time around in free agency. This time, LeBron, it seems, is keeping his cards close to the chest. He owes nothing to Wade and Bosh, and the LeBron’s only priority is winning. It was reported that Bosh came away from a meeting with LeBron with the feeling that LeBron might very well leave Miami. And, so LeBron told Bosh to pursue other options, just in case.

The team that keeps popping up interested in Bosh is the Rockets. Unlike the Heat who are lowballing Bosh, the Rockets are willing to offer Bosh a max contract. Bosh would get more money and play a bigger role on the Rockets than in Miami. I kind of get it for Houston. They are looking for a third star, and especially a stretch four to create some more room for Dwight Howard down low. But let’s not kid ourselves. A ‘Big 3’ of Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Chris Bosh isn’t nearly as formidable as it may sound. Harden plays no defense. Bosh is one of the softest big men in the league, and has slowly compromised his game, so that now he’s mostly just a spot up shooter. And Howard has been criticized for years now at the dearth of low post moves and poor foul shooting, not to mention the obvious lack of any leadership. Continue reading

The Heat’s Saviors Are… Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger?

Here’s your task if you’re Pat Riley: assemble a roster that will appeal to LeBron and give him the chance to win multiple titles. And do so with the understanding LeBron will only settle for a max deal, and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will have to be part of the plan. In other words, understand that those three players will tie up the majority of the team’s cap space, and you will have limited resources to upgrade the roster. It’s no easy task.

But Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger? That’s who’s supposed to convince LeBron to stay in Miami? I hope Riley has something else up his sleeve. Granger hasn’t been relevant on the court in years. He was mostly only brought up last season, when people were trying to explain the Pacers’ locker room mess. He was hardly even mediocre in the half-regular season that he played for the Clippers, and then he was a complete non-entity in the playoffs, shooting under 30%. Granger is just another aging wing that would show up occasionally, but not consistently anymore. Continue reading

The Best Fit for Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol is going to end up on one the best teams in the league. That’s his reward for having to play through last season on an insufferably bad roster sans Kobe. He deserves to be on a good team. Gasol is one of the most attractive free agents on the market, despite being 33 years old. He’s one of the most unselfish players in the league and great in the locker room. He’s won two titles, so he brings a winning personality into the locker room. And he still averaged a double-double last season. Even if his stats were inflated running D’Antoni’s offense, Gasol still put up some impressive numbers. He’s the type of player that would fit into any locker room and instantly make the team better. Word on the street is that he’s drawing interest from the Spurs, Heat, Thunder, and Bulls. In other words: the three best teams in the league, and another very good team. Gasol would be great no matter where he went, but where would he fit best?

1. Oklahoma City Thunder
This is probably the best fit for Gasol in terms of playing time and winning. Gasol would most likely start from day one over Steven Adams. The Thunder could use a veteran presence with experience winning, now that Derrick Fisher is gone. The difference is Gasol would actually contribute in a major way, unlike Fisher. The Thunder’s offense often gets stuck in glue, especially in crunch time. It looks like Westbrook and Durant are just taking turns shooting, or worse yet, Westbrook is the only guy shooting. Adding an elite passer like Gasol to the fold would instantly help make things more fluid on offense. Continue reading

Grading the Deals Made on the First Day of Free Agency

Nearly all of the focus on this free agent season surrounds the Heat. How much less money will Wade and Bosh take? Is LeBron really going to take the max? Are they going to add some second-tier free agents? For now, all we really know is that their roster will look significantly different next season. For now, let’s focus on the deals that have been made. There were three deals today worth examining.

1. Wizards re-sign Marcin Gortat for 5 years/$60 million.
Washington had its hands tied. They had been so irrelevant since the departure of Gilbert Arenas, until last season. Reaching the second round and taking two games from the Pacers, the Wizards finally had a taste of success. The Wiz pretty much had to re-sign expiring Gortat in order to keep any momentum going. Gortat is firmly in his prime right now, 30 years old, and complements Nene well. And the East is weak enough to make plenty of barely-above-average teams feel like contenders. The Wizards are not winning an NBA championship with a Wall-Beal-Ariza-Gortat nucleus. They can contend in the East, but that is much different than contending for a title, as we saw in the Finals when San Antonio whooped Miami. This may be a deal that looks pretty bad on the back end when Gortat is 33 or 34. Right now though, good centers are hard to come by, and Gortat is one of the few guys who can do this. Are the Wizards deluding themselves into thinking they’re a legitimate threat to the title? Yeah, probably. Is this a move purely to stay falsely relevant? (Nodding nervously.) But, if the move keeps the Heat from poaching Gortat, then I’m all for it. Continue reading

NBA Draft Winners

It’s officially time to overreact to the NBA draft results and hastily hand out make-believe grades. Rather than grade every team, I’ll focus on those teams that won the draft. It’s almost impossible to tell who won the draft, until we look back on the draft in a couple of years, but we’ll go ahead and try anyway. Here are the teams and players that made the Deans List for last night’s draft:

San Antonio Spurs
Obviously. They always win the draft. The Spurs are the smartest team in the league. They always walk away from the draft with a player that will help them. It’s no wonder that the Spurs are the most successful team in the league in the past decade. They don’t waste picks. Last night, they got Kyle Anderson with the last pick of the first round. He was projected earlier as a mid-first rounder, but probably due to his lack of athleticism, he slipped. Anderson is a unique player that wouldn’t fit on many teams. Hell, on the Wizards, they’d probably stick in the corner and expect him to be a corner 3 guy. That’s obviously not his game. The Spurs will improve his shooting, no doubt, but they drafted him for his passing and playmaking. He’ll create even more open shots on the perimeter, which is scary considering how open most of the looks were against the Heat in the Finals. In a couple of years, or maybe even months, teams will be kicking themselves for letting Anderson slide so far. Continue reading

Let the LeBron Speculation Begin

As you’ve heard by now, LeBron opted out of his final year with the Miami Heat. So every team desperate and deluded enough is clearing cap space with the hope that they’ll be able to convince LeBron to join their team. The thing is, there are only really five teams with legitimate chances to get LeBron. Zach Lowe mentioned the Hawks and Suns as other unlikely candidates, but all he is saying is that they have the requisite cap space to get LeBron. He’d never go to either of those teams, even if they’re not that bad. Who really has a chance at getting LeBron?

1) Miami Heat
They’re still the most likely scenario for LeBron. He knows their management, respects Pat Riley’s judgement, and still made the Finals last season with its weak roster. LeBron opting out is merely a ploy to motivate the Heat and get Micky Arison to spend more money. It’s a move to push Wade and Bosh to restructure their deals and take much less money. This is the least exciting move LeBron could make. The Heat would need to show LeBron they’re going to completely alter the bench and add some real contributors and fresh legs. Let’s all hope he leaves Miami so that the bandwagons fans in Miami can disappear again. They don’t deserve a good team. Continue reading