Summer/Fall NBA Recap, Pt. 1: The Ghost of Seasons' Past
Last Halloween, the NBA regular season was nearly a week old. Opening night was October 26th. Yao Ming looked good in 24 minutes of action. The Celtics beat the Heat in Boston. Hedo Turkoglu scored six points in his Suns debut. But this year NBA fans are only terrified by the prospect of losing an entire season. And casual fans (those who can simply shift their time and money to other sports and other interests are mostly annoyed or indifferent.
To quickly recap the current state of CBA negotiations: the owners and NBPA met on Thursday and Friday, making significant progress on 'systems issues' but failing to agree on a split of Basketball-Related Income (BRI). The sides are close (50% vs. 52% of BRI) but the players are standing on principle (having already ceded millions, and thinking about the next generation of players and the next CBA negotiation). The owners are divided amongst themselves, between big-market and small-market teams, and are using their considerable leverage to wait until the players submit. The two sides are likely to meet again this week, though no meetings have yet been planned.
That's a very rough cut. Chris Sheridan, formerly of ESPN, writes that "95 percent" of the issues have been resolved. The BRI split is the sticking point. For more details, check out the following writers (with links to their most recent lockout articles):
This Offseason Beat will now leave lockout land. Back on September 7th, Dr. A posted a practical and comprehensive "Summer NBA News Rundown." A lot has happened in the past seven weeks, so I intend to re-visit that format and provide a rundown of important summer/fall news for all 30 NBA teams. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a good place to start if you've missed NBA news this summer, or just want to be reminded that there's still a basketball bouncing around here somewhere.
Fifteen teams will be discussed this week -- check next week's Offseason Beat for the next 15 teams, plus a recap of all the summer's exhibition action.
And as usual, more information can be found by clicking on a player's name or searching Rotoworld's NBA news archives.
Jamal Crawford left his agent and may not want to re-sign with the Hawks.
Josh Smith alluded to the possibility that the Hawks will trade him next season (they offered him to Minnesota for the No. 2 draft pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski).
The Hawks' franchise was sold from the fractious Atlanta Spirit Group to a businessman from
California, Alex Meruelo.
Zaza Pachulia hurt his leg during EuroBasket but is now healthy and has signed a deal with a team in Turkey. His deal includes an out clause and he will return to the Hawks.
Free agent big men Hilton Armstrong (France) and Josh Powell (China) have both signed overseas, and neither one has an out clause.
Pape Sy signed a deal in France.
Magnum Rolle signed a deal in South Korea . He has an out clause and will return to the Hawks.
Keith Benson struggled playing in Italy for Dinamo Sassari. The Hawks' draft pick will be waived in November and will return to the Hawks.
Rajon Rondo's dislocated elbow is fully healed and he has played in a few exhibitions.
Kevin Garnett wants to retire with the Celtics, may play beyond his expiring contract, and has been a vocal presence for the NBPA in lockout negotiations.
Jermaine O'Neal, who is under contract for one more season, said this is "probably" his last year in the NBA.
Nenad Krstic signed with the Russian team CSKA Moscow. He can return to the NBA in 2012-13, but would have to pay $1 million for the privilege.
Delonte West told the full story of his weapons-possession arrest , and it makes him both saner and crazier. He hopes to re-sign with Boston.
Avery Bradley signed with a team in Israel. He has an out clause and will return to the Celtics.
Von Wafer signed with a team in Italy. He has an out clause.Stephane Lasme signed with a team in Spain.
Tony Gaffney signed with a team in Germany.
E'Twaun Moore signed with a team in Italy.
Bismack Biyombo, the No. 7 overall draft pick, has been unable to negotiate a buyout from his Spanish team. He fired his agent in early October.
Boris Diaw signed with a team in France. He has a buyout and will return to the Bobcats. (Multiple sources have confirmed, unsurprisingly, that he was overweight last season, so hopefully the activity will do him good.)
Kemba Walker, the No. 9 overall pick, could challenge D.J. Augustin for the starting PG job. Coach Paul Silas has cited the need "to find a way to play them both simultaneously."
Tyrus Thomas is "working on the mental aspect of his game," which is pretty funny.
Javaris Crittenton is awaiting trial in Atlanta for murder charges related to a drive-by shooting.
Garrett Temple signed with a team in Italy. He does not have an out clause.
Joakim Noah rehabbed his ankle injury and played for France in the EuroBasket tournament.
Luol Deng led all EuroBasket players in scoring average (24.6 ppg), though Britain was knocked out early and only played five games.
Derrick Rose, the youngest MVP in league history, says he's improved his post game, his jump shot, and his dribbling. Scary stuff.
Omer Asik's fractured fibula is completely healed, and he played well for Turkey during EuroBasket.
Rasual Butler signed with a team in Spain but soon left for "personal reasons."
Brian Scalabrine signed with a team in Italy. He has an out clause but might stay in Italy.
Kyrie Irving's toe injury is a concern. In late September it was reported that Irving would need another three months for his damaged ligament to completely heal.
Anderson Varejao rehabbed torn tendons in his ankle all summer, but is reportedly "pain free."
Baron Davis is slated to start at PG, but he was rumored to be on the trade block prior to the draft and coach Byron Scott has cited the need to play Baron and Kyrie Irving simultaneously.
Tristan Thompson, the Cavaliers' No. 4 draft pick, could start at PF in his rookie season, especially with J.J. Hickson in Sacramento.
Omri Casspi hurt his knee while practicing with the Israeli national team, and eventually dropped out of the tournament. He's considered signing overseas, but the injury held him back. He is under contract ($1.3 million this year, $2.3 million team option for 2012-13) and will play with the Cavs.
Alonzo Gee signed with a team in Poland.
Ryan Hollins picked up his $2.4 million option for next season. He had no fantasy value while averaging 17 minutes in 70 games last season.
Jawad Williams signed with a team in France.
Christian Eyenga signed with a team in Spain. He has an out clause and will return to the Cavaliers.
Dirk Nowitzki played for Germany in EuroBasket but wouldn't consider signing overseas until January.
Jason Kidd hopes to play 2-3 more years in the NBA. Last season he became the oldest PG ever to start a Finals game.
Rodrigue Beaubois had another surgury on his ailing left foot. He should be healthy for the start of the season (benefiting from the lockout), but he's penciled in as backup PG, possibly SG, and the Mavs' backcourt is too deep to be sure.
Jason Terry didn't pursue a deal overseas. He's owed $10.7 million next season, and he's defending the championship, so it's no surprise.
J.J. Barea hopes to return with the Mavericks, but is also interested in the Lakers (whom he shredded in the playoffs), the Knicks, and the Heat.
Caron Butler, a free agent, said that he "really love[s] Dallas" but is also interested in playing for the Heat.
Rudy Fernandez signed a four-year deal with Real Madrid in Spain. It seems he will play for the Mavericks in 2011-12 (he may start at SG), and then decide next summer whether to re-sign in the NBA or return to Spain.
Ty Lawson signed with a team in Lithuania. He has struggled to adjust overseas, but is slated to start at PG for the Nuggets with Andre Miller coming off the bench.
Danilo Gallinari signed with a team in Italy. He has an out clause and will return to the Nuggets, where George Karl wants to give him a bigger role.
Timofey Mozgov signed with a team in Russia, but he has an out clause and will return to the Nuggets after the lockout.
Nene has expressed his preference for the Nuggets, but he's one of the hottest free agents available.
Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith both signed in China despite the "no out-clause" rule that the CBA (the other CBA, the Chinese Basketball Association) implemented. However, Marc Stein of ESPN reports that their is a "quiet expectation" both players will be released after the lockout. If they aren't waived, expect Aaron Afflalo to play a huge role for the Nuggets.
Kenyon Martin signed with a team in China, and according to Marc Stein his team may actually want him to honor his year-long contract (the richest in the history of the Chinese Basketball Association).
Kenneth Faried, the No. 22 pick overall, fared very well at the Drew League. He could step into a significant role with Kenyon Martin likely gone for the season, and Nene's future uncertain.
Jordan Hamilton, a 6'9" swingman drafted No. 26 overall, could be a steal. He might crack the rotation as a rookie, especially if Wilson Chandler and/or J. R. Smith return to Denver.
Charlie Villanueva will be suspended for the first four games of the 2011-12 season because of his role in last April's brawl involving Ryan Hollins. He's owed $24.1 millon over the next three seasons, one of the league's worst contracts.
Austin Daye signed a deal with a team in Russia. He will return to the Pistons next season and intends to improve his field goal percentage.
Jonas Jerebko says his Achilles injury is fully recovered.
Ben Wallace was arrested for drunken driving and weapons-related offenses. He admitted his wrongdoing, and we've yet to see how this will affect the veteran's future in the NBA.
DaJuan Summers signed with a team in Italy but has since been released because he "did not perform as expected."
Stephen Curry rehabbed his surgically-repaired ankle and attended classes at Davidson this summer.
The Warriors' coaching staff wants the team to keep running on offense, but they are also stressing defense, rebounding, and ball protection.
Andris Biedrins was rumored to be signing with a team in Turkey, but never did.
Reggie Williams signed with a team in Spain.
Jermareo Davidson signed with a team in Germany.
Acie Law signed with a team in Serbia.
Chandler Parsons, the Rockets No. 38 draft pick, has left his team in France and is preparing for his rookie season.
Yao Ming officially retired in July, humbly requested not to be elected for the Hall of Fame, and admitted that he's partially deaf in his left ear.
Marcus Morris, the No. 14 draft pick, is listed as a PF but the Rockets think that eventually he'll play SF.
Donatas Motiejunas was acquired from the Wolves on draft day. The 7'0" has plenty of skill but needs more toughness and strength.
Patrick Patterson had ankle surgery in August but is expected to be ready for whenever the NBA season begins.
Kyle Lowry shredded the competition all summer at the Impact Competitive Basketball Series, aka the Lockout League.
George Hill was acquired from the Spurs on draft day (kudos to ESPN's Andy Katz for calling that one). He could start at SG or back up both guard positions next season.
Danny Granger has worked on his ball-handling and organized practices with teammates, and he acknowledges the Pacers' need for a solid PF (a position he played last season, out of position).
Roy Hibbert and the No. 15 pick were reportedly "discussed" as an offer to Minnesota for the No. 2 pick on draft day. He had a few minor differences with coach Frank Vogel at the end of last year, but Indiana won't undervalue one of the league's most promising young centers.
Tyler Hansbrough injured his ankle this summer but has recovered. He figures to play a bigger role in the Pacers' frontcourt in 2011-12.
Larry Bird called Lance Stephenson "[the Pacers'] best player." Stephenson had a quiet offseason, which is good news considering his history of immature behavior.
Josh McRoberts is an unrestricted free agent.
T.J. Ford is an unrestricted free agent, to the Pacers' delight.
Eric Gordon's troublesome wrist injury is finally healed, and he's stated his willingness to sign a long-term deal with the Clippers.
Chris Kaman was rumored to be on the trade block, particularly in an offer for Andre Iguodala, but that never materialized. Kaman has flirted with playing overseas but has yet to sign a deal.
DeAndre Jordan is a restricted free agent, but Clippers GM Neil Olshey has already suggested that the team will match any offers and the Clips are "determined" to keep him. He might start at center, especially with Kaman (possibly) on the block.
Blake Griffin never showed much interest in signing overseas. He needed stitches recently for a cut on his foot, but it won't impact his season.
Pau Gasol led Spain to a convincing win in the EuroBasket tournament. He hurt his ankle but seemed fine in the later rounds, and is eager to put the bad memories of last season behind him.
Metta World Peace changed his name from Ron Artest. And he is going to be on Dancing with the Stars, which is why he couldn't play basketball in England. He may or may not be doing cameos in English soap operas. And he's guaranteed that the Lakers will win it all next season. Classic Metta World Peace, right?
Kobe Bryant has flirted with the idea of playing in Italy for months, but so far nothing has materialized. For the sake of his knees, it's probably a good thing that he hasn't actually joined a team overseas.
Luke Walton could retire due to chronic back issues. The Lakers might use an amnesty clause to clear most of his salary from their luxury tax and salary cap.
Derek Fisher has been consumed by his duties as president of the NBPA, as RW readers know all too well. The veteran PG is owed $3.4 million next season, with a player option worth the same amount in 2012-13.
Steve Blake is owed a guaranteed $4 million over each of the next three seasons (through 2013-14). He has been working hard this offseason on his jump shot, and on improving his arc, but he's a 40.6% shooter for his career so don't expect too much.
Matt Barnes has lost 15 lbs, he threw a punch at a dude during a Pro-Am game this summer, and he says he's "90 percent" recovered from knee surgery.
Lamar Odom was reportedly mentioned in trade talks around the draft.
Andrew Bynum will anchor the Lakers' defense in the paint, he may be more involved in the Lakers' offense next season, and he's reportedly lost weight this summer. The Lakers reportedly declined an offer of Bynum for Michael Beasley and the Wolves' No. 2 pick, yet another testament to their faith in him.
Mickael Gelabale signed with a team in Belgium.
Trey Johnson signed with a team in Italy.
Zach Randolph was implicated in the beating of a man who was allegedly asked to sell marijuana to Z-Bo's friends at a party. Nothing has come of that yet. In the meantime, he reportedly looked "out of shape" at an exhibition game.
Rudy Gay (shoulder surgery) has returned to action and looked good during the Impact Basketball Competitive Training series.
Marc Gasol wants to re-sign with the Grizzlies. Real Madrid pursued him, and any team with cap space would love to sign him, but Memphis (coming off an exhilarating playoff run) seems to have the inside track.
Hamed Haddadi was extended a $2 million qualifying offer, making him a restricted FA. He has signed a deal in Iran but it's expected that he'll return to the Grizzlies.
Shane Battier has drawn interest from the Heat (a nice segue) and said that he wants to play another 3-4 years in the NBA. Assuming he's willing to accept a mimimal contract, a deal with Miami makes sense.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas announced his retirement after 14 years in the NBA. Appropriately, the Cavaliers will retire his jersey.
LeBron James played in exhibition games, inquired about signing in the NFL (in jest, I assume), worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon, hosted some events in and around Cleveland, and I'm pretty sure he'll be ready for the season.
Mario Chalmers is a restricted free agent. The Heat sound comfortable starting him at PG, though they will again sign a veteran who may split minutes with Chalmers. He averaged 11.8 points, 4.0 assists and 2.2 threes in the Finals.
James Jones is an unrestricted free agent.
Dwyane Wade made headlines when he stood up to David Stern during a CBA meeting. He also made the point that a handful of stars drive a disproportionate amount of NBA revenue, and in a league with no salary cap those stars could command up to $50 million per season. His point was valid but not very popular. He may have been #preoccupied by all of his cash.
End of Part 1...to be continued next week...