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Archive for July, 2010

Breaking down the Da’Sean Butler situation

July 30th, 2010 14 comments

Da’Sean Butler had played his way into a surefire first-round selection in the 2010 NBA Draft with a spectacular senior campaign at West Virginia last season, sinking six game-winning shots, earning second-team All-America honors, and leading the Mountaineers to the Final Four for the first time since 1959. With a first round selection comes the virtual guarantee of becoming a multi-millionaire.

And then one fateful play changed the course of Da’Sean’s career. With a little less than nine minutes remaining in the Mountaineers’ national semi-final match-up with eventual champion Duke on April 3rd, Butler drove to the basket and collided with the Blue Devils’ Brian Zoubek. Moments later, the senior forward lay on his back clutching his left knee, writhing in pain caused by a torn ACL, a sprained MCL and two bone bruises.

The image of head coach Bob Huggins consoling his fallen superstar was simultaneously touching and perhaps just a bit uncomfortable. But we can all certainly empathize. Instead of beginning his preparation for a potential starting spot in the NBA, Butler found himself instead fighting for any place at all.  Read more…

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Mikhail Prokhorov supports LeBron’s decision

July 29th, 2010 11 comments

Mikhail Prokhorov is a newcomer to the NBA, as the wealthy owner of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. At 45 years of age, Prokhorov is Russia’s second richest man, with an estimated net worth of $13 billion. Apparently, he is also a classy guy in defeat.

The Nets were one of the teams shut out of the LeBron James sweepstakes after James’ whirlwind free agent courtship, but Prokhorov says he has no problem with the superstar’s decision to play for the Miami Heat. In fact, he offers James his best.

Prokhorov sent the following letter to the USA Today:

The players are signed, the “Decision” is made, but the passions around this year’s extraordinary class of NBA free agents refuses to die down. What surprises me is the amount of negative commentary directed at the three top free agents (especially LeBron James) who decided to play on the same team and to create a great franchise together. Of course, any club owner dreams of having those players, including me, but all questions of how the announcements were made aside, I respect their choice, and no one has the right to judge them.

I want to say that I support LeBron, the best athlete in the NBA. He had a truly difficult choice to make. Any move he made was sure to be viewed as wrong, and to leave many unhappy fans. Basing his decision on achieving results on the basketball court shows that the sportsman won the day, not the showman or the businessman. What is wrong with that?

We are seeing the birth of a new, dynamic team with such star players, and all of us can await the new season with great anticipation. I wish them success and give them my moral support. I will be happy for us to beat the Miami Heat in the conference finals, maybe not this season, but in the very near future.

Read more…

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Colangelo’s comments about Chris Bosh surprising

July 29th, 2010 8 comments

Bryan Colangelo lashed out against his former All-Star power forward, Chris Bosh, yesterday.

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo went on the air yesterday, now three weeks after his former All-Star power forward decided to leave Toronto in favor of the Miami Heat, and basically declared that Chris Bosh quit on his team during the stretch run of the regular season.

After seemingly being a lock for a playoff spot midway through last season, the Raptors collapsed amidst a more difficult second half and missed the postseason by just one game. Bosh missed all of the twelve total games he missed throughout the season during the second half.

Talking on radio station FAN 590 in Toronto, Colangelo said Bosh wasn’t the same player toward the end of the year. He also complained that Bosh took an excessive amount of time returning from injury, an apparent reference to the seven games Bosh missed in February with a sprained ankle.  Read more…

Fan-favorite Eddie House re-joins the Heat

July 29th, 2010 12 comments

House re-joins the Miami Heat after a seven-year stretch during which he played for eight different teams.

The Miami Heat are poised for a reunion with fan-favorite Eddie House.

The three-point specialist has agreed on a two-year veteran minimum contract that will pay him $1,352,181 and $1,399,507, respectively, with the second year subject to a player option.

House, who won the 2008 NBA championship with the Boston Celtics, reportedly had more lucrative offers elsewhere but was intrigued by the Heat’s rebuilt roster. The Bulls were thought to have been the front-runners for House, with the Celtics also in play to bring him back. Instead, he has chosen to re-join the team that originally drafted him out of Arizona State with the 37th overall pick ten years ago.

House is the very definition of a hired gun. He’s almost strictly a jump-shooter, but he’s a great one. He’s one of the better overall three-point shooters in the entire league, both in quantity of makes per-minute and accuracy, having made 749 threes during his career at a 39.0% conversion rate.

He moves off the ball well, has an incredibly quick release, and absolutely no conscious about hoisting up his beautiful rainbow arcing shot. He can come off the bench and change the flow of a game with his shooting. The Heat will look to leverage that skill.

He’ll play anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes per night, serving as either the team’s de facto point or shooting guard. He’s not a point guard, at 6-foot, 0.5 inches more a severely undersized shooting guard with decidedly few point guard skills, though he can play that role in low-pressure situations. When he enters the game, it will most often be as a two-guard from an offensive standpoint, with Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller or LeBron James handling the majority of the ball-handling duties, and as a point guard from a defensive standpoint.

He plays the game with an overriding passion, and provides his teammates and fans with a massive jolt of energy every time he checks into the game. He wants the ball in his hands all the time and will boisterously call for it every moment he’s on the floor. When he gets it, and makes it, he’ll jump and scream and launch his fists through the air as he runs back down the floor.  Read more…

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Miami Heat Re-Signs Kenny Hasbrouck

July 28th, 2010 No comments

The Miami Heat signed a third member of its summer-league team when it announced the addition of guard Kenny Hasbrouck on Wednesday.

Hasbrouck, a former Siena standout, joins Shavlik Randolph and second-round draft pick Dexter Pittman as summer-league players to ink contracts. Hasbrouck was the Heat’s top guard in the Las Vegas summer league earlier this month, averaging 13.6 points, 2.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds in five games, while shooting 49% from the field and an impressive 45% from the three-point line.

It marks the second stint with the Heat for Hasbrouck, who was given two 10-day contracts last season before being signed on for the remainder of the season with a team option for a second. The option was subsequently declined.

Hasbrouck’s contract is for two years at the minimum salary. The first year is $250,000 guaranteed, becoming $500,000 guaranteed if not waived on or before opening night, becoming fully guaranteed if not waived on or before December 15, 2010. The second year is fully unguaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed if not waived on or before July 25, 2011.

The partial guarantee can be seen as a form of charity for a man who seemingly did not require it. Much like with Shavlik Randolph, this may be the case of an overzealous general manager in Pat Riley elated by his free agent coup and showing it by tossing around his owner’s money to fringe players with reckless abandon, even if the totals are relatively small.

Hasbrouck becomes the 15th player under contract for 2010-11. He faces difficult odds of making the 15-man opening-night roster, however, as more signings are undoubtedly yet to come. Teams are allowed to carry as many as 20 players during the offseason.

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Miami Heat Signs Forward Shavlik Randolph

July 27th, 2010 No comments

Pat Riley apparently felt the need to throw away some of owner Micky Arison’s money away in celebration of landing the Big Three.

The Heat on Tuesday signed free agent forward Shavlik Randolph to a two-year minimum salary deal.

Randolph, who had two brief stints with the Heat this past season, becomes the 14th player under contract for 2010-11, but unlike the previous 13 players signed, did not receive a fully guaranteed contract. The first season is only $250,000 guaranteed, becoming $500,000 guaranteed on opening night. The second year is fully unguaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed if not waived on or before June 30, 2011.

Randolph is the fourth power forward under contract, joining Toronto Raptors free agent Chris Bosh, Portland Trail Blazers free agent Juwan Howard and returning Heat free agent Udonis Haslem.

Randolph has no realistic shot at making the regular season roster. The Heat has therefore, in effect, thrown away $250,000. Or, if you’d prefer to look at it differently, they’ve paid Randolph $250,000 to participate in training camp.

Randolph has appeared in 95 career games over five seasons, making seven starts, averaging 2.4 points, 2.4 rebounds in 8.3 minutes while shooting .447 from the field.

The Duke product was previously signed September 28, 2009 by the Heat, appearing in two games before he was waived on December 14. He was then signed by Portland on December 30, appearing in three games for the Trail Blazers. He re-signed with the Heat on April 6, 2010 for the balance of last season, appearing once, in the regular-season finale against the New Jersey Nets. He appeared in six games for the Heat and Blazers overall this past season, averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 8.8 minutes.

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Heat sign Juwan Howard

July 20th, 2010 22 comments

It took 14 years, 7 teams, 4 trades, 3 free agent signings, 2 repeat pit stops, 1 buyout and 1 outright release, but he has finally found his way back to Miami. Roster spot number twelve belongs to Juwan Howard.

The union brings full circle the most agonizing and controversial contract situation in the history of Miami’s basketball franchise. Howard officially joined the Heat on Tuesday, signing a one-year minimum salary contract that will pay him $1,352,181. David Stern won’t raise any red flags this time around.

Fourteen years ago, when the Heat signed and subsequently lost Howard due to alleged salary cap violations, an incensed Pat Riley declared:

The day that Juwan Howard signed a contract with the Washington Bullets is the day I hit a new low in my 30 years in the NBA. I knew that once he signed that contract, we would probably never get him back, even if we took it to the Supreme Court and won it, because he wanted to stay in Washington. It’s very disconcerting to invest $100 million in a player, to go that far, know that you’re going to fight to keep him, and they just run to another deal.

Apparently, all is forgiven. Today, a more even-tempered Riley commented:

We feel that Juwan’s ability to play both the four and five spot will be complementary to what we have put together. He also gives us incredible professionalism and is a perfect fit behind Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.

Over his issues or not, this is still a questionable signing. The Heat needs to get youngster, faster and more athletic. Howard is old and slow and has a rapidly declining skill-set. He can’t rebound. He can’t defend. If he doesn’t knock down his line-drive jump shot, he serves no real purpose on the court.

Barring injury, he’s not going to see any time on it anyway. He’ll be the third option at best at both spots in the power rotation.  Read more…

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Matt Barnes to Toronto Makes No Sense… Technically

July 19th, 2010 No comments

Despite what Matt Barnes reported on his own Twitter account last night, I can’t see how he’ll be heading to Toronto. Somewhere along the way, Barnes, his agent, the Raptors and the Magic are making a horrible miscalculation.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Barnes has agreed to a two-year deal to join the Raptors that will pay him nearly $10 million, the second year being a player option.

However, the Raptors don’t have the means to offer such a contract.

What appears to be happening here is that Barnes, his agent, the Raptors and the Magic are confusing the basics of the salary cap rules. It’s actually quite embarrassing.

The Raptors are currently over the salary cap. The fact that they received a $14.5 million trade exception in the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade should make that obvious to everyone.

Therefore, the only means they have to to offer Barnes, a free agent who last played for the Magic, a contract would be via their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions or via the minimum player salary exception.

The Raptors utilized all but $770,000 of their mid-level exception to sign Linas Kleiza to a four-year, $18.8 million contract. Neither the remainder nor the full value of the bi-annual or minimum salary exceptions could possibly produce a contract that pays out $10 million over two years. Read more…

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Keyon Dooling signs with Milwaukee

July 19th, 2010 No comments

Well, there goes one backcourt option, and perhaps the most versatile option at that. Keyon Dooling has agreed to join the Milwaukee Bucks.

Dooling signed a two-year, $4.3 million deal and will serve as a backup to Brandon Jennings at the point after former Buck Luke Ridnour agreed to a contract with the Wolves.

Apparently, Dooling was forced into accepting the offer after Pat Riley displayed only limited interest in the 30-year old combo guard from Fort Lauderdale known primarily for his strong perimeter defense.

Of course I wanted to play at home. The opportunity to win a championship was down there. Just being from South Florida, it was logical for me. My agent spoke with the Heat a couple of times, but we never got an offer. We never got past the courting stage or anything like that.

Pat has done a great job of putting together a dream team, so I’m quite sure they had a lot of people knocking their doors down. I could ill-afford to pass up good opportunities waiting for them to potentially call me, and then they might not call me.

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Heat re-signs Jamaal Magloire

July 19th, 2010 1 comment

Jamaal Magloire has been notoriously known for executing his signature no-look dunk throughout his career.

Jamaal Magloire will be returning to South Florida for a third straight season with the Miami Heat. Magloire signed off on his third straight one-year minimum salary contract, this time paying him $1,352,181.

Magloire is a 32-year-old, 6’11” wide-body who uses his brute force to attack the glass and snatch down rebounds.

The former All-Star no longer possesses the skills of his younger days. He is now largely relegated to the role of enforcer. He is a strong locker room presence and a role model for younger players.

But the reality is that he’ll never play. He now becomes the Heat’s fourth center under contract, a uniquely large total for a normal roster construction, joining Cleveland Cavaliers free agent Zydrunas Ilgauskas, fellow Heat free agent Joel Anthony, and second-round pick Dexter Pittman.

Not one of the four is a deserving starter on a title-contending team, yet all four have contracts that are fully guaranteed for the coming season, and one of them will be gifted the role. It won’t be Magloire.

With Pittman likely to be relegated to the Heat’s N.B.A. D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the majority of the season, Magloire figures to be the Heat’s third string center, and may not even be a lock to make the regular season rotation if a better option comes along. Read more…

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