Sports

Latest NBA Free Agency Analysis: Celtics, Knicks, Hornets, Blazers and More

| by Hoops Karma

Rajon Rondo Pursued
I get it. He’s a 2-time All-Star with phenomenal passing chops, good shot selection, great man-to-man defense, and tons of steals. Come playoffs, he racks up triple-doubles like Magic, and he’s made Boston’s Big Three into a legitimate Big Four. I understand all of this and why other clubs (New Orleans, Indiana) want this part of him.

So doesn’t it seem odd that Boston is itching to trade him (despite whatever GM Danny Ainge is saying to the media) right before the final year on KG and Ray Allen’s contracts? Rondo is on the books for four more seasons at $11.5 million per year, which is an acceptable amount for his production, so we know they’re not scared he won’t re-sign at the end of the year. The issue, though, is that he’s stubborn and difficult and supposedly a real pain in the ass to deal with. So much so the Celtics are trying to dump him as their championship window is closing. And he already understands what to do in that window. Massive red flag, anyone?

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Only one type of team can control a young player with that much talent and that big of an attitude issue: a club with multiple veteran leaders with strong personalities who all have equal or better ability. In other words, the Celtics. Any club pursuing Rondo right now is assuming that his issues that Boston no longer want won’t manifest themselves on their club. Wrong, they’ll be MUCH worse, and then what? Bad team chemistry, coaches going batty trying to control him, and eventually a franchise that self destructs regularly. He needs to be avoided.

Blazers’ GM Search Remains Paused
Portland fired their last two GM’s within 10 months of each other, and both were viewed pretty positively during their tenures. Since canning Rich Cho in May (who was then quickly picked up by Charlotte), the Blazers have a) reportedly looked at a ton of GM candidates, b) gotten the reputation for regularly firing GM’s who owner Paul Allen doesn’t like personally regardless of their performance, c) put Director of Scouting Chad Buchanan in the interim GM position, d) opened and closed the GM search a couple times, e) have declared that Buchanan is not being considered for the role of full-time GM but will fill the position until that person is found, and f) officially “paused” the GM search last week, six months after Cho was let go.

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Well between last week and this week, a lot has changed on the NBA landscape. The league is more or less back open for business, free agents are being pursued, trade proposals floated, and GM’s are busy – really busy since a lot of things have to be done really quickly. Now, more than any other time in the past 10 years, teams need a strong GM who can quickly navigate the truncated off-season and get the club ready for Christmas. Trail Blazer president Larry Miller, however, said yesterday that their search remains paused for the foreseeable future. I guess that means they’re going through this crazy off-season with the guy they don’t want for the real GM position and Miller, whose basketball experience prior to becoming the club’s president in 2007 was….does being an executive at Nike count?

Chris Paul Stays Committed To Future With Knicks
Chris Paul’s agent has supposedly informed the Hornets that he will not re-sign with them and that he wants to be traded to the Knicks. I understand wanting to play in New York and enjoying all the perks that go along with that (endorsements). I understand wanting to be part of another Big Three.

What I don’t get is the insistence on doing so with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, two of the most overrated, one-dimensional “superstars” in the NBA. Although both can look good while scoring, they are more so volume scorers than actual skillful ones (neither one has ever had an eFG% that compared favorably against their teams), underwhelming rebounders, all-but-none-existent defenders, and poor passers/creators. They do none of the little things/hustle plays that help teams win, and both have had multiple injury issues throughout their careers (Amar’e’s being quite severe and storied). Frankly, this is not who the game’s best PG should be partnering up with if he wants to build another set of world-beating super friends in the East, especially when any trade that would bring CP3 in would gut the team of whatever’s left of its efficient, hard working role players (most notably Landry Fields).

Those two “All-Stars” are making a combined $40-45 million a year for the next four seasons, so Paul would have to sign a contract far below market value to join the Knicks (since the new salary cap is $58 million), and then he’d be stuck with an underwhelming club that doesn’t perform like one with a Big Three. He should save himself the trouble of ruining his prime years with an overrated mess of a lineup and opt for one with players who complement each other well and play like, you know, a team. The most skilled PG ever deserves better.