How Kyle Lowry Figured It Out
By Yannis Koutroupis
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has everything he wants: a four-year contract that puts him among the highest-paid point guards in the league, a new endorsement deal with adidas and a starting role on a playoff team.
These were all things Lowry wanted when he initially entered the league, and while some came at different times, this is the first time in his career when he’s had all three simultaneously.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Lowry came into the NBA with the toughness and chip on his shoulder that has become synonymous with most players from that area. He was frustrated splitting time with the likes of Mike Conley Jr., Goran Dragic and Jose Calderon, feeling like they were taking minutes he was earning and more deserving of.
Tracy McGrady at Peace With Retirement
By Alex Kennedy
Tracy McGrady, at 35 years old, is at peace with his decision to retire from professional basketball.
While he says that he could still play in the NBA or an overseas league, and admits that he sometimes wants to get back on the court, he’s no longer interested in putting in the necessary work to continue his career.
“I am [at peace with my decision to retire],” McGrady told Basketball Insiders. “I am. At times I get that itch, the urge to go back and play. I still can, I’m young enough to still play. My body feels good; I haven’t played in a couple of years so my body feels great. It’s just the mental part of [not] having that drive to get back in that type of shape and to put that type of time and focus into it.”
He loves that he’s able to spend more time with his family. McGrady says he completely understands why someone like Ray Allen is unsure about continuing his career, as the veteran sharpshooter weighs retirement to spend more time with his family versus playing the 2014-15 season with a contender.
The Free Agency Waiting Game
By Steve Kyler
While the calendar may have changed, the situations surrounding Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe and Detroit’s Greg Monroe have not.
Both players remain restricted free agents, and both players have sizeable offers on the table from their respective teams.
The Suns feel they have exceeded the marketplace for Bledsoe with their four-year, $48 million offer and that ultimately Bledsoe will relent and sign their deal. Bledsoe has the option of taking the $3.7 million qualifying offer and becoming an unrestricted free agent next year, but for Bledsoe there is risk. Unrestricted free agency may not yield a better package next year and what happens if he gets hurt again?
Over 30 Percent of NBA Hard-Capped
By Eric Pincus
The Indiana Pacers are expected to apply for a Disabled Player Exception (DPE) after Paul George suffered a brutal leg injury playing for Team USA.
The NBA will presumably grant the Pacers’ request, giving the team an additional $5.3 million in spending power to sign a player to a one-year deal. Indiana could instead use the exception to trade for a player in the final year of their contract, making up to $5.4 million.
Most teams have limited spending power this summer, by the rules of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Pacers are one of 10 teams with a hard cap of $80.8 million this season (33.3% of the league). Indiana’s payroll of $74.8 million should leave just enough room, should they find a use for their potential DPE.
A hard cap is triggered when a team uses over $3.28 million of their Mid-Level Exception (MLE), acquire a player via sign and trade or use any of their $2.08 million Bi-Annual Exception (BAE).
Are You Selling The Lakers Short?
By Lang Greene
The power structure has undoubtedly shifted in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers are now wearing the hat of legitimate title contenders while the once powerful Los Angeles Lakers are languishing in the Western Conference cellar in the midst of a rebuilding phase.
Last season, the Lakers recorded just 27 wins and finished with the second worst record in franchise history. The performance also snapped an eight season consecutive playoff streak which included three trips to the NBA Finals and two more championships added to the mantle.
However, entering the 2014-15 campaign the Lakers face plenty of questions regarding their relevancy within the league’s current hierarchy. On paper, the team boasts a lineup featuring future Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant, two-time league MVP Steve Nash and former All-Star Carlos Boozer.
Will the New York Knicks Rebound in 2014-15?
By Tommy Beer
Was last season’s bitterly disappointing campaign an anomaly? How quickly can the Knicks bounce back to respectability?
With a new head coach (Derek Fisher) in place, and a reinforced roster constructed by Phil Jackson, Knicks fans are hoping New York’s win total next season is closer to 54 W’s they posted in 2012-13, than the 37 wins they registered last season.
One thing seems certain: The Knicks should be able to score plenty of points. New York ranked 11th in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency last season, scoring an average of 105.4 points per 100 possessions.
Re-signing Carmelo Anthony for a near-max contract may come back to bite the Knicks on the back end of the deal, but it ensures the second best scorer in the NBA will wear orange and blue for the foreseeable future. Melo will be flanked by sharp-shooters J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr., the latter fresh off a resoundingly successful rookie campaign. (Last season, Hardaway became the second player this decade, and just the 15th player in NBA history, to knock down at least 130 three-pointers in their first professional season). Amar’e Stoudemire managed to stay healthy for 65 games in 2013-14, and averaged 19 points per-36 minutes, while shooting 55.7% from the floor.
Shortest Player Tenures
By Joel Brigham
Just as we were getting used to seeing Andrew Wiggins in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ wine-and-champagne colored uniforms, Kevin Love’s availability allowed the Cavs to trade this season’s No. 1 overall pick in between the conclusion of Summer League and the beginning of the actual season.
There are pictures of Wiggins in official Cleveland garb, sure to be seen as novelties 10 years from now, but having played zero games for the Cavaliers, we have to consider this one of the shortest tenures on an NBA team in league history.
Had he been traded on draft day, long before getting fitted for a uniform or learning a new playbook or meshing with new teammates in Las Vegas, we might view his situation differently. Instead, all those No. 21 Wiggins Cavs jerseys are going to hang, unworn, in a lot of Cleveland closets while he presumably thrives in the Twin Cities.
At least Wiggins was with the team long enough to get to know some people. Wiggins is not alone, as many marquee players have had very short stints with teams. Here are a few of the most ridiculous:
8 Stars Traded Before Rookie Season
By Jessica Camerato
The Cleveland Cavaliers are poised to send Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a trade for Kevin Love, according to reports, dealing the number one pick before his first season begins. Will the Cavs miss out on a future star? They are swapping potential for a proven game changer.
This isn’t the first time a high pick will be moved before his pro debut. Take a look back at eight standout players who were traded away before the start of their rookie years. (Heads up: These moves will have you wondering, “Why?”)
Time For Ricky Rubio To Take The Next Step
By John Zitzler
This past week the it was announced that the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have come to an agreement in principle to trade Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a projected 2015 first-round pick, according Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The trade can’t be made official until August 23 but as of now all signs point to it being a done deal. The departure of Love will mark the end of an era, one of remarkable production from him but overall disappointment for the team. During Love’s six year tenure with the Timberwolves the team failed to reach the playoffs even once, something his detractors are quick to point out. Presuming the trade goes through as discussed, the team will begin the process of moving forward without their soon to be former star.
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