12/3 Signed Damien Wilkins
Not much upside in this move but Wilkins is still quasi-useful as a bench player. Wilkins can help the Hawks at the wing, particularly defensively. The more surprising thing is that this Wilkins (son of former Knick Gerald Wilkins and nephew of Hawk Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins), is now almost 31 years old. If that didn’t make you feel old, Gerald is already 47 and uncle Dominique is now 50. Hopefully, Damien is careful because Gerald tore his Achilles at age-31 and Dominique at age-32.
11/26 Signed John Lucas
Speaking of the sons of former NBA players, this Lucas finally has gotten another NBA shot after four years in the minors. There won’t be many minutes for Lucas here as a third point guard behind Derrick Rose.
Golden State Warriors
12/9 Signed Acie Law and waived Jeff Adrien
Law returns to the only NBA team where he has ever played well (though it was in a five game cameo last year). His limitations are quite clear but if he’s going to make an impact, it’ll be on an all-offense team like the Warriors. Continue reading Transactions: 11/20-12/20…
The interesting news story in the NBA the last week is the NBA’s purchase of the Hornets from George Shinn. David Stern confirmed the purchase/takeover on December 6, 2010 but declined to state how much it cost to buy out Shinn, though Stern did confirm that “has been valued in excess of $300 million.” The NBA will sit on the Hornets until a buyer can be found. I thought we could breakdown the NBA/Shinn deal because what hasn’t been said speaks volumes about the mercurial tenure of Shinn as owner of the Hornets.
Before turning to the present day, one must understand where Shinn came from, as a person and as an owner. In early 2007, we looked back at Shinn extensively but we’ll give you the nutshell version. Basically, Shinn was a slacker in school who bounced around before investing in several small business school. Eventually, the schools were consolidated and bought out and Shinn made somewhere near $50 million. He then became a motivational speaker and his money and status helped him become majority owner of the expansion Charlotte Hornets, who debuted in the NBA 1988-89.
Shinn’s Hornets were very well supported by the Carolina fans for about a decade until he the local become less enthused. First, Shinn dumped several very good young players (notably Alonzo Mourning) in order to avoid having to pay huge long term contracts. His front office (Bob Bass notably) did a good job flipping Zo for Glen Rice. But the Hornets continued flipping their stars when the contract extension time came. Rice was traded for Eddie Jones and Jones was traded for Jamal Mashburn. All the trades worked pretty well and the team continued to contend but the constant trading wore on the fans, particularly when the Shinn had other issues. Shinn was agitating for a public funding of a new stadium (he wanted Charlotte to pay for about 66% of the cost). At the same time, Shinn was engaged in a very public civil suit where he was accused of sexual assault and his defense was that the sex was a consensual extramarital affair. Continue reading Shinnless In New Orleans…
1. Good Returns: Last week the biggest story in the NBA was LeBron James’ return to Cleveland. The questions about how LeBron would deal with the pressure, while compelling, were ultimately less important than one would think. Sure, Cavs fans reigned down boos so loud that you could feel them on television. But what were we really expecting? Well, we were going to see, potentially, the answer to two somewhat interesting questions: (1) how would LeBron deal with the particularly palpable hatred from his former hometown fans? and (2) how would the reactions from Cleveland fans affect LeBron’s own emotional reactions, regardless of the outcome of the game?
Before going forward with these questions, we should remind ourselves that neither question really matters to James or the Heat long term. But basketball fans (and sports fans in general) embrace these raw emotional confrontations. To some extent, our fandom is driven by these little pieces of humanity that occasionally crop up, even if they don’t really matter in the larger scheme of things. Like the rest of the world, I was certainly curious but my curiosity was tempered by a few things. The first and most obvious factor was that the Cavs are a bad basketball team. The Cavs have been respectable in their badness so far but they can’t score. 60% of their starting lineup is made up of definitive non-scorers. Anthony Parker is second on the team in minutes played but only has 7.7 ppg and really shouldn’t play major minutes on any decent team. Anderson Varejao can help teams as a role player but he is leading the team in minutes and has only 8.2 ppg. Finally, LeBron has been replaced, mostly, by Jamario Moon, and has the worst per-minute scoring rate of anyone on the team. Basically, the Cavs must shoot perfectly to keep up with the fire power of a good scoring team. Continue reading Quick Thoughts…