1/14 Sign Mike Brown to a contract extension
Despite the early rumors that he was in trouble, Brown got the extension he had been requesting. Brown’s contract was set to expire after 2008-09 and it would have created quite a bit of controversy to let the coach that led them to the Cavs to their only Finals appearance to twist in the wind as a potential lame duck. In short, it would make a really bad atmosphere to have when the real goal is keeping LeBron James comfortable and happy. It doesn’t hurt that Brown had done a perfectly good job. Sure, the team’s current record (19-18) ain’t great but throw out LeBron’s five games missed with injury and the team is a more typical 19-13. The defense is quite at the great levels of 2006-07 (15th in defensive ranking this year versus 4th last year) but I expect the Cavs to be pretty good come playoff time–provided they finally add a shooter or point guard. So, keeping the status quo made plenty of sense.
1/7 Waive Bobby Jones
The other Bobby Jones was decent as an end of the bench guy. He was pretty non-descript but didn’t do anything poorly either. Give Nene’s recent health issues, Denver might be looking for another big forward. Jones has already bounced back as well, as you will see below.
Golden State Warriors
1/6 Waive D.J. Mbenga and recall Kosta Perovic from the NBDL
1/8 Sign C.J. Watson to a 10-day contract
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that big lumbering Mbenga wouldn’t fit with the Warriors and he didn’t (1.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg in 8.1 mpg). He was cut just before his final $460,000 became guaranteed. The rumor was that the Warriors will sign Oakland native Gary Payton as a backup point guard because Troy Hudson is looking pretty done. Instead, the Warriors went with Watson, an NBDL player out of Tennessee, who has look good so far both in the NBDL (26.4 ppg) and so far in his first few games with Golden State. As much as I like to see the old guys from my youth hang around, there is much more upside in checking out the young talent.
Los Angeles Clippers
1/7 Waive Richie Frahm
1/8 Sign Guillermo Diaz to a 10-day contract
Frahm had a few highlights with the Clipps but he just didn’t shoot well (.370 FG% and. 280 3-FG%) enough to justify his presence on the roster. I remained convinced that he could help us a zone buster but time may be running out on his NBA career. As for Diaz, is an undersized shooting guard from Puerto Rico with a decent amount of international experience. I’m not sure that Diaz can handle the point but he’ll get at least a few days to show his stuff before Brevin Knight comes back from injury.
1/7 Waive Jeremy Richardson
1/10 Sign Bobby Jones to a 10-day contract
Yup, there’s Jones again. Richardson had shown some promise but never really got into games in Memphis this year. Jones will provide a little more size for the bottom of the roster.
New Jersey Nets
1/7 Waive Billy Thomas
The return engagement wasn’t much but Thomas played a few minutes while the Nets waited for Antoine Wright to recover. Of course, Wright’s return doesn’t fix the absolute lack of shooters off the bench. Wright has made only 26% from three this year and the team is tied for the worst mark from three in the NBA, as they stand at a moribund .322%, way down from last year’s .363% from three. It’s not all Wright’s fault (Jason Kidd and Bostjan Nachbar are both way down) but this is an area that really needs to be addressed.
12/29 Acquire Gordan Giricek and a protected first-round pick from Utah for Kyle Korver
Remember how I mentioned the Nets are tied for last from three? Well, the Sixers are the squad that they are tied with for that honor. So, does trading their best three-point shooter help? Well, it doesn’t help the Sixers that much. Philly’s long term interest, however, are about clearing salary. In this case Korver is owed $16 million the next three seasons, while Giricek is done at the end of 2007-08. This is exactly the type of trade that Philly should be making. Not only does 2007-08 not matter but the Sixers are better served to improve their draft position and retrench for 2008-09 and beyond.
On talent, Korver for Giricek isn’t actually that much of a difference (the argument could be made that Giricek is at least equal to Korver) but the contracts are what matters and this is a nice start for Ed Stefnaski. We can only assume that Andre Miller is next on the trading block by the February deadline.
12/29 Acquire Kyle Korver from Philadelphia for Gordan Giricek and a protected first-round pick
Giricek had burned his bridges in Utah by clashing with Jerry Sloan and being pretty frank in his unhappiness. Still, Korver’s contract is a little long for my taste. At his best, Korver is the better three-point shooter (he was over 39% every other season before slumping a bit so far this year). Utah’s salary cap situation is not horrible but Korver takes away some of the flexibility for 2008-09 and he’s probably not that much of a difference maker to prevent future moves.
San Antonio Spurs
1/7 Waive DerMarr Johnson and Keith Langford
1/10 Sign Jeremy Richardson
The Spurs are just cycling through guards on the back end of the roster. Here, Richardson musical chair game goes from Memphis to San Antonio and Johnson is without a seat. Johnson and Langford have apparently returned to the NBDL. We’ll see if Richardson can earn any more time than they got.
12/31 Waive Mike Wilks
Wilks was a short term solution while Antonio Daniels recovered from injury. Wilks can play and is a bona fide back up point guard in the right situation. He was decent in his short time in Washington and should get another shot somewhere before the end of the season.