It’s been a crazy week of signings, non-signings, trades and non-trades around the league. Last week ForeignFlopper gave us a nice summary of all the player moves happening in The Association. This week, it’s my turn, and I’m going to take a slightly different approach.
After the jump, it’s "The Week that Was and Wasn’t in the NBA."
Last Friday, the Grizzlies made a move and signed Marreese Speights – one of the key players added to the roster last year in the early-season flurry of injuries to shore up the team. Speights came aboard and shouldered the burden of the injuries to Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur (more on him later), and did a really good job on both ends of the court. The Grizzlies signed Speights to a 2-year, $9 million deal.
The Miami Heat made themselves the hands-down favorites to win next year’s NBA title by signing Ray Allen away from the Boston Celtics for, essentially, next-to-nothing. With the addition of Allen – whose job with the Heat will ostensibly only be to get open and shoot threes while LeBron James and Dwyane Wade drive to the basket and Chris Bosh cleans up from the foul line to the blocks – the Heat become that much more impossible to guard. When the Allen deal was announced, the weeping and gnashing of teeth from Celtics fans could be heard from the International Space Station, calling Allen a traitor and a ring-chaser. Ring-chaser, yes, but Celtics fans would do well to remember that Allen played for a long time for the Bucks and the Seattle SuperSonics before Boston, and the Celtics tried frantically to trade him for Memphis’ own OJ Mayo last season while also bumping him to sixth-man status. Allen knows what he’s worth to the Heat, and he knows how good they can be with him on the roster.
Other Friday moves: Jason Kidd left the Mavericks for the Knicks, where presumably he’ll be moved to a nursing home at the end of the season (if not sooner). Also, in a move that would impact the Grizzlies later on in the week, the Toronto Raptors rescinded their qualifying offer to guard Jerryd Bayless, making him an unrestricted free agent.
The Boston Celtics, fresh on the heels of losing Ray Allen to the Heat, signed Jeff Green to a 4-year, $36 million deal – even though Green missed the entirety of last season with an aortic aneurism, and even though he played like hot garbage in the limited amount of time he spent with the team in the previous season.
Eric Gordon, restricted free agent for the Hornets, was being courted heavily by the Suns, who offered him a max deal. He spent a great deal of time talking about how badly he wanted to play in Phoenix, and how the Suns were the team he wanted to play for. He told reporters "Phoenix is where my heart is right now." When asked what he would do if the Hornets matched Phoenix’s offer – which they’re expected to do, since Gordon is a very good young player and was the best player they got in exchange for Chris Paul – he didn’t seem thrilled about it. As of this writing, Phoenix has formally signed Gordon to an offer sheet, which New Orleans has yet to match.
The Grizzlies signed Darrell Arthur to a 3-year, $10 million deal. When he’s healthy, Arthur is a great player, who can play a lot of valuable minutes at the 4 and 5 spot. He played a big part in the Grizzlies’ playoff win over the Spurs and the seven-game series against the Thunder in 2011, and one hopes that he can stay healthy long enough to provide dynamic scoring and defense off the bench for another deep run in the upcoming season.
With Speights and Arthur both signed, it seems less likely that the Grizzlies would sign SOV favorite Hamed Haddadi to a new deal – especially with Dante Cunningham under contract already for next year.
As of Sunday, the Grizzlies still hadn’t filled what most regard as the biggest hole in the roster: assuming OJ Mayo leaves for a team that’ll pay him more, the Grizzlies had no perimeter threat.
Monday was all about the Our Long, Ongoing National Dwightmare, as the Nets and Magic tossed around insane three- and four-team trades that would get Dwight Howard to Brooklyn in exchange for what amounted to garbage, crap, and a couple of expiring contracts. At one point Monday, rumors of a 10-player, three-team "blockbuster" involving the Cavaliers surfaced, but they were just as quickly dispelled. Houston, who had been sitting on the world’s largest collection of combo forwards, began to make some moves, sign-and-trading Marcus Camby to the Knicks with picks (rhyme!) for Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, Jerome Jordan, and a couple of second round picks.
Houston has basically completely destructed their roster in an attempt to get Dwight Howard while simultaneously clearing out enough space to sign another max player in next year’s offseason. If the Rockets fail to get Howard this year, they’re screwed for 2012–13, and they’ll probably have a nice high lottery pick to show for it.
Not much happening Tuesday, especially on the Grizzlies front. Tom posted that the Grizz were pursuing Jerryd Bayless, Jodie Meeks, and Willie Green.
On Wednesday, the Grizzlies finally got a shooter and somebody who could play backup point guard: Jerryd Bayless, formerly of the Toronto Raptors, signed a 2-year, $6.2 million deal with the Grizz. Bayless shot a ridiculous 44% from 3 last season, and even though that’s probably an outlier, it still means defenses have to pay attention to him. He’s also a good enough ball handler that he can spell Mike Conley for a while if the Tony Wroten / Jeremy Pargo / Josh Selby triad are all simultaneously dwelling in the Lionel Hollins Doghouse.
The Nets, Bobcats, and Blazers were all racing to sign Brook Lopez to a max contract, for some reason.
Dallas did a sign-and-trade with the Pacers sending Ian Mahinmi to Indiana and Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to the Mavericks.
Lots of odds and ends happened yesterday:
- The Heat picked up Rashard Lewis, uniting two former (past-their-primes) Sonics to play for the Heat for cheap and help them steamroll the rest of the league.
- The Bobcats rescinded their qualifying offer to DJ Augustin, who signed a 1-year deal with the Pacers. The Bobcats were rumored to be trying to make another move, but as of yet that hasn’t happened.
- Houston decided to use its amnesty provision on Luis Scola (!) who presumably will go play for a team other than the Rockets and still be really good, because he’s Luis Scola and he’s still got a few good years left in him. Apparently this move was part of the Rockets’ pursuit of Dwight Howard and/or a year of tank-tastic basketball.
As of today, OJ Mayo has posted Instagram pictures from the Phoenix Ritz-Carlton, and Kwame Brown (yes, Kwame Brown) has signed with the Sixers.
Watch out today if a guy approaches you on the street saying he’s getting rid of some good stuff. You don’t want whatever Houston has left to give away.