Good evening, good people. Your in-game comments / Boris Diaw nightmares go here.
You can have faith in Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant.
There, I said it.
And I mean it.
I also write it as someone who initially thought the Cavs should have made the rumored trade for Kris Humphries — especially for the low low price of Luke Walton.
I write it as someone who wondered if an alien had taken over Grants brain when the Cavs drafted Dion Waiters fourth overall.
And I write it as someone who has spent the summer much like you — wondering where the Cavs stand in the free-agent market, wondering whether Grant ever plans to use all those assets, wondering if hell ever make a trade for anything more than more draft picks.
But I like how Grant handles his business. I like how he makes it very clear his business is not ours. I like how we always hear about the Cavs on the rumor mill — but that we just never know anything for sure.
I like it because it drives people insane. The list includes everyone from opposing GMs to reporters to those dominating the Twitterverse.
I also like it because its how small-market teams such as the Thunder and Spurs manage their own teams. They do it without so much as making a peep to the press. And hey, the Thunder and Spurs are pretty doggone good.
Like those clubs, Grant seems content to build through trades and the draft. Free agency appears to be a distant third.
Anyone else notice what the Spurs have done this off-season? They re-signed Tim Duncan. They re-signed Danny Green. They re-signed Boris Diaw. And thatll be all, folks. Thanks for joining us.
Or how about the Thunder? They entered a team in the Orlando summer league.
Granted, the Cavs are light years away from the league’s elite. But the Thunder and Spurs once missed the playoffs on a regular basis, too. They were bad, spent a couple years in the middle of the pack, and improved from within. They didnt do something just for the sake of doing something — which too often results in doing something stupid.
Grant and the Cavs share a similar philosophy. As coach Byron Scott has said repeatedly, Were not into making bad trades.
Apparently, the Cavs thought the potential deal for Humphries fit that description.
The silent treatment
No one is really sure of the specifics, but the trade wouldve sent Dwight Howard (and others) from the Magic to the Nets, Brook Lopez (and others) from the Nets to the Magic, and Humphries (and others) to the Cavs.
The Cavs also were in line to receive a first-round pick, supposedly from the Nets, and cash. All for the fading Walton, who has one season remaining on his contract (for about 6 million).
For whatever reason, Grant and the Cavs felt it was a bad trade. Maybe they didnt like the fact Humphries, a free agent, seems determined to land a multi-year deal before agreeing to a sign-and-trade. Maybe theyre aware Humphries hasnt exactly been a household name on the market. Maybe they thought he just wouldnt be a good fit — and maybe they were never even as close to making the trade as we were led to believe.
Not by the Cavs, of course. But by people who insist they have access to their thinking.
Either way, the Cavs supposedly pulled out, and a nation wept. Not really, but there sure was a lot of whining going on within the league.
GMs who wouldnt have been impacted by the reported deal trashed the Cavs. Reporters called them difficult. Fans became infuriated, demanding to know why the Cavs refused to potentially handcuff themselves with a guy whos put together one good season on a lousy team.
Well probably never know the answers. All we can do is trust Grant. He hasnt really given us a reason to do otherwise.
After all, he landed point guard and rookie of the year Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick in 2011 — when a lot of people insisted Derrick Williams should be Grants guy.
He also took power forward Tristan Thompson three picks later — and you can make the case Thompson was the best big man to come out of last summers draft.
As for Waiters, its true, hes a mystery. But the Cavs needed a shooting guard, and now they have one. They needed a true center, and they got one of those too, as Grant traded three mostly meaningless picks to land No. 17 selection Tyler Zeller out of North Carolina.
All the while, Grant has remained largely silent. He hasnt run to the media. He hasnt shared the Cavs strategy. He hasnt dropped a hint.
Hes just quietly gone about his business of keeping everyone else guessing, refusing to conduct himself like others say he should.
The fact others seem all ticked off about it may be the biggest reason for hope. It shows you Grant and the Cavs are in the business of Grant and the Cavs.
For fans of the Cavs, that’s all that matters.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
Every potential development and snag in the Dwight Howard trade saga is deafening—so much so that a team like the San Antonio Spurs has gone about their free agent business virtually undetected, just months removed from their season’s finish as Western Conference Finalists.
In one fell swoop—or at least one reported swoop, given the insular nature of the Spurs’ organization—San Antonio re-signed Tim Duncan to a three-year deal, agreed to bring back Boris Diaw on a very manageable two-year, $9 million deal, came to an agreement with Danny Green on an equally reasonable three-year, $12 million contract and, just for fun, agreed to bring back reserve guard Patty Mills (per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Johnny Ludden and Marc Spears).
That may not be anything more than maintaining San Antonio’s status quo, but San Antonio’s status quo was worth quite a bit last season.
This is just the way things go in San Antonio: The players that the Spurs want to stay stay, and virtually every deal signed—save that Richard Jefferson weirdness—is relatively modest.
Green and Diaw are both above-average contributors signed for less than the mid-level—that’s San Antonio economics in a nutshell, though how exactly they pull it off is beyond me. There’s an undeniable truth to the majesty of R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich, and while it may not manifest by nabbing away superstars under careful 24-hour watch, it keeps the franchise afloat, positions them well for winning now without sacrificing future rebuilding efforts and keeps the price tag on the entire operation completely reasonable.
Given the nature of their team from last season, this was the only option realistically afforded the Spurs. They didn’t have the ability to blow their entire roster apart, and given that Duncan and Manu Ginobili are still tremendously effective while Tony Parker is on the rise, it made sense that San Antonio would strap down every valuable asset in sight and have another go.
The Oklahoma City Thunder may very well have been the only team in basketball capable of beating the Spurs last season, and while those Thunder aren’t going anywhere, the Spurs are good enough to continue vying for a title with this current bunch and rebooting once Duncan regresses beyond the point of rotational management.
That day may be coming, but there’s no reason to believe it’s coming this season, when San Antonio is again poised to battle the Thunder (and likely the Lakers) for the Western Conference crown.
They’re no flashier—and technically speaking, no better—than they were last season. But the Spurs’ massive win streak and subsequent playoff sprint was no fluke. This is a tremendous team that’s able to repel the effects of aging with depth and systemic strength. They’ll be right back in the thick of things 10 months from now, no matter how many times they’re disregarded in the interim.
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The San Antonio Spurs re-signed Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Daniel Green and Patty Mills on Tuesday in their first offseason movement of the summer.
The Spurs have reached agreement with Boris Diaw on a two-year deal.
Not every NBA free agent is a safe bet, especially in a lackluster free-agency class like this one.
Sure, players like Deron Williams and Steve Nash are safe bets, but the rest of the free agents are of the “sign-at-your-own-risk” variety.
Let the buyer beware.
However you want to say it, some free agents are fraught with more peril than others. These four in particular stand out as questionable talent who should be avoided.
An unrestricted free agent, Boris Diaw has the potential to be a well-rounded and versatile player for whichever team he signs with.
He also has the potential to go into Charlotte Bobcats mode, gain weight and become entirely ineffective.
Which Diaw are you going to get?
The one who averaged 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for the Bobcats this past season?
The one who averaged 6.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game during the 2012 postseason for the San Antonio Spurs, or the one who went scoreless and disappeared offensively in the final game of the year?
There’s no telling if he’ll be motivated enough to be on top of his game.
The same question rings true, here—which J.J. Hickson are you going to get?
There’s an even bigger difference for Hickson than the one that existed for Diaw. Last season, Hickson averaged 4.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game with the Sacramento Kings. Then, he went to the Portland Trail Blazers and averaged 15.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
That’s not just a “bigger” difference—that’s a much “bigger” difference.
Hickson’s career has left him as a journeyman, but he still has a lot of upside. There are just too many question marks left by his track record for him to be a safe option.
O.J. Mayo produced remarkable lines during his rookie season, and then backed it up with a nearly identical sophomore campaign.
Then, as a third-year player, Mayo suffered a steep decline in production. Eager to prove that was no fluke, he did the same thing during his fourth season.
Which kind of season are we going to get next? Could Mayo be in for a repeat of his postseason performance?
During the playoffs, Mayo missed a lot of shots and never stopped shooting. He averaged just 8.9 points on a horrific 29.2 percent mark from the field.
Mayo thinks he’s a lot better than he is and tends to play offense without a conscience. For all the good he can do, he also can cancel it all out in the blink of an eye.
As many points as he scored during the 2011-2012 season—enough to lead the Philadelphia 76ers in per-game scoring average—Lou Williams was not an efficient player.
It’s one thing to average nearly 15 points per contest while making half of your shots from the field. It’s another thing entirely to average 14.9 per game while barely shooting more than 40 percent. In my mind, 40 percent from the field is basketball’s version of baseball’s Mendoza Line.
Williams is a game-changer on offense, but despite his lack of turnovers, he’s not always a game-changer in a positive way for his team.
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With many players—DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw—entering the free agent market, the Spurs will have to look to retain them while also making the necessary moves to ensure that their 2012-2013 playoff fate will have a different outcome than this year.
Trading their role players to surround Kawhi Leonard with youth for the future will be one of the Spurs’ top priorities during the offseason.
Here’s a look at possible trades involving these role players, and the destinations where they may end up.
It appeared the San Antonio Spurs were going to cruise through another series after the first two games of the Western Conference finals. Since then, however, the Oklahoma City Thunder have taken control and are now just one win away from eliminating the Spurs.
San Antonio is running out of time to win titles with its aging group of core players, so Game 6 could be viewed as the team’s last stand.
Let’s take a look at three players who must elevate their game for the Spurs to force a deciding Game 7.
Diaw was one of the biggest reasons the Spurs were able to jump out to an early lead. He was scoring efficiently, passing the ball around like a guard and taking a lot of pressure off of Tim Duncan.
His performance was making the front office look like geniuses for bringing him in.
He’s cooled off over the past three games, though, scoring a total of 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting. That’s left a void along the front line, and nobody else has been able to pick up the slack, forcing Gregg Popovich to stick with the Frenchman.
Diaw needs to find a way to make his presence felt on Wednesday night. Whether it’s knocking down jumpers or working in the paint to find easy offense, he can’t afford to have another down game.
Duncan needs help in the post now more than ever.
There have been two different versions of Parker in this series. Early on, he was getting a bunch of easy layups and runners, often looking unstoppable in the process. Ever since the Thunder started switching on screens, he’s been much less effective.
The biggest problem for the dynamic point guard has been tentativeness. When he comes around the screen and has a taller defender on him, he hasn’t been able to make the quick decisions necessary to beat the defense.
Parker should know exactly what to expect heading into Game 6. He must have a clear plan in mind to attack it. The entire offense runs like a well-oiled machine when he’s in a rhythm, so the series rests on his shoulders.
Leonard’s offensive production has been inconsistent throughout the series, but that’s not surprising from a rookie playing the biggest games of his life. Where the Spurs need him to excel in Game 6 is on the defensive end, which is his calling card.
Depending on the other players on the floor, he’ll likely be matched up against either Kevin Durant or James Harden. Both players have been killing the Spurs over the past few games, especially during crunch time when San Antonio was trying to make comebacks.
Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to players like that, who can seemingly score at will. But Leonard must do whatever he can to run them off their spots and force as many contested jumpers as possible.
If they dominate again, the Spurs’ run will be over.
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Boris Diaw is not too big to flop.
HoopIdea wants to #StopTheFlop. To spotlight the biggest fakers, we present Flop of the Night. You can help us separate the pretenders from the defenders — details below:
Much has been made about Boris Diaw’s questionable fitness. He may be listed at 245 pounds, but the old eye test tells a far heftier story, despite his excellent agility.
Whatever the actual number, we can agree that Diaw is quite large enough to handle a bump from 190-pound Russell Westbrook.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
The Spurs are winning with several players, including recent Bobcats castoff Boris Diaw, who couldn’t stick on far worse teams.
Jerry Krause, then General Manager of the Bulls, was once ridiculed for saying “players don’t win championships, organizations do.” It wasn’t the idea that organizational excellence is vital to winning teams that got everyone riled up. It was that at the time, Michael Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, was one of those players.