The Clippers continued to make changes in their team as they signed former Celtic Ricky Davis to a multiyear contract for two years, $4.7 million with an opt out clause for Davis after his first year. Ricky was one of my favorite players when he was with the Celtics. He always seems to have fun when he is playing and always gave his best out on the court. He has had questions following him his entire career concerning his attitude, but I think he has often gotten a bad rap unfairly. He is athletic and in his prime and can bring instant offense off the bench. I think the Clippers got a very good deal in signing Ricky. The Clippers also have had talks with free-agent center Francisco Elson and they are in talks to retain rehabilitating point guard Shaun Livingston and forward Paul Davis, both unrestricted free agents. .
The exodus overseas continues with Nenad Krstic being the latest be considering signing with a Russian team. The Nets have been saying that they intended to resign Krstic at a reasonable amount but he has a two-year deal in place with a Russian team if the Nets are unable to do a sign and trade by midnight tonight. He will have an opt out clause in his contract so that he can return to the NBA after one year if he wants. If he does return next season, he would still be a restricted free agent for the Nets.
Kwame Brown was the number 1 pick in the 2001 draft but so far, he has not lived up to that billing. He was sent from the Lakers to the Grizzlies last season in the trade that sent Pau Gasol to LA. After the trade, he played in just 15 games and averaged 3.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in under 14 minutes per game. There is always a spot for big men, no matter how much they underachieve. He has now come to an agreement with the Detroit Pistions on a two-year deal worth $8 million with a player option on the second season. Personally, I think they are overpaying him at $4 million a year. He hasn't proved anything yet in his career.
What was rumor yesterday is now a done deal as the Denver Nuggets have acquired forward Renaldo Balkman from the New York Knicks in exchange for guard Taurean Green, forward Bobby Jones and a second-round draft pick in 2010. It has been rumored that this is a cost cutting move to clear some roster space and that both Green and Jones will be cut as their contracts are not guaranteed. I like Balkman and I think Denver has gotten a good player in the deal. He always plays hard and will give them an energy player off the bench.
The Toronto Raptors continued their makeover on Monday as they announced that they have signed free-agent guard Will Solomon. Solomon who is 30 years old has played the past two seasons in Istanbul, Turkey where he averaged 17.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals in 13 regular season games last season.
While Ben Gordon has said that he would prefer to remain in the USA and sign with an NBA team, he said on Monday that going overseas is definitely a possibility with the euro being so strong. Gordon turned a down five-year extension worth more than $50 million right before the start of last season. Negotiations have been slow going this season. He can accept the Bulls' qualifying offer and then become an unrestricted free agent next season if he decides to stay here but doesn't get the contract he wants from the Bulls.
Former referee Tim Donaghy will be sentenced today for his part in the gambling scandal that rocked the NBA. There were two articles on Donaghy and his sentencing today in the Herald. Although a link has been proved between Donaghy and another referee, Scott Foster, who certainly was involved in the scandal because big money won every in every single game he officiated after talking with Donaghy. , nothing more has come out about it. I personally think David Stern should be investigated too since Donaghy said that the directives to influence games came down from above. Just a funny side note on this, in the Herald, they gave 3 related links at the bottom of the stories on Donaghy. Two of the links were other stories on Donaghy but the third in each case was a story about Sebastian Telfair signing a new contract with the Wolves. Hmmmm I wonder how that relates to the gambling scandal.
Delonte West wants to return to the Cavaliers, but negotiations between the former Celtic and the team are still far apart at this point. There were reports that West was considering an offer to play in Russia but those rumors have since been said to be false. West wants a five-year contract. The Cavs have offered several options, including a four-year deal with the final year a team option. The Cavs signed their back up point guard, Daniel Gibson, to a five-year, $20.8 million. So far, the Cavs are offering their starting PG less than they gave their back up. If things break down, Delonte's agent has said that he will play for the qualifying offer of $2.7 million and become an unrestricted free agent after the 2008-09 season. A league source reports that Boston and Miami have both approached the Cavs with sign-and-trade offers for Delonte but were turned down by the Cavs. I would love to have Delonte back with the Celtics and if he is an unrestricted free agent next season, they may be able to bring him back.
According to a league source, the Cavs have talked to Philadelphia 76ers guard Louis Williams, another restricted free agent. Williams reportedly turned down a $3.9 million contract with the Sixers.
When Sasha Vujacic signed his contract with LA, he insisted that the Lakers keep a haircut clause out of the contract. After being blackmailed with a threat to jump to Eupope, the Lakers gave in with a 3 year 15 million dollar contract without a haircut clause. On his part, Vujacic wants to be the best shooter in the NBA next season. In that case, he will have to cut back on his whining about everything in order to be able to shoot more.
The Nuggets roster is shaping up. With the trade for Renaldo Balkman, they now have 11 players under contract and are expected to keep restricted free agent JR Smith, who has gotten some interest from other teams lately. They will probably fill out their roster with vets who will sign for the league minimum. I can see Balkman blossoming on the Nuggets. He is a great defender and plays with a lot of energy. I have always liked him as a player and think the Knicks may regret giving him away.
The new leadership of the Knicks are clearly distancing itself from the Isiah Thomas regime. Balkman was one of Isiah's first draft picks and they basically gave him to Denver for two players who are expected to be cut and a second round draft pick. The club also is expected to release Stephon Marbury. A Knicks source says that any transaction involving Marbury won't take place until late September or early October.
The Blazers are really hoping that Darius Miles won't sign with a team and Blazers' GM has been doing all he can to dissuade teams from signing him. They have leaked confidential information and now a comment by Pritchard is being scrutinized as being over the line. Pritchard set off alarm bells throughout the league when he was asked if he thought there was a chance that Miles’ injury would be declared “career ending,” and he responded that he was “optimistic” that it would. I am pulling for Miles to catch on with a team even if it is just long enough to hang the Blazers out for his whole 18 million in salary. I may still be a bit bitter about the league not giving the Celtics any cap relief after Reggie Lewis died. It doesn't get any more career ending than that and they really hung the Celtics out.
The 76ers have reached an agreement with free-agent shooting guard Kareem Rush. . Last season, the Sixers were last in the league in three-point shooting and they hope to shore that up with the Rush signing.
Chauncey Billups is hoping to keep the core group of Pistons together in spite of statements by GM Joe Dumars that he was looking to break up the group and shake up the club this off season. both Billups and Tayshaun Prince have been dangled in trade rumors. Recently, Billups spent about 30 minutes sitting in a car with Pistons president Joe Dumars and reports are that the Pistons will give their veteran group another chance to win together this season. The thoughts are that the coaching change from Flip Saunders to a tougher Michael Curry, will make a difference with the group they have now.
The Bobcats have reached an agreement with their franchise center, Emeka Okafor. The two sides have agreed in principle on a six-year contract worth at least $72 million. Negotiations moved slowly between the two camps with teams inquiring about sign and trade offers but the Bobcats made it clear that they weren't interested in any of the sign and trade offers. Okafor could have opted to take the qualifying offer of $7.1 million and become an unrestricted free agent, but they came to an agreement before it came to that.
Yesterday I commented that the Warriors were overpaying for Andris Biedrins, but ESPN reports that the deal is for less than originally reported. The Warriors officially re-signed center Andris Biedrins to a six-year contract Monday worth a guaranteed $54 million and potentially topping $62 million with incentives. Biedrins' deal will pay $9 million annually for each of the next six seasons, with a player option included for Biedrins to return to free agency in the summer of 2013 after the fifth year.