It's the dog days of summer for Celtics fans. Too early to think about training camp and nothing is going on with the team. There were no new basketball articles in the Globe and the Herald just had one about Deng's new contract and Artest's trade. I still think Danny has something up his sleeve. We get little tidbits like Boston offered a sign and trade for Delonte but nothing definite. Makes you wonder who Danny was including in the trade from the Celtics. Personally I think the Cavs need a glue guy like Scal. It seems like a long time till training camp. The schedule is due out next week and that may give us something to talk about for awhile. There will be the Olympics and speaking of the Olympics, the Celtics 2nd round draft pick didn't look too bad on the Turkish national team against team USA. We can look forward to seeing him with the Celtics in a year or two. Another observation: D Wade is one of those players who just doesn't look right bald.
NBA front-office sources are reporting that the Lakers were very disappointed not to land Artest. But, L.A. was reluctant to part with Lamar Odom and were even more reluctant to take Kenny Thomas along with Artest. Sacramento ultimately relented on its insistence that any team acquiring Artest take Kenny Thomas, as well, dropping that condition and agreeing to Houston's offer because the Kings are essentially coming away with two first-round picks for Artest.
Artest for his part is thrilled to be rejoining Rick Adelman who was his coach when he first arriced in Sacramento. Yao is a bit concerned about the Rockets' new acquisition and had this to say about it:
"We worry about the new attitude to the team. We are adding talent to the team and we need that, but building team chemistry is important. This is not bad. I don't mean he is not welcome to Houston. But a new player always needs some time. "Also, he was the biggest part of a team in Sacramento. He was a star player. We need more chemistry and more communication." "There's worry. Obviously, yes," said Yao. "We will think about it, of course. Hopefully, he's not fighting anymore and going after a guy in the stands.
I'd say that Yao has good reason to be concerned. Artest has caused problems everywhere he has gone, both on and off the court. He has been charged with domestic abuse and animal cruelty. He has charged into the stands and attacked a fan. He has decided to take time off from playing to promote his rap CD. And, he has caused chemistry problems in both Indiana and Sacramento. However, he did seem to behave when he was playing for Rick Adelman so maybe Yao can relax a little, hopeful of his coach's ability to control the loose cannon that is Ron Artest.
The Bulls finalized a six-year, $71 million contract with Luol Deng on Wednesday and the new deal includes incentives that could increase the total value to $80 million. With new contract in hand, Deng is scheduled to leave for the European Championships, where he will play for the British team.
The Bulls remain far apart in negotiations with Ben Gordon. Gordon's agent has told the Bulls that Gordon should be the highest-paid player on the team because he has led the team in scoring each of the last three seasons. Deng got the big contract in spite of his declining from 18.8 points per game to 17 in an injury plagued season last year. The Bulls aren't expected to guarantee up to $80 million over a maximum six years for Gordon, so if negotiations continue to stall, the sides might pursue a sign-and-trade deal. Gordon would have to approve such a move. Gordon also has strongly considered signing the team's qualifying offer of $6.4 million for next season, after which he would be an unrestricted free agent.
Along with signing Deng and negotiating with Gordon, the Bulls have been busy pursuing trades as well. They were very interested in trying to acquire Nenad Krstic before he decided to go to Europe. They have also had discussions with Sacramento about center Brad Miller according to a league source. Reportedly, the Bulls are offering Nocioni as trade bait. The Bulls also had some interest from teams wanting guard Larry Hughes, as long as they're willing to take a big contract back in return. Since the Bulls need to thin out their backcourt rumors are that the possibilities include Joe Przybilla, Jared Jeffries, Erick Dampier or Kenyon Martin.
The Denver Nuggets announced on Wednesday that they have signed Dahntay Jones to a contract. Jones was a former first-round pick by the Boston Celtics in 2003. He was sent to the Grizzlies in the trade that brought Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins to the Celtics and he played his first three seasons in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Clippers have been making news by signing players and losing players and now they have waived one. On Wednesday, the Clippers announced that they had waived 6'9" forward Josh Powell. Powell averaged 5.5 PPG, 5.20 RPG and 0.7 APG in 19 mpg last season. The Clippers got a real deal when they signed Ricky Davis for $2.3 million a year. I really like Ricky and hope he can finally shake off all the negativity that has in most cases followed him. The Clippers are also trying to re-sign free agent point guard Shaun Livingston. He is an intriguing prospect. If he can stay healthy he could be something very special.
Former Cavs guard J.R. Bremer is the latest NBA player to jump to Europe. Bremer has signed a two-year, $5 million deal with Moscow Dynamo Triumph. He will join former New Jersey center Nenad Krstic on the Triumph roster. Krstic signed a two-year deal worth $3 million euros (about $9 million U.S., when figuring in taxes).
There have been rumors from the Suns that both Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa are on the trading block. The Cavs have been rumored to be interested in Barbosa but now, an NBA source said the Suns may not be making him available after all. However, the source said that Boris Diaw might be available to be traded. The Suns are still looking for a point guard to back up Steve Nash. They have to keep going back to the 2007 draft and kicking themselves for giving away Rajon Rondo to the Celtics.
The Lakers have confirmed that they have invited Robert “Tractor” Traylor in for a private workout to be conducted Thursday. Traylor has not played in the NBA since the 2004-2005 season, when he averaged 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 74 games with the Cavs. If the workout goes well, Traylor likely would be signed to a non-guaranteed contract and invited to training camp. Traylor was the 6th pick in the 1998 draft and has never come close to fulfilling the expectations for him. He has the distinction of having been picked before both Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce and we all know how both of those players worked out.