Category:NBA
Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:59 pm
 

Knicks bounce back, 'intrigue' Wade

It was not a great opening 24 hours of free agency for the New York Knicks. The second 24 hours are shaping up to be much better.

Before talks with Amar'e Stoudemire made significant progress , the Knicks met with Dwyane Wade. The Knicks have brought out the big guns again to try and lure Wade, and it appears they made an impact.

ESPN New York reports that Wade came out of the meeting, and in a rare move from one of the vaunted "Big 3," made a statement that wasn't via Twitter. Via ESPN:

"It was a good meeting, a real good meeting," Wade said after the meeting that lasted about two hours and 15 minutes. "I will say I'm intrigued."

Now, that's far from any sort of thing resembling the beginning of a start to approaching a commitment, but it is a public recognition of one of the free-agency suitors as a positive influence. And coming on the heels of a day where LeBron James is said to have been less impressed with the Knicks , this was a pretty big sign for them.

The combination of Wade and Stoudemire would instantly make the Knicks into the contenders this free-agency period was supposed to mold them into. They're a long way from paydirt, but after an opening round that saw them get their bell rung by their neighbors in Jersey/Brooklyn, the reports coming out today were much better for the Knicks.
Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:34 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 4:35 pm
 

Knicks serious about Amar'e

Just like that, the winds of fortune change. Three days ago, Amar'e Stoudemire was expected to remain a Phoenix Sun. The Suns had gotten to the negotiating table early, often and hard. But the Suns wanted to go no further than four years for the explosive power forward, while Stoudemire and his agent were holding strong for five years. Finally, the Suns went to the table one last time Thursday night with a concession.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Suns offered a five year deal, with only the first three years guaranteed , and the last two dependent upon minutes. Stoudemire and his agent said no thanks, and began to pursue other offers.

The Suns? They opted to reach an agreement with Hakim Warrick, effectively ending their ties to Amar'e Stoudemire. An interesting side note: If the Suns do not reach an agreement to sign-and-trade Stoudemire (say, to the Rockets) in the next six days, in order to sign Warrick they'll have to renounce the rights to Stoudemire, meaning they'll be unable to facilitate said sign-and-trade of significant assets (info courtesy of Coro ).

So with Amar'e having left the Valley, who should show up?

Donnie Walsh and the PowerPoint toting Knicks. Yahoo! Sports reports that the Knicks are zeroing in on a 5-year maximum contract deal for Stoudemire. The move would be both surprising and a huge coup for Walsh, D'Antoni and company, who need to land a second max free agent in order to convince LeBron James to follow suit.

Signing Amar'e is no guarantee, just ask the Suns. But Stoudemire had his best seasons under Mike D'Antoni. There was a lot of talk that D'Antoni would never want to deal with Stoudemire's attitude again, but that obviously seems off. And somewhere, lurking in the shadows, is the fact that Joe Johnson, another former D'Antoni player, has not signed his max contract from the Atlanta Hawks yet, despite two sources confirming to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger that the contract is fully guaranteed.

All of a sudden, the Knicks could be right back in the thick of this. We'll keep you updated on if Stoudemire becomes a "done deal" in advance of the July 8th signing day.

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 2, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Broadway for LeBron: Yeah, this should work.

Sure, the Knicks' presentation might not have made the impact it possibly could have. And sure the Knicks are now trying to throw money at Amar'e Stoudemire to get him into the fold as a lure for James. But don't think that New York is short on ways to impress James!

No, because really, if you're a 25 year old megamillionaire, what you're really looking for is Broadway musicals!

Broadway musical "Promises, Promises " releaed a video asking for James to come to the Big Apple. And I can tell you, these gals are swell. This is sure to bring LeBron! (Note: This is not sure to bring LeBron.)




via Ball Don't Lie
Posted on: July 2, 2010 12:04 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 12:07 pm
 

Suns agree to terms with Warrick, Amar'e gone?

Amar'e Stoudemire may have dunked his last alley-oop in the Valley of the Suns .

Yahoo! Sports reports that the Suns have agreed to a four year, $18 million deal with free agent power forward Hakim Warrick. That pretty much spells the end of Amar'e in Phoenix. Especially considering the report also states that the Suns finally offered Amar'e a five-year contract, the hold-up in the efforts to re-sign him, but that the deal was dependent upon minutes played and the last two seasons were non-guaranteed. That's a pretty far gap from where Stoudemire wants to be, with a five-year, guaranteed, big money contract.

The signing of Warrick indicates that the Suns felt they had to move on after the latest talks stalled, and in this kind of market, there's no way applying pressure to Stoudemire is going to work. He's got major money, five-year offers waiting from multiple teams, and can likely negotiate with the Rockets on a sign and trade deal the Suns will agree to. He's heavily rumored to be leaning towards New York and a reunion with Mike D'Antoni.

As far as Warrick himself, he brings low production and high athleticism to the team at a valued price. It's hard to think that $18 was really a good price for him, but it does make a clear statement that the Suns are moving on. Warrick in the run and gun system with Nash is an intriguing prospect, considering that per 36 minutes last season he averaged close to 17 and 9. Warrick turns 28 in a few days, and has never really gotten significant minutes. Apparently the Suns saw enough in him to devote some payroll to him in order to avoid being put in a jam by Stoudemire's wandering eye.

A very different era in Suns basketball looks ready to begin, but nothing is anywhere near final yet.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 2, 2010 11:50 am
 

Free-agency layup line: Dinner reservations

All of the little free-agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Yahoo Sports! reports that the Rockets are aiming for a sign and trade package featuring Luis Scola (also a free agent), Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza. General Manager Daryl Morey is still trying to swoop in and snatch up a max free agent power forward, either Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudemire. If the Suns continue to be unwilling to provide that fifth year, then Morey is going to offer one of the more impressive packages for the Suns, with reasonable contracts and high end talent.

The Celtics have reached out to David Lee, according to the Boston Globe. A curious move considering the Celtics' cap space. With Paul Pierce considering a 4 year, $61 million offer and Ray Allen sure to attract his own substantial digits, you have to wonder where the Celtics are going to find room for Lee, who is arguably the third best power forward available (depending on how you feel about Carlos "I enjoy the feeling of being blocked" Boozer). That's a lot of dough the Celtics would have to provide, and figuring out how Lee and Kevin Garnett would occupy the same space on the floor would be a bit tricky too.

Hoopsworld reports that Real Madrid in Spain has inked Sergio Rodriguez. Have I mentioned the Knicks are going to need a point guard? Because they're going to need a point guard.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 2, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 10:25 am
 

Free-agency day 1 winners and losers

So we're a day in. Who were the winners and losers from the first day of free agency?

Winners:


New Jersey Nets:
The Nets made an impression with the first meeting of LeBron James' free agency tour and came away feeling good about things. They also may have inadvertently benefited from the Knicks' proposal , which too obviously ignored them.

Toronto Raptors:
The Raptors made a signing that was defense-focused , signing  young Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million dollar deal. Some will question whether his production warrants such a deal, but look at his per-minute numbers (outside of fouls), and his age, consider the deal Andrew Bynum was rewarded with, and realize that Johnson is only 23. Good move for the Raps who are in for a rocky year.

Los Angeles Lakers: Any time you can bring back a guy who has 13 rings and is the only one to make your team's offensive system work, and the only person Kobe Bryant has won titles with, that's a good day, even if you didn't sign a soul.


Losers:


Memphis Grizzlies: There were a lot of complications that led to Rudy Gay being inked to a near-max contract at 5 years, $82 million despite having never been an All-Star. The Grizzlies couldn't lose Gay. They would have been stranded without a small-forward. The fanbase already considers ownership cheap. And Gay is the best player under 26 on the team. They also couldn't really wait to see what offer sheets Gay came upon or signed. If a team offered a max contract, front-loaded, it would have hurt them financially, and may have forced them into a less flexible position, particularly if teams had waited till later in the summer to formally extend the offer sheet in an effort to squeeze the Grizz. But that doesn't change the facts of the deal, nor does it change that they could have avoided this mess by getting an agreement done a year ago, and likely at a lower price when demand wasn't so high as it is now. The Grizzlies gave a near-max to a player who has been inconsistent, is young, but not super-young, and has never been an All-Star. By hook or by crook, the Grizzlies wound up losers today.

Atlanta Hawks: First they made everyone think they were insane by offering Joe Johnson the absolute max, right off the bat. Then things got worse as Johnson still hasn't agreed to the deal, and has taken a secondary meeting with his agent from which no resolution has been made.


New York Knicks:
They have the money. They have the brand. They have the PowerPoint . And yet they still seem to be on the outside looking in at the top free agents while Chicago, Miami, and even the Nets gain traction. Now, they're getting the ear and are still firmly in on this thing, but the prevailing wisdom doesn't speak to them having had a rousingly successful day. And when the stakes are this high, not winning is losing. There are no draws.

-Matt Moore



Posted on: July 2, 2010 1:58 am
 

Free-agency layup line: Handshake deals aplenty

All of the little free-agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Lot of little things going on.

As Ken Berger reported earlier , the Raptors came to an agreement with Amir Johnson for five years at $34 million. Johnson's super-young, super-athletic, and a defensive stalwart. He can't hit the broad side of a barn with a 12-guage, but it's not like offense is what the Raptors need to improve on. Considering the other moves made today, you have to wonder if Johnson's deal wasn't one of the shrewdest.

CSN New England is reporting that the Celtics are taking a good long look at free-agent Brendan Haywood as a replacement for Kendrick Perkins, who is out till December after knee surgery. After Doc Rivers came back to the fold, the Celtics turned their attention to upgrading their roster. Turning to Haywood is an interesting idea. Haywood is an older veteran, but still younger than most of the Celtics at 30, and fits their profile at what is probably a reasonable price. Of course, the Celts' biggest priority is getting Paul Pierce re-signed, as KB informed you they've begun work on

The Nets are feeling pretty good about themselves after this morning's presentation to LeBron James. The sticking point? James will want help, and right now all of the other max guys have different ideas. Wade clearly wants to stay in Miami, Amar'e likes that idea as well, and who knows what Chris Bosh is thinking.

Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Suns are considering Hakim Warrick, which makes about as much sense as any signing you'll hear about. Warrick is a veteran with length and athleticism, with some years left in front of him. He doesn't play defense but can dunk pretty well. Sounds like just about your average Phoenix Sun, no?

Be sure to check back every thirty seconds, because that's about how long it takes for the pendulum to swing back and forth from "Dirk Nowitzki is totally looking at New York!" to "Dirk Nowitzki is going nowhere ."

ESPN's Chad Ford reports teams are still looking to try and nab Chris Paul. But the interesting aspect of this is that no one is talking about the Hornets' side. After trading Mo Peterson's rottting corpse last week to OKC, the Hornets areout of the tax. The biggest reason to trade CP3 is gone, and they have not said they'e considering trading Paul. Your crazy Chris Paul rumor of the moment? The Knicks may take a swing if they strike out on LeBron or one of the other max free agents. Good luck with that.

Rusty Simmons of the San Franciso Chronicle reports that the Warriors are in the market for a small forward after dealing Corey Maggette to the Bucks. Apparently Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier are on the lists. Shane Battier on the Warriors is not only weird, but would be a tragedy to see his defensive prowess on the ole' Dubs.






Posted on: July 2, 2010 1:06 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 1:29 am
 

Inside the Knicks' presentation to LeBron

Getty Images Forbes Magazine hits us with a pretty stunning scoop : the PowerPoint presentation the Knicks gave LeBron James Thursday morning, provided by a New York marketing firm, Interbrand.

The cliff notes? LeBron can make a billion dollars in New York, for sure. He might be able to in Chicago. He can't in Cleveland or Miami. So naturally, he should come to New York! He has the highest potential earnings through the entirety of the contract by nearly $300 million more than the runner-up, Cleveland. The core of the message is this: It's not just about a bigger market. It's about New York's market specifically, and that's where the money is .

Okay, that's the short story. Here's the full monty. We're going to walk you through the slides step by step to point out some relevant factors. I'd definitely take a long read through that Forbes article and the accompanying PowerPoint:

Slide 1: Don't know if that picture of LeBron is the best you could have used. He doesn't look majestic; he looks like he's scared of some monster chasing him from behind. But a smart move pulling a picture of him from Team USA. No brand attachment to Cleveland and it prompts the memories of how Kobe Bryant was a bigger deal in China in 2008 because of the championships.

Slide 2: Some backside kissing of James and the work he's put in, and then the exposition of the study's intent. This is our first big revelation of the study. Interbrand examined four teams for the study, based on estimated market impact: the Knicks, the Bulls, the Heat, and the Cavs. Notice who's missing there? The Nets. There is no mention of the Nets throughout the entire presentation, despite the very frontal attack the Nets have laid on the Knicks as the key to the New York market. With all of the extraneous business opportunities the Nets are offering James through their move to Brooklyn in 2012, this could be a huge mistake. James and company had just gotten through listening to the Nets pitch when the Knicks came in and completely ignored the team that had been in the building twenty seconds before, and whose minority owner is a close friend and mentor to LeBron. Comparing New York to the other markets is a great idea. Ignoring an attempt to differentiate between the Knicks and Nets was a mistake that easily could have been rectified.

Slide 3: Provides a background to Interbrand and what they were attempting to focus on with this study. "Lifetime earnings" is a key factor. This entire study is built upon the concept that James' next stop is his last.

Slide 4: Methodology of what Interbrand looked at and how they modeled it. It's a conceptually strong slide, even if it doesn't actually provide examples of how it quantifies factors (like the post-retirement economic models of players like Wilt Chamberlain and Reggie Miller, especially when outside of Michael Jordan, those players considered really can't be compared to LeBron's theoretical revenue stream). Then again, I sincerely doubt James is going to be looking for them to provide their formulas and double checking with his own advanced statistics team.

Slide 5: A nifty graphic that illustrates the data movement that helps Interbrand quantify brand strength. Interesting stuff. If you're a marketing executive in New York with an emphasis on sports. Literally dozens of people are captivated.

Slide 6: A look at revenue streams analyzed for the presentation. Interestingly, it starts with International "partnerships' which are differentiated from sponsorships. Only local endorsements are considered. Which is particularly odd since it doesn't at all go after the "in the Internet age, anyone can build an empire from anywhere" argument. The entire presentation is built on busting that concept, and the study deftly avoids it. It's hard to say if that's a strength or weakness of the presentation.

Slide 7: Interbrand's assumptions for the study: A. James will play till he's 38 (unlikely, and given the exponential year over year balance is a significant factor, kind of an important one, B. James is finishing his career with the next team he signs with (yes, because the one thing in the NBA is that things always work out as both teams think they will when they sign) and C. the model is built on the current CBA model. This makes sense given the impossibility of predicting the next CBA and that NBA salary represents such a small amount of impact on the results of the study.

Slide 8: Four factors considered in the analysis. The key take away here are on the final two points. Championships are most important, but winning a championship matters more in certain markets than others. And secondly, and this is an odd one, the longer a franchise goes without a championship, the greater the impact on the player that gets them there. This fails to consider the historic impact of previous championships. It also seems like a pretty custom tailored argument for New York (more so than the rest of the presentation). "Sure, we haven't been relevant in thirty years, but that's a good thing!"

Slide 9: A numbers breakdown. Clearly, New York outperforms the others. An interesting note, among interesting notes, is how high Cleveland ranks on these measures, despite market size, which is a key element of the rest of the study. Also, the franchise impact of the Knicks is over four times as great as Chicago . This despite Chicago having had the greatest player of all time inside of 15 years, having a massively popular merchandising brand, and operating in a major market. That the Knicks are more powerful is no shock. That they are that much more powerful is kind of stunning for a team best known in recent history for Jeff Van Gundy holding a guy's leg and John Starks getting worked by Reggie Miller.

Slide 10-13: Team by team breakdowns of the four factors and relevant takeaways. Cleveland is relevant based on the "hometown hero" concept. The study clearly is aimed not at trashing Cleveland (and offending LeBron), but taking out the rest of the competitors and looking better than Cleveland overall. Chicago and Miami bear the brunt, as Chicago is considered too volatile thanks to Jordan's shadow, and Miami is basically tossed aside as irrelevant.

Slide 14: Conclusion: "Knicks rule!" Basically, if James wins a championship and he's in New York, that's the optimum situation for him to make the most money and expand his brand the most. It's not a particularly stirring conclusion considering the Knicks both requisitioned and presented the study, but it doesn't exactly come off as the most in-depth, objective analysis. Then again, when Mike D'Antoni's also telling you he can help you average a triple double, it probably sounds pretty good.

Slide 15: No, thank you , Interbrand.

All in all, the Knicks did a good job of finding data that attacked its competitors while not coming off as tyrannical or arrogant. It simplifies the argument while providing evidence to support the common sense argument. "New York is better." The Knicks needed to prove to James that concept was sound while pitching him on the basketball side with D'Antoni. It's a fascinating insight into how this free-agency period is being played by the teams who are brokering with this monstrous class of players.

-Matt Moore




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com