Weekly countdown: Draft edition
The busiest week of the NBA offseason, at least until free agency kicks off next month, yielded plenty of items to dissect.
Two other league sources told me that minority owner
But the senior-level source named Viola, the senior startegic advisor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, as one of four potential suitors, while adding that Ratner may remain involved with the Nets and could even retain majority status. "It's all up to negotiation," said the source, emphasizing that all the interest is based on the promise of the Nets' long-anticipated move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
The most intriguing group of potential new investors is headed by the Russian oligarch
Another potential investment group is headed by hedge-fund managers, while the fourth is drawn from the private equity field.
The potential sale of the Nets helps to explain the big move they made on draft day. They unloaded
The Nets have long been rumored to be on the market. If a team is to be sold, then this often is how it's done: Remove as much furniture as possible so the new owner can remodel the place to his liking.
The cost-cutting played a role in the draft. Instead of going for forwards
In doing so, the Thunder further committed themselves to
Rubio didn't want to go to Minnesota, but the Timberwolves appear intent on keeping him. They could use him to brand the team to his exciting uptempo style in hopes of returning fans to their arena, and he could form a strong inside-outside partnership with low-post big man
Flynn is a scoring point and Rubio is a passer who promises to improve his jump shot. What an idea: Build a team with guys who like to pass the ball.
On Thursday morning I called his agent,
A short time later Jennings appeared on stage with
Though he went undrafted in the first round, his landing site could not have worked out better for Blair. He'll join the Spurs and help them as a rookie while playing limited minutes, which should set him up for a contract in three years.
Many executives in the league didn't like seeing Blair fall this far, but there was little they could do to stop it. Most team doctors red-flagged him, which prevented the GMs from taking Blair in the first round.
"This is the worst I've ever seen as far as doctors unwilling to put their butts on the line," said a senior executive of an Eastern conference team. "If there's any kind of gray area, they're going to flunk the player."
Because of the sophisticated testing of MRIs and other high-tech devices, team doctors "know things they never used to know," the executive went on. "They never used to flunk players, and now they flunk them all the time. And a lot of the time it's to cover their [butts]."
In the next section I'll also deal with Washington's trade with Minnesota ...
The Suns would also receive
I have recently criticized the Warriors for perpetually rebuilding for a future that never comes, but I won't be saying that any longer if they have Stoudemire. He will thrive in
For next season, it'll have a post presence who -- in combination with
Because Shaq's contract is expiring, the Cavs can retain maximum cap space in 2010 to recruit a star free agent alongside LeBron (provided he decides to re-sign). That means they'll be positioned to win this season with him, and then over the next several years without him. It could be the best of both worlds -- pending LeBron's decision, of course.
Carter is a go-to scorer, but he isn't a selfish player. In fact, he is a gifted passer, and coach
This trade is one example of an interesting new dynamic in the league. The deal was dreamed up by Hawks' director of pro personnel,
It only makes sense to invest in learning the behind-the-scenes facts of players currently in the NBA. Based on Rosenberry's recommendation, the Hawks now have one of the best clutch shooters in the league to pair with their All-Star in Johnson.
I don't know if they'll surpass those other contenders, but the Wizards will surely be respected by the top teams in the East. Three minutes after I broke news of that trade, a GM from one of the East's top teams called to ask if I had the details right. He didn't like seeing Washington add so much firepower.
Thomas, count me among the minority who think this could and would work. Jackson likes to see his players work things out among themselves, though this would be taking that aim to an unprecedented extreme.
Jackson would be placing more leadership demands on
In my book,
But the fairest way to measure players is to divide the NBA thus far into three generations, with Mikan as the greatest of his era, then Russell as the player who defined what the NBA should be, followed by Jordan as the dominant player of modern times.
After so many major trades this week, here's an early look at how the conference races are shaping up for next season.
15. New Jersey
A word of caution: The Pistons and Raptors could make moves in July to improve and move back into the playoffs.
Can Denver retain or replace its low-priced free agents? When will