Cleveland Cavaliers Extend Their Asset

Heading into the 2015 NBA Draft, many thought Cleveland Cavalier center Brendan Haywood would be dealt. Haywood, a veteran with 13 years of experience signed a 6 year $55 million deal in 2010 with the Dallas Mavericks. However, the deal was not fully guaranteed. Haywood is set to make $10.5 million dollars this year but if waived by August 1st, the Cavaliers owe him nothing. But rather than just cut him, it’s in the Cavs best interest to move him and bring back another player who can contribute, making roughly $10.5 million a year all the while clearing cap space for a trade partner. The Cavs tried and ultimately extended their deadline.

Brendan Haywood is expected to be waived by Portland

Brendan Haywood is expected to be waived by Portland

The Cavs traded Haywood, forward Mike Miller, and two 2nd round draft picks to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for well nothing. The Cavaliers will however receive a $10.5 million and $2.85 million trade exception. These are the figures that Haywood and Miller had been set to make this year. The exceptions last one year. The move allows the Cavs extra time, seemingly until the upcoming seasons trade deadline to use the $10.5 million exception. By that time, Cleveland will hope to pounce on a player from a team that has since fallen out of the playoff race and is looking to clean house.

The moving of Mike Miller comes as a bit of a surprise. Miller has essentially followed LeBron James over the course of the last 4 or 5 years. However, by dealing Miller in addition to Haywood, the Cavaliers lower their tax bill. Cleveland also recently moved 2015 2nd round pick Rakeem Christmas in order to avoid paying him and a steeper luxury tax bill. Cleveland still has to handle deals with Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, and possibly JR Smith.

NBA Draft: 2nd Round Gems

The NBA Draft is very different from the NFL Draft in the sense that the NFL’s is 7 rounds and the NBA’s is 2. In the NBA, you don’t find as many gems in the draft, 1st or 2nd round. Often times people think what they want of a 1st round pick in the NBA, but reality is the 25th pick in the 1st round is really just the 25th best player among 60 that are picked. A late first round pick is similar to that of a 4th round pick in the NFL Draft. However, sometimes NBA teams who do their research come away with a great player in the 2nd round, which is hard to do. Let’s take a look at some of the better 2nd round picks in recent memory.

Monta Ellis – 40th Pick, 2005

Monta Ellis comes from a time where high school players could go straight to the NBA. Ellis was certainly talented in high school but teams were unsure how it would translate to the NBA. He definitely came in with a couple of problems right off the bat. He was a scorer in high school but at 6’3 185 pounds, he didn’t fit the physical mold of an NBA shooting guard. He’s now a great combo guard for the Dallas Mavericks and holds career averages of 19.3 points, 4.1 assists, and 1.9 assists per game.

Marc Gasol – 48th Pick, 2007

Will Selva - Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol was drafted 48th overall but he may have fell just because he was not ready to come to the NBA due to his contract with Akasvayu Girona in Spain. Gasol was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers and actually traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for his brother Pau Gasol. Gasol has since been an All-Star center for the Grizzlies averaging 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game.

Manu Ginobili – 57th Pick, 1999

Overseas, Ginobili won 2 Italian League MVPs as well as the Euroleague Finals MVP so he came to the NBA having accomplished a lot already. When Ginobili came to the NBA in 2002, it didn’t take long for him to carve himself out a role with the San Antonio Spurs. It’s usually hard for a 57th pick to make a roster let alone contribute on a great team. Ginobili has won 4 titles with the Spurs and has been one of the leagues premier 6th men.

Nets Thaddeus Young to Opt Out

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Thaddeus Young from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the 2015 NBA trade deadline for Kevin Garnett. The move seemed to be a win-win for both teams but more so a steal for the Nets. The Timberwolves, who were out of contention received Garnett, a future Hall of Famer, a former Timberwolve, and great asset to sell tickets. The Nets received a younger more talented combo forward in Young. Young came to the Nets with a year left on his deal valued at $10.2 million. However, that year was a player option and Young has decided to opt out.

Will Selva - Thad Young

Thaddeus Young will become a free agent.

The decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Young played well for the Nets down the stretch. He played in 28 games (20 starts) averaging 13.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals and assists. He showed improved range knocking down 38% of his 3 point attempts, a career high. Young played both the 3 and the 4 for the Nets and figures to be a great 4 when teams play small ball.

Young is ultimately looking to cash in on a long-term deal. The Nets hold his Bird Rights meaning they can offer him more than any other team. At age 27, Young should be able to get himself a deal in the neighborhood of 4-5 years. That would bring him to age 32 where he’ll most likely have 1 or 2 more NBA contracts left in him. The Nets will try not to overpay to keep Young but if the past is any indication, the Nets will ultimately look to break the piggy bank yet again. Bringing back talent the Nets have is one of few moves they can make in order to stay competitive. While over the salary cap by a wide margin, Bird Rights will be the Nets best friend moving forward. Bird Rights allow the Nets to continuously break the cap in order to bring back players they previously had under contract.

Thunder Fire Brooks

Will Selva - Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks was fired Wednesday

The Oklahoma City Thunder finished the 2014-2015 season 45-37. Not bad considering Kevin Durant playing in just 27 games this year, Russell Westbrook missed 15 games and Serge Ibaka missed the final 18 games, a crucial point in their playoff push. Unfortunately, in the ultra competitive Western Conference, 45-37 was only good for 9th place. The Thunder actually tied with the 8th place New Orleans Pelicans but lost the head to head tie breaker. With that playoff miss, the Oklahoma City Thunder have fired head coach Scott Brooks after 7 seasons. Had the Thunder played in the Eastern Conference, Brooks would have had the Thunder sitting as the 6th seed in the playoffs.

Brooks had a lot of success during his time with the Thunder. His winning percentage of .620 is the highest in NBA history among NBA coaches that have never won a title. Although he has never won a title, he does have a winning record of 39-34 in the playoffs which shows that he has advanced in the post season before.

The first options the Thunder will look at to replace Brooks are from the college ranks. Florida head coach Billy Donovan and University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie are at the top of General Manager Sam Presti’s wish list. In his young collegiate coaching career, Ollie replaced the legendary Jim Calhoun and brought UCONN a national championship. Ollie finished his NBA career as a teammate of Kevin Durant’s in OKC and is said to be a good friend of Durant’s. It could be a ploy to keep Durant in Oklahoma City when Durant hits free agency in 2016. Billy Donovan too has won multiple national championships at the collegiate level and has close ties to GM Sam Presti.

As for Brooks, he has certainly shown he can win at this level and should not be on the market for too long. Two jobs that are open and intriguing are the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic jobs. The Nuggets have some talent on their roster but lost faith in first time head coach Brian Shaw who was ultimately fired down the stretch of the NBA season. Orlando has a lot of young talent in Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic that make Orlando attractive for a coach. They also have Tobias Harris but he’ll be a free agent this summer and could walk. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

Steve Nash Calls It A Career

Steve Nash, one of the greatest point guards to play the game has finally called it a career after 19 seasons in the NBA. No matter how hard he trained in order to get healthy again, it just was not happening for 41 year old Steve Nash. It was actually this time of year some 20 years ago when Nash led #10 seeded Santa Clara to victory over #7 Maryland in the NCAA Tournament which began giving Nash the recognition he deserved despite playing at a school not typically known for basketball.

Will Selva - Steve Nash

Steve Nash

Nash was drafted 15th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. After 2 seasons, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he began to make a name for himself. The nucleus of Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Michael Finley allowed the Mavericks to compete in the Western Conference.

While Nash proved he can play in the NBA with Dallas after coming from a small basketball school, he left via free agency to join the Phoenix Suns where he went on to win two MVP awards. Nash really took his play to another level in Phoenix where he was a double-double machine in points and assists. As Nash got older, the Suns as a franchise were not as competitive and Nash was still own the prowl for a NBA Championship. Nash was signed and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in April of 2012.

However, in his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Nash has not been able to stay healthy. Hampered by nerve injuries, Nash has played a total of 65 games in his 3 years with the Lakers. The team has faltered having not posted a winning season in each of those 3 seasons. At age 41, with the state of his health, and the franchise, it seems the Lakers are not close to winning a title and that it’s time to call it a career.

Nash figures to be a Hall of Famer. Over the course of his 19 year career, he has recorded career averages of 14.3 points and 8.5 assists all the while shooting 90% from the free throw line, 43% from three point range, and 49% from the field. Although he never won a championship, he will certainly go down as one of the best point guards to ever play the game.

Recapping the NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA trade deadline came and went yesterday and boy were teams active. Over half the league (17 teams) were involved in a deadline deal. The NBA saw approximately 37 current players swap teams while many draft picks and rights to players overseas were moved as well. Lets take a look at some of the biggest moves that happened yesterday.

Detroit Pistons Acquires: PG Reggie Jackson

Oklahoma City Thunder Acquires: C Enes Kanter, F Steve Novak, PG DJ Augustin, SF Kyle Singler

Utah Jazz Acquires: C Kendrick Perkins, F Grant Jerrett, rights to Tibor Pleiss, Draft Picks

Jackson, Dragic, Garnett, and Afflalo all were moved

Jackson, Dragic, Garnett, and Afflalo all were moved

The Thunder walk away with a deep bench after this trade. After already acquiring Dion Waiters earlier this year, Reggie Jackson became expendable and Perkins was declining in production. Add in younger more talent in Kanter, Novak, Augustin (who played with Durant at Texas) and Singler and the Thunder now have a much deeper rotation.

Brooklyn Nets Acquire: F Thaddeus Young

Minnesota Timberwolves Acquire: F Kevin Garnett

The Nets get a younger (26 years old) forward in Young who can play both the 3 and the 4. He also is under contract after this year. For the Wolves, they bring home their once franchise player.

Miami Heat Acquires: PG Goran Dragic and SG Zoran Dragic

New Orleans Pelicans Acquires: PG Norris Cole. C Justin Hamilton, F Shawne Williams

Phoenix Suns Acquires: F Danny Granger, F John Salmons, two 1st round picks

The Heat get their guy in Dragic to sign long term in FA. Everyone else involved was involved just to make salary numbers work.

Phoenix Suns Acquires: PG Brandon Knight and PG Kendall Marshall

Milwaukee Bucks Acquires: PG Michael Carter-Williams, PG Tyler Ennis, and C Miles Plumlee

Philadelphia 76ers Acquires: Draft picks

The 76ers continue to compile draft picks as they’re in rebuild mode. This trade ultimately comes down to a shake up in point guards between the Suns and Bucks. Knight has played off the ball before and maybe that’s what the Suns are looking for.

Boston Celtics Acquires: PG Isaiah Thomas, F Jonas Jerebko, and F Gigi Datome

Phoenix Suns Acquires: SG Marcus Thornton and a 2016 1st round pick

Detroit Pistons Acquire: SF Tayshuan Prince

Isaiah Thomas just signed with the Suns in the offseason but he’ll be suiting up for Boston as of now for the duration of his contract. The Suns gain a 1st round pick and expiring contract in Thornton and the Pistons bring home a fan favorite in Prince.

For more on the trades that went down, check this graphic out here.