As bad as I feel for Clipper fans after the departure of Elton Brand it really was good news for the Nuggets. Brand signing with
How does that affect the Nuggets? Had Philly not acquired Brand or Josh Smith they probably would have gone after Maggette. That would have left a hole for
The Nuggets now have all the leverage with Smith and as long as they offer him something starting slightly north of the midlevel exception (MLE), which has been set at $5.585 million, they should be able to lock him up. The question then becomes how many years should they give him. I am very high on J.R. and believe he can become a tremendous player, perhaps even an all-star, but he has still yet to prove he can play at a high level for more than a couple of months. He also has much to learn as far as how to play defense and when to launch a 30 footer and when not to.
He did show signs of maturing last season, but will a long guaranteed deal remove any incentive for him to continue to grow?
Ideally I would like to see him sign a three year deal for $18 million. However, I am sure some team out there would be willing to throw their entire MLE at him. That would mean a five year deal totaling roughly $32.4 million (with a starting salary of $5.585 million and 8% annual raises). I doubt that Smith will accept a three year contract when he can certainly get a five year deal by signing a full MLE offer sheet.
Ultimately matching a MLE offer sheet may be the best and most realistic route to keep J.R. Financially, it would be a pretty good deal for
The more I write about J.R. the more surprised I am no one has signed him to an offer sheet yet.
The one thing
At some point over the next couple of months I am pretty confident that J.R. will be signed by the Nuggets to a long term contact that will be a good deal for both parties.
Nuggets no longer such a luxury
More good news for the Nuggets is the luxury tax level has been set at $71.15 million, which is $3.285 million higher than last season. That means if the Nuggets maintain their payroll at the same level as last season, they have already saved $3.285 million in luxury tax payments due to the higher tax limit. Not too shabby.
Other items from around the NBA
When the NBA implemented their age restrictions one of the first thoughts many of us had was, why wouldn’t the top high school players just go overseas and earn some serious cash for a season instead of going to college, attending classes and being financially despondent for a year?
It took a couple of years, but we finally have a
Brandon Jennings, a point guard from
If he plays, and plays well, his already high draft stock will undoubtedly skyrocket. On the other hand, if he sits and watches, he may end up torpedoing his draft stock.
It will be a very interesting situation to monitor what happens. Whether he succeeds or fails, look for him to be the Kevin Garnett of this movement. I expect you will see more and more following him. Some will be great (Kobe Bryant) and some will fall on their face (Leon Smith), but all of them will be fascinating to keep track of.
Surprise, surprise, apparently the Kings are looking to deal Ron Artest and apparently the Lakers have offered Lamar Odom.
Ridiculous Upside provides some great summer league analysis on the top free agents playing in
I guess I should share some of my own thoughts on the summer league. As impressive as Michael Beasley was in his first game he was equally unimpressive in his second game. The difference was the Nets really focused their defense on him while the Bulls simply expected Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah to stop him. Beasley tore up one on one coverage, but really struggled when the Nets crowded him man to man to take away his outside shot and brought help defenders over to cut off his driving lanes. The Nets basically covered Beasley like the Celtics covered
Derrick Rose has been unimpressive and I still believe he has been slightly overrated. He has definitely displayed his quickness and strength, but I am convinced his floor vision is highly overrated at this point.
Mario Chalmers completely outplayed Rose in their first matchup. Chalmers was a terror on defense and although he does not have elite floor vision either, he can run an offense. It is amazing how effective Chalmers is at deflecting passes and poking the ball away from the dribbler. His outside shot is not falling and it may take a while for him to adjust to the NBA three point line, but I am as sold as ever on him as a solid point guard who would have been a great fit in
Courtney Lee was very good for
The games are shown via webcast here every day and the announcers, Dante and Galante, are nice and weird. They have been called the basketball version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 by one emailer. As long as you can avoid being fired, I recommend you check it out.
The Bucks are close to finalizing a five year extension worth as much as $72.5 million with Andre Bogut. I hope Bogut celebrates by going to Outback Steakhouse and chowing down some Aussie Chops.