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Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Houston Rockets Fans Shouldn't Hate Chandler Parsons

First thing's first: Chandler Parsons wanted to stay a Houston Rocket.

In fact, he genuinely believed he was that third star Houston was looking for to add to their one-two punch in James Harden and Dwight Howard.

So before Rockets fans send their obsolete Parsons jerseys to the homeless in Dallas, they need to remember who helped persuade Howard to come to Houston in the first place; who texted and called Howard daily in order to successfully woo him to the biggest city in Texas.

Because, on the other hand, Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, wanted him in Dallas.

Fegan allegedly has a personal relationship with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and he was selling the dream to his client of the glorious opportunity to play for a proud franchise with a respected champion and superstar in Dirk Nowitzki, who would complement the center beautifully given their contrasting skills.

Then Chandler Evan Parsons entered the conversation.

Weeks before Howard's decision to join the Red Nation, Parsons fired his agent Mark Bartelstein to be represented by, yep, you guessed it: Dan Fegan.

If you've never seen an episode of Entourage, agents only care about one thing: money—getting the maximum dollar for their client trumps everything.

Mastermind Fegan, who will certainly enjoy his percentage from Parsons' new $46 million deal, quite possibly could have made some sort of agreement with the Rockets: If they don't pick up the fourth-year team option on his new client that was worth $960,000 (arguably the best bang-for-your-buck contract in the league), he would help sway his superstar big man to forget about his 'ole buddy Cubes and join the younger, up-and-coming team that Dwight was already leaning towards joining.

So how could Fegan do this, barring black magic or hypnosis? How could genius GM Daryl Morey, known for creating the best deals for his team (see Patrick Beverley) actually let Parsons out of that contract?

Even going as far back as last May, Morey reassured Parsons that he was going to stay in Houston, that he needn't worry about anything regarding his new contract. Morey was so confident, in fact, and talked about it so openly, that it scared off other teams to even offer anything because they knew it was simply going to be matched. (By letting Parsons out of his deal, he became a restricted free agent.)
Daryl told me this process is going to be frustrating and you're going to read a lot of stuff you're not going to like, but at the end of the day, you've worked hard for this and you've earned this. He warned me it could get ugly at times once the media gets involved and that you're gonna see people say you're not worth this or you're not worth that. [Morey] just say me down and said, "Go out and sign the best contract you can. Just know in the back of your head that we're gonna match the contract."
Who knew GMs could flop as badly as Manu Ginobili? Parsons certainly didn't.

After Morey scared away all the other potential bidders, he proceeded to lowball Parsons with deals worth far less than $46 million.

That's when Fegan decided to take control of the situation and create his own contract to shop around for Parsons: a three-year deal, featuring a player option for year two, and a maximum 15 percent trade kicker.

Knowing how greatly Morey cares about cap flexibility, especially as he was pursuing Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, Fegan first took the deal to Cuban to sign in order to force the Rockets to match it.

Morey quickly realized all the terms that came with the offer sheet Parsons signed with Dallas, and saw it similar to the "poison pill" contract he used to steal Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik from the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, respectively. 

And, now, here we are.

As Morey sees it, Parsons contract is, and I quote, "literally one of the most untradeable structures that I've ever seen."

He goes on to say:
That's why it came down to a bet of Harden, Howard and Parsons being the final piece, because we would have had no ability to do anything after that. And Harden, Howard, Parsons could have been good enough. I think Parsons is a tremendous player and is going to keep getting better. ... [But] if we ever wanted to move off and go after the other stars, if we ever wanted to go after a different core, it wasn't going to possible. A small-market team that might want a Chandler, he can opt out and leave [after two years], so they wouldn't want him. A big-market team that's planning for free agency, maybe for the elite free agents coming up in the future, he can opt in.
And boom goes the dynamite.

Dan Fegan created a deal for Parsons that neither small market nor big market teams would trade for, and that's exactly what the Dallas Mavericks wanted.

Because they believe Chandler Parsons is that third star.
For the Rockets sake, let's hope not; Otherwise they will look as foolish as the franchise from which they stole James Harden.

Only time will tell who ends up being the winner of this deal between the Mavericks and the Rockets, but one thing is for sure: Fegan (and Parsons) pinned these two franchises against each other, restored a great rivalry, and, financially, made out like bandits.

You crafty genius, Fegan. You crafty genius.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

NBA Injury Update: Ginobili Should Be Ready for Training Camp

The San Antonio Spurs didn't give Manu Ginobili permission to participate in the FIBA World Cup this summer—and for good reason.

Ginobili turned 37 years old in July and was rumored to be experiencing serious pain throughout the playoffs. According to the San Antonio Express-News, an MRI showed a stress fracture in his lower right fibula. The All-Star shooting guard has had a history of injury issues: According to NBA.com, he missed 14 games last season, 22 in 2012-13 and 48 in 2011-12.

Ginobili has always been adamant that he perform in international play, but Buck Harvey of the Express-News explains how the Spurs have had enough.

"If the Spurs were willing to live with Ginobili's international passion before, they aren't now. Their recent letter outlines their contractual rights under an NBA/FIBA agreement, and this could cause a rift. One within the Spurs franchise joked that Ginobili might ignore them and still play. ... Ginobili went to the Beijing Olympics with an existing ankle injury. Popovich let Ginobili know he didn't want him to play, and Ginobili eventually collapsed in China, and an operation was required."
CBS Sports reported that the injury will have a two-month recovery time, so Manu should be ready by training camp.

Ginobili has played 12 seasons in the NBA, all with San Antonio. He has career averages of 14.7 points per game, 4.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Morning BS - 9/19/14

I talked to Mark Jackson on the phone last night.

Yes, that Mark Jackson.

When I read that he was calling to thank anyone who bought his wife's new single, I had to try.

And it worked.
Granted, I didn't even listen to his wife's new song—I just wanted to get a call from Jackson. Of course, he called from a blocked number, which was smart because I would have certainly saved his number in my phone. And he even told me to delete my tweets to him with my phone number because of "the weirdos out there."

I had a goofy grin on my face the rest of the night. I still can't believe it. 

I talked to Mark Jackson last night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Morning BS - 9/17/14

My day started with a laugh today after reading the Hang Time Blog over at NBA.com

Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors have until October 31 to nail down a contract extension or else Thompson becomes a restricted free agent next summer. His agent, Bill Duffy, has made it clear that his client
would certainly rather have an extension set in stone than hit the market next year.

His All-Star teammate Stephen Curry seems to think Thompson deserves the payday (from Warriors World):

“Every year there is some rumor in play and teams are trying to make a power move. But they’ve made a decision, at least it seems like they have, that Klay is an investment they don’t want to give up. That speaks volumes to what he has been able to do in his career and his potential. I’m happy that he’s my backcourt mate.”

But here's the funny part, Duffy goes on to say that Thompson is the best shooting guard in the league: 

"I don’t want Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there’s some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season),” Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. “But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it’s pretty clear.”
"I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball."

Didn't Klay come off the bench throughout the World Cup in Spain this summer?

That's right, behind James Harden—the actual best shooting guard in the NBA.

Harden may not give any effort on defense and is known to have leadership problems, but he's already been given much more responsibility in this league than Klay Thompson will ever get; And he's done a pretty good job of putting the Houston Rockets on his back, especially before Dwight Howard came along. Could Thompson single-handedly lead a team to the playoffs in the treacherous Western Conference?

Harden averaged more points per game through the FIBA World Cup games and in the NBA. He averaged just under 17 points per game with the Oklahoma City Thunder, not an easy task when you're the third option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Thompson's points per game averages are nothing to sneeze at, but when you're primarily a spot-up, three-point shooter it's hard to give as much credit compared to a scoring, slashing Harden, who can also knock down outside shots. 

The Beard has also improved his assists each season since his rookie year from under 1.8 to 6.1. In Thompson's three years, he's averaged 2.0, 2.2, and 2.2—no improvement. 

In terms of rebounds, Harden, who is two inches shorter than Thompson, averaged three more rebounds per game than Thompson last year.

The statistics don't lie. 

But these days in the NBA there's more of a need of swingmen like Thompson who can play both sides of the ball. Similar players like Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward recently signed maximum contract extensions, so it wouldn't be surprising if the Warriors management coughed up the dough to keep their other Splash Brother.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Morning BS - 9/16/14

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Selling Hawaii House 

The Los Angeles Laker legend is selling his Hawaii mansion for just under $6 million. 

From Bleacher Report:
Abdul-Jabbar's property includes a three-bedroom main house, a carriage house and a pool area. There is a 50-foot pool, an outdoor shower and a bar in the pool pavilion. It's around 6,000 square feet, has high ceilings and hardwood floors. 
The biggest surprise is that a basketball court appears to be absent from this domain. There isn't one listed among the amenities, but there is a tennis court on the grounds.Of the many luxuries, there is also a fruit orchard.In case all of that isn't enough, there is a private trail that leads you to the beach and its waterfall. 

Greg Oden's Drinking Problem

Speaking of NBA big men, Greg Oden is on the other side of NBA life - the bad side. 

Almost 10 years has passed since his glorious national championship days at Ohio State University, and unfortunately it's been downhill ever since then for the seven footer. From ESPN:
Though his potential once foretold so much more, Oden told Grantland writer and former Ohio State teammate Mark Titus during the 2014 postseason, "I'm over all of that. I know I'm one of the biggest busts in NBA history, and I know it will only get worse as Kevin Durantcontinues doing big things. It's frustrating that my body can't do what my mind wants it to do sometimes. But worrying or complaining about it isn't going to fix anything." 
Privately, his battle with personal demons still raged, according to multiple sources. Alcohol abuse remained a concern last season as he sat out many games because of soreness in his knees and back. When he was left in Miami during road trips early in the season, he often was spotted at local sports bars and restaurants, including a Hooters across the street from American Airlines Arena, to watch the games.
This young man was picked before Kevin Durant, the brightest star in the league besides LeBron James. Durant makes just under $20 million per year with the Oklahoma City Thunder and over 25$ million with Nike per year. 

I hate to say it, but having to see that would lead me to drinking too.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Morning BS: Durant's $20 Million Deal, Is Tim Duncan Still the Best?

Kevin Durant's New Potential Deal Worth Over $25 million—And That's Just Off the Court
Will Kevin Durant land a deal with Under Armour worth an estimated $265-285 million?

According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes:

Durant banked $14 million overall this season from his endorsements with Nike, Sprint, BBVA, 2K Sports and others. His Nike pay represented $11-12 million of the total, as Durant’s on-court success triggered incentives driving up the value of his original $60 million Nike deal. 
Badenhausen continues to write that Nike offered Durants a contract worth around an estimated $20 million per year, not significantly less (relatively speaking) than the one from Under Armour. Certainly Nike can scrape together another $10 million per year for Durant to keep him, but why would they?

Again from Forbes:
Nike sold $175 million of Durant’s signature shoes in 2013 in the U.S. or $95 million at wholesale, according to SportsOneSource. Durant’s payout represented nearly 13% of Nike’s revenue from the shoe. But the previous two years, Nike only sold $35 million at retail (less than $20 million wholesale) and $15 million at retail (less than $10 million wholesale). Durant has been a drain on Nike’s bottom line since he entered the league until now. 
The last sentence is both surprising and eye opening.

Durant will likely to accept the offer from Under Armour; They've offered him other enticing incentives such as stock in their company, as well as to build a community center in his mother's names.

Personally, though the company is certainly in no comparison to Nike and it's money and power right now, but I think it's certainly a model up-and-coming company—just like the Thunder, ironically.

Who's the Best Big Man out of the Southwest Division?

There's reigning champion Tim Duncan, followed by the 2011 champ Dirk Nowitzki, Anthony Davis, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard.

Damn. Let's try to turn that into some rankings:

Who would I take right now to win an NBA championship at the end of this season and that's it.

1. Tim Duncan 

An easy pick after watching him personally destroy the back-to-back champions in Miami Heat.

2. Dwight Howard 

This guy is about to have a monster season. Don't forget he won four Defensive Player of the Year awards and is only 30? years old. With a (hopefully) improved James Harden, Howard should tear the paint up this year.
3. Dirk Nowitzki 
This is basically a 2B if you want the best offensive big man in the game. Yeah I said it. With Tyson Chandler back and a totally revamped roster, Nowitzki is going to lead this team into a nice playoff run.

4. Anthony Davis

Davis is No. 1 on this list if the premise goes beyond one season. I need to write an article of it's own on how amazing this kid is going to be. He'll pass the likes of Paul George, James Harden and Chris Paul in the likes of stardom. You can bet on that.

This list shouldn't take anything away from Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol—Gasol I was highly considering putting fourth if I didn't see the stuff Davis did on Team USA this Summer. I love how Conley and company run a screen from Gasol, who has the ball, to the basket and he nine times out of 10 makes the perfect pass right under the basket for the easy layup.

I do want to point out, though,  that neither Randolph, Nowitzki nor Duncan can jump over a stack of Bibles.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Houston Rockets: Jeff Van Gundy Talks All-Star Ballot

Space City Scoop’s Bill Simpson recently spoke ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy about his thoughts on the NBA All-Star voting, and the chances of 3 Rockets’ players making it to New Orleans this year.
As covered here, five Houston Rockets made the All-Star ballot.
Jeff Van Gundy on the NBA All-Star Ballot
When asked about the NBA All-Star voting format, as always, Van Gundy gave his honest opinion. The Rockets have five players on the all-star ballot, but the most intriguing name was Omer Asik.

“They start balloting so early, it’s not even by what [the players] are doing. It’s so stupid. Why is he(Asik) even on it? Can we make a rule? If you don’t start for your own team, you can’t be on the All-Star ballot. If you’re not All-Team, how can you be All-Star? Something that’s so important to the players, why don’t we just poll all second graders in America? And have them make random changes?”

It’s the fans. We just don’t know what we’re doing.
While James Harden and Dwight Howard have the best chances to make it of the five, Van Gundy didn’t rule out the possibility of a third Rocket make the cut.

“To get the third guy besides Howard and Harden, they’d have to be leading the conference, but if someone gets hurt there’s always a chance. People shouldn’t look at raw stats, they should look at per minute stats.”

Life As A Broadcaster
Van Gundy is currently a broadcaster for ESPN. He’s probably most famous for coaching Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks, but now fans love him for his personality. Vun Gundy, Mike Breen, and before he started coaching the Golden State WarriorsMark Jackson, were ESPN’s best broadcasting trio. Jackson and Van Gundy would get into intellectual, yet hilarious arguments.

“I miss him. He’s a good man.”

Van Gundy was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Event Analyst in 2011. He is not afraid to voice his opinion – one that is usually well thought out and constructive.
Like when fans get to vote, for example.

Toros Head Coach Ken McDonald Talks Spurs Organization

Ken McDonald is currently the head coach of the Austin Toros.
He has a win-loss record of 62-36 entering the 2013-14 season, good enough for a .633 winning percentage.
McDonald played collegiately for two years at Providence, from where he also graduated. The Rhode Island native then went on to play for the St. Paul Revelles in Killarney, Ireland. He worked his way up the coaching ranks, with assistant gigs at Clemson, Western Kentucky, Georgia and Texas. An assistant for over 10 years, he then went back to Western Kentucky as a head coach from 2008 to 2011 before becoming an assistant with the Austin Toros.
Last season as an assistant under head coach Taylor Jenkins, McDonald helped the Toros to a 27-23 overall record and to the semifinals of the 2013 NBA D-League Playoffs.
Jenkins was hired to be an assistant by the Atlanta Hawks.
I sat down with Coach McDonald to discuss the constant movement of coaches in San Antonio, especially the latest offseason. The number of assistants leaving the Spurs organization for head coaching positions with other franchises seems to grow each year.
“Part of the whole philosophy with San Antonio is to develop players and coaches. The management team, obviously headed by R.C. [Buford], GM Brian Paleka, and last year was Sean Marks; they understand when you’re doing good stuff and you’re doing it at a high level professionally that you’re going to have that movement.,” McDonald said.
After five successful seasons with the Toros, four as an assistant, the NBA world saw the talent in Jenkins like they do with so many within the Spurs organization.
“So they really forecast it and they get ready for the next wave, whether it’s from the front office side or the coaching side, that’s part of the process. They kind of know it’s going to happen and they have to deal with it.”
San Antonio saw two top assistants leave – Mike Budenholzer to Atlanta and Brett Brown to Philadelphia.
“They are kind of fortunate, to be honest, that they had Coach Bud and Coach Brown for so long a stretch of time, without them getting picked. Not that they didn’t have opportunities, but that’s uncommon.”
Budenholzer, who may have been the reason Jenkins left the Toros, faces a situation in Atlanta filled with cap room and a quality building block in Al Horford. They also recently resigned Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver to long term contracts.
Oppositely, it was reported that some within the Spurs organization were worried Brown was going to be a lame duck coach.
“They just want it to be the right set up and the right situation, and sometimes you have to work out the certain goals that you’re going for as an organization. So I think once Coach Brown was comfortable with that, then he saw a great opportunity,” McDonald said.
With so many Spurs alumni on opposing benches throughout the league, the Spurs have a leg up.
“There’s going to be similarities. We have our tweaks from year to year and I’m sure that coaches that move on, as I watch them on TV they’re running a lot of the same stuff, but they have their stuff over time that they want to exercise,” McDonald said. “Everybody has a skill set that they’re familiar with; like Coach Brown has a lot of international experience. I’m sure he brings some of that together with the Sixers team. And Coach Bud knows every playbook in the league so I’m sure he picks from different teams too. But we know each other’s system’s pretty much.”
Coach McDonald is a talented, young coach and should rise up the coaching ranks quickly. He’ll keep moving up as long as he continues to grab the Toros by the horns.
The Toros are currently 1-3. Look for them to grab their second win at home against the Reno Bighorns December 8th.
- See more at: http://www.torosnation.com/2013/12/toros-head-coach-ken-mcdonald-talks-spurs-organization/#sthash.Xxdv31MH.dpuf

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Game Recap: Toros at Warriors

The Austin Toros yet again could not keep up with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

The score was 117-103 and the Warriors increased their record to an undefeated 2-0, while the Toros remain winless at 0-2.

After a competitive first quarter, the Warriors outscored the Toros by 16 points through the next two. Austin made a push in the fourth, outscoring Santa Cruz 29-25, but it wasn’t good enough.

Eric Dawson led the Toros in scoring with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He pulled down 11 rebounds to make for his second consecutive double-double.

 Josh Howard scored just 8 points on 2-of-7 shooting. He played only 18 minutes due to foul trouble.

Five Toros scored in double figures but Nemanja Nedovic and Dewayne Dedmon combined for 19-of-29 from the field to lead Santa Cruz to victory. Dedmon was one of three Warriors to record a double-double, grabbing 14 boards. Seth Curry, who dropped 36 last game, scored 10 points with 11 assists; and Hilton Armstrong scored 11 with 12 rebounds.

The Toros could not find the bottom of the net, shooting 43.2% from the field and a putrid 13.3% from deep – on 2-of-15 shooting.

The Warriors, on the other hand, were scorching hot from beyond the arc. They went 11-for-22 on 50% shooting. Nedovic went a perfect 4-of-4 to add to his 9-12 field goal shooting.

Simply put, the Toros could not stop the Warriors from raining it down from deep.

They square off December 1st at home against the Deleware 87ers.