Phoenix Suns Hold All the Leverage over Eric Bledsoe’s Free Agency

July 19th, 2014 by Zach Buckley No comments »
A maximum contract offer isn't coming for Eric Bledsoe. The explosive but oft-injured point guard might think he's worth it, but the Phoenix Suns have no reason to pay that price. They are the only ones present at Bledsoe's restricted free-agency auction, and oh by the way, they have the power to match any offer he receives should another bidder surface unexpectedly. Phoenix has complete control of this situation, even if Bledsoe sees things differently. According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, the Suns have put a four-year, $48 million contract offer on the table. That's right in line with what almost every promising point guard has received of late, most of whom had more reliable track records at the time of their extensions than Bledsoe has now. Three prominent members of the famed 2009 point guard class inked four-year contract extensions over the 2012 offseason: Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson. Holiday took ...

NBA Summer League 2014: Day 9 Results, Scores Highlights, Stats and Standings

July 19th, 2014 by R. Cory Smith No comments »
It's down to the quarterfinals in the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League, and there are quite a few surprising teams still in the mix. Franchises such as the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks have survived this far, after coming in as the No. 23 and 22 seeds in the tournament. Then there are familiar teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls, who have been dominant in the summer league postseason. Following a day off for the teams still in contention, all eight return to the court to continue their playoff runs. As multiple young stars look to take center stage yet again, they will do so with hopes of making the semifinals on Sunday afternoon. Here's a look at all of the action from the quarterfinals on Saturday.   Charlotte Hornets 82, New York Knicks 79 After an 0-3 start to the NBA Summer League, the Hornets are now 3-0 in the Las Vegas ...

Kevin Love Trade Would Put Serious Pressure on LeBron James

July 19th, 2014 by Adam Fromal No comments »
It's amazing how quickly Kevin Love has helped turn the tables since LeBron James agreed to come to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Right away, James, the four-time MVP, made it abundantly clear that he wasn't expecting immediate success. He recognized that he'd be helping a young roster grow, even if that meant an end to his streak of advancing to the NBA Finals each and every season for the last four years.  This isn't just speculation; it's coming from the mouth of the King himself.  In his announcement on Sports Illustrated's website, as told by Lee Jenkins, LeBron explicitly said that he understood the road would be a difficult one:  I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience ...

NBA Summer League 2014: Surprise Performers Who Will Shine in Regular Season

July 19th, 2014 by Adam Wells No comments »
When you think of the NBA Summer League, the first thing that comes to mind is unproven talent. It's a great introduction for new players into the association, even though nothing that happens counts on the stat sheet or standings.  However, when you evaluate what players can do in the context of these games, there are things to take away. You can get an understanding for how they shoot, their decision-making process and feel for the game.  As you devour the stat sheets and reports for what's happening in the Summer League, there are going to be a lot of things that jump out. These are the names we are watching closely to make notable contributions during the regular season.    Glen Rice Jr., Washington Wizards If you are looking for a strong NBA pedigree, you can do worse than Glen Rice Jr. Everyone knows his father, who played 15 years in the NBA, was ...

Las Vegas Summer League 2014: Breaking Down Top Performers from the Tournament

July 19th, 2014 by Nate Loop No comments »
The NBA Las Vegas Summer League is a tournament-style event that brings together a varied collection of roundball talent, often making it difficult to discern which players are the real deal or simply a desert mirage. It's a remarkable hodgepodge of cast-offs, rookies and foreign phenomenons. There are veteran players looking for a stateside return following stints overseas, such as Delonte West. Several teams are just getting ingratiated with their new coaches and schemes. The New York Knicks have the unenviable task of learning team president Phil Jackson's triangle offense. Hey, one team still doesn't have a head coach in place (take your time, Lakers). This makes it difficult to pass judgement on each and every player's performances, but there are some standouts who have truly made it obvious that they could have a very bright future in the league. The summer showcase isn't quite over yet, but let's take a look at some ...

How Will Los Angeles Lakers Solve Glaring Small Forward Problem?

July 19th, 2014 by Zach Buckley No comments »
Relatively speaking, the Los Angeles Lakers have fared pretty well in their roster-rebuilding efforts. With both eyes on the future and a mostly unwavering commitment to maintaining financial flexibility, the Lakers have limited their number of available avenues to external assistance. Backed into that corner, they've done a decent job of finding talent that mostly helps out now and won't cost much later. The exception to that assessment is the small forward position. There, the Lakers are no better equipped than last season's 27-win outfit—and could be even worse. If the 2014-15 campaign started today, gunner Nick Young could be in line for the starting gig. The 29-year-old returns to the Lakers with a new four-year, $21.5 million contract in hand, a deal he earned largely on the strength of his career-best 17.9 points-per-game scoring average. Undoubtedly an explosive offensive weapon (career 18.5 points per 36 minutes, via Basketball-Reference.com), he might be a little ...

Aaron Brooks’ Expected Signing Makes Bulls Deepest Team in the NBA

July 19th, 2014 by Brian Mazique No comments »
Having missed out on Carmelo Anthony in free agency, the Chicago Bulls are adding depth and significant role players in an effort to create a championship-caliber team. On Saturday, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the signing of free-agent point guard Aaron Brooks was imminent. Comcast Sportsnet's Aggrey Sam first reported the Bulls interest. Brooks averaged nine points and 3.2 assists per game last season in 72 appearances with the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets. The 6'0", 29-year-old from Seattle, Washington, is a solid ball-handler and outside shooter. Last season, he knocked down just under 39 percent of his threes. Brooks could potentially play the same role D.J. Augustin played last season for the Bulls and the one Nate Robinson held during the 2012-13 season. Both men parlayed their productive seasons in Tom Thibodeau's offense into solid free-agent paydays. While the Bulls don't necessarily have a celebrated Big Three like other contenders, on paper they have more ...

Are Cleveland Cavs or Minnesota Timberwolves a Better Fit for Andrew Wiggins?

July 19th, 2014 by Adam Fromal No comments »
It's not every year that a No. 1 pick in the NBA draft is traded to a new squad before he can play a single game with the team that drafted him ahead of everyone else, but this is no normal offseason.  Andrew Wiggins was the top pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the arrival of LeBron James has thrown a significant wrench in the plans. Now that the Cavs have an immediate shot at competing for a title, they're doing everything they can to become prohibitive championship favorites, and that may mean trading Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.  Are they willing to include Wiggins? It depends on whom you ask, as conflicting reports litter Twitter and every other source of sports news.  They shouldn't, but that's irrelevant here. We aren't worried about what's best for the Cavaliers—or the 'Wolves, for that matter. All that matters is which situation presents the ...

Andrew Bynum’s Unique Knee Procedure Wouldn’t Save Middling NBA Career

July 19th, 2014 by Adam Wells No comments »
Andrew Bynum is one of the great "what if" tales in recent NBA history. He's been an All-Star center, was a solid contributor on two championship teams and is just 26 years old. If only things were that simple.  The controversial Bynum hasn't played more than 65 games in a season since 2007 and a total of 26 since 2012, all of them coming last year in stints with Cleveland and Indiana. He's also dealt with a rash of injuries, mostly to his knees, that have destroyed his career.  When he has been healthy, Bynum has averaged a respectable 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. For perspective, among NBA centers last season, those totals would have ranked 13th and 16th, respectively.  Now, likely sensing that his future prospects are bleak and needing to take drastic action to salvage what he can out of his career, Bynum is thinking about undergoing a knee ...

Kobe Bryant Admits to Being ‘Afraid’ of What Life Will Be Like After Basketball

July 19th, 2014 by Alec Nathan No comments »
Kobe Bryant may have signed a two-year contract extension worth $48.5 million with the Los Angeles Lakers last November, but you better believe he's already thinking about what life will be like once he retires.  According to ESPN.com, the 18-year-veteran isn't exactly comfortable contemplating the great unknown that accompanies life after basketball:  The unexpected time off last season forced Bryant to think about his post-basketball future. "I'm afraid, too,'' he said Friday at the summer TV critics' meeting. "You really have to lean on muses and mentors going forward, just as I did as a kid. It's about having that next wave of things, which is scary as hell, but it's fun at the same time.'' On Friday, Bryant spoke openly about what awaits him after a legendary career on the hardwood while promoting his upcoming documentary, Kobe Bryant's Muse, which will air on Showtime in November.  However, if Kobe's investment history is any indication, he may ...