According to ESPN insider Chris Broussard Chris Paul will re-sign with the Clippers for a max deal of 5 years/107 million dollars. This deal cannot be official until July 1 when free agency starts but this is obviously huge for the Clippers. So lets look at what it means for multiple teams who were in contention for the star guard
What it means for the Clippers: Well the Clippers are now contenders for the NBA finals with the addition of Doc Rivers and the now locked up Chris Paul. This also means the end of the line for Eric Bledsoe as a Clipper. The Clippers will try to trade the valuable Bledsoe for a shooting guard, a position of need for the Clippers. The Clippers are in talks with the Magic and the Raptors for Arron Afflalo and DeMar DeRozan respectively in exchange for Bledsoe. If the Clippers could land either guard, they instantly have one of the best backcourts in the West, if not the best.
What it means for the Rockets: Now the Rockets can focus on signing Dwight Howard using their cap space. The Rockets were long-shots to sign CP3 but there was some speculation that D12 and CP3 wanted to be teammates. While that could still happen in LA via sign and trade, it seems unlikely.
What it means for the Mavericks: The Mavericks are still looking for an elite guard to lead their team through the end of the Dirk Nowitzki era. They missed out on hometown hero Deron Williams last year and it seems like they are going to miss on CP3 this year as well. The Mavericks are trying to trade with Boston for Rajon Rondo as a consolation prize but Rondo does not have the scoring ability that Paul has. The Mavs are also trying to sign Dwight Howard and Dwight was quoted as saying “I like the Mavs style of play”. The Mavs have a solid chance of signing Dwight and you can read more about this in Prad’s article.
What it means for the Hawks: The Hawks have a greater chance of signing Dwight Howard due to his Atlanta roots, but both have desires to play with each other and the Hawks have cap space for both if they sacrifice some. This deal won’t come from fruition as it seems CP3 is going to stay in LA. The Hawks seem to be far behind in the race for any free agents this year and it might be best to rebuild and enter the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes.
For Chicago Bulls fans the 2012-2013 season was a roller coaster ride full of excitement and disappointment. We saw the emergence of Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson but also the various injuries suffered by Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. We ended the Heat’s win streak but lost the 4th seed. We beat the Nets in a great seven game series but lost to the Heat in a depressing fashion. All of these things were entirely overshadowed by Derrick Rose’s rehab throughout the season. People speculated on his return some saying after the All-Star break and some saying the playoffs and some ignorant fans said maybe never? The fans were tantalized during Derrick’s pre-game warmups trying to gauge the former MVP’s comfort level on the court. We saw him flash to rim like his old self, only to hear “When I’m ready”. Many fans were upset with the sporadic dialogue between Derrick and the media, feeling as if Derrick betrayed was just biding his time and earning his money. They were upset with the Adidas commercials “The Return”, falling into the inevitable belief that Derrick would magically recover and things would be normal again. And they were dead wrong. These fans drove me crazy with their constant complaining and whining, making Derrick out to be a villain when really Derrick was doing what was best for his team and himself. Rose is the face of the franchise, a hometown kid who has lived in Chicago for every year of his life except for his college days in Memphis. He grew up in the Jordan era, watching his idol don the same white and red jersey he would wear years later. He knew the pressure that was put on him as the #1 pick in the 2008 draft as a mere 19 year old. These wavering fans must forget his first year where he led the Bulls to a seven game series against the defending champion Celtics, not to mention tying the record for most points scored by a rookie in his playoff debut with 36. They must forget his second year where he made the All-Star team, the first Bull since MJ in 1998.
They must have also forgotten his pre-season promise to win the MVP in 2010-2011, which he accomplished with career best in points, assists, steals, 3pt percentage and free throw percentage. At 22 he was the youngest player ever to win MVP. All the greats before him, Russell, Wilt, Kareem, Magic, Larry and Chicago’s own Michael Jordan never achieved what Derrick did. He has improved every single year in his short career, yet few people seem to notice. Derrick knew that coming back before he was ready would disappoint the fans and his teammates, but most importantly he knew he would disappoint himself. His expectations exceed any random fan’s and he believes he can carry his team to a title, just like I do. I know that Derrick is giving every ounce of his energy and effort to help the Bulls achieve their goals and become great. And that is why the Bulls will win the championship next year.
All year long the Bulls struggled mightily to score the ball, using offensive rebounds to generate most of their offense. With Derrick and his improved jump shot the Bulls now have a shot creator, who can allow players like Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler play their true roles as spot up or one dribble shooters. Now Carlos Boozer can thrive off pick and rolls and stretch the defensive, creating room for Derrick to penetrate and kick or penetrate and finish at the rim. Derrick’s return also helps out Kirk Hinrich who will no longer have to play starters minutes and can now lead the bench players. But the most important part of Derrick’s return is his presence. The Bulls now have their captain back, their leader, their engine who makes them go. Derrick has an uncanny ability to inspire his teammates and motivate them to play the best they possibly can. The Bulls defense already goes unquestioned but now with Derrick, opposing guards have to worry about Derrick lighting quick speed and how they can get around him. With all the current pieces the Bulls are poised for a championship run. Now all Bulls fans have to do is wait and watch, again.
This is by far the single most important thing Glen Grunwald needs to do this offseason. Although J.R. Smith was terribly inefficient in the post season, his value in the regular season can’t be overstated. He averaged the second most points on the team, 18.1 to along with 5.3 boards a game. His lackluster performance in the postseason this year surely will make him fewer millions than he could’ve had he continued his outstanding play into the playoffs. Some critics say that Smith will not experience the same success that he experienced this year anywhere including New York. But, I believe that he worked well in the Knicks system under Mike Woodson where he led the second unit and was allowed to take a high volume of shots. He thrives in this system where he has the ability to work for his own shot and ends many possessions with his shots. This can continue if he decides to re-sign with the Knicks. The Knicks will offer him approximately $5.5 million because they own his Early Bird Rights. The Knicks would love to re-sign Smith, as they don’t have another secondary scoring option after Carmelo Anthony.
2) Sign a couple big men
I believe attaining another big man is essential. The Knicks could’ve probably done better in the draft but I don’t blame them with the selection they made. They drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. who is a talented and fantastic shooter that can create of the dribble. If the Knicks don’t manage to sign J.R., I think that Hardaway would be a great replacement once he develops his skills a bit more in a few years. But, the fact is that Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire are the only true big men the Knicks currently have on the roster. Kenyon Martin played solid bench minutes for the Knicks in the playoffs, but he’s not a long term option. Stoudemire gets injured often, so Chandler is the defensive anchor and the only player on the team who plays like a big man. The Knicks are in great need of a couple big men to play reserve minutes as backups to Melo in the power forward position and Chandler at center. A player that is physical inside and who has the ability to rebound well would be ideal but it will be hard with the Knicks inflexibility in cap space.
3) Re-sign Kmart and Pablo Prigioni
Although Prigioni was a rookie last year in the NBA, he is a veteran in terms of experience. I mean he’s 35. He can help teach young guards how to fit well into the Knicks system under Coach Woodson. He adjusted fairly well into the system his first year. In fact, when he was inserted into the starting lineup, the Knicks won 13 consecutive games. He is noted for his persistence in attempting to steal the ball at all times when on the court. Kenyon Martin provided valuable minutes off the bench for the Knicks late in the regular season and during the playoffs. He had the most efficient season of his career, shooting 60.2%. Though he’s 35, he can still provide around 25 MPG.