Saturday, July 28, 2007

Miami Signs Smush Parker

The Heat have signed Smush Parker to a 2 year deal believed to be worth between 4.5 - 5 mil.

What kind of player are the Heat getting in Parker?

Kurt, the writer of Forum Blue and Gold (one of the best NBA blogs anywhere on the net), was kind enough to email me his thoughts on Parker's game -

Smush had a bit of a tumultuous run as a Laker, at least as fans see it. By the end of last season the Lakers camp seemed to be divided into “smushaholics” and “Smushaphobes” (to use a phrase coined by one of my commenters, drrayeye).

What you will think of Smush depends on what you expect from him. If you’re looking for a guy with a great story, a guy who can come off the bench for 15-20 minutes a night and provide an offensive boost, Smush is your guy. He has range (37% from three the last two years), can be a spot up shooter or create his own shot on the drive, and plays with some flair, learned on the playgrounds of New York City as a youth.

However, if you’re expecting a guy who can start, who can play quality defense, who can provide the night-in/night-out effort an NBA starter should give you, then you will be disappointed.

It was his defense that did him in while under Phil Jackson. Smush likes to gamble on defense (a remnant of the playgrounds?), getting some steals but more often taking himself out of position. His defensive rotations were slow, at best. He can’t stay in front of quick guards -- he got burned by the Steve Nashes and Tony Parkers of the world, which is why Laker fans came not to trust him, particularly in key situations.

The Lakers mistake with Smush was asking too much of him – while he was the starting point guard on a playoff team the last two years, that was in spite of his defense, not so much because of him. But he brings good energy on the offensive end and can fill it up. If the Heat use him in that backup role for 15-20 minutes a night, he can be a nice fit and at a good price.

Kurt also sent me a link to this blog post, which he says sums up the love-hate relationship Lakers fans had with Smush.

All of that confirms what I initially thought about this signing. He'll be a decent back up for Jason and give us some nice energy off the bench. He has his flaws, but at this stage of the off season there really aren't any better options available in free agency.

It sounds like the only way we could have gotten one of the better point guards we were targeting (Rafer Alston or Navarro) would have been to make a trade and take on a bad contract (Alston's contract stinks, and the Wizards wanted us to take on either Stevenson or Haywood's bad contract in a Navarro deal).

Thus, I think this was a decent move.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Whats a Bigger Threat to The League - Donaghy, or The Eastern Conference?

Over the past few days, everyone has been debating how much the Tim Donaghy "crisis" will hurt league viewership.

In my opinion, the referee drama has eclipsed what the league's real problem is. Many people considered last years regular season to be one of the most boring regular seasons in recent memory, and I believe the historic ineptitude of the eastern conference was a big part of this. The season was capped off by an NBA finals that produced one great team, and another team that is going to show up on lists of "the worst NBA finalists ever" for years.

If the Donaghy scandal stays limited to one referee, I think the NBA will get through this current "crisis" without much trouble. People who like the NBA aren't going to stop watching because of one bad apple.

I think the league *will* suffer if the east doesn't improve. My guess is that not as many people were interested in watching the Eastern Conference playoffs last year due to the perceived superiority of the west, and as we all know people just weren't interested in watching an imbalanced NBA Finals.

David Stern can do whatever he wants to fix the referee thing, but my guess is that what the league really needs is for the east to be good again. The big market teams like New York, Boston, and Philly need to become more competitive so all the casual NBA fans on the east coast will be more inclined to tune in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday News and Notes

- The Heat is about to make an offer to the Wizards for Juan Carlos Navarro.

I'd love to get Navarro. However, it's been suggested by some that we would have to give up either next years 1st round pick or Haslem to make the deal work. There aren't enough words to describe how much I hate the idea of giving up our starting power forward or a 1st round pick for a guy who's going to probably be a back up point guard (especially since we'll have the right to swap picks with Orlando next year as long as they're not in the lottery).

I'd rather see us pursue one of the remaining free agent PGs. Speaking of which.....

- Barry Jackson writes that the Heat have expressed interest in signing Steve Francis (scroll to the bottom of the article).

When news first broke that Portland had bought out Francis, I wasn't all that interested in him because of his age and history of injuries. The situation has changed though since we lost out on Mo Williams and Steve Blake.

If we have to give up too much to get Navarro, I wouldn't mind bringing in Francis. It's not like there are many better options currently available in free agency. He'd most likely be coming off the bench, so he'll have a better chance of staying healthy than he's had in the past.

- Michael Pietrus' name has been coming up a lot lately in conversations about who could be the starting small forward for the Heat next year.

I'd like to see the Heat go after him. He's athletic, can shoot the three, and most everyone over at Golden State of Mind says he plays good defense (scroll down past the Barnes report card to read more about him). They also say he can be a bone headed decision maker at times, but we're hurting for depth at small forward, so I'm willing to deal with his shortcomings.

- Wade could very well miss the start of next season, and I'm fine with that. Take all the time you need, D-Wade. Just come back healthy.

It's not like the team won't survive without him, at least for a little while. The Heat proved that they're more than capable of winning by running the offense through Shaq when Wade was hurt last year.

- Udonis Haslem isn't worried about how the off-season is going.

- Despite experiencing so many bad breaks that have prevented his career from getting off the ground, Wayne Simien still isn't feeling sorry for himself. By all accounts Simien is one of the nicest guys in the Heat locker room. I'm really rooting for him to break into the rotation this year.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mourning Says He'll Play One More Year

Alonzo Mourning has announced that he'll be back for one final season.

Thank god. Zo brings this team to another level when he's playing well. His defensive intensity and leadership would have been irreplaceable.

Even with him coming back, we won't get the most out of him unless Shaq can stay healthy. You could see that he was worn down by the end of last season after having to start for half the year.

With Zo coming back, I think Pat Riley is a lock to return as well. Those two are attached at the hip and I can't imagine a scenario where Pat would step aside while Zo is battling to keep this team in the hunt for a title.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Williams Re-Signs with Bucks

Mo Williams has agreed to a 6 year, 52 million dollar deal with the Bucks.

Ugh, that really hurts. Mo Williams would have finally given the Heat a legit 3rd scoring option and would have solidified the point guard spot for at least the next three years.

A couple days ago (when the Bucks were only offering 40 million) Marc Stein from ESPN had reported that Williams was most likely going to sign with the Heat. It sounds like he really wanted to come to Miami, and might have been willing to leave 10 mil on the table to do it. He couldn't walk away from an extra 20 mil though.

To make matters worse, the Heat's second option at PG, Steve Blake, agreed yesterday to sign with Portland. Also, Chucky Atkins is on the verge of signing with the Nuggets.

Our options in free agency are now limited to Brevin Knight, Steve Francis, and Spanish PG Juan Carlos Navarro, who's rights are held by the Wizards.

I hope the Heat makes a run at Navarro. John Hollinger writes in his blog (ESPN insider required) that he'd be a good back up PG.

EDIT - Whoops, stupid me forgot that because Navarro's rights are owned by the Wizards, we can't simply sign him. We'd have to make a trade.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No Summer League for Me

Stupid Internet.

Unfortunately the Heat's summer league games have been completely unwatchable for me so far. My viewing experience has consisted of hearing the announcer's voices cutting in and out and occasionally seeing 5 seconds or so of footage before the screen freezes for a while. Oh well.

The Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman is all over what's happening in summer league though. He's covering it every day at his blog.

Walker Robbed at Gunpoint reports that Antoine Walker was robbed at gunpoint in his Chicago home.

Wow, that's scary stuff. Thankfully both Walker and the person he was with are ok.

UPDATE - Some new info about what happened.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Mo Williams in Miami, Spoelstra, and Summer League

Here's some news on the night before the Heat begins play in the Orlando summer league -

Mo Williams toured the AAA and had dinner with Pat Riley last night. It's been reported several times over the past week that the Heat have been talking to William's agent about the possibility of him joining the Heat, but this is the first sign that Williams may be seriously considering coming to Miami.

The Bucks have reportedly offered Williams 40 mil over 5 or 6 years. The most the Heat can offer is it's mid level exception. Williams would be leaving about 10 mil on table if he decided to play for the Heat (unless we can pull off a sign and trade).

He'd look great in a Heat uniform. I'm not gonna get excited just yet though.

Also, the Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman has written a good article about Erik Spoelstra, the man whom many believe will succeed Pat Riley as coach.

Finally, the Heat will begin playing in the Orlando Summer league tommorow.

Here's the Heat roster -

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Last Team/College
50 Joel Anthony C 6-9 240 8/9/1982 UNLV
14 Daequan Cook G 6-5 210 4/28/1987 Ohio State
54 John Edwards C 7-0 265 7/31/1981 Kent State
15 Vincent Grier G 6-4 210 3/14/1983 Minnesota
10 Junior Harrington G 6-4 190 10/2/1980 Wingate (Div. II)
40 Ekene Ibekwe F 6-9 220 7/19/1985 Maryland
21 Dontell Jefferson G 6-5 190 12/15/1983 Arkansas
20 Trey Johnson G 6-5 218 8/30/1984 Jackson State
52 James Lang C 6-10 305 10/17/1983 Cen. Park Christ. (HS)
30 Renaldo Major F 6-7 190 5/7/1982 Fresno State
31 Cartier Martin F 6-7 230 11/20/1984 Kansas State
22 Dwayne Mitchell G 6-3 204 8/24/1982 Louisiana (Lafayette)
32 Larry Owens F 6-7 210 1/8/1983 Oral Roberts
11 Chris Quinn G 6-2 175 9/27/1983 Notre Dame
5 Jeremy Richardson G 6-7 190 3/1/1984 Delta State
44 Marcus Slaughter F 6-8 223 3/18/1985 San Diego State
23 Dewarick Spencer G 6-4 185 5/4/1982 Arkansas State
24 Levi Stukes G 6-2 205 11/18/1984 Georgia
41 Anthony Tolliver F 6-9 245 6/1/1985 Creighton

Missing from the roster is Wayne Simien, who will miss summer league for the second year in a row. He injured his knee while practicing and will miss 4-6 weeks. The poor guy has had terrible luck over the last year (when was the last time you heard of a professional athlete missing almost an entire season as a result of a salmonella infection?)

The schedule for all the games can be found here.

Unfortunately, the Orlando Summer League games will not be on NBA TV. However, you can watch the games at (hopefully it will be watchable online).

I'm looking forward to seeing how Daequan Cook looks.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Heat fans are trying to figure out how to get Shawn Marion

Over at the Miami Herald Heat blog, there is a discussion going on right now about the possibility of landing Shawn Marion.

The gist of it is -

Miami gets : Shawn Marion

Phoenix gets : Kevin Garnett, James Posey

Minnesota gets : Leandro Barbosa, Boris Diaw, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright, Atlantas 1st round pick (from Phoenix), and Miami's 1st round pick.

The trade works under NBA rules.

At first glance, this seems to be a half baked idea. There have to be better deals out there for Minnesota, right? Chicago has all the pieces needed to land KG without having to involve any other teams (Paxson would have to be willing to trade away several pieces of his young core though).

On the other hand, this is a nice collection of good young players, and Atlanta's pick could very well be top 10 next year.

Like every other proposed deal that involves KG, it will probably never happen. However, it is mildly interesting.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Steven A. Smith VS Hecklers

Last year a group of people heckled Steven A. Smith at the 2006 NBA draft. The vid produced a few chuckles, but could have been a lot funnier -

The hecklers were back this year though, and this time they've made a very funny video. I'd recommend skipping the first video and checking this one out -

News and Notes

Here are some tidbits from around the league -

- Posey says he's willing to be used in a sign-and-trade deal. Good, at least we have a chance to get something for one of our free agents.

- Shaq's plan to fix the dunk contest with luxury cars.

- Rashard Lewis is joining the magic. Well, it's disappointing that he'll be in our division. I don't think this makes Orlando a contender, but it was definitely a good pick up by them.

- Derek Fisher is leaving the Jazz to help care for his daughter. Be sure to say a prayer for him and his family when you can. Hopefully everything works out.

- This isn't the first article I've read that says Shaq's new show is actually good. It sounds like he's really serious about combating childhood obesity, which is a great thing. I missed the first episode last week since I was at a Marlins game. I think I'll tune in tonight.

- The Heat is targeting Steve Blake.
I hope this happens. He isn't going to be Chauncy Billips or anything, but adding him would finally stabilize the PG position. After he got traded to Denver last year, he had 9 games with double figure assists. He's shot 37% from 3 for his career, and you know he'll have one of his best years from behind the arc when he's playing with Dwyane and Shaq. At 27 years of age he figures to remain productive for however long we sign him.

He's capable of being a starter and is one of the few good PGs that the Heat has a realistic chance of signing. I say go for it. He's from Miami and played with Haslem in high school, so I'd think that gives us an advantage over other teams in trying to sign him.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Kapono Signs with Raptors

News just broke that Jason Kapono will sign what is believed to be a 6 year, $24 million dollar deal with the Raptors.

That's a pity. Kapono was amazing from behind the arc for us. It would have been nice to have him coming off the bench, spreading the floor for D-Wade for years to come. By all accounts he was a good team player and a great personality in the locker room, keeping everbody loose with his sense of humor.

It'll be interesting to see if he'll be able to maintain his current level of success with Toronto, or if his performance will drop off sharply once he's no longer playing with Dwyane and Shaq (see Damon Jones' post-Heat performance).

In celebration of the great year that Jason Kapono gave us, I present to you the brilliance that is "My Kapono!"