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Terps, Hoyas, and Wizards

Tag Archives: nba free agency

By: Mike Bohlin

Hey everybody, we’re still here! Despite this being the dullest portion of the NBA offseason and my colleagues at the Dime and I handling some business getting our new University of Maryland website up and running ( for a shameless plug) the Washington Wizards refuse to let us forget about them! According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and the NBC Sports Network the Wizards have come to terms with free agent center Earl Barron on a non-guaranteed training camp contract.

While this signing isn’t going to blow any Wizards fan away, I will be the first to admit I have been pining for Washington to take a look at Barron for a few seasons now. If we can have him come in on a non-guaranteed deal to try and make the roster why not go for it?

At the age 31, Earl Barron has already played for six NBA franchises; Miami, New York, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Portland and most recently Golden State. Were he to make the Wizards roster as the 15th man on the team it would be Barron’s seventh team in his seven year career. Making the Wizards would only further solidify his status as a “Journeyman” center in this league.

Much can be made about the plethora of stops Barron has made up until this point in his career. Sure, he hasn’t found a city to really stick and call home. At the same time though he’s been thought highly enough of to have a job as a professional basketball player for the majority of the past decade so Barron is no slouch either.

Barron’s best season as a pro came in 2007-2008 as a member of the Miami Heat. That season, Barron appeared in 46 games while starting 15 averaging a shade over 19 minutes per contest. That season Barron averaged 7.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG in what was mainly a reserve role.

After a one-year hiatus from the NBA in 2008-2009 Barron made his return to the association in a seven game stint with the New York Knicks. These seven games, six of which Barron started, are the high point of his NBA career. In just over 33 minutes per contest Barron recorded averages of 11.7 PPG and 11.0 RPG while shooting 44% from the field.

For his career, Barron has appeared in 112 NBA regular season games, starting 28. In 15 minutes per game Barron has career averages of 5.1 PPG and 3.6 RPG while shooting 37% from the field and 73% from the foul line respectively.

Am I possibly being a little over zealous about this signing? Probably. Is that because I’ve been waiting for the Wizards to take a flyer on this guy for four years now? Absolutely. Earl Barron might not make the Wizards roster but at 7’0″ and 245 lbs with a decent track record of success I am more than willing to take a chance on him and be the Red Barron’s (Marketing potential Ted!) biggest supporter in the District.

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By: Mike Bohlin

According to Marc Stein of ESPN the Washington Wizards have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent swingman Martell Webster.

While terms of the contract have not been released per team policy it has been widely speculated that the Wizards would not spend more than the veteran’s minimum on any remaining free agents. Webster, 25, played for the Minnesota Timberwolves the last two seasons after spending his first five seasons in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The former number six overall pick in the NBA draft has dealt with a number of back issues over the course of his young career. Webster, however, has always been known as a shooting specialist. For his career Webster has shot 41% from the field and 37% from three point range. This includes the 2010-2011 season where he shot a sweltering 42% from long range.

At 6’7″ and 230 pounds Webster could easily provide relief off the bench for the Wizards at both the SG and SF positions. While this might not be the sexiest signing of the offseason Webster fills a vital need for this franchise as we move forward out of the doldrums of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference. We will have more on this signing as more information becomes available.

The numbers for Websters contract have been released. The Wizards will pay Webster $1.6 million for one season, far more than the minimum amount that the Wizards had been rumored to be willing to offer.

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By: Colenda

After an Olympic break from Diming, I’ve decided to pick up where I left off by examining league-wide offseason activity. And with the happenings over the last two weeks, it made it a perfect time to get back on the horse. The Atlantic Division has spent the summer of 2012 constantly in the headlines. With multiple trades and free agent acquisitions, the Atlantic’s members have had a very busy offseason. In fact, each of the division’s five members has seen major roster overhauls and the addition of at least one player expected to take on a key role in 2012-13. Last year’s winner, the Celtics, have lost a member of its Big Three to the newest Big Three in Miami. However, they bolstered their roster with young players through the draft and the addition of sixth man extraordinaire, Jason “the Jet” Terry. The constantly scrutinized Knicks decided against bringing back Linsanity for an encore, and instead brought in veteran backcourt of Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. The 76ers finally decided to part ways with the underappreciated Andre Iguodala in a shocking move by joining in the fun of getting the better of new Magic GM, Rob Hennigan, in the Dwight Howard trade. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how the Magic traded Howard for Bynum, yet somehow ended up getting Arron Afflalo and let Bynum head to Philly but that’s a story for another column (a shameless plug for the Southeast division’s recap to follow). Raptor fans (they exist, right?) no longer have to wait for last year’s highly drafted Jonas Valanciunas, as he will make his NBA debut this season. They also added veterans Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields to a team clearly hoping to try and stay afloat in this extremely competitive division. With the Barclay’s Center expected to open to start the season, the Nets are now official residents of Brooklyn. Although they really blew it with the new logo, they did manage to get a second star (although you could argue there isn’t a more over rated “star” than Joe Johnson) via trade to ensure they could lock up free agent Deron Williams long-term. All-in-all it has been a very eventful offseason in the Atlantic division. Now a let’s take a closer look at the happenings for each of the division’s members:

Boston Celtics (1st place in 2011-2012)
Players Added: Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger, Jason Terry, Dionte Christmas, Kris Joseph, Courtney Lee
Players Lost: Ray Allen, Greg Stiemsma, Ryan Hollins, Sasha Pavlovic, Jermaine O’Neal
The Dime: Ray Allen has packed his bags for sunny weather and wide-open corner threes playing alongside DWade and LeBron in Miami. Entering the scene is one of the NBA’s top sharp-shooters, Jason Terry, someone much more comfortable in the reserve role which he is expected to play behind the emerging Avery Bradley. The Celtics drafted the free-falling Jared Sullinger late in the first round, and Syracuse’s suspended Brazilian center, Fab Melo, as well as his college teammate Kris Joseph in round two.  In addition to a strong draft Boston also secured the services of Jeff Green and Courtney Lee for next year. The Celtics have sufficiently re-tooled around Rondo, Garnett and Pierce for another run at the division crown and playoff glory. Obviously, the continued health of the aging Pierce and Garnett play are a major factor in whether Boston will be able to continue their Atlantic division dominance. With Allen gone, I will be interested in watching the continued offensive emergence off the defensive backcourt of Rondo and Bradley. Rondo is now a bona-fide star, in my opinion, and I think he is primed for his best year yet. Bradley began to show signs of a streaky outside jumper and a knack for scoring in the paint before his season was cut off pre-playoffs by injury. His ability to get healthy and pick up where he left off with his play late from last year will be one of the biggest factors in determining Boston’s success this season.
New York Knicks (2nd place in 2011-2012)
Players Added: Pablo Prigioni, Chris Smith, James White, Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby, Chris Copeland, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd
Players Lost: Renaldo Balkman, Baron Davis, Landry Fields, Jeremy Lin, Bill Walker, Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, Jared Jefferies
The Dime: The Knicks were faced with a huge financial decision this year; sign Jeremy Lin and take a sizeable tax hit or let him walk and re-tool with cheaper players. They decided against bringing back Lin, and opted to give the keys to the car to Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. Felton enjoyed his best season in New York playing for former coach, Mike Dantoni, and the Knicks are hoping the return to MSG will bring that type of production from Felton. Marcus Camby was also brought back for another stint to bolster their bench and provide additional shot-blocking depth behind foul-prone Tyson Chandler. However, the biggest news for the Knicks this summer has to be the play of Carmelo in the Olympics. In case you’ve been under a rock the last few weeks, Melo was a killer in Great Britain. Knicks faithful can only hope that he brings this form back to the U.S. and the NBA season in 2012-2013. I still think the Knicks are more glitter than substance, but if Melo can put the team on his shoulders like he did with Team USA at times during the Olympics, they should be able to compete for the division crown and a top spot in the East. Outside of Melo’s Olympic run the other massive storyline for MSG residents will be the health and play of the oft-injured, and highly-paid Amare Stoudamire. He’s being paid super-star money; he’s got to produce at a super-star level in order for this team to life up to the lofty expectations of New York media.
Philadelphia 76ers (3rd place in 2011-2012)
Players Added: Kwame Brown, Arnett Moultrie, Jason Richardson, Maalik Wayns, Nick Young, Andrew Bynum, Dorell Wright
Players Lost: Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Sam Young, Andres Nocioni, Elton Brand, Louis Williams
The Dime: The 76ers may have come away with the steal of the offseason. Somehow they finagled their way into the inevitable deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum. When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, they were the team that came away with the second-best player in the trade while not giving up the best. Hell, Iggy wasn’t even the third best player involved (I’ll help you save face some, Mr. Hennigan). I don’t think I will ever understand what the Magic were doing, but Doug Collins and company have to be thrilled. The Sixers will move forward and build around Bynum (if they can sign him next summer), Thad Young, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, and Spencer Hawes. Not a half-bad team. They also added my former teammate, and Philly native, Maalik Wayns, in free agency, as well as former Wizards Swaggy Young, and Kwawe Brown (Who has to be thrilled to re-unite with the man who made him cry in his second professional practice). Although the Sixers won’t compete to win the division, they will certainly be competitive and a playoff team for many years to come in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto Raptors (4th place in 2011-2012)
Players Added: Quincy Acy, Tomislav Zubcic, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, John Lucas, Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields
Players Lost: Aaron Gray, Rasual Butler
The Dime: NBA Canada made a run at bringing the nation’s prodigal son, Steve Nash, back north of the border. However, he spurned their offer and instead opted for LA (can you really blame him?). This did not prevent the Raptors from having a decent offseason, however. They added Kyle Lowry via trade, Landry Fields and John Lucas in free agency, and will get to see their last two first round picks, Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas, begin their NBA careers together this year. I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Raptors are primed to turn their losing ways around because of this offseason haul, but they are moving in the right direction. From all accounts, Valanciunas is a real stud and has the potential to be an impact player in the league. I haven’t personally seen him play, but I look forward to following this youngster develop. At least there is now a little reason to flip to a Raptors game if you find it on TV.
Brooklyn Nets (5th place in 2011-2012)
Players Added: Joe Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor, Ilkan Karaman,
Players Lost: Damian James, Mehmet Okur, Gerald Green, Jordan Farmer, Anthony Marrow, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams
The Dime: The Brooklyn Nets seemed to be on the verge of opening the new Barclay’s Center with Gerald Wallace as the team’s best player. Yikes. Luckily, they somehow swung a deal with the Hawks that landed them Joe Johnson right before Deron packed his bags for home (Dallas) and convinced the point guard that he had the help he so craved.  In my opinion, the Nets will be teaming up the two most overrated super-stars in the game today. They have the big contracts, but have never really taken a team on their back and led them to the promised  land (or even past the second round consistently). The two of them should produce one of the highest scoring backcourt duos in the league, and are natural fits alongside one-another, but I can’t see the pair teaming up to produce serious results where it matters, in the playoffs.  However, due to the offseason activity, the Nets will be more of a contender in the division, and should most certainly find themselves in the playoffs next year. Although I do not think a core of Williams and Johnson is going to make the Nets a championship contender, they will put on a good show for the new fans in Brooklyn. The moves will also make the conversation for best team in the city a little more interesting. The Russian Mark Cuban will be happy with the headlines, but not with the end product on the court. The team still has a ways to go before being a true championship contender, but the moves of this offseason have Brooklyn trending into the positive with a team that will be much more competitive than last season’s last place squad.

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By: Bohlin

Welp, so much for that pipe dream. Jodie Meeks, if you missed the news over the weekend, has signed a two year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for a total of $3 million. This signing tugs at the heart strings of this blogger as I’d completely bought into the fact that Meeks would be the answer to all of our outside shooting woes. The fact of the matter is the Wizards, by all accounts, were not comfortable giving any more than the veterans minimum to any free gents left on the market who might have interest in joining the Wizards.

Word is that the Wiz Kids would have interest in free agent swing an Anthony Tolliver. However, it would also be at that minimum price that has been associated with this franchise in regard to free agency since the amnesty of Andray Blatche. It remains to be seen whether the Wizards will make any more moves this summer but for the time being they appear to at least be on the radar of Tolliver. After missing out on Meeks he might be our best bet at adding another threat from the perimeter to this roster.

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By: Colenda

As we delve into the Eastern Conference the Central division has had a tough offseason. Starting from the top, defending champ Chicago will have a HUGE hole to fill next year as star Derrick Rose recovers from his disappointing playoff knee injury. We all saw what they looked like without Rose in the playoffs as they were knocked out by the 8th seeded Sixers, and it wasn’t pretty. The Pistons drafted this year’s biggest enigma, Andre Drummond, and another bust with a first round pick is the last thing Joe Dumars and the Pistons faithful can afford. The Cavs, which looked to be in a terrific position with multiple picks in this year’s draft, somehow came away with a very underwhelming haul. They even had to see nemesis LeBron win his first title. Young-star Kyrie Irving’s broken hand only adds injury to the insult. As Bill Simmons would say “the lesson as always, God hates Cleveland.” The winners for the offseason in the Central have to be the Pacers and Bucks. The Pacers have added to their youthful core and secured big-man Roy Hibbert after their impressive playoff performance and I fully expect them to be the team to beat in the Central in 2012-2013. The Bucks added the volume-scoring Monta Ellis at last year’s trade deadline, but the early returns from the trade last year were not great. However, I am a Monta-fan and with their few interesting offseason moves, I see the Bucks competing for a playoff spot this year.

Chicago Bulls (1st Place 2011-2012)

Players Added: Marquis Teague, Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich, Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic

Players Lost: Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III, C.J. Watson, Mike James, Ronnie Brewer

The Dime: Basketball is a team game, and an injury to one player shouldn’t completely change the fortunes of a franchise. But in the Bull’s case, when that player is MVP Derrick Rose, this rule gets thrown out the window. Rose does everything for Chicago, he scores most of the points, sets up his teammates, and draws 100% of the opponent’s defensive attention. No one else on their roster (outside of Luol Deng) is capable of creating their own offense or offense for others. Without Rose, they look lost offensively. Yes, the Bulls are a defensive team and a damn good one at that. But in basketball, if you can’t score you can’t win, no matter how well you defend. I expect the Bulls to have a dramatic drop off next year until Rose’s return. If they can keep their head afloat until February/March when Rose is expected to return (IF he returns healthy, but most knee injuries of this magnitude take at least two years to really recover from) they could potentially make a late push for the playoffs. However, I don’t expect this will be the case. It’ll be interesting to see if Tom Thibodeau and Co. proves me wrong.

Indiana Pacers (2nd Place 2011-2012)

Players Added: D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee,

Players Lost: Leandro Barbosa, Louis Amundson, Darren Collison, Jeff Foster, A.J. Price, Dahntay Jones, Larry Legend (GM)

The Dime: When the Pacers went up 2-1 on Miami in the playoffs, talking heads around the league fully expected the young upstarts to pull off the upset. Although they ultimately fell short, they can keep their heads held high and get really excited about the things to come. The Pacers will be the Central’s team to beat next year, and one of the East’s top teams. This offseason they took care of the largest priority, re-signing center Roy Hibbert (who had signed a qualifying offer from Portland). Although GM Larry Bird stepped away this summer, the Pacers still could not resist adding a token white-guy in the draft, selecting Duke big Miles Plumlee. Although the selection was pretty poor (no way Plumlee was a first round pick), it was a fitting way to end the Bird-era in Indiana. The Pacers also added a backup PG to fill in for the departed Darren Collison in D.J. Augustin, and another athletic swingman, Gerald Green, to go alongside Paul George, Danny Granger and Co. If the Pacers youth can continue to improve in 2012-13, expect to see Indiana competing for a top spot in the East. The player I will be watching closely is Paul George. George had a terrific year, but had an underwhelming playoff performance. If George can take a step forward in his overall development as a player, particularly on the offensive end, the Pacers are really in a good position moving forward.

Milwaukee Bucks (3rd Place 2011-2012)

Players Added: Samuel Dalembert, John Henson, Doron Lamb

Players Lost: Shaun Livingston, Jon Brockman, Carlos Delfino, Jon Leuer

The Dime: The Bucks are the team most in a position to benefit from the tough-luck of Derrick Rose. Last year they were a borderline playoff contender, and I believe they are poised to find themselves in the playoffs in 2013. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the Bucks have a backcourt of scorers more than capable of getting them points in bunches, and they added this offseason two inside players, Samuel Dalembert and John Henson, that should bolster their paint defense and make up for the loss of oft-injured Aussie, Andrew Bogut. They also added Kentucky shooter Doron Lamb in the second round, an under-rated late selection. Additionally, they re-signed one of last season’s breakout performers, Ersan Ilyasova, meaning they should boast a more than decent front court. If the at-times selfish duo of Jennings and Ellis can gel together, and the team continues to defend at the level coach Scott Skiles expects, I believe the 2012-2013 Bucks should be a playoff team.

Detroit Pistons (4th Place 2011-2012)

Players Added: Andre Drummond, Kim English, Khris Middleton, Kyle Singler, Corey Maggette

Players Lost: Ben Gordon, Vernon Macklin, Jason Maxiell, Walker Russell, Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins

The Dime: Joe Dumars took another gamble in the first round this year, selecting UCONN’s highly talented, but under-productive Andre Drummond. If he pans out in the way his talent suggests, this can be one of the biggest draft steals in a long while. But if he ends up as a bust, which his middling performances as a freshman at UCONN suggest is a very real possibility, this will continue to set the franchise back. Remember, Dumars is the same guy who took Darko before Melo, DWade, and Chris Bosh in 2006. I’m not suggesting the players selected around Drummond will be the league’s biggest stars in 3-4 years like that group, but there was plenty of talent in this year’s draft. The Pistons faithful are in desperate need of some good news, but unfortunately for them, this offseason did not produce much of it. The emergence of Greg Monroe last year was the lone bright-spot in another miserable season, but I do not expect the 2012-2013 version of the team to produce many more highlights. It seems like it’s been forever in Detroit since the Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, and Rip Hamilton led teams were NBA champs and perennial contenders, and this offseason did not move the proud franchise any closer to returning to that kind of glory.

Cleveland Cavaliers (5th Place 2011-2012)

Players Added: Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Jeremy Pargo, Jon Leuer

Players Lost: Christian Eyenga, Semeh Erden, Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison, DJ Kennedy

The Dime: The Cavs actively looked to put a package together that would entice His Airness to part with the number 2 pick in this year’s draft so they could select the top-rated SG, Bradley Beal. With the number 4, 24, 33, and 34 pick in the draft, the Cavs had a variety of picks and a talented player (Anderson Varejao) they thought would be enough for a deal. However, the trade did not pan out, MJ took MKG at 2 and Beal landed with the Wizards at 3. So with the number 4 selection, the Cavs took Syracuse 6th man Dion Waiters ahead of Harrison Barnes and Thomas Robinson among others. This selection certainly raised some eye brows. They then traded their remaining picks to Dallas for the rights to 17th selection, UNC big Tyler Zeller. So if you’re scoring at home, the Cavs turned 4 top 35 picks in one of the deepest drafts in memory into at best a decent 6th man (Waiters) and a backup center (Zeller). Not exactly the haul the Cleveland faithful were hoping for. On top of it all, enemy of the state numero-uno celebrated his first title in South Beach (what happened with the guarantee the Cavs would win one first, Mr. Gilbert?) and young star Kyrie Irving let out some frustration during the US Olympic team camp and broke his shooting hand. Although he is expected to make a smooth recovery after his surgery, he will miss the entire offseason preparation for next year, and will not be able to star in those awesome Uncle Drew commercials (the real travesty of it all). Overall, in my estimation, it’s been a pretty shitty offseason for Cleveland. I fully expect the Cavs to be in their familiar position in the cellar of the Central Division this season.

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By: Colenda

The Northwest division has seen a lot of activity this offseason, with the division’s bottom feeders making a multitude of moves in hopes of catching up with the cream-of-the-crop. Last year’s champs and NBA runner-up, Oklahoma City, returns their entire core and added a few interesting pieces through free agency and the draft. The deep but star-less Nuggets will also be trotting out a very similar roster as last year. But the Blazers, Wolves, and Jazz all saw some drastic changes to their rosters. In fact, the Blazers and Wolves engaged in one of the offseason’s more interesting story-lines as they bid for young, versatile Frenchman Nicolas Batum. There were rumors circling this particular negation that it may be personal between Wolves GM David Kahn and Blazers owner Paul Allen, as Allen had previously dealt the Wolves damaged goods in the form of Martell Webster a few years back. Allen ultimately decided to match the offer-sheet and keep Batum in Portland, but only after agreeing to pay a steep salary increase. There are plenty of intriguing story-lines in the division, and I expect it to play out as one of the more competitive in the league next season. Without further ado, a deeper look into the activity in the Northwest division.

Oklahoma City Thunder (1st Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Perry Jones III, Hasheem Thabeet, Hollis Thompson
Players Lost: Royal Ivey

The Dime: Fresh off a terrific season and a trip to the NBA finals, OKC was able to make a big splash in the draft. As uber-talented, but enigmatic Perry Jones III slid down the draft board, my fellow Dimer Mr. Bohlin and I were fervently sending messages back and forth hoping the Wiz would find a way to trade up into the bottom half of the draft for him. However, Sam Presti burst our bubble by selecting the Baylor forward. I think is a terrific fit for the Thunder as he is able to defend multiple positions and can get up and down the floor (the trend in the NBA is moving toward very versatile, very athletic wings) and he will be able to play a role but will not be expected to be a star, which we all expected from him at Baylor and why his short career was so disappointing. The GM also added UCONN bust Hasheem Thabeet (his track record is terrific, makes it tougher to doubt him on this pick-up) and former-Georgetown sharp-shooter Hollis Thompson. The rest of the crew is expected to be back next year, when Presti will be faced with much tougher situations when extensions for rising starts James Harden and Serge Ibaka will be due. If they are able to secure one, or both, of these players to remain alongside KD and Russell Westbrook than the Thunder will be poised to continue making deep runs in the playoffs for years to come. It will be interesting to see if the Thunder are tempted at the trade deadline this year to move either of these rising starts to ensure they can get assets in return, but I have my doubts they’d be willing to do this as they are primed for a title run next year.

Denver Nuggets (2nd Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller, Anthony Randolph
Players Lost: Chris “Birdman” Anderson

The Dime: The Nuggets are one of the NBA’s most cohesive and well coached teams. Their performance on the floor always seems to exceed the expectations that their level of talent suggest is possible. Their team lacks an identifiable star or even a clear cut best player, but their free-wheeling, up-and-down style of play gives teams fits in the Denver altitude. It has been an interesting off-season in the Mile-High City. Fan-favorite Birdman has been told thanks, but no thanks, and received the amnesty ax. They signed former Wizard headache Javale McGee to a ridiculous 4 year $44 million contract. They drafted one of the few international players in this year’s draft, 3-point shooting Frenchman Evan Fournier (I’m never a huge supporter of drafting internationals). George Karl will again have his hands full figuring out how to balance the minutes of this talented and deep Nuggets roster. I will be interested to continue to watch the emergence of DC-native Ty Lawson (did you see how he fried the Lakers??!!) this year and see if he is able to make the next step in his development. A trendy pick for playoff success last year, I think that this is the year the balanced Nuggets will break through and make some noise come playoff time.

Utah Jazz (3rd Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Shan Foster, Randy Foye, Mo Williams, Marvin Williams
Players Lost: Devin Harris

The Dime: The Utah Jazz have an incredibly talented front-court. With Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter and Paul Millsap the Jazz can score in the paint, bang on the boards, and defend the rim with the best in the West. However, it’s their back-court that’s needed upgrading since Deron Williams forced himself out of town. This offseason the Jazz tried to address those needs, by adding two former Clippers, Mo Williams and Randy Foye, as well as selecting Shan Foster in the draft. Although these players are talented, I do not think the Jazz have the guard play necessary to really make a move up the standings. Although they can be a tough match-up for anyone because of their size, the Jazz are moving against the NBA-trend of getting smaller and more athletic, a culture move I believe will keep their tires spinning but not moving forward.

Portland Trailblazers (4th Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Sasha Pavlovic, Will Barton, Dan Gadzuric, Ronnie Price, Jared Jefferies
Players Lost: Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Jonny Flynn, Joel Pryzbilla, Hasheem Thabeet, Jamal Crawford, Elliot Williams

The Dime: The Blazers have had one of the league’s most dramatic facelifts since season end, adding 7 new players to their roster of 15 this offseason. The “star” of the bunch is first-round pick Damian Lillard out of Weber St. This kid is going to be a player without question, and if the summer league is any indication, we can expect him and LaMarcus Aldridge to be a dangerous pick-and-roll/pop tandem. The Blazers also added former- Illinois 7-footer Meyers Leonard, hoping they can buck the trend of their drafted big-men having health issues. Although highly skilled, I personally don’t see Leonard being an impact pro. I really liked their selection of Will Barton, a slashing scorer from Memphis who will be able to provide some energy and athleticism off their bench. Their biggest offseason headline has to be their bidding war with David Kahn and the Wolves for the young and talented Nicolas Batum. Signed to a $46 million offer-sheet in Minnesota, the Blazers decided to match the offer for the versatile French swingman. Don’t get me wrong, Batum is a terrific player and can be an important piece for a winning team, but he can never be THE piece for a winner. He will be expected to really up his production from last year and provide a complement to their All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. I will be watching closely to see if Batum is up to the challenge.

Minnesota Timberwolves (5th Place 2011-2012)
Players Added: Dante Cunningham, Andrei Kirilenko (Pictured above), Robbie Hummel, Chase Buddinger
Players Lost: Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, Darko Milicic, Brad Miller, Anthony Randolph, Wayne Ellington, Anthony Tolliver

The Dime: The Wolves were one of the NBA’s most exiting teams last year with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, quickly becoming a must-see game. Exciting or not, they still finished in dead last in their division. Kevin Love has already come out and said he does not want to play for a bottom-feeder, which means the time is now for the Wolves to return to the winning ways they haven’t seen since KG was the “Big Ticket” in Minneapolis. This offseason was intriguing for the Wolves, and I really liked the moves the notorious David Kahn made (first time that sentence has EVER been muttered about Kahn’s decisions as GM). His pursuit of Batum, although they did not land him, made basketball sense (SF is their biggest need and Batum is an athletic small forward, who can defend, rebound, and shoot the three). They added Chase Buddigner to help provide some offensive fire-power and further stretch the floor, and brought back Andrei Kirilenko to the NBA after a year’s hiatus in Europe. Their recent trade for my former teammate Dante Cunningham provides some additional inside depth. With Rubio returning from last season’s knee injury, the Wolves believe they are poised to improve on their performance from last season and make a push for the playoffs in the next two seasons.

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By: Bohlin

According to the Twitter account of the Washington Post’s Wizards Insider, Michael Lee, the Washington Wizards have acquired the back-up point guard that fans have been clamoring for all summer. Price, who last played for the Indiana Pacers, had his qualifying offer rescinded after the Pacers acquired D.J. Augustin.

Price, over the course of his 150 game NBA career, has averages of 6.0 PPG and 2.0 APG in 14.9 minutes played per contest. It will be interesting to see what this means for Shelvin Mack’s future in the district. Terms of the contract have yet to be released but once they are we will address the contract, allegedly, signed by Price today.

Last week I made my case for why the Wizards should look towards signing A.J. Price to come in and fill the role of back-up point guard on this team, you can read those thoughts here. Look for a Pick and Pop concerning this free agent signing later tonight.

UPDATE: The Wizards have officially announced the signing of PG A.J. Price. Per team policy the terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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By: Bohlin

According to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports the Wizards are one of the teams that have shown interest in newly unrestricted free agent guard Courtney Lee.

Personally, I would love to see the Wizards go after Lee so that he could help shoulder some of the burden at SG from rookie Bradley Beal. Having Lee in DC would allow Beal to come off the bench in a 6th man role, a la James Harden in OKC, as he becomes acclimated to the NBA game.

Also, it would allow the Wizards to go small with a line up featuring Wall, Beal and Lee on the floor at the same time. Flanking two more than adequate shooters alongside a burner PG like John Wall would open up the lane for him to do what he does best; Penetrate the lane to score or find the open man after reading the defense.

While we may be interested in bringing Mr. Lee to Washington there has to be interest on his end as well for this rumor to evolve into a legitimate possibility. It was originally reported that the teams that would pursue Lee were the Clippers, Bulls, Pacers, Mavericks and of course our Washington Wizards. With the Clippers signing Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford today you have to assume they’re now out of the Courtney Lee sweepstakes.

That leaves us with the Bulls, Pacers and Mavericks as our top known competition. Realistically the Wizards could offer Lee their full MLE (Mid-Level Exception for those unfamiliar with the jargon of NBA Free Agency) which is roughly $5 million per year over the duration of the contract.

The Pacers just gave George Hill a contract worth $40 million. They also have a decision to make as to whether to max out Roy Hibbert. So it is not certain how much they would invest in a player who fills a similar role to Hill.

The Bulls and Mavericks are in the same boat. They are both legitimate contenders who could use a player like Lee but at what cost? I’m not convinced they would be able, or willing for that matter, to throw the full MLE at Lee like the Wizards could.

It is still far from a lock that Lee ends up with the Wizards. However, the odds got better today with the Clippers effectively dropping out of the race for the former Western Kentucky Hilltopper. Check back to The DC Dime for more coverage on the pursuit of Courtney Lee as well as other free agency news concerning the Wizards as it happens.

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By: Bohlin

Former Georgetown Hoyas center Henry Sims has accepted an invitation to play for the Utah Jazz summer league team. Sims, a legit seven-footer, will have a chance to showcase his skills in the Orlando Summer League which begins on July 9th. All of Sims’ games will be shown on NBATV.

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By: Bohlin

Last Thursday night we did not see any of the three draft eligible Georgetown Hoyas, Jason Clark, Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson, get selected by an NBA franchise. While disappointing, this does give those former Hoyas the opportunity to choose  where to continue chasing their NBA dreams. While Sims and Thompson have yet to make a decision as to which NBA Summer League team they will sign up with Jason Clark has.

Clark, as first reported yesterday, will be joining the Miami Heat in the Vegas Summer League beginning on July 13th. Clark worked out for the Miami Heat prior to last Thursday’s NBA Draft and while they did not end up selecting the former star for the Hoyas they did see enough in his skill set to invite him to join their Summer League roster.

This is a great opportunity for Clark to showcase his skills and have a legitimate shot at sticking with the Heat come the regular season were he to have an impressive run in Las Vegas. With so much of Miami’s salary cap space wrapped up in the Big Three they will have to find creative ways to fill out the rest of their roster. One option, which was employed last year by Pat Riley, would be to sign young players, such as Clark, to smaller contracts to get to the roster limit set by the NBA.

Clark was a former All-Met Player of the Year selection from Bishop O’Connell High School (Arlington, VA) as well as a First-Team All Big East selection his senior year at Georgetown. Clark finished his Hoyas career with some impressive numbers ranking twentieth all-time in points scored, fifteenth all-time in steals and fourth all-time in three-pointers made.

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