Miami Heat: Shannon Brown Signing Grade

Miami Heat: Shannon Brown Signing Grade
Nekias Duncan, Lead Writer/Hoopstuff…
Terms: 1 season, $1.3M
The Miami Heat made a minor splash by signing combo-guard Shannon Brown to a one-year deal. Brown played sparingly for the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs last season, averaging a measly 2.2 ppg in 29 total games between the two teams. Brown signed with both teams with little chance of cracking their rotation, so hopefully for Brown, signing with the Heat is a fresh, fair start for him to regain his Phoenix form, where, in two seasons there, he averaged 10.7 ppg in 23.7 mpg.
With Dwyane Wade firmly locked in as the Heat’s starting SG, don’t expect Brown to get the minutes he got in Phoenix, but don’t expect him to get the miniscule amount of minutes he received in his short stints in New York and San Antonio either. Dwyane Wade will have to take on a bigger scoring load and won’t be able to rest games like he did last season, but he’ll likely miss a few if his knees continue to…

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Miami Heat: Shawne and Reggie Williams Signing Grade

Miami Heat: Shawne and Reggie Williams Signing Grade
Nekias Duncan, Lead Writer/Hoopstuff…
With the roster nearly set, the Miami Heat decided to add some more wing depth by adding a pair of Williams’, Shawne and Reggie.
Shawne Williams, a 6’9 forward from Memphis, played a stint for the Lakers last season as a hybrid 3/4 under Mike D’Antoni. Williams averaged 5.6 ppg and 4.6 rpg in 20.9 mpg last season for Los Angeles. Williams is a 3 & D forward without much three; he’s only a 33.3% shooter from behind the arc for his career, although he does shoot 38.3% on corner threes for his career. However, Williams’ ability to guard 2s, 3s, and some 4s could prove to be valuable in a bench role.
On the other hand, forward Reggie Williams isn’t that good of a defender, but he CAN shoot the rock. This Williams is a career 37.1% three-point shooter, but hasn’t played much in the last two seasons, only averaging 9.5 mpg in Charlotte, and 5.7 mpg last year with the Thunder. Assuming he sticks …

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Chicago Bulls Interested in Signing NBA Journeyman

The Chicago Bulls may be passing up on signing area product E’Twaun Moore and heading in a different direction. News out of Brazil is suggesting that the Bulls may be interested in signing NBA Journeyman Leandro Barbosa.
Barbosa has played for five NBA teams, most notably the Phoenix Suns, as well as teams in Brazil over the past few seasons. During Team USA’s game with Brazil during the FIBA World Cup friendlies, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had meetings with both Brazil’s entrepreneurs and Barbosa himself.

While Thibs would like to have a veteran over a younger player, the Bulls may be nearing the salary cap. Barbosa would likely come at a one year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.5 million. The Miami Heat are also interested in the free agent as well.

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Chicago Bulls: 4 Free Agents To Consider Signing

Chicago Bulls: 4 Free Agents To Consider Signing
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
The Bulls have just 12 players signed for next season, one being their 2nd round pick Cameron Bairstow who isn’t going to be playing much and could be in the D-League, so they can sign 3-4 more players and if he is in the D-League they have to sign 2 to get to the minimum 13 players. So they still have some work in filling the roster. There is still some strong talents that are free agents and there are some players that could help them, so here are 4 free agents they should consider signing.. However they would have to be minimum signings.
1. Emeka Okafor- C
- If Okafor was on this team, he would at best be their 4th big man, maybe 5th, but the Bulls still lack a 2nd center and he is the best free agent who isn’t Eric Bledsoe or Greg Monroe. It is doubtful that he would take a minimum to play a small role, but there is no harm in trying to sign a player that fits the team perfectly and …

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawn Marion signing a big win

The Cleveland Cavaliers just keep adding power to their roster as they signed NBA veteran and four time All-Star, Shawn Marion.
With LeBron James returning to Cleveland and Kevin Love awaiting his trade date, the Cavaliers are in good shape to reach a championship. With the salary cap looking slim, the Cavaliers signed Marion for a one year deal worth $1.4 million dollars.
Sources say that Marion was thinking about signing with the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Miami Heat. He is on a mission to win a championship just like LeBron James was four years ago when he signed with Miami.
Marion brings a strong defensive game, and he averaged 15.8 points throughout his career as well as 9.0 rebounds. He also brings a lot of playoff experience, as he has been in the playoffs 10 times during his 15 seasons in the league. He has played in 103 NBA playoff games and won a title with the Dallas Mavericks, who he played with the past five seasons.
Even though Marion is getting into the late stages of his career

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawn Marion Signing Grade

Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawn Marion Signing Grade
By Josh Morgan: VP and Director of Content/Hoopstuff…
Contract: Reportedly 1 year, 1.4 million
The Cavaliers have had the best offseason since the 2010 Heat. That essentially happened the day LeBron decided he’d be returning to Cleveland but since then they have built very well around him, adding Mike Miller and James Jones to bolster their three point shooting which ranked 18th in the league based on percentage, and agreeing to the terms of a trade to acquire Kevin Love from Minnesota once first overall pick Andrew Wiggins is eligible to be traded, who will help that number as well as the 22nd ranked scoring offense in the league. Just a few days ago veteran swing man Shawn Marion also agreed to move to Cleveland, making the offseason even better and helping in a badly needed area, on the defensive end.
For the past fifteen seasons Marion has been one of the best defenders in the league despite playing the majority of his career on on…

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Kirk Signing Grade

Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Kirk Signing Grade
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
Is this a guaranteed contract, non-guaranteed? I couldn’t care less, I love this move. Many of you probably have no clue who he is, I was admittedly just a tad familiar, but he was the starting center at the University of New Meixco and he is a perfect fit on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster. He is big at 7 feet tall and 245 pounds, giving the Cavaliers needed size and he could be the biggest player on the Cavaliers. He also fills their biggest need, a shot blocking big man and he also provides defensive and rebounding depth.
He is a solid and efficient scorer, as he scored 13 points per game on 49 percent shooting as a junior, but far more vital for the Cavaliers, he averaged 2.7 blocks and 8.7 rebounds per game. The only centers on the roster are Anderson Varejao who is 31 and Brendan Hayward who is 34 and has barely produced in 3 straight seasons. The one skill that Hayward still has seems…

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Lakers Rumors: Signing Michael Beasley Would Be a Mistake for Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in signing free-agent small forward Michael Beasley, but that is a bad idea, and the franchise must look elsewhere to bolster its roster.

In a report from Dave McMenamin of, Los Angeles has already worked Beasley out and is considering a possible deal:

The Los Angeles Lakers are considering signing free-agent forward Michael Beasley and brought in the six-year veteran for a workout at their El Segundo, California, practice facility Wednesday, according to multiple sources.

“[Beasley] looked very good and he has been working out,” one source said. “A tiny rust from layoff, but [he] did a good job.”

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, there has been little movement since the workout, but Beasley is reportedly looking for certain requirements before signing a contract:

The Lakers made several big moves this offseason. After letting Pau Gasol leave via free agency, the team added former Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer to replace the departed veteran. Los Angeles also made a trade this offseason to acquire point guard Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets.

The team made a splash in free agency with Boozer, but the Lakers also made several smart moves this offseason when it came to the NBA draft and re-signing their own players. After ensuring forwards Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Ryan Kelly had contract extensions heading into 2014-15, Los Angeles utilized the draft to add even more depth and talent.

With first-round pick Julius Randle bolstering the power forward position and second-round pick Jordan Clarkson adding depth at point guard, the fit for Beasley on the Lakers isn’t as perfect as it once was.

Beasley likely wants more playing time than he had in Miami last season (15.1 minutes per game), but he will have a hard time finding that with Los Angeles. While Beasley’s versatility allows him to play both forward positions, the depth at forward will limit his productivity.

After only managing 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, the Lakers aren’t going to want to tie up guaranteed money on a player who could offer little to the team if his effort level isn’t up to par for the organization. Beasley will be forced to come off the bench and play sporadic minutes. If he isn’t 100 percent focused on the task at hand, this will be a wasted signing.

There is no denying the talent Beasley has shown (averaged 19.2 points and 6.6 rebounds with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010-11), but he was never able to replicate that success again, and his numbers have declined steadily.

Instead of investing money in Beasley, Los Angeles should be looking to add depth at center behind Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre. The lack of talent at the position is the Lakers’ biggest issue and should be addressed before considering a deal with any free agent.


*Stats via

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Signing Shawn Marion Now a Necessity for Cavs After Kevin Love Trade

Love is not all the Cleveland Cavaliers need.

They need a little bit of Shawn Marion, too. And, per Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, they just might get him:

Following a weeks-long jitterbug around and toward one another, the Minnesota Timberwolves will ship Kevin Love to the Cavaliers in exchange for rookie Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski. The deal cannot be made official until August 23, but it’s the most official unofficial deal you’ll find. 

Anticipation is naturally mounting in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers have gone from a 33-win lottery team stuck in the cyclic throes of a static rebuild to an Eastern Conference powerhouse playing home to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Love.

Championships are on the brain. Their offense will be explosive. The starting lineup will be packed with All-Stars.

Their defense will be, um, yeah. Hence the need for Marion: to make it less “um, yeah.” 


Perimeter Paramountcy  

Trading for Love doesn’t necessarily damage the Cavs‘ defense. They weren’t good to begin with. They ranked 17th in defensive efficiency last season, and they didn’t project to be much better next year. 

Dealing Wiggins hurts, limiting—possibly erasing—their ability to improve defensively. He projects as a lockdown perimeter defender because of his athleticism and lateral quickness alone. It’s his defensive skill set that contributed to Cleveland’s draft-day decision in the first place.

“We really believe in this point that his defense is a skill set,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said at the time, per The Plain Dealer‘s Jodie Valade. “That’s something that really spoke to me about Andrew.”

Andrew is now gone. Almost. The Cavaliers need a replacement, and they need one badly. 

Staunch perimeter defense is now of the utmost importance. James helps as someone who can defend everyone and their second cousin while covering up for Irving’s lack of defensive prowess. But in completing this trade, the Cavaliers are housing one of the worst rim-protecting duos around.

Anderson Varejao and Love figure to start up front. Looking beyond the fact that Varejao has missed 166 games since James first left Cleveland—41.5 per year—neither him nor Love are equipped to contest dribble penetration or shots at the rim.

The Timberwolves were the worst defensive team last season when it came to contesting shots at the iron. Opponents converted 55.6 percent of their attempts there, according to The Cavaliers are basically swapping out Nikola Pekovic for Varejao in this scenario, so things aren’t going to improve.

Both Love and Varejao ranked in the bottom 14 of opponent field-goal-percentage at the rim in 2013-14 for all players who were forced to contest at least five shots per game. Love himself ranked 74th in the field of 77, emerging as a point-blank turnstile, like CBS Sports’ Zach Harper details:

Love has been one of the easier big men to score against during his career. …

However, he has a tendency not to foul inside and while that can be viewed as a positive thing because you’re not giving up easy free throw attempts, he does just let the player go up without much shot contesting. When he’s in position, he does a solid job of helping and keeping position. When he’s not in position, he does a poor job of consistently figuring out how to make the best defensive play happen.

Anyone the Cavaliers allow into the paint has a solid chance of scoring. Their best rim protector at the moment is James, who can’t defend inside when he’ll need to shut down the rival team’s best outside scorer.

Marion gives Cleveland another defensive-savvy wing capable of preventing dribble penetration and incisive cuts rather than relying on Love, Varejao and even Tristan Thompson to deter them. He’s not the same, ambulatory defensive force he was a few years ago, but he moves about the free-throw line extended well and, more importantly, is a better option than anyone else the Cavaliers have. 


Love’s Luckless Defense

No one else on the Cavs‘ roster can come in and spell James and Love at the 3 or 4 without there being an overly adverse impact on defense.

Opposing forwards combined to average a 17.8 player efficiency rating against Marion last season, according to, but his value isn’t as an individual defender per se. He’s more of a constantly moving, roaming guardian who helps everyone.

Consider what SB Nation’s Drew Garrison penned ahead of last season, all of which remained relevant through 2013-14: 

The Mavericks relied on Marion’s defensive versatility to provide the type of coverage expected out of elite defensive anchors like Roy Hibbert or Dwight Howard. It was Marion rotating around the paint and cutting off dribble penetration with no defensive big man to rely on last season in Dallas. It was Marion assigned to the James Hardens and Kevin Durants of the league. He’s still The Matrix, defending any position from point guard to center.

Fifteen years in, Marion is more of a team defender. He isn’t the product of any one system or scheme, but he’s not the same one-on-one talent from years past. And that’s fine. The Cavs aren’t going to win playing man-to-man defense. 

Ball movement and screens stand to sink this team without the proper help. That’s where Love struggled most last season. He has this tendency to go way under screens, and he’s almost always drawn to ball-handlers.

That can work on a team with solid help defenders. When said team, like the Wolves, doesn’t have those help defenders, this happens:

And this happens:

When you’re playing alongside Kevin Martin, the help isn’t going to be there. Ever.

Alongside Marion it will be, which means something, because the Cavaliers will have to send double-teams at ball-handlers off pick-and-rolls. They, again, don’t have the rim protection to rely on one man stepping in to salvage the play. 

Likewise, Love is going to need that help behind him when he’s defending on the perimeter. He deliberately leaves space between him and opponents because he’s not especially adept at defending off the dribble. Crowding the ball is asking for disaster to strike.

Though it leaves him susceptible to open jumpers, it’s a fair trade-off considering how unlikely he is to commit hard fouls at the rim. On those occasions when opponents decide to put the ball on the floor, though, the extra space isn’t always enough.

Love is prone to falling for pump fakes and unable to recover when he does. He can keep pace with his back to the basket, but the moment opposing scorers get an angle on him, he doesn’t have the lateral agility to recover. 

Here he is against Blake Griffin, leaving space, daring him to shoot the jumper:

Griffin doesn’t shoot the jumper, electing to put the ball on the floor instead. This does not end well for Love:

A similar situation transpires here between him and Jon Leuer. Love again leaves space:

Give Leuer the jumper, not the lane. It’s sound in theory.

Then Leuer puts the ball on the floor. You can guess how that ended:

Double-teams, behind-the-back help and rotations have to be sent in those situations. That’s where Marion will help most, whether it’s rotating over and giving Love more time to slink toward another player, sliding behind him to cut off dribble penetration or attempting to trap the ball-bearer. 

Think of him like a safety net. He isn’t going to block shots or intimidate cutters, but he’s going to help disrupt plays and offensive sets before they get to that point. Love needs someone like that to have his back. 


Necessary Insurance 

And it’s not just Love who Marion helps, mind you.

This isn’t a “Love doesn’t play defense” issue. There are times when he can be lethargic and disinterested on that end, but he’s not perpetually inert. He’s a stout post-up defender and many of his issues stem from making wrong decisions, not checking out entirely.

“Saying Kevin Love is playing ineffective defense is much more accurate than saying Kevin Love is an ineffective defender,” Bleacher Report’s Ian Levy wrote in March.  

Completely true. And, more pointedly, only part of the reason Cleveland now needs Marion.

Where some of Love’s baggage—outside poor rim-contesting—can be attributed to systematic ignorance, the Cavaliers have players who actively don’t defend, be it by design or otherwise.

Take Irving. The Cavaliers were a defensive abomination with him on the floor last year. They allowed 4.4 points per 100 possessions less without him in the game. 

Dion Waiters is a more active defender than Irving, but he’s still not good, let alone great. If Ray Allen joins the festivities, he’s another liability Cleveland has to cover up.

Rolling with Wiggins alongside James would go a long way in counteracting general, team-wide defensive illiteracy. But the Cavaliers have valued star power over potential, and flashiness over function. 

James won’t solve their problems on his own. Nor would Marion’s arrival turn them into an impregnable fortress.

Signing him just insures the Cavaliers against themselves, and the defense they’re not built to play.


*Stats courtesy of unless otherwise cited. 

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What Does the Avery Bradley Signing Mean for Rondo’s Future in Boston?

BOSTON—The Celtics’ backcourt got a little bit more crowded yesterday. The team kicked off their free agent maneuvering by reportedly agreeing to terms with restricted free agent Avery Bradley on a new four-year contract, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.

Bringing back Bradley solidifies one part of the Celtics’ rebuild for years to come. The 23-year-old guard is considered one of the best young defenders in the NBA and posted career highs in scoring and rebounding last season.

Bradley’s return, combined with the drafting of hybrid guard Marcus Smart by the Celtics last month, raises questions about the future of another prominent member of the Boston backcourt: Rajon Rondo.

We all know a Bradley-Rondo pairing in the backcourt can coexist.

During the last couple seasons Bradley has been Boston’s starting shooting guard alongside Rondo. The pair has mainly thrived when they have taken the court together, but health has been a major obstacle for the duo as they missed a combined 148 games over the past two seasons.

With Smart added to the mix, the Celtics now have a talented option off the bench to spell both players. Alternatively, with Smart and Bradley under team control for the next four seasons, the option of trading Rondo this summer or next season just got a lot more realistic.

The reason why is simple: Rondo enters a contract season in 2014-15 and will be looking for a major raise in his next deal. Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell told Yahoo! Sports Radio in an interview last week that rumors have circulated that the point guard is seeking a $100 million dollar contract extension, an amount he would be eligible for when his current deal expires.

If true, it’s a hefty price tag to pay a player in the midst of a rebuild, when the Celtics already have plenty of depth and talent signed with Bradley and Smart at the same position.

The presence of that duo gives the team more flexibility when weighing the team’s future options with Rondo.

That’s not to say the team will be looking to deal Rondo, just that the team could be more willing to listen to proposals now. The odds are firmly in favor of the Celtics holding onto Rondo for the start of next season to see whether the team’s current backcourt can coexist.

Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stated on the record as recently as last week at the NBA Draft that he believes Bradley, Smart and Rondo can play together.

“[Smart's] a very versatile player,” Ainge said. “Easily those guys can play together. I think they would really thrive playing together, all of them.”

Ainge later added: “I think that you obviously need three guards who are going to play a significant amount of minutes. We also think Marcus can play with Phil Pressey. Phil can play with Rondo. Phil can play with Avery. Because of the versatility of Rondo and Marcus, that probably allows that.”

A Rondo-Smart pairing in the backcourt could challenge the Celtics from a floor-spacing standpoint. Both players have not been reliable outside shooters throughout their careers, but the Celtics coaching staff believes that Smart is a better shooter than he showed at Oklahoma State.

If Smart lives up to those expectations and Bradley remains consistent from the outside (he shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range last year), it would give the backcourt trio a better chance of succeeding together on the offensive end of the floor.

Like Ainge, head coach Brad Stevens voiced his confidence that the Rondo and Smart duo could excel when speaking to reporters last week.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt [Smart and Rondo] can play together,” said Stevens. “I think it will be great for Marcus to have a guy like Rondo to look up to, to learn from. Not many guys get that opportunity, especially early on in the draft like this…I expect him to play some off the ball. I expect him to play some with the ball. But he’s a young guy. He’s going to be playing with a guy there that’s been in the league for a long time, that can really help him learn about it. I think it’ll be great for both of them.” 

For now, the Celtics backcourt appears to be a position of strength. Unless an enticing offer comes along this summer, Ainge will likely give Rondo a chance to mesh with Bradley and Smart at the start of next season.

From there, the Celtics will determine whether they are better off investing in Rondo long-term or using him as a trade chip to address their needs elsewhere.


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