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NBA Offseason: Wizards trade Rashard Lewis for Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza 06.20.12 at 3:04 pm ET
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This was a bit of a surprise. According to a report by Draft Express, and confirmed by several others including the Washington Post’s Michael Lee, the Wizards have agreed to trade Rashard Lewis and the 46th pick in the draft to the Hornets for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.

First, the contract numbers: Lewis has one-year left on his albatross contract that pays him more than $23 million but he can be waived for $13.7 million, per Draft Express. Okafor is due about $14 million this season and he has an early termination option for the 2013-14 season, while Ariza will make over $7 million and has a player option for the following season at $7.2 million.

This could potentially save the Hornets up to $30 million and open up major cap space for next summer. With two first round picks and no long-term salary obligations — yet — the Hornets are well-positioned to build an entirely new team in new owner Tom Benson’s first season.

Eric Gordon is set to hit restricted free agency, but suddenly re-signing him to a large deal is less daunting minus that $20 million in contracts for Okafor and Ariza. A core of Gordon, Anthony Davis, whoever they get with the 10th pick and cap space isn’t a bad starting place.

For the Wizards, well, this is yet another step in yet another major overhaul. After years of being good with nothing to show for it, they settled into a painful rebuild around young players with no veteran experience, an approach that was criticized by Celtics coach Doc Rivers among others.

GM Ernie Grunfeld signaled the new direction when he traded Javale McGee for Nene at the deadline. Now he adds two more veterans at the cost of future cap space. If Grunfeld really wanted to clean house, he could use the amnesty provision on Andray Blatche who has been a major disappointment.

This move could also affect the draft where Washington could set their sights on Florida guard Bradley Beal with the third pick, rather than Kentucky forward Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, setting up a backcourt of Beal and John Wall to go with the veteran bruisers up front. They still have recent first rounders: Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton and Jan Vesley, so it’s not as if Washington is going the veteran route completely.

Whether Okafor and Nene can play together up front remains to be seen, but with Wall entering his third season it’s time to find out exactly what they have in the 2010 top overall pick.

Read More: 2012 NBA Offseason, Emeka Okafor, John Wall, Rashard Lewis
Your daily Rajon Rondo update: ‘Back to School’ 07.29.11 at 3:26 pm ET
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According to University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari, Rajon Rondo will join fellow former Wildcats John Wall and Eric Bledsoe as students at the school for the upcoming fall semester should the lockout continue.

As Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones noted, Rondo & Co. could practice with their former college team as student assistant coaches should they enroll full-time (12 credit hours in a semester).

Rondo left Kentucky after his sophomore year in 2006, while both Wall and Bledsoe departed following their freshman seasons in 2010. Presumably, the Celtics point guard is a lot closer to actually achieving his college degree than his counterparts on the Wizards and Clippers. Hopefully, the NBA lockout won’t last long enough for any of them to take two or three years of classes, although all three should be commended if they actually do enroll and attend college courses.

And there better be a “Back to School” reality show based on this with Rondo going around saying stuff like, “I hereby dedicate this building to myself,” “Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out, and then bring one every 10 minutes” and “Why don’t you call me some time when you have no class?”

I could go on all day with Rondo in “Back to School” scenarios, but I’ll spare you. Instead, check out this Rondo impression by Harlem Globetrotter Dizzy Grant and answer the poll question below …

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Eric Bledsoe, Harlem Globetrotters, John Calipari, John Wall
Irish Coffee: How the (Delonte) West has won 11.17.10 at 11:38 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Regardless of the weapons charges, his subsequent suspension, his reported scuffle with Von Wafer, the only thing that matters now is this: Does Delonte West‘s presence in the lineup make the Celtics a better team?

Since the Celtics traded him to Seatte three years ago, West played 185 games for the SuperSonics and Cleveland Cavaliers. In the same three seassons, those teams played a total of 143 games without him in the lineup — giving us a nice sample size to measure his value to a team. The results are fairly decisive …

With West: 117-68 (.632 winning percentage)
Without West: 75-68 (.525 winning percentage)

(NOTE: Because West was traded from Seattle to Cleveland midway through the 2007-08 season, those teams played 103 games without him.)

In 57 games off the bench for the Cavs last season, West averaged 9.0 points, 3.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 25.8 minutes while shooting 45.4 percent from the field, 33.8 from 3-point range and 82.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Outside of Glen Davis, those numbers are better than any other Celtics reserve this season — regardless of position. In fact, ever since they sent him to Seattle in the Ray Allen deal, the C’s have been searching for a guy like West, who can both spell Rajon Rondo at the point and assume a scoring load on the second unit.

The Celtics signed Sam Cassell in 2007-08 and Stephon Marbury in 2008-09 before trading for Nate Robinson last season. Let’s see how their contributions to the C’s compared to West’s production off the bench for the Cavaliers last season (leader in bold) …

  • 2009-10 West (57 games): 25.8 minutes, 9.0 points, 3.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 45.4 FG%, 33.8 3-PT FG% and 82.5 FT%.
  • 2009-10 Robinson (26 games): 14.7 minutes, 6.5 points, 2.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 40.1 FG%, 41.4 3-PT FG% and 61.5 FT%.
  • 2008-09 Marbury (23 games): 18.0 minutes, 3.8 points, 3.3 assists, 1.2 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 34.2 FG%, 24.0 3-PT FG% and 46.2 FT%.
  • 2007-08 Cassell (17 games): 17.6 minutes, 7.6 points, 2.1 assists, 1.8 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 38.5 FG%, 40.9 3-PT FG% and 84.0 FT%.

In terms of plus/minus, Robinson was a minus-53 last season when he was on the floor for the Celtics. IN 2008-09, Marbury was a minus-28. In 2007-08, Cassell was just a plus-17. Meanwhile, West was a plus-731 over the last three years. Essentially, with him on the floor, his teams have outscored opponents by an average of 4.0 points a game.

Clearly, West offers the C’s best option at guard off the bench in the Big Three era.

(For the record, my favorite line from the video that accompanies this blog is obviously: “You’d better have my doughnuts.” I’m going to start saying that to everybody I work with.)

RAY ALLEN SEPARATES CELTICS

The difference between the Celtics and Miami Heat, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thompsen? Ray Allen. Despite being considered the fourth man on the C’s new Big Four, the 35-year-old shooting guard ranks second on the team in minutes (39.7, behind Rondo at 41.1) and points (18.8, behind Paul Pierce at 21.0) while shooting a blistering 45.9 percent from 3-point land.

“I know how to manage being part of the team and being productive,” Allen told SI. “You can never let it slip. Like you can’t say, ‘OK, I’m going to just take it by the wayside [and relax].’ You’ve still got to get your shots up and take care of your body and make sure you’re eating right and sleeping right. The minute you start thinking, ‘Well, I don’t want to do this anymore,’ or you start slowing down, then that’s when your game slows down and people start giving you less responsibility.”

Averaging 2.8 3-pointers per game this season, Allen is just 89 treys away from breaking Reggie Miller‘s all-time record. At the rate he’s going this fall, he’ll break the mark around the All-Star break. Just for fun, let’s take a loot at Allen vs. Miller at age 35 …

  • Allen: 39.7 minutes, 18.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 47.9 FG%, 45.9 3-PT FG% and 91.7 FT%.
  • Miller: 39.3 minutes, 18.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.0 FG%, 36.6 3-PT FG% and 92.8 FT%.

Keep in mind, Miller was the first or second scoring option on that 2000-01 Indiana Pacers team, depending on whether or not you’d consider Jalen Rose (20.5 ppg) the go-to guy.

Washington Wizards' John Wall (2) reacts after his dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, in Washington.

John Wall is giving Washington Wizards fans a reason to be fired up this season. (AP)

MEET JOHN WALL

John Wall missed Tuesday night’s Washington Wizards game against the Toronto Raptors because of a sprained left foot, and he could be a game-time decision against the Celtics on Wednesday night.

If Wall is anything like Rondo, though, he’ll play, just to guage his level of play against one of the best point guards in the leagu — even if he doesn’t consider Rondo among the NBA‘s elite.

If you’ll recall, in Grant Wahl‘s Sports Illustrated piece on Wall as a freshman at the University of Kentucky, he listed “today’s gold standard: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose.” Absent from the list was Rondo — the only guy to also play at Kentucky.

Speaking of the two point guards, in ESPN’s NBA Awards Watch, Rondo currently ranks second in the MVP race, while Wall ranks first among Rookie of the Year candidates.

HOW THE WEST WOULD BE WON

Well, we started with Delonte West, and we’ll end with him. While reintroducing West to Boston fans, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recall the romantic advice he gave to ESPN’s Page 2 during his previous tenure in the city. Here are a few highlights …

“So, I pick her up in my white convertible. From there, I’d have the music pumping on the radio. The Jim Jones pumping, you know, ‘Summer in Miami’ pumping. Got to keep a little gangsta; you can’t be too soft. You can’t be in there playing some guy that’s crying, talking about don’t leave me and love me baby, wah wah and all that. So Jim Jones pumping and then from there, wind blowing through the hair, boom, we get straight to the point — we eat afterwards because I don’t want to kiss no onions. I don’t want to kiss you tasting like onions and steak and mushrooms and everything.”

“We’re going to my yacht. We’ll pull up at the docks and got a guy waiting for us, open our door up and we walk down a lit-up dock and onto the yacht, where we have dinner set up on the boat and we just cruise out on the water. Sit down and have some dinner, some shrimps and steaks, keep it nice and breezy. Pop some bottles, some Moet Rose. The red Moet, we ain’t popping no Kristal, it tastes like urination. We ain’t popping no Kris, that’s $500 a bottle. It ain’t that serious. It ain’t going to get you drunk. Make sure you put that in there. We ain’t doing a $500 bottle, we’re doing a $99 wine and dine.”

“One more thing: When we’re on the yacht eating, we’re going to have some Popeye’s chicken. That’s for dinner. It’s to let her know, put a mental image on her mind, first and foremost, if you ain’t from the hood, you don’t like Popeye’s chicken. Everyone there loves Popeye’s chicken and the biscuits — phew. But that’s just getting it on her mind, saying, you know, ‘Yeah, I can wine and dine you, but I’m a little rough around the edges and I’m keeping it real with you. I can be romantic, but this is real, we’re going to eat some chicken tonight. Chicken and biscuits.’”

“OK, so from there, we’re doing a midnight skinny-dipping jump. Alright? From there, hopefully she’s got money because I hope Jaws gets her, boom, make sure she got me in the will, bank, I’m good. Oh well, shark got her! Jaws got her.”

 So, let me get this straight: The perfect romantic night is a pre-onions hookup followed by a Popeye’s chicken and biscuits dinner with Moet Rose (not Kristal, because it tastes like urination) and, finally, a skinny-dipping expedition where your date hopefully gets eaten by a shark. Got it.

Actually, I think if you follow the exact opposite of West’s advice, you’ll be good.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, John Wall, NBA
Celtics: Irish Coffee 10.06.10 at 10:04 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Are the Celtics “playing too much,” as Shaquille O’Neal says in this video? Talk about Hack-a-Shaq. Is it just me, or could Shaq have easily injured his back during this prank by Nate Robinson and Rajon Rondo? It’s not like Shaq is some 28-year-old, like Dwyane Wade, and even he got injured in the preseason. I know Rondo is used to getting knocked to the ground a handful of times every game, and I’m not sure if Robinson’s ever heard the phrase, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” But Shaq practically invented that saying, especially after this stunt. Listen, I’m all for the wacky Halloween dance videos and the old dump-salt-in-Shaq’s-water trick, but when these hijinks could potentially effect the team on the court, I think it’s gone a little too far.

QUOTES FROM AROUND THE NBA

Gilbert Arenas on John Wall: “I’m out there to hit open shots, teach John the ins-and-outs of the game and eventually go on and move on. And I’m on my way. This is the NBA, there are few players that stay in the same city. Right now, the city is John’s. I’m not here to fight anybody. I’m here to just play alongside of him. He’s Batman, and I’m Robin. I’m moving aside so he can become a star.”
(NOTE: Arenas is signed through 2014. Sounds kinda like he’s gonna be looking for a trade.)

Tracy McGrady on The Decision: “If I had the opportunity to team with someone like D-Wade — it’s about winning isn’t it? What everyone has a problem with is how LeBron did it. You shouldn’t do it that way. As far as him leaving, I’m happy for him. I hope they win 10 championships. I’m envious.”
(NOTE: I know you’re washed up, Tracy, but you’re still in the NBA. I’m pretty sure he just admitted the Pistons are going to be terrible, and he’d rather be playing in Miami.)

Jamario Moon on Cleveland life without LeBron: “It wasn’t strange at all, it’s home. We were anxious to get out there and show that basketball is still alive in Cleveland.”
(The NBA: Where delusion happens!)

Yao Ming on his return from injury: “I’m happy that I can get on the court and I can run. I was running without pain … and I think that’s a good first step.”
(Wait, it helps to actually get on the court and run in order to play basketball?)

DeMarcus Cousins on, well, I’m not sure: ”I know I’m a big body as well. As well as I’m feeling them bump me, they’re feeling the exact same thing. That’s how I approach it. I feel you on that end; you’re going to feel me down on the other end.”
(I think I’m gonna stay away from this one. I also enjoyed his coach, Paul Westphal, admitting, “And if he ever gets in shape, he’ll really be able to do a lot.” Not what you want to hear.)

Mo Lester, mo problems for Mavs

I vaguely remember some caller phoning into WEEI last fall to declare, “Lester Hudson will challenge Rondo for the starting point guard spot.” At the time, I remember thinking, This guy’s a moron. I was right, of course. But maybe now that guy can point to Hudson’s game-winning 3-pointer against the Mavericks last night in a 97-94 Wizards win that saw Wall total 21 points and nine assists in his debut.

Bird nearly flew the coop?

In hopes of acquiring a high-profile coach in order to entice LeBron James to stay in Cleveland, the Cavaliers reached out to Larry Bird during their search to replace Mike Brown, according to ESPN.com.

“Bird did take the call,” sources told Marc Stein, “but quickly informed the Cavs that he had no interest in coaching again. Sources said Bird, 53, let Cleveland know that he wants to continue in his front-office work with the Pacers and that he has all but ruled out coaching again because of health and family reasons.”

I guess that rules out Bird as a replacement whenever Doc Rivers decides to hang it up, which could be any year now.

Carr steering the ship?

Maybe former Celtic Chris Carr could be that replacement in the wings. Carr, after all, became a head coach … of a girls basketball team in Minnesota? After averaging 4.8 points in 35 games with the C’s in 2000-01, Carr retired from the NBA. Since then, he started the 43 Hoops Basketball Academy in Hopkins, Minn., so he could mentor youth athletes. Yesterday, he accepted the head girls basketball coaching position at Eden Prairie (Minn.) High — in the same district his children attend school.

“Chris stood out during the interview process,” Eden Prairie athletic director Mike Grant told the Eden Prairie News. “One, he has the experience of having played at a very high level. Two, he has the experience of having played for a number of very talented coaches.”

Chris stood out during the interview process? You’re meaning to tell me that a 6-foot-6, 200-something pound former NBA player stood out while you were interview potential high school girls basketball coaches? You don’t say.

Read More: DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal
NBA mock draft 2.0 06.22.10 at 6:48 am ET
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Kentucky point guard John Wall is holding steady at No. 1. (AP)

Kentucky point guard John Wall is holding steady at No. 1. (AP)

On Thursday night, the next batch of young talent enters the NBA in the 2010 draft. The consensus No. 1 pick by the Wizards remains John Wall, and Evan Turner is most likely to be selected second by the 76ers. However, since our last mock, there have been players who have seen their stock rising.

Two of those players are Luke Babbitt from Nevada and Paul George from Fresno State. Babbitt’s offensive prowess and shooting ability have teams considering him in the second half of the lottery. George’s athleticism and and NBA body make him one of the best small forwards in this draft, tempting teams to give him another look.

Also, an international player makes his first appearance in our mock at pick No 21. Power forward Kevin Seraphin from France is a raw talent with a lot of potential, something that teams have reached for in past drafts when evaluating players from overseas.

While Seraphin makes his way into our first round, another international player in Donatas Motiejunas is left off after deciding to withdraw from the draft. Unlike many of the previous drafts, this one doesn’t boast exceptional international talent. Excluding the first few picks, it also seems like one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory.

1. Washington

John Wall, Kentucky, Fr., PG, 6-foot-4, 196 pounds

Wall is the no-brainer No. 1 pick in this draft. Possessing incredible quickness and athleticism that allows him to drive by defenders in a Rajon Rondo-like fashion, he will give Washington a true point guard to play alongside Gilbert Arenas.

2. Philadelphia

Evan Turner, Ohio State, Jr., SG, 6-7, 214

Turner was the best player in college basketball this past season and is far from just a consolation prize after Wall. With the ability to play three positions with his size, Turner is a versatile scorer who can create his own shot at any time. Think Brandon Roy with the ability to fill up a stat sheet. Though Philadelphia could use a frontcourt player, this is a case of taking the best player on the board — and a really good one at that. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Evan Turner, John Wall, NBA draft 2010,
Wizards pull one out of the hat 05.18.10 at 8:32 pm ET
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The Washington Wizards won the NBA Lottery on Tuesday night in Secaucus, New Jersey. The New Jersey Nets had 250 of the 1000 chances or a 25 percent chance of gaining the first overall pick for the NBA Draft in late June. John Wall of Kentucky and Evan Turner of Ohio State are considered two of the likely choices to go first overall to the Wizards. The Nets actually finished third behind Washington and No. 2 Philadelphia.

“I have no idea,” Wizards general manager Ted Leonsis said when asked on ESPN whether he would take Wall with the No. 1 overall pick.

Irene Polin, the widow of former Wizards owner Abe Pollin, represented the franchise and wore the world championship ring of her late husband when the franchise won its first and only title as the Washington Bullets in 1978.

Read More: Evan Turner, John Wall, New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers
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