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BREAKING: Nets Sending Terry, Evans to Kings in Exchange for Thornton

Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline just over 24 hours away, the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings have agreed upon the league’s latest deal. The Nets are sending guard Jason Terry and center Reggie Evans to the Kings in exchange for guard Marcus Thornton.

It was reported late on Tuesday that the two playoff-hopefuls were engaged in serious trade talks, before the trade was completed on Wednesday afternoon, according to David Aldridge of TNT.

Thornton, 26, earns $8 million this season and is fully guaranteed at $8.5 million the following season – the final year of his deal. In 46 games this season, the 6’4″ shooting guard is averaging 8.3 points on 38.1 percent shooting, 2.7 rebounds and 1 assist per contest. His numbers are down from previous years, and holds career averages of 13.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists, while shooting over 43 percent from the field.

Terry, 36 and Evans, 33, combine to make $7.4 million this season. Dealing them saves the Nets $3 million in luxury tax and opens up an additional roster spot. At 24-27, Brooklyn currently hold the seven-seed in the Eastern Conference in what has largely been a disappointing season thus far.

While the deadline is inching closer, there are certainly still trades to be made. The Nets are reportedly going after Los Angels Lakers big man Jordan Hill as well.

 

Be sure to continue to check Saving the Skyhook for the latest information regarding the NBA and the trade deadline.

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Nets Interested in Acquiring Jarrett Jack

Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are looking to add depth to their team and are reportedly interested in role player Jarrett Jack. At 24-27, the Nets seek to continue to climb up the Eastern Conference standings and make a playoff run.

According to ESPN New York, the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed swapping guards Jason Terry and Jarrett Jack. At 36 years of age, Terry has been largely ineffective for his new team. In 36 games, the sharpshooter has averaged 4.5 points, 1.6 assists and 1.1 rebounds in just over 16 minutes per contest. Terry makes $5.2 million this season and receives a slight bump next year in the final season of his contract.

Acquiring Terry would certainly be less of a financial burden than picking up Jack, who makes $6.3 million for the next three seasons with a team option in the summer of 2017. The experiment of teaming up Jack with budding star Kyrie Irving has gone awry. The Cavs have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments, beginning the season in the playoff conversation but now enter the second-half of the season at 20-33.

In 51 games this season, Jack is averaging 8.5 points and 3.7 assists, down from his numbers of 12.9 points and 5.5 assists last season while with the Golden State Warriors.

Dealing Terry in exchange for Jack would help the Nets’ backcourt, but would also reduce cap space for the next few seasons. While Brooklyn and owner Mikhail Prokhorov have proved that money isn’t the biggest obstacle, this may hurt their plans to pursue top free agents in the coming summers.

 

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Brooklyn Nets Season Preview: A New Look

The Nets made a lot of noise this offseason, trading for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

As training camp is soon to begin, the start of the 2013 – ’14 NBA season will be underway shortly. There are a lot of new faces on new teams this year, and the Brooklyn Nets are no exception to those new faces. Let’s take a look at their offseason moves and how their season will play out.

Key Player Changes:

While the Nets lost quite a few talented players who played significant roles on last year’s playoff team, Brooklyn certainly got a lot better. On draft night in late June, the Nets made one of the biggest moves of the offseason. They traded away Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks to the Boston Celtics in exchange for future hall of famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, to go along with sharpshooter Jason Terry. They also picked up Andrei Kirilenko, who will play a decisive reserve role throughout the season.

Questions For The Season:

Can the veterans such as Pierce and KG stay healthy? Garnett, 37, and Pierce, 35 are two of the most important pieces in making this season successful for their new team, but getting through all 82 games could be an issue. Rookie head coach Jason Kidd realizes this, and has already stated that Garnett will “probably” not play in back-to-back games. Not only can this help prevent injuries, but it will keep him fresh as well come playoff time.

Brooklyn needs Deron Williams to lead them. Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Can Deron Williams be the star the Nets need him to be? Williams is coming off a great season, averaging 18.9 PPG, 7.7 APG while shooting over 45% from the field. While he has more talent around him than he has ever had before, the offense will still run through the 29-year-old point guard. Brooklyn is not getting any younger, and if they want to win, now is the time. Winning, however, begins with D-Will.

Can Jason Kidd Coach? With a proven, star-studded roster already intact, it will be interesting to see how Kidd, who competed against the Nets as a point guard just one season ago, will coach his new team. It will help having Lawrence Frank, who has served as head coach of the New Jersey Nets and Detroit Pistons as well as an assistant under Doc Rivers in Boston, right by his side throughout the season.

Season Prediction: 55-27, two seed in the Eastern Conference.

I do not foresee the Nets challenging the Mighty Miami Heat for the one seed in the conference, but Brooklyn is certainly capable of claiming the two seed. The competition, however, will be tough. Derrick Rose will be back on the court with the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers will only continue to get better and the New York Knicks will also be in contention.

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Playoff Stats of the Day (4/30): Iman Shumpert Injury Not as it Seems, Indy’s Struggle to Finish, and Jason Terry’s Effect on OKC

New York Knicks at Miami Heat (7:00EST on TNT): Heat lead series 1-0

[caption id="attachment_3052" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Apr 15, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert

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Oklahoma City Thunder–Dallas Mavericks: Game 1 Recap, Game 2 Preview

Thunder edge Mavs in Final Seconds of Game 1

[caption id="attachment_3033" align="alignright" width="218" caption="Apr 28, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant

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Taking My Talents….Home!

 

The Miami Heat’s failure to capitalize on its first shot at an NBA Championship, with their “Big 3,” in place, will undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest disappointments in Sports History.  It’s not the fact that a team so top-heavy in talent can lose a series; it’s what happened prior to this point, that’s the problem.  This series wasn’t about what Dallas Accomplished, but more about what Miami failed to Accomplish.  The series wasn’t about the dynamic leadership displayed by Dirk Nowitzki, but the lack of leadership by LeBron James.  All of these things are magnified due to the brash and very bold statements made by James, starting with “The Decision.”

The Decision

James’ announcement of his choice of team via Television Special, followed by a proclamation of at least 7 Championships, ultimately set the Heat up for failure.  James was so confident in the team’s ability to succeed, that he hinted at victories even if Pat Riley was the team’s starting Point Guard.  With a team this talented, who’s going to argue LeBron’s statements?  I for one saw the Heat as a dead-lock for the Finals, which was correct.  I initially picked them to lose the Finals versus the Lakers, but uhh…We saw how that turned out for “Showtime!”  Once the Lakers were ousted, I didn’t see anyone standing in the way of Miami’s Destiny.  As a team, they entered the playoffs clicking on all cylinders, and even watched LeBron mature as a player through the first 3 series.  But then came the Big Stage…(Here’s where you insert for favorite sad face : ( perplexed style : / or the highly emotional crying face (,-__-,)

 

James basically disappeared in the Finals, averaging 18pts, 7ast, & 7reb!!! LeBron is a former NBA Scoring Champ, and averaged 18 ppg!  Let’s also note that James averaged 21ppg as a ROOKIE!  Now, not taking anything away from his overall playoff performance, because he is the reason Miami got to the Finals.  James was playing like a man possessed in the first 3 rounds, and hit some huge shots in both the Boston and Chicago Series’.  You can argue that it’s a team game, and all of the blame can’t be placed on James, which is correct.  However, LeBron’s actions coinciding with his talents are what create the enormous bulls-eye on his back.   He also doesn’t help the scrutiny by his comments, and almost nonchalant attitude at press conferences.  Again this is a team game, but the team itself doesn’t share in the talking aspect, which James excels in.  If you go back to the introduction of “The Heatles,” it was LeBron who did the most talking, and predicting on behalf of the Heat.  Look at it like this…Muhammad Ali was known for his trash talk before, and during, some of the biggest fights of his life.  While Ali didn’t have an unblemished record, he always came back to avenge a loss, thus backing his proclamations.  LeBron doesn’t have a history of closing games, playing to his full potential, nor being the leader that the “Face of the NBA,” should; but talks as if this isn’t the case.  If LeBron showed a little more humility, I don’t believe the backlash would be to this unbelievable level.

 

So What Exactly Happened?


Aside from LeBron’s shortcomings in the Finals, what else seemed to go wrong for Miami, that didn’t for Dallas?  Let’s start with Miami’s consistency outside of its core.  The bench play was much uninspired throughout the series, while Dallas had its role players contribute on a nightly basis.  But despite the poor role playing on behalf of the Heat, they controlled this entire series.  Splitting the first 4 games, could have easily been a 4-0 Miami Sweep.  Dallas turned the Heat into a jump shooting team, and prevented them from attacking the paint, which is their
strong suit.  Along with Dallas’ defensive adjustment, was Dirk’s relentlessness as a leader.  There wasn’t a moment in this series that Dirk wasn’t in attack mode.  This same thing can be said about Dwayne Wade, who played his heart out throughout the series, and if not for injury, wouldn’t have let up.  If you take each team at 100% attack mode, the Heat should win out every time.  My reasoning is simple; Dwayne Wade and LeBron James excel on BOTH sides of the court, which is a headache for every team in the league.  I fully believe that if LeBron guarded Nowitzki for the entire series, and Wade on either Terry or Barrea (depending on who’s in the game), I don’t see Miami losing this series at all.  This tactic then forces other players to beat you, who aren’t as offensively gifted as the aforementioned Nowitzki, Terry or Barrea.

I also believe that the Heat lost some faith in the process at some point.  Squandering big leads in games they controlled from the beginning, is inexcusable.  The team got extremely passive during the final moments of Game 6, and the stars of the team almost seemed to defer to its role players.  A play that replay’s endlessly in my mind, is the Chalmers turnover under the basket.  With 3 players making over 100 million dollars each, and have the ball in Mario Chalmers’ hands in crucial parts of the game in ridiculous!  I just don’t see the team letting up if Pat Riley is who you have to face when you come off the floor, versus Erik Spolestra.  While Spolestra did improve as the season went on, I think his lack of big game experience is what ultimately did him in.  But again, the coaches aren’t the ones who perform on the floor…it’s the players!

 

The Fallout

While the Heat are the early favorite to win next year’s Title, something has to change.  With 7 players as unrestricted free agents, 3 will likely return with their player options (House, Jones & Illgauskas).  Mario Chalmers is the team’s lone restricted free agent, and has already been rumored to be receiving a qualifying offer from Miami.  Two things that need to change are the team’s ability to score off the bench, along with the team’s interior defense.  When your Shooting Guard is blocking as many, or more, shots than your big’s…There’s a problem!  But not only does the interior defense need to improve, but the overall toughness of the team.  As it stands, it seems as though when Wade isn’t at 100%, the team loses its heart and backbone.  If Miami is lucky enough, there are a few players that I feel could be added at a bargain price to aid in the team’s improvement.  Perimeter Players – Tracey McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Al Thornton, Michael Redd, T.J. Ford, Shane Battier, Andrei Kirilenko, and Josh Howard.  Interior Players – Kenyon Martin, Samuel Dalembert, Chuck Hayes, Craig Smith, Chris Wilcox, Boris Diaw, Troy Murphy, and Etan Thomas.  While these are all unrestricted free agents that are all possibilities for the Heat, bigger players like Jason Richardson, Jamal Crawford, Nene, and J.R. Smith, are all likely to command too high of a price tag on the market.  Players like Redd, Prince, Ford, Battier, Kirilenko, Martin and Dalembert, would dramatically improve the Heat’s overall roster.  Dalembert provides added shot blocking, along with Martin, who also would be an enforcer that the Heat desperately need.  Battier, Prince and Kirilenko provide length, and solid perimeter defense, as they can defend several positions on the court.  TJ Ford would be a tremendous upgrade at the Point Guard position, while Redd provides more scoring ability off the bench to go along with Mike Miller & James Jones.  Players like McGrady, Josh Howard and Michael Redd are all very injury prone players, but can be very serviceable if their health/minutes are preserved for a playoff run.

 

Along with these changes, I have a strong feeling that Pat Riley will step in as the new coach.  Riley worked too hard to put this team together, to see them fail.  Riley is often linked with the great Phil Jackson, as they not only were great coaches, but managed some of the game’s biggest personalities.  Riley has the pedigree to get the most out of this Heat team, and surely would not have allowed them to relinquish those late game leads.  Look for major changes in South Beach, which will result in Miami’s hoisting of the Championship Trophy.  The only thing that could prevent a title run from happening, are another implosion by the team itself, but if Pat is patrolling the sideline, I wouldn’t bet on it!

 

 

Follow – @TheKidSkoob

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Congrats!

What a series, huh?

This years remarkable NBA Finals capped off with a remarkable Game 6, one watched by 23.5 million people, producing ABC’s best non-Oscar sunday in five years (and the most watched game 6 since Jordan beat the Jazz in 1998.

Now that the season is done, we’ve got plenty of time to get into intricate detail on how this year’s series stacks up against the greats. We’ve also got a lot of cool things a’brewing here at Saving the Skyhook for the offseason, including a live blog during the NBA Draft, but for now, I’d like to offer up some love for the first time NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.

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