NBA Rumors: The Hottest Buzz from Opening Week Around the League
Now that the season is here, the news from around the NBA finally feels more meaningful. Injuries, contracts, petty disputes, all of it and all that goes with it, will be on display for the viewing public to see every night, on the court.
There's been some very interesting stories breaking over the past couple of days, some of them bearing close observation as the season gets into full swing. There's obviously a long way to go, but plenty of material that unfolds during opening week can set a tone for the rest of the year.
So with that, let's get right into a handful of the more intriguing story lines developing over the course of the season's first two days.
Contract Extensions for Some
It's a good time to be a young, up-and-coming point guard in the NBA, especially if you play your home games west of the Mississippi.
Both Denver's Ty Lawson and Golden State's Stephen Curry signed four-year extensions with their respective clubs, each beating the league mandated deadline of midnight Eastern time on Thursday.
Curry, who signed his deal prior to the Warriors' season opener with the Suns on Wednesday night, will make $44 million over the next four years, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Spears points out that the Warriors attempted to back load Curry's deal given concerns about his fragile ankles, at first offering $8.5 million in the first year of the contract and $10 million in the fourth.
But when Lawson's deal went down on Tuesday, the team moved aggressively to keep Curry in the fold. Had the deal not been reached by Thursday night's deadline, Curry would have become a restricted free agent come season's end.
As for Lawson, his deal was slightly larger than Curry's, according to NBA.com. Lawson, who set career highs in points, assists, rebounds and steals in his first full season as a starter last year, will make $48 million over his next four years in Denver.
Both deals come with some risk attached, particularly Curry's given his injury issues. But both also signal a willingness on the parts of each organization to place a large chunk of their respective futures in the hands of a couple of wildly talented former first-rounders.
Not for Some Others
Elsewhere, things do not look promising for Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings, who looks like he will not receive an extension prior to the Thursday midnight deadline.
Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Jennings will likely not get his extension before the deadline, but given Bucks' GM John Hammond's reported wish to keep Jennings anyway, the team will look to match any offers he receives next summer as an RFA or use its ability to offer him more years and more money thanks to the current collective bargaining agreement.
Jennings, a wildly talented but often erratic player, will certainly get paid one way or another. Right now, the only question is whether that will be by the Bucks.
Gordon Can't Get Healthy
When the Hornets were wards of the NBA state last off-season, and commissioner David Stern engineered the deal that sent Chris Paul to the Clippers, the centerpiece of the trade for New Orleans was young, explosive guard Eric Gordon.
Not only did the Hornets get Gordon in that trade, they matched the four-year, $58 million max deal offer sheet he signed with the Phoenix Suns this past summer.
They really wanted him.
Maybe they should have just let him walk.
Gordon, who played a grand total of nine games for the Hornets last year thanks to knee surgery, didn't play a second during the preseason thanks to discomfort in the same knee and is now out indefinitely to start the new season.
Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported prior to the Hornets' 97-95 opening night loss to San Antonio on Wednesday that coach Monty Williams said Gordon will be out until further notice, yet neither player nor coach shed any light on how serious or severe this latest malady really is.
Gordon's continuing injury woes are nothing new seeing as how he's missed 107 games already in his first four years. He's still not playing and was also very vocal about not wanting the Hornets to match that offer from Phoenix, so Williams and the New Orleans brass have to be shaking their heads right now.
Former USC Teammates Get Rich
Both the Bulls' Taj Gibson and the Raptors' DeMar DeRozan did some impressive things as teammates at Southern Cal a few years ago.
On Wednesday night, they both got really rich.
First DeRozan, then Gibson signed contract extensions with their respective teams before the Thursday midnight deadline and will each stay in their current cities for four more years.
Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier Wednesday night that DeRozan's deal will be worth $40 million. The small forward's future in Toronto seemed in doubt earlier in the week, with the Toronto Star reporting that the talks were progressing slowly.
As for Gibson, he came down closer to the wire before signing his deal, but it got done. Before the Bulls' 93-87 opening night win over the Kings, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Gibson seemed resigned to moving on to free agency after the season, with Gibson quoted as saying, "I doubt it," when asked if he'd have a change of heart regarding accepting the team's offer.
But after the game, it seems Gibson did have that change of heart, agreeing to a four-year extension worth $32 million.
The folks at the USC men's hoops program must be proud.
Halloween's a Holiday
With seven minutes left before the midnight deadline, the 76ers signed point guard Jrue Holiday to a four-year, $43 million extension, complete with incentives that could make it a $46 million deal.
The deal, which was first reported by Sam Amick of USA Today, came right on the heels of Holiday posting 14 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals in Philly's 84-75, opening night home win over Denver. Holiday, 22, averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 assists last year.
Holiday enjoyed something of a coming-out party during last year's playoffs, particularly in the Sixers' Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the Celtics.
With the deal, Holiday became the sixth player to sign his extension in the last two days, joining Lawson, Curry, DeRozan, Gibson and James Harden of Houston.