With LeBron James returning to Cleveland and Carmelo Anthony going back to New York, the buzz that characterized the early NBA offseason has died down, but there are still plenty of rumors out there.
For starters, Carlos Boozer needs a new team and the Los Angeles Lakers are still looking for a head coach. With that in mind, let’s dig into the latest.
Where Will Carlos Boozer Play Next?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports filled fans in on the latest regarding Carlos Boozer:
One GM tells me: A team needs to have $1.448M in cap space to bid on Boozer. That's what Boozer's minimum salary is.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 15, 2014
Plenty of teams with salary cap space, but two early favorites to make bids on Carlos Boozer: Charlotte and Atlanta.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 15, 2014
The Chicago Bulls still owe Boozer $16.8 million from his salary this season, but it won’t count on their salary cap. The decision was primarily made to clear space for Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.
Boozer responded to the move in a classy manner:
Wanna Say Thank You To The Bulls Organization!!! Thank You For The Last Four Years!!! pic.twitter.com/7YuxGugeT0— Carlos Boozer (@MisterCBooz) July 15, 2014
The Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks both squeaked into the playoffs last season in a weak Eastern Conference and have higher aspirations for 2014-15. Boozer, who averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a night last season, can still be productive as a possible double-double guy if put in the right situation.
The problem is that he is a turnstile on defense.
However, it’s not hard to envision Al Jefferson cleaning up Boozer’s messes on the defensive end and Boozer helping spread the floor for the big man on offense with mid-range jumpers. Whether it’s enough to get Charlotte into the second round remains to be seen.
Lakers Still Searching for a Coach
Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles provided an update on the Los Angeles Lakers’ seemingly endless search for a head coach:
The Los Angeles Lakers expect to hire a coach in the next week or two, but they do not consider the interview process to be finished, according to a league source.
While former Lakers great Byron Scott has been considered the leading candidate for the position for weeks, having gone through multiple interviews with management and having received an endorsement from none other than Kobe Bryant last week, even he likely would need another interview before being named coach, according to the source.
General manager Mitch Kupchak outlined the overall plans, via McMenamin:
Maybe we can wait until September. Obviously that's one of the next things that we're going to address, and with putting the roster together and getting through the draft and getting through this last period, a week or two, the next thing we're going to work on is the coach, and I think we're going to have somebody in the next couple weeks.
Having the endorsement of Kobe Bryant certainly helps Byron Scott’s perceived chances. The Lakers’ opportunity to improve this season falls heavily on Bryant’s shoulders after missing out on big-name free agents, so having a coach he trusts would help the team going forward into the season.
Scott coached for the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in his career and boasts a .444 winning percentage. He did lead the Nets to the Finals two straight years and has his solid playing career as a Laker to fall back on in terms of relating to the fanbase.
Houston Rockets to Bring in an Import?
Grantland’s Zach Lowe passed along some whispers surrounding the Houston Rockets:
Some buzz here in Vegas Houston is in advanced talks to bring Kostas Papanikolaou over from Europe.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 15, 2014
The Rockets previously landed the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou in a trade that sent Thomas Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers. Papanikolaou was the 48th pick in the 2012 draft and played for FC Barcelona Regal in Spain last season.
What grade does Houston get for its offseason?
His numbers certainly aren’t eye-popping (nightly averages of 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds last year behind 34 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line), but the hope is that the stretch forward could give Dwight Howard more space to operate down low. If Papanikolaou can regain his touch from downtown, it could help Houston make opponents pay for doubling its big man.
The Rockets struck out on Chris Bosh, which hurt even more because they made a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers to clear space for the Miami Heat forward. They also never really got too involved in the running for James or Anthony either.
Perhaps Houston can salvage the offseason to an extent if it can pair Papanikolaou with the newly acquired Trevor Ariza.
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