Javaris Crittenton suspected of homicide

The LA Times has the details about the case…

Crittenton allegedly shot Jullian Jones, a mother of four, on Aug. 19 as she stood outside her home with two other people, authorities said.

Atlanta homicide detectives said Crittenton was trying to shoot someone he believed had stolen jewelry from him in April, according to Georgia law enforcement sources.

The Washington Post digs deeper into Crittenton’s involvement in the Gilbert Arenas debacle.

Javaris Crittenton, murder suspect?

This is a tough one to digest, especially for many of us hanging on Arenas’s every utterance during the ordeal and after he returned from his suspension.

It was all Gilbert, all the time then. Crittenton was the forgotten counterpart, a foil for another mean-spirited Gil prank gone criminally awry. We were so worried whether his all-star career could ever be resurrected, whether Arenas was going to be okay after he pocketed, oh, $20 million per year, that we forgot to check on the guy who very possibly kissed his NBA career goodbye that day.

Little-known fact uncovered in court documents in the spring of 2010: Crittenton, via text message, asked to borrow thousands from Arenas to help pay his ill mother’s escalating medical bills. Just two months after their confrontation, Arenas obliged.

This puts the duo’s relationship in a new light since Arenas agreed to help Crittenton even after the lockeroom incident.

How Crittenton ended up shooting a mother of four is yet to be determined.

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Revisiting my NBA free agency predictions

July 09, 2010 - Miami, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - epa02243342 LeBron James (L) joins with Miami Heat Dwayne Wade (C) for a laugh as Chris Bosh tries out his Spanish while they greet fans during NBA basketball team Miami Heat's 'HEAT Summer of 2010 Welcome Event' at the American Airlines arena in Miami, Florida, USA, 09 July 2010. The Miami Heat reached an agreement with LeBron James to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, and sign with the Miami Heat.

Now that the top 10 NBA free agents have made up their minds, let’s check in with my list of ‘sure-to-be-wrong’ predictions and see how I fared.

1. Dwyane Wade will re-sign with the Heat.
Check.

2. Chris Bosh will also sign with Miami.
Check.

3. LeBron and Carlos Boozer will sign with Chicago.
I didn’t think that LeBron would join what many consider to be ‘Wade’s Team’ and the Bulls gave him the next-best chance to win a championship, especially if Boozer landed there as well. The Bulls were wise to grab Boozer, who is a very nice fit alongside Joakim Noah.

4. Joe Johnson will sign with the Clippers.
I bought into the report that Johnson was in L.A. leading up to free agency and that he had a good relationship with the Clippers’ GM. The Hawks shocked the league when they offered him a six-year max contract and methinks they’ll be regretting it in 2-3 years. Who would have thought that when everything was said and done, that Joe Johnson would get the biggest contract of this free agent class?

5. Stoudemire will land in the Big Apple.
…”the Knicks will be sure to throw gobs of money to save face after pretty much striking out on the other top free agents.” Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened, though the Knicks were proactive and signed Stoudemire before being shunned by LeBron and Wade. And Amare was happy to lap up the dough after the Suns wanted to negotiate a deal that included incentives related to his health.

6. The Knicks will re-sign David Lee.
Donnie Walsh elected to conserve most of his cap space so that the Knicks can be a player in next summer’s free agency, plus the Lee-for-Randolph trade gives the Knicks a good (and cheap) up-and-coming power forward to replace Lee.

7. The Knicks will trade Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas.
This could still happen, but it looks like it won’t, at least not now. The Lee trade signals that the Knicks are going to be careful with their cap space, and trading for Arenas would be a huge risk.

8. The Grizzlies will match a max offer for Rudy Gay.
Technically, this prediction wasn’t correct. The Grizzlies once again raised eyebrows around the league by signing Gay to a max contract without letting the market set his price.

9. Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce re-sign with the Mavs and C’s, respectively.
There were pundits out there that actually thought that Pierce could land with the Nets and that Nowitzki would join LeBron in Chicago, but Boston and Dallas made sure these players stayed put.

Overall, I didn’t do too badly, did I?

Nine sure-to-be wrong NBA free agency predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James reacts to a play against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff basketball series in Boston, Massachusetts, in this May 13, 2010 file photo. July 1, 2010 marks the opening day of the free-agent signing period amid intense media speculation about whether James, the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the past two seasons, will remain at Cleveland. REUTERS/Adam Hunger/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Here’s where I stop ruminating about rumors and pose a few predictions about what will happen in the NBA over the next couple of weeks. Let’s start with a near-sure thing and work our way around the league.

1. Dwyane Wade will re-sign with the Heat.
He has said all along that Miami is where he wants to be, and even if he strikes out on getting LeBron and/or Chris Bosh to join him, he won’t have a tough time recruiting a couple of other high-priced free agents to join him. Whether it’s Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay, someone will want to play in sunny South Florida with a Top 5 player who has already proven he can take over an NBA Finals.

2. Chris Bosh will also sign with Miami.
I thought the Bulls might have inside track on Bosh, but if we’re to believe Dan LeBatard, a deal is already in place that would bring Bosh to Miami. Even if LeBron doesn’t join them, Bosh and Wade will make an excellent one-two punch.

3. LeBron and Carlos Boozer will sign with Chicago.
It’s the reunion that no one was expecting. I have no earthly idea what LeBron is going to do, but he says that winning is the most important thing, so if that’s true, he’ll either sign with the Bulls or join Wade and Bosh in Miami. With his ego, I think he’d rather play in Chicago in the shadow of Michael Jordan’s legacy than join ‘Wade’s team’ in South Florida. But who really knows? (Remember, I said these were sure-to-be-wrong predictions.) As for Boozer, if the Bulls strike out on Bosh, he’s the next-best fit at the four. The Bulls could take advantage of his strengths (low-post scoring, rebounding) while Joakim Noah could hide his weaknesses (post defense).

4. Joe Johnson will sign with the Clippers.
Think about it Knick fans — would you want to play under the NY microscope after the city missed out on the big-name free agents? Expectations are so high in the Big Apple and Johnson is a quiet guy that has proven in Atlanta that he doesn’t deal well with critical fans. He’s reportedly close with Clipper GM Neil Olshey and would be a nice fit there since he can play small forward alongside Eric Gordon on the wing.

5. Stoudemire will land in the Big Apple.
I almost wrote “land in New Jersey” but I didn’t want to send any Knick fans off the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge. If predictions #1-#4 come to fruition, the Knicks won’t be a very attractive place to play, but Stoudemire thrived under Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix and the Knicks will be sure to throw gobs of money to save face after pretty much striking out on the other top free agents. D’Antoni can run Stoudemire at the five and…

6. The Knicks will re-sign David Lee…
…to play the four. They’ll be defensively challenged, but that’s life. Then…

7. The Knicks will trade Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas…
…which will make them even more defensively challenged, but again, that’s life. At least the Knicks will be fun to watch.

8. The Grizzlies will match a max offer for Rudy Gay.
The Nets (and maybe the T-Wolves) will make a strong run at Rudy Gay, but the Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley has said all along that he’ll match any offer Gay gets in free agency.

9. Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce re-sign with the Mavs and C’s, respectively.
These guys aren’t going anywhere.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Where do the Magic go from here?

While it takes more than one player to lose a series, this season was about Vince Carter, and the Magic’s decision to trade for him last summer in lieu of re-signing Hedo Turkoglu. Here’s what I wrote about the move in mid-July:

Let’s see, your team just lost in the Finals — losing two games in overtime — and your main ballhandler is a free agent. What do you do? It’s tough to create the kind of chemistry that gets a team to the Finals, so you re-sign him, right? Not the Orlando Magic, who balked at Hedo Turkoglu’s $10 million-per-season asking price and instead pulled the trigger on a trade for Vince Carter. So essentially they gave up their most consistent player (Turkoglu) and a budding star (Courtney Lee) for the 32-year-old Carter. A healthy Jameer Nelson (along with a savvy mid-level signing) may have been enough to put this Magic team over the top, but now we’ll never know.

Turkoglu has had his problems in Toronto, but on a per minute and per shot basis, he was just about as productive as he was in Orlando. We’ll never know if the Magic would have beaten the Celtics if they had kept their Finals core intact, but one thing is for sure — the Vince Carter move was a bust. Against Boston, he averaged 14-4-2, shot 37% from the field and just 21% from long range. The question remains: Does Vince Carter have what it takes to win an NBA Championship?

If the Magic have learned their lesson, they’ll try to move Carter this summer. He has one more year on his contract (at the tune of $17.5 million) and another year that is a team option. So he essentially has an expiring deal, which could be valuable to a team trying to get out of another big contract. Three trade partners spring to mind…

Perhaps Golden State would be willing to take on Carter’s contract for a year to get out of the four years remaining on Monta Ellis’ (26-4-5, 45% shooting) deal, which would allow the Warriors to fully commit to rebuilding around Stephen Curry. Along with Jameer Nelson, Ellis would give the Magic the league’s smallest backcourt, so that may not be a very good idea.

The 76ers would almost certainly be willing to trade Elton Brand (13-6, 48% shooting), though that would force Rashard Lewis to the three. (Andre Iguodala is another possibility, but the Sixers would want something else in return, like Marcin Gortat.)

Finally, the Wizards would love to unload Gilbert Arenas (23-4-7, 41% shooting), and Carter would take some of the scoring pressure off of rookie John Wall. The move would also create a ton of cap space (for the Wizards) in the summer of 2011 for a possible run at Carmelo Anthony. Arenas would represent another roll of the dice for Orlando, but if he can get back to All-Star form, he could give the Magic the playmaker on the perimeter that they had hoped to find in Carter.

I’m not sure if any of those options sound good to Magic fans, but this is where the team is at with regard to Carter. Given his inability to win in the postseason, no one will want him at his current salary, so the possible trade partners are limited to teams looking to dump a bad contract of their own.

Or the Magic could elect to hold onto Vinsanity and tweak the roster around the edges, hoping that this core has better luck next season. Clearly, that hasn’t been Otis Smith’s style, so I’d expect a big change or two as Orlando tries to find the right players to surround Dwight Howard.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Wizards already trying to move Arenas?

Former Washington Times reporter John Mitchell thinks so

The Washington Wizards are going to use their number one draft pick to select John Wall, the freshman point guard out of the University of Kentucky. They see Wall as the cornerstone of the franchise for at least “the next decade”, which is why they are going to do everything in their power to prevent the player from ever sharing a locker room with controversial guard Gilbert Arenas, according to two league sources with knowledge of the team’s future plans.

According to one source with intimate knowledge of the team’s plans, the Wizards front office, headed up by President Ernie Grunfeld, doesn’t want Arenas – released earlier this month from a Washington DC halfway house after serving 30 days for a felony gun conviction – anywhere near Wall, whom the team has already decided it will select with the top pick in the June draft. After Arenas was convicted Grunfeld traded away four starters.

One source tagged Arenas as “the reason why a core of players that reached the playoffs” on multiple occasions had to be broken up, “and it was entirely due to what he did. He poisoned the team. He is a cancer.”

The Wizards’ options include trying to trade Arenas, who has four years and more than $80 million in salary remaining on his contract. But that is not the only option. According to a source the team will “definitely consider buying out” Arenas’ contract. This flies in the face of the public position the Wizards have taken with Arenas.

Trading Arenas before next season is not going to be easy. We’re talking about a 28-year-old, shoot-first point guard with knee problems, a contract that still has four years and $80 million remaining, and a propensity to bring loaded firearms into work. Needless to say, in this economy, it’s going to be very tough to move him.

How much would it take to buy him out? And if the Wizards have to resort to that, why are they keeping the man that signed him to this ridiculous contract, general manager Ernie Grunfeld, on board? Instead of taking a cautious approach with Arenas, who was coming off of knee surgery two seasons ago, Grunfeld panicked swung for the fences and offered him a contract that no other team would even dream of.

One team that could potentially use Arenas’s services are the Knicks. Once they sign their two “big-name” free agents — whether it’s LeBron James and Chris Bosh or Rudy Gay and David Lee — they could trade Eddy Curry’s expiring contract for Arenas. Once the Knicks have their two stars locked up, they’re probably not going to care how far over the cap they go. Owner James Dolan will do what it takes to build a winner, and if Arenas looks like he’s still All-Star caliber, they may pull the trigger.

(Note to Knicks fans: I don’t think acquiring Arenas is a good idea.)

But that raises the question — how long will the Wizards wait? Arenas missed the last few months of last season and teams will want to see how he plays before taking on his monstrous contract and adding his quirky personality to their locker room. How does this happen if the Wizards are intent on keeping Arenas and Wall apart?


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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