NBA News & Rumors: KG, Westbrook, Jackson, Bynum/Odom, Miller and Millsap

Garnett’s knee is just fine. It has been a concern in camp, but apparently KG has his explosion back. In a recent practice, he caught an alley-oop and slammed it home. The Celtics’ fortunes depend heavily on the health of Garnett’s knee. Without him at full strength, they’ll have a tough time competing with the Cavs and Magic. As an NBA fan, a healthy KG is good for the league.

Is Russell Westbrook turning into a dependable point guard? The Oklahoman reports that is A/T ratio in the preseason is 5.4. Last season it was 1.6, which is quite bad. It’s a small sample size, but if Westbrook can get his A/T ratio above 3.0, it will reap dividends for the Thunder. From a fantasy perspective, if he were to cut his turnovers in half and have the same number of assists (which would result in a A/T ratio of about 3.0), then he’d be the 15th most efficient point guard (just below Mo Williams) instead of the 21st most efficient.

Stephen Jackson will play for the Warriors, but he’s not happy about it. There’s a good chance the Warriors will acquiesce and try to fulfill Jackson’s wishes to be traded, but the 31 year-old has three more years remaining on his contract at the tune of $9.3 per season, so there’s no guarantee that a playoff team would be willing to make a move for him. Miami could move Michael Beasley, but Jackson’s contract would ruin the Heat’s financial flexibility next summer. The Suns could use Jackson to replace an aging Grant Hill, but they’re in financial trouble. The Hornets probably make the most sense, but are they willing to spend?

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NBA Rumors: Monta, T-Mac, LaMarcus and more

Monta Ellis is still unhappy with the Warriors. Jonathan Abrams (via Twitter): “Monta Ellis may ask out of the #Warriors too soon, via some1 in his camp. Still bitterness on both sides from the mo-ped fiasco.” I don’t know why Ellis is angry at anyone but himself when it comes to his moped accident. The team invests a ton of money in a guy and he’s out riding around on a moped. Unbelievable.

T-Mac doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone…but himself. Tracy McGrady: “I don’t have to prove to nobody that I still got it.” If NBA contracts weren’t guaranteed, McGrady would have been cut long ago. Even though he’s just 30 years old, T-Mac has missed 109 games over the last four seasons, or 33% of the Rockets’ games. He’s in a contract year, so he’s highly motivated to prove that he’s healthy and ready to contribute. With Yao Ming out for the season, T-Mac’s return may be the most compelling story coming out of Houston.

LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t happy about the lack of a long-term deal. This is a little perplexing. Unless Aldridge’s camp thinks that he’s a max player, I don’t see why it would be difficult to come to a number. I pegged his value at $13-$14 million per season and that seems reasonable for a guy with his skill set.

Stephen Jackson doesn’t think the Warriors are getting better. Jackson: “It feels like we’re not getting better.” Jackson said in late August that he was “looking to leave” the Warriors, and Don Nelson said that the team would move him if the right deal came along.

Andre Miller doesn’t seem too happy in Portland.
It might be the fact that Steve Blake is still the Blazers’ starting point guard, or it might be the tedious media events he was required to attend, but this is a situation to watch.

Andre Miller signs with the Blazers

I wrote yesterday that Andre Miller likes to play at a fast pace. That apparently applies to his contract negotiations as well. He has agreed to sign a deal to play in Portland.

Miller’s contract is a three-year deal worth $21 million, with $14 million guaranteed and $7 million included as a third-year team option, sources close to the process said.

Portland made a strong push for the Knicks’ David Lee, but the two teams couldn’t come to terms on a sign-and-trade, and the Blazers didn’t want to sign Lee to an offer sheet and miss out on Miller, since New York would have seven days to match the offer. (I still find it ridiculous that teams get a full week to match an offer for one of their restricted free agents. The players association should negotiate that down to two or three business days in the next collective bargaining agreement. It would spur more offers and more competition, which is good for everyone.)

John Hollinger says that Miller is a questionable fit.

Sure, there are some ways this doesn’t exactly fit. Miller does a lot of damage in the post, and the Blazers already have a couple of players (Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge) occupying those slots fairly regularly. He’s also an up-tempo guard on what was the league’s second-slowest-paced team last season, and his inability to make 3s is an odd fit with the Blazers’ habit of spacing the floor with shooters around Brandon Roy.

He goes on to discuss the Blazers’ other options, or lack thereof, as well as the trickery that teams are using to circumvent the salary cap. It’s an interesting read, but you’ll need to be an Insider to see it.

Blazers make Andre Miller an offer

Per ESPN…

The Portland Trail Blazers have offered point guard Andre Miller a three-year contract after failing in their efforts to acquire New York Knicks restricted free agent David Lee, sources close to the process said Friday.

Miller’s contract would be worth $21 million, with $14 million guaranteed and $7 million included as a third-year team option, a source said.

So from the team’s perspective, this is actually a two-year deal for a total of $14 million.

On paper, Miller seems to be good fit for a Portland team that is lacking above average play at the point guard position. But the Blazers’ plan has always been to surround Brandon Roy with four shooters, and Miller is most definitely not a shooter. Still, his overall field goal percentage (47%) is good for a guard, and it’s not like he stands out behind the arc jacking threes. (He only takes 0.6 threes per game.)

The other issue is the pace at which Miller thrives — he likes it fast. But the Blazers like to slow the game down, as evidenced by their pace, which is the second-slowest in the league. Are the Blazers planning to speed the tempo up or do they hope to slow Miller down?

Keep in mind that this is only an offer; Miller was looking for a deal averaging $10 million, so he could reject it (though I don’t expect that he will). If the Blazers do manage to sign him, it will probably increase the chances that the Knicks extend an offer to Ramon Sessions, since they were the other team talking to Miller.

Blazers interested in Andre Miller?

After Hedo Turkoglu decided to play for the Raptors and after the Jazz made it clear that they’d match the Blazers’ offer sheet to Paul Millsap, we all wondered what Portland’s Plan C would be. Apparently, it’s Andre Miller.

A deal is not imminent, but there has been progress made toward resolving Miller’s status, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

The Blazers have been looking to upgrade at point guard but didn’t get very far in talks with Dallas guard Jason Kidd (who re-signed with the Mavericks) or Phoenix’s Steve Nash (who agreed to a two-year, $22 million extension with the Suns on Monday). Portland was not looking hard at Miller because the Blazers thought they needed to add someone to the roster with more perimeter shooting skills than the 33-year-old. But with $7.7 million in cap room and a dwindling number of free agents available, Miller may be Portland’s last best chance to bring in a veteran player that can help its young core.

For now, according to a source, the Blazers do not have any interest in Lakers free agent forward Lamar Odom, whose negotiations with Los Angeles on a new contract have stalled.

I’ve been hearing all summer how Miller is a poor fit for the Blazers given their overall pace (29th in the league) and desire to surround Brandon Roy with as many shooters as possible. (Miller is a career 21% three-point shooter.) So the Blazers’ sudden interest is surprising.

While Odom doesn’t represent the kind of toughness the Blazers want to add to their front line, Portland is uniquely positioned to wrest him away from Los Angeles, which would serve a big blow to the Lakers’ chances of winning another title.

Portland could work with Miami to help the Heat facilitate a trade for Carlos Boozer. Udonis Haslem is a good, hard-nosed player who can shoot the ball, and while he’s not truly starter-caliber, he’d be a nice guy to have on the bench.

Or they could go after Boozer themselves, if they can get the Jazz to answer their calls after trying to steal Millsap away earlier this month.

If the Blazers aren’t worried about having a point guard that can shoot, they should go after Ramon Sessions, who is just as productive as Miller, but 10 years his junior and quite a bit cheaper.

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