Breakdown of Charlie Villanueva/Ryan Hollins tussle [video]

Strange scene in Detroit last night during the Pistons/Cavs game. Charlie Villanueva set a hard screen on Ryan Hollins (throwing his shoulder into him a little bit). Hollins didn’t avoid the contact and threw a shoulder of his own trying to go through Villanueva’s pick.

Watch as Villanueva reacts to the news that he was ejected.

One thing that’s interesting to note here is the favoritism that the Cavs announcers showed Hollins. I guess that should be expected, but at every point during the incident, the guy doing the color commentary, Austin Carr (I’m assuming — let me know if I’m wrong), blamed Villanueva exclusively as if Hollins was completely innocent during the incident.

Villanueva definitely gave his screen a little extra (he reportedly said after the game that Hollins had hit him with an intentional elbow earlier in the game) but Hollins threw his shoulder into Charlie V as he set the pick. Then Hollins wrapped up Villanueva which led to Villanueva raising his arms up into Hollins’ face. Had Hollins let go there, the two probably would have had a stare down or a pushing match and neither would have been ejected.

The most perplexing thing about this situation is Villanueva’s reaction to getting ejected. At the 1:29 mark he learns that he’s been tossed, and it takes him a full seven seconds of stroking his chin before he decides to go after Hollins.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Bill Simmons’ “Almost Famous” tribute, Pt. 2

In Part 2 of Bill Simmons’ “Almost Famous”-is-the-greatest-movie-of-the-decade spiel, he continues to take quotes from the movie and apply them to the 2009 NBA offseason. Here’s one about the Pistons…

47. Please don’t give him any more acid. Thank you.
To Joe Dumars. In the span of 14 months, he hired the wrong coach (Michael Curry), overpaid the wrong bench guys (Kwame Brown and Amir Johnson), traded the wrong star too early (Billups, who would have netted more than just an expiring cap figure near the deadline), extended the wrong star too early (Rip Hamilton), overrated the wrong young guy (Rodney Stuckey, who might not even be a point guard), threw away the wrong season (2008-09, when the East was more wide open than we thought), then made it up to Pistons fans by saying, “I just spent $94 million on two guys who will never make an All-Star team!” Shouldn’t you be worried when your top five guys (Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Hamilton, Stuckey and Prince) are all perimeter guys who don’t rebound, play inside or make other guys better?

I too think that the Pistons overpaid for Gordon and Villanueva, who are certainly good offensive players, but really seem to struggle on the other end of the court. Dumars had the rep for being one of the savviest general managers in the league, but with these signings all the Pistons’ cap space is gone and they don’t have an inside presence.

The funny thing is that Dumars was pretty much bidding against himself for Gordon’s services (the Bulls didn’t even bother to make an offer) and the best Villanueva could have hoped for was a mid-level deal (from Cleveland?). This is one of the more interesting rebuilding projects going.

The Top 10 Head Scratchers of the 2009 NBA Offseason

The NBA offseason is by no means over, but the lion’s share is behind us, so it’s a good time to take a look back at a few of the…um…let’s say “questionable” decisions of the summer. Here are my Top 10, in no particular order. Feel free to add to the list if I missed something.

1. Trevor Ariza plays spiteful hardball…and loses.
Let’s get this straight — the Lakers offered Ariza the same deal he was getting on the open market, and he refused since the Lakers could have offered more, but didn’t? Um, okay. David Lee (the agent, not the Knicks forward) says that Ariza wanted to go somewhere where he’d be “appreciated.” Lee overestimated the market for his client, and the Lakers quickly moved on to acquire Ron Artest. Now instead of playing for the world champs, Ariza is stuck in Houston on a team that faces a very uncertain future. Lee now says that Ariza turned down a deal worth $9 million more, but still picked Houston. It sounds to me like he’s just trying to save face.

2. Grizzlies acquire Zach Randolph.
Once the Clippers traded for Randolph (and his toxic contract) last season, I thought the bar for NBA general managers had hit a new low thanks to Mike Dunleavy and his wily ways. But Dunleavy proved that he wasn’t the dumbest GM in the league when he convinced the Memphis Grizzlies to take on the final two years Randolph’s contract at the tune of $33.3 million. Remember that $25 million or so of cap space that the Grizzlies were going to have next summer? Yeah, that’s down to about $8 million with this brilliant move. Just when it looked like Chris Wallace was going to rehab his image after the Pau Gasol trade — Marc Gasol panning out, trading for O.J. Mayo — he goes and does this. Sigh.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pistons come to terms with Gordon, Villanueva

The Detroit Pistons have a ton of cap space heading into 2009 NBA free agency, and they apparently aren’t afraid to use it, agreeing in principle to contracts with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

Former Bulls guard Gordon will receive a five-year deal for between $55 million and $60 million, while former Bucks forward Villanueva gets a five-year deal for $40 million, sources told’s Chris Broussard.

Gordon rejected deals from Chicago in excess of $50 million each of the past two seasons. Milwaukee elected to let the 24-year-old Villanueva become an unrestricted free agent earlier this week, after the Bucks determined that matching any restricted free-agent offers would move the team closer to the luxury tax threshold and limit changing the roster.

It’s not surprising that the Pistons signed both of these players, but the value of the contracts seem a little high when taking the current economic climate into consideration. It seems like GM Joe Dumars is operating in a 2006 or 2007 mindset when the reality is that the demand for these players probably didn’t justify $11 million per season for Gordon and $8 millon per season for Villanueva.

There are only eight teams with significant cap space this summer — the Grizzlies, Pistons, Hawks, Thunder, Kings, Raptors, Blazers and Timberwolves — and Memphis, OKC and Minnesota weren’t expected to be big players this offseason. The Bulls were trying to re-sign Gordon, and they probably were in the same neighborhood of the two deals they offered over the last two years that averaged $10 million and $9 million per season, so Detroit may have felt they had to outbid Chicago to pry him away. But I just don’t think he’s worth it, given his defensive liabilities and his lack of size for an off guard.

As for Villanueva, he was intrigued with the possibility of playing with LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal in Cleveland, but they could only offer him a mid-level deal, which would probably start at around $5.5 million per season. Even though his new contract’s $8 million per season average is the first thing to jump out, we need to focus on the first season. The contract could very well start at $6 million and go up $1 million per season for five years, which would add up to $40 million. They needed to outbid the mid-level deal to convince Villanueva to join a non-contender. Still, that’s a big commitment for a player who has a reputation for being a poor defender and has had his work ethic questioned at time. But at 24, Villanueva is still learning and is already a proven scorer.

This Gordon signing may indicate that Rip Hamilton will be moved before next February’s trade deadline. Though he’s getting older, he’s still a highly efficient scorer and he’d definitely be able to help a contender. I doubt that it’s Dumars’ plan to have $22 million locked up per season at one position. If Hamilton is moved, then the Pistons would be building around a lineup of Rodney Stuckey, Gordon, Tayshaun Prince and Villanueva.

NBA Free Agency Rumors: Turk, Charlie V, Millsap and more

Pistons, Blazers interested in Hedo Turkoglu.

The Oregonian reports Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant general manager Tom Penn called agent Lon Babby last night to begin the courtship of Hedo Turkoglu.

With Carlos Boozer out of the picture, an NBA source tells the Chicago Sun-Times that Turkoglu is now the Pistons’ first choice in free agency.

While the Blazers’ interest has long been rumored, Detroit’s interest is a little surprising. They already have a very good small forward on the roster in Tayshaun Prince, so unless they’re planning to play Turkoglu at the four, someone is going to lose some minutes. Of the two teams, the Pistons have more cap space, so if they want him, they can get him. (And what about Ben Gordon?)

Charlie V ahead of Turkoglu on the Pistons’ wishlist?

Chicago’s Ben Gordon remains the backcourt player deeply coveted by the Pistons, but the prospect of a Gordon-and-Villanueva combo likely would be slightly cheaper than trying to sign Gordon and Turkoglu with Detroit’s nearly $19 million in projected salary-cap space.

The Pistons may also be interested in Paul Millsap, but anytime a team signs a restricted free agent to an offer sheet, that money is tied up for a week while his current team decides to match. That makes signing an RFA a dicey prospect.

I wonder if the Bucks are regretting letting Villanueva given the amount of interest he’s generating from their division rivals (Detroit and Cleveland).

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts