NBA News & Notes: Robinson, Redick and Brewer

Nate Robinson is reportedly returning to Boston.

Robinson, an unrestricted free agent, has agreed to a two-year deal that will pay him around $4 million per season to return to the Celtics, the Boston Herald reported, citing a league source.

Shortly after Yahoo! Sports first reported news of the re-signing, the Twitter-friendly Robinson seemed to acknowledge the reports of his return by Twittering a song entitled, “Welcome Back.”

Asked by a follower why he chose that, Robinson then Tweeted: “Cuz I’m back n beantown baby yeah.”

Robinson is a talented offensive player and showed some pretty good passing skills when he got some run in the playoffs. He seemed to buy into Doc Rivers’ system and gives the C’s second unit some scoring punch off the bench. I’d expect he’ll play some more now that Rivers (at least somewhat) trusts him.

The Magic matched the Bulls’ offer sheet for J.J. Redick.

As expected, the Magic have matched the Bulls’ offer of three years and $19 million, meaning Redick will stay in Orlando.

In his rookie season, Redick was something of a joke amongst some pundits, but he quietly has turned himself into a capable NBA shooting guard. Offensively, he’s going to stick to what he does best — make open shots. Defensively, he has realized that he’s going to have to put in a lot more effort than he did in college if he’s going to get minutes in the NBA. He is pretty good at chasing through screens and annoying his man.

For the Magic, this was a pretty important signing because Orlando was simply a better team when Redick was playing instead of Vince Carter. At least with Redick, Stan Van Gundy knew what he was going to get.

Chicago strikes out on Redick, turns to Ronnie Brewer.

Sources confirm report that club has agreed to three-year, $12M deal with Ronnie Brewer. Story soon on

The Bulls needed shooters, but when they extended offers to both Kyle Korver and J.J. Redick, it seemed like the two players were a little too similar. Now that Redick is out of the picture, the Bulls can sign Brewer, who is more of a defensive stopper/slasher type. He was good in Utah and showed a lot of promise, but fell out of favor this season when Wes Matthews started to emerge.

Brewer, Korver and Deng will probably rotate at the wing spots. The Bulls might struggle to score when Brewer/Deng are out there as neither player is particularly good from range. But the Bulls will be running their offense through Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer for the most part.

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Jazz ship Brewer to Memphis

One last deal of note…

Ronnie Brewer has been dealt by Utah to the Grizzlies in exchange for a protected future first-round pick, according to Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune, Woj and a bunch of others with Twitter accounts.

The deal makes sense: By trading Brewer, the Jazz ease their logjam — sorry, Kevin — of wing players, freeing minutes for Wesley Matthews, C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver. More significantly, the Jazz will ease their luxury-tax burden, with the Grizzlies having the cap space to absorb Brewer’s $2.7 million salary.

“We had three or four players that were competing for minutes and we were able to turn that into a future asset,” Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor told Siler.

Memphis needed a guard, and Brewer is a decent player, though his PER is down to 13.12 this season after a great sophomore (18.30) season and a solid third (16.19) year. (Remember, 15.00 is the league average.) The bottom line is that he’s playing the same minutes (31+) but his shot attempts dropped from 10.2 per game last season to 7.8 this season. That’s going to result in a drop in PER.

On his Twitter page, Adrian Wojnarowski speculated about what this means for Rudy Gay:

This means Memphis is unlikely to pay Rudy Gay this summer.

I wouldn’t go that far, but it does give Memphis a solid starter if Gay does bolt this summer.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

What is the class of 2006 worth?

Around this time last year, I tried to estimate the kind of contracts the big name players from the class of 2004 and 2005 would sign, and here’s how I fared:

All in all, I think I did a pretty good job. Of the 12 players that signed a contract last summer, I correctly predicted the range for seven and was within $1.5 million for the other five. Granted, I underestimated what the Lakers would give Vujacic, but I find him so annoying that I have a tough time objectively determining his worth. (Though it should be noted that he didn’t do anything this season to justify $5.0 million per season.)

This year, I’m going to list the top names from the class of ’06 to try to determine what kind of extension they’ll get if their current teams choose to lock them up this summer instead of letting them hit restricted free agency in 2010. (I’ll tackle the restricted free agents of the class of ’05 in my free agency preview, which will run on 6/29.)

Due to the economy and the unwillingness of most owners to spend, the summer of 2009 promises to be tougher for free agents than years past, so we may see a few players stubbornness get the best of them. One executive predicted a “nuclear winter” of sorts, so at the very least, it will be interesting.

So here are the top players from the class of ’06 and my best estimate of the kind of money they’ll command. I’ll list their age, Player Efficiency Rating (PER), along with a few comparables.

Read the rest of this entry »

The NBA’s Top 10 Young Shooting Guards

Here’s a quick list of the top 10 shooting guards under the age of 26, ranked in the order of a combination of current performance and trade value (regardless of salary).

I’ll also list the player’s age and his Player Efficiency Rating.

1. Brandon Roy, Blazers
Age: 24
PER: 22.93

How do you like Roy’s smooth 21.1 points and 5.3 assists? He’s the cornerstone to a resurgent Portland franchise.

2. Kevin Martin, Kings
Age: 25
PER: 18.90

His line is a little thin – 2.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds – but boy can he score.

3. Kevin Durant, Thunder
Age: 20
PER: 17.26

His FG% is three percent higher this season and he’s hitting 47% of his treys. I’d rather see him play small forward, but he’s listed as an off guard.

4. O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies
Age: 21
PER: 17.13

It’s tough to argue with Mayo’s 21.3 points per game, especially when he’s shooting pretty well from the field (46%) and long range (39%). The Grizzlies have something going with their core of Mayo and Rudy Gay.

5. Andre Iguodala, Sixers
Age: 23
PER: 14.56

It has been a down year for Iggy, who has seen his scoring drop by 6.0 points per game since the arrival of Elton Brand. His FG% is down and his 3PT% is brutal (23%), but his rebounds and assists are up. Think the Sixers would trade him for Mayo or Durant straight up? I do.

6. Rudy Fernandez, Blazers
Age: 23
PER: 18.35

He’s been better than advertised. He’s only playing 26 minutes a game, but he’s scoring well (11.6 ppg) and is shooting the long ball often (2.3 made threes per game) and accurately (44%).

7. Ronnie Brewer, Jazz
Age: 23
PER: 16.32

Brewer is building on last year’s breakout season. He’s not a great three-point shooter (32%), but he’s improved in that area of the game. His contributions elsewhere – 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals – make him valuable.

8. Ben Gordon, Bulls
Age: 25
PER: 17.77

Gordon is playing for a contract and while his points are up (20.4), his three-point accuracy is down (37%).

9. Delonte West, Cavs
Age: 25
PER: 14.52

West has settled in nicely with the Cavs. He’s averaging 11.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists, and is shooting 50% from the field and 41% from long range.

10. Nick Young, Wizards
Age: 23
PER: 15.03

His line is thin, but he’s averaging 11.8 points in 24 minutes, and basketball is (mostly) about putting the ball in the hoop.

Other lists:

Top 10 Young Point Guards
Top 10 Young Small Forwards

2008 NBA Preview: #5 Utah Jazz

Offseason Movement: The Jazz exercised a couple of no-brainer contract options on Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap, and signed Deron Williams to a long-term deal. The other main acquisition was center Kosta Koufos via the draft.
Keep Your Eye On: Carlos Boozer
Boozer has another year on his deal, but it’s a player option, and considering he can make more on the open market, he’ll probably opt out. That doesn’t mean that he’s leaving Utah, but given Boozer’s history, the team is justifiably worried. Utah has a lot of money tied up in Andrei Kirilenko (three years, $49 million) and it would be much better spent on a new deal for Boozer. Complicating matters is Mehmet Okur, who can also opt out next summer. The good news is that the Jazz locked up Deron Williams, so that should encourage both Boozer and Okur to stay.
The Big Question: Is this group good enough to get over the hump?
Utah has a nice roster, but it’s unclear if the current core – Williams, Boozer, Okur, AK-47 – is good enough to get past the West’s elite. Can Williams and Boozer raise their respective games? Will another player (Brewer, Koufos) turn into a star?
Outlook: The Jazz are right on the cusp and they’ll always play hard for Jerry Sloan, so they’ll be in the thick of things come playoff time. That means that they’re likely to advance to the Western Conference Semis or Western Conference Finals and meet a roadblock like the Lakers, Hornets or Spurs. I’d like to see Jerry Sloan make another trip to the Finals, but the odds are against that happening this season.

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