Toronto Raptors Could Use Stretch Provision On Landry Fields

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With news leaking today that the Toronto Raptors signed Jordan Hamilton the current roster has 16 players with guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season.

With the maximum roster size being 15 that means one player won’t be with the Raptors come opening night.

Landry Fields has struggled to find his way onto the court for a variety of reasons, and, even when he did last season, he lacked the confidence in his ability to hit an open jumper. Fields shot 40% from the field while passing on lots of open looks. That meant opposing teams were able to sag off of him and could easily double another Raptor.

Toronto now has a glut of wing players under contract in DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, James Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, Landry Fields, and Bruno Caboclo.

It gets even tougher for Fields to crack the rotation when you factor in Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez can also play minutes as shooting guard.

Throw into the mix that Fields had a Real Plus Minus of 0.87 in just over 300 total minutes last season and it’s clear he’s not worth $8.5 million this season.

Enter the infamous stretch provision that’s part of the NBA’s CBA. This would allow Fields to be removed from the roster while spreading out his contract over multiple seasons to help with their salary cap.

Or, it’s possible Toronto is okay absorbing his bad contract this season because of what it would open in cap space this summer. If that’s the case, it’s likely Toronto has a trade brewing to move multiple players while bringing less players back.

They could also move Landry or another player for a draft pick.

Drake Gets Slap On Wrist From NBA

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Reports leaked this weekend that the NBA has fined the Toronto Raptors for tampering after rapper Drake let Kevin Durant know he was wanted in Canada.

Drake was performing at a concert in Toronto that Durant was attending and he got a little carried away and begged the crowd to show Durant what it would be like if he came to play for the Raptors, causing a loud ovation.

The funny thing is this “ovation” pales in comparison to what Durant gets every game while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN.com reported the fine was for a paltry $25,000.

Below is a video clip of what happened during the concert.

Cleveland Cavaliers Taking A Big Risk Trading Andrew Wiggins For Kevin Love

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ESPN is reporting the Cleveland Cavaliers are trading Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.

Since Wiggins can’t be traded officially until August 23rd, until then it’s just a “handshake agreement” between the two franchises.

While adding Love looks great, it’s a move the Cavaliers may soon regret.

Sure, Love led the NBA in double-doubles last season with 65 in only 77 games.

According to ESPN Stats, “A big three of LeBron James with Kyrie Irving and Love could be the best trio in the NBA. According to win shares, which measures the estimated number of wins a player contributes to his team’s total, those three combined for 36.9 last season. That is more than any trio of teammates, and more than the win totals of 11 NBA teams last season.”

By any statistical measure, it appears are first blush that adding Love is a no-brainer and a great move by the Cavs.

But adding Love creates more holes on Cleveland’s roster.

Cleveland still lacks a rim protector and now they lack depth on the wing to give LeBron James the rest he wanted.

Mike Miller may be able to pick up some of those minutes, but Miller hasn’t had the best track record in regards to staying healthy during the twilight of his career. Relying on a trio of Miller, Dion Waiters and LeBron James to play heavy minutes could prove to be a recipe for disaster.

Kyrie Irving averaged 17.4 field goal attempts per game last season while Love averaged 18.5. Both players have been alpha dogs their entire collegiate and NBA careers and it’s a legitimate question if they can give up touches or being the focus of an offense.

The fact Cleveland gave up so quickly on their last two first overall picks has to be worrisome.

Sure, Bennett might have had a hard time cracking this rotation, but he looked like a much-improved player during summer league in Las Vegas. If it was a result of offseason surgery to help deal with breathing issues then the Cavs clearly sold low and were too inpatient to wait to see his value rise.

Losing Wiggins will almost certainly hurt. He could have stepped in during training camp and provided the perfect 1-2 punch with James on the wing. Sure, his jumper needs work, but he showed in Las Vegas that by being aggressive attacking the rim he could draw fouls and get easy points.

Wiggins also would have taken the burden off James on the defensive end by the end of his rookie season. Having two defensive dynamos in James and Wiggins would have been scary for the rest of the NBA.

But, Love is the teammate James wanted so Love ended up in Cleveland.

Time will tell if this was a good move or not. Personally, I would have kept Wiggins if I was running the Cavaliers.

Love Trade To Cavaliers Poses Big Hurdle For Bulls

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K.C. Johnson
Chicago Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

The Chicago Bulls have a new Big Three with which to contend.

Yahoo Sports reported the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have an agreement in place for All-Star forward Kevin Love to join LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, long considered the front-runner to land Love, can’t trade Andrew Wiggins until Aug. 23 but will send the No. 1 overall pick, last year’s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick in 2015 to Minnesota.

Having battled the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh until injuries forced him to miss the last three postseasons, Derrick Rose addressed the possibility of the Cavaliers acquiring Love last week.

“For us, I don’t think it will change anything,” Rose said. “We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit chance to beat anyone in the league. But we also know it’s not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better and guys are going to different teams. That’s why we’re in the NBA and why we love this game, for the challenge.”

The Bulls’ only formal offer to the Timberwolves came before the NBA draft in June when they possessed assets in Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract, two first-round picks and close to $4 million in non-guaranteed deals that they later lost.

Once free agency began, the Bulls’ attention turned to landing Carmelo Anthony and then the plan they succeeded on: filling the roster with depth in Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Aaron Brooks and the re-signing of Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls still plan to add a wing and big man via veteran’s minimum exceptions before training camp begins.

The Bulls maintained a dialogue with the Timberwolves throughout the offseason. But when the Cavaliers signaled a willingness to deal Wiggins, management concluded any offer to beat Cleveland’s would necessitate gutting the team it had assembled this offseason.

“We wanted to create a deeper team,” general manager Gar Forman said at Gasol’s and Mirotic’s introduction July 18. “We wanted to increase our skill level and ability to shoot from the perimeter. And of course Derrick’s health was a big part of this offseason. It’s been terrific watching Derrick play the last month or two. He looks good.

“We have a chance to have as deep and as good a frontline as there is in the NBA. Pau is a proven veteran, a professional with championship experience. Nikola and Doug can really shoot it.”

Let the rivalry begin.

Tim Hardaway ‘Ecstatic’ To Join Stan Van Gundy’s Staff With Detroit Pistons

1997 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 4: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Barry Jackson
The Miami Herald
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Tim Hardaway, who combined with Alonzo Mourning to help lead the Miami Heat to four consecutive Atlantic Division titles and was at the epicenter of the compelling Heat-Knicks rivalry during that era, said Thursday he is leaving his job as a Heat scout to become an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said by telephone. “It’s something I wanted to do. It’s all about teaching. I’m good at teaching and understanding players.”

And he was comfortable with Van Gundy, who was an assistant coach during Hardaway’s time with the Heat. “Stan and I have great rapport,” Hardaway said. “(Heat president) Pat Riley said it’s a great thing for me and he’s happy for me.”

Hardaway — who will join Brendan Malone, Bob Beyer, Charles Klask and former Heat forward Malik Allen on Van Gundy’s staff — said a coaching job on Erik Spoelstra’s staff wasn’t realistic because “there are guys before me here and I didn’t want to take anything from them.”

The Heat acquired Hardaway from Golden State in a midseason trade in 1995-96, and Hardaway and Mourning — over the next 5 { seasons — led the Heat to its most success as a franchise up to that point, though kidney disease sidelined Mourning for most of Hardaway’s final season with the team.

Hardaway, 47, was first-team All-NBA in 1996-97 and fourth in MVP balloting. The Heat traded Hardaway to Dallas for a second-round pick in August 2001, and he later finished out his career with Denver and Indiana.

He worked as a scout and community and corporate liaison for the Heat for the past three years, and he was given more scouting duties than ever before this past season.

“It’s going to be hard, going to be sad (to leave the Heat),” he said. “There will always be a big place in my heart for the Heat, Micky Arison, Pat Riley. It’s bittersweet.”

Hardaway — whose son Tim Jr. plays for the Knicks — also used the word “bittersweet” to describe Friday’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, which he will attend in Springfield, Mass.

Mourning and Mitch Richmond, Hardaway’s close friends and former teammates, will be inducted Friday, and Hardaway — who was a finalist — hoped to be inducted as well. (Richmond and Hardaway played together in Golden State.)

“You have to wait your turn,” Hardaway said. “You’ve got to be optimistic (about being inducted eventually).”