This Week's Show

Dre and Brian are back to talk NBA off-season, especially the hapless Kings, and more on racism and rich people.

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Show Notes

David Lee and Small Ball

David Lee's time in Golden State ends not with a bang, but a whimper. On the plus side, it gives us a chance to bash the "small ball" meme.

Fun note, if we adjust by minutes played, the 2015 Warriors are a slightly taller team than the 99 Spurs, who had the two towers of David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Also worth noting that calling Draymond Green "small ball" is a bit misleading. He's a 230 pound player with a seven foot two wingspan! Check out The Sports Gene for great information on that. And for the millionth time, it's not about playing small or big, it's about putting productive players on the floor! A four that can stretch the floor that can't shoot isn't useful!

We talk David Lee's "lack of defense". The reality is, a lot of David Lee's skills are redundant on the Warriors. That's not David Lee's fault, and I find the arguments against his defense somewhat spurious. Regardless, I think it was a good move to get David Lee to a team where he'll get minutes and to get the Warriors a good bench player.

Brian points out that James Michael McAdoo put up David Lee production last season, albeit in limited minutes. He's done well in Summer League, so the Warriors are fine.

Last Week's Trainwreck Posts

The reality in films is the international market is huge. Michael Jordan's Space Jam will likely end up with a better gross (adjusted for inflation) than LeBron's Trainwreck thanks to the international market. Even Adam Sandler's horrible Pixels has already almost hit its budget thanks to $60 million from the international market!

The comment thread on my Trainwreck piece was fantastic. It "devolved" into arguments about Water World vs. Mad Max, and if Bruce Lee was overrated. Love it!

Hulk Hogan and "Donald Sterling Racism

The WWE fired Hulk Hogan for racist statements he said in a leaked tape.

The issue I have is that the WWE has had major issues with racism for years.

Grantland had a great breakdown of WWE's issues with race.

Colin Cowherd is out at ESPN after insulting Dominicans. Sadly, I feel both he and Hulk Hogan are just scapegoats. It allows the networks to "take a stand" against racism while not fixing pervasive issues. In Cowherd's case, his contract was up, so this is a convenient way to get him out sooner. In Donald Sterlin's case, it allowed the NBA to remove him as an owner. In short, I'm even more jaded as some of these "stands again racism" seem to be convenient political maneuvers.

Pedro Martinez was excellent on the field and is still awesome!

Donald Trump is to me, the "trump card" in the racism argument. Namely an entitled rich person can be very racist and really can't be stopped. He's one of the GOP front-runners right now!

The Kings

Dean Oliver is in the opinion of many, including myself, one of the best basketball analytics minds out there. And as such, the Kings recent moves with him are inexcusable. Kevin Draper broke down just how bad things have been in Sacramento.

I don't buy that Vivek Ranadive knows what he's doing. That's depressing given how he entered the league.

As promised, here's the image of me meeting him years ago at Sloan.

Tom Ziller also had a good breakdown of how bad the Kings were a few weeks ago.

Free Agency

We break down the NBA moves of the last week. Tune in for an exciting discussion of shuffling deck chairs!

Shout Outs

Brian shouts out the city of Boston for turning down the Olympics. Yes! We approve not wasting public funds on sports. Reminder, Sochi was billions over budget!

Brian shouts out Josh Smith for making a correct statement. We agree it might anger you to hear his comments, but if that makes you mad, you should be furious at owners.

We give Becky Hammon a shout out for winning Summer League. I'd love to see her pull a Pat Riley and take over the Spurs in the near future and win a title in her first year.

Curtis Harris gets a shout out for this gem.

@NerdNumbers I'm awaiting, "WWE surprised to find out it's homoerotic"

— Curtis Harris (@curtismharris) July 25, 2015

Marc Lamont had some fantastic tweets about the WWE and racism. A good person to follow.

And they pick the champ based on the values and preferences of their base. That doesn't negate racism. https://t.co/30oatjyJzC

— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) July 24, 2015

Found this great compilation on youtube of all the Tyson Chandler dunks in just the 2014-15 season with the Dallas Mavericks at age 32.

He's gonna bring the Suns fans to their feet next season.

Chandler's 179 dunks all by himself are more than three entire NBA teams managed for the season (Grizzlies, Spurs, Pacers). It's the second most dunks by a single player IN THE ENTIRE NBA for the 2014-15 season (DeAnde Jordan #1).

His 179 dunks were THREE TIMES more than the highest dunking Suns player last year (Alex Len, 66), and the Suns as a team finished 16th in total team dunks a year ago.

Brandan Wright had 48 dunks in only 40 games, with dunks accounting for 23.7% of all his shot attempts (leading the Suns by a wide margin).

With...

Summer League is done.  The Suns have fallen again.  The free agent frenzy is done.  The Suns struck out (on the big fish, at least) again.

But there's a lot of other stuff happening in the world.  Outer space is popping off with new pictures of Pluto and a new potentially life-sustaining planet a few thousand light years away!  Ant-Man beat out Pac-Man at the box office.  And Meek Mill and Drake are having some kind of beef.  I only understood a few words in that last sentence.

What's got your hearts aflutter this week?  Share it in the Madhouse!

      
 
 

After signing four players from the free agent market, drafting one and trading for yet another, the Phoenix Suns have a nearly complete roster now.

"It's been a very eventful and productive summer," outgoing President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said at the Brandon Knight press conference last week.

Since June 25, the Suns have added six new players - Devin Booker, Jon Leuer, Tyson Chandler, Mirza Teletovic, Sonny Weems, Ronnie Price - and re-signed Brandon Knight to a huge contract.

The Suns only key losses from the end of the season are Marcus Morris, Gerald Green and Brandan Wright. Morris and Green will likely be replaced by younger players T.J. Warren, Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker, along with Sonny Weems. Brandan Wright will be replaced by Tyson Chandler.

With 13 players under guaranteed contracts, are the Suns totally done? No, there is still work to do.

"I think we are maybe not quite done, but almost done with our summer work" -Lon Babby

"I think we are maybe not quite done, but almost done with our summer work," Babby said.

The Suns depth chart is fairly balanced, but their are opportunities to add more players to the training camp roster, if not to the regular season roster with a guaranteed deal.

Babby had mentioned that the Suns were shooting for 13 guaranteed contracts this year, and they have already exceeded the salary cap - the first time they have exceeded the league's salary cap since 2012.

Here's a recap of the summer transactions, and the most likely method with which the players were added according to Bobby Marks, via twitter.

suns-transactions-july-27

Marks has Ronnie Price being signed using the minimum salary exception, but by my count the Suns did not exceed the cap until they re-signed Brandon Knight to salary $3+ million over his cap hold for 2015-16.

Still, whether they signed Price before or after exceeding the cap is immaterial. They are over it now and have the same flexibility regardless. They can continue to sign players either using the "Room" exception (up to $2.8 million this year) and to minimum salaries, like Price.

Depth Chart

That is 13 guaranteed contracts as of right now, going at least two-deep with strong roster players and/or designed playing opportunities for young players Len, Warren, Booker and Goodwin.

What's left?

Third string center

How about a third center. Both Alex Len and Tyson Chandler have injury histories. Sure, Markieff Morris can back up at center as he's done the past two years, but that is not an ideal situation for more than a few minutes per game.

Twitter rumors had the Suns looking at free agent Justin Hamilton last week, but he has since agreed to join Valencia oversees for next season.

Former #Twolves big man Justin Hamilton update: Suns close to making a partial guarantee offer, I hear. No lock he'd take just a partial.

— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) July 23, 2015

The Suns, or Hamilton, apparently passed on that. Hamilton has since agreed with Valencia.

Sounds like the Suns still want a backup center.

Last year at this time, Hassan Whiteside was out there waiting to be signed. He eventually hooked on with Miami and had a heck of a season, so there's a chance the Suns could still find a quality backup big man at this late stage.

JaVale McGee is still out there, for example. Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva are out there too. Kevin Seraphin, previously rumored to have Suns interest, is still available.

Here's a fairly good list, though understandably a couple days out of date.

Summer Suns standout Josh Harrellson is still available. So is former Suns player Earl Barron.

Third string point guard

While Ronnie Price was signed for his veteran moxie and likely will stay on the Suns all year, you can expect the Suns will bring at least one more point guard to camp with a chance to make a roster spot. The Suns have 13 guaranteed contracts already, but the league allows for up to two more players.

You'd think the Suns would love to bring in summer standout Mike James, but likely don't want to guarantee him any money. He has guaranteed money waiting for him overseas, and interest from other NBA teams as well. He's not a real, pure point guard, so the Suns likely don't want to invest long-term money in yet another guy who scores better than passes.

Ish Smith is still out there, but surely will get guaranteed money and likely more than the league minimum. Rumors had him going back to Philadelphia - who still don't have a point guard - for more than the minimum. Will Bynum (previously linked to the Suns) and the well-traveled Luke Ridnour are on the market as well. 98-year old Pablo Prigioni will likely be on the market in the coming days, if he's not already.

There are also a few teams trying to shed salary now that they've spent all their money and are facing big luxury tax penalties. The Miami Heat just dumped 2014 first rounder Shabazz Napier for a future second round pick. Napier is small and not a real good passer, so this isn't a big loss from the Suns perspective.

Any other depth

One thing we know for sure is that GM Ryan McDonough never telegraphs his moves. Almost NONE of his dozen trades or handful of free agent signings have been known in advance.

So be sure that when the Suns do sign or acquire another player in the coming days it won't be anyone mentioned here.

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