NEW YORK — The best thing about the NFL season is the NBA season is just around the gully, so over the ridge to Grandpa Stern’s house we go.
With training camps scheduled to open for business as unusual on Sept. 29, the configuration of numerous rosters (the pool’s in but the patio ain’t dry) remain exceptionally uncompleted.
The Nets’ aversion to assume Ruben Patterson’s rack of baggage as well as his $25 million, four-year guarantee, coupled by the Blazers’ unwillingness to take on Dikembe Mutombo’s full ($37.6 million) two-year guarantee, appears to have terminated talk of a Kenyon Martin-Rasheed Wallace exchange.
A last ditch offer by Jersey to accept Jeff McInnis in the package, instead of Patterson, was rejected by Portland, divulges a source.
McInnis may be a knucklehead but the Blazers can ill-afford to surrender him in light of Damon Stoudamire’s enduring marijuana issues that may very well earn him starters’ minutes in the slammer.
Without Stoudamire (as well as free agent defectors Scottie Pippen and Antonio Daniels) McInnis would be the last point guard standing; unless you think walk-on Robert Pack can make a difference.
The three-way proposition involving Antonio Davis also seems to have shattered in mid-dialogue.
Again, Blazer boss Paul Allen is disinclined to take on a three-year guarantee (especially the final payment of $13 million), which doesn’t include Davis’ 7 1/2 percent (not 15 percent as I initially reported) trade kicker.
Apparently, the U.S. economy is so bad that even billionaires are being intimidated by the NBA’s luxury tax.
At the same time, Raptors GM Glen Grunwald has withdrawn his support of coach Kevin O’Neil’s interest in acquiring Mutombo at his current income.
If Mutombo were to become a free agent — which won’t happen unless he agrees to relieve the Nets of roughly a third of their obligation — the Raptors would be all over him.
In the meantime, I’m informed Grunwald and Celtics boss Danny Ainge are discussing a swap of Davis for Tony Battie and free agent-in-waiting Eric Williams.
Considering Boston’s cap already is sky high ($60 million this season, $59 million next) it’s doubtful that deal will go down. That is, unless Ainge can figure out a way to “capsize” Vin Baker.
The moment the Hawks match the three-year, $22.5 million offer sheet Jason Terry received from the Jazz, their new owners must write a check for $4 million, almost half of the guard’s first year ($8.3 million) wages.
How badly did Terry want out of Atlanta?
He turned down its seven-year, $50 million offer, establishing him as the newest franchise player of Gamblers Anonymous.
Sources reveal Memphis is desperately trying to obtain a center, namely Atlanta’s Nazr Mohammad after failing to pry away Erick Dampier from the Warriors.
With the exception of Mike Miller (about to be rewarded with a plush contract) and James Posey, the Grizzlies would be happy to give up any of their many small forwards or off guards — Wesley Person or Shane Battier, for instance.
Look for Michael Dickerson to announce his retirement due to medical reasons.
Stephen Jackson, having unwisely rebuffed a three-year, $10 million Spurs’ offer soon after becoming a free agent (following the rejection notice, Gregg Popovich swiftly snared Hedo Turkoglu and Ron Mercer), must now settle for the best non-profitable situation.
A team, in other words (we’re talking Hawks or Clippers), that can provide the most performance-enhancing exposure.
In case you weren’t paying attention, Jackson led the league last season in receiving uncontested jumpers, one of the many advantages of playing with Tim Duncan.
Lenny Cook spent last week in Portland being scrutinized by a multitude of organizational talent scouts and will be kept around for training camp should he demonstrate he’s a project worth investing maximum effort and minimal decimals in.
The Jazz are $4 million below the minimum ($33.9 million) cap, meaning they’re on the lookout for appealing players with unwanted contracts, preferably one-year deals. In return, they want first-round picks.
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