Q: Why would the Cavs even consider making a move for JR Smith? He's a ballhog who has no desire to be part of a team. He's basically Mo Williams. I think we should focus our efforts on acquiring young, promising players and draft picks. - Annemarie, OhioA: First Female Mailbag Participant!! Your prize is in the mail. Look, we know JR Smith as the shot-loving JR Smith who just cares about scoring and not much about anything else. But isn't that what he's in Denver to do? Isn't he the designated sixth man and the "Instant Offense" guy off their bench? I'm not defending him and his erratic shooting, I'm just saying don't knock a guy who's pretty much doing what's he's told to do. He could change if inserted into the starting line-up of a team, stranger things have happened right? I'd obviously choose young players and draft picks over busting a gut to get JR, but like I've said, I wouldn't be upset if we did get him due to his price and the fact that it's an expiring contract. Let's face it, there aren't many teams out there willing to give up young studs and picks for anything we're able to offer outside of including JJ or Mo in a deal, which won't be happening (unless it's a home run, can't miss deal, but how many of them are around??).
Q: I really feel for the Nuggets, the way Melo has been and how he's basically forced them into trading him. Stars have no loyalty anymore; they don't care about fans or communities, just their next paycheck. - Matt
A: Erm, ya ok. I totally see where you're coming from - I was the same after you know who - but I can see where Melo is coming from also. How strong are Denver going to be this year? I don't think it's necessarily about money with Melo - he turned down a $65m three-year extension after all - I think he wants to be in a bigger market. I think the whole "bromance" going on in Miami has really turned his head, and he knows there will be guys around next summer that paired with him will make a pretty good team. We've heard the New York stories, the rumours about Sacramento and New Jersey. From my perspective - an unbiased one in this case - the team I'd be looking to get on if I were Melo would be the Bulls. The Bulls have the things Denver wants from any potential trade, and the Bulls have everything Melo wants. I'm sure they could figure something out along the line, even if it meant Chicago taking on a bad contract just to get them the star prize that would be Carmelo Anthony. I don't know about you, but if I could get Melo for a package of Deng, Gibson, James Johnson, some draft picks and a few dollars, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I think Melo would stay with the Bulls beyond the one-year he'd originally be there for, thus making it a major coup. Rose-Melo-Boozer-Noah v Wade-Bosh-LeBron-Ilgauskas, tell me who ya got there in a seven game series?
Q: How far back have we fallen in the Central Division this summer? Chicago, Milwaukee and even Indiana have gotten stronger while we lost LeBron and added Sessions. - SJ
A: In a previous column I said that I didn't even fancy the Bucks to make the playoffs, whereas I had us in the 8th spot, so I see us ahead of them. Reason being I think our coach heavily outweighs theirs, and while they have some very good players I wonder about their depth and can't help think that last year may have been just a real good year. Teams didn't know what to expect from the Bucks; they had Jennings, Salmons and Bogut playing out of their minds, will those three guys be at that level again this year? I think defensively we'll be a better unit, plus we have that whole "show the world" thing going on so that's gonna play a part. Nobody comes near Chicago in the Central Division. Detroit will be pretty crap I feel, they're a team that needs to unload a few guys and start fresh in my honest opinion. They overspent on Gordon and Villanueva and are now feeling that. Indiana picked up a real nice piece in Darren Collison, and along with Granger, Rush and Hibbert they will score a lot, but I don't know if they have the ability to reach the playoffs. Experience may count against them. Just one more thing on Milwaukee - I may have been wrong when I said they won't male the playoffs, but it was my gut instinct and I went with it. if I'm wrong I'll be the first to hold my hand up and admit it, but let's just wait and see first.
Thoughts on Jamal Crawford
If you haven't read this, go ahead and do so, I'll wait here for you...Done? Cool, what ya think? Case of him getting ticked off that Joe Johnson won the free-agency sweepstakes and is earning waayyyyy more than he should be? I really don't know what's going on with Jamal, he has a pretty good thing going in Atlanta, and this outburst may be unwelcome by some. If I'm the management over at the Hawks, my main concern is not Jamal Crawford however; it's their stud bigman Al Horford and tying him up for the next five years. Horford could become a restricted free agent next summer, and wouldn't be short of suitors. He's a rarity in the NBA, that being a quality big who's young and continuing to improve. But back to Crawford and the sticky situation there - if JR Smith is someone we have no interest in, how do we all fell about Crawford? Is he just basically an older version of JR Smith? One thing's for certain, I agree 100% with the consensus out there that Jamal Crawford if available would have options, plenty of options.
Boobie Pumped Up
Daniel Gibson - yep, he still plays for us you know - seems rather excited about the new season ahead. In an interview with the Plain Dealer, Gibson was quoted as saying "I wish we could start tomorrow" and "I think we have a great group of guys ready to do something big". I'm felling the positive attitude from Bobbie; not getting down on no.23 bolting town, leaving last year slip to the back of his memory and focusing on the one ahead, and his general optimism and enthusiasm will surely rub off his teamates come training camp. Boobie should be an integral part of our system this year. He's a top caliber shooter, an underrated defender at the point guard spot and is more than capable of running a team in patches. In a Gibson/Sessions backcourt he should find a lot of open looks, particularly if we have guys who can make shots at the three and four. It's not that long ago he rained down three's on Detroit for fun you know, you don't lose that kind of shooting touch, he juts needs game time and I'm sure he'll see plenty this year.
Thoughts on Team USA
With a now perfect 3-0 record after defeating Brazil, ye Americans have two gimme games that should set it up nicely for the latter stages of the competition. Looking at the boxscore alone, free throws played a huge factor in the game. USA outscored their South American opponents 18-4 in free throws; an advantage that will 99.99% of the time give you a huge advantage. The less said about Iguodala's performance the better I guess, 0-3 in 29 minutes. Durant further enhanced proof of him focusing in on more than just scoring by adding 10 boards and 3 steals to his 27 points. The 7 TO's was more than the starting backcourt of Rose and Billups had combined - but then again he had more points than them combined so not fair to nit-pick there really. San Antonio's new import Tiago Splitter finished with 13 points and 10 boards - Spurs fans are gonna just love him. Also from an NBA perspective, Hamed Haddadi from the Memphis Grizzlies has a huge game of 23 points and 13 rebounds to earn Iran their first ever FIBA victory - which was apparently met by massive celebrations outside the Grizzlies arena, thousands of fans are said to have flooded the street in sheer jubilation. Seriously...no I'm not joking, would I do that?