Eric Freeman

  • Can Dwight Howard reclaim his good name with the Atlanta Hawks?

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 hrs ago

    One of the most curious players on the 2016 free agent market came off the board Friday afternoon when the Atlanta Hawks agreed to terms with eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. As reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Howard will make $70.5 million over three years, or just a tad more per-year than the $23.3 player option that Howard turned down to leave the Houston Rockets and become an unrestricted free agent. The 30-year-old center will return to his hometown of Atlanta in the hope of reclaiming the form that made him such a force with the Orlando Magic and a very popular free agent three summers ago.

    This situation can work for Howard. He will have enough help to be an effective defensive anchor, will be a piece of an offense predicated on balance, and will have enough stable veterans around him to read as a “fun” personality and not a too-silly loser. He should be even better if the NBA changes the rules surrounding intentional fouls.

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  • Mike Conley and Grizzlies agree to the biggest NBA contract ever

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 hrs ago

    Before Friday, only two players in NBA history had made $30 million per year — Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. The first day of 2016 free agency brought a third … and he’s never made an All-Star team.

    As first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to terms with point guard Mike Conley on a five-year, $153-million deal that ranks as the richest in NBA history by total value. Conley’s deal is also the first contract over $100 million with an annual salary average of at least $30 million. Kevin Durant can match Conley’s deal this summer if he returns to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a five-year deal, but these terms will hold the record until next offseason barring a shocking move for a 10-year veteran.

    Context aside, Conley and the Grizzlies just became a part of NBA history. Whether they end celebrated or ridiculed for it remains to be seen.

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  • New cap inspires free agency sticker shock, no matter the logic

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 hrs ago

    NBA fans have prepared for July 1, 2016 for more than 15 months, but the reality of the first day of free agency has brought shock and awe nonetheless. This one-time, unprecedented raising of the salary cap from $70 million to $94 million has opened up major money for every team for a relatively weak free-agent class. Apparently fearing getting left behind, many teams have acted quickly to tie up potential rotation players at dollar amounts and multi-year commitments that would typically have gone to essential starters in past offseasons.

    The shock of the new normal will eventually wear off. Unfortunately for some teams, these long-term deals will still be fully guaranteed when it does.

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    Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

  • Huge DeRozan deal solidifies Raptors' return to relevance

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

     

    The Toronto Raptors had the franchise’s best-ever season in 2015-16, winning a record 56 games and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. They began a critical 2016 free agency period by locking up a homegrown All-Star for the long term, though perhaps at the expense of their long-term flexibility.

    As reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan quickly agreed to terms to remain with the Raptors for five years and approximately $139 million. That dollar amount has not yet been finalized due to other offseason factors for Toronto, but DeRozan will certainly be under contract at a very high salary through his age-31 season in 2020-21.

    It’s only a questionable deal if a team’s only goal should be to win a title. But Toronto has found that steady progress can be a pretty great reward in its own right.

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  • NBA and Hornets do not support new version of N.C. 'bathroom law'

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The NBA has spent much of the spring and early summer engaged in one of the more notable state policy issues of 2016. In February, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 2, one of the most sweeping anti-LGBT laws in the nation. Although primarily known for its controversial “bathroom law” that forces transgender people from using the restroom assigned to the gender they were born into rather than the one they have chosen, HB 2 barred the creation of any new laws extending anti-discrimination to the LGBT community and even set limits on changes to the minimum wage. The outcry against HB 2 has been swift and constant, with many corporations that do business in North Carolina making statements against the law and threatening changes to their practices.

    The NBA and Hornets issued a statement Thursday making it very clear that they do not endorse the new bill:

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  • LeBron James to become free agent, near-certain to stay with Cavs

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

     

    For the third offseason in a row, LeBron James will be a free agent. For the second offseason in a row, there’s little doubt about where he’ll sign.

    The 2016 NBA Finals MVP has decided not to exercise his player option for the 2016-17 season, thereby putting him on the open market when free agency begins July 1. However, this move was considered highly likely and does not jeopardize LeBron’s promised return to Cleveland following the franchise’s first championship. It is almost entirely a financial decision.

    Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has the report:

    Finals MVP LeBron James will not exercise his player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2016-17 season, according to his agent, Rich Paul.

    James, who had to inform the Cavs of his decision by Wednesday at midnight, will become a free agent July 1 for the third straight summer. He was slated to earn $24 million next season.

    On Tuesday night, however, Paul gave no insight into what type of contract his client would eventually sign with the Cavs or what the timetable is for his expected return to Cleveland.

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  • Kyrie Irving plans to razz Warriors on Team USA about the Finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    One of the coolest things about USA Basketball is that it allows players who spend most of their careers as rivals to be teammates. Plus, unlike the All-Star Game, international basketball acts as a competitive atmosphere. Star players can take on new roles — just remember Kobe Bryant as a defensive specialist in 2008, or Carmelo Anthony’s discovery that he would have been the greatest EuroLeague player ever.

    At the same time, national team participants do not cast off their usual associations just because they wear the same uniform for about a month. For instance, Kyrie Irving is still the same person who beat new teammates Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes in the NBA Finals two Sundays ago.

    Irving knows as much. In fact, he attends on reminding those Golden State Warriors that his Cleveland Cavaliers beat them whenever he gets the chance. From an interview with ESPN’s Mike and Mike on Tuesday morning (via SB Nation):

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  • These kids were so happy to meet the U.S. Olympic basketball team

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Most of the discussion surrounding the U.S. men's basketball team for August's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has focused on the players that will not be attendance. The stream of dropouts was steady right up until Monday's announcement of the 12-man roster in New York City, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry the two biggest names to remove themselves from the consideration. The Kevin Durant-led group that will go to Brazil is still the overwhelming gold-medal favorite, but it's clearly missing some of the most exciting superstars in the sport.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    It would be easy to use those high-profile absences as reason to pay less attention to Team USA when they start the Olympic tournament. However, the faces of the kids who were present at the USA Basketball unveiling in Harlem should be proof enough that such an opinion is pretty damn jaded. Just look at how this group of kids reacted to meeting some of their heroes:

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  • Even the Minnesota Timberwolves are worth $1 billion now

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    It's now well established that any NBA franchise, no matter the success of the team on the court or the size of the market, is worth a lot of money. The $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers in August 2014 set a new standard, and the $850 million sale of the never-super-popular Atlanta Hawks in April 2015 indicated that such figures wouldn't only apply to major-market clubs.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

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    Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • NBA and WNBA become first pro leagues to march in NYC Pride Parade

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The NBA and WNBA made professional sports history this Sunday by becoming the first leagues to march in and hold a float in the New York City Pride Parade. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, and WNBA president Lisa Borders marched alongside a group of league employees in support and celebration of the LGBTQ community.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Silver and Tatum both wore #OrlandoUnited t-shirts to honor the victims of the June 12 mass shooting at a gay nightclub, while various other employees and marchers donned shirts with rainbow-colored NBA team logos. Jason Collins, the first active NBA player to come out as gay, and Sue Wicks, an ex-WNBA player and Women's Basketball Hall of Famer, were also among the participants.

    Take a look at several photos from the NBA and WNBA portion of the march here:

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