Philadelphia Dethrones King

The Philadelphia 76ers fired team president Billy King today. They have hired New Jersey Nets general manager Ed Stefanski.

Other than the team plucking somebody from a division rival, it might not seem like a strange move given the 76ers' 5-12 start. But the timing of this move is beyond baffling.

Am I saying he shouldn't have been fired? No. It was perhaps long overdue.


Why now?((AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

But this comes less than a year after the 76ers trusted King enough to trade Allen Iverson to Denver for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two first-round picks. How can you give somebody the power to make a franchise-altering trade and then go in another direction without seeing the plan play out?

I can only assume that the 76ers management wasn't pleased with a) how the draft turned out - King used three first round picks on Thaddeus Young, Jason Smith and Petteri Koponen (which makes the Iverson deal look that much worse); b) how the team couldn't secure an extension with Andre Iguodala and c) the abysmal attendance at Wachovia Center.

The 76ers have been mostly irrelevant ever since Larry Brown left to coach the Detroit Pistons in 2003 - and King was given full authority to run the team.

His moves since then have been quite questionable - he first hired Brown assistant (and current Wizards assistant) Randy Ayers and fired him after 52 games; hired Jim O'Brien and fired him after one season (which included the team's last playoff appearance in 2005); gave absurd contract extensions to Kenny Thomas, Sam Dalembert and Kyle Korver, among others. His second-biggest move as team president - acquiring Chris Webber during a trade deadline deal in February 2005 - backfired as Webber rapidly aged in dog years and forced a buyout less than two years after he arrived.

If King could survive all of that, waste a superstar's prime years, and still be allowed to trade him, why do it now? To get Stefanski, the trusted right hand man to respected Nets president Rod Thorn? Maybe. But couldn't that have been an option all along - especially prior to the NBA Draft.

And, I know people gave the Celtics a hard time for giving less than their best effort - okay, they tanked it - in the second half of last season, but what exactly did the 76ers gain for winning 35 games last season?

You cannot say that a winning culture was established in Philadelphia during that meaningless 17-9 run to end the season. You cannot say they wouldn't have been better with a top five pick in 2007 Draft. Winning didn't help Andre Iguodala get a lucrative extension. Maurice Cheeks is still a lame duck, although he is expected to stick around for the rest of this season. And, now King is fired.

I know (and I'm doing my best Herm Edwards here) you play to win the game, but the Celtics reward for having a terrible, 24-win season was the No. 5 pick. They flipped the pick to get Ray Allen, which helped them later get Kevin Garnett. That's working out all right, huh?

But I digress. Trading Iverson had to be done with the knowledge that it would set back the franchise for some time, right? King, who had the 76ers in position to have some room under the salary cap when Webber's contract comes off, wasn't even allowed to stick around for the anniversary of the Iverson deal (Dec. 20).

Now, King will mostly be remembered as the guy who traded Iverson.

Iverson is gone and he has taken the 76ers fan base with him. Granted, attendance was declining through Iverson's final two years of running around in circles, but the scene in Philadelphia is quite depressing now.

I went up to the Wachovia Center last Wednesday for a game against the Utah Jazz and the empty maroon seats far exceeded actual humans. The announced crowd for that game was 11,006, but the actual number of people in the arena may have been half of that.

Philadelphia ranks second to last in home attendance at 11,960 - just ahead of a still-recovering-from-Katrina New Orleans. But the 76ers are actually last, when you consider that Wachovia Center is only reaching 58.5 percent capacity. Seeing empty upper deck seats are common at some NBA arenas, but the lower bowl was empty last week.


Jimmy Rollins gets love in Philly. Hip Hop gets no love.(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

How bad was it? The only time the crowd got excited during the game against Utah was when National League MVP Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies was introduced. Then, came a hilarious incident involving the thugged-out rabbit/team mascot, Hip Hop (By the way, with all of these changes, isn't it time for the Sixers to get a new mascot or at least give the thugged-out rabbit a new look? Hip Hop was created in the image of the doo-rag sporting Iverson. While Iverson still wears doo-rags at practice in Denver, the dress code has kept those out of the public eye on game nights. And, oh yeah, Iverson is gone!!!).

Anyhow, in the fourth quarter of close game against a really good Jazz team, Hip Hop was clapping his hands, trying to pump up the crowd when a fan screamed, "Sit down!" Oddly enough, the thugged-out rabbit/team mascot turned around and took a knee.

By Michael Lee |  December 4, 2007; 11:12 AM ET
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Comments

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You are correct that the timing is bad, but Billy King needed to be fired. And I imagine the reason he is fired now is the fact they might be making a lot of moves at the trade deadline and they don't want him to make those moves. And I don't blame the 76ers in that regard.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 4, 2007 11:43 AM

I've never thought King was as awful as some made him out to be. He's made some bad moves, certainly, but trying to build a winning team around a guy like Iverson is a tough thing to do and pretty much requires some risk taking. And it's probably too soon to pass judgment on his performance in the post Iverson era.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 11:57 AM

Next up is Thomas in New York...

I actually thought he would be the first GM and/or Coach fired this year.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 12:04 PM

The NBA has got to be the hardest professional sport in which to build a winner. There are any number of GM and coaches in this league who can use the boot. They all make questionable and terrible moves, some more than others. They lack patience--or is that the owners. Just a tough, tough league in which to put a team together.

Posted by: Skeef | December 4, 2007 12:42 PM

I just have a hard time believing that any NBA GM deserves to be fired as long as Thomas and McHale still have jobs.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 1:10 PM

Well, it looks like Cleveland will have to xxxx or get off the pot -

Charlotte just signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Now Cleveland has 7-days to match the offer or lose him.

http://www.nba.com/nba_news/varejao_071204.html

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 1:22 PM

So Cleveland will match and have him for 2 years when he Varejao and his agent can opt out and play this out all over again...albeit with a bit more leverage as he will be an unrestricted free agent at that time. My feeling is this is a major coup for the Cavs as the $5-6M range that he will sign for is supposedly somewhat less what they were willing to give him all along.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 1:36 PM

My feeling is this is a major coup for the Cavs as the $5-6M range that he will sign for is supposedly somewhat less what they were willing to give him all along.

Posted by: | December 4, 2007 01:36 PM


Charlotte must have offered more than $6 Million.

Back in July, Cleveland offered him $6 Million a year, and he rejected it.

His agent has consistently submitted packages to the Cavalier for 6-years and between $50 - $60 Million dollars (plus incentives). So he's obviously looking for $8 - $10 Million per year.

At $53 Million, Charlotte is under the $55 Million Salary Cap.... but I don't see how they're going to go over the cap to sign Varejao for more than $2M (unless they have some type of Exception).. They have about $15 Million coming off the books next year, but I don't see how that helps them this year - and contracts CAN'T be "back loaded".

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 1:59 PM

How it affects Charlotte's cap likely won't be an issue, as it's most likely that Cleveland will match.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 2:22 PM

It's funny/sad when you have someone like Bob Johnson being aggressive to try to improve his team while Abe is content with eating his costco birthday cake.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 4, 2007 2:39 PM

Kal - CBA rules state that you cannot make an offer to a Free Agent unless you are under the salary cap - AND that as soon as you make the offer, the offer amount is added for salary cap and Luxury Tax purposes.

So, regardless if Cleveland will match, my question still remains = how did they do that?



I'm not a cap expert - but I'm sure someone here should be able to explain it.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 2:40 PM


MLE for this year is $5.3 Million - If you add that to the $2-$3 Million that Charlotte is under the cap, you might get close to what Varejao wants..

Does Charlotte still have their Mid-Level Exception?

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 2:45 PM

"CBA rules state that you cannot make an offer to a Free Agent unless you are under the salary cap"

Not true. Teams that are over the cap can use the mid-level exception (approximately $5.75 mill this year) to sign FAs. The reporting that I've read indicates that the Bobcats are, in fact, over the salary cap and are offering Varejao their full mid-level exception amount.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 2:45 PM

Rook is the man.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 2:46 PM

"MLE for this year is $5.3 Million - If you add that to the $2-$3 Million that Charlotte is under the cap, you might get close to what Varejao wants.."

Nope. Can't do that. Teams ONLY have access to the MLE if they're over the salary cap. If the fall below the cap, even if it's only by $1 dollar, they immediately forfeit their MLE.

In order to offer Varejao that deal Charlotte must either be (A) about $6 mill below the cap or (B) over the cap and using their full MLE.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 2:50 PM

Thanks Kal - the MLE would explain how they could offer any contract of substance to Varejao.

Hoopshype says that Charlotte is about $3.9 Million under the $55.6M salary cap.

http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

SO, if they use the $3.9 Million (under the cap) and add all or part of the MLE of $5.3 Million; they could easily get over the $6 Million previously offered by Cleveland.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 2:53 PM

"SO, if they use the $3.9 Million (under the cap) and add all or part of the MLE of $5.3 Million; they could easily get over the $6 Million previously offered by Cleveland.",/i>

As previously noted, they can't do that. They only have access to the MLE if they're already over the cap. If they fall below the cap by any amount, they lose the ability to use the MLE.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 2:56 PM

oops - so Kal, you're saying that since Charlotte is UNDER the Salary Cap, they cannot use a MLE?

That means that they can only offer Varejao the $3.9 Million they are under the cap?

That makes his decision to turn down the $6M Cleveland offer look stupid. ALSO his decision to turn down the qualifying 1.2M offer that would have made him an unrestricted free agent next year....

Who is this guy's agent? Bozo the clown?

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 2:57 PM

"That means that they can only offer Varejao the $3.9 Million they are under the cap?"

It's been reported in multiple places that the (A) the deal is for approximately $17 mill over 3 years and (B) that they're using their mid-level exception, all of which would indicate that Charlotte are, in fact, over the salary cap. And that, by extension, would indicate that Hoopshype has their numbers wrong.

And, like I said, the whole thing is moot, because the Cavs have already indicated their intention to match:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/basketball/nba/12/04/bobcats.varejao.ap/index.html

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 3:03 PM

When looking at Billy King's record, don't forget to factor in the following:

* Inexplicably breaking up the 2001 Finals model, i.e., Iverson plus speed and defense.

* Doling out super long term contracts to oft-injured or old players such as Matt Geiger, Todd MacCulloch, Dikembe Mutombo, Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, and Greg Buckner (who was not old or injured, just way overpaid). This of course, is notwithstanding the previously mentioned over-market deals to Kenny Thomas, Korver, Dalembert, and Willie Green. Btw, McKie earns about $8M this year (he is an assistant coach now).

* The bad trades -- acquiring Glenn Robinson, Rodney Rogers + Jamal Mashburn (which extended the salary liability on Big Dog's expiring deal by a year, and Webber, among others.

Posted by: Steve C. | December 4, 2007 3:53 PM

Well, either Hoopshype AND the ESPN Trade Machine are wrong (both have Charlotte below the cap)....

Or you are mistaken that the MLE cannot be used if a team is below the cap.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 4:09 PM

Cleveland has Side-Show, we have Etan, both over paid.

Posted by: Wizzy | December 4, 2007 4:13 PM

"Or you are mistaken that the MLE cannot be used if a team is below the cap."

Nope.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 4:18 PM

Ok Kal - SI, ESPN, and Hoopshype are wrong...

Charlotte is NOT under the Salary Cap.

You are right.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 4:20 PM

http://www.sportscity.com/NBA/Salary-Cap

The Mid-level exception - Teams are allowed to sign one or multiple players as long as they do not exceed the total mid-level exception. The Mid-level exception is set at what the average NBA salary is. The Mid-Level Exception for the 2007-08 NBA season is $5.36 million. Only teams that are over the Salary Cap can use the mid-level exception to sign free agents.

http://www.realgm.com/src_team_exceptions/mid/

Teams over the salary cap can still sign or acquire additional players by using a series of exceptions available in accordance with the CBA. Every team over the salary cap is granted a mid-level exception to use every year, while teams may only use the smaller million-dollar exception once every two seasons.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 4:26 PM

"Ok Kal - SI, ESPN, and Hoopshype are wrong..."

Both SI.com and ESPN.com (as well as AP) reported that the Bobcats were using the MLE to offer Varajao a deal which, by inference, indicates that they were reporting that Charlotte is over the cap.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 4:30 PM

I know Charlotte took on a large salary with Richardson, but they were barely above the minimum salary last year and now all of sudden they are over? How can that be?

Posted by: George Templeton | December 4, 2007 5:11 PM

They are not.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 5:29 PM

As I noted earlier:

In order to offer Varejao that deal Charlotte must either be (A) about $6 mill below the cap or (B) over the cap and using their full MLE.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 02:50 PM

Those are the only possible options. Take your pick.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 5:37 PM

Additional information: Kalorama is right (technically)..

If a team is below the cap, then their Disabled Player, Bi-Annual, Mid-Level and/or Traded Player exceptions are added to their team salary, and the league treats the team as though they are over the cap. This is to prevent a loophole in the Cap system. A team can't act like they're under the cap and sign free agents using cap room, and then use their Disabled Player, Bi-Annual, Mid-Level and/or Traded Player exceptions to sign more players.

Consequently, the exceptions are added to their team salary (putting the team over the cap) if the team is under the cap and adding the exceptions puts them over the cap. If a team is already over the cap, then the exceptions are not added to their team salary. There would be no point in doing so, since there is no cap room for signing free agents anyway.

For example, The Salary cap is $55.6M. The Charlotte Bobcats have roughly $51.7 Million committed to salaries. They also have a Mid-Level exception for $5.3 million. Even though their salaries put them $3.9 million under the cap, their exceptions are added to their salaries, putting them at $57 million, or $1.4 million over the cap. So they actually have no cap room to sign free agents, and must instead use their exceptions.

So - Charlotte IS under the cap, when you add up all the SALARIES, but after adding in all their exceptions, it puts them over the cap... and therefore they have to use the Mid-Level Exception to sign Varejao.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 5:40 PM

"Additional information: Kalorama is right (technically)..

LOL! Did adding that (technically) in that make you feel better?

"So - Charlotte IS under the cap, when you add up all the SALARIES, but after adding in all their exceptions, it puts them over the cap... and therefore they have to use the Mid-Level Exception to sign Varejao."

But since both the salaries and exceptions count against the cap, the bottom line is that they're over the cap. Period. Which was the point I've been making all along.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 5:46 PM

I thought Charlotte already used their MLE to re-sign Matt Carroll.

Did they have Bird Rights on him?

Posted by: Pradamaster | December 4, 2007 5:49 PM

I'd agree, can't see that Cleveland will have much choice but to match a three year deal. Varajao is said to be hoping for a sign and trade but I'm not sure there's anything on the Bobcat roster that Ferry would want in Cleveland, unless it's some of that 15m in expiring contract money.

17m over three years probably isn't bad money for Sideshow Bob when you look at what Milcic(?) got from the Grizzlies. But doesn't both of those deals make it look like Grunfeld robbed the bank to get Blatche tied up for 5 years for about 15m?

I too thought Thomas would go off the plank before Billy King, but I figured they'd be the first two to go. Does Thomas have as much dirt on his boss as Marbury claims to have on him, or what? I just can't beleive he's still around, NY looks to be a complete mess and there's nobody else's head to put it on.

Micheal was wondering about the timing of the King move, the owner wanted to keep him around to have somebody to blame for the Iverson trade. At the point that things had reached in Philly, it didn't appear that they had much choice but trade Iverson and release Webber last season.

But now the owner can bring in a new face to rebuild. I feel bad for Cheeks that roster is another mess right now, still alot of bad contracts to deal with. In the end I'm afraid his head will roll too.

I'd sure think that Ferry would be eying Philly's roster and looking at a way to get a hold of Miller. A shooter like Korver would also look good when he had guy like King James to play off of.

Just wondering, we could start to see some trade activity start to shake loose with these couple of moves today.

Posted by: GM | December 4, 2007 5:51 PM

Pradamaster,

I would assume so, since this is his 4th year in Charlotte and Bird rights kick in if a player spends three consecutive years under contract with the same team.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 5:51 PM

Kal - you also said that teams under the cap forefit their MLE. Which is untrue.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 5:58 PM

"Kal - you also said that teams under the cap forefit their MLE. Which is untrue."

No, it's not.

http://www.sportscity.com/NBA/Salary-Cap

The Mid-level exception - Teams are allowed to sign one or multiple players as long as they do not exceed the total mid-level exception. The Mid-level exception is set at what the average NBA salary is. The Mid-Level Exception for the 2007-08 NBA season is $5.36 million. Only teams that are over the Salary Cap can use the mid-level exception to sign free agents.

http://www.realgm.com/src_team_exceptions/mid/

Teams over the salary cap can still sign or acquire additional players by using a series of exceptions available in accordance with the CBA. Every team over the salary cap is granted a mid-level exception to use every year, while teams may only use the smaller million-dollar exception once every two seasons.


This doesn't apply to Charlotte because, as you yourself just noted, they're over the cap.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 6:00 PM

"Grunfeld robbed the bank to get Blatche tied up for 5 years for about 15m?

Posted by: GM | December 4, 2007 05:51 PM"

Grunfeld didn't rob the bank. AB gave his money away by getting arrested right before signing his contract, thus losing a lot of leverage.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 4, 2007 6:06 PM

Rook,

The problem with your calculations is that you're arbitrarily separating players salaries from the team's other payroll obligations, which is not how a team's cap number is calculated. It all counts together towards whether a team is under or over the cap.

If, according to the sum of all the obligations, a team is under the cap (as Charlotte was last season when they barely cleared the minimum salary floor) then they're denied the MLE. If, after all the payroll obligations are added, they're over the cap (which is currently the case with Charlotte, after taking on Richardson's salary) then they're over the cap and have access to the MLE.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 6:07 PM

Jason Richardson's $11 Million salary is already included in the Charlotte Bobcat's $51.773 Million Salary totals.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 6:14 PM

Charlotte is only over the cap, IF you add in all their exceptions.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 6:15 PM

"Charlotte is only over the cap, IF you add in all their exceptions."

Which, again, is exactly the point I just made. Even though it's called the "salary cap" players' salaries are not the only things that are counted under it. You can't arbitrarily separate the players' salaries from the other stuff. A point you yourself earlier verified.

The Bobcats are over the cap (salaries+plus additional obligations) and thus they get access to the MLE.

To put it another, more concrete way:

If their player salary total put them at 15$ mill under the cap (rather than $3.9) then even when you add in the amount for the other obligations (Disabled Player, Bi-Annual, Mid-Level and/or Traded Player exceptions) they'd still be below the salary cap level of $55 mill, and thus they would not have access to the MLE.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 6:21 PM

"Jason Richardson's $11 Million salary is already included in the Charlotte Bobcat's $51.773 Million Salary totals."

But it wasn't included last season (because he hadn't been acquired yet), which is why, even when you added in the other payroll obligations, the Bobcats' total salary cap number was below the cap threshold and thus they didn't have the MLE to spend on FAs. It was acquiring Richardson (as well as the raises to players already on the roster) that pushed their total payroll to the point where adding in the other payroll obligations put them over the cap and gave them access to the MLE, which they used to offer a deal to Varejao.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 6:25 PM

I started this by saying Cleveland is the major winner here in that they get Varejao for somewhat less than what they reportedly originally offered. The only thing Varejao gets out of this is he will be able to opt out in two years and be unrestricted. My question is this. What the hell did MJ and Higgins think was going to happen when they offered Varejao the MLE? Did they think Cleveland was going to roll over? My understanding of offerring the MLE is you can't do a sign and trade so it was futile if they did offer the MLE as reported with that in mind. Was it a move to show Charlotte fans that they were willing to do something even though there was absolutely zero chance that it would succeed? Why throw Cleveland a bone like that? I just can't fathom why you do something that has no chance of working and in turn it helps a team in your conference.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 6:38 PM

OK - so that answers the HOW... They can sign Varejao with their MLE.

But it brings me back to the original reason for my question...

My original question was HOW could Charlotte afford to offer Varejao a contract that would be close to what he wanted? AND more than Cleveland originally offered....

Now, if Cleveland already offered Varejao $6 Million a year.... And Charlotte can only offer the MLE ($5.3M) - WHY did Varejao accept an offer sheet from Charlotte for less money than what Cleveland offered?

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 6:41 PM

"My original question was HOW could Charlotte afford to offer Varejao a contract that would be close to what he wanted? AND more than Cleveland originally offered...."

Simple. They didn't/couldn't. Reportedly the Cavs rejected a proposal from Varajao's agent of $52 mill/6 years (about $8.6 mill/year). The Bobcats offered him a deal that averaged just under $6 mil/year.

"WHY did Varejao accept an offer sheet from Charlotte for less money than what Cleveland offered?"

Also simple. Varajao was pissed off at Ferry and the Cavs and wanted out of Cleveland so badly that he signed a deal worth less than he was asking from Cleveland, in return for the chance to become an unrestricted FA in a couple of years (something the Cavs, having been burned by Carlos Boozer, were not going to give him), thus giving him the ability to shop for an even bigger deal from the highest bidder on a fully open market.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 6:51 PM

But the point is about Blatche, Grunfeld managed to get a key asset signed for a five year deal and didn't harm the Wizard's ability to resign their key FA's next summer.

He has full flexibility to resign Jamison and Arenas,if he still opts out coming off an injury, and he'll have his MLE available to use next summer. Though he'd most likely have to go into Luxury Tax Land to use it.

Blatche ended up signing the same contract that he was reported to have been ready to sign before his arrest. I'd agree Blatche didn't have alot of leverage, but I think it was based more on his preceived lack of work ethic prior to this summer.

Right now it appears that Eddie's old school tough love has started to pay dividends with the kid. I've wondered about some of Jordan's rotations and matchups on the floor as much as anyone else at times.

But what can't be questioned right now is his ability to get a team effort out of his roster. Cleveland is 0-2 without James, the Wizards are 5-4 since Arenas has went down.

Jordan needs to be commended for what he's done with a short bench so far. These are some tough matchups coming up at home, it will be very interesting to find out if the team can hold court against playoff caliber teams.

Rook, the league office is who has final say over the salary cap and the use of exceptions. I'd assume that if it's been reported that an offer sheet is signed and the MLE was used it's already been cleared that they have an exception to use.

I'm like you, I thought from what I'd read there was no one left with an MLE to use.
Since I read it in more then one place I'd assume there was some sloppy reporting by ESPN and others.

Imagine that, ESPN wrong? What a surprise, sometimes I wonder if some of there guys have actually ever been to an NBA game.

Posted by: GM | December 4, 2007 6:51 PM

The bottom line is that the Cavs were not going to give him the kind of money he was asking for, and they'd already flat out refused to sing him to a 1-year tender deal that would have made him an unrestricted FA next summer. And no one else had the cap space to offer him what he was asking for (even is someone wanted to). Signing this deal was the best compromise he could get, even knowing that the Cavs would almost certainly match.

Two years from now, it's very likely that Cleveland will (A) attempt to sign Varajao to an extension before he opts out or, failing that (B) trade him at the trading deadline of his opt out year.

Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 6:58 PM

Rook, sometimes teams do things for PR reasons, and sometimes a guy like Thomas in NY is dumb enough to offer a deal thinking that there's no way the other team won't match.

The rumor with Thomas was that he offered Jeffries that contract as a favor to Jeffries and his agent. Sometimes guys are looking down the road at trying to establish a relationship with an agent that has another FA that they want to get in the hunt on.

Charlotte could be looking for some cheap PR with their fans, Jordan's two moves this summer don't look like they're really panning out yet. Or they could be trying to see if they can get in on and start to create some trade action.

Ferry says he wants Varajao back, in 7 days we'll know for sure. He spent alot of the summer eying a deal for a point guard.
Maybe this is Jordan's way of either trying to get Varajao if he has some reason to think Ferry won't match.

Or trying to force Ferry to make a move and hoping to get involved as a third party since he has some assests to help make a deal happen.

Or he could be operating like he ran the Wizards, which at time seemed pretty clueless.

Posted by: GM | December 4, 2007 7:08 PM

The bottom line is that the Cavs were not going to give him the kind of money he was asking for, and they'd already flat out refused to sing him to a 1-year tender deal that would have made him an unrestricted FA next summer.
Posted by: kalorama | December 4, 2007 06:58 PM

Actually, a number of Sports news outlets (CBS Sportsline, ESPN, SI, etc...) reported that Varejao turned down the $1.2M qualifying offer from the Cavaliers before training camp opened that would have made him an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 7:27 PM

THAT's what makes the whole thing so confusing to me... Taking less money than Cleveland originally offered, just so he can be re-signed by Cleveland anyway - AND then have to stay there at least two more years before he can become an unrestricted free agent..When he could have signed their qualifying offer, and been out in one year.

Posted by: Rook | December 4, 2007 7:30 PM

Varejao is taking less, on average, to go to Charlotte b/c he doesn't want to play in Cleveland anymore. Now, if Cleveland choses to match the contract, then Varejao should just be like any other player out there and threaten to not play.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 4, 2007 8:46 PM

RE: Blatche, the steal of the century by EG the genius.

Give credit also to EJ, who hid him on the bench during the end of last season even when the team needed AB, especially during the playoffs.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 4, 2007 11:29 PM

"Actually, a number of Sports news outlets (CBS Sportsline, ESPN, SI, etc...) reported that Varejao turned down the $1.2M qualifying offer from the Cavaliers before training camp opened that would have made him an unrestricted free agent after this season."

Many of those same sources also reported that Ferry rejected the idea of signing him to a 1-year qualifying offer because the Cavs didn't want him to walk for nothing.

Posted by: kalorama | December 5, 2007 1:05 AM

Apparently what happened is the Cavs offered him the 1-year deal over the summer before negotiations reached an impass and Varajao turned it down, still wanting to stay with the Cavs and thinking they could get a deal done:

Before training camp opened, Varejao turned down the club's one-year, $1.2 million qualifying offer. If he had signed that deal, the former second-round pick could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/basketball/nba/11/26/cavs.varejao.ap/index.html

Then, after things got nasty, his agent asked for the 1-year deal and the Cavs balked, at this point knowing that he was going to bolt at the first opportunity.

Varejao said he'd sign a one-year deal so he can play this season. But the Cavs don't want to give away their leverage and risk seeing him walk away without getting anything in return.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/basketball/nba/11/26/cavs.varejao.ap/index.html

Varejao said that if the two sides can't agree on a long-term deal, they should agree on a one-year deal that allows both sides to explore their options next year. From the Cavs' point of view, a one-year deal is counterproductive because it would make Varejao an unrestricted free agent next year, and the team's right to match any offer would disappear. In that case, Varejao could just walk away.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3128446

Posted by: kalorama | December 5, 2007 1:19 AM

The Cavs offered him the 1-year deal before camp to hedge their bets. They wanted to appease Lebron by making sure all of his guys were in camp and ready to hit the ground running. They figured that once he signed the 1-year deal, they'd have the next few months to work out an extension, no problem. Varajao rejected the early offer because he wanted long-term security and didn't want to take the risk of getting injured playing on a 1-year deal going into free agency.

But once the negotiations dragged on and things got acrimonious, the landscape changed and th positions were reversed. A 1-year deal was now a good idea for Varejao because there was bad blood with Ferry and he wanted out. It was a bad idea to the Cavs because they knew he wanted out and didn't want to give him that chance.

Posted by: kalorama | December 5, 2007 1:28 AM

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