Some news bits from around the league that may or may not matter to you, Celtics fans:
• The Bobcats have extended a qualifying offer of $6.2 million to Tyrus Thomas, almost certainly taking him off the market for the Celtics. The $6.2 million offer is almost exactly where the mid-level exception will end up (if the mid-level even gets that high), and the Bobs now can match any offer for Thomas. I mention this only because commenters have tossed around Ty’s name. He’s out.
• The Nets have added former Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell as Avery Johnson’s top assistant. Mitchell’s name has come up as a possible addition to Boston’s coaching staff.
• Speaking of coaches: Kevin Arnovitz reports that the Clippers have narrowed their head-coaching search to Vinny Del Negro and Mavs assistant (and former T’Wolves head coach) Dwyane Casey. Casey is well-regarded around the league. Everyone seems interested in Del Negro, which is puzzling. Several plugged-in reporters have mentioned Del Negro as a possible replacement for Doc Rivers.
In any case, coaches are going fast.
• And we’ve got a new free agent wing: Ryan Gomes. You all remember him.
The Blazers are set to waive Gomes (for whom they traded on draft night), which they must do before June 30th. Gomes is technically owed about $14 million over the next three seasons, but his deal is only partially guaranteed; if the Blazers waive him by June 30th, they are on the hook for just $1 million this season and Gomes goes on the market.
Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog is calling for the C’s to explore signing Gomes, and that’s fine—they should explore everything. And Gomes has become a decent player. He’s a dependable three-point shooter (37 percent over the last two seasons), and his plus/minus numbers have been on the right side of the ledger (though just barely) in two of his three seasons in Minny.
I’m skeptical of his defense, as the head-to-head numbers at Basketball Prospectus show Gomes’ counterparts on opposing teams have performed significantly above their averages when facing Minnesota. Of course, that could have more to do with the fact that the T’Wolves are awful than it has anything to do with Gomes.
The biggest reason I don’t see Gomes as a fit is because of the C’s likely cap situation. It is very likely the C’s will start the off-season bidding with no cap space, meaning the only way they can sign free agents is through the mid-level exception and the veteran’s minimum exception. They can also re-sign their own free agents using Bird rights, and they are more likely to do that with one of their wing players (Tony Allen) than with any of their free agent big men (Shelden Williams, Brian Scalabrine).
That means the C’s need to very judicious using any of their mid-level exception on wings or guards. As things stand, most (if not all) of the mid-level should be earmarked for bigs.
• And speaking of bigs, another of your favorites might be on the trade market. Minny GM David Kahn says the T’Wolves will try and deal Big Al Jefferson if they manage to re-sign Darko Milicic. You read that right: If the Wolves manage to sign a guy who has been a catastrophic failure in the NBA, they might listen to offers for a guy who has two 20-10 seasons on his resumé.
Perhaps Kahn thinks he can sell the notion that the team is high enough on Milicic that they’d happily part with Jefferson—if the price is right.
Don’t start. The T’Wolves want to part with Jefferson because he’ll be making $15 million in 2013, he may not fit with Kevin Love, and there’s no evidence to suggest he’ll be anything other than an average defender in the NBA.
Please do not start the “C’s should deal for Al Jefferson!” comments. It won’t happen.