Denver Nuggets sign F Al Harrington to 5-year, $34 million deal, and PF Shelden Williams and PG Anthony Carter to 1-year, league minimum deals
Harrington chose Denver over Dallas after both teams lost out in offering their mid-level exception to Udonis Haslem who re-signed with Miami. The Nuggets will likely be without Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen to start the season as they recover from offseason surgeries, so Harrington will see more playing time in Denver than he would with the Mavs. He is known for his ability to score more than get physical down low, but will be a welcomed addition to their bench and provide future insurance in case Carmelo Anthony does indeed leave the Mile High City next summer.
Carter returns for his fifth season in Denver and will resume his role as the third string point guard. Williams joins his fourth team in three years and gives the Nuggets some depth up front.
Houston Rockets match 4-year, $24 million offer sheet for PG Kyle Lowry
Daryl Morey didn't waste much time in matching the Cavs offer to their backup point guard. Even though Lowry plays behind Aaron Brooks and an average of $6 million a year is quite pricey for a reserve, Lowry is an integral part of what Houston is trying to accomplish in putting a hard-nosed brand of basketball on the court. He has yet to reach his fill potential and the Rockets would have had a gaping hole behind Brooks if they let him go, so credit Morey for paying the former Villanova Wildcat.
Minnesota Timberwolves sign PG Luke Ridnour to 4-year, $16 million deal
First the good: I like Ridnour for around $4 million a year. He can run a team and knock down open shots, and played a big role in the Bucks' resurgence last season so he will be able to provide some needed leadership on and off the court in Minnesota. However, how does he fit into the Timberwolves current situation? (That seems to be a common question asked this offseason.)
Minnesota already has Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions, and if David Kahn's plan goes accordingly, Ricky Rubio comes to Minnesota next summer and the Timberwolves have four point guards under contract. Yes, Kahn can always trade one of them and rumors have him trying to deal Sessions, but his track record of acquiring solid assets is not exactly shining lately. Ridnour could also likely play alongside Flynn like he did on occasion with Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee. Until Sessions ends up getting dealt and Kahn obtains something quality in return, I will question this move.
Miami Heat sign C Zydrunas Ilgauskas to 2-year, $2.8 million deal
Big Z is following in LeBron's footsteps by turning down an offer from Cleveland and heading to South Beach. Yet, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has yet to issue an angry letter in which he sounds like a bitter ex-girlfriend. Hmm...
Ilgauskas gives the Heat an experienced big body who can bang around down low and knock down 15-footers. Sure he is slower than the oil spill clean-up in the Gulf and less agile than an inanimate object, but he does give Miami another veteran who was willing to take the league minimum and will know his role around the Big 3.
Utah Jazz sign SG Raja Bell to 3-year, $10 million deal
Utah was hesitant to match the 5-year, $33 million offer sheet Wesley Matthews received from Portland so they turned their attention to a cheaper alternative. Bell only played in six games last season, but was still being heavily pursued by the Lakers and Bulls because of his ability to play defense and knock down three-pointers. He likely jumps right into the starting lineup in Utah and could be one of the best signings of the offseason if he returns his old self from a few seasons ago.
Charlotte Bobcats sign PG Shaun Livingston to 3-year, $10.5 million deal
The Bobcats reportedly turned down trade offers for Jose Calderon and Ramon Sessions, instead inking Livingston to a deal in hopes that he can help fill the void left behind by Raymond Felton. Livingston's career has been sidetracked by injury after injury, but the former fourth-overall pick showed signs of life late last season in Washington when he averaged more than nine points and four assists over a 26-game span.
The short contract (only two years are guaranteed) makes the risk worth it if he can continue that type of play in Charlotte where he will likely compete with D.J. Augustin for the starting job.
I would bet 10 units on both the Packers and Patriots, and then 5 units on the Packers in the Super Bowl. The Packers will obviously blow out the Falcons and Tom Brady is the best QB of all time. They've both won 7 consecutive games (Rodgers and Brady) and they are both unstoppable. Rodgers will obviously throw a touchdown in the final seconds to win the Super Bowl. I would bet a million dollars that this will happen.
So Big Ben, who has struggled all year on the road despite the competition and is banged up, is just going to magically find his groove and torch us? Anything's possible, but using the Seahawks game, which was ages ago and came shortly after we had to adjust after the Jamie Collins trade, is pretty dumb on your part.