So what if Zeke is a rookie? And they didn't draft him #4 overall, given that he's a prototype 3-down back, to have him in a timeshare with Morris or McFadden. Behind that line, coupled with his skills as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker, there's no way he should fall past the first round.
Los Angeles Clippers claim PG Chauncey Billups
Billups was a casualty of the NBA's amnesty rule as this move needed to be made in order for the Knicks to clear enough cap space to acquire Tyson Chandler. The Clips then claimed Billups and will only have to pay him $2 million, which is quite a steal. I'm not sure how Billups will fit into the point guard rotation with Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe with Eric Gordon eating up a ton of minutes at the two. Too much depth can cause problems at times, so don't be surprised to see the Clips try and deal Williams who is in the final year of his contract.
Los Angeles Clippers sign C DeAndre Jordan to 4-year, $43 million contract
The Clips quickly matched the offer sheet Jordan signed with the Warriors as he is their center of the future with Chris Kaman entering the final year of his contract. Jordan is only 23 and coming off a breakout season of sorts as he emerged as the team's top big man due to Kaman's injury. An amount of $43 million is more than I expected him to receive, however the Clippers had the cap space to spend and now ensure a talented, developing frontcourt with him and Blake Griffin.
Indiana Pacers sign PF David West to 2-year, $20 million contract
Even since the end of last season, this seemed like the most probably destination for West since Indiana needed a scoring post player and the cap space to acquire his services. West is coming off a season-ending ACL injury and actually benefited from the lockout since it allowed him more time to rehab, meaning he will be ready for the start of the season. I'm surprised he only accepted a 2-year deal, but suddenly the Pacers become a sleeper team in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando Magic re-sign SG Jason Richardson to 4-year, $25 million contract
The Magic keep their starting shooting guard and do so at a reasonable rate. They really did not have much of a choice since they are so massively over the cap and would have found it difficult to replace a player of his ability. Richardson's return will also be used as a bargaining chip as they try to re-sign Dwight Howard before the end of the season; though not a very loaded bargaining chip.
New York Knicks sign PG Mike Bibby and F Jared Jefferies to one-year deals worth league minimum
Bibby will provide the Knicks with a veteran point guard after releasing Billups. The former Arizona Wildcat is running on empty with his NBA career and will likely see spot duty behind Toney Douglas. Jefferies made his biggest impact with the Knicks last year in the postseason and will see minutes off the bench behind one of the best frontcourts in the NBA.
Dallas Mavericks acquire F Lamar Odom and 2nd-round pick from Los Angeles Lakers for 1st-round pick and $8.9 million trade exception
Odom was angry that his name was floated around in the Chris Paul trade. He wanted out of town and got his wish. What I don't get AT ALL is why the Lakers would trade a key piece of their franchise to the defending NBA Champions for next to nothing; unless of course they turn that trade exception into a valuable piece in the next couple of weeks. Odom is a huge addition for Dallas who has lost Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, and J.J. Barea in the past couple of days. He gives the Mavs a ton of flexibility and versatility in their frontcourt along with Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
Dallas Mavericks sign SG Vince Cater to 3-year contract
Carter helps the Mavs makeover and should compete with Rudy Fernandez for the starting shooting guard spot. He is scheduled to make around $3 million a year, and it will interesting to see how he accepts his role as being a complementary player. Carter isn't near the athlete and scorer that he once was, but definitely provides the Mavs with needed depth on the wing.
Minnesota Timberwolves sign PG J.J. Barea to 4-year, $19 million contract
Rather than making another joke about David Kahn loading up on point guards, I am actually going to like this signing. Barea can provide a sparkplug off the T-Wolves' bench and provide some friendship and mentoring for fellow Spanish speaking point guard, Ricky Rubio. Luke Ridnour now becomes the odd man out and could be dealt.
Golden State Warriors sign C Kwame Brown to one-year, $7 million contract
My reaction to this signing: GASP! Seven million for Kwame Brown? Really? After striking out on their offer sheet for DeAndre Jordan, the Warriors settled for Brown who provides some size and depth inside. He will likely play behind David Lee, Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh but does finally give Golden State a true big body.
Milwaukee Bucks re-sign F Luc Richard Mbah a Moutre to 4-year, $19 million contract
The Bucks decided to match the offer sheet their restricted free agent received from Denver. Mbah a Moute has been a nice role player for Milwaukee since being a second-round pick, but I am not sure he worth nearly $5 million a year. His lack of a true position (too small to be a true power forward; not a talented enough perimeter player to be a true small forward) often plays against him but he does bring solid energy to the floor.