With the draft over and players being able to sign free agent contracts starting Wednesday, the NBA off-season is well under way. Teams have identified what their needs are and what players will be able to fill them. Players could officially be contacted on July 1st. Let’s take a look at how some of these off-season moves have affected the current Purdue alumni in the NBA.
Last year the Celtics drafted JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore. They weren’t on the court often in their rookie campaign, but they each showed flashes of what they are capable of when given the chance. Boston head coach Doc Rivers doesn’t play rookies much, so what little time they did get needed to be capitalized on. The Celtics are having a busy off-season. In the first round of the 2012 draft they selected Ohio St power forward Jared Sullinger and Syracuse center Fab Melo with the 21st and 22nd picks respectively. Current Celtics Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass have agreed to re-sign. They have also agreed to an offer with guard Jason Terry and are making a strong push to keep Ray Allen.
So how does this affect JJ and E’Twaun? If they each make strides in their games from last year, it shouldn’t affect them a lot. JJ will be competing with Sullinger for playing time, but they are two different types of players. KG will be the main mentor for that group and JJ’s game most resembles his so he’ll have the biggest benefit from a basketball standpoint. JJ rarely played center so Melo won’t really be a factor. Also JJ can run circles around both of the new rookies. If JJ improves his strength and overall game, he could be one of the first off the bench. With a full season season now in play, the older players will get more and more rest. If Ray Allen is re-signed there’s a bigger impact on E’Twaun’s playing time. Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo are both back, and Jason Terry will almost assuredly get big minutes. With Allen back, that’s four players that he has to compete with. Like with JJ though, he’ll be able to get minutes when these older guys are resting. Worst case scenario is playing time doesn’t increase a lot and these veterans are great mentors to JJ and E’Twaun and it is a huge benefit in the long run.
Minnesota drafted Robbie Hummel with their only pick of the draft. When it was first made it I thought it was an interesting situation; mostly because their GM, David Kahn, who is known to make ridiculous deals and draft terribly. However, things seem to be improving in Minnesota with Kevin Love entrenched and Ricky Rubio bringing some much needed excitement. You also can’t underestimate how much of a help it will be to Robbie that he has a lot of family that lives in the area. This off-season the Timberwolves have traded for SF Chase Budinger and declined options on SF/PF Michael Beasley and PF Anthony Randolf. Portland’s Nicolas Batum(SF) has agreed to a contract, but since he is a restricted free agent Portland has to not match the offer or he would have to apart of a sign and trade to get him to Minnesota.
How does this affect Robbie? It’s hard to say honestly. The Timberwolves have decent depth at the forward positions, but none of them are superstars. Since they are similar players, Budinger is probably his biggest competition. Derek Williams is going to be getting a lot of playing time no matter what. What Robbie has going for him though, is he will be an asset whether he plays a lot in games or not. He is the ultimate team player and would be willing to do whatever is necessary for the team, on and off the court. Since he is a second round pick it’s not a sure thing he will have a guaranteed contract. It does happen(see E’Twaun) and he was their only draft pick so they might want to keep him around. Robbie will need to take advantage of the summer leagues to show what an asset he is.
New Orleans Hornets
Technically Carl Landry isn’t part of the Hornets currently since he his a free agent, but he has said he wants to return to New Orleans. The Hornets won the lottery and were able to draft the mostly highly coveted uni-brow in the world, Anthony Davis. They also traded away Emeka Okafor and bought out Rashard Lewis. Davis is going to need time to develop, especially his strength. This could be a great opportunity for Landry to get more playing time than he has normally in his career. However, in the days after he said he wants to stay in New Orleans, Eric Gordon agreed to a contract with the Phoenix Suns. Although the Hornets could match it since he is a RFA, Gordon has made it clear he wants out. Will Landry want to stay with a team that is going to be rebuilding or try and get with a contender. If I were him, I’d go with the contender route. Teams rumored to be interested in him are Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Boston. Besides, does he really want to play with the overly confident and obnoxious, Austin Rivers?
Brian Cardinal is also a free agent this summer. Even though Mark Cuban went to IU, they have a great relationship. Cuban respects what Cardinal brings to the team in that he does things the right way, is a great teammate, and is a great leader. Cardinal has made a surprisingly huge amount of money in a pretty average career. He is getting older and he might decide to hang it up. Last year during the lockout he was an intern for the athletic department at Purdue. He has expressed interest in working in the Purdue athletic department in some capacity after his playing days are over. If he he decides to give it another go around, look for him to stay where he is in Dallas.
Regardless of how it turns out for these 5, one thing you can guarantee is that they will put in the work and have the drive to succeed.