Happy Canada Day! Let's take a quick look at a few NBA Topics.
1. Andrea Bargnani: If the proposed trade with the New York Knicks goes through this will be a good landing spot for him. He won't have the pressure on him to be ‘The Guy' with Carmelo Anthony around and his ability to space the floor with his distance shooting (erratic at times) will be a help to their team. The Knicks are obviously banking on the fact that he's got potential that has yet to be realized and a change of scenery could do it for him. Only time will tell if this is the right risk for them but I expect a new environment will do wonders for him, at least temporarily. The key is his willingness to truly commit to the game and lay it all on the line which he's been reluctant to do. Don't discount the fact that the Brooklyn Nets swung a big trade with the Celtics for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. This is a reaction to that as well as a team seeing a guy that can help them in an area of need. Former Raptors assistant coach and current Knicks assistant Jim Todd coached Andrea and I'm sure he's spoken extensively with GM Glen Grunwald & Mike Woodson about him.
2. Steve Novak: Part of the proposed Bargnani trade has this veteran sharpshooter coming to Toronto. I like him. The Raptors were an inconsistent three-point shooting team the past few years and he'll provide a solid veteran presence off the bench and he's a good locker room guy. Lifetime 43per cent shooter from behind the arc and will be a guy that can open things up for teammates with his consistency. Overall, Bargnani trade is addition by subtraction with the picks and cap savings being the primary help. Novak won't hurt them if this trade gets done.
3. Kevin Martin: He's a free agent. I know the Thunder are in a luxury tax bind, but if he walks what do you truly think of the James Harden trade? Might as well have let him stay for this season and then moved him and given yourself a legitimate opportunity to win a title. Martin will have plenty of suitors on the market as long as he is reasonable in his contract demands. He's been a consistent three-point shooter throughout his career and his scoring knack is valuable.
4. Monta Ellis: He has decided to opt out of the final year of his deal in Milwaukee. The man can score points (19.4 ppg in his career) yet he's a 'volume scorer' who has failed to shoot above 43 per cent the past two seasons. My belief is that he'd be an ideal guy for a team as a sixth man because we all know he's coming into the game to light it up. You live with that a bit more because you need the boost as opposed to a starting player who you're looking to for reliable or predictable play. He's got his boosters and just as many detractors. That being said, as a sixth man in the right up-tempo system he'd be a blast to watch.
5. O.J. Mayo: I thought he settled down this past season and played a decent brand of ball for coach Rick Carlisle. He shot it well from three-point range (41 per cent), the best in his career and at 15.3 points per game he's a guy that can give you the pretty steady output that is so valued from a back court player. He was up and down in his time in Memphis but in a contract year he performed pretty well. Is that a result of a guy being in a contract year or has he truly matured? That's the question scouts have about him that I think to this point is still inconclusive. I see teams trying to offer him a shorter term deal if they can get away with it. He'll get paid though… he scores. Always need that.