FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS
1. KYLE LOWRY (Raptors): This is great news for Raps fans. He was in a nice spot with demand from other teams and he cashed in quite well. Bottom line, market value sets the price point and it's the cost of doing business. He's the heart and soul of their team and was an important guy to keep, mission accomplished. This is an important point to consider - the fact that he makes more money doesn't mean he's going to be an even better player than he was last year. It's a tough thing for players who sign big deals; they feel they 'need to live up to the money and contract.' Realistically, if he can provide them what he did last season on a consistent basis and stay healthy the next three to four years - where do I sign up? Good get even if the money is a tad bit high but again it's all about right place and right time for Lowry and for the Raptors. It's a deal that makes both good basketball and organizational sense. I love the addition of Patrick Patterson as a restricted free agent to the mix as well. He's a good young player whose best days lie ahead for him. His perimeter shooting, defence, rebounding and overall toughness are a good piece for this group. Obviously, he ended up being for the Raps what Andrea Bargnani was supposed to be yet at a much more reasonable price. Good deal. Hopefully Greivis Vasquez gets done soon as well. Fingers crossed. Off to a nice start though. Masai Ujiri's surely has planned his work and is working his plan.
2. BEN GORDON (Magic): What a Country! I can't believe he got a two-year deal, even if whole money amount isn't guaranteed. I'm sure if former Detroit Pistons president, Joe Dumars is walking on a beach this summer thinking about the moves that cost him his job; this guy and Charlie Villaneuva's deals are right at the top of the list. He gets another chance to resuscitate his career with Magic but I'm skeptical of this one.
3. SHAUN LIVINGSTON (Warriors): I'm happy for him. He's battled back from major injury in his career and he's not the player he once was in his early Clippers days, but he has reinvented himself and that's a testament to his work ethic and character. He's a dependable pro and plays the game hard and right. He'll be a nice mature addition to Coach Steve Kerr's locker room.
4 LeBRON JAMES (Heat): Pat Riley's has to be sweating a bit here. So far no luck attracting the other pieces to compliment the King and he's evaluating his options as he should. He is legitimate by the contract he and the heat negotiated in good faith. Who knows how it will all work out with him and even a guy like Carmelo Anthony. Bottom line, guys want to get paid at the highest level as well as the mid and lower tier players. Your sales pitch as a team beyond winning is still 'how much cap space do you have and what percentage of it am I getting?'
5. NO STATE INCOME TAX: You hear this all the time about states like Texas and Florida, that their free agent pitches have a built in competitive advantage. Here's my question; in cap-centric leagues like the NBA, NHL and NFL, I wonder why this loophole wouldn't be closed. In my opinion, the cap is set up to 'level the playing field' and teams in states that have a distinct advantage with the net income equation have the upper hand. Not sure if this has ever been considered but my thought is based upon this advantage - why don't the leagues set the cap based upon what the money means on the back end in net income per team, so it's equal. In 98 per cent of the cases you're dealing with players that are in the highest taxable tax bracket in their state or Country, so why not do the research and base the cap number (which is equal) to the after tax value in each market and even the cap that way. Again, I'm not sure if it's ever been discussed or if it even makes any sense, I'm just thinking out loud. It's probably too complicated an issue to work on but for the life of me I can't tell you why those teams in tax friendly states gain a major advantage. It's an issue for minds much greater than mine (not saying much there!) to figure out. Probably a wasted thought but that's what I'm here for! Have a GREAT weekend!