It’s the dog days of the NBA year, but there’s still news around if you dig a little. Let’s go:
— We didn’t cover Sunday’s Summer League semi-final between the Bobcats and the Warriors, but there honestly wasn’t much to report. The Bobcats lost a sloppy game, 75-67, resting their rotation players and giving heavy minutes to the NBA hopefuls. The two teams combined to shoot 36.6 percent from the floor, and Charlotte turned the ball over 19 times. If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can read a recap and see the box score here.
— Jeff Taylor and Cody Zeller were both named to the All-NBA Summer League Team, along with MVP Jonas Valanciunas, John Henson and Kent Bazemore. Taylor was third in scoring on 47.5 percent shooting, while Zeller was sixth in rebounds. Sports Illustrated has nice pieces on both Jeff and Cody at their Point Forward blog.
— The league officially rubber-stamped the switch to the Hornets name on Thursday, and the team threw a party to celebrate. The Charlotte Observer has a wrap-up of the event that featured appearances from Dell Curry, Muggsy Bogues, Rex Chapman, Kelly Tripucka and Kendall Gill.
— There’s still no news on Gerald Henderson. The team was reportedly exploring sign-and-trade possibilities earlier in the month, but there hasn’t been any trade chatter since. It seems increasingly likely that he’ll play under the qualifying offer next year and explore unrestricted free agency in 2014.
— Zach Lowe at Grantland ranked each team’s off-season, and he’s still pessimistic about the Al Jefferson signing. The entire article is worth a read, but here’s the money quote:
[Jefferson] may hold back the development of Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffery Taylor, Cody Zeller, and others by monopolizing the ball on the way to 29 wins, but if that’s the only real damage here, we can all just move on.
That’s certainly a possibility, but I’m not concerned yet. For what it’s worth, Jefferson averaged 15.8 shots last season in Utah and a comparable 15.9 shots over the past four years. That’s a high amount (Kemba averaged 15.2 FGA last year), but there are ways to incorporate him in a relatively healthy way. Siphoning away low-efficiency shots from Ben Gordon (10.1 attempts per game) and the departed Byron Mullens (10.6 attempts) will help.
— Elsewhere at the Charlotte Observer, Rick Bonnell had a nice column that covered some of the ways that small-market teams are benefiting from the new CBA. Heavier luxury tax penalties are forcing teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat to make tough choices about their roster, theoretically helping to even the playing field. The CBA is so complex (and features so many loopholes) that “fixes” can sometimes lead to unpredictable results, but this is one area that seems to actually be creating some change.