Sports Corner

By: Robert Bishop

Back again, and continuing the roundup of NBA off-season moves, in a long-delayed signing, point guard Dennis Schroder finally has a home for the upcoming season. Schroder’s market never materialized this summer after turning down a four-year extension worth $84 million from the Lakers during the season. As a result, the Boston Celtics have a bargain, landing Schroder on a one-year deal worth a mere $5.9 million. Signing Schroder is a massive move for Boston, and the Celtics will add him to a backcourt featuring Marcus Smart and Josh Richardson. Each has flaws, but together, there’s a lot to like about the trio complementing the superstar duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. As a result, Boston is quietly setting up to emerge as a championship threat in the East.

Much like Schroder, John Collins turned down a sizeable extension during the season, betting on himself to outperform the contract offer. Unlike Schroder, it worked. Collins signed a five-year extension with the Atlanta Hawks worth $125 million. Collins proved his worth during Atlanta’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals. His willingness to sacrifice his numbers for the team’s betterment perfectly illustrated his value to the team. Barring injury, Collins is a great bet to emerge as a bargain for the Hawks during the next half-decade. As a team, Atlanta will likely take a step back in 2022, if only because going to the Conference Finals is tough. However, the Hawks, with Collins, Trae Young, DeAndre Hunter, and a wealth of young talent, Atlanta is very much for real.

Victor Oladipo’s decision to turn down extension offers from both the Pacers and Rockets last season proved disastrous. The former All-NBA guard has not only been ravaged by injuries, but Oladipo also hasn’t been good when on the court the past three seasons. Of course, it isn’t fair to say Oladipo hasn’t been good when healthy because, by all accounts, the injury that derailed his career remains a significant issue. Over the past three seasons, Oladipo has played in a mere 88 games, devolving into a poor defender and inefficient scorer during that time. Likely out for most if not all of next season, Oladipo settled for a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum with the Miami Heat. For the Heat, it is a low-risk move. Given Oladipo’s status, however, it also appears to be a zero-reward one.

In a bargain for the Los Angeles Clippers, guard Reggie Jackson stayed in town on a two-year deal worth $22 million. Jackson proved his worth to L.A. with a dazzling playoff run, proving to be an excellent complement to Paul George, operating as a playmaking passer and a reliable scorer. It may not be enough to propel the Clippers into the realm of championship contenders, given Kawhi Leonard’s status for the season is in doubt. Still, Jackson and George should be a worthy enough tandem to keep L.A. in the playoff discussion. Given the wealth of teams in need of help in the backcourt, Jackson has to have turned down more lucrative offers to return to the Clippers. And if a team like the Pelicans didn’t offer more to acquire Jackson, well, it only earns further scrutiny to the easily questionable decisions being made in New Orleans.

Charlotte added to its already impressive stable of athletic wings by signing Kelly Oubre Jr. to a two-year deal. Oubre represents another nice piece for the Hornets. He is a perfect running mate with LaMelo Ball in Charlotte’s offense, provided he realizes he is not a knockdown shooter from outside. Oubre has put up solid numbers throughout his career, though it has come with a lack of efficiency due to an over-reliance on long jumpers. Golden State banked on pairing Oubre with Stephen Curry as a remedy a season ago to no avail. Now, it is Charlotte’s turn. For the Hornets, the risk that Oubre never figures it out was likely worth the cost, with the potential reward of adding an athletic wing with decent offensive skills and a capable defender.