The NBA Groupon Games: Which Players Are the Next Free-Agent Steals?

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While we’re sorting through byzantine playoff scenarios and panic-vomiting all over our awards ballot, team executives are gearing up for their busiest period of the year: the draft, the late-June trade boom, and free agency.

These executives have talked a lot about finding “the next DeMarre Carroll” — a free agent blossoming under the radar, and perhaps in limited minutes, raising the possibility that a smart team could steal him on a below-market contract. The Hawks saw Carroll take baby steps as a 3-point shooter in Utah, hitting 20 of 70 from deep in 2012-13, and wagered he could turn himself into a legitimate 3-and-D starter in the proper system. Atlanta jumped the market with a two-year, $5 million deal that fell into the sweet spot between Carroll’s minimum salary and the midlevel exception.

Carroll proved them right, and he’s poised for a big-money contract this summer as he hits free agency again. After graduating from being the next version of his prior self, Carroll has become too good in too high-profile a role. Ditto for guys like Kosta Koufos, Brandan Wright, Omer Asik, Amir Johnson, and perhaps even Jared Dudley. They don’t put up gaudy stats, or even start in some cases, but most of the league has figured out how good they are. They may outperform their next contracts, but the margins won’t be as laughably huge as Atlanta has enjoyed with Carroll.

The search is on for the next Carroll-style gem. Here are some candidates:1

Bismack Biyombo (Restricted Free Agent)

I’m leading a movement to relocate the last starving residents of Waiters Island onto the Biyombo Archipelago. Biyombo has earned his punch-line reputation as perhaps the NBA’s least competent offensive player. He has one move: Catch the ball near the rim and dunk.

If he catches the ball too far from the basket, or if a help defender gets in his way, he is helpless:

Biz 3

Biz 1

Look at the floor an instant before Biyombo launches that hopeless hook: Three teammates are wide open beyond the arc, raising their arms, begging for the ball.

This is sadly indicative of what is perhaps Biyombo’s most damaging limitation: He cannot, or will not, pass. He has 19 assists combined over the last two seasons. He has assisted on fewer than 2 percent of Charlotte’s baskets while on the floor in each of those two seasons, putting him in rare historic territory. Being a finisher first is fine, especially for a range-less big man with hops, but even those types need at least basic NBA passes in their bag for moments when help converges.

Mastering the simple kickout dish could also help Biyombo trim his ugly turnover rate, since he wouldn’t stumble into charging calls, traveling violations, and fumbles.

If a team can teach Biyombo to read the floor just a bit better, he could become something in the NBA. He has already improved in small ways. He doesn’t flat-out drop the ball as much as he used to; his hands have softened from granite to limestone. He is an explosive leaper in traffic and faster than almost every center in the league. He sucks in extra defensive attention on his rolls to the rim, opening up shots for teammates dotting the perimeter:

Biz 2

Charlotte sports the league’s saddest rotation of outside shooters, and it’s tempting to imagine how Biyombo might fare for a team that could surround him with more shooting. The Hornets have scored a respectable 102.3 points per 100 possessions when Biyombo shares the floor with Marvin Williams, the only 3-point shooter in Charlotte’s frontcourt rotation, and collapsed whenever Biyombo plays alongside any other big, per NBA.com.

He has hit a career-best 58 percent from the line this season, and he’s a creative screen setter who toggles between laying the wood and darting into the lane before really setting a pick.

Biyombo is a proven rim protector on defense, with the wheels to defend stretchier big men on the perimeter — a rare combination:

Biz 4

Opponents hit just 45.6 percent of shots at the basket this season with Biyombo nearby, a stingy mark, and that number was even lower last season — 39.1 percent, the best mark in the league among rotation bigs, per SportVU data.

Biyombo can get a little out of control defending in space, and he’s never going to have a post game or any sort of range. Opponents are free to play small against the Hornets with Biyombo on the floor, since a wing player can guard him without worrying about Biyombo posting up. That’s a real liability, and one that could become more glaring as smart coaches go small at every chance.

But Biyombo is a force at the basket, and he could develop into a threatening pick-and-roll dunk machine. Nabbing Biyombo at $3 million or $4 million per season might turn into a bargain, especially after the cap leaps in 2016-17. That kind of salary is already a team-friendly price for a backup big who can start in a pinch, provided the right kind of personnel is around him.

Even the most plugged-in execs are cautious in projecting contracts for this summer, the last one before the biggest cap jump in league history. Teams and agents will negotiate in a weird netherworld between the projected cap for next season, around $68 million, and the potential $90 million cap coming in 2016-17. The league’s average salary, and perhaps the midlevel exception,2 could jump to $7.5 million or so in just two years. Teams want good contracts now, but agents don’t want to sign contracts that will look silly in 2017.

Could you get Biyombo at $4 million? Most people think so, but no one is sure. The Hornets have to tender Biyombo a one-year, $5.2 million qualifying offer to retain matching rights, and executives are nearly unanimous that Biyombo won’t get that kind of money on the open market.

Mirza Teletovic (Restricted Free Agent)

Teletovic is 29, probably too old for a long-term deal from a young team on the upswing. But his placement here is a bet that his 39 percent shooting from deep last season — his first go at real NBA playing time — is a more accurate representation of his stroke than the bricky 32 percent clip he posted this season before the Nets discovered a blood clot in his lung.

It’s also a bet that Teletovic can do just enough defensively to survive at power forward. Slot Teletovic and two wing players around a pick-and-roll, and defenses face a choice: Help off a dangerous shooter or grant the roller free access to the rim:

MIRZA

He’s a canny pick-and-pop guy himself; defenders have a hard time leaping away from Teletovic to contain a pick-and-roll and then scrambling back in time to contest his 3-point shot. When defenders rush to close out on him, Teletovic can use their momentum against them with his pump-and-drive game:

Tel 1

His driving got a little predictable this season; Teletovic prefers a straight line drive to his right, at full speed, and with his head down — making him blind at times to available passes. But he’s a refined offensive player.

He’s not the quickest cat on defense, and he offers zippo rim protection if an opponent works things so that Teletovic is the back-line guy. Rebounding can be an issue, and you obviously have to hide him against the opponent’s lesser post threat — or send constant double-teams.

But he’s feisty, he usually sticks to Brooklyn’s scheme, and he has nimble feet. He defended LeBron James for parts of Brooklyn’s second-round series against Miami last season, and just about everyone on both teams was surprised at how well he managed.

Teletovic needs that ability to switch on the fly from bigger players onto wings. When teams go small, there is little difference between the two forward spots, and defenses must adapt by switching as often as possible — keeping themselves out of rotations. But that cuts the other way: Opponents shouldn’t be afraid to go super-small when Teletovic is at power forward, since he has shown only hints of an NBA-ready post game to bully smaller defenders.

The market for Teletovic is tough to pin down. The blood clot adds a health variable, and Brooklyn could be in tax trouble should both Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young opt into their contracts for next season. That could make Brooklyn reluctant to hand out the $4.2 million qualifying offer required to keep matching rights on Teletovic. Young and Teletovic also have somewhat overlapping skill sets, though Young is not on Teletovic’s level as a shooter and the Nets could play them together in funky, position-less lineups.

Most execs expect Lopez to opt out and enter free agency after rampaging across the league over the last month. Random thing: Watch the Spurs on Teletovic.

Kyle O’Quinn (Restricted Free Agent)

O’Quinn doesn’t play much, but his per-minute numbers have always been good, and there is still hope that he can develop one of the two bedrock skills every team wants now in a big man: 3-point shooting and rim protection.

The Magic tried, and failed, to turn O’Quinn into a 3-point shooter this season; he shot just 12-of-42 from deep, and defenses were happy to let him chuck open 3s. A smart team would continue that experiment. O’Quinn has a solid stroke, and even if he never shoots 3s well, he can do damage in open space. O’Quinn is a clever passer who can facilitate from the elbows:

Kyle 1

Kyle 4

Close out hard on his jumper and O’Quinn can slither into a defense off the bounce:

Kyle 3

O’Quinn has a lot of discrete skills, but lacks the one foundational skill to let them shine consistently. He might be able to approximate Boris Diaw’s passing, but he doesn’t have a Diaw-style post game to draw double-teams and open up the most productive passes. He can do work on the move, but he doesn’t actually move all that much without the ball; Orlando’s coaches have urged O’Quinn to roll hard to the rim, but he has a bad habit of just kind of floating in space after setting a screen. That would be an acceptable habit if he could float himself out to productive 3-point shots, but he hasn’t done that yet.

Unfortunately, O’Quinn almost never gets to the line, which is exactly what you’d expect from a guy with no post game or stomach for hard cuts. Getting better at just one of these things could have an outsize impact on O’Quinn’s overall production.

Even though he’s not much of a leaper, O’Quinn provides a whiff of rim protection. He has long arms and good timing; he gets a lot of Draymond Green–style blocks, in which he barely leaves the ground but uses his wingspan to smother shots. He’s a talker on that end, but he gets confused now and then, and he doesn’t have the bounce to string together multiple strong cuts and jumps around the basket.

It’s easy to focus on what O’Quinn can’t do. But there’s an intriguing player in here, and some team should pay a bit above market to see if it can coax that player out — and persuade Orlando to not exercise its matching rights.

Ed Davis

Nobody knows better than Boss Davis how the league has moved away from bigs who can’t shoot 3s or protect the rim, to the point that such players are undervalued. He is, now and always, a man without a home. Davis turned down a multiyear contract from Memphis in 2013, per several league sources, only to wind up signing a minimum deal with the Lakers, firing his agent, shooting 61 percent, and prepping for free agency again.

Tristan Thompson will probably earn at least double Davis’s next salary, and nobody will be able to provide a decent explanation as to why. The limitations are obvious: Davis has the skill set of a traditional center, without the heft to hold his position in the post or on the glass against the league’s behemoths. He has zero range, and his free throw shooting has gotten worse for three straight seasons.

His ideal frontcourt mate is a big who can defend post-up threats and shoot 3s — a rare find. But Davis is an absolute killer on the pick-and-roll — the rare speedster with the basketball IQ to slow down at times, shift into an open space, and make himself available for his point guard:

Ed 1

He’s not a great vertical jumper, but the dude can almost fly across the horizontal plane — gliding in for long-armed finishes before the defense can find him:

Ed 2

He’s a clever passer in tight spaces and developed a gorgeous tic-tac-toe chemistry with Amir Johnson in Toronto. Skilled players can make things work within tight spacing, though Davis doesn’t have the sort of low-post game that would make that work a bit easier. Davis doesn’t have sticky hands like Zach Randolph, but he’s not Biyombo, and he cleans up on easy shots around the basket.

It’s scary to watch Davis, a tentative string bean, go up against bullies who go right at his chest with force:

Ed 4

Previous coaches have questioned both his IQ and his motor, a reputation-killing double, and Davis can look strangely nailed to the ground when he’s not giving peak effort. On the flip side, he goes through bouts of happy feet on the perimeter — possessions in which his feet are moving so fast, and so haphazardly, that he can’t change directions on a dime. He’s like Luigi in the criminally underrated Super Mario Bros. 2 for the original Nintendo.

But he’s fast enough to chase shooting power forwards around the 3-point arc, and when he’s engaged, Davis has long enough arms and enough bounce to be an obstacle at the rim.

Davis will get a bump from the minimum this summer, but executives agree he should come in well below the midlevel. He’s a good buy-low candidate — someone who could emerge as a solid third big man and start for a loaded team with the right personnel.

Jae Crowder (Restricted Free Agent)

Perhaps the league’s closest thing to 2013 Carroll, though Crowder has been jacking 3s since the day he entered the league. He has never hit a league-average mark from deep, and he’s actually gotten worse — 29 percent — since earning a larger role in Boston. But the Celtics have also given Crowder freedom to stretch himself — to try contested 3s, run some pick-and-rolls, and attack off the dribble. He’s fared better than expected, even with the inevitable hiccups, and might be ready for a bigger role on the right team.

Dallas officials were confident they could turn Crowder into an above-average 3-point shooter, and if he can get his corner 3 mark back to where it was last season, Crowder could get there soon. He’s a rugged defender capable of guarding pretty much any wing player, and Brad Stevens has even had him defend both power forwards and centers — including Al Jefferson — as part of smaller lineups. Quicker guards give Crowder issues, but he moves his feet well.

Crowder won’t ever be close to a primary option on offense, but his high-IQ work within Boston’s pace-and-space system has been a refreshing surprise. He spends most of his time off the ball, in a position where his defender is lurching into the paint to help on the main action:

CROWDER

Kick the ball to Crowder there and he can shoot 3s, pass, or drive. He’s pulled off all three, even if too many of his drives end in long pull-up 2s; Crowder doesn’t have the speed or explosion to get to the rim consistently, though he is powerful enough to finish through contact when he gets there.

Best of all, he is an unselfish ball-mover. He makes touch passes around the perimeter and makes the right drive-and-kick passes. Every team wants to play like the Spurs, but to do that, you need a bunch of smart, unselfish players capable of snap reads. Crowder may fit the bill.

He’s a small uptick in shooting from being a legit starting wing. Boston will have matching rights on Crowder, but a smart team might be able to pry him away with a strong offer. Bargains are harder to find on the wing, but some guys always fall through the cracks.

Jonas Jerebko

Another guy who should send a portion of his salary next season to Stevens and Danny Ainge. Jerebko fell to the fringes of Stan Van Gundy’s rotation in Detroit, and he might have been headed for a minimum contract had the Pistons not traded him to fill a hole on wing (with Tayshaun Prince) that ultimately didn’t matter.

Jerebko is the slower power forward version of Crowder — a secondary guy who can spot up along the perimeter, hit some 3s, and pump-and-drive by defenders rushing to close out on him. He can switch onto some wings on defense, but he can’t keep quicker guys in front of him for more than five or six seconds.

Jerebko isn’t an NBA starter, but he’s a rotation big guy. He also has great hair.

Will Barton

There’s a bit of a fool’s gold feel to Barton’s Denver explosion. He’s shooting just 32 percent from deep as a Nugget, and he’s racking up points and assists in a go-go system that fits his hyper skill set — a system that doesn’t really exist anywhere else. A whopping 30 percent of possessions that Barton has finished3 in Denver have come in transition, the second-highest mark in the league, per Synergy Sports — trailing only Corey Brewer, which is just perfect. It’s like the league has a rule that Denver must feature a skinny dude with a headband who sprints up and down the court like a crazy person.

And The Thrill can get a little crazy. He’ll go one-on-three in transition or turn a simple pick-and-roll into a parade of fancy moves — a hesitation dribble, then a Rondo pass fake, then a jumping no-look pass! It’s a freaking circus, and it can end with the trapeze artist plunging to his death. When Barton sprints around off-ball screens, he’s sometimes going so fast that he falls down trying to stop his momentum and gather the ball.

But Barton is a clever player who can read the chessboard. Some of those moves that look wacky are designed to confuse the defense, lure a help defender that crucial extra half-step toward him, and create passing lanes that wouldn’t exist otherwise:

Barton 1

That’s an advanced NBA play — a point guard play. If Barton can slow down a hair and hone his jumper, he can be an effective offensive player. Nobody guards him away from the ball, and when he tries to take advantage of that by catching-and-driving, he too often rushes at the basket without a backup plan:

Barton 2

Look how far Barton’s man, Elijah Millsap, strays off of Barton to snuff out the Jameer Nelson–Jusuf Nurkic pick-and-roll. That’s typical. Barton will clog his team’s offense until he establishes at least a semi-threatening jumper. That will be an uphill battle. But Barton isn’t Tony Allen, and he has the smarts to make something out of drives like the one above.

Barton has the tools to be a good defender, but he’s helter-skelter on that end too. He’s a ball-watcher, making him prone to backdoor cuts, and bigger wings can work him in the post.

But if you can get Barton for a bit above the minimum, you should do it.

Honorable Mention

Al-Farouq Aminu: Everyone agrees now that he was a steal on the minimum for Dallas, but it’s uncertain where he goes from here. He’s the rare tweener capable of credibly defending both forward positions, and he’s a monster on the glass. But he still can’t shoot, not even from the corners, and he’s not much of a driver.

Cory Joseph: He’s a restricted free agent, but with Patty Mills locked up for two more seasons, the Spurs might want Joseph’s roster spot for something else — even though Mills hasn’t seized the backup point guard spot from Joseph just yet. Joseph has slowly improved his jumper, and he has looked more comfortable initiating San Antonio’s offense over the last two months. He’s a pest on defense, with quick feet and surprising strength. He’s still mostly not a threat from deep, he can over-dribble, and playing with Manu Ginobili means we really haven’t seen Joseph helm an offense on his own for extended minutes.

Tyler Hansbrough: Sneakily productive for the Drakes.

Lavoy Allen: I’m not a huge fan — I broke down his game here — but a lot of people around the league are intrigued.

Aron Baynes: He’s a rotation big man. He’s mobile for his size, and tough around the basket — though that physicality translates into bundles of fouls on the wrong nights. He’s not a good offensive player, but he moves around the floor well, he screens like a madman, and he’s done enough to survive Pop’s boot camp. He’s already 28, so buyer beware.

Derrick Williams: Much of what I wrote here still stands, especially since he’s perked up a bit as a stretch power forward — the position he should play in the NBA — under George Karl. He needs to accept a role as late-career Al Harrington: Spot up, shoot 3s, toss in the occasional drive, and try hard on defense. He shot 33 percent from deep two seasons ago in Minny, and he’s at 32.6 percent now as a King. Jack that up just a bit and you might have something — especially since Williams isn’t even going to sniff a salary at the level of his $8.3 million qualifying offer. Williams was the subject of much curiosity among rival front offices a year ago, but the buzz has cooled.

Alexis Ajinca: He produces when he’s not fouling everything that moves. He’s gigantic, he rebounds well, he can pass a bit from the elbows, and he has a nice midrange touch. He’s shooting a preposterous 61 percent on post-ups this season, per Synergy, providing the New Orleans bench with an out when the shot clock is dwindling.

Jeff Withey: He’s a large human, he blocks shots, he just turned 25, and he has played so little that you could probably get him at the minimum salary. You could do worse with the 15th roster spot.

Kendall Marshall: Marshall is a sieve on defense coming off an ACL tear, but the man has vision and he flashed a shockingly powerful butt-first post-up game under Jason Kidd in Milwaukee. Worth a flier for the right team.

John Jenkins: A first-round pick who has barely played in the NBA, shot the 3 well in the D-League, and could probably be had for the minimum or just north of it. That’s worth at least doing some film work on him.

Thomas Robinson: Detailed here. Still can’t shoot, and forces his own offense when a simple pass would keep the machine moving. He’s too small to defend post-up brutes, and can get spazzy on defense. But he’s fast, he rebounds like a maniac, and he could lock down stretch power forwards if he put his mind to it.

K.J. McDaniels: The Rockets have buried McDaniels and his unreliable jumper, but I’m still intrigued.

10 Things I Like and Don’t Like

1. James Harden’s “I’m Cookin’” Gesture

I’m against most signature taunts. Players either deploy them too often, cheapening them, or use them to mark things that aren’t really worth celebrating. This is my issue with Russell Westbrook’s six-shooter: A career 30 percent shooter from deep can’t be mock-gunning like he’s a deadeye Wyatt Earp when one of his leg-kick jobs happens to find bottom.

Harden reserves the pot-stirring for the right moments — in crunch time, and when he’s really cooking in a game-changing run. It’s a joyous gesture, a nice antidote from the super-serious mean-mugging that seems like the league’s de facto taunt. Basketball is a fun and ultimately meaningless exercise, right? Then let’s have some damn fun.

One bonus: There will be a time when a fast-breaking opponent burns Harden while he turns his back to make the gesture at the Houston crowd. And that will be hilarious.

2. Jordan Hill Isolations

The Lakers beyond Jordan Clarkson are just unwatchable. Hill has spent most of this season loafing on defense and taking terrible shots, and Byron Scott has served as Hill’s enabling drug pusher. Hill has somehow taken 84 shots out of isolation plays this season, per Synergy. Scott calls isolations for Hill — like, actual play calls, out of timeouts, in crunch time.

Most of those plays end up like this:

Scott called another Jordan iso play in that New Orleans game even when the Pellies had Anthony Davis guarding him. Scott called two in crunch time against Brooklyn late last month, and in shocking news, Hill missed both as the game veered out of reach for the Lakers.

Want to convince fans that you’re not losing games on purpose? Stop calling isolations designed for Jordan freaking Hill to take contested 18-foot jump shots. Seriously, there is no middle ground: Scott is either a terrible coach or he’s calling plays he knows will shrink the Lakers’ odds of winning. I went to look up Hill’s isolation numbers on Synergy, but my laptop caught fire and started shrieking.4

3. Aggressive Tip-in Claims

You know that shameful moment of selfishness: A crowd of players converges on a rebound under the rim, they all jump at once, and the ball ends up bouncing into the hoop. The crowd separates to transition the other way, and one person emerges raising his hand wildly, eyes wide, staring down the scorer’s table. “THAT WAS ME, I TOTALLY DID THAT, GIVE ME MY TWO POINTS AND A REBOUND!”

It’s almost charming that NBA millionaires still feel this need for tangible validation. It apparently never leaves you.

4. Brow-Inspired Roll Panic

Anthony Davis is the only player who inspires terror on the pick-and-roll by both diving to the hoop and popping for midrange jumpers. Look how both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum bolt toward Davis as he preps for a possible midrange look:

Davis over the last two months has made progress leveraging this attention into quick-hitting passes to open teammates:

This is the next step in his evolution into the world’s greatest all-around player.

5. Dion Waiters, Going Off the Script

Waiters has always been a minus defender, but he’s totally out of his depth in any read-and-react situation in which he and a teammate improvise a switch or some other change in tactics. Watch Waiters and Anthony Morrow blow the switch on some simple off-ball screening action against the Grizz, resulting in a Jeff Green dunk:

Here’s another one from the same game, only this time, Waiters is slow to understand two consecutive switches — leaving everyone in no-man’s-land as the Grizz waltz to a layup:

A similar breakdown involving Waiters and Kyle Singler led to one of Harden’s dagger triples during Houston’s win in Oklahoma City on Sunday. Pinning all the blame on Waiters is unfair, but he’s the common denominator in most of Oklahoma City’s off-ball gaffes. Waiters can defend the ball just fine when he’s dialed in, but jack up the complexity even one notch and he’s a train wreck.

6. The Sad State of Big Al

Jefferson has always been a bad defender, but he put everything he had last season into fitting into Steve Clifford’s conservative scheme in Charlotte. He hasn’t been the same this season, even when healthy, and Jefferson’s drop-off is the single biggest reason for Charlotte’s decline on defense.

Jefferson was trudging through injuries before Charlotte pulled him last week, and it had become sad to watch him drop farther back into the paint and wave meekly at ball handlers flying by:

The poor guy could barely move. Jefferson faces an interesting choice this summer; he holds a $13.5 million player option for next season, and if he declines it to enter free agency, the Hornets will have to decide whether to commit big bucks to a slow-footed 30-year-old with bad wheels.

7. Melvin Hunt, Going Nuts

Hunt’s reputation as an enthusiastic player’s coach is almost a caricature at this point — one that minimizes his skill in player development — but he does go overboard by NBA standards in celebrating good Denver plays. If you’re a sick person still watching the Nuggets, glance over at Hunt when the Nuggets execute a nice set on offense. A lot of coaches will indulge in a contained fist pump, but only Hunt will combine the aggressive fist-pump with a big leg kick. It’s delightful.

8. Jarrett Jack, Floppy-Baiting

It has been a rough year for Jack despite a few clutch shots. He’s a plus/minus drag on just about every Brooklyn lineup in which he appears, and the Deron Williams–Jarrett Jack combination has become so toxic that even casual fans protest when Lionel Hollins uses it.

But Jack’s game has some wonderful quirks, including a lookaway non-pass that he uses in a very specific circumstance: when he’s handling the ball up top and players are jetting around screens on both wings:

Jack has been pulling this for years. He glances over at one potential passing target, gets his defender to lean just a bit into that passing lane, and then crosses over into the middle of the floor. It’s fun, even if Jack doesn’t have the burst to turn that little opening into anything better than a floater.

9. Punchless Bench Mobs

The Wiz should not be allowed to roll out full-on bench units that don’t feature at least Bradley Beal to prop up the offense. The team’s five-man bench mobs belch out a lot of possessions that look like this:

That might be the worst half-court possession of the year, especially since Martell Webster provides the perfect coda by blowing an open putback. The Pelicans need to heed the same advice in avoiding lineups that include none of Davis, Tyreke Evans, or Eric Gordon. Too many coaches approach staggering the minutes of key players as if it were some last-resort tactic.

10. Matt Bonner’s Travel Signal

Nobody calls traveling from the bench with the same enthusiasm as the Sandwich King of New Hampshire/Coach B/Red Mamba. Some guys halfheartedly make the traveling hand signal, slowly rolling one arm over the other in front of their chests. Not Bonner. He gasps in disbelief at the uncalled travel, raises his arms above his head, and makes wide, high-speed circles. He is apoplectic at the injustice done to both the Spurs and the game of basketball.

What a fun guy to have around.

This piece has been updated to correct the year when Ed Davis turned down a contract offer from the Memphis Grizzlies.

Filed Under: NBA, Kosta Koufos, Brandan Wright, Omer Asik, Amir Johnson, DeMarre Carroll, Bismack Biyombo, Mirza Teletovic, Kyle O’Quinn, Ed Davis, Jae Crowder, Jonas, Jerebko, Will Barton, Al-Farouq Aminu, Cory Joseph, Tyler Hansbrough, Lavoy Allen, Aron Baynes, Derrick Williams, Alexis Ajinca, Jeff Withey, Kendall Marshall, John Jenkins, Thomas Robinson

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Zach Lowe is a staff writer for Grantland.

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