I am hesitant to begin another blog. My last swoon over Andrew Bynum (and thorough dissection of his game) resulted in a torn right MCL and a firm shake to the Lakers’ season. Yes, I am that powerful, and it was entertainingly tragic. But hey, writers write, and the show must go on.
We at TSCblogs.com have it on good confidence that most NBA teams are looking to shed salaries like high schoolers at a house party once the cops are called. Invariably, this leads to lopsided trades, big names being tossed in favor of big expiring contracts, and a league where names like Raef LaFrentz and, yes, Stephon Marbury are relevant again. (It sends a shiver up this writer’s spine.)
This bodes not well for the Amar’e Stoudemires. And the Vince Carters. These are the albatrosses around the necks of sinking franchises, teams that can neither win nor make money, so they decide to emphatically suck at both.
Ah, to be an NBA GM. You could probably club baby seals in your bathtub and not get fired.
That being said, there are new faces in new places, and that deserves analysis, gosh darn it. Ignoring the lower-level transactions (my apologies, Tyronn Lue), we present the desperation slings and season-ending catastrophies of the 2009 trade deadline:
Charlotte traded forward Adam Morrison and guard Shannon Brown to Los Angeles Lakers for forward Vladimir Radmanovic.
Vlad Rad is a very talented shooter who fell out of favor with Phil Jackson’s crew. The 08-09 season began with him starting over Lamar Odom, then coming off the bench behind Luke Walton, then not getting off the bench at all. Talk about a fall from grace. For all the production he was giving the Lakers, they might as well have gotten the Hat Guy to sit next to Sun Yue on the bench. (Who knows, he might even be fluent in Mandarin. Anything is possible with Hat Guy.)
In short, The Spaceman was an ample back-up, but only necessary if one of the Lakers’ other ample back-ups go down. And they were paying him entirely too much for that. In Charlotte, he will have the opportunity for a bit more playing time, and the opportunity to butt heads continuously with Larry Brown.
(Let me explain: I do NOT see them getting along. If Vlad Rad is The Spaceman, Larry Brown is The Black Hole, sucking in all attention and focus. Vlad Rad would succeed in a system where he can be coddled frequently and pushed less so, whereas Brown enjoys driving his players like plow horses…tilling concrete.)
Enter Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown. Morrison was in a similar position as Radmanovic on the Bobcats, having lost confidence, a mullet, and half a knee since his high-scoring college days. Brown, an athletic combo-guard, was stuck behind about five other combo-guards on the Bobcats’ roster. (Again, to be a GM. Sigh.)
I believe Charlotte’s system, up-tempo and shot-happy, will not work well with Vlad. He’s an extraordinary spot-shooter, but he hardly ever leads the break, and his defense is questionable at best. Raja Bell? Gerald Wallace? Yes, they work well in this system. Spaceman? Not so much.
The reason I like this trade from the Lakers’ view is because they had nothing to lose. They already cut their losses with Radmanovic. If Morrison reawakens, it’s a pure profit. And Brown, the real steal of the trade, has a decent shot to take over the back-up PG spot once Derek Fisher becomes the full-time Player’s Association President, and Jordan Farmar finally gets the keys to the offense.
Plus, Brown can do this:
(Side note: I would love to see the in-practice dunk contests between Brown, Trevor Ariza, and Kobe. Can the Lakers just sign James “Flight” White and get it over with?)
Oklahoma City traded Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox to New Orleans for Tyson Chandler and the rights to DeVon Hardin.
(Note: this trade has just been rescinded after Chandler failed a physical. My analysis of it, however, remains entertaining.)
Take it from Tyson Chandler’s biggest pre-season proponent and fantasy owner: he has had an absolutely pitiful season. Like, worse than absolutely pitiful. It looked like he was playing ball in his socks, or only shooting lefty. His points and rebounds both dropped from 11+ to 8+, while his FG% dropped six whole percentage points. You know, if LeBron’s FG% dropped like that, we would give him so much crap.
I would say Chandler’s success last year was purely a testament to Chris Paul‘s aura of amazingness. But CP is still there, so what gives?
Sadly, I have no answer. And, it seems, neither did New Orleans. So, they traded one of the last true centers in the league for a blue-collar PF in Wilcox and one of the more endearing expiring contracts out there in Joe Smith.
The result? No one wins. OK City is prematurely ecstatic over Chandler, and heading for disappointment over his big body and supreme lack of anything else. New Orleans gets two players that have never excited anyone ever before, Joe Smith’s #1 draft position of 1973 notwithstanding.
Add to that the fact that CP3 and David West are now unhappy (err…make that downright pissed. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3913301
). Just like the Saints of two years ago, looks like success comes short-lived in New Orleans.
Ike Diogu, Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, and Cedric Simmons to the Sacramento Kings, Brad Miller and John Salmons to the Chicago Bulls, Michael Ruffin to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Oh my. Someone had some fun with the ESPN trade machine.
Like a club sandwich, let’s break this down into parts: Brad Miller goes back to Chicago, where his career got a kick in the but a decade ago in the post-MJ wake. A career, mind you, that is currently circling the drain, so it looks like his expiring contract is his most attractive asset. Plus, if he’s busy shooting 3’s from outside, it clears up the lane for my man-crush Derrick Rose to beat absolutely everyone to the hole.
Nocioni on the Kings (and Drew Gooden if he ever heals up) will be an interesting experiment, and should pump some life into that avid, rabid, and recently flaccid fan base. At worst, this trade is a lateral movement for them, and at best Gooden has the possibility of getting back to his ‘07-’08 level and bulking up the Kings’ front line. Plus, his expiring contract, of course, helps their bottom line. (I should have that phrase on my clipboard for easy cut-and-pasting.)
They needed a reliable mid-range shooter and some rebounding, so what’s not to like? Now, they just need some defense, offense, coaching, and young prospects, and they’re well on their way.
Amidst this multi-player boondoggle, the Kings are the clear winners in my book. In Sac-Town, new blood is good blood at this point.
As for Ike Diogu, Cedric Simmons, and Michael Ruffin…well, none of them averaged over 2.5 ppg last season, all of them played in small media markets. Let me speak for the organized NBA journalists in saying we know very little about these three, and we would be very surprised to see any change in their production with their new locations.
It’s like these GM’s are playing Risk, and just pushing little plastic men all over the map.
Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon to Miami Heat, Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Toronto Raptors
What we have here is a case of the Fresh Starts, Part Two.
Toronto was supposed to see The Second Coming (tee-hee) of Jermaine O’Neal and his Estranged Knees, and Shawn Marion was supposed to lose his depression and become re-energized aside D-Wade in Miami, wearing pastels and sipping drinks with little straw umbrellas.
Now, they will have to trade outfits, literally. Marion will continue to put up his uninspiring-yet-stat-stuffing play next to Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh, which looks like an amazing front-line, but in truth is no more impressive than Wade-Marion-Beasley. And as Bosh is currently ailing, they may have to call the season and hope for some draft picks.
Plus, the swagger they lose with O’Neal is imperative in the Raptors’ success. Trust me on this…the team has no bite. Calderon is fundamentally sound, but is a sneer and a flagrant foul away from anyone really being impressed with or scared of him. He leads a team of nice guys, who were coached (until recently) by a pacifist in Sam Mitchell, in an Eastern Conference where every team has threats and fangs.
And this is why Canada adores them. Those silly, non-aggression Maple Tree lovers. Makes complete sense.
However, teaming O’Neal up with Udonis Haslem (a career overachiever) in Miami’s front court could anchor the defense for this team bound for the rebound. They have a growing list of talented reserves, and I have been immensely impressed in the play calling and composure of Erik Spoelstra, their rookie head coach. Though he looks like the Regional Director of Used Saabs, proved his worth wrangling the Heat from last season’s abomination.
Truth is, the Heat will still lack scoring and a quality outside threat, but if Mario Chalmers, Wade, and Jamario Moon get running together, they may be able to rally and make a deep splash in the playoffs.
Lakers trade Chris Mihm to Memphis Grizzlies for absolutely nothing
Just kidding. This isn’t news. But it did happen.
I guess they’re just paying for Pau Gasol in installments, right?
(Picture is most definately related.)
Trade Deadline Part 2
Who cares, I said. Who cares whether the trade deadline hasn’t actually passed? There’s no way more trades will happen. We’ve seen all that we need to…I can write my column now.
(Influx of trades go by, drenching ESPN.com with news until Marc Stein passes out.)
Perhaps…perhaps I have been mistaken.
Below are the post-deadline news wires, stating the latest trades that snuck in before the deadline. All are sourced from ESPN.com.
Chicago's Thabo Sefolosha is headed to Oklahoma City for one of the Thunder's five stockpiled first-round picks in the next two drafts.
TSC Take: No big deal. They had a logjam in Chicago at small forward, and Thabo drew the short straw. OK City gets another under-performing and undersized forward. I’m moving on.
The Boston Celtics have agreed to trade Patrick O'Bryant to Toronto for backup point guard Will Solomon.
TSC Take: As a Laker fan, I like seeing the Celtics make moves. It makes me think they’re worrying.
This move makes perfect sense for the Celts…Eddie House, though an excellent shooter, is one of the worst back-up point guards in the league. He makes bad passes, doesn’t control the ball…they might as well have Paul Pierce bring the ball up. And Will Solomon is a talent, so it will be interesting to see how he meshes in Boston.
And Patrick O’Bryant, the big black dude with the Irish name, hardly got off the bench in Boston, and unless Shawn Marion or Chris Bosh is out for any extended period, I don’t see much changing in Toronto.
Orlando is acquiring Rafer Alston from Houston
The Rockets will receive Memphis guard Kyle Lowry, Orlando forward Brian Cook and perhaps two other minimum-salaried players.
The Grizzlies will receive a first-round pick from Orlando.
TSC Take: See, this is big. The Magic, a frontrunner in the Eastern Conference and one of the top 5 teams in the NBA, lost Jameer Nelson, their starting PG. So, they send off a first-rounder and Brian Cook (who is getting traded a lot lately) for a quality replacement in Skip-to-my-Lou, Rafer Alston, who happens to be a perfect fit in Stan Van Gundy’s Long Range Bombers + Alley-Oop Machine system with Dwight Howard.
Sometimes the NBA works the way it should. This is more than slightly reassuring to me.
Knicks send Tim Thomas, Jerome James and Anthony Roberson to Chicago for Larry Hughes
TSC Take: I feel as if this was one of Isaiah Thomas’ moves from 2003. Three reserves go out for a big-name, shoot-first guard? You know, Stephon Marbury is still on the team, right? You haven’t gotten rid of him yet.
Truth is, Larry Hughes hasn’t fit in anywhere he has played. After one good year in Washington, he was cast an outsider on the Bulls, and Cleveland before that. Though he looks as if he was made for New York, I don’t see him working so well under D’Antoni.
As for the “Pu Pu Platter” (credit Bill Simmons) that Chicago got in return…I don’t really have an opinion on them. They’re career reserves. Perhaps they will find new life in Chicago, but it’s more than likely the Bulls just wanted new blood and positive influences around Derrick Rose and their newly-acquired Kings.
Knicks send Malik Rose and cash to Oklahoma City for Chris Wilcox
TSC Take: You really have to wonder what Wilcox did to the Thunder organization. They haven’t even been playing for a year in OKC…but they just traded him twice in two days. He must have gotten friendly with the GM’s daughter or something.
Wilcox, unlike Larry Hughes, will thrive in the D’Antoni system. He’s a poor man’s David Lee, a high-energy dude who will run the court and get the hustle plays. Rose, however, has mainly been a bench weight, with little influence on both the court and the locker room.
Count this as a big win for the Knicks.
TSC Take: How bad has Shelden Williams’ NBA career been? I didn’t even know he was traded to Sacramento. And that was over a year ago. Talk about lacking influence.
McCants takes the role of the gunner off the bench, something he’s become accustomed to. And though the pundits are high on Bobby Brown, it is McCants who has the confidence shooting the ball, and the proven NBA career.
Plus, Calvin Booth looks like death. So that has to scare opposing teams, right?
If there are any more trades, look for updates here.