Poor, poor Magic fans. After two years of the Dwight Howard saga, the only way Orlando keeps the self-given moniker of "happiest place on earth" is with copious amounts of Xanax. Nationally, basketball fans rejoiced that the whole thing was finally over, even if it meant the ostentatious Lakers again planting their smug faces in the national spotlight. It got that desperate. Now it feels sort of awkward to look at the current Magic team, which is akin to examining an $80,000 luxury car after a crash test. You can’t overstate how poorly not only Howard, but Magic management, handled the whole debacle. By letting things sour so foully, the Magic lost one of the best coaches in the game, while somehow getting less for Howard than I got trading in my ‘97 Acura at a used car lot. Unfortunately for the Heat’s northern neighbors, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. Re-signing Jameer Nelson Competing with absolutely nobody, Jameer Nelson’s agent somehow extracted a 3-year/$20-million dollar shin-splint of a contract from the Orlando front office for his client less than a month before the Dwight trade was finally consummated. Since all of us suffered through the Dwightmare, we’ll gloss over the details, but it’s worth noting that no one outside of Orlando believed he was staying. As a GM, if you know you are going to lose your franchise player (and you’ve got a good idea that you won’t be getting more than pennies back for your dollar)… why the f*** would you pay such a premium to bring back a point guard who ranks 35th in PER (among point guards)?! Check out the rest of the story here.
From: Sources Should Say - Carlos Boozer Trades That Make Sense By: Michael Levkowitz & Thomas Johnson "Going into the 2013 NBA season, Chicago is facing a few pressing personnel decisions. With Derrick Rose likely to miss most of, if not the entire season, Bulls management will have to decide whether it’s worth tanking and getting a high draft pick (something we are in favor of or making their best efforts to remain competitive. The latter makes sense if Chicago believes Rose will be back by the time the Playoffs roll around. A fully-fit Rose would certainly make the Bulls a dangerous matchup regardless of their seeding. The problem is year after year we see guys take two years to fully bounce back from ACL surgery. Plus, there will be an adjustment period if Rose does wind up losing some of his blinding quickness. All that being said, one thing remains true regardless of what route the Bulls wind up taking — Carlos Boozer has to go. By now it’s abundantly clear that the albatross of a contract Chicago gave Boozer in 2010 was the worst personnel decision since they allowed Phil Jackson to walk almost 15 years ago. While Boozer put up solid numbers in Utah, his play has dropped off significantly since moving to the Midwest. He hasn’t been able to consistently create his own offense and being a matador defender, his scoring is the only justification for playing him ahead of Taj Gibson. Whether it means trading Boozer for immediate help, an expiring contract, or future picks, something has to be done. Let’s look at a few options. Carlos Boozer and the Bulls’ 2013 1st round pick for Kevin Martin and Patrick Patterson http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6rq4j96 Morey has been biding his time looking for a talented (and preferably marketable) big man since Yao Ming’s retirement. Boozer is no Dwight Howard…but he shouldn’t exactly cost "the house." Kevin Martin is certainly still a potent offensive player, but he clashed with coach Kevin McHale, plus he’s in the last year of his contract and he hasn’t exactly expressed interest in taking a discount to stay in Houston. Is Boozer a big enough prize for Morey to justify parting with K-Mart and the still developing Patrick Patterson? Boozer seemed to fit in reasonably well alongside Asik in Chicago, and would certainly fit in real well alongside Lin on the new Billboards around Houston. He’s still a top-10 power forward in the league, and paired with Asik, the Rockets could be assured of holding their own on the boards every night. More importantly, he can score from down low. Beyond Boozer, don’t sleep on the value of the Bulls’ upcoming draft pick. That team could well end up high in the lottery even if they don’t choose to openly tank, and we all know how much Daryl Morey loves his draft picks… Chicago upgrades the shooting guard position significantly (something it seems they’ve been trying to do since they let Ben Gordon leave in free agency), while ridding itself of the under-achieving Boozer contract. Many Chicago fans genuinely believe that their team looked most dangerous when Taj was starting while Boozer was out with an injury; the hope is that Gibson will blossom with increased minutes and freedom. Ideally Patterson, who people smarter than myself seem to believe has a much higher ceiling than Gibson ever did,will push Taj for minutes, and one of the two will stick. Martin can hit open shots in rhythm, and create with some efficiency at the end of the shot clock when necessary. Once Rose returns, the team would instantly return to the title conversation. In the mean time, Martin could well push Chicago damn close to the playoffs, and would certainly help the team continue to put an entertaining team on the floor during Rose’s absence." Check out the rest of the article (including two more trade Carlos Boozer trades here.Not Your Father's Water Cooler - Nyfwc.com
By Michael Levkowitz & Thomas Johnson (From Nyfwc.com - full story: Sources Should Say: Carlos Boozer Trades That Make Sense) "Morey has been biding his time looking for a talented (and preferably marketable) big man since Yao Ming’s retirement. Boozer is no Dwight Howard…but he shouldn’t exactly cost "the house." Kevin Martin is certainly still a potent offensive player, but he clashed with coach Kevin McHale, plus he’s in the last year of his contract and he hasn’t exactly expressed interest in taking a discount to stay in Houston. Is Boozer a big enough prize for Morey to justify parting with K-Mart and the still developing Patrick Patterson? Boozer seemed to fit in reasonably well alongside Asik in Chicago, and would certainly fit in real well alongside Lin on the new Billboards around Houston. He’s still a top-10 power forward in the league, and paired with Asik, the Rockets could be assured of holding their own on the boards every night. More importantly, he can score from down low. Beyond Boozer, don’t sleep on the value of the Bulls’ upcoming draft pick. That team could well end up high in the lottery even if they don’t choose to openly tank, and we all know how much Daryl Morey loves his draft picks… Chicago upgrades the shooting guard position significantly (something it seems they’ve been trying to do since they let Ben Gordon leave in free agency), while ridding itself of the under-achieving Boozer contract. Many Chicago fans genuinely believe that their team looked most dangerous when Taj was starting while Boozer was out with an injury; the hope is that Gibson will blossom with increased minutes and freedom. Ideally Patterson, who people smarter than myself seem to believe has a much higher ceiling than Gibson ever did,will push Taj for minutes, and one of the two will stick. Martin can hit open shots in rhythm, and create with some efficiency at the end of the shot clock when necessary. Once Rose returns, the team would instantly return to the title conversation. In the mean time, Martin could well push Chicago damn close to the playoffs, and would certainly help the team continue to put an entertaining team on the floor during Rose’s absence." To read the rest of the article (with Boozer to Sacramento and Brooklyn scenarios) click hereNot Your Father's Water Cooler or Nyfwc.com
Sometime around the time were began referring to the 2010 offseason as the "Summer of LeBron," NBA offseason moves began to capture the attention of fans as much as anything outside of the Finals themselves. From the moves that seemed to do nothing but destroy dynasties to those that created them, we decided to run back the 10 biggest offseason moves of the last 20 years in the NBA. Part 1 will cover #10 through #6, and Part 2 will take us from #5 to #1. Without further adue, the biggest 10 offseason moves of the last two decades.
After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2011, expectations are sky high in Minnesota. League wide, maybe not so much. But there is reason for hope; lots in fact. Could Minnesota actually make some noise this season? We explore...
Darryl Morey isn't the most popular GM in the NBA, let alone Houston, right now. Even though he hasn't been able to net a superstar since taking over, don't rule him out yet.
Of all the major sports, basketball is one of the only ones where we have conversations about who the "alpha-dog" on a given team is. It’s certainly the only one where this subject is not just hype or banter but is quite legitimate; where it can strongly affect teams, hinder or even ruin player relationships, and in extreme cases even make or break a season for a title contender (cases in point: 2004 Lakers, 2011 Heat). In a game like basketball – where winning is based on an intricate balance between chemistry and individual talents– it’s easy to understand why the alpha-dog thing is such an issue. Many teams have more than one elite talent, and nearly every team has several guys who have spent at least some portion of their basketball career being the go-to-guy. Throw in egos inflated to the size of hot-air-balloons, media pressure and everything else, and you can see how something as seemingly meaningless as "Who’s our lead guy?" can cause distress. So while I maintain my opinion that the 2012 US Olympic Basketball team cannot and will not be beaten, it’s always fun to play a little devil’s advocate. And while every basketball media outlet in the known world is bandying on about Spain’s menacing front-line being the potential undoing of another American gold medal, I think the real threat is much closer to home – in the USA’s own locker room. After watching each Team USA prelim (except the Great Britain game…I’m sure you’ll forgive me for having better things to do), the team looks solid. Not great, not spectacular, but solid. The defense is excellent. The offense has been lethargic for periods, but that’s to be expected when you take 12 guys who are accustomed to being first or second options and ask many of them to be pick-setters or rebounders. No, considering everything, this team has performed to expectations thus far, even if they’ve come nowhere close to their ceiling. All the players seem to be growing more comfortable together. Along with that, the role-players seem to be adjusting to their new jobs, and this is starting to look like more of a real team than just a collection of talented individuals…with one exception. That’s right, Kobe, I’m looking at you...(Click Here to Read On)
It started with Blake Griffin. (Yes, it almost ended with Blake Griffin too…Only the Clippers could find a savior in a player who missed his entire rookie season) Then came Chris Paul – you know, greatest point guard alive, NBD. (Wasn’t it fitting that the Clippers only landed such a star after David Stern vetoed a similar trade in which the player landed on the Lakers?)....
Doc Rivers might feel confident in his relationship with Rajon Rondo, but that means about as much as Rivers also saying that he has not discussed deals with GM Danny Ainge- in other words, nothing at all. Surely, even basketball fans outside of Beantown can remember what happened almost exactly a year ago. Rivers appeared to be as blind-sided as anyone upon finding out that Perkins had been shipped to Oklahoma City. "It was the most difficult thing I have had to do since I’ve been in the league," Rivers said. "It was like sending one of your kids [away]." For practical purposes, whether or not Ainge and Rivers have actively discussed trades is about as relevant to Rondo’s status on the team as Myspace is to teenagers. From the outside looking in, it does appear as though Rondo may have worn out his welcome to some degree. Even Grantland’s Bill Simmons, who, If I’m not mistaken used to be rather high on Rondo, seems to have turned on him largely due to his continued inability to hit a medium-range jump shot. Look, there’s a reason we left Rondo out when we did "Sources Should Say" pieces on Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett a month ago, back when Ainge first acknowledged that he was open to trading his stars. Trading your youngest brightest star (and possibly top-5 point guard) doesn’t make much sense, even if you’re thinking about rebuilding. Remember, they have Rondo locked-in for the next four years at an exceedingly fair $46 million. At the same time, you never know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes. His temperamental, moody nature combined with how much of a crunch-time liability he can be is clearly making Ainge look around for other options, regardless of whether or not he’ll openly admit it. So, for the sake of hypothetical trades, let’s look at a few Rondo deals that are actually justifiable on some level.
There is simply too much overlap on the T-wolves to maximize the talent, and shooting guard clearly their biggest need (we can all admit Wesley Johnson is terrible now, can’t we?) With the Wolves currently sitting only a couple of games out of the playoffs, obtaining a go-to scoring option like Ellis should help push them over the hump.
Everybody wins, even in the trade machine! The Lakers need a point guard desperately. Deron Williams is among the league’s best, and he would instantly make the life of every Laker easier. (Quick tangent: Is there anything more likely to convince Chris Paul to stay on the Clippers than Deron Williams playing for the Lakers?) The Nets are in a very dark place, and things will get even worse if Deron Williams walks for nothing this summer. After giving up the house, the car and the shirts off their backs in the trade before the deadline last year, the roster would be barren after the straight subtraction of Williams. Deron doesn’t want to continue playing with that roster, and the front office pulling off a move for another star to pair with Williams appears out of the question. Gasol should have 4-5 years left as one of the most skilled offensive big men in the league. For the Nets’ purposes, he’s a valuable trade chip who could be flipped for multiple young assets in the off-season. The Lakers seem to believe Bynum will squash the injury bug and anchor the team for the remainder of the decade. Thus, thanks to Jim Buss’ (seemingly irrational) confidence in Bynum (and of course the team’s current struggles/Gasol’s recurring playoff disappearing act) Pau has become dispensable. With Williams handling point guard duties (instead of Steve Blake and Derek Fisher) Bynum’s scoring and field goal percentage would undoubtedly see a bump, cementing his position opposite Dwight Howard as one of the league’s two elite centers. Here’s where it gets really interesting. With the Williams deal complete, the Lakers would again become the front runners for Howard. (For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the Howard trade-saga, Dwight wants to play with Deron Williams. Dwight isn’t sold on playing with the current Lakers roster for the next half-decade. Dwight doesn’t want to appear to follow in Shaq’s footsteps.) Let’s say Dwight isn’t moved before the deadline, but he sees Deron go to the Lakers. You think he wouldn’t be tempted? Orlando would surely be open to a package of Bynum and draft considerations, clearly a huge upgrade over any of their alternatives. Williams-Bryant-Howard anyone? Check out other "Sources Should Say" pieces on Amar’e Stoudemire, Jose Calderon, Steve Nash, Josh Smith, Michael Beasley and DeMarcus Cousins.
The massive-three team remodel Los Angeles gets Brandon Jennings, Stephen Jackson and Drew Gooden. Milwaukee gets Luis Scola, Hasheem Thabeet (expiring), Courtney Lee, Goran Dragic Houston (finally) gets Pau Gasol. In Compton native Brandon Jennings, the Lakers would finally have a legit point guard and sorely needed offensive creator. Now that the triangle offense is a fading memory, L.A. is no longer a place where point guards go to die…or stand passively in the corner and feed the post. Sure, Jennings isn’t the most efficient scorer, but he would inject athleticism and dynamism into a team full of aging legs and ice buckets. At 22, he has a high ceiling and combined with Bynum (24), could make the post-Kobe era more palatable. Old war-hawk Stephen Jackson is a gamble considering the year he’s had so far, but would it really shock you if he turned it around playing on a contender? There’s no doubting that he’s a player who thrives in big moments. L.A. should not be too concerned with what he’s done on a struggling Bucks team with a disciplinarian coach who clearly doesn’t like him. He still has a couple of good years left. We already know how desperately Daryl Morey wants Gasol. Considering he was willing to trade Kevin Martin, Luis Scola AND a first round pick in December, this trade is actually more favorable to Houston. Sure, they’d be losing Lee and Dragic, two young guards with bright futures, but they’d be going forward with Lowry, Martin and Gasol as their three-best players. Milwaukee loses arguably its brightest star, but considering Jennings’ ominous comments about doing his homework on big market teams, maybe getting something for him now is the best option for everyone involved. In Dragic and Lee, the Bucks would receive young guards full who need game-time experience to develop. Getting Scola would be a steal and if Andrew Bogut is ever able to avoid injury (who am I kidding?), Milwaukee could very well have the best front-line in the conference.
Atlanta trades Joe Johnson ($18 mil) and Josh Smith ($12.4 mil) for Pau Gasol ($18.7 mil) and Metta World Peace ($6.7 mil) Yes, Johnson is more overpaid than Michael Bay at this point. While he obviously never should have been paid lead-man money, Johnson is an All-Star talent. From purely a basketball perspective, he could still be an asset to a contender. The things he does well — shoot, create and defend — are exactly what the Lakers need next to Kobe...
We recently looked at a Stoudemire-KG swap that would have given New York just as much cap space. Don’t think Gilbert would also bite? Think again. Crazy as it may sound for an NBA owner in a small market, Gilbert has shown a willingness to dole out big money to accelerate the rebuilding process. In addition to the trade that swapped Mo Williams’ $17 million in remaining salary for Baron Davis’ $29 million (and eventually netted the Cavs the first overall pick), Gilbert attempted to trade for Richard Hamilton (again, acquiring both an undesirable contract in exchange for a 1st round pick as compensation) last year only to have the Pistons back out. Yes, Amare’s contract is a huge gamble, especially considering his un-insurable knees. But with that said, he is a borderline top-15 talent in the league, a commodity usually not available for the low-low price of an expiring contract. IF the Knicks continue to struggle into March and IF Dwight Howard is still chilling like a villain (without an extension, that is) in Orlando…if you can buy into the Knicks looking to dump Stoudemire, the Cavs would be the perfect fit.
Viola! New York is suddenly a team. Courtney Lee can step in and make life easier for basically every guard currently on the team. Toney Douglas gets to stop masquerading around as a shooting guard and focus on becoming a competent backup point guard. Landry Fields can visit the bench every once in a while (33.7 minutes minutes a game over the last ten). Baron Davis can continue to deceive the national media into believing he is actually working towards getting back into game playing shape for at least two extra months, and Mike Bibby can quietly retire! Everybody wins. All that, and Courtney Lee isn’t even the best player in the trade. Scola could realistically step in and put up 85% of Stoudemire’s offensive output, and wouldn’t represent much of a change defensively (especially with Chandler playing weak-side defensive, covering up a fair portion of the errors either way). However, he has exactly zero of the star power. Jordan Hill and Goran Dragic could also each step in as key role players; Hill as an extra big man to complement (supplant?) the current backups, Josh Harrellson and Jared Jeffries and Dragic as the spark-plug scoring point guard, a position that has seen it’s value increase tremendously over the last few years (See: J.J. Barea’s recently inked four year $19 million dollar contract).Houston finally gets to swap out some of their small change in for a dollar bill, something Daryl Morey has been working towards for more than a year (and would have accomplished this off-season if not for the newly invented Stern Veto). Though on the surface it might not appear to be a great fit, upon closer examination it makes quite a bit of sense.Yes the team just drafted Patrick Patterson, a power forward with sky-high expectations. And yes, they just signed Samuel Dalembert to a two year deal, and he surely expects to start. But Patterson is already in the mindset of coming off the bench (and rightfully so, he clearly needs time to develop)…couldn’t a lineup of Kyle Lowry – Kevin Martin – Chandler Parsons – Amare Stoudemire – Samuel Dalembert compete out west? Look at it again, but this time keep in mind that Kyle Lowry became a top-10 point guard while none of us were paying attention. Then consider that the second team would be Johnny Flynn – Chase Budinger – Marcus Morris – Patrick Patterson – Hasheem Thabeet. Everyone likes to emphasize the importance of depth during the shortened season…wouldn’t that be one of the strongest benches in the NBA?
Have you seen Deron Williams’ body language this season? Disinterested doesn’t begin to describe it- the man should be on suicide watch. After Mikhail Prokhorov took the Williams gamble last year (giving up Derrick Favors and two first round picks in the process), the hope was Williams would re-sign this summer and be the face of the franchise for the big move (finally) to Brooklyn. Instead, it’s basically turned into Howard-or-bust for the Nets. If they somehow manage to lure Howard, then they become a top-3 team in the East. If they don’t, then Williams heads to Dallas and the Nets continue living in the lottery (without picks!), albeit with a trendier address. We know the big Russian likes to gamble, but you really think he feels confident with the odds? He shouldn’t. By flipping Williams for Amar’e, the Nets have their star (for at least three more years after this one) and the Knicks get a top-5 point guard who could make them their offense look functional. Williams-Melo-Chandler. Wouldn’t you rather have that as your core?
Minnesota trades Michael Beasley, Brad Miller, Nicolas Pekovic, and Anthony Randolph for Kevin Garnett and Avery Bradley. Everybody loves a good homecoming story, and Kevin Garnett making a return to Minnesota makes sense. As we’ve discussed before, Beasley’s days in Minneosta are more than likely numbered. Beasley is a perfect fit as the centerpiece in exchange for any of the "Big Three," with high upside and a contract coming off the books this year (though the hope would obviously be that Beasley would earn an extension, the guy has more upside for the next ten years than the entire 2012 free agent class combined). Speaking of upside, Anthony Randolph, enigmatic as his play may appear at times, could turn into a quality starting power forward. With Jermaine O’neal only getting creakier; Brad Miller (two years older than O’neal himself) and Pekovic could help take some of the burden off his knees. Hell, if they played it right we might even see Jermaine suiting up for a playoff series! Minnesota could bring back one of the most beloved players in the state’s history to help instill a winning attitude and accountability defensively, even if he can’t top Phil Mickelson’s vertical at this point. Keeping Love’s (hopefully soon to be signed) contract extension in mind, the T-wolves could afford to move some of their extra assets for an expiring contract. What player with an expiring contract is more appealing to any Minnesota fan? While he wouldn’t be as effective as four years ago, Garnett could slide in next to Love at the center position (remember Perkins was often on the bench in crunch-time in favor of Glen Davis, often leaving Garnett to defend the opposing five), and that HAS to be an improvement over Darko (their current starter). After the one-year rental the Wolves could offer him the mid-level (probably his market value) or let him walk, or more likely retire. Bradley is an interesting prospect, undersized as a shooting guard, he might be a poor man’s Russell Westbrook some day, but will need to drastically improve his ball handling and turnover rate before an NBA team turns the keys over to him as a point guard.
Four (mostly sane) Kevin Garnett trades for Danny Ainge to consider now that he is openly shopping the entire team; Beasley, Brad Miller, Pekovic and Anthony Randolph for Garnett and Avery Bradley. Who says no, KAAHHHHHN?
Sure, the 26-year-old Morrow might be a matador defender, but the Wolves aren’t exactly giving up a shutdown defender for him. As far as pure shooters go, Morrow should rank near the top of most lists. The former Golden State Warrior is a 44-percent three-point shooter for his career and near 90-percent from the line. He might be something of a one-trick pony, but he does that one thing incredibly well. Put him next to Rubio and two forwards (Love and Williams) who also shoot well from distance and all of a sudden the floor becomes a lot wider and Rubio has far more space to operate. Meanwhile, the Nets take a gamble with Beasley (why not?) and at the very least give Deron Williams a teammate that can catch a damn lob. Giving Beasley an all-star point guard (albeit a disgruntled one) would help his game immensely and allow him to fulfill his fate as the leading scorer of perpetual lottery teams. Plus, Beasley has a team option for next year, meaning the team could potentially have even more cap space this summer for its next failed run at marquee free agents.
Kevin Love is averaging just over 5 three point attempts per game, while still maintaining his position as the 2nd best overall rebounder with more than 15 per game.
Poor Michael Beasley. Sure, the man has his faults and herbal demons, but he’s also had his share of bad luck. And no, being pulled over last year with 16 grams of marijuana isn’t bad luck- it’s bad planning. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/06/michael-beasley-cited-marijuana-speeding_n_891627.html But still, having had the chance to watch Beasley under a microscope while he played in Miami with those pre-LeBron Heat teams (yes, there was a team in Miami before "The Decision," believe it or not), one thing was clear- the man was as naturally talented as they come. He has magnanimous, ambidextrous hands, a silky median-range jump shot, a surprisingly quick first step - basically all the physical tools a forward needs. The problem was, on a Heat team that takes pride on defense and professionalism, Beasley was as out of place as Will Smith in his first few years with the Banks family. "Goofy" and "laid-back" are two words that fairly described Beasley. They’d also never be used in the same sentence as "Heat culture." Beasley’s lack of defensive awareness and maturity combined with the fact that he played the same position as team captain Udonis Haslem, meant he never hit his stride in Miami. After being dealt in 2010 in what amounted to a salary dump, he found himself in the basketball wilderness known as Minnesota, forced to change position without a competent point guard in sight. Still, last year he was their second leading scorer (19 ppg) and played well. Unfortunately for Beasley, there’s a new coach in town and Adelman doesn’t appear to be sold on him. Combine that with Minnesota drafting Derrick Williams, another guy who shares his position, and it appears as though Beasley’s time in Minnesota may be coming to an end. With that in mind, let’s look at few trades that make sense for Minnesota, while also not being entirely unkind to Mr. Beasley....
I promise, it's not just a 500 word rant about how the Raiders overpaid and Carson Palmer is washed up.
Ben Dowsett takes a look at the Houston Rockets roster and does his very best Daryl Morey impression as he takes a look at the moves the Rockets could and should make when the new CBA is (finally) in place.
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