New Writer: Musings on the NBA Off Season
July 9, 2009 by the-ocho
Halu HOOPH writers & dear readers, we got another contributor. Drafted 2009, by way of Fort Bonifacio! Let’s welcome Derrick AKA SPOONMAN with a comment below. Welcome SPOONMAN! (I’ll be posting his article during his rookie months in here. As I don’t want to make another writer account then after few posts, some go AWOL. Another part-time contributor we got is ALECTO, he writes here at HOOPH for an X-deal. See the Mark Caguioa banner above. To the SPOONMAN’s article:
Musings on the NBA Off Season
Itâ€™s been only 24 hours since the first official day for signing free agents but weâ€™ve seen a plethora of moves geared only towards one thing, dethroning the LA. Lakers. You can call this the Arms Race, Part Deux.Â The first one being the slew of trades that happened after the Lakers hijacked the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol.Â A couple of this also to consider is that the salary cap for this season has actually lowered from last year, by about $1 million, due to the uncertain economy, and teams are also gearing up for the big free agent bonanza next season, when Lebron, Wade, and Bosh among others are free pickings.Â Here are some thoughts on the free agency so far:
Top 3 Winners:
- Spurs â€“ They proven time and again to be players every off season, and this one is no different. They managed to steal Richard Jefferson away from Millwaukee, giving up only 3 old veterans in return (Bowen, Alberto, and Udoka).Â The deal makes them more athletic and younger.Â The also managed to draft a 1st round talent in the 2nd round in DeJuan Blair.Â On top of they just signed Antonio McDyess to strengthen their bench.Â This vaults them all the way back to the top 3 in the West.
- LA Clippers â€“ You can never go wrong with the No. 1 draft pick.Â And the Clips are extremely lucky this year as they have it in one of the worst years of the draft in terms of talent.Â Blake Griffin will be a beast, and the Clips have 5 years to take advantage of this.Â Now whether they can hold on to him after is a different matter.Â Â This gives them a decent nucleus of young (Griffin, Eric Gordon, and Al Thornton) and old (Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby). Theyâ€™ve also managed to hoodwink Memphis (again?) into trading for Zach Randolph, he of the huge contract and no defense, for former Clipper Quentin Richardson, whose contract expires next year.Â Now if only the Clips donâ€™t screw this up.Â It seems only a few years ago when they had Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, and a healthy and promising Darius Miles.
- Ron Artest â€“ Surprise!Â Just 2 months ago nobody thought that RonRon will be balling with Kobe.Â Not will their heated confrontations in the past. Not with Trevor Ariza blossoming into the SF role as a clutch defender (those 2 steals in Denver were massive) and deadeye 3 point shooter.Â But here he is.Â In a combination of fate (Yao Mingâ€™s career threatening injury) and, dare I say, stupidity (Arizaâ€™s agent trying ask for something higher than Arizaâ€™s value), Artest is now with a team he wants to join, a team that just won the championship, and a team that, with his head on right, could have possibly become stronger.Â He will bring toughness and the defensive mindset to a team that is now more equipped to deal with Boston and Lebron next year.Â Lakers now have arguably the best defensive forward line with him and Kobe.
Top 3 Losers
- Trevor Ariza â€“ You just won the championship, something that past legends like Barkley, Malone, Stockton, and Ewing had never won, for a team that is based on you home town, a team that you had been a fan growing up, a team with the gameâ€™s best player and arguably the best coach in history in a city where the fans have grown to embrace you.Â What do you do next?Â Not go to Disneyland, but go to Houston, where itâ€™s franchise playerâ€™s career is in jeopardy, itâ€™s marquee player always injured, and prior to last year, barely make it out of the first round.Â Â You have to feel for him because heâ€™s actually a very good person and player.Â Lakers offered him the Mid Level Exception (about $5 – $6 M a year) but his agent asks for at least $8.Â Agent then goes to the media ranting how his client is not being respected. Lakers call his bluff, contacts Ron Artest, who said heâ€™ll play for free.Â Artest signs for the same offer.Â Ariza ends up with Houston as his replacement for the same amount Lakers were offering.Â Smart.Â In his defense, Ariza was not totally involved in the negotiations process.Â Just a bit of friendly advice dude, please fire you agent.
- Memphis Grizzlies â€“ Ahh the exploits of Chris Wallace (Memphis GM) continue.Â One year after gift wrapping Gasol to the Lakers hereâ€™s what they have managed to trade for Zach Randolph, a 20-10 guy notorious for bad attitude, no defense, and eating binges.Â In the process forgoes pursuing David Lee, the Knick power forward who managed to lead the league last year in double-doubles.Â This alone made this the worst transaction of any team in the league so far.
- Phoenix Suns â€“ The Shaq experiment has failed and they no have nothing to show for it, save for Ben Wallace, whoâ€™s contemplating retirement, and Shasha Pavlovic, who was not a factor in the Cavsâ€™ playoff run.Â Compound that with Grant Hillâ€™s possibility of leaving and Steve Nashâ€™s expiring contract next year, and you basically went from one of the most entertaining teams 2 years ago, to, well, I donâ€™t know.Â Great job Steve Kerr!
- Allen Iverson (bonus) â€“ Yes guys, he is a free agent this year.Â How the mighty have fallen.Â A former MVP who was one of the most exciting players in the NBA, heâ€™s now reduced to scraps and to being a spectator.Â A big part of this is unwillingness to be a team player.Â You can argue that Denverâ€™s success and Detroitâ€™s downfall was because of him. He messed up the chemistry of the Pistons and did not even want to come off the bench (which Rip Hamilton agreed to).Â Heâ€™s now on the outside looking in and as of writing, a man with no team.Â He still values individual stats and glory over winning.Â He was linked to going to Miami but I doubt if heâ€™ll share the rock with Dwayne Wade.Â Latest word has him going toâ€¦â€¦.THE GRIZZLIES.Â Â WOOHOOO!!!
Iffys (Juryâ€™s still out)
- LA Lakers â€“ One can argue that theyâ€™ve essentially replace one player for somebody better. .Â Artest is a former All Star and Defensive player of the Year.Â He is versatile, can post up, can matchup with point guards up to power forwards because of his strength.Â And his toughness can rub off the whole team, something the Lakers are still being suspected of lacking.Â Artest is also one of the most volatile players in the league.Â Witness the Royal Rumble in Detroit, which led to his suspension for almost a year.Â Heâ€™s a feast or famine risk, but the confidence is there that Kobe and Phil can control him and make him a productive member of the team.Â Lamar Odom is still unsigned and he is vital to their chances of repeating.Â Â He is perfect for the system.Â The electrifying (have you seen his dunks and blocks?) Shannon Brown playing a full year will give them a potential PG of the future (sorry Jordan Farmar).Â Trevor will be missed.
- Shaq and the Cavs â€“ The first big move of the offseason.Â You can also say it was late by a few months.Â If they had Superman I in the Easten finals they would have had a better chance against Superman II and the Magic.Â But remember this is the 37 year old Shaq, who is way slower and still shoots bad free throws.Â He is no longer the francise player but if he can give them the low post game to balance Lebronâ€™s play, they could be better.Â The also committed $50 M for 6 years to Sideshow Verajao.Â A risky move, considering he is not an offensive force and his main weapon in defense is flopping.Â Still his energy and rebounding is welcomed.Â They will need a few more to match the moves ot the other teams, but day by day the options are getting smaller.
- Orlando Magic â€“ Traded for Vinsanity on draft day which gave the team more promise and weapons to reach the finals again.Â Then lost a main cog in Turkoglu, who gave them clutch offense and playmaking.Â These two moves may change the Magicâ€™s game a bit, moving from a perimeter oriented offense, to more penetrations by Carter.Â Over all this gives them balance.Â But you have to wonder if they can replace Hedoâ€™s clutch performance.