Friday, February 8, 2008

Weird Days in the NBA

A wise man at Indiana University once told me “the only thing keeping college from being the best place on earth is class.” This slogan remains with me to this day and I feel like work is always getting in my way of writing more. If any of you know how to rid our lives of class and work, I am all ears. Anyways, on with the show.

I will get to the Warriors rumors in a minute because I am compelled to talk about the Suns.

Are the Suns of the 21st century an even more tragic story than the Buffalo Bills of the 90s?

Think about all the talent that has come and gone without even one NBA Finals to show for it. Here is a short and far from comprehensive list of players that have worn or currently wear a Suns uniform:

Jason Kidd
Joe Johnson
Stephon Marbury (he was actually pretty good at one point)
Shawn Marion
Steve Nash
Amare Stoudemire
Grant Hill
Leandro Barbosa
Boris Diaw
Sean Marks (if you don’t think the impossible is possible, look no further than Sean Marks)

Again, this list is far from complete and I know I am missing a few guys, but this list is filled with some pretty impressive players. However, they just cannot seem to get it together and there is always something keeping them from rising (Get it? Sun rising – never mind) to the next level. Here were just some of the road blocks:

* Kidd abuses his wife so they trade him (in hindsight – 15 cents on the dollar) to NJ for Marbury.

* Joe Johnson turns out to be a draft day steal and he decides he would rather lose and make millions than win and make a fewer millions. However, they get Boris Diaw in the deal, who turns out to be as motivated to get in shape as Oliver Miller was (who also played for the Suns).

* Robert Horry (who is more clutch than Jeter, Schilling and Armando Benitez) decides to get creative when trying to win an NBA series so he cheap-shots Nash. The Suns (who at the time had a lot of team chemistry) rise to his defense and, as a result, get handed the death penalty by David Stern and lose the series.

* Shawn Marion decides that Joe Johnson’s life is so much better than his that he decides to demand a trade. When the trade doesn’t come, he gives 80% for the first half of the season and forces the Suns to trade him for Shaq.

Now the Suns cannot run their fast break offense and they look far less intimidating to not only the Lakers, but also the Warriors. While I do think Shaq will help them in certain games, the Suns became a lot weaker this week and the rest of the West has to be excited.

(I am not even going to mention how much they owe him over the next two seasons (after the completion of this one. Just kidding - $40 mm!!)

To answer my original question, nothing is worse than going to the Super Bowl 4 straight years without winning one – NOTHING!

On to the Warriors

On the eve of the Chris Webber era, take 2, there are a lot of rumors swirling about potential moves the Warriors could or could not be making. Luckily, every move I have heard of makes little to no sense and all of them fail to solve the problem I discussed in my earlier post. Here are three players I have heard about specifically:

* Mike Miller
The one thing the Warriors don’t have is a player 6’6” to 6’9” that only shoots threes, rarely rebounds, and disappears at the defensive end. Sounds like a great way to throw a draft pick or young player away. You have to think Mullin will find a way to get this deal done. Bravo to all involved!

(This will be the last time I inform you that sometimes I am a little sarcastic)

* Ron Artest
This move would only be slightly better than a Mike Miller trade. He does play strong defense on 2s or 3s, which is nice, but I just cannot see where he fits in the rotation. Wouldn’t he have to play the 4? If he does play the 4, then our rebounding and interior defensive problems only get worse. If he doesn’t play the 4, does that mean Ellis and/or Jackson are sitting while he is on the floor? Regardless of his friendship with Jackson, I think an Artest trade is a recipe for disaster and creates an even bigger log jam at the 2/3 positions for the Warriors.

* Andrés Nocioni
See what I wrote about Artest. However, I do like him a little more because he doesn’t seem as volatile and is more of a slasher than Artest (which really isn’t saying much).

In the end, acquiring any of these guys doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.


Suckaflea said...

You ay have to expand on the Suns woes. Back to Barkley, KJ, Thunder Dan and Ceballos They made the playoffs every year from '88-'89 to '00-01 and lost the Championship once, conference finals twice. Pretty bad luck when you get to the Championship and run into the GOAT himself. Also, they made the playoffs 8 years in a row in the 70's losing the Championship once and the conference finals twice. Can you say cursed?

This begs the question, is it better to not make the playoffs(Warrior fans) than to go to the post season repeatedly only to come up short every time(Suns fans/SF Giants fans?)

The answer is always make the playoffs because hope feels a lot better than apathy.

I think last night might have been the worst game of the season. Not even the T-wolves game.

RT said...

I was trying to focus on the most recent pain in Phoenix but you are dead right. I should have gone back to the Barkley days.

However, I don't like to use the term cursed as much as very unlucky. i still feel like the Suns would have won the Championship last year if it wasn't for David Stern giving the series to the Spurs.

As for last night, I was in such a good mood. IU got lucky and beat Illinois in double overtime and I was ready to watch the Warriors paste an offensivly challenged Bulls team. What I got was one of our former 1st round picks looking twice his age and the other one looking half his age.

If last night doesn't wake people up to the fact that we need a defensive-minded 4 or 5 down low, than nothing will

thefantasticpoolio said...

The Bulls loss hurts. It hurts way worse than the T-wolves loss did (they were playing well on that road trip and turned around and beat the Suns two days later). The Bulls did not have Deng or Gordon or Hinrich. They had almost no offense but then Duhon goes off. That's a BAD loss.

I think the comparable period of bad luck and pain for the current Suns would have to be the Kings when they ran into the Kobe/Shaq Lakers for 4 years and never made the Finals.

I am much higher on the Shaq trade than everyone else. He slows the team down, but he is athletic and has clearly proven that he can turn it on and off. I think they have to be the clear cut favorite in the West even though no one else does. I think the most underrated thing that he brings to that team is charisma and fun which by all accounts that team seriously lacks. By all local accounts, they are joyless.

Suckaflea, I totally agree with you. It's better to get to dance and loose than not get there at all. Even if you are the bottom seed, you have a chance to win the championship (see the NY Giants and Steelers) by making the post season.

RT, I'm glad that you see the Illinois win as lucky. Most of the media is loving the win and loving on EG for pushing through the rough treatment, but IU got really lucky. But hey, to win you have to be lucky and good (ask Les Miles and his relationship with 4th downs). But more importantly, is Illinois' Assembly Hall not the most toxic environment in sports? It was ratcheted up more than usual for EG, but it was always bad in college. Illinois can't be anymore than IU's third most important rivalry, but it is easily the nastiest.

Suckaflea said...

RT, I've got a good pre-game thread idea for Warriors' games for the rest of the season. I've got to get some numbers and I'll post it shortly.

Suckaflea said...

Who's Going Off Tonight?

Last night it was Roger Mason(13-20 for 32 points). Before that there was Chris Duhon(11-16 for 34), Ryan Gomes(11-15 for 35), Kareem Rush(7-11 for 19), Steve Blake(8-10 for 24), J.R. Smith(6-11 for 15), Kyle Lowry(6-10 FOR 18), Derek Fisher 5-9 twice for 15/16), Matt Bonner(9-16 for 25), Dorell Wright (8-14 for 19), Keith Bogans(9-12 for 22), Mike James (8-14 for 19), Nick Young(5-9 for 18), Andre Miller(9-15 for 23), Boobie Gibson(8-14 for 22).

Now, these guys weren't often the high scorers on their team, but they are the ones who make the difference in close games. Michael Redd, he's really good and I expect him to score(same with Kobe, Yao, KG/Pierce/He Got Game, Duncan, AI/Melo, etc). The thing that bothers me, today at least, is these "scrubs" who play above their heads against the Warriors and seemingly only against the Warriors. Never fail, someone on the opposing team will shoot out of their ass. The Warrios are 11 games over .500 so this hasn't been a big deal overall, but it most definitely could cost the Warriors in the playoffs, when and if they make it.

So RT, "Who's going off tonight?" Actually, tomorrow night vs. the Suns. I'll post my own odds, but you've always been a better oddsmaker than me, so corrections are appreciated.

So my ground rules are the player has to shoot above 50% and score at least fifteen points. I also don't weigh big men as much because that is the Warriors main weakness, so I also expect big men to score well. For the Suns we'll eliminate Amare(23.1 ppg), Nash(17.3 ppg), and Barbosa(16.5 ppg).

Grant Hill------ 3-1
Raja Bell------- 8-1
Boris Diaw------ 2-1(the suckaflea favorite)
Brian Skinner--- 20-1
Eric Piatkowski- 50-1

Suckaflea said...

Does Mullin have something up his sleeve?

From the Chronicle(Janny Hu) today:

Nobody's backing down in the Warriors' standoff with Mickael Pietrus as they approach the Feb. 21 trade deadline. Pietrus' agent, Bill McCandless, says that Golden State remains unreceptive to potential deals despite interest in his client from around the league.

"We quietly requested a trade prior to the first date on which he could be traded this season, and we've repeated this request many times," McCandless said. "There are several teams who would like to acquire Mike, and several offers have been made.

"We thought he was traded last week, but the trade was nixed at the 11th hour. Three days ago, Mike met with Chris (Mullin), and two days ago, Mike met with coach (Don) Nelson, both times repeating the trade request."

Problem is, Golden State has little incentive to make a deal it doesn't like, and its executives still view Pietrus as an important part of the team, if he can return to last season's level of play. Nelson has moved the 6-foot-6 forward, who has been playing out of position at power forward, back down to the 3-spot as Stephen Jackson's primary backup.

"Mike has been asked to play out of position for all of this season," McCandless added. "He does not want to play the 4 and the 5. Mike doesn't want to be a corner spot-up shooter for whom no offensive plays are run. He simply feels he can contribute much more on both ends of the floor for another team. He truly hopes to be traded tomorrow."

The Suns and Mavericks are among the teams said to be looking for help at the wing positions, and the Heat tried unsuccessfully to trade for Pietrus in the offseason.

My Thoughts
*Pietrus can eat a dick
*If Mullin has offers available, why trade now?
* I wonder if Miami offered Dorell Wright before the season?
*Who would we get from DAL/PHO for Pietrus?
*"He doesn't like playing the 4-5."
a) When has he EVER played the five?
b)Maybe you should play better, the better you play the easier it will be to trade you.
* I feel like eating a cookie.

We're going to do something...right?

RT, what do you know about trade exceptions? I tried working the ESPN trade machine...ugh.

thefantasticpoolio said...

What do you want to know about the NBA CBA? I have a rudimentary knowledge of it and I have a breakdown of it from a class in law school.

Suckaflea said...

Could the Warriors trade Pietrus for the Suns' $3.9mm exception? Trade machine said it would put Suns over salary cap. Trade exceptions can only be traded for a player, straight up?

Here's my crazy trade scenario:

Al Harrington, O'Bryant and '08 first rounder for Dalembert

Harrington only has two years left on his contract, O'Bryant is expiring and they get 1st rounder.

$10 mil Trade exception to Memphis for Mike Miller

Miller replaces Harrington's 3pt% and Memphis does what it does best, trade players and cut payroll.

Pietrus for Dorell Wright Both expiring contracts, why not?

Suckaflea said...

Trade machine says Wright for Pietrus straight up won't work...and I don't think Miami would give us Daequan Cook and Wright for Pietrus, but we could just trade Pietrus to PHO for their $3.9 mil exception.

So in review
Warriors get Mike Miller, Samuel Dalembert, $3.4 mil trade exception for next season.

Give up: O'Bryant, Harrington, '08 First Rounder, Pietrus.

Is it remotely possible?

thefantasticpoolio said...

From reading the NBA CBA it appears to me that a team can use the trade exceptions to acquire a player, meaning they can acquire the player and it will not put them over the salary cap, but the exceptions are not commodities to be traded. Does that make sense?
Example: The Warriors can trade for Mike Miller even though he makes $8+ million because they have an exception to allow them go over the salary cap (even though they already are over it) to pay him, but they have to give up something in return.

thefantasticpoolio said...

The Warriors could trade Pietrus to the Suns for cash though, but only up to $3 million.

Suckaflea said...

The Suns have three trade exceptions ($8.5 mil for Kurt Thomas, $3.9 million for Marcus Banks, and $2.something mil for somebody else).

Poolio, what's the most cash you can kcik in on a deal? $3 mil or a percentage? Thnaks.

RT said...

You have to think Barbosa is going to go bananas on the Warriors tonight. Diaw is too busy getting fat to go nuts and Piatkowski only goes off on J-Rich

I just relived the day I started up the trade Richardson bandwagon. It was a game back in the 01-02 season and Piatkowski was playing for the Clippers and he was going to town on J-Rich. He was backing him down and working him like Hakeem in the mid-90s. I have hated on J-rich ever sense.

Anyways, my vote is for barbosa to go for 40.

I like the idea of Dorell Wright for Pietrus. However, the Heat like him (too much) to give him up.

Finally, friends don't let friends say yes to a Mike Miller trade

thefantasticpoolio said...

You can only send $3 million in cash as far as I know (according to what I read in the CBA last night).

The Suns can actually aggregate players into those exceptions (i.e. more players than exceptions).

The exceptions are really a function of avoiding the luxury tax and they last for a year from the date of the trade so that's why the Suns might have so many.

They are pushing the Miller trade hard here, but I agree, I don't think it does the Warriors a lot of good.

Suckaflea said...

If they're pushing the Miller trade, it has to be the deal before a Harrington trade. Why would you keep them both? Great win tonight, anyways.

Suckaflea said...

Who's Going off Tonight?

First winner...Grant Hill at 3-1. 11-18 for 26 points.

Suckaflea said...

More Pietrus stuffhere