Friday, July 16, 2004

M-M-M-Martin and the Nets

A crazy offseason in the NBA is getting even more crazy, with mega-millions still being handed to role players at an absurd rate. Two main shouting points have come from this spending so far. One is that NBA GMs are crazy and this will never end. While a lot of these deals (especially those done by Chris Mullin) are nuts, the great equalizer out there is still the salary cap. Eventually these guys will wise up: their jobs depend on it. And as far as the second result of the offseason: for those who say that the East will be better this year because of Shaq, I wouldn't be too sure. The East's best player Tracy McGrady has headed west to team up with Yao and the boys, and now Kenyon Martin is going to the Nuggets.

The Nets sudden fiscal restraint is very puzzling. Its true that they have a new owner who will be moving the team to Brooklyn soon. But for a team that is moving, wouldn't it make more sense to move over a competitive team? Sure you save a few (ok...a little more than that) million, but think of the problems caused when you have a new venue to fill and your team is Richard Jefferson and Zoran Planinic. Actually...I would buy a ticket to see Zoran. But what the Nets are doing here is very dangerous. After next year, the deals of Kerry Kittles and Dikembe Mutumbo (yes, they're still paying him) run out. Maybe the team can get lucky and somehow buy out the remaining years of Alonzo's contract. All of a sudden paying Martin, Jefferson and Kidd isn't so bad. While they have come up short the past few years, I still think that core could win an NBA title. Most of their problems were in the half-court, where nobody could make a jump shot. As my Dad says: "Nobody misses shots like Kerry Kittles". Get some one-dimensional shooters on the cheap, hope big-man Nenad Kristic is as good as advertised, and finally sign a decent backup for Kidd (something Rod Thorn hasn't done since he traded for him), and the Nets can be a contender again.

Now with Martin gone, and Kidd locked up long-term, the Nets are have neither the identity of a rebuilding team or a contending team. If they had done the Kidd-for-Parker swap a year before, and kept Martin, you have a young exciting team that has growth potential. In contrast to Parker, Jason Kidd's career is on the decline. Brendan over at These Days doesn't like what this means:

Nothing's worse in the NBA than being locked in the midrange of mediocrity, and as a Knicks fan as well as a Nets fan, I've certainly seen how dreadful it can be. In letting Martin go for financial reasons, the Nets have essentially conceded their ability and willingness to compete with the core of Kidd-Martin-Jefferson-Kittles. I'd rather they hadn't done that, but what's done is done and it's time to make the best of the remaining options. From here, I think a true rebuild is the best of what's left, and as a Nets fan, I will say I'm a great deal more likely to buy a ticket to see a young, exciting rebuilding team than I am to see a mediocre, old, shriviling one, even if the shrivilers have a moderately superior record.

Now as a Bulls fan, this is sentiment I can appreciate. As unbelievably frustrating as watching the Bulls can be, its fun knowing that there's potential (there's that evil word again) for growth. Wouldn't you rather have it that way than what the Nets fans are about to endure?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

EuroTrip, the sequel

It appears that the Crawford-to-Knicks talks have stalled. Basically it has boiled down to the fact that Paxson isn't gonna take Isaiah's garbage.

Both sides expressed optimism over the weekend that a deal would be reached. But sources said the Knicks refuse to part with Dikembe Mutombo, and the Bulls refuse to take on the $12.6 remaining on Moochie Norris' contract.

Who gave Moochie Norris that contract anyway? Jordan? Ainge? Pitino? (er...Krause?).

I don't see Paxson budging here, he holds the rights to Crawford, and therefore "has hand". Even if Jamal doesn't want to sign a long-term deal, he will be sticking around for around $3.5m, and can test his wares as an unrestricted free agent next year. So far no other team has given him an offer, so its looking more and more likely that Crawford will be a Bull next season.

And that's fine with me. When it comes to trading him or Chandler I'm pleased that Pax won't trade them simply because he can. Either you get a veteran player who can help, or in the case of the Knicks deal, salary cap relief.

The offseason movements don't stop there though, as Paxson has turned his eye to another Euro, this time 24-year-old Argentinean (well, he played in Europe) Andres Nocioni. Here's what the good Paxson brother has to say:

"He's a small forward who plays a physical game. He has been a professional [in Europe] for years. He's from the same national team as [Spurs guard] Manu Ginobili. This is a competitive guy who would fit us perfectly."

He goes on to compare him to Jazz forward Matt Harpring. Why do the Euros always have to be compared to another white guy? Regardless, its good to see the Bulls finally look into some European talent like Nocioni and Macijauskas.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Making my links is a higher honor than winning an ESPY.

Then again, so is finding a tunafish sandwich in the fridge. First, the fallen comrades:

  • Draft Prep section: See you next year, old friends. Never has so much draft preparation yielded so few results for my prognostications. I was way off, as I'm sure a lot you you were.
  • BasketballRules: MIA since late May.
  • ChrisHiller: I like his stuff, but updates once every 2 months.

The New Links:

  • These Days : Notice that I haven't been giving much analysis to every free agent signing out there, and lucky for me (and you) there's really no need after you visit this site. The term "Blogging up a storm" truly applies. HIGHLY recommended reading, every day. For reference, I recommend you read MY site every hour :)
  • Chris' Sports Blog: Another general-sports blog that gives you loads of content on a near-daily basis.

  • Sixers' Shots : One of them fancy funded blogs, this one obviously about the Sixers. Great humor peppered in there.

  • Hoops Analyst: Not pretty, but plenty of content.

  • Sports Guy's World: Bill Simmons got his own page on Wannabe funnymen-sportswriters like me benefit.

Just a reminder, if you want me to read your blog, just email me. Lord knows I have nothing to do.

Its Official: Sam Smith has lost his mind.

Apparently not heeding any warnings from Mark Cuban, My Man Sam(tm) is again spreading rumors about his favorite subject, Michael Jordan. This time , now that Shaq has reportedly moved on to Miami, Sam speculates Jordan buying a stake in the Heat (or have it given to him, more likely), and being a drawing card to add to the new Shaq-Wade core:

The team would have a good chance to win a championship and Jordan would be in position to use what many say could be his greatest strength as an owner: Attracting top talent to join him.

Like I says every time, THAT REALLY WORKED WELL IN WASHINGTON. There, maybe if I scream it someone will hear me.

But Sam's column gets even better. Did you know this new organizational juggernaut can now successfully move to Las Vegas?

With the lure of Las Vegas, O'Neal and Dwyane Wade in Heat uniforms, and Jordan in an ownership position, it would be no problem for him to put together a major ownership group. Jordan would have a chance to run the first major-league sports franchise in Las Vegas. And what a draw that would be for players.

Jordan owning a team in Vegas? I don't see a potential conflict of interest there, do you?

So, to recap: Jordan will get ownership without actually paying for it. Jordan will attract free agents somehow. And even though David Stern has claimed multiple times that he doesn't want a team in Vegas, the lure of having Jordan in ownership is just too much to ignore.

Does any of this remotely make sense? And what's worse, is picking up this story.

Sam, you're still my man, but when will you be receiving those Cuban-sponsored "Sports Gossip Columnist" business cards?