Posts tagged ‘Wilson Chandler’

February 22, 2011

Musings on Melo

by Jeeves

So Carmelo Anthony finally got traded to his dream locale, New York (not New Jersey). As of now the trade shakes out as follows:

New York Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, and Corey Brewer

Denver Nuggets get: Timofey Mozgov, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Raymond Felton (plus draft picks)

Minnesota Timberwolves get: Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph

So lets take a quick look at this trade from the viewpoint of the teams involved and then at the end I’ll have some random observations that you may or may not see elsewhere.

New York Knicks

This trade is a no-brainer, to me, for the Knicks. As the team was structured before the trade, they were a middling playoff team in the Eastern Conference and that’s it. It’s possible, though unlikely, they could have pulled off an upset in the first round, and such an event represented the best case scenario for their season. The Knicks are not the Bobcats; the franchise doesn’t need the money from a playoff run. If this trade represents 1 step back before 2 steps forward (and thus costing the Knicks a playoff trip) they’d still make large sums of money as they sell out MSG. Blowing up (most of) the core of low playoff seed will not cost the Knicks anything. If anything, by adding Melo and Billups, they made themselves a more dangerous playoff team. Bench play is less important in the playoffs and if those two plus Amare are healthy, I would be much more worried about playing the Knicks than when they had Gallinari, Chandler, and Felton.

In the short term, the Knicks will probably sacrifice a couple regular season wins, but will come out of this as a better team in the future. They have assured themselves the addition of a top 10-15 player (depending on your view of Melo) which is a far cry from merely positioning themselves with the cap room for a top 10-15 player. Anytime you can do that in exchange for non-sure thing prospects, you do it, and worry about how the pieces fit afterwards. In basketball trades, the big thing, unless you’re trying to round off a championship squad or shed salary, is to come away from a trade with the best player. The participants in the trade may have differing opinions on who the best player is, but in this instance, Carmelo is vastly superior to everyone else involved.

Denver Nuggets

Masai Ujiri can take a bow for this trade. He continually raised the price for Carmelo and ended up getting it all. He knew that the Knicks wouldn’t (Renaldo) balk(man) at the price, as they were desperate to add Melo. It took a lot of balls and it paid off. Not only does Denver pick up some really intriguing pieces, but they get loads of cap relief. In fact, the $14 million-ish coming off the cap is enough to bring them under the luxury tax threshhold which has a two fold monetary effect. First, they don’t have to pay dollar-for-dollar the amount that they are above the tax line and second, they receive money from the pool created by teams that do have to pay the tax.

As far as Gallo and Chandler are concerned, I think they picked up two really good complementary pieces. They aren’t good enough to lead you to a championship by themselves, but they certainly are good players. I’m actually a big fan of Gallinari. He shoots really well from outside and gets to the line a ridiculous amount, plus he’s super young. There’s a lot to like about him. Chandler is a bit of a wild card for the Nuggets. He’ll basically tryout with them for the rest of the season which gives them time to decide whether he’s worth bidding on over the summer (assuming there’s a season) as he is a restricted free agent.

Minnesota Timberwolves

They did okay for themselves. They get some nice financial relief in Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, as well as $3 million to cover the rest of his expiring contract. They gave up Brewer who didn’t figure into their long term plans and they took a Michael Beasley style shot on Anthony Randolph. The Fighting Kahns need talent and this gives them some. Whether Randolph cashes in on that talent it another story.

Quick Thoughts

– Anthony Carter has a no trade clause. I think it would be hilarious if he exercises it and blocks the trade.

– The Knicks could play a high priced game of chicken by not signing Anthony to an extension until after the new CBA. They own his Bird rights so if they don’t sign him now, under the current CBA, it’s likely no other team will be able to then trump a hypothetical Knicks offer under the new CBA. It would be way to savvy and risky of a move to happen, but it’s still a possibility.

-Along those lines, imagine if the Knicks try to trade Anthony or Amare in 2012 for a signed-and-traded Dwight Howard.

– The Knicks are probably out of the 2012 Free Agency Derby which is probably for the best. Who know with the new CBA how things would even work out. As they say, a bird in the hand is better than a better bird in the bush.

– Denver’s trade makes Bryan Coleangelo look even more incompetent. Do you think the Raptors would prefer a package like this rather than the 2 Miami draft picks and trade exception they got?

– The Nets are probably lucky that the Knicks didn’t have the balls to stick to the original asking price. Prokhorov was willing to give up a ton of assets for Melo.

-If Isiah returns, him and Renaldo Balkman will be reunited. I guess it really was true love at first sight.

-This probably will signal the beginning of open trading season. I think most GM’s were waiting for this domino to fall before proceeding.

– I guess this trade happened much like Melo’s offensive game…jab step, jab step, jab step, pull the trigger when everyone knows its coming.

February 1, 2011

New Warriors Owners Getting Early Taste of Perpetual Franchise Disfunction

by npiller88

They even feed the children!

The Golden State Warriors have one of the most loyal, energetic, passionate fan bases in professional sports. The state of never-ending mediocrity in Oakland always gets met with optimism and tongue-in-cheek self deprecation. Take a look at the Warriors’ fan blog, goldenstateofmind.com–it features a quote from former rookie center Marc Jackson (whom no one remembers, nor should they), shouting “Unstoppable Baby!” after a two point bucket during the close of a 29 point loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

But beyond this great sense of humor displayed by Warriors devotees lies a deeper inferiority complex punctuated by years of losing and just awful, awful luck. Flash back to the 2007-2008 season, when the Warriors were fresh off of that scintillating upset of the #1 seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. They managed 48 wins, the best in many years for the franchise, but failed to make the playoffs during an historically competitive year in the Western Conference. They were the only team in NBA history to miss the playoffs with at least 48 wins.

That disappointment gradually devolved into a languishing culture of no-defense under Nellie (Don Nelson, the NBA wins leader among coaches). The past few years have been tough ones for Warriors fans.

But last season brought a ray of sunshine in the form of cherubic rookie guard Stephen Curry. Though the Dubs slogged their way to a 20+ win season, Curry brought energy and enthusiasm, along with real star power, something that is consistently lacking on the team, and something earnestly craved by the restless fanbase.

But this season, for all its marginal improvements in performance (the 20 win plateau has already been reached), has carried with it similar oddities and bad luck. The season started off well enough, even with the loss of top draft pick Epke Udoh and early ankle problems for Stephen Curry, as the Dubs cruised to a 6-2 record. With new front court acquisition David Lee in the lineup, the Dubs are actually at around a .500 winning percentage on the season. But when Lee was forced to miss ample time after being bitten (yes, I said bitten) by the Knicks’ Wilson Chandler, the Warriors began to slip in the win column once again. The maccabre nature of the injury was business as usual for the Warriors, who always seem to attract general strangeness. Perhaps it was a fitting initiation into said strangeness for the new owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, who did their best to offer the best doctors on the planet to Lee’s mangled elbow. Alas, an infection couldn’t be avoided, and a sickly looking Lee began to add an odd, ghoulish presence to the Dubs’ bench, albeit in a suit and tie.

This new season brought much fanfare and optimism, with new owners, new uniforms and a fearsomely exciting back court featuring the electric Monta Ellis, who really has no equal in terms of raw quickness in the NBA, and the skilled, crafty Curry, whose shooting ability rivals any league veteran, and whose creativity around the basket and in setting up teammates shows tremendous potential. Ellis is averaging over 25 points per game this season, and probably won’t be an all-star, despite ranking sixth in the league in the league in that category, along with other gaudy numbers (including being ranked third in steals per game). But the greater frustration lies with Ellis’ raw talent. Anyone who has watched a full Dubs game knows the tornado that is Monta Ellis. His drives to the basket are often punctuated by ballet-like spins and twirls, with slick concentration and finishing ability around the rim. All-Star Game spectators will miss out on one of the most exciting players to watch in the past several years of up and down NBA action. No NBA player is quicker, at least certainly no player who stands as tall as 6’3.”

But therein lies the rub. Both Ellis and Curry, for all their brilliance, are the exact same size, at 6’3″ and 185 pounds. Slight guards in the NBA can put up shots, but usually can’t defend too well. There are exceptions, like Chris Paul, but they are few and far between. As long as the Warriors keep this back court together, it will be difficult to win consistently (assuming they won’t be able to pull off a trade for Dwight Howard). The irony of the situation is that their greatest weakness (abysmal defense in the back court), is also their greatest strength (blitzkrieg offense from a pair of marketable, offensively gifted playmakers). Few teams are more fun to watch than the Warriors, and a lot of that is because of their unique back court. But they don’t win too often, and it’s becoming more and more clear that Lee’s is not a sufficient inside presence to give the Dubs a winning squad. Back when Curry was drafted, a dejected Ellis said it best himself when asked if the two could play well together: “Can’t, just can’t.” Ellis has since matured and showed more of a team-oriented attitude, especially as regards Curry. But even if they can play together and look good, they have trouble doing it without losing far too often.

When Lacob told local blogger/journalist Tim Kawakami that he would consider trading Curry or Ellis if the right deal came around, fans started their annual freak out. Lacob has since backed off on those comments. But the situation remains the same. The Dubs will probably have to choose between a fun-to-watch team and a potentially successful one. That transition could come soon if they trade Curry or Ellis for a strong big man. But even then, something will probably go wrong. It’s the Warriors.

In the mean time, any good trade ideas for this frustrated Dubs fan? (If it wasn’t obvious enough, my allegiances are out now). Whoever that new Warrior is, he better watch out for wayward teeth.