Best and worst moves of the summer…

…so far (draft included!).

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Best:

1. The Clippers making everyone look dumb for piling on whenever they talked about how cursed Blake Griffin was to be heading to Donald Sterling’s team.  Granted, the team has the same horrible owner.  But they dumped Zach Randolph, then added Craig Smith, drafted Griffin (no points for that no-brainer, though) and kept the rest of their starting five intact.  There is no reason the Clippers should stink this year.

2. Orlando trading for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson.  Turkoglu is good, but Vince is too!  And the piece of this trade that will surprise everyone is Ryan Anderson.  The kid can shoot it from outside and he’s as tall as Turkoglu is.

3. The Hornets adding Okafor and Ike Diogu.  Okafor is better than Tyson Chandler.  That would have gone without saying if Chandler’s career hadn’t been saved by Chris Paul; but it should still go without saying because Chandler has injury problems.  The Kings hardly ever let Diogu play.  But he shot over 52% last year and had a PER of over 20.

(Dis)honorable mention:

–The Spurs trading garbage in exchange for Richard Jefferson, a guy who dumped his fiancee a couple days before they were supposed to be married.  Every year, the Spurs like to say to the world, “Hate us enough yet?”

–Everyone in the league, passing on DeJuan Blair, so that the Spurs could get him.  Which is worse, the frustration that your team passed on him, or the fact that the Spurs got him?  The guy is not going to be Blake Griffin, obviously.  But he’ll be better than half the guys in the first round.  Bet on it.

–Boozer—after promising to opt outopting in to the final year in his contract (which he has every right to do), determined to make Jazz fans suffer for every penny.  Never have so many people suffered so much over rich people overpaying their employees as American sports fans do over well-paid sports stars.  Not me, though.  I’m only suffering because Boozer can’t guard anyone.

–The Lakers, doing the smart thing and playing hardball with Trevor Ariza, and then doing the dumb thing and playing hardball with Lamar Odom.  Please, for the sake of all Laker haters in the world, sign with Miami, Lamar!

UPDATE: I was wrong, the Lakers were right.  Odom was never going to leave LA if he ended up taking about $8 mil per year.  Yes, the Lakers are better now than they were last year.  The downside potential of bringing on Artest is a lot smaller now.

Ron Artest giving a very objective account of the Palace brawl, from Hong Kong.randolph

 

Worst:

1. A young, up-and-coming Grizzlies team trading for Zach Randolph.  The fans weren’t coming to see the Grizzlies last year.  Now there’s a good chance they’ll stay home and hate the team, too.  They should have signed David Lee, traded for Carlos Boozer (an offer they apparently had on the table but declined), or gone after a guy like Ike Diogu through free agency.  That would have been a lot better than what they did, and cheaper, too.  One might also note that they’re doing nothing to retain Hakim Warrick.

2.  For sheer incoherence, the Bobcats trading for Tyson Chandler gives them second place.  Chandler’s offensive abilities are so dependent on Chris Paul throwing perfect lobs, that Paul should have got the points in his box score.  But the worst part is that a year or so ago the Bobcats thought Okafor was part of their core and signed him to a big contract.  Now that plan has been scrapped and the answer is now Tyson Chandler?  Hollinger blames Larry Brown, and I should too since I prediced the Brown Experiment in Charlotte would go worse than it has so far. 

3. This Euro-ball thing Bryan Colangelo is doing in Toronto.  Signing Turkoglu was fine—I disagree with those who say he was overpaid.  But they lost Jason Kapono and Shawn Marion, and added the likes of Marco Belinelli and Antoine Wright, either of whom could be starting at 2-guard next year.  That’s very bad.  This team might have less talent than it did when it won 33 games last year.  And Bargnani!  A year ago, Hollinger rightly noted that “if he’d been any more ‘Lost’ he’d have been on Oceanic Airways flight 815”; then, after a decent third year he gets a $50 million dollar extension.  Even in Canada that’s a lot.  Maybe Chris Bosh will be impressed and think that by signing and trading for a bunch of scrubs, the Toronto front-office is “building around” him.  Then again maybe I’m a hack and Toronto will score 115 points per game next year with an incredibly fun, up-and-down offense. 

Honorable mention:

The Calves want to please Lebron.  Apparently he likes Anderson Varejao.  So that’s honorable.  But paying Varejao $8 million per year makes Paul Millsap wonder whether he got a really raw deal.  And it makes David Lee wonder why he doesn’t really even have a job.  Anyway, the Cavs also got Jamario Moon whom everyone loves, and Shaq, who now is a pro wrestler and master tweeter, so…successful off-season?  Or was it an off-season that’s sort of like drinking a lot of whatever happens to be in front of you in order to get that horrible Orlando-flavored taste out of your mouth?  They’ll probably win 60 games again.  And if they don’t it’s all Shaq’s fault.

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10 Responses to “Best and worst moves of the summer…”

  1. Very intriguing post here. We’ll have to add to this as the rest of free agency plays out. There’s still some likely moves that could end up in either category; especially with the Ramon Sessions situation.

    As we’ve talked about before, I really like what the Clippers have done this summer. For a team that’s “cursed,” the Clips have put together a very solid couple of months. They have an eight-man rotation that could compete for a playoff spot if they can remain healthy.

    And for the Grizzlies, they’re on the verge of become the league’s laughingstock — despite the fact that they have a nice young group of talent — because of their latest move (http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/aug/02/grizzlies-cutbacks-revealing-priority/?partner=RSS). Trading for a locker room cancer like Zach Randolph isn’t the smartest think to do when you’re trying to develop a young team.

  2. Have to like what the Lakers sis to Odom, even though he ended up getting a market-value deal. The players have been controlled the market for years and it’s nice to see the teams balk at overpaying for a player that they knew they could get to stay around. All that talk about an unknown team coming into the picture with a huge deal for him is probably bogus. He just wanted people to believe that he’s still relevant.

  3. I’ll talk about this a bit more in a later post, but the Lakers are going to seriously regret trading Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest. After the way that Ariza played in the playoffs and the way Artest could completely combust after signing a 5-year deal to play in Los Angeles, it’s the most bizarre move of the entire summer, in my opinion. The Lakers are going to hate themselves if Ariza blows up and Artest reverts back to his old ways.

  4. Ariza did have a great playoffs, but it just seems like they have other guys who can do what Ariza did. Artest could prove to be a distraction, but it seems like he really wants to be in LA, and Odom could play a bigger role if they need to bench Artest. I will agree with one point, though–5 years is a long time to committ to Ron Artest.

    The reason I faulted the Lakers at first for playing hardball with Odom is that Odom *really is* worth what he was asking–the guy is a Swiss-army knife type player who has fit very well into the Lakers run at the title (to put it in perspective–Ariza was asking for around what Odom actually got). But the Lakers knew that the money wasn’t out here for him, and made the smart move. Frankly I’d rather see a great NBA player walk away with the dough rather than Jerry Buss, but he and Kupchak clearly won this showdown.

  5. Fair enough, but Artest and Odom will both turn 30 by the first month of the season and Ariza just turned 24 a month ago. To me, based on the way he was playing all season and during the playoffs, he should be the one they should have made an effort to keep.

    I mean think about it, he can stroke the three-ball, defend and slash. He’s not quite there yet, but he has the potential to be the prototypical small forward in this league once he hits his prime. To me, that’s worth much more than what Artest or Odom or a combination of both will give them. Ric Bucher said as much during a recent podcast. In the meantime, Artest and Odom is a very nice combination; but Ariza is productive now and will be in his prime in four years; whereas the Lakers could be dreading the fourth and fifth years on the deal they gave Artest.

  6. Jeremiah Says:

    Yep—in 2012-13 the Lakers want to have Kobe under contract, at what will be a $20 mil+ contract. They’ll also have Walton, Bynum and Artest at what will be $30 mill more. In fact Bynum could be making more since he might well be in a position to opt-out and make more (unlikely, but possible). Odom’s deal adds something like 10 mil in that year, so they’re up to 60 million in salary without bringing Gasol or a point guard into the equation. That’s not a bad core to have, but it’s all well over 30 at that point, except for Bynum. The rest of the top teams in the West are in a much better long-term position as far as salary and age.

  7. That’s exactly why I like Ariza for the Lakers instead of Artest and Odom. He’s one of those players who could have bridged the gap between the veterans and the young guys. Instead of having nothing but old guys in two years, they could have had Bynum AND Ariza, which would have keep the Lakers relatively competitive as they continue to acquire younger talent over the next couple years.

  8. Jeremiah Says:

    I loved that Delonte West video on your tweet, Andrew—I don’t know that it shows such a bad image, either! Come on, the guys are using some rough language (and I guess they might be high but most baked people I’ve seen can’t rhyme that well), but it’s sort of endearing to see a multi-millionaire patiently wait 18 minutes for KFC and sing (or rap) the praises of the food the whole time, then chit chat with the employees.

  9. I’m glad you liked it, and you’re probably right when you say that it doesn’t portray such a bad image. But it also doesn’t shed a good light on West, who is quickly earning himself a reputation as a goofball. First, it was his hilarious rants on Jim Roe is Burning, now this. Very entertaining, but probably not something the league is promoting.

  10. “Goin’ to the photo shoot with a chicken wing and a can of ice tea. I mean how playa is that?”

    —definitely a goofball! There is a fine line between this and the train-wreck style life-casting that Starbury was doing recently. But as long as it’s all in fun, and the shirts stay on most of the time, I’m all for more videos about ice tea and hot sauce.

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