Saturday, July 7, 2012

Basketball Moves

It's been a busy week in the NBA, as teams have begun to make moves and shake up their rosters.  A look back at some of the notable trades and transactions:

Deron Williams remains with Brooklyn Nets
D-Will was deciding between Dallas and Brooklyn, but I didn't think he was going to leave, anyways.  Not when the Nets just traded for Joe Johnson, signed Gerald Wallace for four years and are seriously pursuing Dwight Howard via another trade.  Even without D-Ho on board, that's a formidable team (on paper) right there.  He can't complain about the $98.5 million he'll be adding to his bank account over the next five years, either.

T-Wolves sign Brandon Roy, make offer to Nicolas Batum
Minnesota knows Roy (two years, $10.4 million) has no cartilage left in his knees, right?  That's ten million bucks down the drain right there.  Batum is a talented 23 year-old swingman who hasn't reached his ceiling yet, but I'm not sure he's worth the four year, $45 million investment that the Wolves are considering.

Brandon Bass re-ups with Celtics
The 27 year-old power forward opted out of the final year of his contract, worth $4.25 million, to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.  It didn't take him too long to decide that he wants to remain a Celtic after all.  He became a full-time starter after Jermaine O'Neal injured his wrist and Kevin Garnett slid over to center.  At 6'8", 240 pounds (LeBron James' exact specifications) he's slightly undersized for a power forward, but he makes up for it with decent length, athleticism, and a nice jump shot.  I've stated many times in this space, going back to the Glen Davis trade in December, that I liked Bass in Boston, and I certainly like him for three more years at $20 million.

Ray Allen signs with Heat for three years, nine million
The rich just continue to get richer as another future Hall of Famer takes his talents to South Beach.  Allen's the knockdown shooter off the bench the 2012 NBA champions sorely needed, and he'll be a great spot starter to plug in for Dwyane Wade, who will invariably miss a few games here and there.   Boston's offer--$12 million over two years--would have paid him twice as much money annually, but Wade and James recruited him hard.  Besides, the soon-to-be-37 year old made nearly $200 million in his career an additional three million wouldn't do much to change his mind.  It sucks, but his career had run it's course in Boston; Danny Ainge put him on the trading block last season and he lost his starting job to the emerging Avery Bradley after getting hurt.  Once the Celtics committed to Terry, there just wasn't enough room for him.  And so the all-time three point king will finish out his career in Miami's red and black, continuing to distance himself from Reggie Miller by drilling open treys from the corner off drive-and-kicks from Batman and Robin. And he'll probably win another championship or two. That's a nice life if you can get it.

Steve Nash signs with Lakers
On the surface, the "Slowtime" Lakers signing a 38 year-old point guard for three years, $27 million doesn't look like a great idea.  But Nash, who's led the NBA in total assists three years running (and six of the previous eight) is the greatest playmaker of young millenium.  As a shooter he's picking his spots now; his nine field goal attempts per game were the fewest since his 1999-2000 campaign with Dallas, but he shot a career best 53.2 percent from the floor.  On a team with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol he won't be relied upon to score much, anyways.  His stellar outside shot will be much appreciated on a team that doesn't have many three-point threats.  Even at his advanced age, he helped push the Suns to the eighth best pace and ninth best offense in the league last season.  The aging Lakers, on the other hand, ranked 20th overall in pace last season and have become much more stagnant when they run the offense through Kobe, who feels most comfortable on isolation plays.  Nash thrives off the pick and roll, so their games don't really mesh and they're going to need an adjustment period to get used to each other, specifically Kobe getting used to not having the ball in his hands as much.  He has to recognize that this team hasn't had a great facilitator running the point since the days of Magic Johnson, but that's about to change.   At his age health has to be a concern, but Nash keeps himself in phenomenal shape and has missed an average of just four games per year over his last eleven seasons.  He won't help out on the defensive end, but I think we can all agree that this move represents a massive upgrade over Derek Fisher/Ramon Sessions.

Jason Kidd signs with Knicks
The 39 year-old point guard is in the twilight of his career, but he's still a nice piece to have on the bench.  He still has a solid three point shot, handles the ball well and can be an effective player on both ends of the court in limited minutes.  Plus he's a great veteran presence that can tutor the still-raw Jeremy Lin.

Jason Terry signs with Celtics
The JET has landed in Boston, and I'm a big fan of this signing.  The Celtics have struggled offensively for the past several years, and in Terry they're adding a potent weapon who can create his own shot and help spread the floor At 34 years old he's no spring chicken, so he follows the recent Celtics trend of adding free agents who are already in the second act of their careers i.e. Rasheed Wallace, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal.  God forbid the Celts try to inject a little youth into their roster, right?  Terry's age doesn't concern me too much though, because shooters tend to age gracefully and can remain effective well into their thirties (see Allen, Ray).  Besides, he's been a picture of health his whole career--knock on wood--never missing more than eight games in any season, so hopefully that doesn't change.  Like James Harden he's good enough to start, but is comfortable coming off the bench and can provide instant offense in a pinch.  He has some awfully big shoes to fill in Boston, a city that quickly fell in love with Ray's smooth shooting stroke and penchant for drilling clutch three pointers.  While Terry is not the sniper Allen is, he's a great shooter that has the ability to bury a team with a barrage of threes, as he did against the Lakers in the 2011 Conference semis. I don't think Celtics fans will take long to warm up to Terry, who hit a ton of big shots with Dallas and usually saves his best for the fourth quarter.

Clippers trade for Lamar Odom, sign Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford
The Clips are hoping a return to LA's spotlight can reinvigorate Odom, who looked miserable with the Dallas Mavericks last year and hit rock bottom when he was demoted to the D-League in March. He can't possibly be that bad again, and if he can play anywhere close to the level he was at with the Lakers, he'll be a big boost to this team in the already formidable frontcourt and provide some depth off the bench behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. He's a big improvement over Kenyon Martin, can play center when Del Negro wants to go small and can use his size and length to create a mismatch against smaller power forwards. The Clippers lose Mo Williams in the trade. Lebron's former sidekick was fantastic after Billups went down last season and helped carry the sagging Clippers offense for stretches, but if Billups can stay healthy then they won't miss him too much.

Jamal Crawford will replAce Williams and is expected to sign for three years, $15.7 million.  He's a combo guard who can give the Clippers some size in the backcourt, but not much else.  His shooting numbers have dipped each of the past two seasons, and the 32 year-old gunner has entered the decline phase of his career.  He can still stretch the floor with his reputation and remains a knockdown shooter from the charity stripe--his 92.7 percent led the NBA last year--but he's such a horrible defender that he cancels out whatever he can still bring to the table.  I'd much rather have Williams, but given the dearth of talent available at the two-guard (Courtney Lee?) the former Sixth Man of the Year should be an adequate replacement.  He can score in spurts off the bench, but he's streaky and is going to take his fair share of ill-advised shots

"Mr. Big Shot" Billups is back with the Clippers after signing a one-year, $4.3 million deal.  He hopes to return in December, and if he stays healthy he'll be quite a bargain.  He'll be 36 next year and age has slowed him down, but he played reasonably well before a torn left achilles ended his season in February.  He's one of the few Clippers who can consistently hit their free throws and three-pointers, and even if that's all he can provide he'll still be an asset.  He helps spread the floor for Blake Griffin and Paul to run the pick and roll, and adds roster flexibility in that he can start at shooting guard but slide over to the point when Chris Paul needs a breather.  He's not a difference maker anymore, but he's still a viable offensive weapon.

Michael Beasley signs with Suns, three years $18 million
Annnnnnd we're out of time.

No comments:

Post a Comment