by Russ Bengtson
*WARNING: This post is a compiled (and somewhat rewritten and added to) version of a number of my comments from today’s Post Up. Just in case it sounds familiar.*
With all apologies to Gary Sussman, I really hate the Nets right now. Allow me to explain. I feel like a big part of the reason Isiah Thomas hasn’t been fired yet (besides the fact that Jimmy Dolan is a thick-skulled nincompoop) is that the rest of the East—particularly the Nets—has been playing so badly. Hopefully the Bulls’s win last night (and the Heat’s win the night before) mean both of those teams are turning it around so the Knicks can be left alone in the cellar. With the lights out.
But let’s talk about the Nets for a bit. The prevailing opinion seems to be that they should trade Jason “Migraine” Kidd—their allegedly disgruntled 34-year-old All-Star point guard. The primary reasons appear to be that a) he’s disgruntled, b) he’s 34 years old, and c) several teams are interested in acquiring the Human Triple Double. This is all well and good. However, I have a different view of things.
If I were Rod Thorn, I’d try and trade Vince Carter first. I watched some of last night’s game (a home loss to the Clippers) and every time I looked up Vince was settling for the outside jumper. And dude’s been way off-target from three this season—his percentage is lower than (among many others) Eduardo Najera’s and Jason Richardson’s. I don’t get it. How can a player as athletic as VC not be constantly cutting to the basket when he’s playing with Jason Kidd? If I were Thorn, I’d offer Vince to the first team that would send a couple of athletic youngsters back.
(This goes back to my not understanding why GMs build teams based on talent instead of style of play. Hey Rod, you have the best fast-break point guard in the League, who’s made a CAREER out of getting the most out of guys who run. How about getting some of those? And while we’re being all honest and stuff, keeping Mikki Moore—even for $18 mil—would have been a better move than signing Jamaal Magloire. I’m just saying.)
Anyway, I think I’ve got the perfect deal. How about Vince and Josh Boone to the Knicks for Renaldo Balkman, Jamal Crawford and Jared Jeffries? If nothing else, that trade would be some Malcolm Gladwell sh*t to Knick fans and beatwriters. And it’s the kind of deal that Isiah just can’t seem to resist. Come on Isiah, you know you wanna. Fleece Rod Thorn! Vince has been an All-Star a LOT! Just imagine the press conference! And hey, No. 15’s only been retired twice. Third time’s a charm!
Seriously, though, the Nets would be better off without Carter. Yes, he’s a perennial All-Star, a great talent, a crowd favorite (sometimes) and all of that stuff. But he only seems to run the floor when he really feels like it these days, and would much rather jack up threes than take his man off the dribble. He’d be better off playing with the half-pace Knicks. And Renaldo Balkman could be a monster running the floor with Kidd, Crawford would be a better option shooting the three than Carter is, and Jared Jeffries—as bad as he’s played in New York—would fit better with the Nets. As a further bonus, Jefferson would get more looks (and last I checked he’s fourth in the League in scoring).
The bottom line is it would be easier for the Nets to rebuild around Kidd than it would be to rebuild around Carter. They already have some of the right players around him. And in the East, as bad as it is, a Kidd-led Nets team should be contenders every year. I’d keep Jefferson, Sean Williams, Darrell Armstrong, Malik Allen and the Snackbar, and let it be known that everyone else is up for grabs. Surround Kidd with guys who are ready to run and let ‘em loose.
And while we’re at it, would someone please fire Lawrence Frank already? He seems like a really nice guy, and I’m sure he’s great with the X’s and O’s. But this ain’t tic-tac-toe. Sean Williams got a DNP last night, and as far as I’m concerned that alone is grounds for dismissal. And at the very least bring in someone who realizes that Jason Collins shouldn’t be playing ever. The guy doesn’t rebound (2.5 rpg in 19.5 minutes a game), can’t score (26 points total all season), and—as far as I can tell—his biggest talent is drawing charges. Which means he’s good at standing still. Heck, Sly could do that job.
Keeping in mind that Vince can’t be traded until December 15th at the earliest, here’s two other possibilities I sort of like: Vince to the Bobcats for Jason Richardson and either Sean May or Primoz Brezec, and Vince to the Clippers for Corey Maggette and Sam Cassell.