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Friday, June 29th, 2007 at 11:00 am  |  133 responses

Links: Draft Wrap-Up

A day later, trying to make sense of a busy night…

by Lang Whitaker

And then they rested. It’s been a marathon month, between the Conference Finals, the NBA Finals, a lot of posts on SLAMonline (I’ve done 34 posts on The Links since May 29, and that includes the voluminous NBA Finals Diary) and then Draft week and the Draft. Oh, and we produced an entire issue of SLAM somewhere in there, too. And I’m done. Tired. Wrung out. So after this post I’m out until after the Fourth of July. Heck, you guys probably need a break from me, too.

But before I close my laptop and glue it shut for a week, we’ve got a lot of business to cover.

• The Hat Winner
A couple of weeks ago I announced your chance to win every NBA team’s Draft hat, courtesy of our friends at adidas. I just closed the commenting on that thread with 329 entries, which is pretty damn impressive. A bunch of people correctly guessed the answer to the question: Name the player who will be the 30th pick in the first round.

The answer is Petteri Koponen, who was playing in Finland for a team called the Honka Playboys. (I know.) I randomly selected a winner from the names of everyone who correctly guessed the answer was…(drumroll)…reader D. Which is fitting because he was also the first person to post a comment. D, shoot me an email with your address and we’ll get your hats out to you. Hope you like hats. You’re about to be inundated.

On to the actual Draft…

• I want to begin by giving ourselves some props. ESPN had over a dozen reporters last night all assigned to figure out what was going on behind the scenes at the Draft, and there were plenty of other outlets there last night with multiple employees trying to report whatever secrets were there. And SLAMonline beat all of them on that Knicks/Blazers trade. Point being, if you were following along on our liveblog, you knew the truth way before the worldwide leader. And that’s always fun.

Anyway…let’s break the Draft down. Which teams did well? Which teams did poorly? I’m going to go through a few teams here and make comments. No grades, just observations…

• PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS — So the Blazers went out and picked up about ten players last night. From Greg Oden to Rudy Fernandez to James Jones to Petteri Koponen to Channing Frye to Steve Francis, the Blazers made a lot of moves last night. They jettisoned Zach Randolph, and I’d guess Steve Francis never plays a game in Portland. I like their aggressiveness, although with such a young team I wonder if they weren’t a little too aggressive there.

• BOSTON CELTICS — Some people will surely find a positive spin to the Celts getting Ray Allen, and I sort of get it. They gave up a lot — Jeff Green, Delonte West, Wally Sexyback — but they get back Ray Allen, who demanded he be traded to a city with another WNBA franchise. Ray is a great player and he’ll fit in perfectly in Boston, but is this a team that can win a title? No. So is it worth trading three young guys for a 32-year-old with bad ankles who is good but not good enough to put you over the top? Probably not.

• ATLANTA HAWKS — I’m pretty disappointed by the way the Hawks ended up handling this Draft. First of all, it became obvious that there is a divide between the remaining owners and the front office. The owners wanted to take a chance and draft Yi Jianlian, while Billy Knight wanted to play it safe and take Al Horford, who plays power forward just like Josh Smith and the guy BK drafted in the first round last season, Shelden Williams. And then with the 11 pick he took Acie Law, which is a solid pick as well. So why am I upset? I just wanted them to be willing to take a chance. Making two safe picks is great if you’re a good team, but this is the slowest rebuilding project I’ve ever seen. And my patience is running thin.

One thing I do like about Law is that he had “LAW IV” on his jersey at Texas A&M. I don’t think they let you put numbers in your name in the NBA, and Law’s jersey number at Texas A&M, 1, is already taken by Josh Childress. So I think Law should get number 4.

• SEATTLE SONICS — Love what they did. They moved their All-Star two guard, but they picked up the best scorer in the Draft (Durant), a great small forward (Green; I was told Durant might play at the two!), two young vets (Mr. West and Wally Sexyback). I’d guess they’ll re-sign Rashard Lewis and come into the season young and ready to run. Now the fans in Seattle need to get crazy about this team and make it impossible for them to move.

• NEW YORK KNICKS — Zach Randolph might be crazy, but he also can put up 20/10 every night. Isiah continues his string of adding guys who are skilled but not necessarily complementary pieces. And he didn’t give up much of anything, considering Channing Frye was having trouble getting playing time last season. If money isn’t an issue, which it isn’t for the Knicks, this is a great trade.

• PHILADELPHIA 76ERS — Actually, I’ll pass on this and let Khalid answer it in the comments.

• CHARLOTTE BETCATS — I like the big move they made, trading Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson. Air Jordan realized any player who is good in the West becomes great in the East. And now the BETcats have a veteran explosive 2 guard to go with their myriad young post players. I think they just leap-frogged the Atlanta Hawks.

• GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS — Not such a big fan of what they did. BWright will need a little time to develop, and moving JRich to clear room for Monta Ellis makes sense down the road, but it reeks of a decision driven by finances. And that’s never good.

• DETROIT PISTONS — Maybe I shouldn’t read anything into this, but did anyone else notice the Pistons drafted three guards (Stuckey, Afflalo, Mejia)? They wouldn’t be preparing for Chauncey to walk, would they?

• MILWAUKEE BUCKS — Why would you ever go and get a player who does not want to be on your team or in your city? This is like Orlando demanding Billy Donovan stay and coach. I hope Milwaukee can either trade him or convince him to stay, because Yi was looking like Eli Manning up there on the stage.

How did your team do? Holler back below. And I’ll catch you guys next week…

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  • dwade4mvp

    FIRST!!!… I think

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    ^

  • Cheryl

    It was clear the Heat weren’t really into the draft. The youngsters already on the team get -0 burn, so Cook should make sure he has enough sharp suits. I expect to be hearing about some trades after Sunday. -ASPOV

  • http://justleftofnowhere.blogspot.com The Brooklyn Boy

    Agreed on the Randolph trade making sense. Getting a 20-10, 25-year-old forward for a guy who’s performance fell off the table after a promising, but not great rookie season and another you completely didn’t want? How long do you think it took Isiah to agree with that? Negative two seconds?

  • truce

    dan shanoff wrote these words.

    And my best dressed. Stern doesn’t like hip-hop, but the “Wipe Me Down” award goes to…

    what is the world coming to?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    I finally got around to ready that Eddy Curry feature in the magazine, where he considers himself the dominant big man in the east. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cute.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    reading*

  • Cheryl

    The Hawks situation is just sad. They’ve got a good group of guys, but their organization sucks and has sucked for a long time. I understand your wavering, Lang. I’ll still keep my eye on them, though, cuz they should at least be entertaining. Portland (of course), the Bulls, Orlando, and the Knicks will be the other teams I watch more than I did last year. Also, I won’t be surprised to see Chauncey in Orlando next year. -ASPOV

  • Shiz

    What are you complaining about Lang? Al’s better than Sheldon. and Law’s better than any other pg in the draft (including Conley, and Im prepared to defend that statement). You guys had one of the better draft nights. Knight may be a fool, but at least he didn’t pull a Kupchak.. If everyone thought Kobe was mad before, he’s gotta be livid now.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Funny how when the Cavs got LeBron, the next order of business was to try and get Ricky Davis and Darius Miles out of there asap. I suppose Portland is doing the same thing for Oden.
    Z-BO!!! This is much different than giving Alan Houston $100 mill for being a nice guy.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Shiz, i think that is just the kind of relationship Lang has with the Hawks. You know, an abusive one. Dude has been worried all weak the Hawks wouldnt make the right moves. When they do, they wernt risky enough. Would you feel better about Yi and one of the Writes?

  • Mike C.

    Yi and his people were looking like Steve Francis when he was drafted by Vancouver many many moons ago. His people had little smiles because “hey man, it’s the NBA and you made it!” Then the smiles faded as they realized that Milwaukee is not New York, Los Angeles or Oakland. Yi stayed stone face throughout, giving the world a polite smile as he shook Sternbot’s hand. Better than the Steve Francis sulk fest where he damn near tripped on his lip. Maybe the Bucks can trade Yi to Houston for Michael Dickerson and Othella Harrington.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Wrights*

  • Mike C.

    Moving ZBo to keep the craziness away is quite similar to the Twolves forcing JR Rider and Christian Laettner out of Minnesota by gunpoint to keep their poisonous attitudes away from young KG.
    All that being said, I just copped a Rider Wolves jersey on ebay for dirt cheap. The “crazy dude” jersey collection continues to grow. Now I need a Knicks Zbo jersey.

  • Shiz

    @ Boing: Ahh, kinda like the kid at school who flinches all the time cuz he gets wailed on at home… Explains a lot. Can a fan sue a crappy team for long-term emotional distress?

  • white hot eboy

    Charlotte may take the Southeast if the Heat and Wiz play below par. Orlando should be about the same. The division just took on a new dynamic. If the Hawks had a GOOD coach then they could get something out of the talent they have already and move one of those big forwards (Shelden) for a vet point guard to groom AL4. Cheryl, I think the Heat will do something out of character and play D-Wright alot more next year and probably move on trying to deal for A. Miller from the Sixers. That’s about all we can hope for. And then maybe make a move at the trade deadline in February. They don’t have enough pieces to make the move for Gerald Wallace (who is definitley moving with J. Rich coming in) If we could line up Miller, Wade, Wallace, Haslem and Shaq, we can take the East again, but Randy is going to have to dig deep to get it done. Although he did say last night “they will be very aggressive” this off-season. The division is going to be up for grabs. I like the paradoy.

  • white hot eboy

    Or parody, whichever you prefer.

  • http://yahoo.com DP

    DAMN RIGHT J-RICH IS GONE! MONTA IS GOING TO TAKE HIS SPOT AND BE BETTER THAN HE EVER WAS. STUPID BY CHARLOTTE TO GET TWO PEOPLE THAT PLAY THE SAME POSITION. WRIGHT CAN BE A BEAST IF HE GAINS 50 POUNDS. PLAY WIT IT.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    I think the BETCats are the this years Orlando Magic, and Philly is going to be the worst team in the league for the next 10 years.

  • Allenp

    Lang is one of the few people who seems to like the Bobcats trade, and I agree with him. coming off surgery Richardson averaged 16 points and 5 boards for the Warriors and I think he can easily get that up to 20 and 7 for the Bobcats.
    More importantly with Wallace at the three and Ricardson at the two you have explosive wing players to pair with a stud defender in Okafor and quality pieces in Felton and Brizec. Plus, they can bring Morrison, Dudley, Knight and May off the bench. I like this squad in the East. They should be able to compete barring injuries.

  • Shiz

    Cheryl, if Chauncey came back to Orlando and a couple moves are made to shore up a scorer, the Magic might be able to compete with the Heat. Rayshawn Terry may be the steal of the second round cuz Van Gundy the Younger does a phenomenal job of helping young guys elevate their game [see Caron Butler, UHaslim, Dorell Wright (til Riley took over)]. Im originally from Orlando, and they were my team til they screwed over Penny’s career. And really, how awesome would that interstate rivalry be?

  • white hot eboy

    DP, I’ve always wanted to ask. What are we supposed to play wit, the idea or comment you’re putting out or ourselves. Cause I’m about worn out right now! :}

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Does anyone think Jarrett Jack and Darius Miles is enough to get Conoley Jr to Portland?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Shiz, no way Wallace is in Charlott next year.

  • Ryu

    Mustafa Shakur didn’t get drafted… Hope some team invite him to the summer league.

    By the way, I think if the hawks would draft two Kobes and three Shaqs, they would still suck.

  • http://justleftofnowhere.blogspot.com The Brooklyn Boy

    allen – I like the Richardson trade for Charlotte too – they’re pretty set with bigs (okafor, may, brezec) and this fills a definite need

    white hot eboy – i prefer “parity” myself, ha.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Speaking of moving bad influences away from younger players, when the Hawks drafted Dion Glover and Jason Terry, guess which player they assigned the locker directly in between the two impressionable youngsters?
    JR Rider.

  • white hot eboy

    Brooklyn Boy, I figured if I fu*ked it up, I might as well go all out.

  • http://justleftofnowhere.blogspot.com The Brooklyn Boy

    white hot – true say, ha. no damage intended – I’ve been editing all morning at work, and it was automatic …

  • RV

    I thin Houston did terrible, they said they would pick the best talent available since it was a pick for the future, yet they picked Aaron brooks, who wasnt the best left, and they picked him b/c he “fit Adelman’s system”, which is the present not the future….the second round Australian may be another gordon giricek, which i guess isnt too bad…but we STILL dont have a pf…

  • Joel O’s

    I really can’t figure out what the heck Boston is doing. Their current roster with Jesus and PP gets them at MOST a 7th or 8th seed, and even that is a stretch. Especially with the Knicks and the Hawks buffing up immensely. So instead of rebuilding around a high pick in a stacked draft they trade for the “now”, the “now” being two 30-something star players whose careers are on the wane? Trading the future for a mediocre present is just what the franchise needs.

  • Allenp

    I think Thornton to the Clippers means Maggette is a goner. It has to be. They are going to trade Maggette for some help at the one, btu I don’t don’t know who they will get for him. Maybe the Raptors or Trailblazers since both of them need an athletic three and have a glut of points.

  • Kobe Berg

    Wallace isn’t going back to the BETcats. They are gonna go with Felton, j-Rich, Morrison, May and Okafor. They should be ok if Morrison can shoot above 42-43%. Richardson gives them the scoring and outside shooting they needed (I can’t belive I just types that, J-Rich as a shooter). And the ATL is still in a downward spiral, while Horford and Law can play, they still need a two-guard, and now either Josh Smith or Marvin have to go.

  • Allenp

    Boston is now the Nets with a better bench. They must really love Rondo to give up on Delonte.
    I think Pierce and Ray Allen are all right, but neither of them is franchise player. They are really depending on Jefferson and Rondo to make a leap.

  • Allenp

    Why wouldn’t Wallace re-sign? The Bobcats can offer him the most money, and it’s obvious dude is looking to get paid considering how his scoring jumped this year while every other stat took a nosedive. He’s clearly following the Ron ARtest plan for getting paid which entails proving your more scorer than well-rounded player. Why are people sure Wallace won’t re-sign?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Sheldon^

  • Rasheedionics

    I like how Stephen A. Smith said that the reason Sixers played better once Iverson was traded, was because opposing teams were focus more on Burger King than on beating Sixers, only to be corrected by Mark Jackson that it was probably philly cheesesteak that they were thinking about… Gangsta!

  • TyroneSlothrop

    The Hawks need a 2 guard? I’m sorry, did Joe Johnson die or something?

  • Allenp

    Sheldon what? I missed the reference. Wallace can get the most money for the Bobcats, and I think he wants the money.

  • paniscus

    I like how Screamin A. Smith said that everyone knows that Cheeks is a good coach and getting better all the time.

  • http://aol.com Ma++hew

    The Knicks now have a good 4,5, combo, and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are gonna battle the Magic for the 8th seed which will be entertaining. Another good thing about these trades is that Ray Allen and J Ritch won’t look strange in their new uniforms. Look out for the Hawks!

  • Sparker

    z-bo in ny sounds like trouble to me. nate mcmillan is maybe the firmest hand in the league, and he still had to work very hard (from what i remember reading) to keep zach’s a) playing weight down and b) attitude problems from boiling over. also: isiah has said over and over that for knicks to click, they need to run the offense through eddy curry… to the point that eddy believed it was his due. yet zach likes easily as many touches as he does. i predict… discord

  • jj

    Well I gotta give my 2 cents regarding my team, the Jazz.

    They were picking really low (25), and they needed a shooting SG who could defend. They got Morris Almond, who is, IMO the best shooter in the draft. He needs to develop his defensive skills, but if he could average 26 ppg while playing for Rice (meaning that all the defensive schemes were focused on stopping him cause the rest of the team really sucked), then I think the Jazz got a nice steal here. I’m not saying that he was a top 10 player or anything, but he could have easily gone before Marco Belinelli, so if MB went 18, I expected Almond to go 17. All in all, a great draft for the Jazz. Now, will he instantly contribute? I doubt it. Will he be a great defender? I doubt it. Will he ever get out of Sloan’s dog house? I dobut it. So, why didn’t the Jazz try to make a bolder move? They could’ve pushed for trading AK to the celtics for Ratliff and the 5th, and that would’ve made a huge difference (and Boston would have also been better off. I mean, celtics fans, who’d you rather have: Ray Allen for 2 interesting players and a useless one? Or AK for one of those 2 interesting players and a different useless one? Yup, I thought so!). AK fits better in their system as well.

    In the second round they went with an unknown guy from I don’t know where, who plays for I don’t know who. And I don’t care, cause he’ll never make it to the Jazz anyway.

    So my conclusion: The draft is a good one, but it doesn’t solve the Jazz’s bigger problems.

  • Eoin

    I am hugely, HUGELY upset with PHX.They appear to have give away James Jones for NOTHING, and WHY WOULD THEY GIVE UP Rudy F?He’s a total PHX type and they let him go for cash.And Alando Tucker…can’t shoot.PHX…NEEDS people who can shoot.This doesn’t make any sense at all.I’m actually really annoyed.Also, they could’ve taken Glen Davis instead of Tucker, which would’ve made ifinitely more sense – he might be fat, but he’s agile as hell.Unless the Suns pull a major, major deal over the coming weeks, this could go dow as one of the worst off seasons ever – your team chemistry is destroyed by trade rumours, you pick up NOTHING in the draft, you actually lose one of the roughly seven guys the coach was willing to play…Steve Kerr must HATE Phoenix for some reason.Or else he has a master plan.One of the two.

  • http://yahoo.com DP

    white hot eboy, I just say it cuz I have been saying ince I was like 10. I want people to let my comments process in their mind so I guess I say play wit it so you can concentrate on my thoughts. Well, not really but I just wanted my answer to sound well put. I don’t think it’s a good job but hey, I say it cuz I really can’t help it. play wit it.

  • Sparker

    i don’t really get ray to boston either, but i’ve never really understood anything danny ainge does. he’ll keep paul pierce happy. there will be one more mid-sized scorer on boston to make you nervous on offense and to make you chuckle on defense. unless al jefferson has another exponential growth year, i see them as only slightly better than what they were (and with the same basic problem: too many similar players and not enough minutes to develop them all).

  • Sparker

    agreed

  • Sparker

    somehow my comment popped up before eoin’s. weird.

  • Eoin

    Portland might have that problem too Sparker.They went CRAZY yesterday.

  • Sparker

    twice. or three times. maybe.

  • Sparker

    arghhhh

  • paniscus

    Yeah, 2nd year in a row that Portland stole/bought Spaniards from PHX that would’ve been AWESOME in the desert. In words oft recited in the forum, play wit it.

  • D

    This is awesome. I first must tell you how I came to choose Petteri. I was an American basketball fan going to university in Bangkok … hated Soccer (football) … but being a sports fan, after a year or two hanging out with Finnish friends, came to love the premier league. Liverpool was always their team (Sami Hyppia, Jari Litmanen), therefore became mine.
    Around 1998, got one of my best friends (a Finn) hooked on the links. A couple days before you posted asking for #30, I had sent my Finnish friend info on Petteri. So this pick was really a shout out to all my Finnish brothers throughout the world.

    You can send my hats to
    Dekker Dirksen
    c/o Lanna Trading Co.
    87 Yesler Way
    Seattle, WA 98104
    http://www.lannaimports.com

    I will actually make you a trade (30 hats have to be worth something). Our big seller here is our paintings done by elephants. So if you send me your address, I will send you a painting done by an elephant along with a video of elephants painting.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I’d just like to add f Yi, f his “team,” and f China. They knew how the draft worked. I just hope Milwaukee has the stones to keep him—and if he doesn’t want to report, let him rot for the next three years. (And I wish Vancouver had done the same thing with Stevie Franchise.)

  • whooo!

    russ is right, yi should just be thankful he’s now a millionaire! he’s not yao, who was a big deal and required a ton of work to bring over. but i wonder if you can start an asg w/out ever getting minutes in a game (n not be injured)? grant hill’s got nothing on yi in that sense.

  • whooo!

    and how the hell are lewis, green, and durant supposed to play at the same time? either they figure lewis is leaving, or they did a terrible job drafting green.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Looking forward to it, D. I’ll email you soon.
    Also, was just informed that Acie Law will in fact wear number 4 for the Hawks, as I theorized in the original post above. I like him even more now.

  • jj

    I’d written a whole piece and it vanished when I posted it! grrrrr

    Anyway, Russ, you’re right. The draft works that way. Don’t like it? Don’t delcare. But I tell you just one thing: In that split second yesterday when they called his name, he automatically made more money than he could’ve ever dreamed of had he stayed in China. So he should be thankful. And if you’re gonna be demanding to go to these team and that, then you don’t belong to the NBA. First prove your worth, then demand.

  • Mike C.

    I agree with Russ in regards to letting a player rot if he refuses to report. It can be a gut shot to see a lottery pick going to waste, but it’s better than being forced into trading him for 10 cents on the dollar and getting back bums with bad contracts. I think the Hornets did that with Jimmy Jackson a couple years ago. He refused to report, so they suspended him without pay and eventually shipped him out for something reasonable. Welcome to the NBA Yi. The Sternbot’s machine will roll over you.

  • white hot eboy

    Does no else want to see a painting done by an elephant? How about an elephant crushing Chukaz? D, help us out.

  • white hot eboy

    Lang, if we see a gross of NBA draft hats on lannaimports.com, there will be hell to pay!!

  • Chukaz

    I’m sure that Kobe ain’t mad ’cause who they drafted, but because they drafted in the first place. They could’ve traded that pick for something. Oh, and the Warriors got a 10 mil exeption on the Richardson trade.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    The Clippers did all right when they shipped off Danny Ferry (they got Ron Harper back when he was still alive), so it’s possible to trade a holdout and get a good return. But if Yi DOES refuse to report, he’s going to lose a LOT of potential fans, and I don’t just mean people who live in Milwaukeee.

  • Big L

    Orlando was trying to get cash any way possible so they can sign Rashard. They pretty much sold their 2 second round picks. But with Jesus leaving Seattle and now Seattle has some cap space, it looks like the Magic are S.O.L. Damn you Presti!

    But big props to Clipppers for drafting Jared Jordan though. He should fill in until (hopefully) Livingston comes back.

  • Booyakasha

    I guess i’m the only one who gets the Boston trade. Maybe ’cause im a diehard C’s fan, and i dont want to believe that they’ll miss the playoffs for year number 3 in a row. But by adding ray ray, they really didn’t give up that much. Giving up Delonte hurt, but Wally fgdslgh;alshg; ghas fbiak i’m more than fine with, and i was never all that sold on green anyway. They made a trade for a veteran all-star without giving up Al Jefferson, or Gerald, or theo’s contract. And they got a steal in big baby at 35. To me this gives Rajon a chance to shine as a pretty good playmaker, Al only gets better as teams don’t double him as often, and even if they do, you CANNOT stop all of the big three. And, you can start Al at either 4 or 5, and have big baby, gomes, perkins to start/sub around him, with key players like gerald, tony allen to sub in for truth and jesus. I got no problem with that. my only question is who’s backing rondo, is bassy coming back?

  • Mike C.

    If a player wants to go to a specific team, and doesn’t like the team that drafted him, then he should spend the next couple seasons building his value so he can flee via free agency. Sign a one year qualifying offer after the rookie contract is up, then bounce as an unrestricted free agent for the mid level exception. Except few players do that. They’ll stay on a bad team because the bad team can give them more money.

  • Benji

    Yi will report, I’m thinking the guy should drop his agent’s. Those are the people that are trying to squeeze every penny out of him. He wasn’t denying Milwaukee the work out session, his agent was. Yi not knowing about Milwaukee isn’t Yi saying I don’t want to play for them. Apparently little does everyone know this team makes the playoffs easily if they didn’t get hit with the injury plague. They didn’t tank the season. Yi’s agents don’t want him to play in Milwaukee because the market isn’t big. My opinion is that Yi and Milwaukee are in a win-win situation, Yi instantly increases revenue for the Bucks, with that revenue the Bucks are able to become a bigger market team. Yi gets to play with Michael Redd(if you think Michael Redd sucks you know nothing about basketball), Moe Williams(through most of last year he was 1 of 3 players with 15 pts(19.5), 5 assists and 5 rebounds a game), Andrew Bogut(in his 3rd year the #1 draft pick will unleash his potential), and Charlie Villanueva(runner up to Chris Paul for ROY) next year. The Bucks made a smart move with the Yi selection. The Bucks, in drafting Yi, made themselves at least second round contenders.

  • Brendan

    Boston. Boston. Boston. [the former three words to be read with head down, slowly shaking]

    Why is Danny Firecrotch intent on burning this team to the ground? Ray Allen? So you’re saying a Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Jefferson, Perkins line-up w/ Gomes & Green off the bench is gonna put you into some sort of contention for… what? The lottery again? Al Jefferson’s rebounds are gonna go up but his shots attempted are probably gonna be halved. Pierce is gonna grumble through another season with good reason. Don’t strike me down, Lord, but in this case, Jesus is not the answer.

  • Allenp

    Man, Yi is a sucker. Who has this dude played against? Why are we so sure that he will be great? Man, this whole situation is ridiculous. He will only go to cities that are big markets and have large asian populations? GTFOH. This should have been a much bigger issue. Like it was for Eli Manning and Steve Francis.

  • jj

    Well Mike that’s up to the players: money or the team you really want? But what’s not up to them is reporting to the team that drafted you. I was pissed off with Francis. But I’m more pissed off now, because the Francis case was kind of personal. But in this case it has to do with Yi wanting to be showcased to chinese people. And I can imagine what comes after that. ” Ladies and Gentlemen… here’s your starting All Star center!!! With averages of 6 ppg and 3 rpg, chinas finest…. Jianlian Yi !!!!!”

    First show that you belong. Then go where you wanna go. That’s my point.

  • J6

    Wally Sexyback … that’s GOLD Lang!

  • Joe

    Acie Law should also sign with Jordan Brand and rock the IVs.
    The more I look at the Warriors trade, that trade exception is going to be beneficial.
    Now if we could only figure out what they have up their sleeve, because to me, they’re not a better team than they were last year. They’re only under the cap and in a better financial situation.
    And as a Bulls fan, I can only hope Noah makes me eat my words….but I still can’t stand him. His sister is ok looking though.

  • Benji

    Yi’s agents are the ones that are saying these things. Yi just wants to play in the NBA, he doesn’t care about the place he plays. He couldn’t care less where he plays, he doesn’t know about Milwaukee, however this doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to play in Milwaukee. He’ll fit in right away with Milwaukee. With Michael Redd as the leader of this team, Yi will fit right in. Don’t be surprised if Yi is soon praising god and Jesus Christ like Michael does after every game. Yi will be in Bucks Green and Red this year. Yi just needs to ditch his agents.

  • GILBERT & DURANT
  • Grant

    In response to Booyakasha’s comments, I think the trade is good for the Cs because it gives them extra flexibility to go out and try to get a big man with some D (Camby?) to play the 5. If they trade Bassy, Ratliff’s contract and other assorted pieces not named Al Jefferson, they should be able to get something along those lines in return. On the PG point, they picked up Pruitt, but he’s more of a combo (from what I hear…could be wrong). Talking to Toronto about Calderon is one option (although they might not want to trade within the division) and pursuing a free agent (with the money saved by getting rid of Wally) could work to get another PG (Billups?) to battle with Rondo or possibly take the spot altogether. The good thing is that they only gave up one of their four biggest bargaining chips (the #5 aka J. Green), which leaves them G. Green, Big Al and Ratliff to bring something of value to the team and give them a chance to be much better next year.

  • http://sportsposters.blogspot.com Giant Sports Posters

    The Afflalo pick left me scratching my head.

  • whooo!

    bill simmons mentioned this, and i laughed: allan ray and ray allen on the same team.

  • AB_40

    wally sczerbiack isn’t a young guy, and zach randolph is stark raving mad that guy is crazy at least that’s what my coach told me after he saw him practice at an nba camp? I dunno but he’s crazy and wally isn’t young. And the blazers can now either trade for a good SF why hasn’t anyone mentioned kirilenko to portland? oden, aldridge kirilenko. playing on one defensive lineup, I’d be scared for sure

  • dma

    the zach trade is genius. 4 years left paying AND PLAYING zach, or 2 years of paying frachise to sit on the bench? zach is a great fantasy player, but a terrible game player. he is a blackhole, think drew gooden with talent.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    D…I’m HAPPY for ya…Enjoy the hats…D’oh!!!Lang,you are my Billy Knight.Just pickin’ the WRONG dudes…I gotta win something in the future.I don’t wanna end up like the Hawks!!Peace.(P.S. Just saw John McClane in action…Pricelessssssssssss!Live Free Or Lose Hats Harder)

  • hardboiled

    I like the BETcats trade myself. If people really think that G. Wallace is a two they are nuts. If he stays he is a three (like he always should have been because A. he can’t shoot B. see A)So it make way more sense to trade for Jrich who is making about what they would have paid Wallace and not play people out of position, and they can either sign Wallace and have a good mix with him and CryBaby, or do a sign and trade for a real three like say Rashard Lewis.

    I am 80% certain Zbow will be traded. maybe straight up for Sheed if Joe thinks the Stones can handle the madness.

  • Ron

    Last night I was sitting on my couch hoping that the bucks took Yi for the Sixers, and we were just for the official announcement, when no announcement came i wanted to hit Billy Queen with a brick. The draft was so bad for Philly that 10 year old kids had the screw face when Thad Young’s name was called. I demand a WNBA team in Philly. That would be only hope at having a Basketball team with real management.

  • Bruno

    and nobody is mad at the lakers for their picks???

  • white hot eboy

    Bruno, Chukaz is not excited!

  • Ltrain

    I like the Hawks moves a lot. Acie is exactly what they need and Horford is an instant double double, Sheldon Williams be damned. I know hes only 6-9 but I think wide, strong Horford can play the 5 when they go small between 15-20 at the 4 and the 5 each a night will work. Nick Young is perfect for Gilbert too.

    As for the Celtics:
    I was living and dying with the hope of getting Corey Brewer so that hurt. But after a while I got to thinking. If we want to win time to go all in. The future is now, or at leat the management thinks so. If that’s the case its time to pony up our mid level exception (for a CHANGE) and grab Grant Hill as a sixth man. I mean how could him and Ray Allen not get along?
    He also appreciates basketball history and I believe has expressed some affinty for Celtics lore. That’s move 1. Next is a trade. Two options (there’s almost surely more that I havent had time to think about:

    1) Rashard Lewis
    He already said he wants to come here and if we trade TA, Theo’s Contract and next years number one I dont see why Seattle wouldn’t do it. He doesn’t fit there anymore, it gives them cap room to make a run at Gil next year and they can suck for one year and grab an elite player (Mayo?) next year. Sign and trade let’s do it.
    PG Rondo
    SG R. Allen
    SF Pierce
    PF Lewis
    C Jefferson
    6th Hill

    That competes, even with Doc as our Coach.

    2) AK 47
    Theo, Gerald Green, maybe someone else (TA, most likely Gomes) and next year’s number 1. It works under the cap, gives them a bonafide young gun, gets AK out of Utah, and gives Utah cap relief. This is a dream scenario and probably wouldn’t happen, but its nice to dream.
    PG Rondo
    SG R. Allen
    SF Pierce
    PF Kirilenko
    C Jefferson
    6th Hill

    If we cant get grant, assuming we make a trade, we can try for Stack too.

    In closing, if its all in, its all in. We CANNOT half ass it and put this current team out on the floor. Our chance to be a young team is gone with this trade and we need at least one, most likley two more moves to actually compete. And the scary part is, we have the pices to do it. Lets just hope the idiots who run the team figure this out.

  • dez

    “think of Drew Gooden with talent”
    I think my head just exploded.

  • white hot eboy

    @Ltrain, whoa.

  • tike

    L train def has problems please someone check him into the emergency room

  • http://www.customizedchopshop.com Greased Up Deaf Guy aka Clay Davis

    kobe is right, eboy too

  • Joel O’s

    I think Yi should show up and go to work. Agree with Russ on this: you can’t just go wherever you want, otherwise it wouldn’t be a draft. If he’s really develops into a good player, then he can have a say where he goes in a year or three, but right now it would look really bad if he acted like a spoilt athlete right now. Hope things work out though, whatever happens. And LA really did a good job. I’m sure ANOTHER pg will really help things in LA.

  • mdshuaui

    I don’t like the Z-Bo trade, at least from the Knicks perspective. I don’t see Eddy Curry and Randolph co-operating well together on court, off court, whatever. I don’t like it from Portland’s eyes becuase Steve Francis is not a good basketball player. Maybe he can turn it around, if not Blazers are screwed. As for trading him, who would take him and what could you get for him that would make up for z-Bo? And somebody please tell me they shot Darius Miles; dude’s been running with a lame leg since he showed up in the L, someone should finally put him out of our misery.

  • patrick

    Dear Bullsnation:
    after years of ridicule for the eddy curry trade, who gets the last laugh? we come out with the best center in the east. you come out needing a low post scorer (o, we now have two guys that are awesome at that) and instead get a very annoying poor man Anderson Varejo. On a team that already has Ben Wallace and andres nocioni?! suck it bulls fans. isiah did you dirty and you smiled about it, accept it.

    love,
    knicks fans everywhere

  • http://www.hagahaninge.se John

    Khalid, where is your comment on Philly’s draftnight? (maybe you just don’t feel like talking about it, I understand)

  • Julian

    patrick, ever hear of tyrus thomas? and when was the last time Randolph made a defensive stop?

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    anyone remembers at the end of 2 seasons ago, Jrich bought a page in newspaper thanking the warriors fans for support and apologize (on behalf of the team) for not making the playoffs? i’m pretty sure the Links mentioned it. first taste of playoff and he’s shipped out. you gotta feel for him. but i suppose he can be in a better position since in the east now.
    Yi and his peeps maybe upset about the pick because they didn’t know what Milwaukee is. i mean they probably can’t even pronounce it.

  • Dennard

    Who does this Yi kid think he is? He is the next Darko anyway so he better make the best of his situation.

  • kg21

    wonder why Goldenstate went and gave away J-Rich for Brandon Wright??…maybe has something to do with the fact that Phoenix was interested in him and he can now be used some sort of trade involving Amare/Marion and possibly KG. just thinking…

  • dma

    patrick, you ever watch zach randolph play? it’s pretty sloppy. the only reason why he averages 20/10 is the amount of shots he takes. low post scorer he is not.

  • pete

    anyone think gs will make a run at shard now that they have lots of cap space and could put him at the 3 or 4?

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    patrick: When was the last time the Knicks won a playoff game again?

  • http://fruss.com Yi Jian Lian

    Hey Russ – f you, f your team, and f America too. Bitch. Love, Yi.

  • slim

    Randolph + Curry + Richardson = Some frontcourt…damn…

    whereas:West, Lewis, Durant Collison and Wilcox the starters w/ 6th man jeff green and defense off the bench earl watson…lewis has to lead this team…I look forward to great things from this team.

    Bosh + Bargniani = Best eastern frontcourt
    Oden + Aldridge = Best western frontcourt

    Randolph and Curry will fail to bond as Isaiah Thomas can’t seem to blend a bunch of stars once again…

    Yi vs. Villanueva…Baldy vs. asian…Villanueva has the upper hand now, but I think Yi will take it. Milwaukee does have the stones to keep Yi. Just don’t think Yi has the stones for the NBA…I respect him tho cuz I’m Chinese =P

  • MOMONEY

    Any chance the Warriors try to trade Wright, Harrington and some others for KG??

  • Fredo

    On the Hornets: I like Julian Wright’s athleticism. Given that they’re going to lose Dez Mason, he was a need. And given the lack of true guards who can score, there was no one else left. Wright will blossom with Chris Paul feeding him.

    Other draft thoughts:
    - The Celtics have passed on Brandon Roy and either Yi Jianlian or Corey Brewer to have Sebastian Telfair and Ray Allen. Those are the moves of a team on the cusp of a title, not one rebuilding.

    - Drafting Javaris Crittenton is more a move of a team stocking young talent like Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum than one looking for a return trip to the Finals, Kobe.

    - What will happen if the Bucks don’t trade Yi Jianlian? Will the Chinese send Shaolin monks to battle for him?

    - Lang, the moves of the Hawks were the right ones. They were so right they higlight how wrong the last few have been. But here’s a crazy idea: Trade Joe Johnson, Shelden Williams or Marvin Williams for Kobe Bryant.

  • Vince

    I’m honestly not sure how NYK fans are keeping this up. Curry the best center in the East? Although he isn’t healthy all the time, give me Okafor anytime.

    How many TO’s does Curry have? Blocks, rebounds? Does he keep other centers in check?

    He scores. That’s it. And not even 20+. I bet evn Howard will be a better scorer this season too.

    Also this frontcourt of Randolph and Curry: They’re scary on offense. But what else do they bring? 1.5 blocks between the two. Loads of to’s. Almost 17 or 18 rebounds. Combined. Be prepared to see Randolph launch a few more 3pt attempts this season.

  • David

    Wow.I don’t get what the Sonicc are doing.They drafted two young SF’s.Then you talk about them resigning Rashard who ‘s a “SF”.Maybe they should have drafted a SG maybe?You think.

  • The Other Slim

    Damn, my name’s been usurped! Anyway, Patrick, do the words “potentially fatal heart condition” ring a bell. Pax stepped up big and made a strong ethical call that Isiah didn’t give a f*!k about. Dude was probably thinking: “Hey man, I might lose my job and it’s not my life getting risked.” Props to Pax.

  • pete

    i heard durant may play sg for seattle.

  • http://www.fortheloveofgodgivespurstheringalready+lakersdosomethinganddoitnow=.com Jay

    Dear Patrick, & all the sorry ass Knicks fans
    The only person Isiah did dirty is the one who is suing him for it, if you know what i mean. Dont get it twisted but us bulls fans still love him for what he did for us, if thats what you call dirty, then i like it that way. and yea we are not smiling, we are laughing at you and your pathetic squad. for the love of god, stop pretending that you got the best of it, when it is pretty obvious that you didnt. & yea congratulation on gettin` Zach, see you next year, not in the playoffs. Peace & Love
    -You already Know.

  • Joel O’s

    @slim: Like you said, picking Yi was weird for Milwuakee. Doesn’t his skills overlap somewhat with Charlie V’s? Both are good inside-out players and pretty much play the same position. And they’ve already got Bogut at the 5. Maybe they’re giving up on Charlie V, but anyone who saw his rookie season when he was healthy knows that he can be really, really good – a CWebb kinda player.

  • slim

    @ The Other Slim: Sorry man, my name is my name…its on my license lol

    @ Joel: As an asian, I can tell you Yi will NOT stay in Milwaukee. Yao is good enough to bring chinese people to Houston, Yi isn’t that good to bring chinese people to Milwaukee. I can picture Yi going to the clippers, Toronto or even Houston. He’s not gonna stay do Yi’s gone. I bet Yi’s gonna have a bad year, then breakout once he leaves Milwaukee.

  • matt

    could russ b. be any less overt in his raacism?

  • markakapryce

    steal of the night: sean williams
    the nets did it again 2 years in a row a lottery prospect falls to the Nets wow im completely ecstatic about this pick hes like ben wallace but could become much much much better then ben on the offensive end

  • Clevelandite

    Danny Ferry is half retarded not to trade away amon ones (no D, no J) and Marshall for a second rounder!

  • seljak

    you guys have to do a feature on Oden and McRoberts! I was reading Oden’s blog and he was saying that the two were good mates. Not only did they play on the same AAU team (possibly the greatest ever; mike conley, eric gordon, daequan cook, mcroberts and oden!) but both hail from Indianapolis, and they were both drafted by Portland. Please make it happen

  • nothin _personal

    1. Word out of Blazers camp is that Steve Francis will never pull a Portland uniform over his head as his contract will be bought out.
    2. Darius Miles has STILL not recovered from microfracture surgery. Word here in Portland is that he will be asked to sign an agreement in which he formally agrees to never play in the NBA again (medical reasons) and the Blazers will contine to pay him the rest of his contract, which will not count against the salary cap.
    3. In a trade that can’t be completed for at least 10 days after the draft, the Blazers will be bringing in another veteran SF via trade. Kevin Pritchard was not able to go into specifics regarding the trade, but did confirm that it was nearly a done deal.
    f this happens, and if the veteran SF is GWall (G Shock thy a$$), while unloading Przzzzzybilla to Charlotte, then I’m jumping on the bandwagon NOW!

  • nothin _personal

    Plus, will the Knicks try to get Artest? I mean, why not? Things can’t go worse!!! Say goodbye to David Lee, Knicks fans!

  • http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk RedRum

    I am still trying to recover from seeing the words “Ainge” and “genious” next to each ohter in a a Mannix article in SI….

  • alex fraknoi

    Amen Lang,
    I am devastated to hear that J-rich is gone. He is not only an explosive and athletic highflyer, but he is my role model and has won the warriors community service award multiple times. Every night i watched him and sat there in front of the TV in awe. J-rich is not the guy you trade away for cap room….hes the guy you clear cap space for. Unless Mulli is putting on some mysterious scheme to get Garnett, this trade is (as Stephen A would say) stupid. The guy that has waited and fought through 6 years in Oakland finally gets into the playoffs, and what do we do? trade him so he has to start over again in Charlotte. He was not only a scorer and dunk champion, but the heart and soul of the team and the queit, yet passionate leader. J-rich, I am going to save up to buy a ticket to the game Charlotte comes to town, and I will see you destroy the Warriors, so they can get a taste of their own medicine. Sincerely, Alex Fraknoi

  • willis

    @Kobe Berg , did u just say morrison is a 3….and since when does atlanta not have a 2…ever heard of joe johnson?

  • BHS_Basketball

    Can I talk about the wizards for a second? I know no one else cares, but i thought Nick Young was a good pick (how much longer can DeShawn Stevenson last at the 2?) until i read on the Links that he didn’t want to come to DC at all, hopefully that is untrue. Also in the second round, Stephen Lasmane from UMASS was selected 46th, one pick ahead of the wizards who selected a guy out of fresno state. I think Lasmane would have been a great pick as he is athletic, can rebound and block shots (something the Wiz have been lacking with Brendan Haywood and Etan(although i love etan, he is not a starting center) If the Wiz don’t sign a bigman this year or next i am gonna be really upset(which i suppose doesn’t really count for anything) Any Comments?

  • #21=Top50,1stballot

    I feel you on the Hawks lack of inspiration with their picks. That said however Horford will indeed be the interior beast that we need. He is 6’10-ish and wide bodied so he is more than center capable(not a ton of 7 footers at C anyway) I do not see him detracting from Smoov or Marvin much at all. If anything it gives them some relief when Marvin’s cold (which pretty much happens after 1st qtr) or Smoov gets in foul trouble (which he wont as much with another shot blocker to challenge the middle with).
    Law will also work out because he gives us a “shooter” that can relieve Joe on the perimeter. He knows this isn’t his team to lead and doesnt strike me as one to just gun.
    We will still Rise UP!!!!

  • hoopshypeisbetterthanslam

    I like the way the Knicks fans seemed to love the Randolph trade. Listen unless Isaiah plans to lock this guy in the basement of the Garden like Sloth in the Goonies only to unleash him to play basketball this is going to be trouble. This guy got in trouble in the thriving metropolises of Marion, Indiana and Portland, Oregon what do you think this guy is going to do in New FN’ York?

  • Mongoose

    This was a good draft for the hawks. Sure you have Josh Smith, but don’t you think you can play Smith and Horford at the same time? This is the East, what center do they have to worry about? Besides, low post presence is one of the most difficult pieces to get, and they got that in Horford now. Just because they wasted a pick on Shelden Williams last year doesn’t mean you should pass on the guy that was the 3rd best player in the draft. I don’t think it could have turned out much better for the Hawks.

  • Mongoose

    While we are talking about the hawks, I never understood the hate around Belkin. He rejected the Joe Johnson trade right? Joe Johnson was a free agent and it was a sign and trade, but why do a sign and trade for him? He wanted to sign straight up, but phoenix tricked the hawks to a sign and trade and gets a 1st round pick out of it. Yes, it is embarrasing for the franchise to have the owners fighting, but I think Belkin was right to not want the trade, and just sign him as a free agent.

  • #21=Top50,1stballot

    It was more complicated than that. As a Hawks fan, the moment a free agent of worth expresses interest in coming to the A, the franchise needs to make all attempts at acquiring said player. Joe wanted to come to ATL, but Phoenix had leverage by extending him an offer. The only way we could get Joe was sign and trade. Was is a bluff- obviously, but the franchise could not afford to try to call. The problem with Belkin arises due to the fact that you hire a GM to make those type of maneuvers. I am probably one of BK’s most ardent critics but he made a good move with Joe. To that point Diaw had not shown much and we figured that the acquisition of a player “on the verge” would help to push us into playoff contention. NBA picks past 12 or so are generally useless unless you strike gold (which can happen of course). We figured by giving away future worthless picks and a worthless frog it wouldnt hurt us. I still think that it wont. Phoenix continues to sell off picks so they gain no advantage, and we have our first all-star since ‘Reef. It was about making a bold move- the kind Lang and everyone else wanted to see on draft night. I think its a miracle (or neumonic opposite) that BK and Woody have a job still, but the Joe move was actually a good one. F Belkin! We coulda had Amare…….

  • Mongoose

    I am just saying, you can tell from the Suns selling off draft picks and shopping core players (Marion and Amare) that they are cheap. There was no chance in hell they would have ever paid Joe Johnson anywhere near what the Hawks paid him. I would have called their bluff because no other team had cap money to sign him either. I really think Atalnta will be happy with Horford and Law.

  • nothin _personal

    From what I hear, the Garnett deal couldn’t be completed without four teams being involved. perhaps the reason the Suns are amssing trade exceptions and cash, is to be able to make that deal go through. Trhere is no other explanation as to why they didn’t draft Rudy and stash him away like Portland will do.

  • #21=Top50,1stballot

    Not to keep going back and forth, but if my memory serves me correctly, the Suns did sign him to the offer sheet (now to quibble about whether they still would have is irrelevant). The Hawks extended the offer and the Suns matched as they said they would. How about this, as bad as the Hawks are now, where would they be without the Joe trade? We still have a good amount of cap (nobody still wants to sign here), would have had a #20 something pick, another F in Diaw(not an all-star or starter mind you. Smoov is better and Marvin will prove to be so). So THAT is the reason it was a good trade. GM’s take chances when they are there, not when they think they might be there. You have to, especially when you want to make up ground. No use lamenting a move that made you better, faster- even if only marginally.

  • Paolo

    The Sixers will regret passing on Al Thornton

  • Mongoose

    I understand what you are saying about the hawks going from terrible to exciting and terrible and taking the chance to improve, but for the Suns it was really the rich getting richer. It is good to hear from hawks fans though, because I am not, but I think they will turn the corner this year and be really exciting to watch.

  • owen

    What happened to steivie francis? why wont he be playing for portland? they need a point guard

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