The Commish on Trades
Reactionary thoughts to the past week’s wheeling and dealing.
Because I know it was difficult for you all to sleep without me weighing in on the past week’s flurry of trades, I thought I’d blog it out. Here are some reactionary thoughts:
– Dallas swung one of the better trades of the past five years. Their eight-man rotation is Dirk, Caron, JET, Kidd, Marion, Stevenson, Haywood and Dampier (when he gets back or, perhaps, Cuban might try to snag Big Z). That’s what you need in playoffs — an EIGHT-man rotation. Not a nine or ten-man rotation. The 9th man should strictly be a serviceable dude used in foul trouble situations. There’s no need having $6-8 million tied to a dude who wants to play and should play, but can’t play. Strong eight-man rotations are the best. And Dallas might have the strongest in the League. And, as I wrote on NBA.com this week, Caron is now the best second-best player the Mavs have had in the Dirk Era. It was already real in the West. Now it’s really real.
– At first I couldn’t understand why the Cavs wanted old man Antawn, given he’ll be getting paid $15 million in ‘11-12, when he’s 36 and either injured or immobile. But then I thought about it. He gives them all the production Amar’e does, with better outside shooting (a key, when playing with LeBron…’Tawn is gonna be knocking a slew of open treys), which means Shaq still has room to do what he does in the middle. Jamison might not be as lethal on the pick-n-roll as Amar’e, but he’s dope in a different way. Sadly — since he’s far less athletic and much smaller — he defends the post as well as Amar’e and is a SIGNIFICANTLY smarter and more committed team defender. He rebounds better than Amar’e, which is a shame. And, although he doesn’t present the matchup problem for Orlando and Boston (Amar’e would have killed ‘Shard and KG), he will make them work and probably defend them better, because he actually cares. And here’s a biggie — he’s another true adult. The more “adults” the Cavs have — especially leaders with influence like ‘Tawn — the less childish the Cavs seem. Maybe now they’ll dance just a little less. And even his age and contract isn’t THAT big of an issue. Barring injury, he’ll still be in the 16-20 ppg, 7-9 rpg, 35-40% 3PT next year. And then in his final year, if/when his production REALLY starts dropping, he’ll be a nice, hefty expiring contract the Cavs can use to add someone younger. I like it. They’re nowhere near as physically intimidating as they were with the prospect of Amar’e, but, as a Plan B, this could possibly end up being the better move.
– Miami couldn’t get Amar’e or Boozer, but here’s what you should remember: They can sign either of them this summer without giving up draft picks and players. True, they lose the leverage of being able to sign either to more money with Bird rights, but both Boozer and Amar’e LIVE IN MIAMI DURING OFFSEASON! That means they like it there. New York, the Clipps and Chicago all cleared max-space, but if I’m either Booz or Ama’re — or Bosh for that matter — I’m going to freaking Miami (no state taxes, South Beach, Riley) to play with DWade, who I don’t think is going anywhere, provided they sign one of those three big men.
– I need to give quick, fat shoutout to Donnie Walsh, John Paxson and, yes, Mike Dunleavy for managing to clear all that space in time for summer…too bad it’s gonna be wasted. Bron is staying put. DWade is staying put and taking one of the big men with him (I’m guessing Amar’e). Which leaves the other teams fighting over Bosh, Booz, Joe Johnson and the rest of the lot. As it stands now, I see Joe Johnson going to Chicago, Bosh to New York and Booz to the Clipps (if I’m the Clipps, I try to sign Joe and Camby). Either way, the summer should be fun.
– Some final quickies: Though Boston addressed it’s biggest weakness and glad they didn’t make a Ray Allen panic-trade. That portion of games when Doc rolls with a Nate-Rondo backcourt will be fun. Camby was a smooth pick-up for the Blazer heading into the stretch-run. They’re back to being a legitimate threat.
Vincent Thomas is a columnist and feature writer for SLAM, a contributing commentator for ESPN and writes the weekly “From The Floor” column for NBA.com. You can email him your feedback at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @vincecathomas.