What is a Hot Link? Well, to most people, it’s a type of spicy hot peppery smoked sausages often found at barbecues in Texas and South America. Here in Stacheketball, it’s a list of links from this week’s best of the NBA Blogosphere.
Cavs: The Blog: John Krolik touches on a variety of topics related to the Cavs winning the lottery with the Clippers’ pick, including his belief that Kyrie Irving should, without a doubt, be the pick, and that he should be a star. Not sure I agree that the Clippers’ decision to make the trade was done in the interest of the short term and at the expense of upside (ridding themselves of Baron Davis’ contract provides significant flexibility going forward), but it’s obviously a big moment for the fans of Cleveland.
HoopsWorld: I did my best to quell some of the hysteria over the Cavs’ improbable lotto win at ClipperBlog, but found the most common question among the commenters to be: why didn’t the Clippers put protections on the pick? The answer — aside from the obvious possibility that Cleveland might not have agreed to the trade if the pick were protected — is that NBA rules prevent teams from going consecutive years without first round picks. The Stepien Rule, as it’s known, came about, ironically, because of former Cavs owner and de facto G.M., Ted Stepien, needed to be protected from his own terrible judgment.
A Wolf Among Wolves: Timberwolves G.M., David Kahn, found himself in the spotlight again, and again for the wrong reasons. His comments about the the last two lottery winners being represented by a widow and a child that suffers from a nerve disorder were questionable, but it may have been more than a conspiracy theory/joke gone wrong. Ultimately, it follows his pattern of deflecting blame for past, and possibly future, draft failures.
Canis Hoopus on the connection between David Kahn and Birtherism. The takeaway? Even if Kahn was onto something about the draft being rigged and even if he nails this pick, there may not be anything he can do to convince Wolves fans he’s capable of running an NBA team.
HoopSpeak: Somehow, the Bulls have managed to take what their coach, Tom Thibodeau, says and allowed it to fuel their success. Anthony Bain presents this phenomenon in an excellent graphic representation.
RFH Collective: After game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Scott Simon finds it appropriate to look to 300 and the Battle of Thermopylae for insight.
DraftExpress: Now that the draft order is set, the first mock draft, from the best in the business.
TrueHoop: Kevin Arnovitz, as usual, takes time out of his busy schedule doing top-notch beat coverage of the Heat to address an issue that is far more important than any outcome of any game. Suns president Rick Welts came out of the closet, and should be in line for a significant increase in quality of life because of it. It’s an issue that hits home for Kevin, and, thankfully, one that the NBA and many of its current and former players are being proactive about addressing. This is a wonderful trend that hopefully continues. Even though Charles Barkley says that he played with gay teammates and doubts that a player would suffer from coming out, it’s refreshing to see such noticeable public faces of the league taking such a positive stand.
It has to be tough for any Clipper fan to put today’s Baron Davis trade into perspective. Like it always tends to be with him, the timing just seemed off.
A few summers ago, he was the biggest free agent signing in franchise history, the hometown kid with a chance to make right after a career of ups and downs. His gifts on the court and charm off it had allowed him to make millions in the NBA while pursuing his own goals on the side, but a disturbing pattern had begun to form. Every summer featured a new hope for improved fitness, a better attitude, more success individually and as a team. When the eighth-seeded Warriors upset the Mavs in the 2008 playoffs, it was Baron (and his iconic dunk posterizing Andrei Kirilenko) who became the indelible symbol of the thrilling series. He played all 82 games that season, and despite shooting under 43% from the field and 33% from three, his scoring (21.8ppg) and passing ability (7.8apg) – not to mention the recent memory of his team’s playoff success – gave the Clippers reason to sign him up for five years and $65 million. It was (and is) a monster deal, but would probably be worth it to the Clippers (who were a season removed from a playoff run that ended just short of the Western Conference Finals), if they could get him to play anywhere near the level of his last season in Golden State.
But they couldn’t. No, the same old Baron showed up for his first Clipper camp. He immediately began spouting off about a conflict of interest with Mike Dunleavy about the team’s offensive structure. He was miffed that a coach would attempt to corral his free-flowing (read: chucking up jumpers off the dribble despite being a horrible shooter) ways that had brought such success (read: very limited success, actually) with the Warriors. Anyone at Staples Center during that time could have heard Dunleavy yelling from the sidelines, imploring his team to “Run!” You see, Baron is the definition of a coach killer, and had been since his time with the Charlotte Hornets. Contrary to popular belief, even his relationship with Don Nelson, who’s system supposedly allowed Baron’s game to thrive, ran into trouble towards the end. So when he got to the Clippers, it was Mike Dunleavy’s turn to bear the brunt of Baron’s need to deflect blame for being out of shape and his horrendous shot selection.
After two miserable seasons, both of which following the typical formula of offseason vows to improve, followed by injuries and malaise that come from inattention to fitness and an inability to stay above the fray when things didn’t go well, this year offered (yet another) new beginning. His contract was considered untradeable, the Clippers only hope being that he could use his strength (passing) to facilitate the development of their promising young core. To no one’s surprise, he wasn’t ready for the season, but this wasn’t like every year before. Gone was his scapegoat in Dunleavy, and the organization now seemed to be united in its message that he would not derail what they were building. New coach, Vinny Del Negro, spoke out against his fitness level. Budding superstar, Eric Gordon, came out of his shell and called out the team’s highest paid player, saying they needed more from him. All of a sudden, Baron found himself in danger of losing not only his reputation around the league – that was long gone – but he was in danger of losing his minutes to 19-year old, Eric Bledsoe. He was on his way to becoming Eddy Curry, the type of player a team pays to just stay away.
But he got into shape. As he sat out doing so, he watched Blake Griffin begin his quest for total league domination. He saw Gordon become what he may have become had he been anything like Gordon in his career (hard–working, humble, focused). He probably even noticed that there was this untapped resource in DeAndre Jordan, just hanging around the rim waiting to be thrown lobs that would lead to highlight reel dunks. So finally, after allowing “his” team to start the season 1-13, he came back. And eventually, he began doing what he does, which, in this case, suited him perfectly. He threw passes and his teammates did the rest. And finally, as he was beginning to play his best ball of the season, and maybe as a Clipper, he established enough value to get shipped out of town.
Just when he began to reap the fruits of his lack of labor, playing more consistently than he had in a while alongside Blake Griffin and the exciting, young Clippers, they ship him out to Cleveland. He and his previously untradeable contract are on their way to the opposite of L.A., to a team that is 20 times worse than any team he has been on in his career. It can’t be a good feeling for him, and not even for many Clipper fans, but it really does make a lot of sense. His talent got him very far in the game of basketball, but when he signed his contract with the Clippers, he assumed a responsibility to live up to it. He did not do that, by any measure, and for the Clippers, getting rid of him appears to be another positive step on their way to building a culture that can sustain success.
The price of moving his toxic deal was a first round pick, one that is likely to fall somewhere between eight and 10. G.M. Neil Olshey has been pretty impressive in his resolve to stick with a plan, and it difficult to question him when he says that this year’s draft class simply isn’t worth passing on a trade like this. In return, they get a point guard in Mo Williams who can actually shoot (despite what his numbers this year will tell you), and even more salary cap flexibility going forward. It’s addition by subtraction, the benefit of moving a deal like that being no small feat. And even if he has finally outgrown his personality flaws that prohibited him from “getting going” when the going got tough, it appears as though it is too late for Baron. He had plenty of opportunities to fit in and help his team(s), but that just wasn’t him. He’s an incredibly interesting, articulate individual, one equally capable of captivating an audience with his game and his rhetoric. Who knows where is career goes from here? On one hand it’s very sad to see his time with the Clippers end like this, having gone so horribly wrong, for the most part. No doubt, the team will suffer some from his absence, particularly his ability to set up his teammates, but this is the reality of the NBA. He signed a contract that he could not live up to, and the way he handled that failure only compounded the problem, likely contributing to their decision to move him. For his sake, I guess you would hope that he has, indeed, grown up, and maybe he can be a positive influence on his new team. Lord knows they could use it.
The Los Angeles Clippers have agreed in principle to send Baron Davis and their 2011 first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.
Via Andrew Siciliano: Baron Davis is owed $28.8 million for two more years. Mo Williams is owed $17million. Moon has an expiring contract. YOU do the math.
Information courtesy of Marc Spears.
Erroll specializes on This Day In NBA History for Stacheketball, and buying a lot of kicks. You can follow him on Twitter: @EAbra.
(Image: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
This photo is real.
J.J. Hickson had several insane blocks last night versus the Clippers (including two against Blake Griffin). This one was in the fourth quarter and put Quicken Loans into a tizzy.
By the way, the Cavs finally won a game, their first victory since Pluto was voted off planet island. I almost thought I had woken from a coma and it was playoff time. The atmosphere was that intense! Though, once I saw what teams were playing, well, I came back to my senses.
Video of the block (NSFW-language and ball brutality).
(Vid courtesy Busy1424)
Video of the block can also be seen here (SFW).
Tell me how big of a loser I am since I watched most of the second half of the Cavs-Clips game- do it right here on Twitter @rpravato. Although I already know I’m a loser, so actually save yourself some time and hold off for a bit.
This time last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were 42-11, and once again favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference. They were, of course, led by LeBron James, and after losing to Boston in the 2nd round, doubt hung in the air on whether he would return to the team. Then came July, when James announced his departure to Miami, Dan Gilbert’s letter, and fans burning jerseys. Since then, the Cavs are steadily collapsing.
Cleveland played the Detroit Pistons (19-33) and many speculated that they would end their losing streak, but once again they came up short. The Cavs had the lead early, but after an 11-2 run by the Pistons at the end of the 1st quarter, they just couldn’t catch up. The bench only had 17 points, 12 of which came from Daniel Gibson. After the game Head Coach Byron Scott stated, “That was probably the worst effort we’ve had in a month. It’s that simple. We didn’t come ready to compete.” The Cavaliers have now lost 26 straight games, and have lost 36 of 37 games. They hold an 8-45 record.
Brightside (kinda): Three players scored in double figures: Jamison (22), Sessions (20), and Hickson (18), and the team shot 51.4%. Also, the team is 27th in offensive stats, ahead of Charlotte, New Jersey, and Milwaukee, and 27th in defensive stats, ahead of Utah, Boston, and Detroit.
It’s better than being dead last, so there is some hope, right? Maybe, maybe not.
Kateasa is a part-time contributor of Stacheketball, and has been jackpotting around all day because it snowed again. She misses Jerry Sloan already, and bought a heart-shaped waffle maker, so there’s that. Find her on Twitter: @Simply_Kateasa
The NBA trade deadline is roughly three weeks away and there are a lot players who could be changing teams in the next coming weeks. Contenders like Chicago and Oklahoma City could be looking to make that move to put them over the top, the Lakers are possibly looking to shake things up, while the Nuggets are still shopping Carmelo. Yesterday we covered a few of the rumors that are flying around out there, but I wanted to take it a little further and propose some real fake trades that could happen and some that probably have no chance of happening, but should be fun to talk about. Click each image to enlarge
The Bulls are in desperate need of a SG. Keith Bogans is the worst starting SG in terms of PER in the NBA while Ronnie Brewer is at best a serviceable player. I made two trades, one that should happen and the other that should happen if the first trade falls through.
This one is a no brainer for the Bulls. Mayo is having his worst season as a pro so far and the change of scenery and pairing him up with a great PG in Rose could do two things: 1) Takes the scoring burden off of Rose and 2) Makes teams have to stop from helping in on Rose when he drives to the basket. The only downside to this trade is Mayo would need the ball in his hands more which could cut into Rose’s production though ultimately this trade could push Chicago to another level.
This trade makes sense in terms of fit. Aaron Afflalo is having a great season for Denver. He is shooting 45% from the three point line and is one of the best on ball defenders in the NBA today. He would be dangerous in this Bulls lineup for when teams have to help on Rose drives and anytime someone doubles down on Carlos Boozer. If Chicago could pull this trade out, they might actually be in a better situation than if they could get Mayo from Memphis.
Oklahoma City is currently sitting at fourth in the Western Conference but the standings are so close that every game counts. The Thunder are missing on key piece and really is the only true hole in their lineup, a dominant inside player. This trade with Denver could solve this for the Thunder and give them what they need to make a run for a top 3 seed in the West.
Now there are no signs that Denver is going to give away Nene and if the Nuggets do end up moving Carmelo and are looking to get younger, then this could be a possible deal they could look to in doing so. The Thunder getting Nene would really shore up the middle for them while the Nuggets could get a very solid young player in Jeff Green. Obviously the Nuggets are trying to get rid of Al Harrington and to get Nene the Thunder would have to take him and my only concern is, would Al mess up the chemistry of this Thunder team?
Carmelo Anthony desperately trying to get to New York, so I thought I would oblige him and get him there. I made two trade to get Carmelo to the Knicks with one of them being very farfetched but would be an NBA fans dream.
This is a trade that has been kicked around for a while now and there is really no reason to rehash things that have been said over and over. The Knicks are probably not giving up enough players in this trade and would probably need to include a few draft picks, however, all three players have expiring deals. Of all of the Carmelo to New York trades, this seems the most logical.
For the second trade, I went three teamer. Now this trade has about zero chance of happening but as an NBA fan, this is a dream trade. Sure the Knicks have to gut their roster but picking up Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony would make up for a lot of the players they had to give up. Phoenix gets Landry Fields as another piece to build around and the Nuggets get those expiring contracts. Draft picks would be included in this trade going to Denver and probably Phoenix, but ignoring all of that, imagine how sweet it would be to watch Nash running the break with Carmelo and Amare filling the lanes with him. Ok, back to reality.
The Lakers are currently struggling and seem out of sync, and with Mitch Kupchak saying that trades are possible, I decided to try out five trades that the Lakers could make to not only shake up the roster but to also get them back to the Finals for a shot at a three-peat. The first four here are the ones that have the best shot, albeit not the greatest, of actually happening.
All four of these trades here really upgrade the SF position for the Lakers and would give them another big time players to help take some of the burden off of the aging Kobe Bryant. Now Artest has said he doesn’t want to be traded but moving Artest and Bynum, seems like the best move the Lakers could make. Danny Granger is having a rough season in Indiana and the change of scenery to LA could be the shot in the arm his game might need. Granger has shown in the past that he could be a prolific scorer and going to the Lakers would make him the best third or fourth option in the NBA. Another destination for Carmelo could be LA. Denver might consider making this trade if they are convinced that Carmelo will be gone no matter not (which he will) and LA will basically rent a fired up Carmelo for the stretch run. A crunch time lineup of Kobe-Carmelo-Gasol-Odom-Fisher or Blake would be a scary good lineup.
The Lakers and Sixers trade is one that I thought was interesting but highly unlikely. Andre Iguodala is “The Guy” in Philadelphia and that never seemed like a role that he could fit but for the Lakers he could play off the ball really well and be the guy who could save Kobe’s legs on the defensive end. Thaddeus Young is another interesting piece to this trade as it would give some more athleticism to the Lakers inside group.
The LA-Cleveland trade is more so to get Antawn Jamison onto a winner finally, plus I think he would be a great fit in LA as he could easily be the fourth option on this Laker team. Jamison is a great player and would easily accept his role on the Lakers. Adding Hickson to this trade give the Lakers another solid, high energy big man off the bench. Though I highly doubt either Cleveland or LA are looking at each other as trade partners.
This last trade is similar to the Nash/Carmelo to the Knicks trade as in this one will never happen but it is fun to imagine. Phoenix gets to reload with young pieces while the Lakers get two great players that will come in and contribute right away and more than make up for the lost talent. The only people who say no to this are coaches for every other team in the NBA lead by Greg Popovich demanding that David Stern veto this trade like he is the commissioner of a fantasy league.
Obviously some of these trades there would be cash considerations and future draft picks but the trade machine doesn’t allow you to add those in.
My hope is that the NBA trade deadline is as active and crazy as it could be and isn’t just all talk while living up to the No Balls Association name that Simmons coined a few years back.
Nick is a contributor to Stacheketball and full time lover of all things roundball related. Follow him on Twitter to discuss basketball or if you can help him get in touch with Mila Kunis @Jubanator14
(KG and Pierce during Tuesday’s game against the Cavs)
Pierce: KG, is that Joey or Stephen Graham? *points at Joey Graham*
KG: Does it make a difference?
Pierce: Nah, just wondering.
KG: That scrub. I’ve been calling him f***in Billy the whole game.
KG: You’ve never heard of Billy f***in Graham?
Pierce: Nah man.
KG: Sh*t. I forgot exactly who he is… but I know he’s somebody famous. See, I’m trying to tone my taunting down a little. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.
(Pic via Getty Images)
Follow Ryan on Twitter @rpravato…where amazing nonsense happens.