2.21.2006

It's the trade season



Your boy Shoals isn’t above some impassioned repetition, so get ready for the sameness: this season has been a massive disappointment. Spare me the chatter about the shocking Hornets and the toughened Kings, the Mavs’ new, scorched-earth ethos, or even the koan-like over-indulgence of the Lakers formula; half a campaign is enough to get the point. And dare not indicate to me Nash’s sure hand, Melo’s arrival, or even Kobe’s scoring bonanza—these are not forks in the round, or added levels to the salad. They're the obvious and inevitable repeating itself or letting its muscles get especially veiny.



But perhaps nothing magnetizes my take on things like the utter, damnable reluctance with which I survey the trade-worthy waters of this coming week. This is what, as NBA rumor fiends, we supposedly live for all season: to see rosters upended, idle dreams come true, and the complexion of the sacred starting fives transformed into a wholly new animal. The line between total chaos and remarkable re-ordering is indeed a fine one, but at its best, the trade deadline can give teams a second wind that, for the fan, suggests a second season. The “it doesn’t matter, now it does” transition eludes many players and aggravates spectators of the Association, hostile or loving alike. The trading days, whether or not they’ve actually affected a team, act as the veil through which the first half passes, the bullshit-filter that sees priorities changed, agendas honed, and everyone put on notice that fucking around is officially over.

Looking at the innumerable prospective moves currently being batted about by cyberspace’s rusty paw, I find nothing that would signal this kind of new beginning. That’s partly a function of who’s likely to change zip codes. Most of what we’re hearing this year involves names who are not merely compromised and besieged—they’ve given us all ample cause to straight downgrade them. With the exception of Pierce, who for no good reason gets name dragged through the mud every few days, we fans and most of the league has burnt out on tales of K-Mart, Starbury, and Francis (to cite the biggest fish), talented malcontents whose best days seem behind them. Anyone expecting too much of them will weep, and a team that lowers its expectations will be mocked by the echo left in a name that once rang like brass.



Don’t think for a second, though, that it doesn’t also go back to what franchises are trying to reconfigure and where a well-placed trade would land them and the rest of the league, which needs so badly to hear that roar of decisiveness. Put plainly, I have trouble believing that the many middling line-ups that have so ruined my fan’s devotion could all of a sudden take on the form of believers. Not only will the above-mentioned players (or a host of lesser equivalencies) fail to rally a new team—their riddance won’t somehow free up squads just waiting to be relevant, and moving pieces like this is a reminder of how careless and jack-assed front offices can be, not a stretch-run call to arms. And if the unthinkable were to happen—Iverson or Garnett leaving the cities they helped build—a shockwave of shock would overcome anything else the NBA has on its calendar between now and doomsday.

In effect, I’m proposing either a hopeless contradiction or a truly hopeless scenario. Teams need meaningful trades, somewhere in the league, to wake up and smell the post-season; yet at the same time, trades can only make a difference if there’s something definite there to be salvaged, galvanized, or privately discovered. This would seem to bring it all back to the players being offered up and just why they’re for sale. But while it doesn’t help that much of this year’s crop comes with decreased reps or "burden" scrawled all over them, I’m fairly convinced that this season is just too crappy and inconclusive to ever spring to life. That no one lively is getting shopped might be making this worse, but it’s probably just a symptom of it.

41 Comments:

At 2/21/2006 8:59 PM, Anonymous TZ said...

Damn Shoals, if Baxter-for-Bogans doesn't tell you "it matters," what will?

 
At 2/22/2006 7:54 AM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

I'll give you Penny Hardaway's expiring contract for the rights to Wilt Chamberlain's retired jersey.

Whaddaya say?

 
At 2/22/2006 10:33 AM, Anonymous T. said...

I hear what you're saying, but to relate to it personally - the trades which turned the Rockets season around last year were:

Reece Gaines for Mike James
Tyronne Lue for Jon Barry
Jim Jackson/Boki Nachbar for David Wesley

none of these were world shattering - but they did turn a middling team into the team that finished hottest down the stretch and were probably a Juwan Howard injury from reaching the second round (or a Keith Van Horn injury)

Change can happen at the margins.

 
At 2/22/2006 10:45 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm not saying that change has to involve major individuals, just that it has to bring a team's plan or chemistry into focus in a major way. barry and wesley are solid veteran guards with range, exactly what that team needed.

james is a legit #2.5 option, and a competent PG on top of that. i think he could more dramatically pull a messy team together than anyone whose name is out there this year.

 
At 2/22/2006 11:43 AM, Anonymous her man said...

I think the problem is everyone is too afraid to part with their pieces. Like if you're the Mavs and you're on the cusp, why wouldn't you make this trade?

Send: Terry, Daniels & KVH.

Get: Franchise, Hedo, Battie & Outlaw.

You upgrade your PG position (yes, it is an upgrade), gain two big bodies and Hedo's playoff experience in exchange for two guys who come off the books this year and a third you can't even fit into your rotation. Orlando gets salary cap relief (can you believe THEY are over the cap?) as well as a young player in Daniels.

But a trade like this will never happen. Why? Because Dallas would be too scared about giving up on Daniels and/or messing with their chemistry. You know what gives a team good chemistry? Winning.

I honestly believe this trade could have "Sheed to the Pistons" potential.

 
At 2/22/2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Ugh, I'd never do that trade.

Having lived through the Steve Franchise experience once - I would never evere wish it on anyone else.

Maddening talent - but little ability to translate that into actual basketball skills.

I don't think he's an upgrade over JT at all and Steve is one of the NBA players I like most personally and JT is one of my least favorite NBA players (dating back to his time at UofA and then onto his Rocket killing days in Dallas) - but I'd never make that trade - nevermind the other pieces.

 
At 2/22/2006 12:26 PM, Anonymous 412hater215 said...

DosNoun1981: how did jay-dee die
Luxurydog007: verbs was telling me he had some kidney shit
DosNoun1981: well he has a show tomorrow in australia
Luxurydog007: looks like he might have to cancel

Jaydee's corpse for Michael Watts' hard-drive.

 
At 2/22/2006 12:42 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Is it the fact that everyone assumes that the Pistons and the Spurs will meet again in the finals that makes this season such an utter disappointment? Is it this realization that makes it seem pointless to ponder trades?

 
At 2/22/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

now what would be interesting...and probable...is if both the spurs and the pistons make a trade...on some nazr mohammed get over the hump shit.

 
At 2/22/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

dr. lawyer indianchief, do you mean a trade with one another?

 
At 2/22/2006 1:16 PM, Blogger BenSchwarmer said...

This year's over-the-hump trade:
Ruben Patterson to the Heat for Posey.
Crazy Rube's D at the 3 could be huge for Miami, plus he could guard Flash's man or Antoine's man down the stretch.

 
At 2/22/2006 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would Ruben's probabtion officer have to give the okay on the trade?

 
At 2/22/2006 1:44 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

am i the only one who finds this a little disturbing?

http://www.nba.com/nba_tv/top_10_leaders.html

the heat are fucked on a very basic level. they might as well sign sprewell to seal the deal.

 
At 2/22/2006 2:24 PM, Anonymous T. said...

I'm only disturbed because Morris Peterson is included on a list of the NBA's most exciting players.

Who's next? Devean George? Troy Murphy?

 
At 2/22/2006 2:30 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

yeah, i mean, i can imagine how, through flukes of scheduling and circumstances, some of those names might have ended up with a disproportionate number of appearances on the top ten list. but i can't think of a single mo peterson play that could ever even register as "candidate for list of exciting plays." his greatest highlight moment is his fake fight with vince.

 
At 2/22/2006 2:46 PM, Blogger Dodos said...

Being a regular Raptors watcher, I would say Mo'Pete is quite exciting. Not Top Ten exciting, but he is good for at least one play a game where he is falling down, throws up junk with crazy english and it goes in.

So, can we now officially start a pool to see whne Larry Brown quits the Knicks? With Stephon, Stevie Franchise and Jamal Crawford all fighting over shots, I give LB two weeks and then he's gone.

 
At 2/22/2006 2:46 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

Looks like Franchise to the Knicks is official: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2339941

As dumb as this is for Knicks, couldn't Orlando have gotten a bit more for him? I like Ariza and the cap room will do wonders, but they should've been able to at least pry David Lee or something too...

 
At 2/22/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

By the way, I think the picture of Darko needs to be updated to include his new buzzcut. And I'm thinking his mood is more "liberated" than anything else right now...

 
At 2/22/2006 2:56 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Wow. Is Isiah trying to acquire as many ball-hogging point guards as possible? Has he seen Stevie play? Doesn't he remember how he used to play point guard?

Hey Zeke - look for someone who plays like you used to, okay?

I think my Knicks fans friends are now hovering on suicidal.

 
At 2/22/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

being able to fall asleep on the beach hardly means liberation. dude played 4 minutes last night.

how long until larry brown retires or kills himself?

 
At 2/22/2006 3:00 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

for now, darko remains the sad little piston with the highlights. until he proves his essence otherwise, this current situation is but a stumpy liminality. and yes, liminality can be stumpy.

as much i've complained about francis being moved, and as dumb as it is for the knicks to get him, this team becomes an instant must-watch for about a month. gives the city hope and the franchise image and attitude, etc. basically the same thing that happened when marbury came home.

and finally, i was thinking about morris peterson on the way to get lunch and realized: THE RAPTORS WOULD BE EASY TO MAKE GOOD. bosh is the most complete young big man in the game, i'm high on james, calderon and mo-pete are useful, villanueva could be the next odom (that's odom's fault for disposing of the qualifier). all they need is one more scorer, maybe through the draft, and a good defensive guard.

 
At 2/22/2006 3:05 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

god i am astute. coangelo likely to jump ship to the raptors.

oh, and just so no one on the internet scoops me on this one: MARBURY IS A FUCKING FAGGOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 2/22/2006 3:06 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Did someone associated with the Knicks ass-rape Zeke's gradma while pouring sugar in the gas tank of his car?

I don't care whether the Knicks ever win another championship, but (and this isn't original wisdom) it's bad for the League for one of its premiere franchises to be so completely fucked up that there's basically no real chance of even being competitive in the foreseeable future.

Which is tangentially related to one of last week's conversations: GM's have spent so much coin on such big-name-but-middling-talent players that all they can do now is keep sending those guys to new locations (with owners willing to pay) while this generation's true giants battle forever alone to get summarily dismissed in the first round of the playoffs.

I'm really starting to worry that our beloved NBA is slowly killing itself with complacency in the face of its best players remaining too long in barely competitive situations. Since the Magic-Bird-Jordan days, people take it as read that the League is sold on individuals, but those individuals only became great because of team success and team rivalries. Without that, the indiduals buoying the game are pure marketing constructs incapable of advancing themselves, their products, or the game itself. Save us, Obi-wan Sternobi. You're our only hope.

 
At 2/22/2006 3:09 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

wasn't there some Allen Houston rule that was supposed to help solve this?

 
At 2/22/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

I thought the Darko pic was all about his mood, not his reality. A quote from the Darko:

"I'm happy to get another chance to play, to see what I can do. In Detroit, it was horrible for me. A nightmare."

He clearly FEELS liberated even if he's not actually so.

I would honestly not be surprised if Larry Brown committed suicide within the next year.

 
At 2/22/2006 4:09 PM, Blogger Johnny Cakes but not gay said...

I am a Knicks fan.

Do I drink drano, stick my head in the oven, or jump out of a window?

I'm open to suggestions.

 
At 2/22/2006 4:27 PM, Blogger Dodos said...

"and finally, i was thinking about morris peterson on the way to get lunch and realized: THE RAPTORS WOULD BE EASY TO MAKE GOOD. bosh is the most complete young big man in the game, i'm high on james, calderon and mo-pete are useful, villanueva could be the next odom (that's odom's fault for disposing of the qualifier). all they need is one more scorer, maybe through the draft, and a good defensive guard."

If they can get a decent center and as you say, another scorer, they could be a playoff team next season (as long as they can re-sign James who will opt out). Colangelo coming to Toronto can only help this team with their cap space, I just hope they don't blow it on Joel Pryzbilla. Maybe Peja? Or Nene?

 
At 2/22/2006 4:27 PM, Blogger emynd said...

This Knicks situation is really unreal. Maybe Isiah just really hates the Knicks and gets a lot of pleasure out of destroying them from the inside. Dude really runs that organization like he's playing a video game. It's pretty fun actually.

-e

 
At 2/22/2006 4:32 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

Having the knicks in the nba is almost like having non-guaranteed contracts. if a player is dogging it or not living up to expectations, you can't just cut him, but you probably can trade him to the knicks for an expiring contract. it's a vast conspiracy of ownership.

 
At 2/22/2006 4:39 PM, Anonymous 412hater215 said...

Is there something in the water in New York that makes GMs in just about every sport go out and trade for or buy as many talented fixer-uppers as possible? I mean, New York does have the best cancer specialists in the country. But seriously folks, I think there's an NYC compulsion to make deals like this.

Lindros, Giambi, Marbury, Lothar Matthaus, Kevin Brown, Jagr and now Francis. I'm sure the list can be lengthened considerably but it just goes to show what a New York GM will do just to keep the fold-open-like-a-book-newspapers from printing 100-point headlines for 4-6 days.

 
At 2/22/2006 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone think it's worthwhile for the raptors to try and get JR Smith??

 
At 2/22/2006 5:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that is the best idea i've heard all month. for me, j.r. is the new spirit animal of this blog.

 
At 2/22/2006 5:50 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

It only just sank in that this means Penny is a member of the Magic again ... and Brian Hill is the coach. Will Penny even set foot in Orlando this season? Will the Magic care? Has there ever been a more dramatic but less publicized turning of the tables in the NBA? As if anyone needed any further proof, reports of irony's post-9/11 demise were clearly exaggerated.

 
At 2/22/2006 6:51 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

mr. six. great minds indeed. this was my first thought re: the trade. you may see a dissertation on penny's return to the magic in the next 72hours.

 
At 2/22/2006 7:28 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

I don't know what to make of JR Smith. He came in and by the end of the season was the Hornets leading scorer, showed great athleticism and shooting touch, and was considered a huge part of the "backcourt of the future" with Chris Paul. He starts out kind of slow, then all of a sudden he gets benched, there are rumors that he was dogging it in practice and had a bad attitude. And now he's in trade rumors for backup big men? I'm just not sure what to make of all this. When is a suddenly promising young team giving up on a 20-year old guard with a great shooting touch? When you're done with the Penny article, I'd love to hear more about J.R.

 
At 2/22/2006 7:50 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

so, I guess that Garnett to NY rumored deal is off then?
Would have been nice to see Showbiz & KG reunited.

 
At 2/22/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger BenSchwarmer said...

Rumor has it that there are Travis Outlaw for JR Smith trade rumors being thrown around right now, with the possibility of Charlotte throwing Ely toward NOOCH to make it happen 3-way style.
I'm not sure what it really means, but I just figured I'd keep people abreast...

 
At 2/22/2006 11:24 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Penny's been here in Houston almost this entire season 'rehabbing'. Not sure for what. Possibly for the same reason Shawn Kemp is working out . . .also in Houston.

What is it about H-Town that all the NBA players live here for? Heck, even Mengke Bateer lived here for a while between his Spurs days and his stint in the NBDL.

I did see Shawn Kemp going around during All Star weekend trying to get people to recognize him. A sad state of affairs for a man responsible for at least 7 of the 50 greatest in game dunks of all time (and here I'm thinking of the Lister Blister).

 
At 2/23/2006 5:20 AM, Anonymous Branko said...

Darko ain't free. Brian Hill of the unworthy Magic, fear our wrath.

 
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