A plea from my soul most arid

By now, most of us have probably come to grips with the awful truth about free agency: it is not a rational market, is subject to the whims of all types of batty operators, and recognizes neither the past nor the possibility of a future. On a good day this is part of what makes the NBA so colorful; other times, you wonder if the Knicks' current nightmare roster isn't the cautionary tale at the end of this self-destructive path.

Yet even with all this glued to the back of my neck, from time to time a situation arises that still leaves me utterly flustered. No grand statements here—I just can't for the life of me figure out why Seattle won't humor Chris Wilcox. They're a perimeter team with two All-Stars and a well-above-competent pure point; stir in one ultra-athletic big man, and they've accidentally stumbled into the league's most convincing Suns impersonation (MONPS, stay vigilant). Wilcox is hardly an All-Star yet, but why not invest in an automatic 18/10 with plenty of room to prosper, especially when the Sonics have been utterly baffled by the 4/5 for the last decade? Yes, they've got no fewer than four human valentines to twenty-first century scouting in line to man the frontline, and Collison could be a dead man's Haslem. But Wilcox not only fills a need, he makes all the other pieces fall into place and turns the Sonics into a viable formula for success. And that's assuming he doesn't get any better once he's installed as an integral part of the team's identity.

Regardless of how much the Sonics should be consumed with utter yearning for Wilcox, they've also greatly underestimated his market value. They should be tripping over themselves to overpay, not trying to get a bargain; it's like they forgot to turn on the radio the days the Nugget inked the Artist Formerly Known as Hilario. Nene is more experienced, meaning he's less likely to grow and can't be as easily excused for spotty rebounding or his refusal to block shots with any regularity. Wilcox is already a heavier chip, and with the added tease of potential it's not even close.

The irony, of course, is that the Nuggets overpaid even if they move K-Mart. It's probably the Nuggets who should've been offering six mill a year, and the Sonics gratefully anteing up the ten per season that Wilcox is worth to them. Then again, if Layden had kept his pick in '02 and gone with Wilcox like he should've, now Young Chris would be the lord of New York. Or Kiki could've thought straight and brought Wilcox to Denver.

Or either of them could've just taken Amare.


At 7/10/2006 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darko sucks, Darko sucks, Darko sucks, darko sucks, and Darko sucks.....i dont know if it could be more clear what im trying to get across here.

At 7/10/2006 4:07 PM, Anonymous Bob Popa said...

Wow whoever had the idea of making this blog page is an absolute tool.

At 7/10/2006 4:16 PM, Anonymous sahlan78 said...

My Pepsi came out my nose when I read this line, "Or either of them could've just taken Amare." Now I realise it isn't the funniest thing ever written, but it got me good.

At 7/10/2006 4:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

at this point, i just take that as evidence of a bunch of virgin traffic from some link somewhere

WV: brlybuhx (where to begin. . .)

At 7/10/2006 4:38 PM, Anonymous Ramo said...

No one should be suprised that Nene can't block shots, the man has no hops.

Now why he can't be a better man defender, that's a whole different story.

At 7/10/2006 4:39 PM, Anonymous johnny5 said...

Thank you for confirming that Maybyner got overpaid... I was pretty sure that $10 mil/year for mostly potential was ridiculous, but no one in the media said anything. He still has time to prove himself Sam Bowie 2K (though it's hard to pick just one in front of Amare), especially given the lofty contract that will be shopped around in two years. Unfortunately, Isaiah will have returned to the Eighth Circle (frauds, guilty of deliberate evil) by then.

At 7/10/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger Warren said...

What do you want the Supes to do? I think they're playing it safe. They tendered Wilcox a qualifying offer and now are waiting for the market to decide how much he's worth. The Sonics have made it clear that they intend to re-sign Weezy, and they hope that other teams won't waste their time tendering a guy that said teams in the end are not getting anyway to keep CW's salary reasonable.

And PS I love what Wilcox brought to the Sonics for the last couple months of 05-06, but calling him an "automatic 18-10" is baseless hyperbole. He's never had those numbers in the NBA. Furthermore you have to wonder what effect his impending free agent status had on his inspired play toward the end of last year.

Don't get me wrong I hope to God the Sonics sign Wilcox up, but waiting it out a bit to sign him for less is a smarter move. After all, he's RESTRICTED.

At 7/10/2006 6:52 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the "automatic" was less "it's already a given" and more "this is the kind of presence he's close to being." my error in judgement.

given the role that "respect" sometimes plays in free agents' thinking, i'm not sure that the sonics are right to play it so blandly safe.

WV: vcdqx (the vince carter duck quacks)

At 7/10/2006 7:06 PM, Blogger Warren said...

I see the "respect" argument. Supes brass have yet to grasp that concept even after the Reign Man/McIlvaine fiasco. Maybe it's a principled ignorance.

At 7/10/2006 7:07 PM, Anonymous Harold Miner said...

Is it wrong that when I initially read "MONPS" I thought "Myth of the Next Paul Shirley"?

wv: bdtcc (brad daugherty true cavs champ)

At 7/10/2006 7:42 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Baby Jordan, I had the same reaction.

I wish the Warriors had tried to pick up Wilcox when he was initially available. Taft seems like he could be the same kind of player; we've just missed having any sort of muscle in the middle for, well, since Ralph Sampson I guess.

At 7/10/2006 10:09 PM, Anonymous dbeezy said...

it should always be a little bit of a concern when one of the least fiscally responsible teams in the league ends up setting the bar during free agency. nene = sammy dalembert 2006. it's great to have a big guy with a lot of room to improve, but not like $60 million worth of great, especially when he's (as of now) the third guy in their frontcourt rotation.

in spite of that, wilcox is much more ready to play right now. automatic 18-10 is a little strong, but it's absolutely within reason, and that's considering wilcox as we've seen him, not as some fish story about an uber-athletic power forward and what he does in practice. he's ALWAYS been a monster when given the time to play, but that wasn't often in LA. so it's not fair to assume that he was playing for a contract and will fade as soon as he gets it.

At 7/10/2006 11:08 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

playing for a contract is such bullshit. it's only really applicable when truly irredeemable scrubs pull a career year out of their ass; instances of promising guys "putting it all together" at the right time could be contract-related but are hardly something that's bound to reverse itself. if a younger player has been building up to that point, steadily making strides, why is further upward progress thought of as a sham? yes, the money is motivation, but if they've been making that transition from role player to starter. . . why not stick with it? it's not like larry hughes doesn't want to make an all-star game now that he's paid.

and in the case of someone like wilcox, there's the whole pride factor--he still has yet to prove that he wasn't a bust. especially when amare, who has basically turned into what he was touted as (remember amare: mourning clone?), could've been had by anyone who took him.

At 7/11/2006 12:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the sonics requested marion from the suns in a sign and trade. . .so they want a 12mill a year player in exchange, but think that wilcox is only worth (or can realistically be had for) half that. wtf?

At 7/11/2006 12:52 PM, Blogger Warren said...

I don't think it can be argued that Wilcox was "steadily making strides". His ppg by year goes 3.7, 8.6, 7.9, and then 4.5 last season before the trade.

Hopefully it was a situation where he just didn't fit in/wasn't being used correctly with the Clip show, just like Diaw in the A.

Now Weezy fits brilliantly in Seattle, but it's been shown that he fits poorly elsewhere. I would argue that Wilcox needs the Supersonics to reach his potential. We provide the perfect forum for his skill set. Dunleavy even said before he was traded, "If a running team ever gets him, watch out." Bearing that in mind, why would Wilcox consider leaving Seattle to go back to some inferior Clippery situation?

Also, does the pride to prove he's not a bust only kick in after Wilcox gets respect (read: $$ on his terms)? How powerful is that pride in the first place then?

RE: Matrix - The Sonics were only going to add Marion because they expected Rashard Lewis to opt out of his deal after this season. Rashard has since put out a statement saying that he wants to retire a Sonic, which effectively nixes any Matrix trade. (Also the Supes were never going to add that contract as they are pulling the Oliver Twist act to get a new stadium.)

At 7/11/2006 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is possible that Wilcox is just another athletic big who racked up numbers on a bad team.

At 7/11/2006 5:25 PM, Blogger there is no you or me without Suomi said...

The funniest thing on this entry isn't the Amare/Wilcox mapping, it's the first two comments. Laughing at people who don't get the joke can be odious, but in this case I'm happily howling with glee at the folks who miss the forest for the bugs on the bark.

wv: kkbscxf -KK Null bovine scatole creates ear failure

At 7/11/2006 5:37 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i can't quite think of any other athletic bigs who took advantage of being on a shit team. . .tends to work more in the favor of scoring swingmen

insidehoops had a link to an item explaining that the suns were interested in trading for wilcox until the sonics said they'd need marion.

i hadn't considered the interaction between a player proving he's not a bust and demanding respect from the team trying to retain him. presumably if he proved he was legit, they would have no grounds for "disrespecting" him; but I'm not so certain that a player would allow this to be done to him just because he had something to prove.

if he got paid, the pride would be justifying the contract, not proving he wasn't a bad draft pick. someone throwing money at you sort of makes it seem like you have a place in the league.

i know that the second person there is wholly inappropriate, but i don't know what else to do.

At 7/11/2006 5:45 PM, Anonymous dbeezy said...

a few things herrre:

-wilcox was traded for radmanovic straight up, who left LA for ... LA ... for nothing in return. so they essentially let wilcox walk, unless you consider the thomas signing a lateral move. so, at best, the clips got tim thomas in return for wilcox. just pointing out that this might be something we look back on in a few years and wonder what the frusk they were thinking.

-i don't think wilcox is a franchise power forward, but he's a starter, and could potentially be a very good one at that. he's not quite of the j. o'neal/stoudemire ilk because he's just not that reliable yet, and i doubt that he has the passion or basketball IQ to get to that level. in terms of money, though, he's probably an $8-10 million guy. probably closer to ten, actually. i mean, if you're 6'10" or above, elite athletically, relatively young, and still with room to improve .. that's what the market dictates. it's silly if you ask me, but if tyson chandler got $10 million per, wilcox is certainly worth that.

[my word verification has a fucking umlaut in it ... how the eff do i do THAT ]]]
[and it's "fkurvv" in case you're wondering, it's just too obvious to even fuck with it]

At 7/11/2006 9:24 PM, Anonymous Maggz said...

RE: Bigs capitalizing on shitty teams

SAR in Atlanta, Troy Murphy, Donyell Marshall, and Matt Harpring come to mind, though they are tweeners and/or not very athletic.

At 7/12/2006 12:41 PM, Blogger Warren said...

Speaking of Matt Harpring I have a quick story:

When Billy McKinney was doing color for the Sonics with best-announcer-in-the-league Kevin Calabro, he had an immortal reference to Harpring that went like this:

(Harpring makes a jumper)
McKinney with gravitas:
"The beauty...and versatility...of a man....named Matt Harpring."

After not believing what we heard for a second, it was quickly decided from then on that phrase would be Harpring's full name amongst my friends and I.

And as far as The Beauty And Versatility Of A Man Named Matt Harpring? I think he can play, and would get more dap if he wasn't on the Jazz. He's certainly the class of the group listed above.

At 7/14/2006 1:25 AM, Anonymous bigtdog said...

First time reader, first time commenter.

Why did you caption your picture of Nipsy Russell as Elgin Baylor? Were you trying to be funny?

PS: I'll be back. I'm very impressed by the immense amounts of NBA knowledge coarsing through this place. Your geekiness can do nothing but help me in my Fantasy League. I shall pick the meat off of your collective bones. Thanks Free Darko!


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