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.