Here We Go Again

The NBA is on it’s way, which means the trade rumours have already arrived. The curtain has dropped. The spotlight is on. The show has began. And with the show comes the drama.

Dallas Ditching Chandler?

On the first day that free agent contracts could be discussed, Tyson Chandler took away one thing from the day. He was getting traded. “I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com on Wednesday. He believes Dallas won’t offer him the long term extension that he deserves. And he does deserve it. For three years in a row the Dallas Mavericks were 1st round dropouts. Disappointments to their city and to the NBA. But when Tyson Chandler came to town he changed the whole team. He brought height, he brought hustle and most of all motivated the team to play defense. It’s no coincidence that last year the Dallas Mavericks were 7th in points allowed per 100 posessions in 2010-2011 and were 12th, 15th and 17th the three years before that. He provided them with an inside presence in the finals and deserves a contract. His biggest worry is that Dallas may sign Nene over him. Nene and him are the two most coveted free agents this year.

Nene Fever:

The big man on the free agent campus this year is Nene. Teams from all over the league have shown interest in him. Dallas, Golden State, New Jersey, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Portland were all teams who made contact with Nene’s agent on Wednesday. A perfect fit for Nene would be teams lacking an inside presence. Teams like Golden State, Denver and Houston. The Nets have shown interest in Nene due to Deron Williams’ statements that he would be far less inclined to re-sign a long-term deal with the Nets if they don’t immediately improve their roster.

Ron Artest…. I mean Metta World Peace:

It has been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers may waive Ron Artest….. I mean Metta World Peace’s over-priced contract. Although, the small forward is one of the best defenders in the league and filling the void later with other players is very difficult considering the type of defender he is. On the offensive side, he is in decline. Last season he averaged 8.5 points and it’s clear that his age may be taking a toll on his body and his speed. He doesn’t have the strength he once had (and I might regret this) but he’s become a  liability on offense. Letting go of his 3 year 21.5 million dollar contract would be a relief, causing the Lakers to save up to 27 million dollars in taxes and salary through 2013-2014.

Hollywood Wants Superman:

A minute doesn’t go by when we don’t wonder how many championships Shaq and Kobe could’ve won together had their problems not gotten in the way. Finally, years later Superman may be coming back to Hollywood. Not the one who has the superman logo on his bed. The one who wore the cape during his slam dunk performance. Jim Buss has said that he would trade Andrew Bynum “for the right deal.” The right deal or the deal that involves Dwight Howard? But Andrew Bynum may not be what the Magic are looking for in a replacement for Dwight and rumour has it that Andrew Bogut would be a better fit for them. I disagree but a three team deal has been circling, sending Dwight to the Lakers, Bogut to the Magic and Bynum to the Bucks. The Clippers also seem willing to do whatever it takes for Dwight. The Clippers have tons of young depth with players like Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan and Al-Farouq Aminu and can provide more assets in a trade with the Magic. Although, Dwight and Kobe together may look like a championship on paper. In reality they wouldn’t gel. Dwight loves the ball down in the post, he takes it in all day. And why wouldn’t you when you’re the most dominant player in the NBA. Then there is Kobe, who loves the ball on the perimeter and taking it to the hole. They are both types of players who demand the spotlight and I can’t see it working out.

Blazers and Brandon Roy:

A source had said that the TrailBlazers had waived Roy but team president Larry Miller firmly stated that, ”We have not, and regardless of what’s been said by John Canzano and others out there, (made a) decision on amnesty as of yet,” On January 17th of last season Brandon Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees. He returned to the lineup on February 25th and scored 18 points off the bench. The rest of the season was a quiet one for Roy, he came off the bench for the whole season and averaged 12.5 points as supposed to his career average of 19 points a game. His future looked grim, until the playoffs came around and  Portland needed someone to step up. Brandon Roy came off the bench in Game 3 against the Mavericks and scored 16 points in 23 minutes. Larry Miller added, ”With everything that Brandon has done for this organization, there’s no way we would make a decision like that without having conversation with him, without evaluating where he is.” I wouldn’t give up on Roy yet, his knees may let him down at times but he showed that in big situations he can shine. He knows how to win and he is a valuable piece on any team.

Celtics Discussing Rondo Trades:

Just to be clear, the Celtics don’t want to get rid of Rondo. He is the future of their organisation and will be their saviour once Pierce, Allen and Garnett are gone. However, the Celtics are exploring options in exchange for Rondo. Danny Ainge said, “I don’t make any comments on trade rumors. I’m just not commenting on any of it. Everybody knows how valuable Rondo is to our team. I’ll talk to Rondo, but I don’t want to talk about it publicly.” I sense insecurity in the Celtics front office. They realise that their Big Three aren’t big news anymore, they are getting older and soon they won’t be able to compete with the up and coming talent in the league. Additionally, they realise Rondo isn’t the best Point Guard out there and it makes sense for them to get better. Rumours have circulated that a Rondo for Paul deal may be developing, although they are very vague rumours.

Grizz and Gasol:

After last years semi-breakout season for Marc Gasol teams are showing more interest in him now that he’s a free agent. He provided Memphis with defense, hustle and a quick inside presence that Tim Duncan and the 1st place Spurs couldn’t handle. The Grizzlies organization have shown interest in keeping him. “Obviously, we want to sit down and try to make a deal with Marc,” Heisley said. “I’m committed to keeping him.” Gasol has made it clear that he would like to return to Memphis this season. However, they may not have enough money to satisfy Gasol after agreeing to contract extensions with Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley. All we know now is that the Grizzlies want Gasol and Gasol wants the Grizzlies. Personally, I would love to see last year’s team come back stronger this year and make it back to the playoffs. Every time they stepped onto the floor, the game was bound to be exciting. They were the most energetic team in the NBA and it was a joy to watch them burst through the playoffs and surprise everybody.

Donnie Walsh’ Last Pick Not An Obvious Choice But Not The Wrong One

The Knicks have a history of making bad draft picks. Every New York Knick fan tonight knew that they might not get the player they wanted. As soon as David Stern read his punch line if you will.

” With the 17th pick of the 2011 draft, the New York Knicks select….” I closed my eyes and prayed for Chris Singleton or Keneth Faried.

” Iman Shumpert”

I sighed with disappointment. The Knicks were at it again, taking a prospect that nobody has heard of. The crowd started to boo, and I just shook my head. Maybe this was Donnie Walsh getting back at the Knicks for not resigning him? No, he loves the Knicks. So then I thought maybe Iman Shumpert was the right player to pick. Let’s take a look.

The Knicks biggest areas that need help are on defense, and they need a big guy in the middle, I didn’t think we really needed shooters. Toney Douglas showed that he was one of the best three point shooters in the NBA, Landry Fields is a consistent three point shooter, Shawne Williams led the league at one point with the highest 3 point %. I think what we really needed to look for was defense and a big man who is persistent on the boards. I thought that Chris Singleton was the right pick. He could back up Carmelo and was 6’8 with extremely long arms, he was also said to be the most versatile and talented defender in the draft. But we pass on him. I also thought maybe Keneth Faried could be a choice. He was the best rebounder in college basketball with 14.5 rebounds a game. He was what we needed but he is only 6’8, my thinking is that he won’t be able to grab as many rebounds against the taller and more athletic big men in the NBA. Then I took a look at Kawhi Leonard a 6’7 small forward. He averaged 10 rebounds and 15 points. A 10 and 15 guy for someone who plays the three is very rare in a player. I thought he was a very promising player, but didn’t think he would be as effective on the boards in the NBA plus his offensive game is very limited.Then I took a look at Iman Shumpert. A guy that was projected as an early 2nd round type of guy.

The Knicks always surprise on draft night though.

The 6’5 guard averaged 2.7 steals in College, he is a shooting guard which is a position that was a bit inconsistent offensively with Landry Fields starting at that position. He’s one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft and now the shooting guard position on the Knicks roster is filled with a sophomore and a rookie who both pride themselves in defense. Not only did Iman Shumpert average 2.7 steals but averaged 17 points at the same time. He can score the basketball, he may not have the most consistent jump shot, but he gets to the rim very well with his speed. He is also a solid rebounder for his size and position averaging 6 rebounds in college. Plus he can play the point guard position, he is a combo guard at preference. He is in my opinion the most all rounded player out of  Kawhi Leonard, Chris Singleton and Kenneth Faried. Since Chauncey Billups turns 35 next year he may be a good guy to start filling his shoes.

Donnie Walsh has been booed before about his draft selections. Reggie Miller was even booed when Donnie Walsh picked him 1st for Indiana. Donnie Walsh may not have followed the mock predictions but he made the right choice for the team that he has invested most of his career to.

Changes Are Needed: Knicks

I realize every NBA fan right now is caught up in the heat and excitement of the conference finals. I have been thinking more and more about the teams that havebeen eliminated from the playoffs so far this year. The Celtics, Knicks, Lakers, Grizzlies, 76ers, Spurs, Pacers, Magic, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Hornets, and Hawks. Some of these teams were completely blown out of the postseason, but some of these teams, to peoples surprise were very close till the end of the series. I just feel like some of these teams were robbed of their spot in the postseason by injuries, or last second shots. I’m interested to see how these teams come out next season, and how there team has changed or hasn’t. I have a few suggestions for each team. I’ll begin with the Knicks, as they were the first team eliminated from the postseason.

The Knicks-Celtics series was highly anticipated, and the two games in Boston were won by a total of three points. The two in New York were blowouts from beginning till end. If the Knicks had executed in the last minute of the 4th quarters in those two games the series might have been different. Of course they have injuries to blame, Billups was injured in the end of game 1 and didn’t play the rest of the series. Amar’e Stoudemire injured his back by trying a stupid dunk in the pre-game shootarounds. He was shaken up for the rest of the series, and didn’t play the second half of game 2. I anticipate a big season for this team next year, they will have gelled for more than 30 or so games and their chemistry should be at 100%. What has to change for them in the postseason?

Defense. Defense, Defense, Defense. That’s what wins championships, their defense in the first two games was amazing. Then you have to look back at the 70 or so games where their defense was too atrocious to watch for 48 minutes. The defense can be blamed on everyone on the team. It all starts with Amar’e and Melo committing on defense. Melo played some great defense towards the end of the season but Amar’e didn’t put in enough effort. They’re the leaders of this team and of New York they need to show the rest of the team that defense is the most important part of basketball. That’s what they’re missing from their game. That’s what sets them apart from the elite group in the NBA. They have enough offensive fire power, more than a lot of the elite teams in the NBA. It’s the defense that will hold them back. They also need Mike D’antoni to stop being so stubborn and coach defense instead of his stupid 7 second offense. He has to be fired to begin next season if he can’t stress defense enough. Besides defense there is roster changes that need to be made. They need a shooting guard, Landry Fields was having an amazing rookie season until Melo came over. His confidence dropped like a bomb. If they can’t improve his confidence, or reboot his energy then they have to get a new shooting guard. They have to get a new one anyway, he would be a solid 6th man on any other team. They also need a defensive minded big man to man the middle with STAT. They’re inside men aren’t intimidating like the Magic or Thunder. They need a tough defensive minded 7 footer. Who will think only about the paint and protecting the rim. Point Guards aren’t afraid of getting into the New York paint because there is nobody who will challenge them, Amar’e is too scared of fouling out and Ronny Turiaf is good but he is foul prone. They need a player like Anderson Varejao, or Samuel Dalembert.

These are just suggestions for the Knicks to transform into an elite team next year. I expect a big season from the NY big 3, and the rest of the team. We’ll see.