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.

Changes Needed: Spurs

Spurs. They looked like the favorite for the NBA title during the regular season, they played lockdown defense, they played efficient offense and the veteran Spurs were looking at another good year at work. That was until they got embarrassed by the 8th seeded Grizzlies. As their team gets older and slower they need to start getting some young players around their team to start up another dynasty once their big 3 leaves. Improvements this summer are essential, so this is what they need.

The main reason they lost to the Grizzlies was because the Memphis big men killed them in the post with their speed, their quickness, their moves, and they’re aggressiveness. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol pounded them inside and succeeded because Tim Duncan is no longer the defensive anchor he once was. Let’s face it, as much as we like to think of Tim Duncan as an all-star and as a great power forward. He no longer is. He helps his team with leadership, screens, rebounds and effort but he can’t help them that much offensively or defensively. Tiago Splitter showed some potential but not enough to take the Spurs past the 1st round next year. Dejuan Blair has showed tons of potential and promise in his two years in the league but he is only a big 6’9. They need a 7 foot youngster to protect the paint and play in the low post. Then they need a consistent back up scorer, someone like James Harden. Richard Jefferson is old and more inconsistent than the British weather. He’ll score 15 points one game and 2 points the next. Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker aren’t going to be able to hold the scoring load for the whole team. They need a consistent 6th man.

Youth overall is a must for this team. They’re three best players are all in their 30’s. They need some youth in their starting lineup as well as they’re bench. I look forward to seeing them reconstruct their team with more youth and fresh talent. It will be sad to see the classic Spurs broken up but the team has had a good run I just think with all the talented up and coming teams, like the Thunder and Bulls, the Spurs won’t get very far come playoff time.

Grizz Without Gay.

When the playoffs began, nobody, I repeat nobody would’ve thought that the Memphis Grizzlies would be entering a tough game 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semi-finals. It seemed like mission impossible, it seemed like wishing on a star, but the fans in Memphis definitely got their wish.

All of this happened without Rudy Gay. Their young budding superstar. He and Zach Randolph were supposed to lead this team to greatness, together. They were going to be the one-two punch that would lead Memphis deep in the playoffs. Then Gay suffered a left shoulder injury against the 76ers on the 15th of February. That was the end they thought, the Memphis hopes died down, and they didn’t expect to go very far. Then they signed Shane Battier, got Tony Allen to step up on defense, got Gasol to play more aggressively in the post. When they adjusted to playing without Gay, they were back in business.

Throughout the postseason, they have been known for they’re play on the boards, their tough defense, they’re hustle for loose balls, they’re tough low post presence, and they’re hunger for winning. All of this without Gay. When Gay got injured they focused their offense more on Zach Randolph and focused their game more on defense then offense. How would they have played this postseason without Gay? There are many different vantage points we could look at it from. One, if they had Rudy Gay then they would have their offense focus on the offensive drives of Rudy Gay and the low post skill of Randolph. Which would help to spread the floor, and give the offense more options. It would also make it harder for teams to double team Z-Bo because then you have Rudy Gay wide open for a shot. If you look at it like that then they could kill teams with their offense as well as their defense. Or we could look at it like this. Rudy Gay wouldn’t put in enough effort on defense that the Grizzlies are known for. He is a strong perimeter defender, but don’t expect him to dive into the stands after a loose ball, or dive on the floor for a steal. He’s just not that type of player, but hey, not a lot of budding superstars are. With all of his playing time, then Tony Allen and Shane Battier wouldn’t play as much, therefore all those hustle plays that have helped them get this far wouldn’t have happened.

I hate hypotheticals but you have to wonder how Rudy would have effected their play in the playoffs. There is an upside and a downside. For now, good luck Grizzlies, and get better Gay.