A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Jazz Improvisation and the Association in Chaos

with 8 comments

Image by StuSeeger via Flickr

10 thoughts after a whirlwind of a trade deadline:

1. I really wish I had more to say on the Deron Williams trade. I had a whole slew of points immediately on the tips of my fingers when Carmelo Anthony was traded barely more than a day before, and I consider Williams the superior players. Ideally I’d have more to say about it – heck, ideally *everyone* would have more to say about, but they may be suffering from a bit of the same thing I am. It’s just clear that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of the decision making in Salt Lake City. I’m generally one not to bothered by the prospect of venturing forth with theories in the wake of incomplete knowledge because complete knowledge is never assured, but here there’s just too much uncertainty.

2. That said, odds still seem pretty dang good that the Jazz don’t trade Williams unless they think he’s not going to be happy there in the long term. So yes, anyone not willing to include this happening amongst the trend of stars leaving well run small market teams, is being unreasonably cautious.

3. Good trade for the Jazz? They lost Deron Freaking Williams, and traded him for players you certainly can’t expect to be his equal. The most you can say is that given the macro trends of stars in the NBA right now, it’s hasty to call Jazz management incompetent for what when down.

4. Good trade for the Nets? They *got* Deron Freaking Williams. As long as he’s on board for the long haul, I’m for it. Of course there is the matter of Derrick Favors. How good is he? Well, my mind is open, but I don’t care what anyone says: If an American-born rookie can’t get 20 MPG on a bad team, this is not a player with strong odds of becoming a player of Williams caliber. I say this talking specifically about the current context where there are no straight from high school rookies. Yes Favors played only one year in college, but it’s pretty much par for the course nowadays that guys with that level of experience are coming in ready to be a rookie of the year candidate.

5. I was shocked at the Kendrick Perkins trade. I’ve heard this was a matter of the Celtics not wanting to pay the price Perkins’ was sure to demand with the new contract. Maybe that’s the case, but if it’s just a matter of money, that seems very strange to me. Yes the Celtics are paying a lot of big salaries right now, but they’re also experiencing great success with an excellent shot at another title. If you really feel like Perkins makes your team better, why wouldn’t you wait until season’s end to make the money saving trade? Makes me think that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers weren’t as in love with Perkins as was thought.

6. Still based on my perceptions before the trade, this is a win for the Thunder. Green never impressed me, and I love adding the additional strong big man defender for the team considering that they’re aiming to take down the big dogs, who tend to have length to spare.

7. Shane Battier going back to Memphis was unexpected, but actually makes a good deal of sense. The team’s got a good, young nucleus now, so adding the smart, veteran role player and leader seems smart. I guess that Rockets weren’t as in love with Battier as some of us had thought though.

8. Gerald Wallace to Portland is interesting. For the past couple years, the Blazers have felt like a team of somewhat redundant parts. That’s not entirely a bad thing as it tends to make a club robust in the face of injury, but rarely does a title winner give off that kind of a vibe. Wallace is a guy who is quite distinct in the league. I’m excited to see what he can do on a team that actually had a lot of the niches solid.

9. Baron Davis traded along with a first round pick for Mo Williams. Ouch. Y’know, I feel for Baron when everyone calls him lazy because let’s not forget that he signed with the Clippers with the understanding that Elton Brand was staying there. Still, it’s certainly a black mark to have teams so eager to part with you.  I compare him to draftmate Andre Miller: Miller’s actually played on more teams, but no one’s ever said about Miller that he’s a huge waste of resources that must be discarded at all cost.

10. I’m happy to see Kirk Hinrich presumably get another shot at being his team’s floor general. Hinrich was really a guy who felt like he’d be a one-team guy for life, so it’s a shame he got traded away from the Bulls simply so the Bulls could fail more obviously in the bidding for LeBron.

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8 Responses

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  1. Just to add to the Deron fire, the Jazz aren’t renowned for hasty behaviour (ownership change brings that stereotype into question, of course). It’s quite possible that Sloan may have dumped a bucket on Deron on the way out the door, and after the length of time he’d spent in the league they trusted his judgement. NJ won’t be the best place to validate Sloan’s placement, though.

    Ravenred

    February 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

  2. Yeah, the rapid change for the Jazz after such incredible stability makes it downright surreal. I can think of a variety of narratives to explain what happened, but none I feel confident in.

    Matt Johnson

    February 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    • Perkins was the other big surprise for me. He’s been a real rock in the middle. Having said that, injury and new contract provide pretty straightforward reasons for his trade (as long as they haven’t bought into the fool’s gold that is twilight-of-his-career Shaq)

      Ravenred

      February 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  3. The Perkins trade has to be money. They are so far over the cap that Perkins demanding something like 15 million a year ends up being 30 million a year to the man actually paying the bills. That’s just not going to work.

    It will be interesting to see what the Jazz do in the off-season. I’m positive they will try to unload Jefferson, but I wonder more about Millsap. Because of his really cheap contract, he is probably the best value in the league. Teams will be killing themselves to get a shot at landing him. There is no doubt he could bring in a really nice haul in terms of future assets, but at the same time he’s under contract for multiple years and the Jazz could just as easily think of keeping him on for the long term rebuild considering he isn’t costing all that much.

    fyatroll

    February 28, 2011 at 1:37 am

  4. Oh, money is certainly something they’re thinking about, but I just don’t think it can be the only thing. The Celtics’ big salaries are largely due to their older stars, who they’re only keeping because they really want to win a title. Adding a bit more money to get the best possible team in that short window of opportunity is something pretty much any owner would be willing to do.

    I just don’t see any way the Celtics believe they’ve made a trade that substantially sabotages their shot at a championship. They may not be sure if they made the right move, but they’ve at least got a basketball-based theory behind their actions.

    Matt Johnson

    February 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    • I think the best theory I’ve heard is two-fold. First, they don’t think LA is making it out of the West and Miami is their big threat not Orlando. If that is the case, Perkins isn’t nearly as valuable and the need for a young wing becomes significant.

      Second, they plan on making a big play in 2012 for Howard. Currently they only have about 28 million locked up for 12-13 between Rondo-Pierce. Signing Perkins to 8-10 million a year doesn’t make sense if (i) he’s only going to be Howard’s backup, (ii) his contract might make it extremely difficult to sign Howard.

      sp6r=underrated

      February 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  5. Here’s the article I was waiting for, that I didn’t know if we’d ever see:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/jazz/51325001-87/williams-jazz-utah-trade.html.csp

    The Jazz perspective, relayed by GM O’Connor, gets elaborated on. It’s basically exactly what I would have guessed had happened if not for Sloan’s move: Deron’s been a pain in the ass who wouldn’t commit, and so the Jazz think that keeping him basically means letting him run your franchise, and then still probably watch him leave.

    I still don’t see how to reconcile Sloan with this though. If O’Connor and Sloan were both fed up with Deron, and O’Connor planned to trade Williams, then why do Sloan and his right hand man Johnson quit?

    As far as what the Jazz will do next, it will be fascinating to see. I feel like the Jazz have the best expectations for their franchise of any in the league: They know that success for them is just fielding a good team, and they aren’t going to blow up an almost-good team to have a prayer at a superstar.

    I’d imagine that Paul Millsap is now the player they are most happy with, so I’d expect they keep him. If they don’t think Jefferson can fit with Millsap, I could easily see flipping him. Much though will depend on the rest of the season.

    Matt Johnson

    February 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    • Retooling, not rebuilding. Be interesting to see how far that gets them. Chris Paul to Utah as opposed to New York…

      Ravenred

      February 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm


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