Monday, November 3, 2008


I started my Monday post actually talking about the T-Wolves and the Thunder, yes, you read that correctly, but then the Iverson for Billups and McDyess deal was announced and my head is all over the place about it. The first thing I did after hearing it was send out a quick email to some of my basketball people to get their initial reactions. I got some interesting responses. Some think AI is done, some think he was lucky to be bailed out of the sinking ship in Denver, some had no feel. I then checked the players contract situations, which is the most telling part of the deal. Iverson's contract comes off of the books after this season. Denver needed to get something in return for him and not let him walk for free. Detroit wanted to get out from under the length and dollars of Billups contract (on the books thru 2011, $11 million this season, $12 million in 2010, $13 million in 2011) as well as McDyess' contract which runs thru the end of NEXT season ($6.8 million). Combine that with Rasheed Wallace coming off the books which will free 13.6 million and the Pistons just created $31 million in salary space for next season if they let Iverson walk. $31 million for Joe Dumars to work with along with Richard Hamilton, Tayshawn Prince, Jason Maxiell, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Afflalo and Amir Johnson. Well done, if they can land the necessary free agent pieces, but at least they are in the game and still in a position to compete in the East this season, though the style of play will surely change a bit with Iverson on the floor.

From the Denver side of things it is too early to tell what lays ahead in mile high. They obviously did not want to let Iverson walk for nothing at the end of the season. In turn they get back two battle tested veteran players that will be great both on and off the court in Denver (there is a rumor that McDyess may not report, but I have not heard anything concrete on that front) Chauncy Billups could be the presence that makes Carmelo Anthony a better player. This is clearly the time Melo must step up and put this team on his back and keep them in contention. In a pre-season conversation with one basketball guru we talked about Coach Karl being the first coach to go this season. Someone is gonna have to take the fall in Denver and Karl seems much more likely than Melo. Billups, Melo, Kenyon Martin, Nene, JR Smith and Linas Kleiza make up a telented group that should be able to challenge for the post season, key word is should.

Last night in Oklahoma City the T-Wolves met the Thunder, yes, THE THUNDER!!! With what was supposed to a basketball game last night at the Garden (Amazing how easy it is to use the Marbury situation as an excuse not to bring it in game three of the season AT HOME, terrible!) and a big football weekend the Thunder's home victory warrants some attention. I have to be honest, I did not watch a large portion of this game. But what I can you about it is this: The Oklahoma City crowd loves their young team and there was is some serious yong talent on the court between these two teams.

As many of you could probably guess I love Al Jefferson. Besides the fact he was a Celtic, his back to the basket collection of moves is like no one else in the league and it takes us back to a day when guys actually went to work on the block instead of settling for fade away jumpers. What intrigues me about the T-Wolves was their decision to grab Kevin Love on draft night and pair him upfront with Jefferson. A lot of the so called experts have been saying Love is not talented enough to be a real player in this league. I emphatically disagree. He has very high basketball IQ, terrific footwork, is a great passer, has the ability to post up and face up and a work ethic which was obvious by his ability to change his body this summer (Love lost 20 pounds in an attempt to become quicker and more versatile while maintaining his strength) That pair with Mike Miller, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Rashaad MacCants, Corey Brewer and Craig Smith makes this a fun team to watch that will grow together over time into a potential contender.

The THUNDER, I just love saying it, THE THUNDER are gonna be a blast this year. KD is serious. A legit scorer whose ceiling is insanely high. Durant teamed with a young floor general like Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green aka, Mr. Rock Solid, present a promising young trio that are going to bring it to some team this season in their building. Chris Wilcox, Nick Collison, Earl Watson and Desmond Mason are all guys that have the ability to play at a high level. A big stat to keep an eye in is Durant's field goal percentage, it must get up to the mid-40's this season, as the challenge is going to be making him an efficient scorer.

While it is a shame Seattle no longer has a team, I think some excitment around the THUNDER will be great for the league.

Something tells me that Tuesday is going to be a huge NBA day. A Celtics-Rockets, Mavericks-Spurs doubleheader, Iverson and Billups being traded for each other and the possibility of the Marbury drama taking yet another turn in New York make the coach quite excited!

Enjoy your evening.

No comments: