Welcome to the NBA Roundtable!
The Season is over, but the questions for next season have just begun!
This week the Panel talk Celtics Explosion, the Draft, and we start looking at Free Agency’s many question marks. Four roundball regulars weigh in this week: David, DJ, EJ, and Bill.
No time to waste… so let’s get on with it!
David: HELL NO. Gerald Wallace is overpaid, and hasn’t been worth poo since he left the Bobcats. I used to consider him the best defender in the NBA at his position- and you could not argue he was number 2 at worst. Those days are FAR behind him. He’s untradeable, getting 10M each year. I have no idea what else was out there, but to give 2 HoFers, and Jason Terry (expensive, but serviceable) People will talk about the 2018 pick being possibly a top pick, since almost the entire starting 5 will be working on HoF speeches instead of baseline jumpers. I have 2 problems there- what if the 2018 draft is like this years? What if the Nets become Lakers East- and just start adding free agents they have no logical right to get? I’d rather traded them in separate deals for Picks. Say KG to Portland for a 2015/16 number 1 to work with LaMarcus, and PP to Denver for DG and a pick or two. Jason Terry to the Hawks or even the Bucks?
DJ: It doesn’t look good on the surface, but it sometimes takes a few years to evaluate a trade.
The Nets window to contend is for the next 1-2 years with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Williams will be 32 years old in 2016 and Joe Johnson will be 35….if they resign him. That 2016 1st round pick could be a top 8-10 pick. Plus, they also have their 2018 1st rounder. So, if the Nets take a few years to rebuild after this short run…the Celtics are sitting pretty.
Plus, the Celtics aren’t done dealing either. Kris Humphries is an expiring contract and could be flipped at the trade deadline for a team willing to give up a late 1st rounder.
EJ: Absolutely not. Gerald Wallace? Kris Humphries? Draft picks that will likely be in the 20’s? Far too little return for Pierce and Garnett. The only way this can work out successfully for Boston is if they are bad enough next season to land one of the top 5 picks in the 2014 draft.
Bill: I can’t say I’m a fan of this trade. Call me sentimental if you want, but I was genuinely hoping that Pierce would retire on the Celts. As for Garnett, I’m not so strong on him but it would have been nice since his acquisition DID lead them to winning another title some years back. The particulars in this deal far, far outweigh what BOS is getting in return. The key player in this, Wallace, isn’t quite as athletic or as solid as performer as he once was and time isn’t on his side. Humphries is a big body capable of pulling down boards, but that might be the extent of it. I don’t know if he’s got it in him to be a scorer, but he’ll have to contribute more than rebounds. I don’t expect him to be sticking around and see a deal in the works for him soon. The draft picks are nice, but they’re not enough.
Tomas: I don’t know if they got enough but they did get what they wanted, as in rebuild mode. This trade wasn’t made so the Celtics would get a high caliber player or superstar it was made so they can start rebuilding. C’Mon KG and Paul Pierce for Humphries and Wallace? Even if they added Brook Lopez and Deron Williams it would not have been enough….. 5 Years ago!
2. Is Rondo Next?
David: I think he has to be, and let me give you a partner. The Celtics are NOT going to be good next year, Rondo is gonna be PISSED and lets not forget he CRIMINALLY underpaid. How good is he going to be? The Celtics have a good number of picks coming in, but how many in the top 10? Only THEIRS! This is not the 80s where you can throw a pick in a deal then somehow it ends up being top 5 because a team was STUPID. Not to mention, the team NEXT year is going to Stink as well! So you got 2 years, with 2 Lotto picks, and you HOPE they have better luck than the Mavs of the 90s and the Bobcats have had at ping pong balls.
So who should be the Rondo destination?
Forget Howard, Trade OJ Mayo and parts to Boston with a few picks, Pay the man his money, and Dallas can roll with Rondo, Dirk and Iggy, then wait until Al Horford or Al Jefferson comes up.
DJ: No. I know Ainge doesn’t like him, but Rondo and Green are a decent 1-2 combo to try and build around.
PG’s like Rondo don’t come along that often. He has 20 triple doubles (in 310 games) since the start of the 2008-09 regular season. He is the 2nd coming of Jason Kidd. While he may never develop a consistent 3-point shot, he’s got a better than advertised mid range 15 foot jumpshot.
EJ: Yeah, Rondo is next. He might not go in the next few weeks but yeah, it’s hard for me to see Rajon wanting to be the man on a bad team. I agree with David that Dallas is a likely destination for him. The Mavs have some interesting contracts in Marion and Carter that the Celtics can take on, and try to flip again at next season’s trade deadline.
Bill: No. Rondo is about all they’ve got left and is probably the most vital of all the Celtics. His play has been key and his absence was more pronounced than many probably expected. Moving him would be an act of desperation and would show that Ainge truly has lost his nerve and mind. If he does end up moving him, I expect him to be headed outside the conference as trading him to a conference rival, no matter what is had in return, would be foolish… unless Ainge can fleece the wool right off some team’s back.
Tomas: NO (for now anyways). He is now the only attraction for the fans, he will have to be the Man now in Boston. Is he up for it is another question. BTW.. Analysts are comparing next years draft to 2003 the year Lebron, Carmelo, and Wade came out of the first round that’s why all the teams are trying to stock pile their Draft picks.
David: I’m going to say they are more than a threat, If Jason Kidd is a better coach than Vinny, they might be better. Bosh is going to have the KG nightmare, plus Kris when KG takes a break. LeBron has to play vs the Truth, Wade vs Joe Johnson, leaving Super Mario to face Deron Williams, who hopefully will not suck, and uh, Mike Miller on Terry?
Rumor on the first day of free agency is Kyle Kover is interested in coming to the Nets. That would be a huge boost to a weak bench. Terry and Korver would be a nice start to improving that and they drafted Miles Plumlee who will give them a capable player to develop. They should try and sign Kenyon Martin to give them a veteran post player off the bench.
They have 2 huge advantages over Miami’s weaknesses: PG and C. Williams is better than any PG Miami has and Lopez is a huge threat. Roy Hibbert exposed Miami’s weakness at C and Lopez can do the same.
EJ: David needs to update this logo. The Nets are in my hometown now, so let’s drop the New Jersey past. The Brooklyn Nets are definitely a contender to the Heat. Keeping Blatche, adding Jason Terry, and possibly landing Kyle Korver will give the Nets an improved bench and the resources to rest Pierce and Garnett. Adding those guys and their leadership was huge but the Nets definitely need to add to the overall strength to get those guys ready for the playoffs.
Bill: Yes, but even with this move they’re still perhaps the fourth best team in the conference. MIA is the clear power, IND is right on their heels, CHI should hsve a fully rehabbed Derrick Rose, and then you’ve got the Nets. Are they that much better than their cross town rival? The jury is out on that one. Seeing what the boys in Brooklyn have done, I don’t expect the Knicks to just sit idly and not make a move or two of their own. JR Smith is a free agent and was often key in their season. Will he return?
Tomas: After the debacle in Laker land this year nothing is certain. Who would have thought a line up of Nash, Kobe, Metta, Gasol, and Howard would struggle to make the playoffs. That being said Deron, Pierce, Garnett, Lopez, and Johnson looks great on paper, in fact this could very well be the starting line up for this years Eastern Conference All Stars (I’m sure Lebron fits in there somewhere) but until I see them play together the Miami Heat are still the world champions. Ughhhhh… really hated saying that!
4. Who won the Pelicans/76ers trade?
David: 76ers. I get a lottery pick (top 5 protected) plus a guy that was considered number 1 overall for most of the season, for a guy that while good (17/8) isn’t even a top 7 PG in the NBA? Not a good start.
DJ: The Pelicans got an All Star caliber PG in return for an injured rookie center and a draft pick. Noel is going to miss a good portion of this upcoming season and the Sixers basically blew their team up to try and get Andrew Wiggins next year in the draft. I really like the addition of Holiday to the Pelicans who will give them a better scorer at the PG position. While still being a good passer.
EJ: The Sixers won this deal. Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter Williams are unproven but if they pan out and the Sixers end up in the lottery, and the Pelicans end up there too in a much tougher Western Conference, then the Sixers are looking at 2 lottery picks in the most loaded draft in recent memory. Jrue Holiday might be a 23 year old All Star but he doesn’t make New Orleans that much better. In one move the Sixers are setting themselves up for a very bright future.
Bill: I’m thinking that the Pelicans got the better end of it… for now. It’s hard to imagine just how dominating the front court could have been with Davis AND Noel, but that apparently wasn’t meant to be. I can understand them not wanting to gamble on Noel’s knee and they also can’t really afford to sit him for an extended period of time. They need all the help they can get, and Holiday brings quite a bit. It’s hard to see how Eric Gordon fits into this now despite the team matching his RFA contract offer sheet from PHX last season even though he openly stated that he didn’t want to return to NO despite them stating they’d match. Will the Pelicans and Suns work something out now that the trade restriction on Gordon has been lifted? We’ll see, but I don’t think that the Suns have much to offer them in return. Going back to the Sixers, this could end up working out well for them and could be just as scary as what could have been in NO turns out in PHI should Andrew Bynum come back healthy and re-sign. If not, I expect the Philly tank fest to begin promptly.
Tomas: Pelicans, good PG are very difficult to find “VERY” I am not saying Holiday is a HOF but he is an above average PG. I rarely got to see him play but his numbers reflect an All Star caliber PG. Let me prove my point: Please name 5 PG in the league right now that are guaranteed future HOF’s or even guaranteed All Stars. I’ll start Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Rondo (if he is not injured), Derrick Rose, and Westbrook special consideration to Deron Williams. So until Micheal Carter Williams proves he can play with the big boys Pelicans got the better deal. Oh I never mentioned Nerlens Noels because I do not like players that are drafted right out of college injured. This is the NBA not Caesars Palace gamble on your own time!
5. Was Bennett the best pick in the draft?
David: I’m an Otto guy, I think the Wiz got the best guy out there. I can live with Bennett if I’m the Cavs, but Bennett NOT Grandmama by any means.
DJ: No. He’s another Gary Trent-type with a better outside shot. He’s too short to play PF effectively. I think bigger PF’s will take advantage of his lack of size.
I really think they should have drafted Ben McLemore and pushed Waiters to the bench as their 6th man. McLemore would have taken a lot of the scoring burden away from Irving and would have helped Kyrie develop into a better passer.
EJ: Best pick in the draft? No. A good fit for the Cavs? Yes. Bennett is a tweener. He’s big enough at 240 pounds to play power forward but he’s athletic enough to be a small forward in the NBA. He has a real outside-inside game. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Anthony Bennett is a good start for Cleveland and assuming they make it into the lottery again they could have a young and dangerous squad for the 2014-2015 season.
Bill: This wasn’t that strong a draft to begin with, but Bennett was certainly one of the best talents in it. Was he the best? Probably not, but I’ve got to give some love to a fellow UNLV Rebel. More to the point is if he will be a good fit in CLE? It’s hard for me to say seing as he’s a bit of a “tweener”, but I’m hoping he plays as a power forward. The only problem in that is that they have a young and talented Tristan Thompson who plays the same position as Bennett. That said, Bennett is a far better choice as a SF given he situation. He’s already better than Alonzo Gee and I see him moving into the starting lineup right away.
Tomas: I do not know. What I do know is that he is a safer pick than an injured Nerlens Noels.
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