Monthly Archives: June 2008

NBA Summer 2008 – The Free Agents

This year’s Unrestricted Free Agent class is pretty thin, but it merits some consideration. Without considering the Restricted Free Agents, here are my thoughts on some of the most interesting unrestricted free agents:

Baron Davis – Baron had his share of problems with the Warriors and Don Nelson this past season, and I get the feeling that he opted out due to a sense of frustration with the franchise. Also, he’ll never be as attractive as he is today, since he has put together two statistically remarkable seasons, and played all 82 games last year, significantly reducing the rumors about his long-term durability. No reason not to go for a rich long term deal right now, unless you consider the financial environment of the league right now. There aren’t many teams that can afford him, but a sign and trade might make things significantly easier. The Warriors have a lot to consider right now, and this decision will shape the future of the franchise for the next five years.

Elton Brand – Brand is a premier talent in this league and will be pursued by any team that can afford him. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t opt out, he’s filthy rich and has proven himself as a quality player in every sense of the word. All that is left is playoff success and a championship, and Brand knows that the Clippers are the last team he should expect to help him get there. Brand does not appear to be the kind of player who places money before everything, so he could easily take less to play on a contender.

Corey Maggette – This was not a surprise, considering the level of animosity between player and organization. He’s turning down $8.4 million, and while there are a lot of teams who’d love to add him to their roster, the number that can offer him a comparable salary is significantly smaller. If he really wants out of Los Angeles, he could take a longer contract at the MLE (roughly $5.5 million per season) and recoup the lost money with extra years on the deal. Perhaps the Magic would be willing to offer this kind of deal, but the just drafted Courtney Lee and have more pressing needs (such as big man depth). Teams might wait on Maggette and try to low-ball him later in the year.

Shaun Livingston – He’s not getting that $5.8 million Qualifying Offer from the Clipppers, so it loloks like Livingston will be UFA this summer. There are a lot of teams where he could try a “get healthy” contract , like Golden State, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, and Sacramento.

James Jones – Jones declined the $3.1 million player option he had available from the TrailBlazers and will now be a free agent. The team played extremely well with him on the court, and he is a lights out shooter. Look for him to be an extremely attractive free agent, with many teams needing a shooter who can space the floor giving him an extended and offering him a majority of their MLE.

Gordan Giricek – Giricek was traded to the Sixers this season and then released, signing and actually getting decent minutes with the Phoenix Suns. He can shoot from the outside, but isn’t good enough at most other basketball skills to be a steady and reliable player. He’ll get looks from quite a few teams, because outside shooting makes up for a lot of flaws, and he’ll be had for cheap as well.

Keyon Dooling – Dooling will be a free agent this summer and is expected to get offers from his current team, Orlando, and many others seeking an inexpensive backup guard. Dooling can shoot a bit and defend, so he has value to a number of teams with thin benches.

Adonal Foyle – If a tree falls in the woods. Foyle is opting out of the last year of his contract and is hoping to sign for aronud $2 million, but its yet to be seen if any teams see value in the slow and short center. Foyle can’t score or pass, and his defensive skills have waned with his foot speed, so it looks like a longh summer for the Colgate alum.

Jannero Pargo – Pargo is rumored to be ready to opt of his contract. very soon He developed a name this year as Chris Paul’s backup and as an offensive sparkplug of the bench. Pargo could see his salary rise with another team, but it is likely that the Hornets will make a solid attempt to retain him.

Gilbert Arenas – Arenas officially opted out of his contract this week, but still says he wants to resign with the Wizards. With Jameson in limbo, the Wizards’ situation is still greatly in doubt, but Arenas would have a ton of potential destinations should Washington not pan out. This would probably mean sign and trade, though, so the Wizards would still retain some leverage.

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Vegan Fish Tacos’ 2008 NBA Draft Review

Did he go to the right place?He\'s not a Laker, but the T-Wolves will be happy with himTell Kanye West the best player in the draft is going home.

Typically, what I do is I separate the teams into categories and then rank teams within a category.

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Great Drafts:
1. New Jersey Nets Sweet sassy molassy did they do an amazing job. The best way to think about what they did is to put it in the context of their twin goals.
(1) Clear money so they can sign Lebron in the 2010 offseason.
(2) Get talent
They did both of those, and did them astonishigly well. Brook Lopez is a starting-caliber NBA Center, which is astonishingly valuable in today’s NBA, especially in the Eastern Conference. To complement him, the Nets grabbed Yi and the underrated Bobby Simmons in the trade, which accomplishes both goals. To add to that, they added in a guy in Ryan Anderson who can be a great contributor off the bench and the criminally underdrafted Chris Douglas-Roberts, who may end up being a prototypical wingman next to King James. Also, one of my good friends who knows Ryan Anderson and used to smoke out with Dominic McGuire wants Odds on whether he’ll smoke out with Sean Williams now that Ryan is on the team and my friend is in NYC. I’m putting it at 45% right now.

2. Milwaukee BucksIt is genuinely amazing to see two teams that traded with each other at #1 and #2, but it’s well-deserved. The Bucks weren’t going to get out of salary purgatory any time soon, and they added a bevvy of talented players who should fit in fairly well with their squad. Jefferson will bring excitement and a presence that opens up the floor more for Redd, Bogut, and Mo Williams. Also, adding in the gritty (and talented) Joe Alexander along with one of the true glue guys in this draft in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute provides them with a SF/PF rotation that is actually somewhat formidable if they go up-tempo, since they can throw so many bodies at their opponents.

3. Boston Celtics One way to have a great draft is to do more with less. Well, no one did better at that than Danny Ainge. He didn’t even need McHale to bail him out with buying Bill Walker- Grunfeld was more than happy to help. JR Giddens should make the team and his potential is pretty potent if he can ever get his head on straight, and Bill Walker is a stud who should be a consistent presence on the C’s for a long, long time.

4. Portland TrailblazersThey would be one spot higher, but it bothers me a little that they dumped some of their 2nd rounders like Omar Asik who could end up being a valuable member of the Blazers Euro farm team. That said, I was never keen on Jerryd Bayless, but they got him for almost nothing and he will be a fantastic fit next to Brandon Roy. All he has to do is score, which is fortunate for him. Also, adding Nicolas Batum makes the SF spot much more stable in the long-term, so they primarily need to focus on getting a starting SF, which should be cake given the appalling amount of talent they have. It warrants mentioning that they also stole one of my favorite players in all of NBA backup-dom in Ike Diogu- he is skilled and a hard worker who will fit very well with the Blazers’ Centers for however long they want him around.

5. Minnesota TimberwolvesThey couldn’t sniff this level earlier tonight. You can call me a UCLA homer all you like, but Kevin Love will be a great complement for Al Jefferson. The amount of balls that it took to draft Mayo and then extort the Grizzlies the way they did shows me alot about McHale and Mr. Hoiberg. Marko Jaric’s contract is as long as Gasol’s and half of the cost, and the T-Wolves got Mike Miller in the deal too, who can be a good player or a valuable trading piece close to the deadline. The Mario Chalmers trade wasn’t their finest hour, but the rest of the draft has enough merit to put them here.

6. Chicago BullsTaking the best player in the draft makes this a great draft, and adding a big for the future in Omar Asik puts them right here. I wish they’d have added some size that could contribute in the nearer future (they’re Anthony Randolph-thin at C right now), but they have such a strong foundation for the future. Continue reading

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The Day Of- VFT NBA Mock Draft and Draft Board

It’s the day of people! I wanted to put out a quickie revised Mock after all that has gone on

The Draft, Baby!

The Predictions Mock:
1. Chicago Bulls– Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. The best decision for the Bulls to make, and the one they will do.

2. Miami Heat– Michael Beasley, PF/SF, Kansas State. The news of the Sonics/Clippers stuff makes this much clearer.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves– Kevin Love, PF, UCLA. OJ Mayo is commonly bandied around for this pick, and there is a rationale behind it. That said, I don’t see McHale as seeing a guy like OJ as being a good fit for the team and organization. One potential alternative would be the T-Wolves drafting Mayo anyway and just waiting for the trade offers, just like the leap of faith the NY Giants did when they drafted Phillip Rivers without knowing if the Chargers would go through on the trade. In the end, this should be about finding the best compliment for Al Jefferson, and Kevin is unquestionably that guy in this draft.

4. “Seattle Sonics”- OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C. Mayo would be an interesting wing man for Durant and be a pivotal part of their foundation. If Mayo goes #3, this pick will go to the Clippers, probably for them to take Eric Gordon, but it could be Russell Westbrook too.

5. Portland Trailblazers (via Memphis)– Russell Westbrook, SG/PG, UCLA. The trade here is Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins’ corpse, and the #5 pick for Raef’s expiring contract and #13. Gives the Grizzlies ownership more precious money and the Blazers get a great fit. Continue reading

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NBA Draft Day Notes: (Trades, Draft Notes, Rumors)

Our thoughts on some of the trades being rumored ahead of Thursday’s draft:

Portland trades Jarret Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush to Indiana for Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu.

Great trade for both sides. Rush is a great fit in Indiana, Bayless was a poor fit. Jack is a good backup point. Indians is having a great week.

Sonics and Clippers agree to swap picks should OJ Mayo be selected 3rd.

I don’t know whats included in this deal, but it seems like, if Mayo is off the board, the Sonics will be sending their #4 pick to the Clippers in exchange for the #7 pick. I’m sure there’s some compensation to make the deal worth it, besides the smaller amount of money that a rookie drafted at 7 would get.

Holy God: Marc Stein reports that the Nets are now ready to trade Richard Jefferson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlian. SImmons is only signed through the 09/10 season (though at an atrocious $10 milion), and Yi is on his rookie contract, of course. Jefferson, on the other hand, is signed through the 10/11 season at $15 million. This is a huge trade that gives Milwakuee another scorerer (though Jefferson is wildly overpaid) and allows the Nets to develop a foreign star as well as shave years and dollars off their books. A wildly successful trade for New Jersey.

Peter Vescey is reporting that Ron Artest will in fact opt out of his contract with the Kings. New York will likely be a heavy suitor, and Artest has long said he wants to play there. For Sacramento, drafting a PG like Augustin will still be a priority, but depending on how the Knicks view ther chances of signing him, their draft/trade strategy might change, with players like Balkman and Lee becoming more expendable.

New Jersey sends the #10 pick and a future 1st to Memphis for the #5 pick.

Basically, Memphis wants out of the #5. I don’t know why, but its Chris Wallace, so I’m not going to try to figure it out. The trade makes sense for New Jersey, who can get a Gallinari or Kevin Love (should Minnesota not take him).

Portland sends the #13 pick and Jarret Jack to New Jersey for Marcus Williams and the #10 pick.

This is an intriguing trade idea, the Nets acquire a good backup point guard, the Blazers take a flier on Marcus Williams, whose option they can decline next year (instead of Jack who has a qualifying offer and therefore would require a cap-hold that would hamstring their salary cap flexibility). With the 10 pick, the Blazers can select one of the better guards available, probably landing DJ Augustin, since most projections have him going to Sacramento at #12. The Nets, on the other hand, can still take one of the many forwards projected for the mid-teens.

Overall: I like this trade. The Nets can use another versatile forward, and picking at #13 does not diminish their ability to select one. So why not get a backup point guard in Jack while they’re at it? For Portland, they can acquire a DJ Augustin level point guard and increase their future salary cap flexibility.


Heat trade Shawn Marion and the #2 pick to Los Angeles for Elton Brand and the #7:

This trade sounds a little desperate to me. Brand is an incredible talent and I’m confident he’ll regain his previous playing form, but the Heat don’t need another PF, that’s why they’re trading out of the 2 pick to begin with. Of course, trading Haslem is always a possibility, and there are a lot of teams who would want him, but after picking up Elton Brand, the Heat would lose some leverage there too. For the Clippers, this is a great trade. They probably draft Beasley to play the 4, insert Marion at 3, and run last year’s draft pick, Al Thornton off the bench and sometimes at the 2. With Kaman having a breakout season last year, all they need is a sure-handed point guard, and could sign Beno Udrih at the MLE to put them back in contention.

Overall: I like this trade, but not as much for the Heat as for the Clippers.

Just in: Evidently Denver is trading out of this draft (like the Hornets did yesterday with the Blazers).They’re sending their #20 pick to Charlotte, in exchange for a future first, with no word on potential conditions attached to that pick. According to DraftExpress, Charlotte is keen on taking Roy Hibbert with the 20 pick, though his stock has been rising so much recently, he might not last that long.

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One Week Out Vegan Fish Tacos NBA Mock Draft and Draft Board

We’re less than a week away folks, and I’ll try to hammer out predictions and opinion pieces throughout the week and of course an insanely long Draft Review either Thursday night or Friday morning. I’m also going to try to be more specific about player movement on my Draft Board, so check it out. The meat of my talent evaluation is there, should that interest you, oh valued reader

The Draft, Baby!

The Predictions Mock:
1. Chicago Bulls– Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis. The best decision for the Bulls to make, and the one they will do.

2. “Seattle Sonics” (via Miami Heat)– Michael Beasley, PF/SF, Kansas State. I was on this long before it was reported, and it makes a ton of sense for both parties. The most sensical trade to me is Wilcox, #4, and one or two of the Sonics’ million 2nd rounders for Alexander Johnson, Marcus Banks, Joel Anthony (for cap purposes) and #2. It would make sense for both parties if there was a way to get Ridnour in on it too, but the problem is that he makes too much money and the Heat have no $4-6m contracts of players they could move, unless Haslem works for them. I don’t like Beasley in a variety of situations, but playing with his good friend (and competitive dude) Kevin Durant would keep him on his game even when the Sonics are having a tough 2 years.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves– Kevin Love, PF, UCLA. OJ Mayo is commonly bandied around for this pick, and there is a rationale behind it. That said, I don’t see McHale as seeing a guy like OJ as being a good fit for the team and organization. One potential alternative would be the T-Wolves drafting Mayo anyway and just waiting for the trade offers, just like the leap of faith the NY Giants did when they drafted Phillip Rivers without knowing if the Chargers would go through on the trade. In the end, this should be about finding the best compliment for Al Jefferson, and Kevin is unquestionably that guy in this draft.

4. Miami Heat (via Seattle)- OJ Mayo, SG/PG, U$C. Mayo probably is the second-best fit for this current Heat squad. Why the trade makes sense is that it gives them a C in Wilcox who can eat up some valuable minutes (and contribute) and unloading Marcus Banks’ deal gives them additional flexibility to bring in some help wherever they feel it’s necessary.

5. Memphis Grizzlies– Brook Lopez, C/PF, Memphis. Lots of people talk about this as a PF pick, but I really don’t see them as being sold on Darko as their C of the future, so they take the player who is the BPA at this slot and would really allow them some flexibility to find their PF, either in this draft or further on down the line. Also, moving Darko to the bench allows them to have more control over his minutes and can put him in situations which better help his confidence. Continue reading

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Why I love Public Television – The McLaughlin Group in 2 Minutes:



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