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02-23-2006, 09:29 AM
Why Isiah made this trade

posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Chad Ford

Steve Francis for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza?

Knicks fans, I finally get Isiah Thomas.

But if he keeps making moves like this, I won't have to get him much longer.

There's an old adage in the NBA that whomever gets the best player in any given deal is usually the winner of the deal.

Thomas is trying single-handedly to prove that adage is bogus.

Isiah's goal in every trade appears to be to come out of the trade with the best player -- contracts and chemistry be damned.

Look back over his deals for Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Tim Thomas, Jalen Rose and now Steve Francis. In every instance, Isiah got the best player in the trade (not including future draft picks).

He must believe something like this: "If I have the most talent, the deepest bench, the highest-paid coach, and the most media coverage, the wins will come."

This is a dream scenario for Orlando. The team balked earlier in the week at a similar deal that would've sent Hardaway, Jamal Crawford and Ariza for combo of Francis, Tony Battie and Pat Garrity because Orlando's brain trust of Otis Smith and Dave Twardzik decided, after calling around the league, that Crawford might present the same chemistry problems that Francis did.

They were willing to lose the trade on talent to win it at ever other level. Cap management and chemistry are more important to a rebuilding team like Orlando.

And, in trading Hardaway's contract to Orlando, Isiah gave the Magic his best bargaining chip. He might want to consult Smith and Twardzik in the near future about how to really rebuild a team. The Magic come out of the trade deadline in great shape for the future.

The Knicks? Ugh.

Steve Francis isn't the missing piece. Neither is Marbury, Crawford, Curry or Rose. There's a reason teams are willing to trade these players for draft picks and expiring contracts -- they don't want them.

No one denies their individual talent. What they all have in common is that wherever they go, chemistry disruptions ensue and losing follows. They are me-first players, more interested in the stat sheet than the win column, and they all think they are better than they actually are. They'll give you highlight plays, amazing individual performances and huge number of lottery balls in May.

I can understand why Isiah believes he's on the verge of building a winner this way. He's been drinking from the same cup that David Stern has been feeding us all of these years -- that somehow basketball is really about a handful of individual superstars who can make our jaws drop on the fly.

Stars can win you a championship. In recent decades, the Lakers, Spurs, Bulls, Rockets and Celtics have proved that. But putting too many players on the floor who think they are stars is a recipe for disaster.

It makes you wonder whether Isiah really played on the same team Joe Dumars did in the late '80s. Dumars looked at his years playing with the Pistons and came to the conclusion that chemistry, work ethic and guys who could fill a particular role were the foundation of a contender. Isiah came to the opposite conclusion.


A three-part plan to fix the Knicks

By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider
click this

The field I teach in is conflict resolution, so, as you may guess, I get a lot readers who write in asking me if I could solve all the Knicks' problems.

My reply? Middle East peace might be possible ... making the Knicks good, not so easy.

As I wrote in my blog, Isiah's problem is that he's intent on always getting the best individual talent in the deal, no matter what it costs. He showed this again in his acquisition of Steve Francis.

One problem with this approach is that the Knicks need role players to fit around their so-called stars.

If the Knicks are going to win, they're going to have get rid of some of the egos and actually make a trade or two where the goal is chemistry and role, not scoring.

Given that Isiah just dealt away his best trading chip, Penny Hardaway, it won't be easy to fix the team overnight.

But, for what it's worth, here's what I'd do. It's not going to win the Knicks a championship, but it could make them respectable.

Step 1:

Turn around and trade either Francis or Stephon Marbury. (Francis can be re-traded immediately as long as he's traded by himself.) I think Marbury's a better player, but perhaps Larry Brown's had enough of him and I'm sure Marbury's had enough of Larry.

Could they move either guy? It wouldn't be easy. Neither is much of a hot commodity now.

But I wonder about the Lakers. Clearly the idea that they were after Francis is coming from somewhere. If they were after Francis, wouldn't Marbury be an even better fit? And, if it's true they are no longer high on Lamar Odom, which is what just about every GM in the league that I talk to believes, then there's a deal there.

Here's the deal:

Lakers send Odom to New York; Kwame Brown and Smush Parker to Atlanta; and Devean George, Stanislav Medvedenko and Laron Profit to Utah.

Utah sends Carlos Boozer to Lakers.

New York sends either Marbury or Francis to the Lakers.

Atlanta sends Josh Childress to Utah and Tyronn Lue and Donta Smith to the Lakers.

Here's why this might work:

The Knicks would do this to turn Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury into Lamar Odom. Everyone knows that Francis and Marbury are not going to work well together in the backcourt. The Knicks have too many me-first, shoot-first players, especially on the perimeter.

Odom is the opposite, a team guy who can play multiple positions and does what's best for his team. He's not going to drop 30 on you too often, but that's exactly the attitude Larry Brown needs on his roster right now.

I know Lakers coach Phil Jackson isn't thrilled about the idea of losing Odom in midseason, but this one could pay off in the long-term. The Lakers need to get two players for Odom to make something like this work -- a guard and a rebounder, at least. Francis (or Marbury) and Boozer are overpaid, but they should serve their roles just fine as long as both can stay healthy.

The downside for the Lakers is that they would lose any cap flexibility they were going to have in the summer of 2007. However, the cap flexibility isn't going to be much because the Lakers would have to waive all but three players on their roster to get far enough under the cap to sign one max player. I seriously doubt the Lakers are considering putting eight minimum players on their roster in 2007.

This deal would give the Lakers more balance, more scoring and more star power. Whether Kobe would ever pass the ball to the new guys is a different story altogether, though you would have to believe that Marbury in particular would be more adamant about asking for it.

The Jazz basically would be giving away Boozer for cap flexibility and a nice, young two guard with some potential. With the development of Mehmet Okur this year, the Jazz don't really need Boozer -- Okur, Andrei Kirilenko and Greg Ostertag have the frontline covered.

That move would also put the Jazz roughly $13 million under the cap going into the summer, allowing them to use their cap space this summer to either find a two guard who can create his own shot (kind of like they guy they gave away, Kirk Snyder) in the draft, via free agency or with a sign-and-trade.

The Hawks might do it to try out Kwame (who hails from the Atlanta area) for the next season and a half. He would not be a long-term commitment and this summer's free agent market is short on bigs.

Parker is also interesting. He's had some success in L.A. this year and might be a good fit in the backcourt next to Joe Johnson.

Childress has shown potential, but the Hawks have a huge logjam at the wing position.

Step 2:

New York sends Jamal Crawford to Denver.

Denver sends Earl Watson and Greg Buckner to New York.

• See this trade in the ESPN Trade Machine.

The Knicks need a real point guard -- one who doesn't need to take 20 shots a night and one who's willing to defend on the perimeter. To fit those needs, Watson is the best guard on the trade market. His defense, especially, would get Larry Brown excited and add balance to a backcourt featuring Francis or Marbury. Buckner is another defensive stopper who could get some love from Larry.

This isn't an ideal situation for the Nuggets. Crawford isn't the world's greatest shooter or the world's smartest player. But he's 25, knows how to score on the perimeter, is rarely injured and would provide an instant boost to the Nuggets' run-and-gun team.

Step 3:

New York sends Quentin Richardson to Washington.

Washington sends Antonio Daniels and Jared Jeffries to New York.

• See this trade in the ESPN Trade Machine.

Remember, we're remaking the Knicks not with stars, but with role players. Richardson is a terrible fit for Larry Brown and isn't happy sitting on the pine. Daniels struggled as a starting two guard in Washington but was very effective coming off the bench as a point guard for Seattle last season. He provides defense, size and scoring in the backcourt.

Suddenly the Knicks' backcourt would look pretty balanced, with Watson and Daniels on the defensive end and Marbury/Francis and Nate Robinson in the scoring role. Jeffries is a pretty terrible offensive player, but his length and athleticism make him a nightmare for opponents as a perimeter defender.

Washington might do it because Daniels has been terrible in Washington and Richardson could provide them some more size, rebounding and 3-point shooting in the backcourt.

If the Knicks could pull off all three deals, here's how their team would look:

PG: Earl Watson, Antonio Daniels

SG: Steve Francis or Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Greg Buckner

SF: Lamar Odom, Jalen Rose, Jared Jeffries

PF: Channing Frye, Maurice Taylor, David Lee

C: Eddy Curry, Jerome James

I don't think that's a championship team. But if the Knicks' young players were to develop, it would be very solid.

With the roster, the Knicks' players would have defined roles. Francis (or Marbury) and Curry would be the primary scorers, with Odom and Frye able to reach 20 points on any given night. Watson and Daniels would be there for defense and chemistry. Odom has the ability to handle the ball, defend, and he also would be the best rebounder on the team.

Suddenly Larry Brown would have the defenders to hide some of the team's defensive weaknesses.

It's not a perfect plan, but conflict agreements rarely are. This much I believe: That team would win more games than they lost, and the team would't be giving up any young assets in the process.

Are Knicks fans asking for anything more at this point?

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

Martin makes sense for Knicks

posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Chris Sheridan

Now that Steve Francis has been secured for next to nothing, there's one more move that can be made in the next few hours that makes perfect sense for the New York Knicks.

Time to go out and get Kenyon Martin.

Say what you want about the financial ramifications of Wednesday's Knicks-Magic trade in which New York acquired Francis for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza. The Knicks will be paying close to $100 million in salary and luxury tax over the next three seasons as a result of this deal, but cost is not a factor for a franchise owned by one of the biggest cash cows of our time, Cablevision.

Think about it. Every month, millions of New York-area television viewers send Cablevision a check for anywhere from $50 to $200 for their cable, their Internet and even their home phone service. That's a lot of checks, a lot of money, a lot of homes, month after month after month after month.

Cablevision has to do something with all that cash, whether it distributes it to the company's shareholders or to one of the Knicks. But why should that matter to the average Knicks fan? All they should care about is results, not costs.

"They take their directions here from the Ivory Tower, and if they want something they're told to go and get it. A lot of deep pockets here, I guess," said Miami coach Pat Riley, whose term as the Knicks' coach in the mid-'90s predated Cablevision's ownership.

It's safe to say Riley was stunned by the talent part of the trade equation, calling Francis "a gift for the Knicks, basically."

The three-time All-Star (don't forget, he was traded for Tracy McGrady a couple years ago) came at the paltry price of one player (Ariza) from the end of the bench and another (Hardaway) who hasn't even been with the team for most of the past two seasons.

The fact that Orlando couldn't even pry away one of Thomas' lesser rookies, Nate Robinson or David Lee, speaks to how desperate the Magic were to acquire Hardaway's expiring contract to give themselves salary cap relief for the summer of 2007.

See? Expiring contracts really can be assets, just like a willingness to spend money can be an asset.

And that brings us to Martin.

One of the main motivating factors for the Nuggets in a Martin trade would be freeing future money for Carmelo Anthony's contract extension. If Denver was as determined to trade Martin as people were saying Wednesday, the Knicks could be the perfect partner.

"I always try to improve our basketball team, and if there's an opportunity to do that, I will," Thomas said, refusing to comment on specific players.

Denver would want a big man in return, and the Knicks have two -- Malik Rose and Maurice Taylor -- who are utterly expendable. The Knicks also could end Denver's two-year search for a shooting guard if they threw Jamal Crawford into the deal, and how many other teams are there out there willing two give two players of that caliber for Martin?

Taylor, Rose and Crawford all have long contracts, but not nearly as onerous as the max deal Martin has with the Nuggets ($10.6 million this season, then 11.8, 13.0, 14.2, 15.4 and 16.5). How many other teams would be willing to take on Martin at that price, especially with him coming off knee surgery (and with a back problem to boot)?

Makes a little sense, doesn't it?

Guess we'll know if it made enough sense by 3 p.m. ET.

02-23-2006, 09:32 AM
NBA Rumor Central: Knicks Target Garnett

Thursday, February 23


Knicks Target Garnett
Feb 23 - Some league executives suggested yesterday's deal for Steve Francis was part of a risky long-term strategy by Isiah Thomas to trade for Kevin Garnett this summer, reports Newsday.

According to the newspaper, one NBA GM said Thomas sold Knicks owner James Dolan on a strategy to stockpile as many marketable assets as possible to make a play for Garnett, who has grown increasingly restless with the Timberwolves.

"There will be plenty of changes this summer," one team official told the New York Daily News. "Now, there is more to use in trades."


Jackson On His Way To Charlotte?
Feb 23 - Marc Jackson was on the verge of being dealt to Charlotte, several league sources told the New York Post yesterday. According to the newspaper, The move is designed to clear salary, not to import help. One source said the Nets may get back a player earning the NBA minimum salary.

The Nets are willing to give up one of their No. 1 picks if a team like Charlotte is willing to take his contract, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. According to the newspaper, the reason is simple: The Nets have a payroll of $65.9 million, which is above the luxury-tax threshold of $61.7 million. If they can remove Jackson's $4.55 million salary from the equation, they can slip under the threshold.

Bernie Bickerstaff confirmed to the Charlotte Observer before Wednesday night's game against Portland that he's spoken with the Nets about Jackson. "I wouldn't rule it out," Bickerstaff said of acquiring Jackson. "But it would have to be beneficial to us in several ways."

In related news ...

Bickerstaff also told the Charlotte Observer that he received several calls recently about Melvin Ely and Brevin Knight. Bickerstaff says he listens but is reluctant to move either player, despite Ely becoming a restricted free agent this summer. "Melvin has a certain value," Bickerstaff told the newspaper. "You don't want to lose him, but it behooves you to listen."


Smith Could Be Dealt For A Backup Center
Feb 23 - Hornets GM Jeff Bower said the team is having talks with a number of teams to obtain a backup center before today's trade deadline, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

According to the newspaper, players who could be traded are Bostjan Nachbar, Arvydas Macijauskas and J.R. Smith. When Scott was asked about Smith's long-term future with the team, he told the newspaper, "I don't know. Like I said, he hasn't improved from last year to this year. "I've basically told him on three or four different occasions what he needs to do. That's all I can do."


Anderson's On The Block
Feb 23 - The Rockets have tried to complete a deal to move Derek Anderson to the Heat, Cavaliers, Lakers, Nuggets or Magic, reports the Houston Chronicle. According to the newspaper, each team had other, greater priorities, making a deal with the Rockets unlikely until closer to today's trade deadline.

Anderson's agent, Tony Dutt, said the Lakers were one of four or five teams talking with Houston about acquiring the 31-year-old guard, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. "Looking at it now," Dutt said of the Lakers, "that's probably where he should have gone." Dutt told the newspaper that Anderson is 100 percent healhty again after he suffered a right calf strain in December.


Watson Returning To Seattle?
Feb 23 - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports the Sonics are close to a deal that would bring Earl Watson back to Seattle for Vitaly Potapenko and Flip Murray. According to the newspaper, Reggie Evans could be involved in another deal. The Bergen Record reports Jamal Crawford could be headed to Denver for Earl Watson, according to league sources, unless Seattle produces a better offer.


Sonics Inquirer About Jaric
Feb 23 - According to league sources, the Sonics have been one of the most active teams in trade talks for the past two weeks, reports the Seattle Times. A Western Conference executive claiming knowledge of the Sonics' situation told the newspaper that Rick Sund called Minnesota and inquired about Marko Jaric. The newspaper also reorts that in addition to Flip Murray, Reggie Evans and Potapenko, who have requested trades, Seattle is attempting to unload forward Danny Fortson, who has a year remaining on his contract at $6.9 million.

Magic wipe floor with Knicks in Francis trade

By John Hollinger
ESPN Insider

The Orlando Magic have mass-produced managerial blunders during the past few seasons, so let's give some props to the tag-team GM combo of Otis Smith and Dave Twardzik for their two deals this month.

In a matter of weeks, the duo -- led by Smith, who handles most of the team's trade matters -- has completely rebuilt what had become a depressingly mediocre team into a club that should become one of the league's best teams by the end of the decade.

The latest move, unloading Steve Francis for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza, was the Magic's best yet.

Even if he had stopped moping, Francis wouldn't be worth half the money he's owed over the next few seasons. Not only is he turnover-prone and infamous for his willingess to spend 20 or more of the shot clock's 24 seconds relentlessly pounding the air out of the ball like it was a spherical piñata, he also played the same position as one of the Magic's best and least expensive players, Jameer Nelson.

Now Francis is Isiah Thomas' problem (kind of like Jalen Rose, Stephon Marbury, Maurice Taylor, Jerome James, Eddy Curry, Malik Rose and Quentin Richardson … but I digress). Francis is owed close to $50 million over the final three years of his deal, numbers that apparently don't bother the Knicks, since their payroll now dwarfs the national debt.

With Hardaway's contract expiring after this year and Ariza expected to re-sign cheaply as a restricted free agent, the Magic would be $15 million to $20 million under the salary cap (depending on that year's cap number) when Grant Hill's contract expires after next season.

The Magic's timing is impeccable when one considers the names potentially available in 2007 -- forget about LeBron James and the other stars from the class of '03, since they'll sign extensions, but there's also Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Gerald Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison and Jamaal Magloire.

That's the same summer that the Magic will likely extend the deals of Dwight Howard and Nelson, and 2007 also probably represents Orlando's last opportunity to play the market for the next several years.

Because of that, just dumping Francis' contract makes the deal a home run. What really puts it over the top, however, are two other things.

First, Orlando didn't need to take any contracts back -- earlier reports had the Magic accepting Taylor or Jamal Crawford.

Second, how about this? Regardless of contracts, which player would you rather have three years from now -- Francis or Ariza? Sure, Ariza isn't much to look at right now, but he's also 20 years old, an outstanding athlete and is suffocating under his coach's iron grip. Before learning how to "play the right way" he had been one of the league's top rookies in 2004-05, even though he had just one year of college ball under his belt.

Contrast that with Francis, whose best days are pretty clearly behind him and will have to make a major adjustment to become a complementary player. I'm not saying I'd plunk down 10 grand on an even-money bet that Ariza would be better in three years, but it's a closer call than you'd think.

Considering the massive dollop of cap relief the Knicks gave the Magic, it's hard to believe the Knicks actually gave the Magic a player who might be comparable in quality. And get this? Even with all the problems Orlando has had, the Magic are four games ahead of the Knicks in the standings.

Fortunately for Orlando fans, their management's willingness to be honest about their position in the world allowed them to pull off two great deals just before the trade deadline. With a front line of Howard and Darko Milicic, Nelson anchoring the backcourt, future talents like Ariza and Fran Vazquez, a lottery choice this spring and their pick of the free agent litter (remember, Florida has no income tax), the Magic are set for the future.

And the Knicks? They just seem set to spend more money.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. His book "Pro Basketball Forecast: 2005-06" is available at Amazon.com and Potomac Books. To e-mail him, click here.

02-23-2006, 09:40 AM
That is ...alot of horrible, horrible trades.

02-23-2006, 12:58 PM
Chat with Chad Ford

Welcome to The Show! On Thursday, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford will drop by to take your questions on the season.

Ford writes daily NBA Insider columns for ESPN Insider. He also is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, and makes appearances on ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS.

Send in your questions to Chad Ford now, then join him right here in The Show on Thursday at noon ET!

Ford Archive: Chats | Columns

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:02 PM ET ) Hey everyone. I know trade deadline day is one of your favorite days of the year. Lots of rumors floating around and we've had our first trade of the day ...

Alex (Seattle, WA): Any upcoming Sonics moves? It seems like a good possibility that Earl Watson will end up with the Supes.

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:05 PM ET ) Marc Stein just reported that the Nuggets have sent Watson to Seattle in a three-team deal. The Nuggets get Ruben Patterson and Reggie Evans. The Blazers get Vitaly Potapenko and Voshon Lenard.

I guess this means that Rick Sund and company still believe that the Sonics have the pieces to win. I honestly thought they'd blow up the team, save some money and start building a team for the future ... especially given the talk about them relocating. Obviously not. Sund isn't much of risk taker and Watson is a known product. Ridnour needed help. This deal should make them better.

AJ (Denver, CO): The quest for a shooting guard that can actually shoot continues.... Will the Nuggets ever land a real shooting guard?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:06 PM ET ) Yes, I don't get this deal for the Nuggets. After all the high level talk they come away with Ruben Patterson and Reggie Evans. Ugh. I'm not real high on this deal for Denver. As much as I have questions about Jamal Crawford, I think I would've preferred Crawford to Patterson.

Widmer (Portland, OR): Did the Blazers agree to move Ruben just to move Ruben out of town? Not that I'm against it btw.

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:08 PM ET ) Yes. Can't fault this move for Portland. They save a little money, get rid of a troublemaker. I wonder if they're done dealing. Lots of teams pursuing Travis Outlaw, and the Knicks may still be trying to get something done for Theo Ratliff and/or Darius Miles. I also hear that the Knicks have tried to pry away Zach Randolph ... so, you never know.

Kevin (Philly): Does Evans to Denver hint a sign of things to come with K-Mart?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:09 PM ET ) I don't think so. Kiki was pretty adament last night that K-Mart wasn't going anywhere. Personally, I'd give K-Mart away for cap space if I could, hang onto Nene, and then use my money in the summer to try to find a two guard. But what does Kiki care? He'll be the GM of some other team (maybe Portland or LA Lakers) next year.

Joe, NY: I think you don't give Isiah enough credit as the worst GM ever! C'mon.

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:12 PM ET ) That may be one of the funniest post ever. I've been trying to give him his due. Wrote two articles on his "philosophy" on Wednesday and what the Knicks need to do to fix the team. Doesn't look like he's taking my advice.

ruitger (ny): Chad. Your three part plan for the knicks would be my ideal team. However, it seems like GMs are only willing to trade with Isiah when they fell they are completely duping him into doing something stupid. Toughts?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:14 PM ET ) My three part plan won't work anymore. Watson was just traded to Seattle. Apparently Isiah didn't think his contract was long enough. The key for Knicks is to start trading some of their so-called superstars and start getting some role players in there.

Tim (Ellicot City, Maryland): Will Allen Iverson get traded?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:16 PM ET ) I don't think so. Can't get equal value and the Sixers are stuck unless they can move Chris Webber too.

DH (Atlanta): Chad, reports are saying NY's long term plan is to trade for Garnett. Following yesterday's horrible Francis trade, who would be involved in a trade for KG if a trade were to go down? Are the Knicks planning any other moves prior to today's deadline?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:21 PM ET ) I don't think Kevin McHale wants what Isiah has. I think the Wolves might, MIGHT, have considered a deal with Penny Haraway's expiring contract, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and David Lee ... but that's over now. Not sure Minnesota would want anything else. I think the Bulls remain a better possibility for KG. If Paxson could offer Luol Deng, the Knicks No.1 (which could be No. 1 overall) and the Bulls No. 1 ... I think that's probably the best McHale could do.

Brion (Denver): Nugs get Patterson? Come on, Crawford or even Q would have made much more sense.

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:24 PM ET ) On second thought ... I wouldn't be surprised to see the Nuggets turn around and trade Patteson to the Knicks for Jamal Crawford straight up. If that happens, a better deal for Nuggets ... the Knicks, not so much.

Wes (Atlanta): Why wouldn't Al Harrington be moved at this point, given his free agent status and the current logjam at other positions? I like Al, but he is no longer the future here, and they need another pg BADLY!

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:25 PM ET ) They could've moved Al to Denver for Nene and Earl Watson and balked. The conventional wisdom is that they're going to keep him now. Don't understand it either. You've got Marvin Williams and Josh Smith to develop. Hanging onto Al hinder that. If I was Atlanta, I would've pulled the trigger on the Denver deal. Too late now.

cleveland, ohio: are the cavs gonna make a trade? gooden, jones, snow?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:27 PM ET ) Lots of interest around the league in Gooden, but so far, it looks like the Cavs have been unwilling to pull the trigger in a deal for him. Not sure that's the right call. He's a restricted free agent this summer and I'm not sure how much I'd pay for him as a GM. Someone will overpay. I don't see him in a Cavs jersey past this season.

Yancy ((bronx, ny)): How can the nets get a big name forward or center?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:28 PM ET ) They're chasing Melvin Ely. Not sure that's a big name but it may be an upgrade over what they have.

Dan: (Vero Beach, FL): Any reason the Magic didn't consider the Odom for Francis deal as a better option than yesterday's trade with the Knicks?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:31 PM ET ) I don't think the Lakers are willing to move Odom unless they got both a guard and a big back. Orlando couldn't offer that. I've heard Carlos Boozer's name in the mix in LA again ... but it sounds more likely that the Lakers will wait until the summer to start revamping the team. The only problem with that is that they have around $9 million in expiring contracts they could use now. I like what the Magic did, by the way. Odom would've been great, but now the team is set up for the future. They have a nice young core, a high lottery pick this summer, and lots of cap room in the summer of 2007. That's how you rebuild.

Max (NY): Are there any rumors involving the Pacers?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:32 PM ET ) I think they explored some deals that might get them some cap relief, but it looks like they're standing pat.

Jonathan, Richmond IN: Why trade for Darko and not play him? I know its only been two games, but a DNP and what was it three minutes? I first thought maybe they wanted to work him in and such, but Arroyo is getting burn already...whats going on?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:35 PM ET ) I don't get it either. They gave up a lottery pick for him and they have roughly a season and a half to see if he can play. This is the problem with some NBA coaches. They can't see anything but the present. Brian Hill's job security would be so much higher if he finds away to develop Darko into a legit player. Instead, even though the chances of the Magic making the playoffs this year are slim to none, he plays all veterans trying to eke out wins against the Cavs and Nets. The team loses both games, Darko doesn't play. What have they gained? I know the GMs in Orlando aren't happy. It's tough to tell a coach what to do ... but I have a feeling that talk is coming.

mark (des moines): the bucks had a big offseason. will they continue and make a big trade or any trade?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:37 PM ET ) I wouldn't be surprised if they move Jamaal Magloire. They don't really need him and a team like the Raptors may be willing to give them cap room and either a pick or a young prospect for him. Magloire is exactly what the Raptors need ... a local kid with some appeal that plays a position that they are in desperate need of. He only has one more year on his contract, so what's the risk?

Kai (Toronto): Are there any rumors involving the Raptors?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:39 PM ET ) Just the Magloire rumors. They have some assets including the expiring contracts of Antonio Davis and Mike James. Wayne Embry has made several good moves lately, so I wouldn't be surprised if they try to make one more.

Ben (Oakland): Can the Warriors make a trade for a big man? Magloire? Martin? Boozer?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:42 PM ET ) There's been a lot of talk about two players: Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy being on the block. The problem is that very few teams are interested in either play because of their salaries. If they could land any of the three guys you mentioned, Magloire, Kenyon Martin, Boozer ... even a guy like Nazr Mohammed, it would be an upgrade. I'm just not sure they have the assets to get it done without giving up a player like Ike Diogu. If they wouldn't give him up for Ron Artest ...

Joshua -Providence RI: Think Danny Ainge will pull the trigger on any trades ?? we all know Danny loves trading

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:44 PM ET ) He does, but if he makes a trade, it looks like it will be a minor move. Danny loves his young core of Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Kendrick Perkins. And, he continues to state that he has no intention of trading Paul Pierce or Wally. What's left? Some sort of smallish deal that gives them some depth. Maybe Tony Allen or Gerald Green (though he looked pretty good last night).

John(Miami): Hey Chad, There was an story on ESPN saying that the HEAT were exploring trades involving Walker and J-Will. Any truth to these rumors?if so what do you think we would get in return?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:45 PM ET ) If I were the Heat, I'd explore those trades too. The trick is getting a team willing to actually take those guys (and their contracts) off your hands. Unfortunately for Miami, Isiah's out of expiring contracts.

[Editor's note: The following is actually my question :D]

Matt (Dallas): Have you heard about any teams seriously pursuing a J.R. Smith trade, or is the young man doomed to stay on in OK as Byron Scott's least favorite towel boy?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:47 PM ET ) Smith's available if a team will give back a servicable big in return. I wonder if Charlotte would consider a Smith for Melvin Ely deal.

Brent (Indy): Do you see any moves being made by the Bulls? I heard Etan Thomas for Sweetney and cash, any truth?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:48 PM ET ) Can't see it. Bulls would have to take back long-term salary ... something they've been unwilling to do up to this point.

Chris (Phoenix): There was a segment on a Phoenix news station last night about a deal based Kevin Garnett to the Suns for Shawn Marion. Do you know if there is any truth to this rumor?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:50 PM ET ) Interesting. Haven't heard anything like that ... but the combo of Garnett and Amare would be devestating and Marion might be one guy I'd be willing to pull the trigger in a KG trade for ... especially if the Suns threw in one of those draft picks they're getting from Atlanta in the Joe Johnson deal.

Ammer, Toronto: Hi Chad, is Bryan Colangelo coming over to the Raptors to be the Team President/GM? what have you heard on this front?

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:53 PM ET ) Can't entirely blame Bryan if he decides to do it. I think, with new ownership in Phoenix, things aren't quite the same and he'd like to move to place where he got total control. The huge pay raise doesn't hurt either. The Raptors aren't in terrible shape and he'd provide instant credibility to the franchise. I can see it. On the other hand, I wonder if Colangelo isn't better off waiting for the Knicks job to open up. It will pay even better, be higher profile and given the jobs done by Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas ... he could do no wrong.

SportsNation Chad Ford: (12:54 PM ET ) I've got to run everyone. I appreciate all the questions. There were thousands ... wish I could've gotten to more. Have fun the next few hours ...

02-23-2006, 01:37 PM
Evil is a splendid one to behold. And Chad Ford knows it.

02-24-2006, 02:35 AM
Deals at a glance: Artest to Szczerbiak

By Chris Sheridan
ESPN Insider

The Year of The Earl Watson Rumor came to a fitting conclusion Thursday, its namesake leading a phalanx of bit players who changed teams on what turned out to be a fairly dull deadline day.

Looking at it from a broader perspective, however, it's been a busy month since the Indiana Pacers broke the leaguewide logjam when they shipped Ron Artest to Sacramento for Peja Stojakovic.

The deals ran the gamut from contract dumps (Antonio Davis and Penny Hardaway) to attitude dumps (Ruben Patterson) to draft pick dumps (Aaron Williams and Steven Hunter) to tax threshold dumps (Lee Nailon, Marc Jackson) to malcontent dumps (Reggie Evans, Vladimir Radmanovic, Voshon Lenard).

Anyone wishing for an Allen Iverson or Paul Pierce blockbuster was left disappointed, but there's always the possibility of a Kevin Garnett mega-deal lurking ahead in the summer.

Things won't heat up again until draft night in late June, so we'll take a quick look at each of the 16 in-season deals (one of which was rescinded) that went down before the NBA's lawyers stopped taking calls at 3 p.m. Thursday:

Ron Artest for Peja Stojakovic (Jan. 25)
Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird waited and waited until they were offered a quality player, and they got one of the game's best shooters. He's averaged nearly 19 points since the trade, getting to the line more often and shooting a higher percentage than he did in Sacramento. The Pacers are 6-3 since the trade, the Kings are 7-6 with Artest scoring 17.5 points on 38 percent shooting.

Nikoloz Tskitishvili to the Suns (Jan. 26)
Phoenix gave up a second-round pick to get this old favorite of Mike D'Antoni, although the coach has only seen fit to give him 17 minutes in three games with eight DNP-CDs.

Ricky Davis for Wally Szczerbiak (Jan. 26)
This seven-player trade hasn't turned out well for either team yet (Boston is 4-8 since; Minnesota is 4-9). Throw-in Marcus Banks has been a pleasant surprise for the Wolves, playing starter's minutes as the (temporary?) backup to Anthony Carter.

Aaron Williams to the Hornets (Jan. 31)
The first of the Hornets' many moves to bring in big men, this one has paid off well thus far. A-Train is averaging 23 minutes and roughly six points and rebounds a night for New Orleans, which is 7-3 with him.

Steven Hunter to the Hornets (Jan. 31)
This trade was rescinded (the Hornets sent two second-round picks to Philadelphia, the same price they paid to the Raptors for Williams), apparently due to concerns about Hunter's knee.

Jalen Rose for Antonio Davis (Feb. 3)
New York is 1-7 since this trade, which also brought them Denver's No. 1 pick. At this time next year, we'll be talking about what the Knicks got for Rose's expiring contract.

Keith Bogans for Lonny Baxter (Feb. 9)
Jeff Van Gundy has been giving 20 minutes per game off the bench to Bogans, whose acquisition allowed Houston to bail out on the Derek Anderson experiment. Charlotte's gotten one bucket from Baxter in five games.

Maciej Lampe for Moochie Norris (Feb. 13)
We'll have to wait and see if the Hornets will need to turn to Norris, who will serve as point guard insurance behind Chris Paul and Speedy Claxton.

Chris Wilcox for Vladimir Radmanovic (Feb. 14)
The Clippers are 0-3 since adding a shooter to the worst 3-point shooting roster in the NBA. Vlad is 4-for-12 from downtown since the deal. Wilcox is shooting 68 percent in three games for Seattle.

Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo for Kelvin Cato and a No. 1 (Feb. 15)
The Pistons failed to make a deadline day deal, meaning they'll have Lindsey Hunter and Alex Acker as the backups at the point behind Chauncey Billups. They'll use Tayshaun Prince in that role, too. Brian Hill has seen fit to play Darko only four minutes of garbage time in two games since the trade.

Steve Francis for Penny Hardaway and Trevor Ariza (Feb. 22)
Knicks fans and local radio hosts were killing Isiah Thomas for this trade Thursday, but were they happy with what Quentin Richardson was bringing as the starting two-guard? Ariza was hailed as one of Isiah's great second-round finds just a few months ago, but Larry Brown had no use for him.


Denver-Portland-Sacramento-Seattle nine-player trade
The Nuggets had been holding onto Watson in search of the right deal, and they got the type of defensive-minded player George Karl likes in Ruben Patterson, along with one of the best rebounds-per-minute players in the league, Reggie Evans. Sacramento may have found a sleeper in Sergei Monia, a shooter who only cost them Brian Skinner.

Marc Jackson and Linton Johnson for Bostjan Nachbar
The failed Hunter trade and the season-ending wrist injury to Jackson Vroman necessitated the Hornets' need to find another big man. Jackson plays low to the ground, but he's an intense competitor. Nachbar is now the Nets' Slovenian Lamond Murray.

Derek Anderson for Gerald Fitch
One more veteran scoring option added by Pat Riley, who couldn't resist the low price. If he gives them 40 good playoff minutes, that's 40 more than Fitch would have provided.

Flip Murray for Mike Wilks
Surprising this was all the Sonics could get for Flip, who waived his trade veto because he wants to be somewhere he can establish some value before becoming an unrestricted free agent. He could take minutes away from Damon Jones in Cleveland.

Lee Nailon to Cleveland
A pure money dump by the 76ers, who want to make a run at Tim Thomas and needed to move Nailon's salary to stay beneath the luxury tax threshold.

Chris Sheridan, a national NBA reporter for the past decade, covers the league for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Chris, click here.