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OutletPass
01-07-2003, 12:33 AM
Ok...this is long, but I thought it might be of interest.

East Coast Trade Talk
by Chad Ford
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The old year is out. The new year is in. The Hawks, Bulls, Wizards, Bucks and Heat are all worse than anyone could've expected. Panic is starting to set in ...Warm up your hot stoves, ladies and gentlemen. The NBA silly season is about to get under way.

Last season saw several blockbuster trades happen right before the trade deadline. Of course, the prevailing sentiment right now is that teams want to wait to get closer to the Feb. 20 trade deadline before making commitments. But expect to hear a lot of wild stuff over the next six weeks.

Insider has been poking around the league for the past week, looking for where the trade action will be this winter. Today we'll break down five teams in the East that are looking to make a move before the deadline. Tuesday we'll comb through the Western Conference.

Time to blow up the Hawks?

Obviously, the Hawks' phone operators don't check out the NBA box scores each morning. Give the Hawks' front office a call and you'll still hear their operators refer to the lowly Hawks as "the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks." That damn playoff promise (the brain child of ousted coach Lon Kruger) may end up costing just about everyone in Atlanta their jobs. Hawks GM Pete Babcock has been working the phones for weeks trying to figure out how to inject some life into a franchise that's lost 10 of its last 12 games.

The Hawks thought they did that when they pulled the trigger last summer for Glenn Robinson. While Robinson has played well, the rest of the team has gone to hell. Theo Ratliff isn't even a shadow of his former self. Shareef Abdur-Rahim plays largely uninspired basketball. Jason Terry has played better at the point this year, but not well enough to keep NBDL upstart Michael Wilks from stealing his job. And Nazr Mohammed has completely disappeared.

The dilemma for Babcock is in deciding who goes. The Hawks have a talented team on paper. But on the court, the pieces just aren't fitting.

"When you are assembling a puzzle and two pieces don't fit, because either they are bad guys, or they don't buy into what you are doing, or they don't work hard, then it's easier to identify," Babcock told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "In our situation, each individual player -- they're good guys. They're working hard. They're doing the extra things. They take the program seriously. But when you put the pieces together, it's like they don't have faith in each other. They don't quite believe in each other yet.

"That's the job of this staff, to get them believe. If they can't, then you've got to reassemble the puzzle. You've got to change the pieces to get that mix that believes in one other, because this is a team sport."

Insider reported on Friday that Terry would be the Hawks' primary trade target for several reasons. First, his contract, (1 year, $2.15 million) makes him easy to deal. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a contract extension this fall, meaning he'll be a restricted free agent this summer. A team would basically get four months to audition Terry, and then have the inside track on resigning him.

Second, despite public pronouncements to the contrary, the Hawks still aren't convinced that Terry is a point guard in the pros. Despite his better assist numbers this season, one of interim coach Terry Stotts' first moves was to move Terry back to two guard and bring in NBDL point guard Mike Wilks. With rookie Dan Dickau waiting in the wings, the Hawks will be better off trying to land a bigger, more versatile two guard in return for Terry.

Rumors this weekend had the Heat (dangling Eddie Jones) and Blazers interested in Terry. While Babcock denied on Sunday that they were shopping Terry, he didn't rule out the possibility of trading him.

"No question, we're talking," Babcock said. "Anything that makes us a better team now and for the future and makes sense financially will be considered and is being considered. But I can tell you that we do not feel that we have to move certain players.

"And certainly Jason is not being shopped."

The Bulls pulled off the biggest mid-season trade of 2002 last February when they dealt Ron Artest, Brad Miller and Ron Mercer to the Pacers in return for Jalen Rose and Travis Best. The move pushed the Pacers into the playoffs last season and on top of the Central Division this year. The Bulls, meanwhile, continue to struggle.

By now you know that the Bulls play like a bad soap. Jamal Crawford keeps his bags packed by the door. Marcus Fizer spends his time on the road flipping through the want ads. Eddy Curry is the official playing time keeper of the team. Eddie Robinson wants the go-to role he was promised when he signed as a free agent last summer. Jay Williams stashes the ball under his pillow every night. Rose sneaks through Williams' window and steals it while the rookie is sleeping.

Pretty standard stuff actually.

The latest rumor picking up steam, reported on Insider on Thursday, has the Cavs and Bulls talking about a Crawford-for-Darius Miles swap. The trade would likely include another player like Fizer and/or a Bulls protected first-round draft pick. The Chicago Sun Times was the latest to report it on Saturday.

What's interesting about it is that it would give the Bulls an all-high school front line: Miles, Curry and Tyson Chandler. Whether that makes them better or worse is a question I think you already know the answer to.

Crawford, as we mentioned, isn't the only on who can be moved. There is a growing interest around the league in Fizer. He's not going to net an all-star in return, but several GMs told me over the weekend that they're seriously considering making a bid. Despite his lack of size and rebounding, he's tough and can score in the low post, two rare commodities these days.

Rose is also available, though his $12 million a year price tag will scare just about everyone away. GM Jerry Krause is ready to trade Robinson for a season pass to the local all-you-can eat pizza buffet. And the latest, courtesy of Bulls assistant GM and Chicago Tribune writer Sam Smith, has the team dangling Curry and Crawford to the Wizards for Kwame Brown. Will two wrongs make a right?


Here comes Mr. Jordan.

A three-game win streak and a 41-point night for Michael Jordan have the Wizards talking playoffs again. Their closest competition for the eighth playoff seed, the Bucks and the Hawks, are both floundering.

So forget for a second that the Wizards have no point guard and absolutely no low-post presence. Jordan and Jerry Stackhouse, barring an injury, should be enough to push the Wizards into the door. Of course, Jordan isn't pushing that 40-year-old body every night to have that same door slammed in his face in the first round.


But the Wizards aren't going anywhere in April and May without biting the bullet and making a move for either a legitimate point guard or, more important, some low-post muscle. The problem for Jordan is that to win now, the price will be the future. Kwame Brown, despite all of his flaws, is still the Wizards' most valuable asset.

You have to be 30 years old before GMs will quit talking about your upside. Right now Kwame, who turns 21 in March, has as much trade value as almost any young player in the league. How much? Could Jordan steal away a top-notch veteran and make one last run at the playoffs? The question surely haunts him and the franchise.

Forget about Jordan's promise, last fall, that he was there to help the young kids develop. Most of those young kids are wearing different uniforms now, replaced by veteran mercenaries looking for playoff bonuses. If Jordan's title drive comes up empty, the Wizards will pay a terrible price. Kwame, Jared Jeffries and Larry Hughes won't be enough to carry this team into the next century.

What could the Wizards get for Kwame?

The Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith suggested Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry. It's doubtful that either of those players would help Jordan in his playoff run. There's talk the Grizzlies are willing to part with Pau Gasol if any team is also willing to take Jason Williams (and his six-year contract) off their hands. Given Williams' base-year compensation status, doing any deal this year would be tough, but not impossible. Given Donald Sterling's thrifty ways, there's always a chance that Andre Miller or Elton Brand might be available once Elgin Baylor moves out of denial and realizes that Sterling is never going to fork over the cash to keep together a team that can't even crack the playoffs.

The Wizards could lessen the long-term blow by trying to package Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood, but in the end, would it really change anything in Washington?

Is George Karl losing it?

There are no temper tantrums. No outrageous comments after a tough loss. The dog house sits vacant two months into the season. The Bucks are 13-19 and George Karl says he's feeling groovy.

What's wrong with this picture?

"For me, this has been a great year," Karl told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday. "Maybe it hasn't been my best year basketball-wise, but personally, I'm great with my family and my off-the-court life. I've had more support and more strength there than I've probably had in my life."

OK.

Karl promised last season that he learned his lesson after some comments that he made about his three star players Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell backfired. But this is ridiculous. Karl, always one of the most outspoken coaches in the business when his team is winning, won't really say a word about the Bucks' woes.

The team expected big things from Tim Thomas this year and hasn't gotten much. Ditto for third-year big man Joel Przybilla. Allen is nursing a nagging ankle injury and Anthony Mason may go down as one of the worst free-agent signings ever. The Bucks are in disarray. The Bucks' window of opportunity to make a serious run at an NBA title seems to have passed them by. Is it time to start selling off the assets and rebuild?


Only GM Ernie Grunfeld knows the answer to that, but if you watch what he did last summer, you get the idea that the Bucks are headed in a different direction. The team has three rookies on the roster two of them playing prominent roles. Third-year guard Michael Redd is also making his mark. Is a youth movement in the works?

It may be. Allen, the team's best player, happens to play the same position as Redd, the team's second-best player. Cassell has kept his mouth shut, but recent comments made to the Salt Lake Tribune make it pretty clear that he doesn't believe the Bucks have it anymore. Thomas is available to the highest bidder, and, of course, Mason can be had.

But the big question mark is Allen. While the team would certainly prefer to parlay Thomas or Cassell into the missing piece, Allen may be the only guy with enough trade value to get a big piece in return. Reports out of Milwaukee have the superstar fighting with his coach again. Sooner or later, one of them will probably have to go.

Miami feeling the Heat

Pat Riley was quick to shoot down this weekend's rumor that had the Heat talking to the Hawks about Jason Terry.

"Bulls---. That's all I'm going to say. It's absolute bulls---," Riley told the Sun Sentinel on Sunday. "You can quote me on that."


But that doesn't mean that Riles isn't desperately trying to get something done before the February deadline. The Heat, right now, are slated to be about eight or nine million under the salary cap this summer. Miami has been trying to put a deal together for either Eddie Jones or Brian Grant to get further under the cap.

Eight or nine million is nice. But it won't be enough to lure the top free agents like Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd and Michael Olowokandi. While Riley knows the Heat will have to take back similar salaries for both players, he's hoping to get at least one player at the end of his deal to help get them around twelve million under the cap. Terry would've fit that bill.

The Mavs, Sonics, Knicks and Blazers have all shown interest in Grant in the past. The Bulls and possibly the Hawks are intrigued by Jones. Riley, however, won't pull the trigger on any deal unless he gets young talent or immediate cap room in return. In this market, that's not an easy proposition.

The most prominent rumor making the rounds in front offices around the league has the Heat and Sonics talking about a swap that would send Grant and Anthony Carter to the Sonics in return for Kenny Anderson (in the last year of his contract) and Calvin Booth. Sources inside both clubs would not confirm the talks to Insider.

The Sonics don't really miss Vin Baker, but they do miss having a tough defender in the paint. Grant, one of the all-time NBA nice guys, would fit in perfectly into the Sonics system. Carter only has one year remaining on his deal after this season, and would provide backup for the Sonics should Payton come up lame.

The Heat, by pulling the trigger on the deal, would clear an additional nine million off the books for this summer.

The only downside for the Sonics at this point, is the loss of flexibility. If the team keeps Anderson, they'll clear the nine million off their books and be in a position to make a run at a top free agent like Kidd of Elton Brand. However, if the plan is to re-sign Payton anyway, why bother. He's use up any additional cap room the team would have anyway.

Does anyone even remember Calvin Booth ?

kg_veteran
01-07-2003, 08:47 AM
Interesting article. This line was the most surprising to me by far:



<< There's talk the Grizzlies are willing to part with Pau Gasol if any team is also willing to take Jason Williams (and his six-year contract) off their hands. >>



Why would the Grizz deal him? He's a 22 year old with stud potential, and he's only in his second year in the league. Why in the world would they give up on him?

MavsFanFinley
01-07-2003, 09:23 AM
<< Why would the Grizz deal him? He's a 22 year old with stud potential, and he's only in his second year in the league. Why in the world would they give up on him? >>



They're obviously desperate enough to get rid of Jason Williams that they are willing to give up Gasol if that's what it takes.

Still, that has me shaking my head.

What's their cap situation?

Maybe they're hoping to get that one player and a couple rookie/2nd year players with potential.

OutletPass
01-07-2003, 11:03 AM
They're talking about a position roadblock between Pau and Gooden...but, in the same breath, saying that they won't trade Pau unless JWill goes too and the Grizz end up with the sun, the moon and the stars. Can't see this one...

David
01-07-2003, 05:34 PM
Didn't the Nuggets pretty much give up Raef, just to be rid of NVE? It looks to be the same type of deal. I wouldn't give up Gasol, myself. I think he's got a world of potential and is not too bad right now.

MavKikiNYC
01-07-2003, 06:07 PM
They also ditched LaF because they'd had about 3.5 years worth of upclose and personal opportunity to evaluate his skills, and didn't want to commit to the kind of money they thought owners like Cuban would be wiling to pay.

Wish the Mavs could maneuver to nab Gasol, but Logo would never let him go to a division rival without getting the better of the deal. ... Would he?

BrianJ
01-07-2003, 06:29 PM
Speaking of teams that would not trade because of rivals. Doug Christie would be a great pick up because of his defense and the fact that he runs the floor, good shooter and passer. Don't know what we could offer them though

MavKikiNYC
01-07-2003, 06:58 PM
Of course, Mrs. Christie comes along with Doug, so don't know about that deal.

LRB
01-07-2003, 08:08 PM
<< Of course, Mrs. Christie comes along with Doug, so don't know about that deal. >>



Does she bring the cowbells with her?

MavKikiNYC
01-07-2003, 09:22 PM
<<

<< Of course, Mrs. Christie comes along with Doug, so don't know about that deal. >>



Does she bring the cowbells with her? >>



Doug wears them around his neck.

LRB
01-07-2003, 10:01 PM
<<

<<

<< Of course, Mrs. Christie comes along with Doug, so don't know about that deal. >>



Does she bring the cowbells with her? >>



Doug wears them around his neck. >>



That and a leash to huh?

Drbio
01-07-2003, 10:37 PM
Ms. Christie beats the crap out of Dougie on a regular basis. I don't want a guy that comes to practice crying half the time.

Bayliss
01-07-2003, 11:26 PM
<< Ms. Christie beats the crap out of Dougie on a regular basis. I don't want a guy that comes to practice crying half the time. >>



Well, I say use the mid-level on her. Then we would **own** the Kings. Christie's wife on the perimeter.... Bradley on the inside... Dirk on offense. No way we would lose.

MavKikiNYC
01-07-2003, 11:41 PM
<<

<< Ms. Christie beats the crap out of Dougie on a regular basis. I don't want a guy that comes to practice crying half the time. >>



Well, I say use the mid-level on her. Then we would **own** the Kings. Christie's wife on the perimeter.... Bradley on the inside... Dirk on offense. No way we would lose. >>



Voila, the Enforcer.

BrianJ
01-08-2003, 01:56 AM
I WAS SURE THAT THIS WOULD GET SOME PEOPLE ON THEIR KEYBOARDS. BUT ALSO LIKE THE WAY HE PLAYS

LRB
01-08-2003, 08:12 AM
<< I WAS SURE THAT THIS WOULD GET SOME PEOPLE ON THEIR KEYBOARDS. BUT ALSO LIKE THE WAY HE PLAYS >>



Yeah but Brian, Mrs. Christie is all about making sure Doug doesn't become a player. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

BrianJ
01-08-2003, 08:17 AM
Can't you see that being used as a marketing tool. Look up at the jumbo-tron and spot her pulling on Dougs leash in warm-ups. Lets face it the mavs are goofy enough as it is why not bring in one more. If the press ever feels like paying attention to them they have all the material they could ask for. I think he is a perfect fit.

LRB
01-08-2003, 11:53 PM
<< I think he is a perfect fit. >>



yeah, ...












under Mrs. Christie's thumb. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif