Hollinger seems to have a good handle on this one, and backing him up is Hornets247 who seems happy, blogger and commenters both. Bobcats blogs seem less thrilled. Ordinarily this would be where I go look up each man’s stats and try to give some insight into how I think this deal works, but let’s be honest now: the Bobcats suck. They’ve sucked for most if not all of their existence because the people in charge either don’t know how or don’t care to put together a decent team, and this is part and parcel of that tradition. I like Tyson Chandler but he won’t change this, and Larry Brown will be trying to trade him by Christmas anyway. There’s such a thing as having so little credibility as an organization that it’s reasonable to assume all your moves are either ridiculous or taken for ulterior motives, and when I saw a BOBCATS BLOG suggest that this trade was good because it might help get the team sold, I knew we’d entered that territory.
My sympathies, Bobcats fans.
Oh c’mon now, this is reaching a really ridiculous level of trades so far. Quick write up with a lot of PER shorthand, it’s been a long day and I’m tired:
– Jason Richardson ($12 million and change this year, 13 and change next, 14.5 in his final year in 2010/2011)
– Jared Dudley Do-Right (rookie deal for $1.5 m through 2009/2010, team option and qualifying offer subsequently)
– 2010 2nd rounder.
– The satisfaction of indulging their panic.
– Boris Diaw ($9 m a season through 2011/2012)
-Raja Bell ($5 m a season through 2009/2010)
– Sean Singletary (half mil, one year)
– A new crop of players for Larry Brown to despise and later trade for pennies on the dollar.
I’m getting to this one late enough to note that the conventional wisdom has this as an enormous win for the Suns. Hollinger hits all the bases on that analysis, so I’ll just chip in a few other thoughts:
– Charlotte is witnessing the issue of what happens when weak executives who are facing the axe and know it are allowed to hang around. Michael Jordan is failing with his second team and has become, probably for the first time in his entire life, a punchline within the sport. Larry Brown has been failing downwards since he left the Pistons on bad terms, suffering a humiliating stint in New York and now being reduced to first begging for a job and being largely passed over, then desperately lunging for a gig at a team which is well on its way to being Grizzlies East. Both men, Brown especially, seem to one degree or another desperate to “win” “now” which often leads to all sorts of bad decisions including wild trade rumors, overvaluing of Veteran Presence even when it’s attached to role-player talent, future cap-screwing deals like the one for Nazr Mohammed last year, unfortunate draft picks like Adam Morrison, and a general sense of flop-sweat desperation around the team. The Knicks used to be a classic example of this around the time Zeke was trading for Zach Randolph, and it’s taken the hiring of a strong executive with a mandate to build for the future to break the cycle of desperately trying to take one more shortcut to victory. Will Charlotte ever get that kind of executive? Unfortunately probably not until Larry’s made another trade or three on his way to a 30-52 season.
– The Suns are currently 22nd in the L in defense, with a 106.0 DEff. That’s probably not going to go up. Richardson better have his shooting boots packed.
-Using PER as a simple shorthand, Raja Bell is in the midst of declining for the third straight year down to 9.27 currently where 15 is average. He’s 32. No Buys. If you’ve watched him in the last year or so you can tell his athleticism is waning and his defense with it, and while he’s a good enough shooter to retain value as a spot up guy and he’s certainly not a BAD defender, he’s basically a useful spare part at this point and not a serious building block.
– To define “building block” by the way, let’s say, again using PER as shorthand, a guy in the top 6 of his team. Richardson was 2nd on the Cats, Dudley was 7th though had played three times the minutes of one of the guys above him (Shannon Brown). Diaw was 8th and Bell 11th on the Suns, with only one low-minutes fluke above them (Louis Amundson). That’s some nice trading work, Larry.
– If this trade is going to work at all for the Cats, Diaw’s going to have to wrap his head around the idea of being an important player for the first time in a long time. With the exception of the year Amare Stoudemire’s knee went kerblooie and Diaw stepped in with a 17.31 PER, he’s been infamous around the league for ghosting through games and seasons barely tapping into the talent he possesses. Rarely, among that sort of player, he’s not lazy at all; he’s just unselfish to the point of actually hurting his team as he won’t assert himself on offense. He’s only 26 and I imagine Larry Brown is talking himself into the idea that he’ll be the coach to finally get Diaw to play with an aggression which would make him dangerous given his combination of passing skill, touch, quickness, etc., and maybe Larry will be right (although I wouldn’t bet on it). He’d better be, because if Diaw won’t contribute the Cats are another injury to Gerald Wallace away from being unwatchable.
Overall I’d say it’s a mild win for the Suns which tells us things we already knew: Phoenix is desperate to shake things up and will fire every shell they can at this situation to win now (that bit about desperate executives could fit Kerr in some respects), while the Bobcats are getting the Larry Brown treatment with all its warts; whether its virtues will appear as well remains to be seen. One other mild positive for Phoenix which I will note: the chances are very high that this will not work out in the sense of making them a contender this year. Assume it doesn’t; they’ll enter next year with Shaq, Nash, and Stoudemire all in their probable final years if Amare decides to test the waters and declines his player option. They’ll have Richardson, Barbosa and Robin Lopez in place as useful young building blocks with a lot of options on how they could entice Stoudemire to stay on, as without taking him into consideration a quick calculation suggests they’ll have only about $23 million committed in 2011, I’d say the little bit of salary flexibility they give up in this deal post-2010 is easily worth securing the best player in the deal, especially when he’s only 27.