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4 posts from December 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

King of pain

So Ron Artest is on the block again. And if I recall correctly, the Heat wanted Artest last time he was on the block.
So does that mean they want him again?
I'll play GM for a second (or team president, or whatever) and give my opinion on both the Heat and Kings side.
From the Heat's perspective, I would say Artest is not a great fit with what the Heat has right now. First, I think as is, this Heat team will actually be better than last year's team at season's end, assuming health, because of the emergence of Jason Kapono and Dorell Wright, who provide a consistent shooting and dynamic athleticism that last year's team lacked. So bringing in an Artest, who you would have to assume would require the Heat giving up Wright, I think would be a mistake. Artest mistakenly thinks he's the best offensive player in almost any game he plays, so he'll try to do more than any wing player should when playing alongside Dwyane and Shaq. Also, the Heat has proven that a lock-down defender like Artest isn't necessary when the team is playing good defense as a unit. That may not happen as often as Riley wants it to, but it does happen when the team is playing at full strength.

On the Kings side, the Heat doesn't have much to offer than the Kings value, which is shooting, passing and athleticism. James Posey has an expiring contract, but the Kings have a couple healthy expiring contracts already in Corliss Williamson and Vitaly Potapenko. Plus, the Kings aren't exactly a frugal and patient franchise just looking to save a dime and look to the future. They want to make splash ASAP. The Kings have already done the Jason Williams thing, so that's out, and so is Antoine Walker. Udonis Haslem isn't their kind of player, plus they already have Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Thomas. So it would probably have to be Posey and Wright for Artest. If I'm the Kings, Wright sounds good, and has the athleticism they like, and he's younger and a better locker room citizen than Corey Maggette, who has been rumored to be going to Sacramento for Artest.

Here's the another option, though. The Kings can look to move Mike Bibby instead of Artest, taking the more expensive of the supposedly quarrelling teammates off their hands. Bibby has three years and about $41 million left on his deal, with $12.5 due this season. A combination of Posey, Wright and Michael Doleac brings the Heat close enough to make the deal work financially. From the Heat's perspective, they get a point guard tandem of Bibby and Williams to join Wade and Kapono for an excellent backcourt rotation. But they lose Wright, who is a large part of the future, which for Riley isn't huge because he's always in "win now" mode.
The Kings would get Wright, drop a huge salary and have no contracts that go past next season.
Personally, I would consider this a tough decision, because Wright can be very good, but Bibby is still young enough (28) to be a quality point guard for the remainder of Shaq's contract, while Williams is only under contract through next season. It's a toss-up, really.

To sum up: no on Artest, maybe on Bibby.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hard to read

Is stale the right word? Not sure what it was, but something just looked off with the Heat on Wednesday, and the team has shown it before this season.
The other night it took Pat Riley going nuts in a huddle to get the guys going, and then against the Bucks it just goes down hill almost immediately in the second half.
Or maybe it's just that the Bucks were crazy hot and this year's team, at least to this point, has had a tendency to pack it up when things aren't going well because of everything that has gone wrong so far.

Maybe random is the right word. Because you never know what you're going to get, really, from anyone other than Dwyane.
With Dwyane and Shaq together, there's a consistency because both are one of the most efficient players at their respective position. Now, if Dwyane is taken away, then there is no steady option.
Maybe neither of those words are right. But it's tough to watch when things go south with this group right now. So I can imagine it's not much fun playing this way either.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Iverson thoughts

If the 76ers want to give themselves the best chance to get Greg Oden in the draft, they're probably not looking for the trade that most improves their team, rather one that will help keep their record lousy and atop the lottery list.
I have suddenly raised the probability of Iverson coming to the Heat from 15 percent to 16.5 percent.
(That, by the way, was in no way an insult to the Heat players that may be traded, just a response to public perception that the Heat's trade offer wouldn't make sense to the Sixers... Also, Peter Vecsey is not a member of the "public" of which I speak)
If Riley does find a way to get Iverson to Miami, I will forever refer to him on this blog as Yoda, because he is clearly a Jedi Master of the highest power and can convince anyone of anything (on an aside, I'm not a big Star Wars guy, so if there is some sort of factual error there or whatever, I don't care).
I can picture Riley already mediating the conflict between Iverson and Dwyane about who gets to wear the No. 3... "Number on your back matters not, young Dwyane. It is rings we seek. Strong 15 we must be."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Email questions

A couple emails I've gotten that I think can start some dialogue:

First, a short one:

"Shouldn't the Heat's starting lineup right now (in games w/o J Will) be Wade, Wright, Posey, Haslem and Zo?"

Second is a bit more in depth:

"I'm sitting here thinking to myself ,'has Pat Riley really lost his mind?' I mean what are we doing with our youth? I mean, in the summer league Dorrell was used as playmaker and penetrator, but in the pre-season and now the regular season he's being put in detention behind the three-point line! I mean, Jason Kapono gets in the game and immediately gets a play called for him, but Dorrell can't get an iso or two to see if he can come back at Carmelo!! What's up with that? Then in regards to Earl, they bring him in and try to make him a back-to-the-basket post player!!! All summer long they had Earl in pick-n-rolls from the top of the key, where he was shooting the ball well or he could drive to the basket and draw fouls!! What happened to all that? What are they thinking about? And could you ask Riley why he doesn't have any faith in Zo to run the offense through him like they do Shaq? I mean, we both know that Zo ain't Shaq, but if I had to live with anybody shooting jump-hooks off the left block it would be Zo because he can shoot 'em with both hands. How can Riley forget about Zo? How could he let his team forget about what type of figure Zo was in this game!! I mean, this is the only man(active) to unseat Shaq from his First Team All NBA status back in '99!!!

I know you won't ask Riley to take a look back at his Laker days, but he really should because this offense stinks!! I mean, if you take a look back at those games, I bet you won't ever find James Worthy just posting up behind the three-point line or even Byron Scott or Michael Cooper, who were known for their outside shooting!!!"



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