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So . . . trades, what do you say? My read is that Sacramento and Boston are making mistakes.

January 27, 2006 | Permalink

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Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 11:23:36 PM

Comments

As a Celtics fan:

I think this is a trade that might actually work out decently for both teams, for a couple of reasons:

Blount is worth more to the Wolves than he is to the Celtics; whatever positive attributes he has (decent man defender, great mid-range shooter) are outweighed for Boston by negatives beyond his inability to rebound or catch a pass: he hampers the development of our young bigs and there's a poisonous air around him in the city because he has so stupendously failed to live up to his contract. The stat sheet does not tell the story on what Blount brings to the Cs, and he'll probably benefit from being somewhere else, and the Cs benefit from not having him. Similarly, Olowakandi just needed to get out of Minnesota. It's possible Boston will cut him, they almost certainly won't resign him, but its in his *and* the Wolves best interests that he leaves town.

Then, from what I understand KG + Wally was always a contentious relationship and it's never been a particularly successful one, so Ricky might be a better match for the Wolves. I like this swap for the Cs, because although I think Davis is the better player (I'd take him over Wally in a pickup game if they were the two best players), Wally's a better match for the Celtics*, and his biggest demerit (awful defense) is shared with Davis (people think Ricky D has stopping power, but they're mistaking effort [which he gives readily] for results [which he lacks]).

* He allows Pierce to move to the 2, where he dominates just about any opponent physically, and he spaces the floor better than Ricky's slashing. The Celtics spent most of last year thinking they were going to turn into a running team, but the development of Perkins along with Al Jefferson has probably caused Ainge to shift his thinking.

Posted by: Quarterican | Jan 27, 2006 7:56:01 PM

Too many colons. Dunno what I was thinking.

Posted by: Quarterican | Jan 27, 2006 7:57:11 PM

Nah, I think the Kings made a good deal. First, Peja is gone after this season. Second, the team sucks right now, and it's hard to see how they could be much worse with Artest instead of Peja. Third, Peja is having a bad year: he's shooting like 40 percent and averaging 16 a game. Artest, who is generally a worse offensive player than Peja, will probably play better than that. Fourth, the Kings really need someone who can play defense.

But it's a good trade for Indiana, too, because Peja is better than anybody else they would have gotten.

The other trade looks like a total wash. Maybe Ricky Davis is slightly better than Wally Szcreklhjristiacckkk, but not enough to make a big difference. When you add in the fact that Davis is sort of a head case, it looks even more like an even trade. Minnesota and Boston both should have made bolder moves.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 27, 2006 7:57:59 PM

Agree with Steve. More than anything else, Artest is a monster. If he stays sane, it's an unbelievable steal for Sacramento. If he goes crazy - who cares? He's relatively cheap, and they'll be able to trade him again. They wouldn't have had Peja next year. And, in any case, Peja wasn't actually helping the cause.

(Is anyone else getting scripty fonts in the text box?)

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 27, 2006 8:12:26 PM

"More than anything else, Artest is a monster. If he stays sane, it's an unbelievable steal for Sacramento. If he goes crazy - who cares? He's relatively cheap, and they'll be able to trade him again. They wouldn't have had Peja next year. And, in any case, Peja wasn't actually helping the cause."

Indubitably.

---

I'll reprint what I wrote in the last basketball thread:

Good for Sacramento. Geoff Petrie proves brilliant once again. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it ends whatever small chance my Sixers might have had in landing Artest.

Franchises that can't handle head cases deserve their losing. Bird and Walsh are flat-out punks. The scenario is much like the Rodman chronicles of the 90's. The David Robinson Spurs couldn't deal with Rodman, and thus fell apart. Only their luckiness in falling into Tim Duncan saved them. The Jackson/Jordan Bulls were willing to deal with Rodman and got three rings for their trouble.

Any team that wouldn't move heaven and earth to have Ronnie Artest in their uni is comprised of fools.

---

The only thing I'd add is to put it in stronger terms that Petrie is a motherfucking genius. He's rebuilt on the fly, and the Bibby/Artest/Miller combo is a core that is only a single piece away from title contention. Now if he can find a sucker to take on Kenny Thomas's contract, he should be canonized.

Also, I'm amazed no one ever seems interested in the Larry Bird / Isiah Thomas undertones in the whole Artest/Indiana saga. Rick Carlisle is a great coach no one wants to play for, and hence not a great coach. Joe Dumars knew what he was doing when he fired Carlisle despite his success. And Bird/Walsh didn't know what they were doing when they fired Zeke, who Artest and O'Neal would've run through a brick wall for, to hire Carlisle who everyone hates. The Carlisle for Zeke transaction is really the one that ruined Indiana.

---

As far as Minny/Boston, I think it's the proverbial trade that improves both teams. Boston frees up space for their kids, and Minny gets an upgrade in Garnett's supporting cast. Not a huge deal for either side, but helpful nonetheless.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 27, 2006 8:48:43 PM

...but Carlisle is a *good* coach, in the most objective, Xs Os, win % sense, and Isiah was not. Indiana choked in the playoffs when Isiah was there, and did much better the next year under Carlisle.

(Really, other than showing a very keen eye for drafting talent, how the hell does Thomas keep getting hired? On the other hand, the architect of an offense in which the #1 pick in the NFL draft THREW ONE TD THE WHOLE SEASON got one of the premier coaching jobs in that league. So maybe things are crazier in football.)

Posted by: Quarterican | Jan 27, 2006 9:08:36 PM

"When you add in the fact that Davis is sort of a head case..."

Pretty much all the reports are that Davis is currently a solid citizen who was semi-goofy when he was 19.

But beyond that, head case-ism is absurdly overrated in the NBA. In a player's league, as long as you show up for 48 minutes and play to win, head case-ism almost always doesn't matter.

Jordan was a head case. So is Kobe. So is Iverson. Rasheed Wallace might be the biggest head case in the league. Who cares? They're winners. This ain't the NFL where stuff like that actually matters.

(About the only guy in the league with talent who you'd think twice about acquiring due to head case-ism is Bonzi Wells, whose personal issues are apparently noxious in an unusual way.)

Posted by: Petey | Jan 27, 2006 9:15:05 PM

"Indiana choked in the playoffs when Isiah was there, and did much better the next year under Carlisle."

Yup. And then look at what happened. Franchise destroyed.

Carlisle would probably make a great college coach. But in a player's league, guys like him are almost always a mistake.

Ever notice how guys seem to get injured a whole lot on the Pacers since Carlisle took over? I'm sure some of that is bad luck, but I think a large part of it is guys simply not being willing to play through nagging pain for Carlisle.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 27, 2006 9:22:08 PM

I actually agree with you about the head-case-ism, petey, but since Wally and Ricky Davis are of fairly equal value, I was looking for a tie-breaker. I'd still probably take Davis, depending on my needs, but he seems like a pain in the ass to play with.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 27, 2006 10:54:56 PM

It's unknowable who got the better of the Sac-Ind trade at this point.

Look, Artest could possibly be Terrell Owens. EVERYBODY thought that was a great acquisition by Philly. Turns out, not so much. But that was really unknowable beforehand.

Posted by: Al | Jan 27, 2006 11:03:03 PM

Also, I think Quartican is on the right track re the Wally-Ricky trade. Blount is more valuable to Minn, because Garnett makes up for Blount's poor rebounding skills in a way that nobody on Boston could. Wally will probably be pretty good for Boston, owing to Pierce's superior scoring skills, which means that Wally should be more open in Boston than in Minn.

Posted by: Al | Jan 27, 2006 11:07:50 PM

"It's unknowable who got the better of the Sac-Ind trade at this point."

Sure. It's also unknowable whether or not the sun will come up tomorrow. But one can make some educated guesses.

It was unknowable at the time who got the better of the NJ/Toronto deal. But one could also have made some educated guesses. And a year and a half later, it finally and deservedly cost Rob Babcock his job.

As SomeCallMeTim notes, Sacramento is getting rid of a rather lame player who is about to get a too large contract from someone. They're getting a potential All-NBA first team player with a bargain contract who can be dealt if worse comes to worse.

Out of this deal, Sacramento is getting almost infinite upside and almost zero downside. Reverse the equation for Indiana. Now one can make an educated guess about the deal.

---

Ricky Davis tore it up for Minny tonight.

There's an off chance he could turn into a 20+ ppg guy playing off KG, and that this could end up being a really good deal for Minny.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 27, 2006 11:17:27 PM

No, that's not right at all. You can make an educated guess about whether the sun will come up. It is impossible to make an educated guess about whether Artest will blow up like TO.

Posted by: Al | Jan 27, 2006 11:23:31 PM

"It is impossible to make an educated guess about whether Artest will blow up like TO."

Rather than repeating myself at length, I'll refer you back to my "This ain't the NFL where stuff like that actually matters" comment upthread.

And I'll also refer you back to my "almost zero downside" notion.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 27, 2006 11:42:31 PM

Petey,

I think Artests' blow-ups are different from most guys'. If Artest blows up, it's bad. Ask the Pacers.

I mean, TO's never had a real blow-up like that. The Eagles totally fucking overreacted to his typical bullshit.

Also, Peja is not "a rather lame player."

Posted by: Steve | Jan 28, 2006 12:04:05 AM

"I think Artests' blow-ups are different from most guys'. If Artest blows up, it's bad. Ask the Pacers."

Ronnie is definitely a bit 'special', but I totally put blame for the disintegration of the situation on the Pacers, not Artest. When the talent and drive are large enough, you simple deal with it. The Bulls put up with a huge number of rather serious distractions with Rodman. That's what a strong team does. The Pacers were brittle.

"Also, Peja is not "a rather lame player."

Meh. Very sweet shooter. But can't reliably get his own shot. Has a nasty history of disappearing in the playoffs. And plays substandard defense. Factor in that teams are going to be bidding to overpay him this summer because of his marketability and quirks in the free agent market, and I don't want him.

And tangentially, I don't think Peja disappears in the playoffs because he can't handle the pressure. I think it's worse than that. I think it's because a decent defensive team can utterly shut him down when they're focussed on the intricacies of the players on one specific team. And that's because his game is rather lame once you get beyond the sweet shooting stroke.

(See Kyle Korver on the Sixers for a similar situation. In midseason when scouting is half-hearted, Korver can do some damage. But once you step up the scouting focus in the playoffs, he's going to have some very serious trouble.)

Posted by: Petey | Jan 28, 2006 12:32:06 AM

Peja's no Ron Artest, but he's several steps above Kyle Korver. He's not just a 3-point shooter -- he's like 6-9, and he's not going to blow by you on the dribble, but he can score in a lot of different ways. He's a pure shooter, but he's also a pure scorer.

You're right, he can't guard anybody. Let's just say that you're not going to win many games if Peja is your best player, but you could do just fine if Peja is your best scorer. I think he'll do all right in Indiana.

Maybe my view is polluted by the fact that I lived near Sacramento during that season when they didn't have Webber and Peja scored 24 a game and shot like 50 percent. I always think that's the real Peja.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 28, 2006 12:51:12 AM

"Peja's no Ron Artest, but he's several steps above Kyle Korver."

No argument there.

But they both do suffer from the same "disappear during the playoffs" syndrome for similar reasons.

"Let's just say that you're not going to win many games if Peja is your best player, but ... I think he'll do all right in Indiana."

Sure. But the problem is that Indiana isn't going anywhere this season. And to resign Peja this summer, they'd have to pay him like he's the best player on their team.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 28, 2006 1:21:59 AM


Frankly, I think the Pacers should consider an alarm system for their arena, because this is the second time the Kings have robbed them blind. Brad Miller for Scot Pollard has gotta be one of the most ridiculously one-sided trades in NBA history (right after Webber for Richmond and Williams for Bibby, two other Petrie lootings), and Artest for Peja will prove the same.

There's something in the water in Sac that just turns head-cases into really mellow people. Seriously, I think Artest will just calm down and play hard, and give the Kings the defensive toughness they need. He'll make a good enforcer.

I mean, really, no one _ever_ comes to Sacramento and makes trouble. There's be no point. Hell, Wells has turned into an upstanding citizen since he arrived. Partially from being on the IR, but still.

Posted by: Kurt Montandon | Jan 28, 2006 7:56:44 AM

It's true that Sac had little to lose, since Peja was going to leave anyway, but they could have traded Peja for someone less talented but less risky than Artest. If Artest blows up again and a trade becomes neccesary, I doubt they'll find any takers for him. This is his last chance to prove that he's mentally stable enough to play. Even Rodman at his worst was more stable and less of a distraction, and that's saying something.

Posted by: Carlos | Jan 28, 2006 9:00:13 AM

...well, judging from last night, Ricky and Wally fit fine on their new teams, but we'll see how that develops.
...
Re: the Pacers getting robbed blind - well, isn't everybody supposed to be afraid of Geoff Petrie? But the Pollard/Miller trade appeared less one-sided than it turned out to be, because Pollard had played better in Sac., and Miller worse in Ind., than they did once they swapped. And part of *that* is that in Indiana, Miller was being used to relieve physical duty from Jermaine O'Neal, which wasn't the best way to use his skills, whereas he flourished in Sacramento's system (which is why I think he should be automatic for the Olympic squad, but I doubt he'll get asked at this point...I think Colangelo is succumbing to the same flaws that hampered previous selection committees). Someone other than me suggested that if Yao played for the Kings, and could set up in the high post and look for cutters or his turnaround, we'd be freaking out over how quickly he'd established Hall of Fame cred.
...
The difference between Artest and all those other guys is that I honestly think he means well. Rodman and Owens I think consciously create their chaos, to an extent, and while both must stem from some issues (T.O. in particular seems to have this paranoid desire to be applauded - witness his freaking out that the Eagles didn't have a celebration planned for his 100th TD), I think there's a lot of intentional manipulation. I think Ronny is actually crazy. He has the best intentions, he always gives you his all on the court, he doesn't want to disrupt the team, but his world and ours are a little offset from each other, so he gets into trouble. Sometimes it's humorous (like applying for a part time job at Best Buy) and sometimes it's not.

Posted by: Quarterican | Jan 28, 2006 9:55:52 AM

"There's something in the water in Sac that just turns head-cases into really mellow people."

Well put. It's the opposite of what's in the water in Portland.

-----

One thing that occurred to me that might salvage something out of this for the Pacers:

Perhaps the reunion with Pollard, who he was friendly with in Sacto, will make Peja a happy camper. And even more importantly, I don't know if Peja is from the same tribe in the Balkan jungle as Jesa-Cabbages, but if so, that could make the language isolated Peja a really happy camper. And if Peja is happy, perhaps he'd re-sign for below what he could get on the open market.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 28, 2006 11:38:39 AM

"Even Rodman at his worst was more stable and less of a distraction"

You gotta be joking.

Threatening to shoot himself with a rifle in the parking lot outside the arena? Kicking a cameraman pretty viciously for absolutely no reason? Intentionally head-butting a referee?

Ron-Ron's worst crime was charging into the stands with perfectly understandable motivation to do so.

(And It's worth noting how ahistorical his punishment was. A decade before, Vernon "Mad Max" Maxwell went punching into the stands after a fan who'd shouted racial epithets at him, and he got 10 games.)

Posted by: Petey | Jan 28, 2006 11:48:04 AM

"The difference between Artest and all those other guys is that I honestly think he means well."

Yup. And he's got a wry sense of humor to boot.

-----

One more note on head case-ism:

The intense and focussed insanity of Artest scares me far less than the head case-ism of a Zack Randolph or a Kwame Browne or an Erick Dampier - the guys who seemingly don't care.

It's the emotionally cold guys who I'd worry about being a cancer on my team rather than someone like Ronnie who's susceptible to the sin of caring too much.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 28, 2006 11:55:01 AM

Jasikevicius is Lithuanian, Peja is, I believe, a Serb.

Although I don't speak either, I doubt there's much of a common language there.

Posted by: quietstorm | Jan 28, 2006 1:13:51 PM

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