NBA free agency roundup

December 14, 2011

The Clippers have had a good free agency... so far.

‘Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’

George Bush may have got this old proverb a little wrong when he used it during his presidency, but despite the mangled execution, even the version he gave held some value.

It’s about learning from mistakes and gaining insight from experience as well as the importance of trust in any relationship.

The reason I bring this up is that I honestly believe these two short sentences should be blown up or writ large on the wall of every office occupied by every NBA General Manager across theUSA.

Why? Simply because there has been a lot of fooling going on recently.

People will say the madness of the current microwave free agency period and the diminished amount of time teams have to fill, let alone finalise their rosters, before tip off on Christmas Day, has forced franchises into a corner of odd decision making which I will call The Kwame Zone (stay with me).

They have money they have to spend and moves they seemingly have to make. There are not that many (good) players available. Somebody has to play, right?

The maths does itself. It may not be long term money, but it is still big money.

It’s the reason the Golden State Warriors have agreed a one year, $7million contract with the infamous Kwame Brown.

All I can take from this is that the entire Golden Stat Warriors front office has never, ever, seen him play. That is the only feasible explanation.

And here’s me thinking the lockout was at least partially about cutting down on bad contracts, urging owners to act ‘responsibly’, protecting them from themselves.

Look’s like that was an effort in futility.

Now I know teams have to spend a certain amount (here’s looking at you Sacramento), but if you are telling me there isn’t a better way to spend $7million this season I got two words for you: Try Harder.

I mean seriously. Watch theKobevideo.

Other teams which have descended into the madness of the Kwame Zone this week include the Los Angeles Lakers who gave up Lamar Odom, Sixth Man of the Year and one of the League’s most versatile forwards, to the defending champion Dallas Mavericks for a second round pick and a trade exception.Kobe’s not happy and can you blame him. That’s just ridiculous.

Perhaps wary of receiving such a huge portion of good fortune and not wanting to use up too many good karma points in one go, the Mavericks did a good deed of their own, gifting the Denver Nuggets with Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer for a future second round pick. Thanks Mark! You really shouldn’t have!

Firmly in the Kwame Zone,Portlandsigned Greg Oden for one year at $8.7million. I’m out. That’s all I’m saying.

Despite the negativity (who me?), there have also been some good deals in the past seven days. I like Nene re-signing inDenverfor five years at $67million. He is a top 5 center and the Nuggets helped him through some tough times. Glad he stayed.

I also like what the Los Angeles Clippers have been doing, signing Caron Butler for three years at $24million, picking up Chauncey Billups off waivers (assuming he goes for it) and re-signing Blake Griffin’s bestie DeAndre Jordan for four years at $43million.

They have a team now. Billups, Eric Gordon,Butler,Griffin, Jordon, as well as some capable bench players. And they have the Timberwolves unprotected first rounder in next year’s draft.

Just praying they don’t give it all up for a certain point guard.

Oh and in the biggest no-brainer so far, Shane Battier joined the Miami Heat. I like this move.

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When is a trade not a trade? NBA fans, prepare for a future of meddling

December 9, 2011

Chris Paul: Not going anywhere - yet.

Just when you thought you couldn’t lose more faith in the NBA after the greed-fest that was the lockout, the League vetoes a perfectly acceptable trade because, well, why exactly?

Shipping Chris Paul toLos Angelesmakes sense for the Lakers.

Receiving Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and picks makes sense forNew Orleans.

Giving up Scola, Martin and Dragic makes sense for the Houston Rockets, gaining All-Star Pau Gasol in return.

And yet there will be no trade because of ‘basketball reasons’ according to the League office.

The decision to nix (love this word) the trade is equal parts shocking and unbelievable and acts as the ultimate proof that (forgive me) the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts.

If you are a fan of a small market team you don’t want to see your best player leave. But if he wants to go and has made it abundantly clear he wants to go, why not get something of value in return while he is still under contract?

As it stands, if the Great NBA Trade Denial is allowed to stand, (I don’t think it will), Chris Paul plays one more season as a Hornet, answering questions about his future every day, disrupting the team, and ultimately New Orleans is left with absolutely nothing at the end of the year when he walks and signs elsewhere.

How is this preferable to what was a perfectly legitimate trade which would have given New Orleans three and a half starters?

Some people would have you believe this rejection is about protecting basketball inNew Orleans. No way. Having Chris Paul aboard hasn’t exactly helped sell the team so far, now has it?

Others would say this is the owners of smaller teams flipping the bird at the Lakers, sick and tired of losing star players toLos Angeles. All I will say to this, is good luck trying to get any premier free agents inClevelandnow.

Finally, most people would say this is Mr Stern stamping his authority on the latest CBA which was kinda supposed to put a stop to this sort of ‘I want to play in X, make it happen’ ransom-type situations.

Well stamped. Good one.

All it’s done is leave a bitter taste in the mouths of three teams, none of which were getting screwed, and alienated fans of basketball still further.

No one likes a meddler.

Could this off season get anymore depressing?