Washington Wizards add Mike Miller and Randy Foye, Timberwolves in strong position to go after Ricky Rubio

June 25, 2009
Please be Healthy.

Please be Healthy.

by Jack Maidment

If points were the only thing that mattered, the Washington Wizards would likely be in the mix for the title next year.

In exchange for the #5 pick in this year’s draft and 3 veterans the Wiz are now the proud owners of one of the most offensively capable teams in the League.

A squad which now includes Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young, Mike Miller and Randy Foye should be capable of hanging with any team in the scoring department.

Their trade partners, the Minnesota Timberwolves, now hold 4 first round picks: 5, 6, 18 and 28.

It is thought that they will try and trade up to acquire the #2 pick, currently held by the Memphis Grizzlies. If successful, the Wolves will take Ricky Rubio second overall on Draft night.

They believe that the Spaniard’s talents and personality might be enough to reinvigorate a franchise that has struggled for support in recent years, especially since Kevin Garnett’s departure to the Boston Celtics.

Even if they are unable to swap with Memphis, picking at 5 and 6 gives them a great chance at upgrading their squad with at 2 exciting, young players.

Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan and Tyreke Evans are all likely to still be on the board when the Wolves’ time comes.

The deal also puts the Timberwolves in a strong financial position for 2010 with a large number of expiring contracts in their possession.

This means that the Wolves will have the chance to sign some big time free agents. Only for them to be rejected.

Even so, the Wolves will be young and exciting next year.

Not so young but perhaps more exciting will be the Wizards. Injury dependant that is.


NBA Trade Rumors: Amare Stoudemire to Washington Wizards, Portland Trailblazers like Stephen Curry.

June 3, 2009

nba_g_stoudemire_580by Jack Maidment

With the NBA season nearly at a close the hype mill has just started upping its production, generating the rumours which will keep hoop heads busy until the tip off of the 2009/10 season.

The priority for all but two of the League’s franchises is the rapidly approaching draft which offers teams the opportunity to turn their fortunes around.

Or not. Given the reported strength, or lack there of, in this year’s class, the chance of a dramatic turnaround look slim. Unless you are the LA Clippers.

Even so, there will be a number of players drafted this year who will go on to have a huge impact on their team. Also guaranteed is the ‘diamond in the rough’ which one lucky franchise will uncover with what looks like an inconspicuous pick.

With that in mind, the Portland Trailblazers are rumoured to be locked on to the guy they want, Davidson’s Stephen Curry.

It is easy to see why the Blazers like Curry given his offensive capabilities and his seemingly good fit with a dominant ball handling two guard like Brandon Roy who would free up Curry for spot up jump shots from which he was so effective in college.

The problem for the Blazers lies in the fact that the man they want is projected at around #8, but they wont be on the clock until #24.

All reports up to this point have suggested that the New York Knicks are keen on the slight scoring guard who appears to be the perfect player for Mike D’Antoni’s offensive schemes.

However, the perceived weakness of this year’s class would suggest that team’s will be open to trading down in return for promising players and/or future picks.

Young, promising players is something that Portland has in bunches so it is likely they will be listening intently when the call comes in.

Portland are far from the only team apparently making moves. The Phoenix Suns often trade rumoured forward, Amare Stoudemire, has been linked to a move to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Antawn Jamison, Mike James’ expiring contract and the #5 pick in this years’ draft.

Such a move would almost certainly spell the end of the Suns as we know them, trading their big man who is just entering his prime for an aged forward, cap room and a non to exciting pick.

The Suns would be in a position to strike in the 2010 free agent class, but this draft would almost certainly constrict Phoenix to a second year of mediocrity.


NBA Playoffs Loom: LeBron Loses Back-To-Back, West Wide Open, Anything Could Happen.

April 6, 2009
Big Dance Finalists?

Big Dance Finalists?

Some things change and some things do not. It is an old adage and yet the message retains it’s potent truth, especially in the fast paced world of the 21st century. No where is change assured than in the NBA. Check it out:

 

Last week the Cavaliers were being billed as favourites for the Championships, seemingly unbeatable, irresistibly maintaining their momentum which has been building toward victory at the Big Dance. What a difference a few days can make.

 

LeBron and his Cavaliers flew into Washington assuming nothing but a convincing, and in all likelihood, an easy W. But the Wizards did their best to reinforce a lopsided rivalry by dropping Cleveland, simultaneously planting seeds of doubt into the minds of every NBA fan, coach, player, critic, as to the Cavaliers apparent invincibility.

 

But slip-ups happen, right? Yes, indeed they do, but the Cavaliers’ response, crushed by Orlando, was not what LeBron and his team needed. Back to back losses this close to the post season is far from ideal preparation.

 

Luckily for the Cavs, just about everyone has been flawed the past few weeks. The Lakers loss to the Bobcats highlighted that any team, especially those already buried, can inflict fairly disastrous losses even to the League’s best. What looked like a certain Lakers-Cavaliers Finals is now looking far less concrete, and even if LeBron-Kobe does take place, who will have home court advantage is also still to be decided, ensuring a competitive and driven finish to the regular season.

 

The Eastern semis look fairly predictable, with 3 of the 4 spots (Cavs, Celts, Magic) likely alrwady decided, barring some first round heroics from one of the East’s lower seeded teams. There is nothing so cast-iron out West, with anyone from 7 teams capable of occupying the other 3 places in the Conference semis.

The Lakers will be there. But who will join? Given their pedigree, the Spurs should progress. And Denver just won’t go away despite many people questioning how they have come to be the 2nd seed out West. And I like a young a exciting Portland team.

 

Truthfully however, anything could happen. Change is a certainty, as illustrated by the sad demise of the Suns.

 

The Big Dance awaits.