Breaking down the trades from Shaq to best...
11. Suns: Watching the Lakers-Suns game last night was depressing. It was the part of the 80s movie when the boy next door decides to hang with the cool kids, stops acting like himself, starts gelling his hair, and forgets his best friend. Only, there's no happy ending. Some Kind of Horrible! There's no turning back to Euroball. The Suns are just another team. TNT's coverage missed the point. Shaq's numbers are not the ones to watch. Nash and the gang's are. Shaq's presence completely distorts the offensive flow. At about halftime when I turned the game off, Nash had two assists.
10. Cleveland: Oh Danny Ferry, you are the living end. Can someone please enroll him in a strategic-planning course? No blueprint. No grand design. No Lebron in the 2010s.
9. New Orleans: On paper, acquiring Bonzi and Mike James is a good idea. Enjoy the rest of the regular season, these guys are gonna be no help in the play-offs. Bonzi has never shown on the big stage and James had the one good year in Detroit because he was trying to prove he belongs in the Lig. Ever since James has tried to prove he's a star, he's regressed. Neither guy is a system guy. Neither is going to work within the NOLA system. They'll disappear in the playoffs. Eh. Not so much harm, not so much foul.
8. Houston: Forget winning, it's all about the JERSEY SALES. Gerald Green + Yao + Tracy = bank. And if Bobby Jackson can stay healthy, I'd have to bounce them up to the #5 spot. He's a baller in the playoffs and had his best years under Adelman. If you haven't watched Houston lately, tune in. They're gonna be a force in the playoffs.
7. Chicago: Hated the deal when I first heard it from my buddy from 'Sota. But it's growing on me, and by tomorrow morning, I might be loving it. Paxson's press conference tells you what you need to know. Getting rid of the Body and JoeJoe clears up time for Tyrus and the Joak. Their potential development gives some hope for this disasterous season. Just as Paxson seems beat, he pulls off a smart deal like this that tells you he is a hell of a lot smarter than Danny Ferry.
6. New Jersey: Devin Harris. Beautiful. Rod Thorn has always been a GM who focuses on getting the big pieces together to build around. Harris is just that kind of piece. But couldn't get rid of Vinsanity? He's a plague in that lockerroom. He takes the focus away from development and guarantees a few more wins and few less lottery balls.
5. San Antonio: Yes, it's an adjustment and not a bombshell. But it's vintage Buford. Kurt Thomas is the perfect cog to plug into the well-oiled machine. And some much needed pointy elbows to fend Pau out of the post. And don't forget the acquisition of the other Stoudemire.
4. Dallas: I'm baffled. Let me repeat that because it's not just flouncy rhetoric. I am BAFFLED. The same experts who are slurping up the Shaq trade, the same experts who made Kidd the king of the castle this summer during the Games are trashing this deal. Excuse me??? Kidd is the best point guard of his generation. He has two-three years of great to solid play left. He allows Dirk some time out of the spotlight. He fits perfectly with JHow. I love this deal.
3. Seattle: Sam Presti, you amaze me. Has anyone in any sport ever blown up a team with more style?
2. Lakers: Pau. Pau. Pau. Hopefully Kupcheck can finally step outside of West's shadow and get the Executive-of-the-Year consideration he deserves. We're talking about a roster that has ballers from roster spot 1 to 12.
1. Miami: Yes, Riley, you're a horrible person, but you do know your bball.