DONUT 1: Should the Lakers be worried enough to do a deal? How real are/were those Carmelo rumors?
I don't see quick fixes for what few problems LA has. They'd like to swap out Artest, but he comes with two more expensive years. That's the reality. Melo to LA? It's a SportsCenter fantasy, I'm afraid. SportsCenter understands the value of inserting "Lakers'' into any story, not unlike it does with "Dallas Cowboys.'' It's not at all indicative of substance.
DONUT 2: Can the Mavs stand pat?
Welcome to Shootdown City. All of the rumored stuff is in my wheelhouse and here goes: The criticism "Past their prime'' isn't analogous to "no good anymore.'' People say that about Dallas and I guess they're talking Kidd there … He's still a valuable, and in some ways incomparable, weapon. People talk about "overpaid centers'' which is certainly not true of Tyson Chandler and is otherwise meaningless. This isn't a game of Cap Management we're talking about. This conversation is about the game of basketball. So Haywood's money is, for the moment, immaterial. DallasBasketball.com has officially shot down the logic of any Capt. Jack trade the media has conjured up.
Dallas CAN stand pat and claim to be a top four team in the NBA. But "top four'' isn't the goal.
Same goes for any 'blow it up'' theory, and yes, some still remain. Wanna blow it up for a chance at, say, Deron Williams (who is now reportedly one of the skillions of stars plotting to become a Knick?) That idea always lingers out there. But you really don't need to "blow it up'' to accomplish the acquisition of a future star. And you don't blow up quality team led by a quality player like Dirk. (Ask KG's old team in Minnesota.) The plan is to remain Dirk-led ... and to find someone to help him ... even to be on his level. It's an endless, tireless search.
DONUT 3: Who are the biggest sellers?
The Pistons are foolish to be anything but sellers. They may be stuck with Rip Hamilton. But they don't need to be stuck with Tayshaun Prince. The Cavs should strip themselves of assets (including their $14 mil TE) in order to fortify for the future. And Charlotte wants to sell … but so far they can't find partners. A weird franchise in the sense that they've locked into guys like Jackson, Wallace and Diaw … and now want out from under all of them.
DONUT 4: Who are the biggest buyers?
I don't know if you call it "buying'' or "selling,'' but the team doing the most "talking'' is Houston. And I mean talking to other teams … and talking to the media, too. Morey is making Mark Cuban look like a mute wallflower.
DONUT 5: Speaking of Houston …
The team is going nowhere, five games under .500 … it's stripped itself (or been stripped) of talent … it's an entire team of glue guys (Scola and Battier) is need of just one star.
So they TALK about Bosh and then they TALK about ‘Melo … but there's no there there.
DONUT 6: What to do with Steve Nash?
Folks who believe the Suns want to trade Nash are are thinking like fans. Owner Robert Sarver is thinking like somebody watching his wallet. There is as much money to be made by keeping Nash and selling tickets and maybe making the playoffs than there is by selling him off. It all makes this "they should do Nash a favor'' talk sound ridiculous.
DONUT 7: Can some Pistons be had?
There's no fiscal sense in buying out Rip, and no fiscal sense in him giving up millions, either. They're stuck.
I think Dallas will spend the morning of Feb. 24 on the phone with Joe Dumars trying to give him a little sweetener to swap Caron for Tayshaun.
DONUT 8: Is there a non-contender trade brewing?
Cleveland and Minnesota can be players here. They both have the wherewithal and the desire to at least be facilitators as third-team partners in major deals.
DONUT 9: Are the Knicks an attractive team to play for?
I acknowledge that people THINK that about NY. But then reality sets in. A doofus for an owner who is considering bringing Thomas back to GM? Ownership is the No. 1 REALITY about a franchise's well-being. Glamour of the city or iconic stature of a building really mean little.
DONUT 10: Are the Nets an attractive team to play for?
Prokhorov apparently thinks this is easy. Throw some money at it. Jet over to the States once in awhile. Let Avery Johnson make a few decisions. Amare said this week that road games at NJ feel like home games because of the lack of support and energy in the NJ building. It's difficult to remake the culture of a team. ... and if they finish second in the Melodrama, the Nets will take a few more steps back.
DONUT 11: Any recommendations on a ‘quiet blockbuster'?
The quiet blockbusters will start cooking when Melo is finished. (Hurry, please.) Then Devin needs to land someplace. And so does Nene. If Melo goes to NY, Nene might not be on the outs. If Melo goes to NJ, Nene – even with his pregnant wife who is a Colorado native – will be ready to pack. For somewhere. Maybe Dallas or Houston.
DONUT 12: Why do teams wait until the last minute?
I've had this conversation with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban a couple of times. He is fond of insinuating that owners and GMs wait until the last second because they lack the balls to do it any other way. I argue that the reason NBA teams wait until the deadline is because that's what a deadline is for.
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