Following the flurry of activity that took place at yesterday’s trade deadline, it’s inevitable that we dissect where each team went wrong, declare some the “big winners,” and reminisce over what could have been as we pore over the details of trades big and small.
What if Miami really had traded for Carlos Boozer? What if the Bobcats had completed a regrettable deal with the Pacers that brought back T.J. Ford and Brandon Rush in exchange for D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson, and Nazr Mohammed? What if the Knicks hadn’t given away just about every significant asset in their possession to shed the contract of Jared Jeffries? Or, perhaps the most relevant, what was stopping your team from trading for Kevin Martin with whatever sizable expiring contract was sitting in the franchise’s coffers?
The headline-grabbers in yesterday’s three-way trade between the Knicks, the Rockets, and the Kings are undoubtedly Martin and Tracy McGrady, but the latter has more utility as an expiring contract than he’s had as a player. So on paper, the Rockets only stood the same chance to steal away Martin as any other team with a big enough expiring contract…right?
Kind of. From Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee:
With all due respect to former Rocket Joey Dorsey and former New York Knick Larry Hughes, Landry is the reason Kevin Martin was sent to the Rockets in a three-team, nine-player deal that was formalized Thursday. He is the sort of impactful forward they had been seeking, undersized at 6-foot-9 but overachieving in every way during this, the best of his three seasons. He is averaging 16.1 points (54.7 percent shooting) and 5.5 rebounds off the bench. Landry was the point of inspiration for Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, who hid his willingness to move Martin from most league executives until the trading deadline’s 11th hour but jumped at the chance to land the gritty, athletic big man.
Look, the expiring contract matters; Martin was owed $34.6 million over the next three seasons, and the Kings took back only one $3 million team option that extends beyond this season. But the real catalyst in this trade is the underrated Landry, a tough power forward that could cement the Kings’ front-court rotation for years to come. It seems more and more that this deal wasn’t done to clear away cap space or save money, but to acquire Landry.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.