So the trade deadline has come and gone, and we’ve stood pat. I won’t lie, I’m a little disappointed. For years now I’ve harbored dreams of that fat expiring contract bringing in Gilbert Arenas or Amare Stoudemire and adding that second bona-fide all-star with LeBron James, or another huge name. But it wasn’t meant o be. Let’s take a peek at why.
-As it turns out, Amare and Bosh weren’t really all that available after all. I’m sure Amare would want to be here, but at some point the Phoenix brass looked at each other and realized that if you’re going to try and re-tool, starting things off with a great big man in his mid-20s who still has upside left isn’t the worst idea, and they appear to have gone back to damning the torpedoes, which means I don’t have to hear about the “New Phoenix” anymore. Done and done.
-We know Danny Ferry is not a risk-taker. Since he took over, he has not traded anyone who was not immediately replaceable in the rotation with a player we were getting (with the exception of Joe Smith), or had any remaining upside (Shannon Brown and Ced Simmons had pretty much had their chances.) He’s going to sit back and wait for the home runs, and those weren’t available at this deadline, seeing as how the economic crisis and the Summer Of Doom are looming over everybody’s heads.
-It would appear that the deal-breaker in almost every one of our trade talks (other than Amare) was JJ Hickson. I think the move was keeping him. Brad Miller was going to be our backup four for a year. Camby was going to play a backup role. JJ is playing very well in that backup role as it is now, and I think the brass sees him as the long-term option at the starting four. From what I’ve seen, he’s the most talented offensive big man to play with LeBron James, especially off the pick-and-roll, where he replaces Andy’s awkward fumblings around the basket and Z’s tidy pick-and-pop jumpers with furious slams at the basket. I think we would’ve regretted trading Hickson for anyone we don’t see as a long-term starter. He’s going to be our Bynum. I can feel it. I could be wrong, and did once say I wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger on Boobie for Mike Bibby, but I think JJ is going to be part of the core here for a long time. Everything seems to point to the deals with Washington, LAC, and Sacramento falling through because they wanted to get JJ and we wanted to force them into a straight salary dump. So that’s pretty much that.
-Not only do I have no problem with JJ sticking in the rotation as a backup 4 because of his ability and potential, some of our best lineups come with LeBron at the four. I really thought the Miller and Camby deals were barely worth the cost of paying them. I would’ve liked to see a VC, Richard Jefferson, or Salmons added to give us a wing option off the bench that could free up LeBron to play about 15-20 minutes per game at the four, but none of them were for sale. And if you read this blog, you know I’m harboring hope that Tarence Kinsey could be that missing wing.
-Antawn Jamison-very good. Great offensive weapon off the bench. Definitely an upgrade over Wally. But his natural position is the three, and if he’s playing the four you’re going to lose some rebounding and defense. And he’s making 10+ million through 2012. Is Jamison good enough to say we can stand pat for the next four years? Not for me.
-Shaq-Shaq would’ve been very interesting. His low-post presence and passing ability coupled with LeBron would’ve been pretty scary. But that seemed more a crackpot rumor than anything else, and the deal was never really going to get done. And I don’t know how him and Z on the same team works-you’re costing yourself a lot in terms of defensive rotations.
-Larry Hughes to the Knicks: Inevitable, hilarious. And Tim Thomas returns to the Bulls.
-I’m covering the Hornets@Lakers this Friday-I’m excited to see the awkwardness in that locker room.
-Alston to the Magic could keep them as contenders-that was a good move. And why has nobody mentioned that the Magic gave away Trevor Ariza for Maurice Evans last year?
-Drew Gooden: Back in the Bay Area. People of Chicago: Your long nightmare is over. I think Gooden and Hughes are just going to have a running bet on which one’s going to stay with a team past next year’s deadline.
-This is the team that’s saddling up for a finals run. Learn to love it. It’s as good as we’ve seen.