The Clippers, Darius Miles, All-Star Game, and Trade Speculation

Published: January 9, 2009

The Clippers visit Tonight

I’m not going to do a formal Game Preview today because I wanted to post a couple other things instead.  Still, here’s tonight’s game in a nutshell:  The Clippers are 8-27 and have lost nine in a row.  They are dead last in offensive efficiency, and 17th in defensive efficiency. Baron Davis is “injured” as always when the going gets rough, while scoring big men Zach Randolph and Kaman are struggling with leg problems.  That leaves rookie Eric Gordon to shoulder all the scoring load.  Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t gone well.  We should romp.

On to other things:

Darius Miles

The Portland Trail Blazers sent out an email to the league teams today warning them that should they sign Darius Miles now that he’s been waved by the Grizzlies, they will sue them.  Miles had gone through a Medical Retirement in Portland that allowed them to wipe his stupidly massive contract off their books.  However, if he manages to play just two more games in the NBA, his contract will go back on their books, wiping out about 9 million worth of Salary Cap space.  I understand why Portland sent out the Email – and for Portland fans it must be great to see how aggressive their front office is being in trying to improve the team – but you’ve got to believe it sets them up to get sued by Darius Miles.  Some team somewhere is probably willing to pay for his services.  The Trailblazers, by dropping these threats, are interfering with his ability to be gainfully employed.  That just reeks of lawsuit possibilities.

Of course, with Paul Allen owning the team, the Trailblazers never lack for money.  I’m not sure they’ll care much about having to fend off a lawsuit – or pay any penalties resulting.

All-Star Voting

I don’t care much about the All-star game itself.  In fact, last year was the first time I’ve actually watched the entire thing, and that, of course, had to do with it being in New Orleans, and our two representatives in the game.  That said, it is always fun to talk about who should be on the team.  I mean, who doesn’t like giggling about the fact that Deron Williams will likely not make the All-Star squad this year either? 

I do think, however, that the fan voting has become somewhat of an issue.  The Chinese have their two stars in the League, and in case you hadn’t heard, there’s more than a billion chinese running around.  That, of course, means that Yao and Yi each have millions of votes – and their teammates are also reaping the rewards.  Ron Artest and his 37% shooting is 4th among West Forwards.  Shane Battier, who has been injured most of the season, is in the top 10.  Rafer Alston has more votes than Brandon Roy.  Rafer freaking Alston. 

Oh, and then there is the real reason I’m worked up about the voting process: Paul is being beaten out as an All-Star starter by Tracy McGrady of Houston.  Two-three years ago, I’m fine with that.  This year, Tracy isn’t even trying.  In fact, he gives every indication he’d rather be anywhere else than on the basketball court.  So I ask the Chinese, Please, please stop voting for Tracy McGrady for humanitarian reasons.  He doesn’t even want to play the regular season games.  Don’t make him play in the All-Star one as well.

Trade Speculation

Lastly, I’m going to participate in a completely stupid, yet completely fun past-time: Trade Speculation! 

In my opinion, we need two things – a player who can shoot from deep and drive and score – and a player to back up Tyson and David West on the front line.  Our realistic trade assets are the following players:

  • Morris Peterson(5.7Mil per year, 3 years contract length)
  • Rasual Butler(3.6mil, 2 years)
  • Hilton Armstrong(2mil, 2 years)
  • Julian Wright(1.8mil, 3 years)

Yes, I’m including Julian.  If we aren’t playing him or going to play him, use him as bait. Oh, and no, I’m not including Peja.  I’m not convinced we should trade him, and I’m not convinced we’d get anything back worth playing if we did.

The teams I think the Hornets can target most easily for trades are those who are clearly out of the playoff hunt at this point.  Those teams will probably be willing to give up veterans for a combination of veterans that cost less, youngsters, and/or draft picks.  First are some serious proposals.  The last one is an interesting one that would never happen, but I included it just for kicks:

Hornets Give: Morris Peterson, Rasual Butler, Julian Wright and a Draft Pick
Hornets Receive: Golden State’s Corey Maggette(8.6Mil, 5 years) and Brandan Wright(2.4Mil, 3 years)
Hornet’s Starters: Paul/Maggette/Stojakovic/West/Chandler
Hornet’s Backups: Daniels/Brown/Posey/(B)Wright/Armstrong
Pros: The Hornets pick up a slashing scorer to compliment Peja on the wing, and a young big with more potential than Hilton.  The Warriors cut a lot of longterm salary and make Don Nelson very happy by bringing in even more lanky swingmen, including ultra-lanky Julian Wright.
Cons: Corey Maggette is injured and has a history of missing 15 games a season, Maggette’s contracts goes for five years and takes him until he is 34.  Brandan Wright has been promising in limited minutes, but is no guarantee to develop.

Hornets Give: Morris Peterson, Hilton Armstrong, 1st round pick
Hornets Receive: The Clipper’s Marcus Camby (8Mil, 2 years)
Hornet’s Starters: Paul/Butler/Stojakovic/West/Chandler
Hornet’s Backups: Daniels/Brown/(J)Wright/Posey/Camby
Pros: The Hornets pick up a backup big man who can contribute, upgrading their frontcourt rotation significantly.  The Clippers get a solid Wing player – and they really have none behind Eric Gordon and Al Thornton.  They also clear up the logjam of Randolph, Camby and Kaman on the front line.  Plus they get a pick – which is something they’ll need to stop being a crappy team.  Maybe they can draft a point guard.
Cons: The Clippers may be able to get a better/younger wing player than Peterson for Camby.

Hornets Give: Morris Peterson, Hilton Armstrong, 1st round pick
Hornets Receive: Indiana’s Radoslav Nesterovic(8.4mil, 1 year)
Hornet’s Starters: Paul/Butler/Stojakovic/West/Chandler
Hornet’s Backups: Daniels/Brown/(J)Wright/Posey/Nesterovic
Pros: Nesterovic is a good passer, a solid banger, a decent shooter, and a decent rebounder.  He also rarely makes mistakes.  His contract expires after this season, and can be most likely signed at half the price next year.  Indiana gets a back up shooting guard, and they don’t have anyone reliable right now behind Daniels and Granger.  They also get to clear minutes for Roy Hibbert, giving them a decent Foster/Hibbert/Murphy/Armstrong front line.  The Pacers also get a pick in compensation for picking up a little extra salary.
Cons: The Pacers probably want to cut salary pretty bad, and like to try to stick Jamaal Tinsley into every trade.  They also have Mike Dunleavy coming back from injury, which will give them a decent three man rotation at the wings in Daniels, Dunleavy and Granger.

Hornets Give: Rasual Butler, Hilton Armstrong, 2nd round pick
Hornets Get: Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison(6.2mil, 3 years)
Hornet’s Starters: Paul/Peterson/Stojakovic/West/Chandler
Hornet’s Backups: Daniels/Brown/(J)Wright/Posey/Collison
Pros: The Hornets clear out some of the logjam at small forward and get a dependable big man.  The Thunder get someone who can actually play at both wing positions behind Durant and Green, allowing them to dump Damien Wilkins, still have a decent backup big man, cut salary, and gain a pick.
Cons: The 2nd round pick is probably not enough for the Thunder to bite, particularly since the cut in salary doesn’t occur for two years.  Honestly, I’d probably make the offer then up it to a 1st rounder.
Note: I prefer Nick over Chris Wilcox because he’s more reliable and he’d be under contract for three years – while Wilcox could walk over the summer.

I tried hard to come up with a trade for Mike Miller of Minnesota, but nothing I came up with made any sense.  Especially for Minnesota.

I also considered a straight up swap of Julian Wright for Brandan Wright.  Brandan is bigger and more of a power forward, and if neither teams are playing those guys, why not give Nelson another lanky forward to love and get us another big to help out?  Something to think about.

Lastly, here is my “interesting” trade.  I can see how both sides could talk themselves into this being a great idea.  I’m not sure who would be right, though.

Hornets Give: Tyson Chandler(11Mil, 3 years), Peja Stojakovic(13Mil, 3 years), 1st round Pick
Hornets Receive: Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire(15Mil, 3 years), Leandro Barbosa(6mil, 4 years), Jared Dudley(1.2Mil, 2 years)
Hornet’s Starters: Paul/Butler/Posey/West/Stoudemire
Hornet’s Backups: Daniels/Barbosa/J. Wright/Dudley/Armstrong
Pros: For the Hornets: The Hornets ditch Peja’s contract and pick up an explosive scoring big man, giving the Hornets three incredible young scorers.  They also pick up a skilled scorer to lead the second unit.   For the Suns: The Suns have been trying to ditch Barbosa’s contract, and Amare has already said he’s probably leaving in two years, predicting their collapse due to age.  Phoenix gets to continue their progression to a standard offense and surround Shaq in the post with Richardson and Peja, two deadly shooters for Shaq and Nash to feed on the wings. Tyson and Shaq will dominate the boards, and Tyson can take the fast-moving big men defensively.  Peja’s age and contract expires the same year as Richardson’s, which will both be the year after Shaq and Nash, giving Phoenix the ability to completely clear out salary and old players over two years.  Chandler’s contract fits in there as well.
Cons:  The Hornet’s defense and rebounding will suffer.  Phoenix may have some problems integrating Chandler with Shaq offensively.  The Hornet’s wing positions won’t space the floor as well as they had, and the team may actually be weaker – in the short term.

Enjoy the game tonight.

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