Saturday , Dec , 18 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Trash Talk: Volume VI

Hi, all. So, Vince finally moved south of the border, and I can’t say I’m at all surprised. Everyone and their mother knew that he was looking to leave town even before he re-signed with the Raptors, although I doubt many would have predicted he’d end up in the Garden State. Two or three months ago the smart money would have been on some trade with New York, probably putting them another few hundred million over the cap. Vince hinted that he’d be happy as a Knick and Zeke publicly expressed his interest in Air Canada (thinking of which, he’ll need a new nickname now), but nothing came of it, leaving Mr. Carter up north and unhappy. If anything surprises me about his departure from Toronto, it’s that it wasn’t sooner. Even the Raptor faithful were beginning to grumble at his seemingly constant injuries and public shots at management.

<b>NBA Trash Talk</b>: <I>Volume VI</I>“/>What particularly interested me was the report a few days ago claiming that the Heat had been offered Carter in exchange for the thirty-three-year-old Eddie Jones, currently averaging the worst numbers of his career. While Vince is hardly playing the best ball of his life, if I’d had the chance to talk to Randy Pfund or Pat Riley, I’d have told them to sign the papers before Toronto realised what they were doing. Picture this for a starting five: <BR><BR>Dwyane Wade<BR>Damon Jones<BR>Vince Carter<BR>Udonis Haslem<BR>Shaquille O’Neal<BR><BR>Think it’s too small? No problem. Sit Basketball Jones, shift Vince to the two and Haslem to three, insert Laettner at the four, and here’s what you have: <BR><BR>6’4”<BR>6’6”<BR>6’8”<BR>6’11”<BR>7’1”<BR><BR>Not too shabby, eh? Anyway, this sort of talk is academic since Vince is now packing up and hunting for a home near the Swamp. The question now is this: Is he worth it? Vince might have the potential to put up twenty-plus, five and four for a few more years, but the Nets gave away an awful lot to get him. Carter may be a star (and this is a league of stars), but would you have given away Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and two first-round draft picks for him? It’s certainly a thinker, but, considering that neither of the Williamses are anything special, that ‘Zo might not have that much left in the tank and that they’ve wasted their lottery picks lately, New Jersey seems to have made a smart decision. Here’s a projected first five, assuming all are healthy: <BR><BR>Jason Kidd<BR>Vince Carter<BR>Richard Jefferson<BR>Brian Scalabrine<BR>Jason Collins<BR><BR>Admittedly, this does leave them <I>very</I> thin at the four and five, but if their back three plays as well as three former Olympians should, it’ll all be worth it. Toronto, on the other hand, looks significantly weaker as a result of this trade: <BR><BR>Rafer Alston<BR>Morris Peterson<BR>Jalen Rose<BR>Chris Bosh<BR>Alonzo Mourning<BR><BR>Horrible. Just horrible. Bosh may allegedly have upside, but right now he’s noodle-thin and at least three years away from being a true go-to guy, if he ever becomes one. Alston is a solid point who isn’t afraid to call his own number, but how much can he do when there’s nobody to pass to? When you really <I>need</I> Jalen Rose to score for you, you know you’re in trouble. With this in mind, it seems likely to me that Toronto was simply clearing out cap space in anticipation of further signings and/or trades. Certainly Skip has intimated that he might be happier elsewhere and Rose’s name is often mentioned as part of potential deals, but I think it more likely that they’ll try to pick up a free agent in the coming off-season, when a handful of decent two-guards will become available, filling their biggest hole. <BR><BR><B>“I have nothing against [Shaq]. I’d definitely love to sit down and talk with him. I don’t know, maybe that’ll happen. … I never intended to involve him in my troubles. I’d apologize to him for that. “</B> – <I>Kobe Bryant</I><BR><BR>When asked whether he had any comments on Bryant’s suggestions, O’Neal responded: <BR><BR><B>“No, none whatsoever.”</B><BR><BR>It seems as if nobody is on Kobe’s side right now. Following the bizarre affair involving him, his wife and Karl Malone, he could have done without the extra media attention for a while. Why, then, did he decide to make what seemed a genuine, heartfelt apology to the big fella in public? Didn’t he realise that Shaq would slap it right back at him? I don’t think it shocked anyone that the Diesel shrugged it off in typically facetious fashion, so why did Kobe do it? My best guess is that he expected this sort of treatment from Shaq, hoping that the media would see him as the mature party in what would be nothing more than a petty, uninteresting squabble were it not for the fact that the two involved are among the world’s top athletes. It doesn’t, however, seem to have had the desired effect for Mr. Bryant, only serving to further turn the media from him and towards Shaq. Whatever comes of this, what’s certain is that Kobe seems all the more enigmatic for having done it, and at a time when he’s desperately trying to restore his image, that’s the last thing he would have wanted. <BR><BR>Here’s where we go interactive. I’d like you all to answer the following three questions using the <I>Comments</I> box at the bottom of the page or by emailing me at Simply list your three answers with any thoughts you have and I’ll be featuring and analysing your responses next week. Here we go: <BR><BR><B>Who would you take <I>right now</I>?</B><BR><I>Andrei Kirilenko or Shawn Marion? Zach Randolph or Carlos Boozer? Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?</I><BR><BR>Needless to say, these should show up some wildly differing views. Having discussed these with a few people over the last week, I know there’ll be some pretty drastic differences of opinion. <BR><BR>Anyway, that should be enough for you to think about for a while. As always, email me or comment in the box below if you have anything on your mind. I reply to all emails either personally or through the column, so this is the place to come if you’ve got something to ask. <BR><BR>Take it easy now, <BR><BR>Chuck. </p>