A Crazy Day: Trade Deadline Wrap-Up
Webber Out Of Sac-Town
Yesterday, the Sacramento Kings traded Chris Webber, Matt Barnes and Michael Bradley to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Brian Skinner, Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson.
There are many theories about why Webber got dealt. There were problems with teammates Peja Stojakovic and Brad Miller. His knee was wrecked. The Kings wanted to get his 62 million dollar contract off the books. He never performed in the playoffs.
None of these theories actually explain why the power forward was shipped from Sacramento to the “City of Brotherly Love.” In fact, there’s a much more obvious reason. Last season, Webber refused to be accountable for his off the court problems and then blamed Sacramento fans for his poor play.
After blowing out his knee in the 2002-2003 playoffs, “C-Webb’s” legal problems began. Evidence surfaced that the five-time All-Star had lied under oath to a grand jury about accepting money from an agent when he was at the University of Michigan. Webber avoided jail time by entering a guilty plea, but the NBA imposed it’s own justice with a three-game suspension. Later that year, he tested positive for marijuana and the NBA slapped on another five game suspension. Webber had already missed half the 2003-2004 season rehabbing his knee and would now miss an additional eight games because of his suspensions.
Kings’ fans felt betrayed by their franchise player. When Webber was hurt, Bobby Jackson, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and Brad Miller came together to keep Sacramento near the top of the Western Conference. The “North Cali” faithful expected their star big man to rehab his knee and be ready to lead the Kings in the second half of the 2003-2004 regular season. But Webber got suspended, showed up out of shape and then disrupted the team’s chemistry. Worst of all- he couldn’t understand why Sacramento fans were booing him every time he touched the ball.
With the fans against Webber, management saw an opportunity to trade their aging star and usher in a new era of Kings’ basketball. However, last night’s trade overshadowed the announcement that the team’s plans for a new stadium had been rejected by Sacramento municipal council. Without a new arena, the Kings could start the post Webber-era by looking for a new home in either Las Vegas or Kansas City.
A Baron By The Bay
The New Orleans Hornets have traded Baron Davis to the Golden State Warriors for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis.
The Hornets had to get rid of Baron Davis. The explosive guard had become too much of a cancer in the locker room. Speedy Claxton is a nice player. Dale Davis has a contract that expires at the end of the season. Still, New Orleans is struggling to sell tickets and should have gotten back a big name. If Hornets’ fans get bored during games, the club could always show the tape of Chris Anderson at the Dunk Contest. Humor is often the best way to deal with losing.
Baron Davis might work with the Warriors. He’s a California guy and his athleticism will complement Jason Richardson, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. Last summer, Chris Mullin, Golden State’s executive vice president of basketball operations, spent too much money on Adonal Foyle and Derek Fisher. Mullin did much better by acquiring “B-Diddy” from the Hornets.
Just Getting Warmed Up
Golden State wasn’t quite finished. In a separate deal, the Warriors sent Eduardo Najera, Luis Flores and a first-round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets for Rodney White and Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
Najera just didn’t fit with the Warriors. White and Tskitishvili are young players with some upside. Mullin’s 2-for-2 at this year’s deadline, but he’s still guilty of giving Foyle a ridiculous 40 million dollars.
Milwaukee In The Redd
The Milwaukee Bucks needed to increase their cap room if they wanted to re-sign Michael Redd. The sharpshooter becomes a free agent at the end of the season, so the club dealt the pricey Keith Van Horn to Dallas in exchange for Calvin Booth, cash and the expiring contract of Alan Henderson. The Mavericks must see something in Van Horn that nobody else in the entire NBA does.
The Bucks then shipped Mike James and Zendon Hamilton to Houston for Reece Gaines and a couple of second round draft picks in 2006 and 2007. In Houston, Bob Sura’s back has flared up and he’s out indefinitely. James is a nice insurance policy if Sura can’t get healthy.
By trading Van Horn, James and Hamilton, the Bucks now have an additional 13 million dollars to offer Redd.
Walker And The Celtics Part Deux
Antoine Walker is returning to Beantown. Boston sent Gary Payton, Michael Stewart, Tom Gugliotta and a first-round draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks for Walker.
This is a weird trade. There were rumors that Boston was looking to bring back Walker. However, most people thought this was impossible because of the way that Walker left Boston two summers ago. It will be interesting to see how the forward gets along with Boston’s GM Danny Ainge.
A couple of years back, Ainge was working as a broadcaster. During one telecast, he told everyone how he hated Walker’s game. Later that summer, the Celtics hired Ainge as general manager and Walker soon found himself in a Mavericks’ uniform. Walker then called Ainge a liar amongst other things.
Right now, Walker and Ainge must move past their personal differences. These two need each other. Walker’s “max deal” expires after the season and he must use his second stint with the Celtics to re-establish himself as an elite player. After the success of the Red Sox and Patriots, Ainge has to show the Boston sports market that his rebuilding project is actually working.
Gary Payton wanted the Celtics to trade him to a contender. “The glove” was even hoping for a return to the Western Conference. Well, he ended up in Atlanta. Payton won’t report to the last-place Hawks and will likely be waived.
Boston Also Moved Jiri Welsch
The Celtics also traded Jiri Welsch to Cleveland for a first-round draft pick in 2007. Welsch is a strong shooter, but Tony Allen and Ricky Davis had taken most of his minutes at off-guard.
One team’s cast off is another’s treasure. The Cavaliers are near the bottom in 3-point shooting and Welsch can hit from beyond the arc. He’ll likely split minutes with Ira Newble. Welsch is a short-term solution at off-guard; Cleveland wants to make a run at Michael Redd in the off-season.
Knicks Sort Of Make Moves, But Mostly Just Add Salaries
The Knicks made two separate deals. New York sent Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer to San Antonio in exchange for Malik Rose and two future first-round draft picks. The club then sent Vin Baker and Moochie Norris to Houston for Maurice Taylor and another first-round draft pick.
In both deals, Isiah Thomas added some more salary. The Knicks are already over the cap by 50 million dollars and don’t seem interested in beginning a legitimate rebuilding process.
San Antonio has to be pleased with this deal. They saved money and Mohammed is an upgrade over Rose. Houston also saved a ton of cash by trading Taylor, but they got stuck with Vin Baker. Yes, Vin Baker is still in the NBA.
Miami Brings Back Smith
Steve Smith is heading back to Miami. The Heat traded forward Malik Allen to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Smith.
In 1991, the Heat drafted Smith and now they’re relying on the veteran to extend the defense with his perimeter shooting. Allen’s days were numbered once it became apparent that Alonzo Mourning was returning to South Beach. With the addition of Smith, Miami will finally be able to buy out or release Wesley Person.
“The Big Dawg” For The “Monster Mash”
The Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Hornets weren’t finished dealing. Philadelphia sent Glenn Robinson to New Orleans for Jamal Mashburn and Rodney Rogers.
Robinson and Mashburn have both been injured for the entire season. This deal was really about the cap. Robinson’s 12 million dollar contract comes off the books at year’s end, while Mashburn has another year left at about 10 million. Robinson might try to play; Mashburn is essentially retired.
Rogers is a versatile forward and will add depth to a “Philly” frontcourt that was basically traded away for Webber. He’s a nice pick-up for the 76ers.
Oly Sandor is an NBA analyst and a free-lance journalist based out of Vancouver Canada. Even after watching his hometown Vancouver Grizzlies start Bryant Reeves, Oly’s passion for basketball just couldn’t be denied. He spends most of his days either playing, coaching or writing about the game he loves. Hit him up with an e-mail at OlySandorNBAGuru@yahoo.com