Monday, May 28

How Much

If you follow the Sonics like we do, you know that Greg Oden more than Kevin Durant precisely fits the team's needs. Of course, the Blazers know this, too, and even though they'd be better served with Durant than Oden - at least with the present roster intact - they're not dumb enough to help the Sonics out.

So, if you're running the Sonics (and, at the moment, you may as well be), how much ransom do you give Portland in exchange for the #1 pick? I'm surprised I haven't heard anyone discuss this yet, but it's worthy topic of consideration.

Salaries always make these sorts of deals difficult, but because the #1 and #2 picks are both worth so much, we're not at a wide impasse. I'll make the first bid:

Sonics offer the #2 overall pick and the first pick of the 2nd round in exchange for the #1 overall pick.

Is that a ridiculously poor offer? Would both 2nd round picks make it more equitable? Should we be including a #1 in the future into the deal? I'd be curious to hear what Blazer fans think of the idea (well, except for those running the draftkevindurant site; I love you guys!).


Anonymous said...

Durant is the better player, with the better internal drive. Oden could be a force, or he could play just hard enough to be a stud...

Durant WILL play hard enough to be a superstar. Will Oden?

Not to mention, Swift could be a servicable is not a strong center, and I still believe he could reach top 10 Center status in time...

AND Lewis is likely gone to Orlando, hopefully for a pick.

But either way if he leaves, we do not have anything resembling a solid SF. I don't care if it is called "the easiest position to fill in the NBA." NOT having a strong one is a tremendous disadvantage, and the current roster takes a significant downgrade when Lewis is not on the floor.

Let's not forget, maybe the best SF of my generation was Scottie Pippen. Durant has that kind of talent, maybe more. How many championships did Jordan win w/o Pippen? How many do you think he would have won with Derrick McKey instead of Pippen.

A top SF can alter the game more than any other position. They can score inside or out, post up or hit 3's, handle the ball and attack from anywhere on the floor. And when so many of those playing the position are "mediocre" a stronger-than-average player will make an even greater influence on the game.

So AT THE MOMENT Oden is perhaps the greater "need" but operation under the assumption that Lewis will stick is foolhardy.

Take whoever is left, and use both picks to build for the future and present.

Until you figure out a way to bumble it up (like you are endorsing here) it is a win-win for the Sonics.

Make the trade and Oden turns out to be a bust (for whatever reason) and we are left with the hindsight judgement that we should have just taken Durant in the position we originally were slotted for.

This is NOT an "overthink" situation. Don't turn us into the Texans passing on Bush here...

Anonymous said...

is that really a site? I clicked the link and got nothing.

PN said...

It's working now. Just a glitch when I posted the article.

Anonymous said...

How many championships did Pippen win without Michael? That's probably a better question.

I think getting Oden would be great. As for Lewis, I know that the posturing going on now makes people think he'll leave, but put yourself in his shoes. Would you rather play in Orlando with Dwight Howard and JJ Redick and Darko, or would you rather play in Seattle with Ray Allen and Greg Oden? Yeah, Howard's great, but Oden is more hyped coming out of college than Howard was, so it stands to reason he has a good chance at being as good as Dwight...

Anonymous said...

Ryan, I know Pippen didn't win one w/o Jordan, but I also know he was the best, most dominant player in the league that year Jordan first left.

And either way, the point was about the value of a SF being undervalued, but top SF's making a tremendous difference.

How many championships did Patrick Ewing win? How about Alonzo (as a leader not role player.) How about Mutombo? Moses Malone, who played for decades? Orlando with young skinny tour-de-force Shaq? Hakeem from 1984-96?

There aren't a lot of championships to be had, and having a dominant center helps, but isn't exactly a requirement. Ben Wallace won more than did Ewing... total team construction matters far more. How many has Shaq won without a premier perimeter scorer to shoulder much of the load?

And to be honest, I would rather play with Dwight Howard and receive a substantial tax discount. Not sure if you knew this, but that Orlando community that Tiger Woods, Griffey, Madonna and many other celebs live in? It isn't just because it is a cool place to live-- Florida has MASSIVE tax benefits that could potentially make their lesser offer equal to ours in everything but years, due to the tax differences.

Something to think about, when judging Orlando's ability to attract free agents...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the argument that the Sonics shouldn't think too much about this. Either player will be great to have, and nobody can tell which one will be better. Neither player has a history of major injuries or attitude problems. In fact, they both almost seem too good to be true. If the worst thing you can say about Oden is that he's a decent human being, well, that's a pretty good situation to be in.

I disagree about a top SF altering a game more than any position. I'd argue that PG/C, then PF/SF/SG. Shaq didn't need a good SF (Kobe was a 2 back then most times, right?), and the Spurs have done just fine with different people (Elliott, Bowen), none of whom were all-star players.

The key is to have a superstar who wants the ball at crunch time and who understands the importance of defense.

That, or Shaq.

Anonymous said...

I don't the tax benefits will be all that great. Florida has no state income tax, but neither does the state of Washington. The cost of living in Orlando is less, but really, for these guys, that's not a big deal. Plus, Rashard would be playing in Texas much less frequently, even though he'll be physically much closer. The biggest difference is the weather, and Seattle can't compete in the winter with Orlando.

I think alot of the comments Rashard made in the course of the season came because of the directionless nature of this team. The location of the team is up in the air, the team doesn't seem to be gettting any better ... it all contributes to him wanting to leave.

But if the Sonics wind up with Durant or Oden, it changes everything. All of a sudden the Sonics are a playoff-caliber team, and if they're able to resolve the PG situation this summer (big if), that helps even more. Throw in a coach like Iavaroni or Carlisemo, and a GM like Presti, and now we're talking major changes.

It doesn't change the franchise location, but if you're Rashard, would you rather play in Oklahoma, where you family could drive to see you, or Orlando, where they have to fly and you'll only play in Texas 3 times a season?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a PG or C is the frequent choice and I do agree to a point, but semantics play a part. And I did mention Kobe, but point taken.

And I also think a PG influences the game more than any other player due to his control of the pace/tempo.. i.e. the ball.

And a center that can affect things on both ends, can of course do the same. And perhaps Oden is one, but I'm not certain he will play hard enough...

A top tier, elite SF, like an elite C, can truly dominate all phases of a game. Think long arms in passing lanes, anticipation defense, a legitimate shot blocking presence, and the ability to cover anyone on the floor.

Of course, defensively I don't know if Durant is THAT guy either... but unlike Oden, I think he will work to that point.

And offensively, I KNOW Durant wants that ball at crunchtime.

Ben Q. Rock said...

I still don't think it's a forgone conclusion that the Blazers will take Oden.

For the top pick, the Sonics would have to offer at least the second overall pick, their first pick in the second round, and a future unprotected number one pick.

Eric Reynolds said...

I wouldn't trade up. I say pick second, let the cards fall where they may, and be happy with whichever guy Portland doesn't pick.

Paul said...

How many championships did Patrick Ewing win? How about Alonzo (as a leader not role player.) How about Mutombo? Moses Malone, who played for decades? Orlando with young skinny tour-de-force Shaq? Hakeem from 1984-96?

Um . . . Moses helped the '83 Sixers win '83 championship when Dr. J was on his last legs (Moses was Finals MVP), while Ewing, Young Hakeem and Orlando Shaq brought their teams to the Finals.

I can't think of too many SF's who have done the same.

Anonymous said...

Pick second. Why should WE help the Blazers?

Anonymous said...

Warning, I'm a Blazer fan. So take this all with a grain of salt.

But, Paul ... if the Sonics get Oden, they would, one assumes, have an easy time getting Lewis back. And with Oden, Allen, and Lewis, this team is serious.

Serious enough that, even if Portland preferred Durant, the Blazers might give Oden an extra thought JUST to prevent it. With Durant, I assume you lose Lewis, and then you are back to trying to fit the pieces together.

So, I don't think it's about helping Portland. I think it's about the calculation that Oden has the best possible chance of saving the team quickly, and the team needs saving quickly.

If that costs you a couple of picks? Or swapping some spare parts? It's show time, you know? These decisions over the next few weeks will determine the course of the franchise for years and years to come. In the cards could be everything from hanging banners in Renton to playing to a sad and empty house after years of losing in Oklahoma City.

You want to leave that crap to fate? Or, worse still, to Kevin Pritchard?

That's why you don't just pick second. I don't know who's better -- Oden or Durant -- but if the Sonics think they do, they better make sure they get that guy.

PN said...

Bingo. I think you're the first guy who got what I was trying to say, Henry. Nobody knows which of these two guys is going to be a superstar, but everybody knows the Sonics need a big man more than they need a 6'10" Small/Power Forward.

Bottom Line: I'd much rather have Oden/Allen/Lewis going forward than Durant/Allen/Milicic, which is what would likely happen. If helping the Blazers is what it takes to make the Sonics better, that's just a lousy by-product of success.

Oh, and thanks for mentioning us on your site so frequently. You just saved me an email.

cynicali said...

Great post Henry.

Anonymous said...

I hear what Henry was saying, but at the same time I still have a haunting suspicion that a Durant pick could potentially be just as significant, assuming Swift is who we hope he is.

Durant will bring in the fans, and W's. Maybe not to short term contention level that you would see with Oden, but then the Oden immediate contention issue makes a HUGE assumption in Ra staying here.

What if he leaves? Will we be any closer to competing now with Oden as opposed to Durant in that case? Especially while giving away other key future pieces such as 2nd round picks, etc?

I personally think Lewis is gone, we try to rebuild on the fly w whoever Portland doesn't take, and unless they are willing to take spare parts, we make no trade of picks.

Anonymous said...

If you're right that Lewis is gone, then you're right that we should draft Durant. It's an agree-to-disagree situation; I don't think Rashard has already packed his bags. It's unfortunate that we won't get a decision from him until after the draft, but the Sonic staff has to have a better feeling than us as to what will happen. If people close to the situation think Ra is going to stay, then there is definitely a possibility he will.

I guess I'm just being optimistic that we can keep Ra, and, if so, I think it makes more sense to get Oden than Durant.