Whew. A lot of info to digest today, so let's get at some of the latest news and rumors.
1. The Luke Ridnour to Atlanta for the #11 deal is apparently still alive, although not as hot as it was earlier yesterday. Makes you wonder if the Hawks are still holding out hope for the Stoudamire deal to get a shot of adrenalin before they commit one way or the other.
2. Draftexpress reports that "inside info" says that the Sonics will take Reinaldis Seibutis with the 35th pick. Seibutis is a 6'6" off guard, 21 years old, from Lithuania. He's reported to be a good shooter, but skinny. Guess the Sonics figure he'll be a good backup for Ray Allen, unless...
3. Ray Allen gets traded to Boston for Theo Ratliff and the #5 pick. I can understand the Sonics wanting to get out of Ray's contract, and I can understand going after Mike Conley with the pick, and I can understand getting Ratliff's expiring deal, but as much as I've given Allen a hard time on this site, the man is a bona fide stud. Granted, his skills are in the decline phase, but he's a hard worker and plays well in the playoffs. Let's say the Sonics make it to the post-season this year, wouldn't you feel a lot better knowing that a stone-cold assassin was playing in the backcourt, rather than relying on a rookie (Durant) and Rashard Lewis (assuming Lewis isn't dealt as well)?
More to come.
I can see the Sonics dealing Rid for what would be Stuckey OR I can see them dealing Allen for what would be Conley, BUT I can't see them doing both. For crying out loud, the starting lineup would be:
Call me crazy, but that ain't a 50-win team. That isn't even a 45-win team. That's another 40-win team. I don't mind either trade, but I'd like to see some sort of veteran stuff on this team.
"Ray Allen gets traded to Boston for Theo Ratliff and the #5 pick."
That is shocking . . . that Theo Ratliff is still in the league!
Please don't make us watch a season of Mike Conley Jr. and Earl Watson.
Conley will be good. Eventually...
But any chance of competing in the West goes out the window with a rookie PG and a rookie as your 1st/2nd option on offense as well.
And the SG from Lithuania looks to be non-athletic. Great. I don't care how great he can fill the rock (and their report says he is dubious from NBA 3.) He is not ready to be anything more than an NBA role player.
The one hope for that team if the trades are done, is if Muckleshoot comes together, the team stays, and then we get to witness another lottery next year.
Because a team without Ridnour (and no upgrade occuring), without Ray, and potentially without Lewis is lottery bound. Another year of crappiness is no way to "establish culture" and it draws far too obvious a portrayal of an owner that will unscrupulously blow up a potentially competitive team simply to suit his own desires and set up his move to hicktown.
And Mike Conley Jr. will NOT outplay Ridnour this year. No way in hell. He is a 19 year old rookie. Remember how bad Gary was as a rookie? Payton was an established college star, with years of experience and he still struggled.
Conley had oodles of talent on his team last year. I'm not convinced he will be nearly the impact without such a studly team. Not that he wont be decent... just sayin'. To "annoint" him this early is a mistake. PG's are like QB's-- even when it looks good on paper, sometimes they don't develop. Meanwhile some non-hyped player comes in and is dynamic and brilliant.
Expect nothing less of a 6' rookie PG than struggles his first 3 years at least.
Really would like to see Ray stay around and play with KD, but we definitely need to start grooming his replacement now.
Not sure about Rid. I'm willing to give him another year.
Fun day for sure.
You make some good points with Conley - nobody was talking about this guy 5 months ago, and now he's the greatest point guard from the NCAA since Kenny Anderson.
It's hard to say how Conley will be in the pros. On the one hand, Chris Paul and Deron Williams have shown rookie or 2nd-year points can contribute right away. One big difference between now and 15 years ago, when Gary was a rookie, is the increased number of teams, and the decrease in quality in PG play. Look at the PGs in the league when GP started out:
Not all of those guys are superstars, but you've got 5 bona-fide Hall of Famers, plus a half-dozen all-star quality guys. Compare that to today when the top 5 in assists were Nash, Williams, TJ Ford, Kidd, and Andre Miller. Not exactly the same level of quality.
That is the most depressing list I have read in my life (outside of Schindler's).
I know I'm a bitter old man, but the league today really sucks compared to the 80s. Also I don't like this new-fangled rock and roll. And the pokey-mans. KIDS IS CRAZY!
Maybe Durant and Oden can usher in a new age of awesomeness.
(OK, the list is from '90 --sue me!)
I'm still not convinced that we don't have a chance at Oden.
What about Durant, Swift, and next year's #1?
That would give us,
THAT, my friends, is not a bad lineup. With Oden at the 5, we could probably afford to trade Wilcox. Wilcox+Ridnour+2nd rounders for a point guard??
The only problem with the trade is that it would be helping the Blazers, and I'd rather not do that, even though it would helping our team.
Initially, I thought it made the most sense to get Oden, since that would mean keeping the rest of the team intact. But the more I think about it, it makes more sense to get Durant, look for another average center, and go from there. If Swift doesn't work out, we can work a deal with Ray Allen after the season to get someone to replace Swift.
If my choices are Durant+Average Center or Oden+Average PF, I'll take the Durant option, because I'm beginning to think he's the future superstar, moreso than Oden.
Guys, remember, that Bennett is calling the shots. If he wants to blow up the team in prep for the move to OKC, he'll do it. Let's hope that Presti does as well as he can.
Here's the question: Is the addition of Durant to the current squad enough to get us anywere? I submit that it is not. Sure, we could make a push for the eighth or seventh spot, but the team's real problem - defense - would remain.
In other words, KD will not turn the 07-08 Sonics into championship contenders. And I think we've seen enough of Rid to fairly say he's not going to be "the guy." Ray is getting older. Rashard is, frankly, overrated.
So let's get a very good PG (Conley is all that - he was OSU's best player last year), a potential sleeper in the D-Wade mold (Stuckey), and the best player in the draft (Durant) and go at it.
I guarantee you that the Conley/Stuckey/Durant team will be better than the Ray/Rashard/Durant team in three or four years.
No one was higher on Oden than me, but I'm actually more excited about Durant now. That Portland workout was a sad reminder of how many big-man busts there have been in the NBA in the past 20 years.
People joke about Sam Bowie, but that guy was a highly touted big-man in college. My intense hatred of the Blazers makes me want to party like it's 1984.
Sam Presti is building towards the future. But will it be a Clippers future? The likelyhood of success with a very young team is not high, but works occasionally.
It seems Brewer would be more likely than Conley, as he is what Presti said he wants (versatile, athletic, plays defense, etc), defense, something the Sonics could use.
Is it possible that the Sonics have a 3 year plan??? It is assumed they move after next year, but he paid a fortune for this team, and in other markets, this team is worth less. Perhaps the idea is slash payroll (ala the past M's), assemble high quality talent that could blossom into a winner, make money the next few years, while getting a super-arena built?
The question is? Do you want a mediocre team again (at 50 million), or a young exciting team with potential (at 20 million). I take the latter!
Oden is not so much etter than Durant so as to justify giving up a future 1 and Swift. No way.
Something else worth pointing out: Let's say the Sonics go young and take Stuckey, Conley, and Durant in the draft (this is unlikely, but bear with me), and they all turn out to be above-average players/all-stars. Here's a gigantic problem:
Their rookie contracts will all expire at the same time, so the Sonics will be faced with a humongous decision, precisely at the same time that they mature. In other words, 1 of the 3 would have to be kicked out the door 3 years from now just as he's getting into the NBA groove.
It's not a deal-breaker, but it's worth considering. Having two stud rookies is one thing, but having 3 is a bit much. Add in this problem: Who's going to lead these guys? Chris Wilcox? Nick Collison? PJ Carlesimo?
It's not a foregone conclusion that rookies need guidance (LBJ has done okay without any true veteran help), but it doesn't hurt.
Adam, I thought of that too, what a nice problem to have :-) Of course, it can be compounded if the team has a high lottery pick next year too! It's something you deal with if it happens. The Bonus - If you have a new Super-Arena, you could keep 'em all and win championships!
I believe anyone with common sense can be a GM...so Paul, what would you do as a GM?
FYI - on my Conley comments earlier, I just read this over at SI.com and it sounds VERY similar to exactly what I was saying. 3 years for Conley.
OVERRATED: Mike Conley Jr., PG, Ohio State ...
and UNDERRATED: Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M
Conley was a phenomenal floor general as a freshman, and as dominant as Oden was, Conley often was more responsible for the Buckeyes pulling out big-game victories. And so the issue here is not whether Conley is a lottery-worthy point guard -- he had a 2.77 assist-to-turnover ratio, after all -- but rather why there's universal agreement that he's going to be a better pro point guard than Law.
Conley is slotted fourth in the consensus mock. Law is 13th. The gap, in reality, is not that wide. One wonders if the Hawks, Grizzlies and Bucks -- all teams with top-six picks and immediate point-guard needs -- would really be better served by taking Conley instead of Law. Conley has more speed and more potential, but a glaring lack of long-distance shooting ability. Law, meanwhile, has a bigger body (he's 6-3½ and 185 pounds, compared to Conley's 6-0¾, 175), a better shot (45.8 percent on threes compared to 30.4 percent), ambidextrous scoring skills and a well-earned reputation for late-game heroics.
Once Conley develops NBA 3-point range, he could be a star -- but that may take three years. In the meantime, his penetration skills will be negated by sagging defenses. Law provides the full package right away, yet amazingly, there's a chance he could slip out of the lottery and fall behind Georgia Tech's Javaris Crittenton among point guards selected. If so, Law will become the steal of the draft.
I liked how Hollinger says that Law is a bust already because of Hollinger's system, but then glosses over the mistakes his system has made in the past in evaluating players. Obviously, Law's lack of steals isn't promising, but is there no chance at a human element in this evaluation process? Should we just throw up our hands and say, "Whatever you say, John"? The difference between 6'3 and 6' is huge, and the 3-point business doesn't help, either (especially when you consider that Conley shot that bad when every team in he faced was double- and triple-teaming his center, and he was shooting from 20 feet out, no 23).
I love the idea of dealing Ray for the #5 pick. I know it's hard to swallow because Ray's a great player, but remember that Ray Allen was a draft choice selection once upon a time. In fact, he was a #5 pick, just like Conley would be.
Their are 2 differences: 1. The Sonics don't have to pay Mike Conley $15 mil. a year for the next 3 seasons, and 2. Ray Allen hasn't led the Sonics to anything in his whole time here.
I read at sonicscentral where someone made the comparison of trading Allen now to trading Payton 3 years ago. At the time, everyone hated the trade because we viewed Payton through the prism of history. Well, the trade was a steal, Gary's been a bit player ever since because he's aged. The question isn't necessarily who's better right now, Conley or Allen, it's who is going to better in two years? Would you rather pay Ray Allen $15 million when he's 35, or pay Mike Conley $3 million when he's 23?
The thing to remember when comparing Law and Conley is that Law is already 3 years ahead of where Conley is on the developmental curve, and yet it's reasonable to say that Conley is better right now. While it might make sense for a team that desperately needs a point guard to compete this year to take Law, taking him over Conley is a silly move for any of the teams in the lottery, precisely because they won't be competing much next year anyhow. Law will likely be a decent NBA point, but Conley's the guy who has Hall of Fame potential, and when you're a team looking to rebuild (Grizz, Hawks, whomever) you have to take him...
and 2. Ray Allen hasn't led the Sonics to anything in his whole time here.
Not sure about that... he seemed to be quite the catalyst for the playoff run a few years back.
Trading Payton for Allen was a no-brainer, a declining all-star for a prime all-star, and replacing Allen with a rookie is not even comparable. I too believe Ray's time has come, unless we land an all-star low-post center, yea right, so make the trade.
And if Conley is so good, why were his numbers so bad when playing with the best center??? he could be another I have potential but never developed!
just watching the NCAA championship on ESPN classic. Conley picked up his second foul while fouling a 3 point shooter. Cardinal sin.
To compare the Payton/Allen trade to an Allen/Conley trade is ludicrous. What, exactly, has Conley done in the NBA prior to the trade. Oh, yeah. Nothing. Allen was an established stud. Not only that, but didn't someone say we got Ridnour pick in the trade as well?
Money issues are irrelevant, as we are not the financially bad off, to throw in the towel and take a chance on a 6' tall PG with no shooting ability as opposed to a player other teams scheme for.
And that brings up another point about Conley. I heard someone say he was the best player on his team. Hardly. Oden was the guy other teams had to gameplan for. Conley was an afterthought they hoped wouldn't hurt them. He did. Take away his big man, though, and he isn't a top 5 pick--or at least not a wise one. Dejuan Wagner anyone?
Guys-- please don't fall in love with a PG that hasn't proven anything. And I don't care where Ray Allen was drafted. He is an elite SG, one of the best shooters in the league. Conley, 5 years from now, may be a great player.
Chris Washburn was a number3 overall. Draft position is meaningless in comparison to a player's NBA history.
There are rare exceptions. We are getting one of them this year. Conley is a hot name at the moment. Mike Mamula, anyone?
HYPE HYPE HYPE.
Don't believe it. You are being seduced by the hot chick at the bar. But she doesn't cook, doesn't clean, wants your money and is high maintenance, and soon enough she will leave you for a richer guy... probably one you think yourself better than.
Conley is a sexy thought. Nothing more. RayRay is a PROVEN 20ppg player, whose only weak phase is defense. Conley's not a proven defender, can't shoot, hasn't proven he can attack NBA quality defenders, and has only showcased his talent on a team in which he was the 2nd to 3rd option.
I love Ray, but I think the comparison to the Payton trade is apt. Ray's gonna start declining one of these years, almost certainly in the next two or three. Ultimately, though, I'd rather see him stick around one more year to groom Durant and to avoid front-loading the lineup with 2007 rookies, which will present a financial/logistical nightmare in three years, as Nuss points out. Trade Ray in 2008. Try to compete this year. I'm beginning to fear that Bennett's only goal right now, besides drafting Durant, is to throw away next season by reducing payroll to prepare for a downsizing move to smaller-market Oklahoma.
Oh, I forgot to mention: F#@K YOU, HOWARD SCHULTZ! Dick.
WOW - WTF if Portland takes Durant and we get Oden! I like having Rashard and Allen then, filling it up outside with Oden doing low-post work! hmmmmmm
I agree, if Portland did take Durant, then keep Rashard and Allen and go for the gold now.
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