Thursday, June 21
I think one important part of the Sonics’ offseason that’s fallen off the radar is what the heck they’re going to do with their two point guards.
As time passes, it becomes obvious (at least to me), that Earl Watson is going to be dealt. Luke Ridnour is – only slightly – better than Watson, and I think the team’s brain trust is more comfortable with a full season of Frodo running the ship than they are of Watson.
With that the case, let’s explore some possible destinations for Earl Watson. These are clubs in the need of a PG, either backup or starter.
LIKELIHOOD: Not much. The Hawks are in the position to get either Acie Law or Mike Conley in the draft, they already have a backup type guard in Speedy Claxton (I didn’t say they had a good one), so I don’t see this happening.
LIKELIHOOD: Slim. Any deal with the Cavs would likely include either Damon Jones or Eric Snow coming back to Seattle. I’m not enamored of Jones (horrible defense) or Snow (horrible offense), and about the only other player who matches up salary-wise is Donyell Marshall, who the Sonics need about as much as they need a guy from Oklahoma City owning the team. Oh, wait.
LIKELIHOOD: Decent. Ah, irony, you fickle, fickle fiend. The Nuggets dealt away Watson because they had too many point guards, and now they’ve managed to deal away so many PGs that they need another one. With Iverson more suited as a combo guard and Steve Blake slated to enter free agency, Watson would be a good fit for Denver. What could the Sonics expect in return? If he wasn’t such a catastrophe off the court, JR Smith would be a wonderful pickup for Seattle, but that’s not going to happen. Eduardo Najera is an interesting option, but with Wilkins, Lewis (?), Durant, and Gelabale under contract, I can’t see where he would play. Perhaps a three-way deal involving the Nuggets is more likely.
LIKELIHOOD: Good. The Clips don’t want to play this year relying solely on Sam Cassell’s aging body, and since Shaun Livingston will be out for an entire year, they need another guard to help carry the load. A Watson-Cassell deal doesn’t work salary-wise, but if the Sonics were to include, say, Johan Petro in the deal, it would work. As Cassell’s deal expires at the end of the season, it’s not a huge risk for the Sonics, and the Clippers are in good shape for the future with Watson around to spell Livingston. Plus, Earl gets solid minutes (which he wants). The only difficulty is how Cassell will handle being a reserve. Maybe his pride will be assuaged by playing alongside Lewis, Allen and Durant.
LIKELIHOOD: Slim. Chucky Atkins is a free agent, so in theory the Grizzlies need to find a replacement, but I think they’re much more likely to find a PG in the draft than via trade. After all, even if they skip a guard in the first round, they can always pick one up with their second-round ...., what’s that? They traded their pick to the Sonics for Lawrence Roberts? Sorry, Memphis, that’s got to hurt. Still, if Mike Conley is sitting there at #4, I think the Grizzlies think long and hard about taking him. If not, the only possible trade pieces are Damon Stoudamire (no) or Stromile Swift (heck no).
LIKELIHOOD: None. As badly as the Heat need a point guard, they have no one available on their roster who would help the Sonics.
7. DO NOTHING
LIKELIHOOD: Fair. It’s early still, and the Rashard Lewis situation may come into play, especially if/when the Sonics make a sign-and-trade with their erstwhile free agent.
Of the above scenarios, I really think the Cassell option would prove to be a positive for the team, especially considering the tenuous nature of the Sonics. If this is to be the last chance for the Sonics in Seattle, I would rather see Cassell coming off the bench in the spring than Earl Watson.
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Getting Cassell is an intriguing proposition. However, would like to offer up the following option for moving Watson.
Mo Williams is unrestricted Free Agent and Earl Boykins was a bad fit for them and has a player option which he excised. This leaves them hoping for Conley to be available at 6th spot in the draft or need of another alternative at PG (both starting and reserve roles). TRADE: Watson to Buck for Brian Skinner's expiring contract 5.8 million.
Watson for Skinner or Marshall are both pretty realistic. I'd do either move. A vet makes sense to keep the coach happy next year and give Durant someone to watch/ask questions of but it would mainly be for future cap room.
Take a look at Frank Hughes' take on this situation (well, not the Watson situation, but the Lewis/Allen situation):
Basically, Hughes (or his informants) think that Bennett and Presti want to "blow the whole thing up" and trade Allen and Lewis, then re-create the team around Durant.
I'd say that unless we get something pretty good by trading watson, we should wait and consider packaging him with Ra or even Ray, since the front office seems decided to shake things up (a good move I think...)
Cassell is interesting, but i'm not sure his ego would work for us. If that problem could be fixed, then great, but he is still a health concern (I guess that's less of a problem if he's playing reserve minutes, though).
I think that Snow would actually not be that bad of a pickup, though. He is solid on D, and is a good vet presence for our youngsters, especially luke. He knows he's a role player too, so we dont have to deal with ego problems. There is something left to be desired on offence, but we have enough firepower for that to not be a problem (considering we have luke as a starter). Snow could work out pretty well...
Cassell is an interesting choice for one year or two at most. But if they blow it up, they blow it up. I'll be curious to see who they get. I have no faith in Bennett, but some in Presti.
If they blow it up, then what do you think about....
1) Gerald Wallace in a sign-and-trade at around $8 million per
2) Charlotte's number eight pick - which we can use to draft a big man
3) Theo Ratliff
4) Boston's 08 first rounder
1) Ray Allen
2) Delonte West
1) Rashard Lewis
I ran the numbers and they all work. I think this is a realistic estimation of value we would receive for Rashard Lewis (Delonte West, '08 first rounder, and an expiring contract). For example, NJ did not receive much compensation for Kenyon Martin.
Also, I think we would need to trade Ray Allen while he still has value. The trade with Charlotte would give us a replacement and a young big man through the draft.
Our line-up would like:
Luke Ridnour/Earl Watson
Smells like a Boston fan to me.
I'm not completely sure but I think Kenyon was coming off an injury, which is why jersey didn't get much
I would keep Earl and deal Luke.
Any point guard we might acquire, through trade or draft, will, once again, replace Ridnour as starter 1/2 through the season.
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