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.
Posted by PN at 1:48 PM