Check this out and tell me if it doesn’t make you a bit nauseous:
“There’s a lot of talk about acquiring Michael Redd from the Milwaukee Bucks, and it might be realistic. ... A lineup that includes Delonte West and Redd at guard is pretty appealing.
“Redd will make $15.8 million, $17 million and $18.3 million (player option) the next three seasons. The Cavs have Szczerbiak’s $13 million and Damon Jones’ $4.5 million in expiring contracts to work with.”
In case you failed to read between the lines, Sam Presti could have acquired the following by packaging Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West (or Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson) this summer:
1. Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, and Adrian Griffin,
2. Michael Redd.
How does that taste, Sonic fans? I’ll tell you what it tastes like to me, it tastes like garbage. The Sonics have already let Newble walk away, and Griffin’s deal expired, leaving Marshall’s $5 million expiring deal to show for what will be the starting backcourt for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Care to take a guess as to what the Sonics will do with a $5 million expiring contract at the trading deadline next February? Considering that Kurt Thomas’ contract was worth almost twice Marshall’s, and considering that Thomas had twice the value of Marshall as a basketball player, I’m guessing that Sam Presti will be lucky to get a fourth round pick for Donyell, and that’s only because there’s only two rounds in the draft to begin with.
Worse yet, the Sonics essentially threw away Delonte West simply because PJ Carlesimo couldn’t figure out how to use him. Let me get this straight, Mike Brown – who is nowhere near the brightest mind in the NBA coaching academy – can figure out how to use West, but PJ can’t? What does that say about the future of the Sonics?
Granted, the due date on PJ’s library card might be next February, but, still, shouldn’t the guy running the team have a modicum of insight into how to utilize his assets? Of course, that’s assuming the people running the team placed a higher emphasis on the win/loss column than on Clay Bennett’s legal bills, which is a foolish assumption to make, I know.
But let’s assume that wasn’t the case, and the Sonics were run by people who were trying to win games. The starting lineup this November could conceivably look something like this:
PG: DJ Augustine
Plus, coming off the bench we’ve got Green, someone like Chris Douglas-Roberts, the remainder of The Watson/West/Ridnour Trio, and The Francisco Elson All-Stars. Plus, if the Sonics trade down from #4 to, say, the #10 pick to get Augustine (according to Chad Ford, they’re already exploring the possibility of dealing down), they might pick up another first-rounder in an upcoming draft, or an expiring contract. Plus, Chris Wilcox will be playing out of his mind next season in order to cash in during the summer, so you know the Sonics could easily pick up something valuable for him at the trade deadline. Plus, even though you’re overpaying Redd, his deal will come off the books by the time your superstar draft picks start getting their extensions.
This isn’t some pie-the-in-sky scenario that involves other teams trading superstars for your retreads, it just involves regular, everyday NBA trades. Now, it could be argued that Milwaukee would be less likely to part with Redd if they had to take back Ridnour/Watson/West's contract in return, but what if the Sonics sweetened the pot with one of their 37 draft picks in the next three seasons? Are you telling me the Bucks would say no to a $13 million expiring contract, a #1 pick, and a servicable point guard in exchange for a guy they already want to get rid of?
What’s most frustrating of all isn’t that Presti didn’t make the move because he’s a moron, it’s that he didn’t make the move because his boss is more interested in saving money than in winning games.
The irony in all of this is that Sonic fans have waited a dozen years since Bob Whitsitt skipped down I-5 to Portland for a savvy GM, and now we’ve finally got one, only his genius is hamstrung by corrupt ownership. At least when Rick Sund and Wally Walker were stocking the roster with 7’ stiffs we knew they were doing it with the mindset of improving the team.
Now? Now we’ve got a boy genius who could be composing symphonies, only his dad won’t let him listen to anything but Conway Twitty.