Billups-Iverson trade: which team got the better deal?

By this time, you’ve probably heard that Allen Iverson of the Denver Nuggets was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess. That’s when the internet erupted, as armchair basketball pundits weigh the implications of the blockbuster exchange.

There are two ways of looking at this deal: through a business or basketball perspective.

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Say It Isn't So

In Oh My God news today, Isiah Thomas was reportedly taken to the hospital for ODing on sleeping pills. Frankly, reports are still sketchy, with some reporting just an ambulance going there and some declaring it an all out collapse. It’s obvious however that things are not ok in Isiah land (and it hasn’t been for a long time I imagine).

Now being a Knicks fan I’ve written about Isiah many many times, and usually in a less than positive note. I’ve even assumed, wrongly of course, that Knicks management would get their heads on eventually and kick him out and even bet my blogging on it. My attempts to stop till he got fired went pffft of course, when I realized I just liked doing this too much.

At any rate, this isn’t about myself. It’s about Isiah Thomas.

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Your NBA 2007-08 MVP

Truth is, it’s boring to write about Kobe becoming MVP. I mean, first of all, there was very little doubt. Even our own MVP polls show a whopping 50% for him, with LBJ a far second at 18%. In fact, it’s even more interesting to write about why Chris Paul should be second and not LeBron. A topic like that has angles and criss crossing opinions that make a writer’s job far easier.

Second of all, he’s just too good. Almost machine – like good. Unlike other MVPs of their time that seem to conjure magic tricks on the court (ie. MJ, Nash, Magic Johnson, etc.), Kobe’s consistency and robot like devotion to the sport more than anything, in my opinion, is what makes him MVP. He is just unrelentingly, all – encompassingly, unstoppableingly, good.

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The Playoffs: Where Crazy Tim Duncan 1st of the Season GAME WINNING 3pt Shots Happens!

Told you. I told you the Playoffs was gonna be great. Didn’t I told you? I TOLD YOU.

Now I’m telling you something new: THE PLAYOFFS ARE GONNA BE MORE EXCITING THAN THE FINALS.

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Garnett to Pierce. Pierce to Allen.Allen to Miller. Miller For Three!!

aug092007_reggie_miller.jpgOk this is interesting. Apparently if you’re an NBA team looking to shore up your bench after losing 5 players and 2 draft picks just to get 1 superstar (I’m talking about the Celtics obviously) your options are not only limited to the rookies or the D-League. There is also the option of trying to get retired stars!

Today, there is news that the Boston Celtics have been trying to lure Reggie Miller out of retirement. The first questions are, of course, his current condition, so here it is: Reggie Miller, the Indiana Pacer’s 6’7 5 time All-Star, played 18 seasons as guard all with the Pacers before retiring in 2005. He is 42 years old this month, (August 24, 1965).. In his last 2004-05 season, he averaged 14.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.2 APG for an efficiency rating of +12.59.

Amongst his many achievements is being the all-time NBA leader in 3-pt FGM ended the season with 2,464 3-pt FGM, and also going over 100 3-pt FGM for 15 consecutive seasons, a NBA record. In second round against Miami, he scored 19 points in 18 minutes in Game 2 to move past Bill Russell into 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time playoff career scoring list. He averaged 24.3 points against the Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals and also became the first Pacer ever to start in an NBA All-Star Game in 1995. In international play, he was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olmpic Basketball Team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta plus the leading scorer on the Gold medal winning US Team in the 1994 World Championships.

Etched in my mind are the fantastic battles he had against Chicago, Miami and Charlotte, but especially New York, which is why he also has the nickname ‘Knick Killer’ alongside ‘Miller time’. In fact no less than Knicks die hard trash talker Spike Lee said of him “When he’s old and in a wheelchair, they’re going to roll him out onto the [Madison Square] Garden court and he’s still going to hit threes.“. His former coach and NBA Great Larry Bird said he was “The most dependable shooter in the history of the NBA.“.

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What is this guy so happy about?

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Well, it could be any of the following:
Two Letters: KG!
Three Guys and what they do: Paul Pierce slashing, Ray Allen shooting, and KG slapping balls away (amongst the hundred other things all of them can do).
One Miracle: Danny Ainge Finally Finally FINALLY getting his act together, and pulling a hat-trick no one, and I mean absolutely no one saw coming.
The East: Finally looks like it has a contender!
(And slightly OT) Minnesotta: Finally doesn’t look like it’s trying to put life into what is obviously a line up that isn’t working, so much so that they get my vote for ‘Most Painful To Watch Team’ in the NBA.

I feel good about the Celtics so much so that I actually think I’ve found the team to root for next year. You gotta admit its a unique way to form a team, whom instead of getting young talented guys to mature and grow together (think Jazz), instead gets three hungry championship – less established superstars to hook up and no doubt, make a qualified run for it.

And more importantly, they’re gonna be fun to watch! Imagine Pierce / Allen slashing and having the option to pass to who else Pierce / Allen on the outside, lining up for a three. In the meantime, Garnett can either cut to the basket, or work for a chance underneath.

Imagine these guys in the heat of a contest! Unlike rooks who’d fold up, these guys have already developed character and know their strengths. Not only are we gonna see athletic ability, but also court smarts and good decision making on the floor.

But most importantly, I think it’s just about time the green leprechaun has a whiff of that old good luck he’s been known for. I mean, the Boston Celtics have been all around jokes since – well I can’t remember anymore – since Larry Legend’s last seasons maybe? The leprechaun’s wink and smile has been for naught until today, because now it looks like a knowing wink and smile, and that makes all the difference.

KG to the Celtics?

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DraftExpress is reporting that the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed in principle to trade Kevin Garnett for a package that would include Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, and Theo Ratliff. This was probably the best deal that the Timberwolves got in terms of talent and from a financial standpoint. Jefferson, Green and Telfair are all young studs who came straight to the NBA from high school. The veteran Theo Ratliff can still play but his greatest value is his expiring contract which will give the Timberwolves tremendous savings next year.

The trade has been discussed all summer but the primary holdup to the negotiation has been the contract extension for Garnett. KG, who has an opt-out clause in his contract next season, is reportedly asking for a 5-year extension worth 125 million dollars. Whether or not an agreement has been reached to heed KG’s request is still unknown. Do you think the Celtics would shell that kind of an amount for KG? I think so. KG in a Boston uniform would generate a lot of buzz in Celticland and make everyone forget they’re mortgaging the team’s future for that chance of “going all the way.”

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Wassap Kobe?!

It occurred to me when I woke up today that if the NBA Finals would’ve gone all the way to 7 games, I’d be waking up pretty excited right now. Instead, we got Kobe news. Again. And I gotta tell you, I really don’t know what to think anymore.

See, there’s Kobe the player we know (and love??) and hundreds of thousands of kids emulate. His stats are astounding to say the least. To sum it up: All-NBA honors in each of the last eight seasons (First Team in 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2005-06, Second Team in 2000-01 and 1999-2000 and Third Team in 1998-99 and 2004-05), NBA’s All Defensive six times (First Team in 2005-06, 2003-04, 2002-03 and 1999-2000 and Second Team in 2001-02 and 2000-01), A starter for the Western Conference All-Star Team in each of the last eight games (2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1998 – no game in 1999) … Led all NBA players in voting for the 2003 All-Star Game, youngest player ever to score 10,000 – 16,000 career points, 1997 Gatorade Slam Dunk Championship, and most importantly, 3 NBA Championship Rings, in 1999-2000, 2000-2001, and 2001-2002. A lot of people seem to forget that.

Then there’s the ugly side:

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And the truth is, I don’t wanna put a link to that, because to me, that is not basketball. That is a player, a player of great magnitude true, but just a player all the same, making himself less of what he should be.

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Unbelievable.

lebron james

Lebron James has come up with a performance we all knew he was capable of and we all had been waiting for. In a double overtime victory, the Cleveland Cavaliers have taken one game ahead of the Detroit Pistons 3-2.

Here are the stats: 48 points, 7 assists, 9 rebounds, 10 of 14 freethrows and 2 out of 3 three point attempts, two at each overtime period, both just at the right moment to steal the thunder away from Detroit whom at various times looked like they were about to pull away.

In a performance heralded as ‘one of the most spectacular in NBA Playoff history’, the game itself was a heart pounder, with 22 lead changes and 16 times tied.

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