Coast To Coast is your bi-weekly (as in, twice a week, not every other week…or does that mean it’s semi-weekly?) look at the NBA outside of Cleveland through the perspective of the Cavaliers. Because Amare Stoudemire is on the trade block.
We might as well talk about Amare Stoudemire since pretty much everyone else in the NBA world is. It’s interesting to see all the different thoughts, perspectives, and trade ideas people have for Amare. Needless to say, everyone wants Amare and he is one of the most talented players to hit the mid-season trade market in a long time. I never thought he’d actually become available this year, and now that he has, it’s disheartening to realize the Cavaliers have no chance at all of getting him. Anyway, Ben York of Bens Suns Blog wrote a really great and fully detailed breakdown of what he wants the Suns to do, what he doesn’t want them to do, and what he thinks they will do. On his list of things he does not want the Suns to do:
If the Suns trade Amare for Rasheed straight up, I will go berserk. Yes, it may work this year, but the bad far outweighs the good if we don’t get any younger players in return for the future. Remember, we have a draft pick this year but we don’t in 2010. Thank you Kurt Thomas.
I don’t want the Suns to trade the following players: Nash, LB, Hill, Dudley, Tucker, and J-Rich.
I don’t want to trade Amare for expiring contracts and financial stability.
That last sentence is the one that applies most directly to Cleveland. Expiring contracts are all they have. Not that Wally Szczerbiak can’t help the Suns this year, he really could, but that’s not what the Suns are going to want. You don’t get rid of a guy like Amare for expiring money when other teams will be offering very good young players and higher draft picks.
[Supernova Part 2]
The scariest scenario for the Cavaliers might be Amare to the Pistons. There’s no question the Cavaliers’ 12 game lead over Detroit is comfortable, and no matter how much better the Pistons play in the 2nd half of the season, it will take a monumental collapse on Cleveland’s part to lose this division. Having said that, though, the thought of running into a Pistons team in the playoffs with a lineup of Stuckey, Iverson, Rip, Prince, and Amare is kind of scary. So, needless to say, the Pistons bloggers are getting excited about the prospects of this happening. Detroit Bad Boys’ Kevin Sawyer writes:
But the Pistons have the most versatility of any club in terms of a trade offer. Joe Dumars can offer young talent or proven talent, expiring contracts or long term pieces, or some combination thereof. Kerr knows this, and knows that Detroit negotiates from a position of relative weakness.
Sawyer goes on to speculate that Rasheed and Amir Johnson, plus a draft pick, would be the deal Dumars would be ok with. If that trade were to happen, not only are the Pistons a contender this year, but they also will have a pretty impressive core to offer a superstar in 2010 to play with. I definitely do not want to see Amare head to Motown.
Blazers fans have some mixed feelings about the rumors that put Portland in the Amare sweepstakes. Why? Because those rumors involve LaMarcus Aldridge going to Phoenix, something that Blazers fans are somewhat uneasy with. Plus, nobody really seems to believe the Blazers’ front office will be willing to give up Aldridge anyway. Ben from Blazer’s Edge writes:
So the DallasBasketball.com “buzz” offers a trade rumor…
Amar’e Stoudemire for Raef LaFrentz and…. wait for it… LaMarcus Aldridge.
Curiously, although the writer, David Lord, has a Ball Hype link next to the article, he doesn’t list his email address on the article page and the article page doesn’t allow comments. Lord writes “I really think it will” happen although the lede to the article sounds like he’s admitting he’s totally making it up.
Rumors also have been around that Aldridge could be involved in a trade with Toronto for Chris Bosh should Bosh ever actually hit the trade market. Regardless of whether or not anything happens, just seeing Aldridge’s name in rumors shows once more how empty handed the Cavaliers are in the trade market this year.
[Bored At Work? Help Dispel An Aldridge Trade Rumor]
There’s no question Miami will be a player in any big trade rumors this year. Miami is in the unique position of being close to contending, but still having some valuable pieces they can part with. The Miami Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman talks about some of the names connected to the Miami Heat. He gives his thoughts on Amare:
Amare Stoudemire: The latest name to enter the equation and one that is tempting, except for the fact that Marion is about the only contract that works going out. One has to wonder if the Suns would be up for such a short-term reunion. Plus Stoudemire holds a $17.7 million option for 2010-11, a number high enough that it could preclude an opt-out. In other words, if it doesn’t work over the next 18 months, Dwyane Wade could seek greener pastures. Oh, and Amare has this thing about being his team’s focus, something that won’t happen alongside Wade.
Frankly, I’m thrilled to hear that someone as knowledgeable as Winderman doesn’t think Amare to Miami will work, because again, I would hate to have to deal with Wade and Amare in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Anyway, Ira mentions names connected to Miami such as Jermaine O’Neal, Tyson Chandler, Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Josh Howard, Brad Miller, and Caron Butler. Funny, Wally Szczerbiak’s name didn’t make the list.
[Suddenly A Smorgasbord Of Options]
No matter what happens, Amare Stoudemire has worn out his welcome in Phoenix. Amare was quoted in an interview where he said, “Me being one of the leaders and an all star you can put it on me. I am not one of the Captains. You can’t put too much blame on me. It’s not supposed to be my job to rally the troops.” Needless to say, that quote has Phoenix up in arms. In a very emotional, and slightly PG-13, post on his Bens Suns Blog site, Ben York gave a very passionate response to this quote:
You’re not “supposed” to rally the troops? It’s not your fault? Aren’t you SUPPOSED to REBOUND? Aren’t you SUPPOSED to play DEFENSE? Oh, you were probably triple teamed when going for a rebound, my bad.
Nothing pisses me off more than someone who doesn’t take responsibility and/or own up to mistakes or playing bad.
Do you see Nash saying those things? “Well, I got 18 assists and am a 2 time MVP, but I’m not to blame.” Or Hill, “I am 36 years old and have more energy than anyone on my team, plus I have bionic ankles, so blame someone else.” No. Freaking. Way.
Meanwhile, our true leader Steve Nash takes the blame, just like Grant Hill attempted to after the Warriors game. “I apologize to the fans – it’s killing me and it’s really killing the fans.”
Good riddance, Amare.
Obviously, a quote like that does beg the question, would you even want Amare in Cleveland? It’s sometimes hard to say why people say the things they say. It’s entirely possible Amare is just trying to force Steve Kerr to get on the phone and get Amare out of Phoenix as soon as possible. On the other hand, it could mean that whoever gets Amare, they could be getting more attitude than they bargained for.
[See Ya’ A’m'a’r'e’ - Hope You Go To a S’t'r’u'g’g'l’i'n’g’ Team. Also, Apostrophe’s Suck.]
Enough Amare talk, though, lets talk about the rest of the NBA. The Knicks are starting to look pretty good. As much as I fundamentally disagree with Mike D’Antoni’s basketball philosophy, I have to admit his system can make almost any team with quick, athletic players into a difficult team to beat in the regular season. After losing three straight tough games to the NBA’s 3 best (arguably) teams, the Knicks fans are starting to feel good. Posting and Toasting’s Seth writes:
Moral victories can shove it. With a loss tonight against the Celtics, the Knicks have gone three up, three down against the NBA’s elite. Each game was close, but New York’s flawed late game execution proved damning in each of this week’s relatively close contests. Tonight, the Knicks shot poorly, but played three quarters of very active defense to keep things close. There were highlight plays, a couple scenes of chippiness, and even a “Boston sucks” chant to make the night interesting. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, unfortunately, took matters into their own hands and hit dagger after dagger to lead a fourth quarter obliteration of the Knicks and our collective hopes.
Needless to say, the tone in New York is much different than it was earlier in the season when the Cavaliers came in and completely thrashed the Knicks. It will be interesting to see if the Knicks’ improved play lately will have any impact on their role in the trade market. It makes almost equal sense for them to be both buyers and sellers, but you can only realistically be one or the other. The Knicks will have to choose wisely.
[Celtics 110, Knicks 100]
About that LeBron Triple-Double… Our good friend Carolyn Hastings of the Cavs blog And One recently let Jeff Sack write his thoughts on the league’s decision to overturn LeBron’s historic achievement. And he delivers a gem of post, and brings up some fascinating points, including:
I have been following the Association first as fan, and subsequently as a member of the media since the mid-sixties. I can unequivicably state that this is one of the most ill-conceived moves the NBA has ever made in my memory. What are the long term ramifications of this decision? How long are the statute of limitations? Can this be applied to the bad calls that happened in the series a few years ago in the Sacramento Kings / Los Angeles Lakers series? Can the Lakers have their title revoked?
I wholeheartedly agree with Sack’s assessment. This would be akin to if the MLB had gone back and given CC Sabathia a no-hitter last year after a questionable base hit ruling that probably should have been called an error. Sure, perhaps the call was wrong, but that’s part of the game, and the flow of the game went forward under the assumption it was a base hit. Same deal here. LeBron went forward assuming he had 9 rebounds, not 8. I doubt it would have changed anything, but you cannot say with 100% certainty that it wouldn’t. This affects the integrity of the game of basketball to a certain degree, and shame on the NBA for this pointless exercise.
[The Sack Attacks]
Make no mistake about it, Madison Square Garden is a historic arena and a special building. There’s been some talk in the past here questioning MSG’s relevance and importance to the game of basketball. Hoops Addict’s Michael Tiedemann wrote a really great piece looking at the historic arena:
For those who have never stepped foot into the Garden should schedule a trip. It isn’t quite Yankee Stadium or Fenway. It isn’t the old Boston Garden or maybe not the Staples Center.
Instead, it is an arena put right in the middle of the busiest city in the world. Walking down 8th Avenue and coming up to the Garden is mind boggling. Taxis are buzzing by, the sidewalks are filled and the noise is endless.
It is truly a sight to behold.
Then you think about the teams and players that have stepped onto the court. Reed, Monroe, Frazier, Bradley, DeBusschere, McGuire and Barnett. Tons of great games between the Knicks and, depending on the era, the Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Bulls and Pacers.
Or the moments that have transpired – Larry Johnson’s four-point play in the ‘99 playoffs or Reggie Miller’s eight points in 11 seconds in the ‘95 playoffs.
“The Knicks, New York, and Madison Square Garden,” Miller has been quoted as saying, “bring out the best in me. Always has. It lights a fire inside of me. There’s nothing I want more than to beat them on their stage, to steal their show. I got great enjoyment from it.”
It seems to bring the best out of everyone.
Unfortunately, Tiedemann doesn’t stop there, but decides to get a little carried away and seems to pseudo-suggest that LeBron would become a better player if he played all of his home games in MSG, but despite that, the article is a great one and well worth reading for a little outside perspective on a very special place to play basketball.
[The World’s Most Famous Arena]
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Utah Jazz are getting desperate. They have one of the best home court advantages in the NBA, but their play on the road leaves much to be desired. So SLC Dunk’s Basketball John has a really great idea for the Jazz:
Here’s another idea for getting the Jazz to win on the road since I haven’t heard from anyone with the Jazz about my idea of bussing fans to away games.
We get every player a pair of these
but make them wireless. Then we have someone on the Jazz staff pump a home-crowd version of noise into them. So when Memo or KK spot up for a three, you can hear the noise grow and then erupt when it goes in. It would also boo every time the Jazz got called for a crappy foul. I guess we could go with the buds too,
Whatever it takes.
Well played. I think I kind of like the idea.
[Utah @ Sacramento Game Thread]
And I can think of no finer way of ending this edition of Coast To Coast than that.