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Winners and Losers of the NBA trade deadline

KOBEsh went to Vegas this past weekend. While there, he decided to spend some time writing about the NBA trade deadline’s winners and losers. His dedication is shameful yet endearing.

This post is probably a touch outdated, but the man wants the post run based on principle alone.


Los Angeles Lakers

As we went over last week, the Lakers definitely scored big at the deadline. They desperately needed a point guard, and Ramon Sessions might have been the best case scenario for them, especially without giving up one of their three All-Stars. While Jordan Hill wasn’t the best solution for their need of a scorer off the bench, hopefully he’ll be able to give LA half of what near-Laker Michael Beasley would have given them. Subtracting Derek Fisher will have an effect on chemistry,  especially with Kobe and the other vets, but he had to be dealt to diffuse an almost certain caustic situation in terms of point guard minutes. A huge win for the Lakers, one that maybe could transform them into a title contender.

Orlando Magic

How could they not be? Let’s not even get into Dwight’s imitation of a drunk 19 year-old who “kinda wants to get down tonight, but I don’t know, my friends are here and I’m sooooooooo drunk” that he’s pulled the last few days. As I said to Mambino correspondent El Miz yesterday, it’s amazing that these players seem to concerned with their brand, and yet, not at all concerned that the circus they creates far more damage than any move could provide improvement.

Regardless, Orlando is a huge winner here. They somehow (I’m still not sure. Did they have naked pictures of him and Jameer together? Did they threaten to kill his dog? What happened?) convinced Dwight to stay for another year and a half, in which GM Otis Smith will have to pull a flock of rabbits out of his butt to make this team a contender. Regardless of whether he does that (amazing) feat or not, he has bought himself another year (until the next trade deadline) to prove to D12 that this team is worthy of him committing for another 5 seasons.

San Antonio Spurs

In a trade with the Warriors, the Spurs flipped SF Richard Jefferson for a new addition SF Stephen Jackson, who had arrived in a deal from the Bucks only days earlier . As I mentioned a few days ago, Jackson is having one of his worst seasons in years, though I would put a lot of the onus on the fact that he was playing in a system his skills weren’t best suited to, for a coach who he didn’t get along with. Jax won a title with the Spurs almost a decade ago in 2003, and famously fell in line with Greg Popovich in, what had been until then, a rocky NBA career full of trouble. Jefferson has become more and more ineffective each year, and 2012 is no different. At his best, Jackson is a gigantic upgrade over the Spurs, and even at his age (33), is still a threat to score, rebound and pass with tremendous efficiency. A great acquisition for the Spurs, who are quietly angling for title number 5.

Washington Wizards

JimmyWa’s reaction to getting Nene.

In a three-way trade with the Clippers and Nuggets, the Washington Wizards acquired Brian Cook and Nene for the price of Nick Young, an injured Ronny Turiaf and the unintentionally hilarious JaVale McGee. I couldn’t sum this up any better than friend of the blog and last Wiz fan standing, AO:

“Holy crap, this is awesome! We’re turning Nick Young and Javale McGee into Nene!! At this point can we keep the momentum going and just ban Andray Blatche from all Wizards facilities?  Honestl… Read more...

BQ#5 – Can the Nets Go to Brooklyn Yet?

It would have been simple, convenient, and expected for me to have become a New Jersey Nets fan. First and foremost, I grew up in the great state of New Jersey. In fact, the first NBA game I ever attended was at the swampy Brendan Byrne Arena, and only recently can I say that I’ve seen more games at Madison Square Garden than wherever the Nets called home. Second, I could have spared myself some early childhood ribbing from “real” Knicks fans who thought that being born and raised in NYC was a pre-req. And last, but certainly not least, former Net Kendall Gill gave an inspiring, fan-attracting performance in Nickelodeon’s “My Brother and Me” — so in other words, it’s a miracle that I’m NOT a Nets fan.

That miracle took the form of the Sportschannel New York, later known to us as Fox Sports Net New York and now known to us as MSG+. The problem was that Nets games were broadcast on a paid cable channel, one that my parents chose not to buy. Lo and behold, that led me to watch another enterprise on the Madison Square Garden network, the New York Knickerbockers. The Knicks were good in the 1990s, making two Finals appearances under the tutelage of Pat Riley and the play of Patrick Ewing. As I latched onto the orange and blue, however, I was still a Nets sympathizer…until 102-76.

You know that feeling you get when you hate something associated with sports? And even better, when you’re aware that such hatred makes no sense, either because the object of your anger doesn’t deserve it, or because you realize that sports means too much to your life? Well, the late Drazen Petrovic was my first hate moment. When the first-place Bockers crossed the Hudson into Jersey in the 1992-93 season, Petrovic diced the Knicks to the tune of 28 points and 6 assists. I will never forget that Croatian smile after he drained a 3 in the face of fan favorite John Starks (granted, Starks probably deserved it since his choice of trash talk to Petrovic implied that Croatians were responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing). That smile bred hate in my 7-year-old face. I would never forgive the Nets for that.

So when the news came out that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov would be moving the franchise to Brooklyn, I was ecstatic. I’ve already said my goodbyes. Go fail elsewhere, guys. Not in my state. So how will the team say goodbye to New Jersey?

Due to the lockout, the preseason consisted of a home-and-home series for all NBA teams. Each squad was scheduled to play one home game and one road game with another franchise in geographic proximity. I caught the Prudential Center game on TV, and attended the MSG game, thanks to an absurd connect from Mambino friend El Miz. I noticed that the best part of this home-and-home series was to see the adjustments made from either team in the second game. For instance, after Nets rookie MarShon Brooks had himself quite the debut in the first contest, Knicks guards defended him more aggressively in the second, forcing him out of his comfort zones. Tyson Chandler figured out that Brook Lopez is scared of…well, everything, so a little nudge here and maybe an “inadvertent” elbow there, got The Punisher off of his game.

The Nets, on the other hand, did not make any discernible adjustments from the first game to the second. What made matters worse was the obvious lack of professional talent on New Jersey’s roster, which was apparent from the opening tip, as journeymen Sundiata Gaines and Shelden “The Landlord” Williams log… Read more...

WWE for an NBA Fan – How to Survive the NBA lockout with the WWE (Part 1)

The nuclear winter. This is what so many NBA fans, writers and even personnel are referring to this lockout as.

We’ve covered our NBA lockout thoughts ad nauseam on MAMBINO. There’s really nothing left to say. Both sides think that they’re more right than the other. Each have pointed fingers, proclaiming they want a deal done, and every single ounce of their beings wishes they could be on the court right now. It doesn’t matter if I believe them or not at this point. I’ve accepted that we will not be having NBA basketball this year. Following the 2004-2005 NHL season, the 2011-2012 NBA season will be only the second full season of North American sports to ever be canceled in the 100+ year history of the 4 major professional sports. Congratulations, gentlemen. You made history.

But let’s not drink that half-full glass. Let’s look at it, and fill it up to the brim. We here at MAMBINO HQ have some ready-made alternatives for those of you hungering for another waste of time to completely invest your emotions in, despite the fact that you have no true impact on the outcome.

The answer here is the WWE. It’s the nuclear winter, after all. Why not eat those twinkies?

Being a lifelong professional wrestling fan, I know that for every offseason and All-Star break, there will always be the WWE to fill that sports void in my life. As the WWF catchphrase said about 10 years ago, “We Have No Offseason.”

Professional wrestling is not a perfect comparative to professional basketball. However, there are a lot of qualities inherent in the NBA, its game and its players that would make even the truest hoopheads apt to take up Vince McMahon’s trained traveling circus.

1) Basketball can be played one of two ways: with finesse, grace and coordination (think Magic Johnson’s passing, Ray Allen’s jumper, or Kareem’s sky hook) or through a brutally bruising and physical game (think LeBron’s moves to the rack, Shaquille’s post game or Bill Laimbeer’s elbows). The best basketball players will combine a little bit of both for what the experts would consider the perfect type of game.

Wrestling is no different. Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live, said that in order to be a true champion, you had to look like you could kick someone’s ass. Look like. A great wrestler has to have enough finesse, grace and coordination to make the moves look crisp but painful. He has to be big and tough enough to use his power to throw another man’s dead weight around the ring, and yet also have enough toughness to throw himself around the ring and make his opponent look like Andre the Giant. The professional wrestling skill set is similar to professional basketball – precision and control, matched with a certain amount of physicality.

2) Who are the most popular players in the last 10 years? Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard are amongst them. You know what all these fellows have in common? They all had characteristics that made them pop towards the audience. They each were either incredibly charismatic, freakishly proportioned or, in many of their cases, both.

The WWE is no different. Aside from the natural athletic talent it takes to succeed as a professional wrestler, there is a certain level of “freak attraction” needed to become noticed by an audience that constantly clamors to be amazed. For every Shaquille O&#… Read more...

If I Were GM of…The New Jersey Nets

Didn’t the Nets seem so trendy and up-and-coming a while back? Mikhail Prokhorov, Jay-Z, Brooklyn, swagger, dirty blood money? Well after a year, they’re still a lottery team. A better lottery team, but a lottery team nonetheless. In this week’s episode, I’ll switch places with Billy Queen, Nets GM.

Intangibles: Queen, I’m still not sure why you still get to make decisions about anything, let alone help decide the fate of a basketball franchise. In the summer of 2003, you gave Kenny Freaking Thomas $50 million over 7 years. That worked out so well for the 76ers that some of you have no idea who I’m talking about. (KFT certainly doesn’t pass the Erin Kobash test.) Yet somehow, the billionaire owner decided he wanted you to help lead the Nets into Brooklyn. Well, first things first:

You gotta learn Russian, bro. Put it this way, Queen, couldn’t you see this scenario happening any day now?

(Queen walks into a meeting with Prohkorov. In attendance are three men: Prohkorov, Queen, and Prokhorov’s bodyguard, who is decked out in fatigues.)
Prokhorov to bodyguard: This guy couldn’t get me Melo. Now I’m worried he might sign Travis Outlaw for $28 million.
Bodyguard to Prokhorov: Boss, he already did that last summer.
Prokhorov: (puzzled) Will America let me eliminate him if I fire him before next season? I’ve got sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. They’re in the next room.

Got news for you, Billy Queen. They’re not gonna be saying that mess in English. If you became fluent in Russian, you’d be one step ahead.

Coaching Staff: Avery Johnson is a former Coach of the Year. He’s actually just “eh” in my book, but the Nets aren’t going anywhere soon. Might as well keep him on board and save some cash.

Talent: Yikes. Take Deron, Brook Lopez, and Kris Humphries Kardashian off this team and I’d be fairly confident that a squad of ragtag D-Leaguers could run with them. Some of these dudes may work hard, but the talent just isn’t there. For example, Brook Lopez has tons of range for a big man, but he can’t get a rebound to save his life. Even the biggest Nets fans would probably admit being a tad disappointed. And Sasha Vujacic entertains me, but not necessarily in a good way. He’s still worth a roster spot, however, because Prokhorov digs the wifey. Most importantly, while Deron may be the best point guard in the league, what exactly did he do in Utah? His Jazz mates were far more talented than his current bros, so why should the Nets make any noise now?

Projected 2011-12 roster:

Deron 16.4M, 1 year player option for 2012-13
Anthony Morrow 8M, 2 years
Outlaw 21M, 3 years
Humphries Free Agent
Lopez 3.1M, 1 year hits restricted free agency in 2012-13

Damion James 1.2M, 1 year team options for 2012-13 and 13-14
Jordan Farmar 8.3M, 2 years
Johan Petro 6.8M, 2 years

1. Sign Kris Humphries if it’s financially feasible
The guy worked his ass off for me, and as long as he’s willing to accept his market value, I would reward my own guys. If he wants more money, I’ll let him walk. The guy grabs a ton of boards, but those numbers are slightly inflated due to Brook Lopez’s fear of jumping.

2. Hope that David West exercises his player option to stay with New Orleans for one more year
This could go two ways. With the free agent market pretty thin, West could take advantage of teams who still have needs (the Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon plan). To do so, he would have to opt-out of his HorRead more...

Deron Williams…#8, New Jersey Nets

About two weeks ago, my roomate Andrew forwarded me an e-mail promoting New Jersey Nets tickets. I was, at first, disgusted with the prospect of even opening any e-mail having to do with the New Jersey Nets. But, to my hilarity and instant enjoyment, I saw that it detailed a deal selling nosebleed Nets tickets for $2.00 a piece. Yes. Two whole American dollars.

Four days later, Deron Williams got traded to the Nets. We saw an instant rise in the price of Nets tickets. A 250% increase to…$5.00. I was enraged at the prospect of having to pay that kind of mark-up.

Regardless of my feelings of consumer betrayal and anger at such outrageous inflation, with the addition of Deron and with Steve Nash coming to town, I relented and paid such exorbitant prices to watch YOUR…New Jersey Nets in beautiful, scenic Newark, a town known for it’s fine cuisine and cleanliness (though those two adjectives are not necessarily tied together)

I’ve been to a Nets game before. Earlier this season, I came to watch the world champion Los Angeles Lakers visit the tri-state area. The game miraculously appeared to be a near sellout (the Nets regularly have one of the lowest attendances in the league), and the arena was littered with purple and gold. In a casual, yet scientific and unexaggerated estimation, I’d say 65 percent of the crowd were Lakers fans. I scoured those in attendance for NJN gear, but as I walked through the Prudential Center, saw maybe (no joke) two dozen or so people in Nets gear. It really is that desolate.

Last Monday was Deron Williams’ first home game as a Net. I expected to see a few people in newly minted Williams #8 jerseys or shirts, but by extrapolating what I knew about the fanbase, I didn’t expect much more than that. We walked through the doors and I was blown away, as I instantly saw 4 or 5 people wearing white “Williams #8” shirts. “Wow” I thought, “Jersey really stepped up. People actually might be a little fired up for this. Holy shnikes”. As we strolled through the concourse to our extravagantly and outrageously priced seats, I saw more and more “Williams #8” shirts and realized “Oh…this has to have been a promotion. People who are buying $2 seats are not buying $25 Nets merchandise”. And I was right. Apparently the Nets stepped up and gave Williams #8 shirts to the first 10,000 “fans” in attendance.

(This kind of situation happened to me once before. When I was a freshman at Boston College, a Jesuit institution of the finest and highest of learning, I walked around campus one fine April morning and saw a girl with some dark smudges on her forehead. I did a double take as she passed and thought “Man, that is EMBARRASING! That girl has make-up all over her forehead! What a goon!”. Then I saw that another girl. And another with smudges. And another. And then a couple guys. And a nun. And a dog. And another nun. So even with all the testosterone and masculine instincts that pulse in my veins that run through my well-muscled body, I betrayed my manly nature and asked what was going on – someone replyed “Ash Wednesday. They put crosses on your forehead from ashes…You don’t know this?”. Jesus, 1. Blake, 0)

We sat down to watch a game (which ended up being a good one – the Nets came back late to force OT and ended with a Channing Frye 3 and a Kris Humphries tip-in that was waved off after the buzzer) and after a few Sasha Vujacic-directed “MACHINE” cracks, I couldn̵… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Deron Williams to the NJ Nets

NJN Gets: Deron Williams

Utah Gets: Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, NJN 2011 first rounder (non-lottery protected), GS 2011 first rounder (partially protected) and cash considerations

Much like the Knicks deal for Carmelo Anthony, you have to look at this deal in ths light: will the guys that NJ gave up ever be as good as Deron Williams be right now? In other words, will four unknown assets ever be as good as the known asset?

Unfortunately for this trade, it’s all complicated by Deron’s contract situation. Unlike Melo, Williams has not signed a contract extension. So, if he wants to walk, he can opt out of $17 million in 2012. In essence, everything that the Nets gave up could be for nothing in 2012.

The Nets had to do this trade. Their best player was Devin Harris, who has most likely hit his ceiling. The second best player on the team was probably Brook “The Punisher” Lopez, who rebounds less than Landry “The Punisher” Fields – a guard. The third best player on this team is questionably Jordan Farmar (who also questionably has the worst tattoos on the team, though Devin Harris is giving him a strong run) or Kris Humphries – which, in either case, is a really really bad situation. They are planning a move to Brooklyn after next season, and they certainly weren’t gonna sell tickets with Travis Outlaw not hitting threes, Derrick Favors maybe being productive and Quinton Ross somehow still having a job in this league.

Deron Williams is the best point in the league. I think he would have more of an impact on the Knicks than Carmelo will have, had he gone there instead. That all being said, this trade is only a win if they can convince him to stay. If Prokorhov works his Russian magic (which probably involves a cattle prod, Deron’s family, sunny D and vodka…..lots of vodka) and Deron stays, then the Nets win this deal, hands down. He took a Utah team with Memhet Okur and Carlos Boozer to the Western Conference Finals. What says he couldn’t do that with Lopez and another free agent (maybe David West?).

As for the guys he gave up, Devin Harris is who he is – a good scoring guard with some passing ability. The pick they gave up will be in the top-10, which would normally be a bad thing, but might not hurt them as much as it could considering this should be a terrible draft. The consideration that really could end up hurting the Nets is Derrick Favors, who could be an all-star PF in three seasons.

Overall, I love this trade for the Nets. They had to do it.

As a sidenote, tickets for the Suns/Nets game on Monday were $2 yesterday and after a 250% markup…are now $5. I love the Nets.… Read more...