Nov4Filed under: Commentary; Tagged as: Al Harrington, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, C.J. Watson, Chauncey Billups, Corey Maggette, DeMarcus Nelson, Don Nelson, Drew Gooden, Joe Dumars, Kelenna Azubuike, Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Williams, Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, Stephen Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha
[EDIT at 3:30 p.m.: I looked up and then forgot to list the team offensive efficiency stats from John Hollinger. The Warriors are 21st so far this season, averaging 85.0 points per 100 possessions. A year ago, they were third, at 96.6. Just another sign they need another facilitator to move the ball in the short term.]
It’s been a week now since Al Harrington put on his impassioned Elvis impersonation, and the Warriors seem no closer to moving their forward to happier climes.
In fact, I’m beginning to get convinced that Harrington and the Warriors might be stuck with each at least until Monta Ellis returns from his ankle surgery.
That fact was put into stark relief Monday when Joe Dumars struck almost without warning, collecting Allen Iverson from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for three players, most notably point guard Chauncey Billups.
Pulling the trigger on that deal was almost comically easy for Dumars, since it represents a victory in both the short and long views — the immediate effect is an upgrade from Billups to Iverson and a desired shakeup in the team’s culture, while the two-year plan is the opening of a slot for rising guard Rodney Stuckey.
For the Warriors, however, there do not appear to be any such no-brainer trades lurking out there by which Harrington can be set free.
That’s because Golden State’s short- and long-term goals cannot be easily resolved by any one player.
In the short term, it’s indisputable that the Warriors need help at the point guard position. DeMarcus Nelson, while a find as an undrafted rookie, is a raw, unfinished combo guard who’s not yet ready to be the primary playmaker on an NBA team. C.J. Watson is a score-first guy with flashes of occasional passing creativity, but not enough consistent ability to get past his man on the dribble. Stephen Jackson is too turnover-prone to be a full-time initiator. Marcus Williams has, for better or worse, been banished to irrelevancy.
But the whole point of signing Ellis to a six-year, $66 million deal was to make him the Warriors point guard of the future. (Admittedly, the timetable had to be moved up on that transformation once Baron Davis opted out, but Don Nelson has said consistently and pretty much from the moment he got here that Ellis would need to be a point guard to attain greatness in the NBA.)
So while someone such as Kirk Hinrich…
The pairing of Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony is at an end, closing out a chapter in Denver basketball history that lasted less than two years and will be mostly remembered for its 1-8 record in playoff games.
So with Iverson moving east to Detroit in exchange for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess, are the Nuggets getting over on the Pistons, or vice versa?
Well, the deal does fit the Nuggets’ biggest priority: Salary reduction.
The Nuggets save some $8 million in the short term; Billups ($11.1 million) and McDyess ($6.8) represent more than $4 million in savings over Iverson’s cost ($21.9 million), which is doubled because the Nuggets are — even with this cost-cutting move — slated to go several million over this season’s luxury-tax threshold of $71.15 million.
The deal could get even sweeter if the team is able to negotiate a favorable buyout with McDyess, who reportedly won’t play anywhere but Detroit.
But unlike Iverson and his soon-to-expire deal, Billups is on the books for another $25.2 million in ’09-’10 and ’10-’11 combined (there’s also a player option for $14.2 million in ’11-’12) and McDyess — unless a buyout is reached — will pull down $6.8 million next season.
So, in exchange for some short-term relief, the Nuggets have cast their lot with a 32-year-old point guard who has never led an up-tempo attack before in his life.
As Rod Tidwell told Jerry Maguire, “Well, this was another way to go.”
On the positive side, this deal means the Nuggets won’t have to play Anthony at power forward nearly as much, something I’ve advocated against. And it could very well make them better, at least for this season.
But does anyone really see a Billups-Anthony duo getting any farther in the Western Conference playoffs than the Iverson-Anthony-Marcus Camby trio did in 2007 and ’08?
No, me neither.
For the Pistons, this deal makes great sense, since Detroit — as I reported back in June for the Contra Costa Times — has been looking to get rid of Billups for months to clear the decks for Rodney Stuckey’s ascendency.
If the Pistons are able to re-sign a bought-out McDyess later on this season, that would make it pretty much a Billups-for-Iverson straight-up deal. (Yes, the Nuggets will also get young center Cheikh Samb, but that’s
If Iverson works out and leads Detroit back to the NBA Finals, the Pistons would love that, obviously. But even if he doesn’t, the Detroit…
Warriors forward Al Harrington is finally telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, apparently.
After claiming early Tuesday afternoon that he “wasn’t at that point” of demanding a trade, Harrington hours later did in fact march into executive vice president Chris Mullin’s office to demand a trade, according to his own testimony in other outlets.
Not much I can add to that. Obviously, my earlier report — while accurate in terms of quoting Harrington — was proven inaccurate because of the underlying deceit. Mea culpa.
One thing I will be asking Al later this morning is why he didn’t go public over the summer to try to force the Warriors’ hand. Doing it the day before the season makes him come off as the bad guy, his team-first claims notwithstanding; a concerted effort in June and July would have allowed him to hold the upper hand in the PR war at this point.
Until then, here are some possible trade partners and targets for the Warriors:
CHICAGO: Kirk Hinrich
He’s a superfluous hybrid guard on a team that also has Larry Hughes, Ben Gordon and No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose. Of course, he’s also got $36.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2011-12, and a defensive pairing with Monta Ellis would be akin in some ways to laying a welcome mat to the hoop.
MEMPHIS: Javaris Crittenton
Long of arm but short on accomplishments, Crittendon is probably the biggest reach in this group, although there are other bonuses to be had: Because the Grizzlies have so much room under the salary cap, the cost-conscious Warriors don’t have to take any other contracts back, although Memphis will presumably try to foist a Marko Jaric or Greg Buckner on them.
CHARLOTTE: Raymond Felton
This might be the best fit of these choices. Not only is Felton available because of the presence of D.J. Augustin, but the Bobcats are desperate for frontcourt help because they chose Augustin over Brook Lopez, and don’t want to play Emeka Okafor out of position at power forward.
OKLAHOMA CITY: Earl Watson
Another situation where a highly touted rookie (Russell Westbrook) has been brought onboard, making Watson more sellable. With the addition of a second player to balance out the salaries, longtime potential Warrior Chris Wilcox could also be discussed.
ATLANTA: Speedy Claxton
When Josh Childress was still in the fold, there wasn’t that much need for Harrington in Atlanta. With Childress plying his trade in…
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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