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NBA PM: No Trade For LA?
Posted By Bill Ingram On August 30, 2011 @ 5:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Up until now, there has been a very reasonable assumption going on in Clipper Country. That assumption was that the Los Angeles Clippers would use Chris Kaman as a bargaining chip to land the star-caliber small forward they covet. They’ve talked about grabbing Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks and having him spend time at the three; they’ve talked about acquiring Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers; there have even been talks with the Houston Rockets, who are desperately in need of a starting center.
One thing that hasn’t been talked about nearly as much is the fact that the Clippers might just be better off not making a trade at all.
As HOOPSWORLD’s Eric Pincus pointed out earlier today, the x-factor in the entire discussion is the unprotected Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick the Clippers own in next summer’s NBA draft.
The Timberwolves were the worst team in the NBA last season, compiling just 17 wins on the year. They will certainly be better next season, particularly if Rick Adelman takes the reins, as is expected, but how much better will they be in just one year? If they doubled that total it would be a remarkable success, yet they would also very likely be picking in the top eight or nine picks in the draft. If the lottery balls were kind, they could wind up even higher, and that would play right into the Clippers’ hand.
The Clippers’ dream scenario, of course, would be to wind up with the second overall pick and land Harrison Barnes, the small forward from North Carolina. That might seem like a case of the rich getting richer, but for the long-suffering Clippers it would almost be enough to wash away all those memories of injuries, players lost to free agency, and disappointment after disappointment. Adding Harrison Barnes to the core of Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan would be a dream come true for Clippers fans.
Even if the Clippers don’t wind up with Barnes, which is an extreme long shot, after all, there are a number of interesting small forwards in next year’s draft class. Quincy Miller from Baylor and Michael Gilchrist from Kentucky are both worth watching, and either could prove to be a player who could bolster LA’s starting lineup without costing them a ton of money or assets.
In the old NBA economy, trading for a star small forward made a lot of sense, but in what is likely to be the new NBA economy, that’s not going to be a viable practice any more. The Clippers could just turn out to be the first team to really cash in on the new NBA economy, using that Minnesota pick to usher in a new era of dominant Clippers basketball.
The Adelman Saga Continues
In a related story, the Minnesota Timberwolves are entertaining Rick Adelman again today in hopes of getting him to sign on as their next head coach. ESPN reports that the purpose of this visit is to meet face-to-face with team owner Glen Taylor, who was sick and unable to meet the last time Adelman was in town.
Adelman has been the top choice of the vast majority of team president David Kahn’s advisors, who have been less than impressed with the previous field of candidates. After waiting too long to officially fire Kurt Rambis, the Timberwolves have been playing catch-up in their coaching search. It wasn’t until after they had entertained names like Don Nelson, Sam Mitchell, Larry Brown and even Bernie Bickerstaff that Adelman came into the mix.
When Adelman parted ways with the Houston Rockets he said he was leaning towards sitting out a season before jumping back into the coaching mix, but it now seems the competitive fire may be too much for him to put out. Don’t be surprised if the Timberwolves finally have a new head coach in place before the end of the week.
Defeating The “Evil Empire”
NBA owners and executives are strictly forbidden from commenting on anything having to do with the league’s current lockout, but that doesn’t mean Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t have plenty to say. Cuban appeared on Piers Morgan Live last night to talk a little basketball, a little politics, and a little bit of everything else. He started, of course, about the thrill of watching his Mavericks finally win the NBA championship.
“The playoffs run 57 days,” Cuban said. “For me, it was 56 days, 23 hours and lots of minutes of pure anxiety. I really didn’t start to enjoy it until there were about 30 seconds left in the game and it finally dawned on me that we had finally beaten the Evil Empire and all those doubts. … Literally, our first round against Portland, people were calling us the ‘one and done boys,’ meaning one series and we were going to be knocked out. … “I’ll tell you the interesting thing; after Game 3 of the Miami series, our guys said, ‘They aren’t making any adjustments. We got ‘em.’ And so the confidence was through the roof.”
That confidence carried the Dallas Mavericks to the 2011 NBA championship, laying to rest an old debt owed to the Miami HEAT, but more importantly also casting aside the “soft” label his team has carried since losing to the HEAT in the 2006 Finals.
One of the more interesting notes from Cuban on politics was when he agreed with billionaire Warren Buffet in saying that the tax structure for America’s super-rich is completely out of balance.
“He’s right,” Cuban said. “Not only should we pay more taxes . . . there should not be a differentiation between capital gains and regular income.”
In an interesting moment, Morgan suggested that Cuban might run for President, saying that a lot of people would support such a run. Cuban brushed it aside, saying he had never even remotely considered such a thing. It’s just as well; as refreshing as Cuban’s no-holds-barred commentary may be, he probably lacks the self-discipline needed to subject oneself to a presidential campaign. Speaking your mind is a great asset in many circles, but it just gets stupid in politics, where sound bites taken out of context are the rule of the day.
Still, as Cuban points out, he’s come a long way from his days of eating ketchup and mustard sandwiches. He even figured out what it took to get the NBA to step out of the way and let his team work their will on the playoffs. If Cuban can do that, perhaps a political run isn’t that out of the question. After all, this is Texas . . .there’s a shortage of smart political minds.
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