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NBA Notes
Signing a mid-level player (Rashard Lewis) to a max-level contract is the worst thing a franchise can do. Congratulations Orlando, you’ll win 4-5 more games next season. Losing Darko Milicic in the process is another negative (yes, I kept a straight face while typing that, but barely). Do you realize Darko is two years younger than Al Thornton? Following last year’s draft day disaster with Fran Vazquez, it’s hard to like the Magic’s direction right now.

I think the Knicks’ trade for Zach Randolph was better than most give it credit for. Yes, Isiah Thomas again ignored chemistry bringing in a similar player to Eddy Curry, and no Randolph isn’t going to be winning any humanitarian awards in the future, but he’s now two full years removed from microfracture surgery, and if he’s good for 24/10 a night in the West, imagine the damage he’ll do on the block while playing in the East. Basically, he’s Elton Brand without the blocks and an even better scorer. Randolph is only 25 years old and virtually unguardable in the paint, despite playing below the rim. This deal was an absolute steal.

Kudos to the Hawks for not passing on Al Horford simply because of past transgressions (similar to the Detroit Lions taking Calvin Johnson). I like Mike Conley Jr., but Horford was the right pick. Just because Sheldon and Marvin Williams haven’t panned out, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t select a potential dominant power forward in the Elton Brand mode.

The Celtics trade was simple: they will be better next season, and in a pathetic East, interesting if they bring in a fourth option with Wally Szczerbiak’s contract off the books and Theo Ratliff’s expiring deal a very valuable trading chip. However, Ray Allen is 33 years old and not a difference maker, so this move ultimately hurts the team long-term. I understand the situation with Paul Pierce doesn’t scream rebuild, but Al Jefferson is the most important component on that roster, and the Celtics should be looking toward 2009-2010, not next year.

Stephen A. Smith responded to the Brandon Wright for Jason Richardson deal as if J-Rich is some sort of scrub, but clearly that’s not the case. I won’t even pretend to grade this deal: Wright has more upside, but also a lot more risk. Richardson’s albatross of a contract notwithstanding, you’d have to think he’d be selected in the top-10 picks if he were available in last week’s draft with the knowledge of his NBA ability, right? The $10 million trade exception that Golden State acquired, however, does seem to make this deal quite worthy on their part.

John Paxson took a page right out of Isiah Thomas’ book drafting Joakim Noah when he already has an overpaid Ben Wallace on the roster. Well done, you have 48 minutes of offensiveless center production.

I like Javaris Crittenton’s game just as much as the next guy, but the Lakers have now taken a point guard in the first round in back-to-back drafts while incorporating a triangle system that completely deemphasizes the position.

Like clockwork, the Spurs continue to impress. Folks, this isn’t a dynasty by accident. The next time you hear Tiago Splitter’s name will be 2008, but by 2009, you’ll assume he was a past lottery pick.

The Trail Blazers had one of the busiest and successful drafts in recent memory. The team changed 75 percent of their roster! They lost from a talent perspective in the Zach Randolph deal, but it saved them money, and I can certainly understand the motivation behind making sure his bad influence is on the other side of the country from a seemingly impossibly nice Greg Oden. Portland will be a title contender by 2010.

Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/5/2007 9:27:00 AM
Comments (7)

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