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The Give and Go-Week 15

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Charlie Zegers

Charlie has covered the NBA, NFL and MLB for RotoWire for the better part of 15 years. His work has also appeared on,, the New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo. He embraces his East Coast bias and is Smush Parker's last remaining fan.

The Give and Go
By Charlie Zegers and Chris Liss
RotoWire Staff Writers

Subject: Give and Go
Date: February 4, 2008 1:06 PM PDT

I'm always at a loss for what to say to a buddy after his team wins a championship.

"Congratulations" seems sort of ridiculous. I mean, it's not like you're the guy who caught Eli Manning's floater off your helmet last night. "I'm happy for you" seems equally silly. Can we get a sports etiquette ruling on this one? What's the appropriate greeting here?

For now, I'll go with, "I am exceptionally pleased that your guys beat those damned Patriots, as I detest them like a sickness," and leave it at that. I've never been a big Giants fan, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Eli Manning and that Giant D-Line were my very best friends last night.

That said, let's get down to business. We finally have a major trade to discuss.

The general thinking seems to be that the Pau Gasol/Kwame Brown deal makes the Lakers even bigger contenders than they were already. At first, I was inclined to agree. But today I've read the opposing viewpoint on Brian McCormick's blog via TrueHoop, and now I'm wondering. Is a lineup of Derek Fisher/Kobe Bryant/Lamar Odom/Gasol/Andrew Bynum really that much better than Fisher/Bryant/Trevor Ariza or Luke Walton/Odom/Bynum? Is Odom going to be better or worse off in shifting to the three? Does this indicate that Bynum's return is further off than initially reported?

Most importantly, can Gasol and Bynum co-exist? I'm sure the thinking was that Gasol has the skill to play in the high post while Bynum dominates the low block. The scary thing is, I used that very same sentence to talk myself into Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph as a productive duo.

On the Memphis side, it sort of feels like we're about to see a Florida Marlins-style fire sale, doesn't it? Especially given the rumblings that owner Michael Heisley was the driving force behind this deal? Do we need to throw yet another team into the "soon to be playing home games in Oklahoma City" mix?

I know this: if I'm Mike Miller, I'm renting, not buying.

At this point, I'm not at all convinced that the Grizzlies are the best basketball team in Memphis right now.

Subject: Re: Give and Go
Date: Feb 5, 2008 1:11 AM PDT

But I am the guy who caught Manning's floater and also the linemen that kicked the tar out of Tom Brady. I also trapped the ball against my helmet in midair on the game's final drive and held on to it while Rodney Harrison tried to knock it from my hands. I'm Jerry Reese, the GM, Tom Coughlin, John Mara and Steve Tisch. We defeated the only 18-0 team in NFL history, defended the city of New York from Boston's invading sports dominance and avenged the 3-0 series collapse the Yankees suffered at the hands of the Red Sox in 2004. I mean what could possibly be worse than blowing a 3-0 series lead? Losing a perfect season and the chance for four Super Bowls (the upper limit of the great dynasties and all-time great quarterbacks) to a 12-point underdog. The Giants win was not only a personal vindication of all the past wrongs I've ever suffered in life, both at the hands of Boston sports franchises and otherwise, but also a validation of my life presently and a pervasive sense of hope for my personal future and the future of humanity as a whole.

In other words, there are no words for the magnitude of what took place on Sunday, so "congratulations" or ""I am exceptionally pleased that your guys beat those damned Patriots, as I detest them like a sickness," is as suitable as any. As for a regular title (Spurs over Cavs last year, for example), well, then we can talk etiquette, because the winning fans probably doubt its overarching validity. You need to be more sensitive in that case. "Congratulations on the Spurs," is neutral enough. It's better not to add: "You do realize Phoenix would have won if Tim Donaghy hadn't been cheating on your behalf, but, hey, it is what it is. You really showed those Cavs, though."

As for the Gasol trade, I think it helps a lot. It's insurance against a slow Bynum recovery, it's a polished big man who can score and block shots and it gives the Lakers added flexibility as they can still play Ariza or Walton if they like. And Odom might have trouble defensively, but again, if he's getting torched, there are still 96 minutes at the four and five spots for Bynum, Gasol and Odom to split, and Bynum's not even back yet. Plus, all three have been banged up in the last couple seasons.

And I don't think you can compare this to the Curry/Randolph situation. Neither of those guys played defense, and both of the LA guys are better shot-blockers. Plus, Bynum can be a defense and rebounding guy first now, and unlike the NY guys, he won't necessarily need to see 15 shots a game to be happy.

The Grizzlies, you'd think, would have gotten more than some draft picks, a minor point-guard prospect they don't need and an expiring carcass. Given how competitive the West is this year, it's pretty shocking they didn't hold out for more. Maybe they think Gasol's back is going to be a chronic problem - who knows? But given the Lakers' nucleus, those draft picks aren't likely to be too valuable.

Now that the Gasol domino has dropped, Charlie - any others going to follow suit? Vince Carter, Jason Kidd? The Knicks will doubtlessly make some terrible move as well, no?

Subject: Give and Go
Date: February 5, 2008 1:07 PM PDT

It's nice to here an expatriate New Yorker caught up in the New York/Boston thing... but I don't really feel vindicated for the 2004 ALCS. Frankly, I don't think New York can ever get quite as obsessive about a team as Boston -- New York sports fans are divided Yankees/Mets or Giants/Jets or Rangers/Islanders/Devils. If there's any team that really "owns" the New York market it would be the Knicks... and look where that's got them.

I will say, though, that Sunday's game is about as close as New York gets to unification of sports fandom... if only because all Jets fans hate the Pats. It's a requirement, when you sign up.

For the record, I don't really think Memphis could have gotten more for Gasol. As the Memphis Flyer Grizzlies Blog points out, they did a whole lot better than Toronto did for Vince Carter or the Hornets for Baron Davis or the Blazers for Zach Randolph. Kwame Brown's contract actually gives them cap flexibility right away.

There's some debate as to whether they'll use that flexibility to rebuild or if they'll use it to attract a new ownership group, but whatever. Cap flexibility is gold in today's NBA.

Will there be more trades? I'm starting to think not. There are plenty of teams that would like to make a trade, but it's hard to see how the salaries will match up. What can Cleveland send Jersey that will net them a Jason Kidd? (I don't believe that Kidd to Dallas rumor at all... a figment of Rod Thorn's imagination, I believe.) Same goes for Mike Bibby. Sure, Sacto would love to deal him, but who has something to offer and can make the salaries match?

Carter might be worst of all... he just re-upped last summer and is under contract through the 2010/2011 season. Who's gonna touch that deal? And what's the point of clearing Kidd's salary if you don't clear Carter's as well? The Nets are in a really bad spot. (An aside.. can you figure out why they wanted Stromile Swift?)

Seems far more likely that we'll see a deal for someone like Ron Artest, who has a fairly reasonable salary ($7.8 million is reasonable in NBA-land) and is low-risk because he's only got one player-option year left on his deal. Mike Miller is another one... he makes eight-million-and-change, so he'll be far easier to move than, say, Zach Randolph.

And no, I don't really think the Knicks will make a deal. I strongly suspect that Isiah Thomas has been given a "you made this mess, you play out the season with it" edict from management.

Subject: Re: Give and Go
Date: February 6, 2008 12:24 PM PT

It'll be interesting to see who Memphis gets with that extra $9 million in extra cap room once Kwame Brown leaves - I'd be surprised if they get even a player of Gasol's caliber... In other news, there's a rumor circulating that the Suns are interested in moving Shawn Marion for Shaq! I know the Suns used Kurt Thomas last year to defend Tim Duncan, but Shaq? On a team that runs up and down the court? I suppose if they think Marion's totally replaceable, having Shaq play 20 minutes a game in the playoffs wouldn't be the worst thing. But the Suns would have to change their entire style every time Shaq was on the floor.

Article first appeared on 2/5/08