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Editors Note: I know the summer is not over, but all the important moves have been made and anything after Odom resigning isn't front page news...Well other than Boozer being traded...which still isn't that big of deal....

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Professional basketball fans across the nation were able to enjoy a pretty active Off-season for their beloved NBA. Certain franchises felt the need to improve, while others decided to pursue mediocrity for various reasons.

So, here are some things that I took from the summer that was.....

Lamar Odom holds not only his fate, but the fate of the whole league in his hands. If he resigns with the Lakers they are clearly the favorites to repeat. And if he decides to take the offer from the Miami Heat that could change the balance of power in the East.

Obviously, Odom would prefer to stay with the Lakers. The Miami Heat offer has been on the table the last couple of weeks and hasn't changed. The only thing differennce is D. Wade has flown to LA to try and recruit Odom, but the money has stayed the same. And reports are that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has actually dropped his initial offer.

Everyone is assuming that the exchange of Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza makes the Lakers a better team. Right now Artest is a better all-around player than Ariza, but may not be a better fit for the Lakers. Ariza knew his role as a defender and spot of 3-point shooter and didnt demand the ball fir perfectly with a team that has Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Artest likes and needs the ball in his hands. How is he going to fit in the triangle offense? Artest is not a great stand still 3 point shooter. So thinking that Artest can take the place of both Odom and Ariza is comincal when he may not even be as good a fit for the Lakers as Ariza was.

Somebody needs to help me out here. Like most people, I drank the 'Joe Dumars is an excellent GM' Kool Aid. Well, this summer has made me pour my glass right down the drain. His moves have defied logic to the point that his entire tenure needs to be re-examined. That whole Darko Millicic pick is looking more and more like the norm and not the exception now. Is Dumars another Isaiah Thomas, or am I hitting him a little too hard here? When it's time to evaluate GMs, you look at a few things: draft picks (not just who they took but when they did it), free agency (who they signed and who they let leave), and trades. And then you look at the wins and losses. You can make smart picks but if they add up to a losing team then you failed. So how does he fare? Let's see:

Trades:

Overall, he's done a good job here. Three of the starting five on the 2004 title team were acquired by trades, so he clearly knows what he's doing here. He was able to turn what was looking like a free agent loss in Grant Hill into a sign and trade that landed Ben Wallace. Rip Hamilton was acquired for Jerry Stackhouse, who was a better individual player but didn't fit in as well with his teammates. And he got Rasheed Wallace in a three way deal for essentially a bunch of bench players a first round pick. Nothing to hate on there. Trading Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson did what it was supposed to - create cap space for this summer and beyond. There have been other deals, but these are the most significant ones. Top to bottom, Dumars grades out well here.

Written By Robert Bonnette
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There is a golden rule in #manlaw that you do not break when engaging your enemy in the 'Art of War' and that is don't talk about his momma or wifey.

In attempt to resuscitate his career gagging on the days when he use to rock shows with the general 50 Cent and the G-Unit army, The Game has been reduced to attempts to make 'songs cry' in imaginary beef inducing freestyles in front of crowds in Paris,France and Madrid,Spain while in Europe on his Lamborghini Tour. After "letting Jay-Z's old ass slide" for calling him out in a bar during a show in Vegas, The Game decides to up the ante with a few bars taking shots at "Gay-Z" and wife, Beyonce and a bevy of NBA and NFL teams.

So the Blazers signed Paul Milsap to an offer sheet; I'm really not sure what to think of that. He's a good player, and the money wasn't ridiculous (4 years, $32 million), so it isn't a bad deal really. But I do wonder where he's going to play. LaMarcus Aldridge is the starting power forward, and Milsap isn't big enough to play center. Do they plan on moving Aldridge to center? He's not big enough for that, and they already have a capable starting center in Joel Pryzbilla and a backup they invested a first round pick in (Greg Oden). I do think that paying $32 million for a backup power forward is a bit much, so they must have something else in mind. But that isn't my real topic here. That would be the question the Blazers front office will have to ask themselves soon: do they stick with the youth movement they have going on or do they scrap it and get old to win big in the short run?

The roster they've assembled argues pretty well for the former, but history rules in favor of the latter. The Blazers have an oustanding collection of young players; of their nine regulars, only two are older than 25. They won 54 games last season, and were a tiebreaker away from having a top three playoff seed. You factor in the age on West rivals like San Antonio and Dallas, and you could make an argument that the Blazers should just stand pat for a few years and let these two teams (along with other outfits that will be old soon, like the Lakers) die off as title contenders while they mature into an elite team. Centerpiece Brandon Roy is already an All Star, LaMarcus Aldridge could be one soon, and they have a slew of youngsters that will makeup an potentially great rotation in a few years (Nicholas Batum, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, Travis Outlaw, Jerryd Bayless, and Martell Webster, all of whom are between 20 and 24 years old). Time is clearly on their side, right?

Written By Robert Bonnette
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"'In the sports story system the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The bloggers who investigate crime, and the "businessmen" who aided the offenders in their crime. These are their stories."

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This one is real simple everyone. Anderson Varejao signs a 6 year, $50 Million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I guess everybody has to eat.....

What disturbs me is that everyone in the league has been talking about making cost-cutting moves. If the economic state of the league wasn't as such, Trevor Ariza wouldv'e been able to sign a Rashard Lewis-type deal. Thats an opinion based off of precedent.

The question has to be asked in situations like these, what exactly are they paying for? Varejao only made 42 starts last season, and averaged a little over 8 points a game. So if my math is correct, He is getting about $8 million a year, to be average?

Furthermore, I know every move that Cleveland makes is criticized due Lebron James, but did they make any significant moves this free agency? Artest is a Laker. Ariza is a Rocket. Hedo is a Raptor. Maybe Lebron should have hit the recruiting trail like the Celtics did. Yeah they traded for Shaq, but did that really mean anything? If anything, Cleveland will be the front part of a TNT double header at least 70% of the time this season.

If/when Lebron James contract is up next summer, Anderson Varejao will be the highest paid Cleveland Cavalier......I'll let that marinate for a while.

We will charge Anderson Varejao with Theft by Deception.

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LeBrondunk.jpgSo there's the rumor going around that LBJ got dunked on by a college player in a pickup game. So what? I say rumor because we won't be able to see it thanks to Nike yanking the tapes. Well, as far as we know Nike decided to yank the video evidence. Or did they?


This year's draft was a case study in the false gospel of upside. In the past I've referred to GMs and scouts as worshipers at the altar of potential, and they did not disappoint in 2009. I said a few days before the draft that my philosophy is always to pick people who can play, and to leave the upside drafting to someone else. I've been advocating that for years, and unfortunately very few people seem to be listening. Every June we have mock draft after mock draft full of prospects who are described as having tremendous upside, unlimited potential, etc. but need to 'learn how to play'. And as I always do, I look at these projections and say 'what?' How can you stake millions of dollars and a two to five year guaranteed roster spot on a guy who 'needs to learn how to play the game' or 'needs to learn the nuances of his position' or needs to learn how to play a new position entirely? Well, even in a down economy that you'd think would limit risk taking, NBA GMs and scouts apparently don't consider it to be a bad idea.


Allen Iverson

So Cleveland got Shaq, and they're all ready for the trophy, right? Not really. Shaq will help, especially against Dwight Howard and the Celtics front line, but he alone is not enough to cure the Cavaliers' ills. They still need someone in the backcourt who can create his own shot off the dribble against the best players in the league. They didn't get Vince Carter, who I thinking would have been excellent for this, so they have to look at other options. Let me say this: even with Shaq, if they don't fix the backcourt, they're done. Again. As we saw against Orlando, Mo Williams and Delonte West are not a championship backcourt. Williams is probably OK as a starter, but West is better in an off the bench role. So who should the Cavs get? The headline gives my choice away. Allen Iverson is worth taking a chance on. The Cavs are in a one year mode right now; Shaq won't be back after the 2009-10 season unless he takes a HUGE pay cut. So they might as well go all in. Iverson is a free agent this summer, and can be signed to a one year deal. I think that the handwriting on the wall would be a bigger motivation than any desire to take 30 shots a game.

Written By Robert Bonnette
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Shaq has played with some of the best players of our generation.

1- Prime Penny Hardaway
2- Kobe Bryant
3- Dwanye Wade
4- Steve Nash
5- Lebron James

You would think with these types of wing men he should have more than four titles but I digress. Lets examine each relationship and then I will tell you why you should feel uneasy if you are a Cavs fan.

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This page is a archive of recent entries in the NBA category.

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