- Last Thursday was a day for the ages. First, the Cavs acquired The Big Washed Up in the worst panic move since Ryan Reynold's said yes to "The Proposal" (yes, I saw it. Didn't love it. No need to dwell on this). Then, the Nets dealt Vince Carter to the Magic in what can only be described as the largest hand of blackjack ever played. Next, the King of Pop died. And, finally, in just 10 minutes, the Timberwolves managed to cement themselves as the most inept franchise in the NBA. That's right, I said it. Not even the Clippers are as big a disaster as the 'Wolves right now. Let's take a look at each of these events:
1) Shaq to Cleveland - The great Bill Simmons so eloquently compared this move to the guy that buys renter's insurance a week after he lost all his belongings in a robbery (or something like that). I think this is a perfect analogy. I mean, during the Eastern Conference Finals, DB and I must have asked no less than a dozen times, "How did Danny Ferry not trade Wally's expiring deal at the deadline????" And, if DB and I picked up on this, you know it was a glaringly obvious mistake, right? Here's the bottom line: The Cavs had the most valuable asset in the NBA not named Raef LaFrentz's expiring deal, and they did nothing with it. Instead, they sat on their hands and watched Hedu, Rashard, Dwight, and even J.J. Reddick (at times) pick and roll them right out of the NBA playoffs. In other words, they Eff'd up. No two ways about it. Listen, it sucks, but we've all been there. We've all made mistakes, but we've all learned that the worst thing you can do is make matters worse by hastily trying to make up for the mistake with a desperate act. I mean, this is how 97% of all relationships end, right? Every man learns this lesson by the time he leaves middle school. So, there was no chance Danny Ferry was going to make everything worse by making a panic deal. Ummmmm, yeah, not so much.
So, Ferry, completely ignoring what every dude above the age of 14 knows, goes out and picks up $20 million of a 37 year old Shaq. Now, let me be clear. I love Shaq and think there was a time he would have made the Cavs immeasurably better. That time was about 2002. Needless to say, in 2009, I'm not buying it. Just to reiterate, the Cavs' met their demise because they couldn't guard a younger, more athletic, and superior shooting team that feasted on high pick and rolls. And, their reaction is to spend $20 million on a guy that couldn't guard the high pick and roll in his prime!!!!! Yes, I just used five exclamation points. Let's think of this a little differently. If I told you that Justin Timberlake decided he was missing something in his life and he decided the solution was to start dating Sharon Stone, you would be pretty certain that wouldn't end well. Well, Lebron James playing along side Shaq is the NBA equivalent of JT/Stone. That makes sense, right? Ah, screw it. You get the point.
2) Vince to Orlando - Honestly, if you are the Magic (yes, I'm ripping off the Hubie Brown impersonation from BS), you HAVE to make this deal. On paper, this deal is a no-brainer. Unfortunately for the Magic, however, VC's abilities can't be measured on paper. Usually, you use the "can't be measured on paper" in a positive manner. For example, you just can't measure on paper what Shane Battier gives you. Let's just say that isn't how it works with VC. Bottom line: If VC shows up, plays hard, plays even a little defense, and can quietly live with deferring shots to Hedu (the Magic are undoubtedly re-signing him, right?), Lewis, Nelson, and Howard, the Magic are probably going to win it all next year. We've seen this formula work before with guys like Tiny Archibald and Bill Walton in Boston and Gary Payton in Miami. The difference with those guys, however, is that they were in the twilight of their career and understood they could no longer harbor dreams of being the best guy on a championship team. Is VC in that place? Only time will tell. For now, the Magic are sitting with two eights against the dealer's 10. They've got no choice but to split 'em. Unfortunately for the Magic, however, they have $33.6 million on the table.
3) Michael Jackson dies - Not a shocking moment, but still surreal. Yes, "Thriller" was my first tape, and I still remember when it showed up in my Easter Basket. MJ's "Billy Jean" performance at "Motown at 25" is my favorite live performance of all time not involving Pearl Jam. And, "Man in the Mirror" is one of ten favorite songs of all time. That's really all I have to say about his passing. If you want more detailed analysis, I'm sure can go to the front page of every newspaper and every news organization's website. And, if you are interested in what's going on in Iran, or if you want to learn about the "climate legislation" being pushed through Congress, or anything else that is likely to actually impact your life, you can probably find those on page 2.
4) The Timberwolves - Okay, so you trade your second best young player (Randy Foye) and a knock down shooter and his expiring contract (Mike Miller) to Washington for the #5 pick in the draft. Then, you turn around and take the player with the most upside in the draft with the #5 pick (Rubio). Only problem is that Rubio is the one player in the draft with options (i.e. if I don't want to play for you, I'll just go make boat loads of money in Europe and come back to the NBA in two years when I'm 21!), and you have no guaranty from him that he won't exercise those options and actually play for you. Wait a minute, did I say that was the only problem? I almost forgot that, with the VERY NEXT PICK in the draft, you take a guy that plays the exact same position as Rubio!!! In other words, if Rubio was on the fence about coming to Minnesota, you just pushed him right over to the other side. So, now, you are faced with the inevitable result that Rubio is going to head back to Europe, you just gave away Foye and Miller for nothing, and it is below zero for half the year in Minnesota. It's great to be a T'Wolve's fan!
My God, I knew this was bad, but until I just saw it on paper, I don't think I even had a grasp for how catastrophic this is. I mean, the only move that comes close is Chris Wallace giving away Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown and a bag of flaming poop. I, of course, am only guessing that the Lakers sent the bag of flaming poop. If you walked up to 100 random people on the street and described the above scenario to them (the Rubio situation, not the flaming poop situation), every last one of them would agree that it was a disaster, right? In fact, I just called my Mother, who has probably watched exactly 0 NBA games in her life, and described the situation to her, and she responded, "Yeah, that's not a good thing." Thanks, Mom. I'm not sure I need to say anything else.
- I thoroughly enjoyed watching the USA v. Brazil soccer game on Sunday. Well, I enjoyed everything except those intolerable horns the crowd was constantly blowing. And, that whole blowing a two goal lead wasn't very fun either. Actually, let me amend my position. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first half. I was discussing the game with a friend tonight, and I told him that I felt just like I do when I'm watching a 15 seed take a 2 seed down to the wire in the NCAA Tournament. In other words, unless it was Hampton v. Iowa State in '01 (still bitter), you are watching, you are cheering, and you are hoping the underdog can hold on, but you know you are inevitably going to be disappointed when the favorite catches some breaks, makes some plays, and ultimately overcomes the underdog in the final two minutes. And, of course, when it's over, you hate yourself for ever believing it was going to turn out differently. I have a name for this scenario, but since this is a family friendly environment, I will leave it to you to give it your own name. At any rate, that's how I felt Sunday afternoon. I hate it when I feel that way!
- So, as I mentioned above I saw "The Proposal" this weekend. I was planning on breaking it down for you, but I thought about it and decided to spare you the time and spare me the heckling. Somehow, though, I don't think I'm going to avoid the heckling.