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Thread: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

  1. #1

    Default Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    sorry if already posted-- didn't see it

    I hate that last line

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...bayless/051215

    By Skip Bayless
    Page 2


    That tremor you just felt wasn't "King Kong" opening. It was the NBA's balance of power shifting.


    Two charades just ended, in Indiana and Miami. Ron Artest, going. Pat Riley, returning. Both developments were inevitable, and have been in the works for weeks.


    But only one makes sense: Riley's.


    That's because Artest blew the whistle on Pacers general manager Larry Bird, while ex-Heat coach Stan Van Gundy basically swallowed his whistle when forced out by Riley.


    I'll explain.



    Pat Riley makes the Heat better -- there's just no way around that.
    But here's the upshot: The Heat suddenly get a real coach -- one of the NBA's top five. And some lucky team gets to steal a top-10 player: Artest, who could turn any of six Western Conference teams into a championship contender.


    The San Antonio Spurs -- until this week easily the NBA's best team -- now have to worry about facing Artest's team in the Western Conference playoffs and Riley's in the NBA Finals. Yet both these moves have been underestimated because of two media-driven stereotypes: Stan Van Gundy, "good guy." Ron Artest, "bad guy."


    Look deeper.


    When Riley stepped down -- or up -- to become Heat GM, he chose a career assistant to replace him because: (1) He didn't want a proven coach to make him look even worse by having far more success, and (2) he wanted a coach he could control.


    Yes, Van Gundy is a good guy and a media favorite, but he was a lousy hire. He's nothing more than a glorified assistant, a seat-warmer, a follower to Riley's leader, a guy who often sweated more than his players. Especially after Riley pulled off one of the top two or three trades in league history -- stealing Shaquille O'Neal from the Lakers -- Van Gundy was overmatched.


    No way Shaq ever looked at Van Gundy and thought anything but: "You're kidding me." As Heat games turned into celebrity-studded events, Van Gundy looked more and more like a guy who had won a backstage pass in a radio station contest. Van Gundy coaching South Beach's team always felt something like "The King of Queens" hosting a Grammys after party.


    During the offseason, Riley basically rigged the roster for Van Gundy to fail or quit. Van Gundy could sooner juggle chainsaws than the nitro egos of newcomers Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Jason Williams, mixed in with Shaq and Dwyane Wade. Worse, Riley stated publicly that he wanted to coach again.


    Riley finally put poor Van Gundy out of his misery just as -- what a coincidence -- Shaq was returning from an ankle injury. Van Gundy, NBA lifer that he is, took the high road, insisting he was quitting to spend more time with his family. Yet he remains employed by the team and will collect a large portion of his reported $3 million salary this season and next.


    This is basically hush money.


    Van Gundy is being paid to participate in a charade that will help keep his reputation and Riley's image intact. He agreed not to criticize Riley, even though he would have been justified in going down with his guns blazing. He remains a "good guy" -- a very respected (and hire-able) member of the NBA's assistant coaching fraternity -- while Riley doesn't look quite so Machiavellian.


    Still, all that really matters here is that Riley just made a move almost as great as trading for Shaq. There's only one coach capable of cracking the whip on this roster and this overweight superstar. That coach is the GM who assembled this team: Riley.


    Shaq fears and respects Riley. Riley knows that Wade still needs to play Robin to Shaq's Batman if the Heat are going to conquer Gotham City again. If Riley gets Shaq back in shape and in sync -- the Very Big Fella needs to lose 20 pounds while getting at least 20 shots a game -- look out, all you Jokers and Riddlers.


    The Heat just went from the East's third-best team, behind Detroit and Indiana, to potentially the favorite.


    Indiana, on the other hand, is about to become playoff fodder.


    Now it comes clear: That sly fox Bird was running a little con game on the league when he agreed to pose for the cover of Sports Illustrated's NBA issue standing literally behind his man Artest.


    Bird was quoted as saying: "Like me, he plays the game to win. Because of his intensity and desire to win, Ronnie's a guy I would pay money to watch play. … Look, Ronnie made a horrible mistake going into the stands [in Detroit last season], but he tucks his shirttail in and comes to battle every day. That makes me proud."


    This isn't to suggest that Bird didn't believe those words. He still does. But he also was trying to rebuild Artest's trade value.


    If Bird's two prized offseason additions proved to be as good as he anticipated, he obviously planned to quietly shop Artest in December. Sarunas Jasikevicius, Bird's Euro-toughened, 29-year-old rookie shooter, immediately looked like an NBA veteran, while rookie forward Danny Granger soon looked like a 17th-pick steal.


    Yet together, these two won't ever measure up to the impact Artest can have.



    Some team is gonna get a big boost when it adds Artest.
    He rivals Bruce Bowen as the league's best on-the-ball defender. Yet Bowen is more of a pest. Artest is a 6-foot-7, 255-pound bully. Bowen irritates you. Artest scares the hell out of you.


    Artest makes all his teammates feel a little tougher. Artest gave the Pacers a defensive identity, as well as an overpowering offensive option. Artest could manhandle most of the two guards or small forwards who try to guard him. He knows all the low-post tricks and he has made himself into a pretty good outside shooter.


    He's not the greatest athlete or leaper, but he plays basketball the way Brian Urlacher plays football: all-out. He can score 30 while holding the opponent's top scorer to 15. Artest is a difference maker.


    So why in the name of, well, Bird, would Bird trade him? He's a bargain All-Star who's signed for four more years at team-friendly salaries ranging from only $6.8 million to $7.5 million.


    One explanation making the NBA rounds is the "knucklehead" theory. One GM said: "Most people in the league believe that you can get away with having one knucklehead on your team, but not two. The Pacers have Artest and Stephen Jackson -- and sometimes you wonder about Jermaine O'Neal.


    "So maybe Bird decided he needed addition by subtraction. Maybe he decided that as much as he likes Artest, a cloud would always hang over him with the Pacers and that he and the team just needed a change of scenery."


    So, apparently, Bird explored some trade options. That's what keeps getting overlooked. Artest's initial "I want to be traded" salvo came in response to a rumor that Indiana and Sacramento had discussed an Artest-for-Peja Stojakovic trade.


    Artest can act dumb, but he ain't basketball-stupid. He called out Bird and coach Rick Carlisle, loudly wondering why he has been phased out of the offense even though he often has mismatches.


    Good question. But obviously, you can't ask it publicly without alienating your coach and teammates. Unlike Van Gundy, Artest took the low road.


    Then again, is it fair to condemn Artest by saying, "The Pacers stood behind him through last year's suspension. How could he turn on them?"


    No.


    Once again: Artest didn't land a single punch when he went into the stands after the cup-thrower in Detroit. The only ones he threw were at the guy who was sucker-punching him from behind.


    The only one he landed was on the jaw of the idiot who squared off with him after he had returned to the playing floor.


    And for that he was suspended for the rest of the season: 73 games. That was excessive. Yet Artest stayed in superb shape and looked like an MVP candidate in the preseason.


    Terrell Owens will always be more trouble than he's worth. Not Artest.


    Yet Artest undercut Bird's plan to trade him by demanding a trade. Now he looks like a "bad guy" again. Now Indiana's leverage falls. Now Bird is backed into a position of basically having to give away a difference maker.


    This bridge is on fire from both ends. According to GMs who have called about Artest, Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh is saying Artest will be traded by the weekend.


    The Pacers will not be as formidable without Artest.


    But some team is about to get scary better. Walsh has been telling GMs that he's leaning toward trading Artest to the West.


    Artest would immediately give the Suns, Mavericks, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies and Timberwolves a defensive identity they don't have and make them threats to the Spurs. That, of course, would depend on what they had to give up for Artest.


    Yet even worse for the Pacers, his salary is so low that they'll have to package other contracts (Austin Croshere? Jeff Foster?) to get back a high-paid, star-quality player and make the deal work under the cap. So the Pacers could really get the worst of this if getting rid of Artest requires a three-for-one swap.


    I spoke Wednesday night with a Western Conference GM who said: "I hate the thought of having Artest on my team, but he's just what we need. You're gambling he'll be on his best behavior and maybe want to prove something to the Pacers, but I'm going to make an offer for him."


    In fact, this GM was considering offering an All-Star for Artest
    "because it isn't very often that a player of this caliber comes on the market and could come with a Croshere or a Jeff Foster."


    The Pacers will regret trading Artest. And they'll miss him most when they're eliminated early in the playoffs by Riley's Heat.


    Skip Bayless can be seen Monday through Friday on "Cold Pizza," ESPN2's morning show, and at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN's "1st & 10." His column appears twice a week on Page 2. You can e-mail Skip
    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

  2. #2
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Rashard Lewis ?

    I don't know but he was an allstar last season. First name that came to my mind. Wo else were on the WCAS team.

  3. #3
    Here we go Steelers.. jmoney2584's Avatar
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    hmm... well...yea...nevermind...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Assuming we're talking current All-Star, here were last seasons All-Stars that are currently in the West:

    Kobe
    T-Mac
    Duncan
    KG
    Yao
    Ray Allen
    Manu
    Dirk
    Amare
    Nash
    Marion
    Rashard Lewis

    Lewis seems the most likely of those to me.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    This is interesting too:

    "According to GMs who have called about Artest, Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh is saying Artest will be traded by the weekend. "

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    I'd imagine it was Cuban. They have ZERO defensive stoppers, and he's always willing to make a gamble.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Thanks for the wonderful and specific news, Skip.
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

    “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” - Catherine Aird

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    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    If you go back two years, you can add these guys to the list:

    Sam Cassell
    AK47
    Brad Miller
    Peja
    Baron Davis
    Kenyon Martin

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    The only Mavs allstar is Dirk. Could it be. No way. Do the Mavs have another former Allstar.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Oops... already posted

    2004 Allstars:

    "Ray Allen (Seattle) G 6-5 205 4
    *Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers) G 6-6 220 6
    Sam Cassell (Minnesota)** G 6-3 185 1
    *Tim Duncan (San Antonio) F 7-0 260 6
    *Steve Francis (Houston) G 6-3 200 3
    *Kevin Garnett (Minnesota) F 6-11 240 7
    Andrei Kirilenko (Utah)** F 6-9 225 1
    Brad Miller (Sacramento) C 7-0 261 2
    Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) F/C 7-0 245 3
    Shaquille O'Neal (L.A. Lakers) C 7-1 340 11
    Peja Stojakovic (Sacramento) G 6-10 229 3
    *Yao Ming (Houston) C 7-6 310 2 "

    http://www.nba.com/celtics/news/020304_2004AllStar.html

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by btowncolt
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    I bet it's Kenyon Martin he was talking about.


    I could se that. Although he's injured and I've read some things that he is showing some wear and tear.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    The only Mavs allstar is Dirk. Could it be. No way. Do the Mavs have another former Allstar.
    Stackhouse

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Lewis/Collison for Artest/Pollard works. I'd love to put Bender in instead of Scot, though.

    Martin/Lenard for Artest/Pollard [or Bender] also works.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86
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    I'd imagine it was Cuban. They have ZERO defensive stoppers, and he's always willing to make a gamble.
    FWIW, the Mavs play-by-play guy was on Full Court Press today, and he said no way would the Mavs make a play for Artest.

    Now how much inside info the play-by-play guys have, I don't know. Maybe there's somebody on here who could give some insight into that?
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    I could se that. Although he's injured and I've read some things that he is showing some wear and tear.
    Say no to KMart....ignoring that he plays the PF position.....if we want to steer clear of injury ridden players.....then KMart is not the answer.
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Does anybody else feel this guy was just "pulling a Donnie" and trying to drive the price up for his competitors? I have a hard time seeing any GM say, "I hate the guy, but we need him, I'm gonna offer an All-Star", even off the record.

    That said, if this is true, it does sound like Seattle.
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC
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    Say no to KMart....ignoring that he plays the PF position.....if we want to steer clear of injury ridden players.....then KMart is not the answer.
    He's also a bit of a headcase and has a large deal. I agree with steering clear of K-Mart.

    Now, Rashard Lewis is very interesting. Hmm...

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy
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    Does anybody else feel this guy was just "pulling a Donnie" and trying to drive the price up for his competitors? I have a hard time seeing any GM say, "I hate the guy, but we need him, I'm gonna offer an All-Star", even off the record.

    That said, if this is true, it does sound like Seattle.
    I think that's the exact thought going throgh a lot of GMs' minds right now, though.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    This is the same Skip Bayless who said on Cold Pizza that the Timberwolves should trade Garnett for Artest, Croshere, and Foster. And he wasn't joking.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    I hate speculating on things like this because I suck at business. But does anybody think it could be Yao that they're talking about? I tried that RealGM trade checker and nothing worked out. But I'm hearing a lot that Yao isn't playing up to his potential. And with the way Houston's record is, I wouldn't be shocked to see them make some changes soon.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    All I know is Lewis seemed a little concerned about whether or not he might be traded in that article out of Seattle the other day.

    I'd absolutely love getting Lewis in return. He's as good as Ron offensively and is a better rebounder. We totally lose out on the defensive end but that was bound to happen anyway.
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Wally Szczerbiak is another former All-Star.

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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by unstandable
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    Wally Szczerbiak is another former All-Star.
    You're right. And I can see them wanting Jeff or Austin, too. Can't say I'd be thrilled with that, but that may be the only decent offer we get.
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    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy
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    Does anybody else feel this guy was just "pulling a Donnie" and trying to drive the price up for his competitors? I have a hard time seeing any GM say, "I hate the guy, but we need him, I'm gonna offer an All-Star", even off the record.

    That said, if this is true, it does sound like Seattle.
    Yup! I got the same impression. The Kings I also thought about.

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  25. #25

    Default Re: Skip Bayless, ESPN page 2: western GM considering offering an all-star for Ron

    Bayless must know Cuban quite well, from his days as a sports columnist for the Dallas Morning News.

    If this is Stackhouse we are referring to... well,

    NEVER MIND.

    I'me sure Dikembe Mutombo and Kevin Willis are available too.

    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

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