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Thread: Insider 8/16/04

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    Default Insider 8/16/04

    Jazz, Nuggets get an "A" for summer work

    By Chad Ford
    ESPN Insider

    The player movement in the NBA over the past eight weeks has been unprecedented. Ninety players have changed teams. Two of the top-five players in the league -- Shaquille O'Neal and Tracy McGrady -- have been traded. Almost all the top free agents have agreed to lucrative deals. Many of the top ones, including Kenyon Martin and Steve Nash, bolted their home teams for greener grass elsewhere.

    For the most part, the smoke has cleared on this NBA offseason. Several teams are still talking trades. Before the summer's over, Ray Allen, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion could be traded, though the chances of it dwindle by the day.

    A couple of top free agents are still looking for homes. Erick Dampier is struggling to get the Warriors to OK a sign-and-trade. Numerous teams have made offers, but the Warriors are reluctant to help Damp out unless they get a great offer in return. Darius Miles and Stromile Swift are struggling through the doldrums of restricted free agency. After that group, the pickings are pretty slim. Jon Barry, Toni Kukoc, Rodney White and Keon Clark are the top free agents

    Here is Insider's team-by-team take on who has done what, and who has money left to spend.


    Atlanta Hawks
    Cash remaining: $9.4 million
    Players added: Josh Childress, Tony Delk, Al Harrington, Donta Smith, Josh Smith, Antoine Walker
    Players lost: Michael Bradley, Travis Hansen, Steven Jackson, Wesley Person, Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, Jason Terry, Jacque Vaughn
    Skinny: The Hawks came into the summer with two first-round draft picks and nearly $20 million in cap room. What do they have to show for it? Childress was a solid pick at No. 6, though Andre Iguodala might have been a better fit. However, it was prep phenom Josh Smith who wowed everyone in the summer league. Harrington was the best addition of the summer. He's been ready to break out for two seasons and will finally have the chance in Atlanta. Swapping Terry for Walker makes sense from a cap perspective (the Hawks will have $14 million in cap room next summer). Walker is in a contract year, which means he'll put up big numbers But will that translate into wins? The team still doesn't have a true point guard or center. They've wooed free-agent center Erick Dampier heavily and could end up using the rest of their money to sign him. If they sign Damp, the Hawks' front line will actually be one of the stronger ones in the East. However, that young, inexperienced, shallow backcourt will struggle.
    Grade: C


    Boston Celtics
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Tony Allen, Rick Fox, Al Jefferson, Gary Payton, Delonte West
    Players lost: Chucky Atkins, Jumaine Jones, Chris Mihm
    Skinny: Re-signing free agent Mark Blount was the team's top priority. The rest of the Celtics' summer was so-so. All three rookies had strong summer league performances. Jefferson, in particular, looks like he could end up being a dominant low-post scorer in a few years -- something the Celtics desperately need. After Blount and Jefferson, however, the front line is pretty thin. Raef LaFrentz would give them a big boost up front if he can stay healthy, but that's always a question mark with him. The backcourt looks better, but the trade with the Lakers could end up back firing. With Payton threatening to retire before reporting to the C's and Marcus Banks fuming about being demoted from point guard of the future to trade fodder in just one year, the Celtics may be forced to go with a rookie, West, who didn't really play point guard in college. The team still has its mid-level and $1.6 million exception, but there are few players left on the market worth either. Look for the Celtics to focus on a younger forward like Marcus Fizer with some of that money.
    Grade: C+


    Charlotte Bobcats
    Cash remaining: $5.2 million
    Players added: Corey Benjamin, Omar Cook, Melvin Ely, Jason Hart, Eddie House, Emeka Okafor, Bernard Robinson
    Players lost: Richie Frahm, Aleksandar Pavlovic
    Skinny: The Bobcats have been unusually quiet. It's becoming very clear the team plans to save as much money as possible this season. The Bobcats know they have a two-year honeymoon period in Charlotte and appear ready to take full advantage of it. While their frontcourt, anchored by Okafor, will be pretty strong, their backcourt is very, very thin. Right now Hart and Gerald Wallace are their projected starters. That doesn't strike fear in the hearts of anyone.
    Grade: C-


    Chicago Bulls
    Cash remaining: Partial mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, Ben Gordon, Othella Harrington, Dikembe Mutombo, Andres Nocioni, Cezary Trybanski, Frank Williams
    Players lost: Jamal Crawford, Marcus Fizer, Jerome Williams
    Skinny: GM John Paxson has worked hard this summer to transform this team into something closer to his own image. Deng, Gordon and Nocioni all epitomize the work ethic and winning attitude Paxson wants to infuse the club with. Crawford and Williams didn't, and Paxson didn't hesitate to trade them for a collection of players who will provide him with significant cap relief next season. Harrington, Mutombo, Trybanski and Williams are all in the last year of their contracts, meaning Paxson will have near max cap room to make a run at top free agent next summer or to re-sign Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. Paxson probably isn't done. He's been unhappy with Curry's work ethic this summer and has talked to handful of teams, most notably the Grizzlies, about a swap. Paxson won't give Curry away, but if a team comes up with an impressive offer (and is willing to take Eddie Robinson off his hands) he won't hesitate to pull the trigger.
    Grade: A-


    Cleveland Cavaliers
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception, $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Drew Gooden, Luke Jackson, Aleksandar Pavlovic, Eric Snow, Robert Traylor, Anderson Varejao
    Players lost: Tony Battie, Carlos Boozer, Kedrick Brown, Jason Kapono, Kevin Ollie, Eric Williams
    Skinny: The inexplicable loss of Boozer was a devastating blow to a franchise that seemed poised to turn the corner. In the Cavs' darkest hour, however, GM Jim Paxson responded with a series of moves that actually made the Cavs stronger. The addition of Snow, Pavlovic, Gooden, Varejao, Traylor and Jackson are all very solid moves. Snow gives them a patient, veteran point guard who's been tested in the Finals (although his contract is outrageous). Gooden isn't as physical as Boozer was in the post, but he's more athletic and physically gifted. Pavlovic and Jackson give the Cavs some much-needed sharp shooting at the two and the three, and Varejao, a hustler from Brazil, has the potential to be the second-round steal of the draft. The Cavs will miss Boozer, Battie and Williams, but this team is much stronger than the one the Cavs fielded last year. Paxson didn't panic when the sky was falling in Cleveland and irate Cavs fans can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief.
    Grade: B


    Dallas Mavericks
    Cash remaining: $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Calvin Booth, Devin Harris, Alan Henderson, Didier Ilunga-Mbenga, Christian Laettner, Pavel Podkolzine, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry
    Players lost: Tony Delk, Danny Fortson, Antawn Jamison, Steve Nash, Antoine Walker
    Skinny: Does anyone know for sure exactly what Dallas is up to? The loss of Nash was devestating. While you can sympathize with owner Mark Cuban not wanting to overpay for Nash, the truth was that the Suns caught Cuban off guard with their offer. Cuban misjudged the market this year. While he was selling assets, the rest of the NBA was buying, leaving the Mavs weaker than they've been in the past few seasons. Terry is a decent replacement for Nash, though he's much more of a scorer than a floor leader. The team's lottery pick, Harris, whom they traded Jamison for, has the potential to be a star in two or three years. The rest of the group? Ugh. Laettner and Henderson will provide some luxury-tax relief next season, but that doesn't win you ball games. Stackhouse will be a distraction. Booth is just plain goofy. Mbenga and Podkolzine are a few years away. Meanwhile, the Mavs did little to address their short-term needs for a few blue collar rebounders and shot blockers who can score with their back to the basket.
    Grade: C+


    Denver Nuggets
    Cash remaining: $2.4 million
    Players added: Kenyon Martin
    Players lost: Michael Doleac
    Skinny: The Nuggets created one of the best front lines in the NBA when they added Martin to the team this summer. Martin is a perfect fit in Denver's up-and-down offense. He also provides some much-needed toughness and playoff experience to a young, inexperienced team. The team still needs to find some more depth at the two and three, but given the cap space the Nuggets have left and several first-round picks they can use as assets, they should be able to land the rest of the players they need to make a run at top-four seed in the West this year.
    Grade: A-


    Detroit Pistons
    Cash remaining: $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Derrick Coleman, Carlos Delfino, Ronald Dupree, Horace Jenkins, Amal McCaskill, Antonio McDyess
    Players lost: Mike James, Mehmet Okur, Corliss Williamson
    Skinny: The world champs accomplished the most important mission of the offseason when they re-signed forward Rasheed Wallace to a very reasonable five-year, $55 million contract. Doing so cost them Okur, but it was becoming clear that Larry Brown didn't want him around, and given the Jazz's huge offer (6 years, $50 million) it made sense for the Pistons to cut ties. They'll replace him with McDyess, who, if healthy, is an upgrade at the position. They'll also add some much-needed help in the backcourt with Delfino, who's been a star in Europe the last few years and shouldn't suffer through the same growing pains that Darko Milicic went through his rookie season. The Pistons' most significant loss this summer was Williamson. The Pistons swapped him for Coleman in an effort to clear some more cap space next year, but he'll be missed. He was, at times, their most consistent low-post scorer last year. If McDyess is healthy and scoring again and Milicic makes some strides, Williamson won't be missed..
    Grade: B


    Golden State Warriors
    Cash remaining: $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Andris Biedrins, Dale Davis, Dan Dickau, Derek Fisher
    Players lost: Brian Cardinal, Nick Van Exel
    Skinny: Old GM Garry St. Jean is out and new GM Chris Mullin is in. So far, it looks like the same old Warriors. The Warriors may have made the most controversial deal of the summer when they offered five years and $42 million to their own free agent, Adonal Foyle. The team knew it was losing both Foyle and Erick Dampier and needed someone to play center. Foyle has been great in the locker room over the years but hasn't been so hot on the court lately. The team's six-year, $38 million contract to Fisher also is a head scratcher. It's clear that Mullin is trying to fill the locker room with solid role players who hustle and work hard. But where's the talent? The team lost Cardinal to the Grizzlies and likely will lose Dampier as well. For the same money they spent on Foyle and Fisher, the Warriors could've re-signed Damp and Cardinal and had better players. The bottom line? New head coach Mike Montgomery may have a team that's easier to coach, but expect it to be one of two or three bottom feeders in the West again next year.
    Grade: C-


    Houston Rockets
    Cash remaining: $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Reece Gaines, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, Tracy McGrady, Bob Sura, Charlie Ward
    Players lost: Kelvin Cato, Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley
    Skinny: The Rockets made the second-biggest trade of the summer when they swapped Francis, Mobley and Cato for McGrady, Howard, Lue and Gaines. Francis couldn't see eye-to-eye with coach Jeff Van Gundy and the team saw a once-and-a-lifetime opportunity to add a superstar like McGrady while giving up very little in return. McGrady paired with Yao Ming should be dominant next season. Howard is always good when he's the third option on a team. The team filled its point guard hole by signing Sura and Ward. Sura, if he can stay healthy, might be a great fit in Houston. He averaged 14.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists over his last 27 games for the Hawks. Ward spent a number of years with Van Gundy in New York. The Rockets still need depth at center. Right now they have no one to back up Yao. Considering that Van Gundy doesn't really like to play him more than 35 minutes a game, that could be a problem.
    Grade: B+


    Indiana Pacers
    Cash remaining: Partial mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: David Harrison, Stephen Jackson, Eddie Gill
    Players lost: Al Harrington
    Skinny: The Pacers have been working hard all summer to upgrade their backcourt and to add a more dominant presence in the middle. There's no pressure to change the team that won an NBA-high 61 games last year, but Larry Bird and company know that the team has holes to fill. Harrison was a great addition with the last pick in the first round, but he'll need a year or two before he's a regular contributor at the five. The addition of Jackson addresses a need in the backcourt, though they paid an awfully high price by sending Harrington to Atlanta for him in a sign-and-trade. Harrington is on the verge of a breakout season and could make the Pacers regret moving him if he puts up big numbers this season. Jackson put up good numbers in Atlanta last season, but he was playing on a very bad team. The team has flirted with free agent Erick Dampier and has talked with the Kings about a Ron Artest-for-Peja Stojakovic swap, but so far they haven't gotten anywhere.
    Grade: B-


    Los Angeles Clippers
    Cash remaining: $2.9 million
    Players added: Kerry Kittles, Shaun Livingston, Zeljko Rebraca
    Players lost: Keyon Dooling, Melvin Ely, Eddie House, Quentin Richardson
    Skinny: The Clippers focused entirely on landing Kobe Bryant this summer, but the whole endeavor was a lost cause. The team traded away two assets -- Ely and House -- to clear cap room it didn't need. The Clippers' contingency move, a trade for Kittles, was a stunner. The move prohibited the Clips from being able to match the Suns' offer for Richardson. While Kittles makes more financial sense in the long run, Richardson signed one of the most reasonable offer sheets of the summer. Will the Clippers really be able to lure a better player via free agency next summer with the money they saved from the Kittles deal? The Clippers did have a great draft, however. Livingston has the potential to be the best player in the draft class. Still, he's a year or two away, meaning that Clippers fans are looking at yet another year of lottery purgatory this season.
    Grade: C+


    Los Angeles Lakers
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Chucky Atkins, Tony Bobbitt, Caron Butler, Vlade Divac, Brian Grant, Jumaine Jones, Chris Mihm, Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic
    Players lost: Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton
    Skinny: The Lakers accomplished their most important mission this summer by re-signing Kobe Bryant. Everything they've done after that, from dumping Phil Jackson to trading Shaq and Payton, has been stunning to say the least. The Lakers will have nine new players on their roster next season. None of them has ever won a championship. Losing Shaq hurts the most. While they salvaged some decent players in return, Odom, Butler and Grant will never quite add up to what Shaq gave them every night. The trade with the Celtics was flat out weird. The Lakers traded away two solid veterans for a journeyman point guard and two role players who didn't do much for an inferior Celtics team last season. That's not the weird part. The shocking thing about the Payton trade is that they wooed him -- talked him into taking less money for a chance to win a championship. Then they shipped him off to a lottery team, getting little value back in return. Agents and players have long memories. Next time Mitch Kupchak tries to convince a veteran to give up large sums of money to play in L.A. for a contender . . . he's going to hear a dial tone.
    Grade: B-


    Memphis Grizzlies
    Cash remaining: $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Antonio Burks, Brian Cardinal, Andre Emmett
    Players lost: None
    Skinny: The Grizzlies need a big man in the worst way, but surprisingly decided to sign Cardinal, yet another forward, to a six-year deal for their full mid-level exception. It was probably a big tactical mistake. As the market for Dampier shrunk, he began considering taking the mid-level. The Grizzlies no longer have one to offer him. They've been after Dampier for more than a year but will have to pull off a sign-and-trade to get him now -- something the Warriors don't sound inclined to do. The Grizzlies have turned their attention to landing Eddy Curry. However, so far talks with the Bulls have led to nothing. The Grizzlies have scared off just about everyone eyeing restricted free agent Stromile Swift by threatening to match any offer. Burks and Emmett were both solid second-round picks, but given the Grizzlies' depth in the backcourt, no one expects them to play.
    Grade: C-


    Miami Heat
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Michael Doleac, Keyon Dooling, Damon Jones, Shaquille O'Neal, Wesley Person, Dorell Wright
    Players lost: Rafer Alston, Baron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, Samaki Walker
    Skinny: Any time you add the most dominant player in the game and keep the best player on your own team, you've hit a home run in the summer. The trade for Shaq immediately makes the Heat contenders in the East. It also left them pretty thin at the point, small forward and power forward positions. The team has made a decent effort to patch a few of those holes, thought the Heat's supporting cast is still fairly thin. If Wright, the Heat's first-round pick, can end up contributing (he showed flashes of it in the summer league) the team will be very dangerous.
    Grade: A-


    Milwaukee Bucks
    Cash remaining: Partial mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Zendon Hamilton, Mike James, Lonnie Jones
    Players lost: Damon Jones, Brian Skinner
    Skinny: Yawn . . . the Bucks have had a slow summer. They did make an aggressive offer to Etan Thomas, but the Wizards matched. With fears that T.J. Ford may not be able to recover from a back injury, they used part of their money on James, a backup for the Pistons last season. The team also believes it's close to re-signing Toni Kukoc. However, given the improvements of a number of teams in the East this year, the Bucks could be in for a long season, especially if Ford ends up missing significant time.
    Grade: D


    Minnesota Timberwolves
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: None
    Players lost: None
    Skinny: The Wolves took care of their own, re-signing Troy Hudson, Trenton Hassell and Fred Hoiberg this summer. When you have the best record in the West and all but one of the main threats to the Wolves have all gotten significantly weaker, the reluctance to change things is understandable. The Wolves have one of the best starting fives in the league and enough depth to make another deep playoff run. If they can move Wally Szczerbiak for more depth, they will, but right now nothing seems imminent.
    Grade: B


    New Jersey Nets
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Rodney Buford, Kyle Davis, Nenad Kristic, Ron Mercer, Jacque Vaughn, Eric Williams
    Players lost: Eddie Gill, Kerry Kittles, Kenyon Martin, Rodney Rogers
    Skinny: The Nets held a fire sale this summer, swapping Martin for three future first-round picks and Kittles for a second-rounder. It's probably only a matter of time before Jason Kidd is traded too. New owner Bruce Ratner has decided to cut costs and rebuild around Richard Jefferson, leaving team president Rod Thorn very little wiggle room. While the additions of players like Williams, Vaughn, Kristic and Mercer would have been great complements to the team the Nets took to the playoffs last season, without Martin and Kittles, what's the point?
    Grade: D-


    New Orleans Hornets
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Chris Andersen, Tim Pickett, Rodney Rogers, J.R. Smith
    Players lost: Stacey Augmon, Robert Traylor
    Skinny: The Hornets have quietly added depth in the front and backcourt this summer. Smith has the most impressive summer league stats of any rookie and should be able to contribute right away next season. Andersen gives them an athletic shot blocker and rebounder to back up Jamaal Magloire and Rogers gives the team depth and shooting -- especially if Jamal Mashburn is unable or unwilling to play next season.
    Grade: B


    New York Knicks
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Trevor Ariza, Jamal Crawford, Jerome Williams
    Players lost: Othella Harrington, Dikembe Mutombo, Cezary Trybanski, Frank Williams
    Skinny: Isiah Thomas turned four players he didn't want into a young, talented guard he desperately wanted when he swapped Harrington, Mutombo, Trybanski and Frank Williams for Crawford and Jerome Williams. However, he may have blown a great chance to land center Erick Dampier. According to Vin Baker's agent, Aaron Goodwin, the Knicks agreed to a contract with Baker before Dampier showed up willing to take the Knicks' mid-level. If Goodwin is right, the Knicks blew an unbelievable chance to land a dominant big man. If Goodwin's wrong, and Dampier's still in play, Isiah will up this grade to an "A" by the end of the summer.
    Grade: C+


    Orlando Magic
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Stacey Augmon, Tony Battie, Michael Bradley, Kelvin Cato, Steve Francis, Dwight Howard, Cuttino Mobley, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu
    Players lost: Reece Gaines, Drew Gooden, Juwan Howard, Steven Hunter, Tyronn Lue, Tracy McGrady, Anderson Varejao
    Skinny: GM John Weisbrod has been bold. Not only has he traded away his superstar, Tracy McGrady, he's also added nine new players to the roster who range from young, dynamic athletes to grizzled blue collar veterans. What he wants are a group of players who won't give up and who will play their hearts out every night. Francis is the best player of the group, though his attitude doesn't always fit the mold. Howard showed huge promise in the summer league. Mobley, Turkoglu, Nelson and Battie could all contribute next season. Still, the Magic's success depends in large part on Grant Hill's health. He's been playing all summer without pain. If he can come back and play well, the Magic could be dangerous again. If he doesn't, they'll be better than last year, but that's not saying much.
    Grade: B


    Philadelphia 76ers
    Cash remaining: Partial mid-level; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Kedrick Brown, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Ollie, Brian Skinner, Corliss Williamson
    Players lost: Derrick Coleman, Zendon Hamilton, Amal McCaskill, Eric Snow
    Skinny: The team had a solid draft and added some frontcourt depth with Skinner and Williamson. But the backcourt is now an issue. Without Snow, who is going to keep Allen Iverson in check? There's talk that new head coach Jim O'Brien will move AI to the point and let Willie Green play the two. They'd probably be better off with Iguodala, who at least knows how to pass the ball on occasion. Are the Sixers just running to stand still?
    Grade: C


    Phoenix Suns
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Steve Nash, Quentin Richardson, Jackson Vroman
    Players lost: Antonio McDyess
    Skinny: The Suns really set the tone of the free-agent market on July 1 when they offered Nash a six-year, $66 million deal. Nash stunned the Mavericks by accepting it a few hours later after Cuban refused to match it. The team also made a run at Okur and Turkoglu but was outbid both times. Finally, they settled on Richardson. While Richardson is a solid addition, he creates a logjam at the two with Joe Johnson and Casey Jacobsen also looking for time there. Expect the Suns to explore trading Shawn Marion in an effort to free up time for Johnson at the three and to land a legit center.
    Grade: B+


    Portland Trail Blazers
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Richie Frahm, Viktor Khryapa, Sergei Monia, Ha Seung Jin, Sebastian Telfair, Nick Van Exel
    Players lost: Omar Cook, Dale Davis, Dan Dickau
    Skinny: The Blazers still haven't taken care of their most important piece of business this summer -- re-signing free agent Darius Miles. Everything else they've done this summer hasn't made much sense. The draft could end up being a bust this year. Telfair, an under-sized, inexperienced high school point guard, won't see much time this year. Khryapa is out for the season with an injury and Monia is heading back to Russia. Van Exel could help the team . . . but didn't management make a commitment to the fans to quit bringing in players like Van Exel who have loads of talent on the court and loads of problems off it? Their inability to move Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who is also demanding a trade, is also bewildering considering the level of interest in him.
    Grade: D+


    Sacramento Kings
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: David Bluthenthal, Kevin Martin, Ricky Minard, Greg Ostertag
    Players lost: Rodney Buford, Vlade Divac, Tony Massenburg, Anthony Peeler
    Skinny: The Kings decided to let Divac slip away and instead used their money to bring in Ostertag. Basketball wise, the swap made little sense. In the locker room, however, it appears that Chris Webber was partly behind it. Now Peja Stojakovic is demanding a trade. Are things beginning to fall apart in Sacramento? Martin and Minard both looked great in the summer league, and Euroleague vet Bluthenthal is one of the best shooting big men out there . . . but is this really enough to keep the Kings in contention next year. That answer may be yes, but only because some many teams have tripped up worse than the Kings this summer.
    Grade: C+


    San Antonio Spurs
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Brent Barry, Tony Massenburg, Romain Sato, Beno Udrih
    Players lost: Jason Hart, Ron Mercer, Hedo Turkoglu, Charlie Ward
    Skinny: The Spurs have been busy. They've fortified their backcourt by agreeing with Ginobili (six years, $52 million), Barry (four years, $22 million) and Bowen (three years, $12 million) on contracts, but lost Turkoglu in the process. Udrih proved in the summer league that he's capable of coming in and backing up Tony Parker right now. The loss of Turkoglu will hurt in the long run, but in the short term, Barry is an upgrade to a backcourt that got pretty shaky at times in the playoffs.
    Grade: B+


    Seattle SuperSonics
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Danny Fortson, Robert Swift
    Players lost: Brent Barry, Calvin Booth
    Skinny: What are the Sonics doing? They are a lottery team that drafted a high school center and let their starting point guard slip away in free agency for nothing. Now they're simultaneously trying to hammer out an extension with Ray Allen while testing the trade market for him. They refuse to trade either Vladimir Radmanovic or Rashard Lewis despite the fact that they're incompatible on the floor. The team seems to be slowly sinking into quick sand and nothing the team has done this summer will reverse that process.
    Grade: D


    Toronto Raptors
    Cash remaining: $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Rafer Alston, Rafael Araujo
    Players lost: None
    Skinny: Rob Babcock inherited a disaster in Toronto and has been able to do little to turn things around so far. Alston and Araujo will help the team, but not enough to propel them into the playoffs. Vince Carter wants to be traded, but so far, the Raptors haven't been able to find a deal that makes sense for them. That could lead to some disastrous chemistry issues during the season. Things don't look good in Toronto right now.
    Grade: C-


    Utah Jazz
    Cash remaining: None
    Players added: Carlos Boozer, Kris Humphries, Mehmet Okur, Kirk Snyder
    Players lost: Greg Ostertag, Michael Ruffin
    Skinny: No one has done more this summer than the Jazz. Their goal was to land a veteran center and power forward, and they did a great job in stealing Okur and Boozer. The team also has agreed to new deals to retain Gordan Giricek, Jarron Collins and Carlos Arroyo. Add in tow very solid draft picks in Humphries and Snyder and no one has done more to improve their team this summer than Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor.
    Grade: A


    Washington Wizards
    Cash remaining: Mid-level exception; $1.6 million exception
    Players added: Antawn Jamison, Anthony Peeler, Peter John Ramos, Michael Ruffin, Samaki Walker
    Players lost: Christian Laettner, Jerry Stackhouse
    Skinny: Opinion around the league on what the Wizards have done this summer has been split. Personally, I like it. Jamison gives them a legit low-post scoring option that they've never had. The fact that they were able to dump Stackhouse to land him was just gravy. Also, Ramos, who has looked very good this summer, could be a steal. Teams were scared away in the draft because of some off-the-court issues, but if his head is screwed on right, he can help the Wizards.
    Grade: B

    Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

  2. #2
    Zesty
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    Harrington is on the verge of a breakout season and could make the Pacers regret moving him if he puts up big numbers this season.
    I don't think they'll regret it. He still wouldn't have had his breakout season with us.

  3. #3
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    Agreed. Ford even says "Jackson put up big numbers, but it was a bad team" Uhh, what do you think the Hawks are gonna be this year, Chad? That's right, a bad team.

  4. #4
    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    I never did like Chad Ford

    Lets see, Harrington with help. Mediocre.
    Harrington having to do it himself. Sad

    If hew as going to have a breakout season, it would have happened here. 30+ minutes give me a break.

  5. #5
    MZahm
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    I reckon Harrington will break out, but not to the extent that we'll really be regretting trading him. He wasn't going to explode over here anyway, and he's not as good as Ron and JO, so this was the only option. I'd agree with his grade though. B- or a B sounds about right. But how on Earth does he pan LA throughout his analysis and then give them a B-? Especially after he gave Miami an A- for trading away half their team.

  6. #6
    Banned Destined4Greatness's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    I don't see how the Pistons got a B. So they maintained their Starters. Tney ****Ed up their bench. There are just to many ifs about their players.

  7. #7
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    Boy, Ford sure is infatuated with summer league'ers. How many times did he say some rookie's gonna get major minutes because they had a good summer league. Idiot.
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  8. #8
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    I enjoy Chad Ford's writing. I think he is very knowledgable and does have some good inside info from time to time.


    Not sure if this is a good place for this comment, but what would Vitale say now about the foreign players that he hates so much. Vitale is much more of an idiot than Chad Ford who is one of my favorites.


  9. #9
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    Vitale may be biased and annoying, but you can't tell me he doesn't know basketball a hell of a lot better than this hack.
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  10. #10
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Vitale may be biased and annoying, but you can't tell me he doesn't know basketball a hell of a lot better than this hack.


    Well they have different jobs.

    Vitale has coached before


    Ford is a writer/reporter. Vitale is a commentator. So Vitale is supposed to jknow lot more about the X's and O's than Ford is.


    That is like saying Mike Fratello knows more about basketball than David Aldridge. I would hope so, but DA is a better reporter/writer. (I picked Fratello becaue I know you hate the guy)

    Wait, actually a better comparison is between me and Jack Ramsey. he knows a lot more about basketball than I do, it is not even close, but I think I have a better handle on the Pacers than he does.

    I will say Ford knows more about the current NBA and international basketball goings on than Vitale does.
    [edit=24=1092784176][/edit]

  11. #11
    Fat, Drunk and Stupid Lord Helmet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insider 8/16/04

    Chad Ford is not that smart.I think AL may have a good season next year but on a bad team.Its not like he will be in the postseason to bother us.
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