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Thread: 2004-02-18

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    Default 2004-02-18

    Are there any big deals left to be made?
    By Chad Ford
    NBA Insider
    Send an Email to Chad Ford Wednesday, February 18
    Updated: February 18
    10:02 AM ET

    Rumor mongers . . . start your engines.

    With about 36 hours left until the NBA's Thursday trade deadline, the rumors
    were flying fast and furious Tuesday night as teams talked and talked and talked
    about making deals.

    The big question on everyone's mind? Will there be yet another huge trade before
    Thursday?

    There's a lot of small talk right now about cap positioning, draft picks and
    minor players, but after an unbelievable trading season that's seen big names
    like Stephon Marbury, Rasheed Wallace, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ricky Davis, Bonzi
    Wells, Keith Van Horn, Tim Thomas, Theo Ratliff and Penny Hardaway already
    traded, is there anyone left out there to trade?

    Here's what we we're hearing as of late Tuesday night . . .

    Allen Iverson's latest antics, including missing practice in Denver on Monday
    and seething on the bench Tuesday night, haven't helped things in Philly.
    Iverson is already complaining about new head coach Chris Ford, and tensions
    continue to rise.

    "I don't want to be treated like this," Iverson said after Tuesday's game. "If I
    get treated like this every day, I'd tell my family we've got to go. We've got
    to get out of here."

    Philly has several smaller trades that it can make if it believes that moving a
    player like Eric Snow or Aaron McKie will fix things. But with the Philly media
    beginning to turn on AI as well, GM Billy King may have a rare opening to trade
    Iverson as the climate sours in Philly.

    The problem is getting equal value for the 28-year-old draw. Speculation has
    centered on Atlanta, where the Hawks are shopping Rasheed Wallace. Iverson is an
    instant draw in Atlanta, even though he would eat away most of the team's cap
    room this summer. Wallace, a Philly native, would help a very weak Philly front
    line with minimal risk because his $17 million contract comes off the books next
    season. The problems, however, are obvious. Wallace could very well leave this
    summer or bomb there, leaving the Sixers with nothing in return for Iverson.

    The other speculated destination for Iverson, Houston, isn't going to happen.
    While an Iverson-for-Steve Francis swap sounds sexy enough, a source in Houston
    told Insider that Francis isn't going anywhere right now. This summer? That's a
    different story.

    Speaking of Rasheed, rumors are going to continue to swirl until the deadline
    about Detroit and New York's interest in 'Sheed. As Insider first reported on
    Tuesday, the Pistons' offer for Rasheed (the expiring contracts of Bob Sura,
    Zeljko Rebraca and Lindsey Hunter and a 2004 first-round pick) also included the
    contract of Chucky Atkins -- essentially killing the deal before it ever got
    started.

    Pistons president Joe Dumars, who spoke on the record about the deal to the
    Detroit News in Wednesday's editions, confirmed our story.

    "There is no deal," Dumars told the Detroit News. "There is no deal pending, no
    deal is imminent. Have we talked to Atlanta? Yes, but I guarantee you that every
    team is talking to everybody right now."

    While the Pistons can refashion the deal by taking out Atkins and putting in the
    expiring contracts of Darvin Ham and Tremaine Fowlkes, Dumars claimed he hasn't
    done that. He likely won't. Dumars needs that first-round pick to package with
    either Atkins or Williamson to clear the cap room necessary to re-sign Mehmet
    Okur this summer. If he can get either of those two players off the books before
    July 15th, Okur is as good as gone.

    The Knicks are working hand in hand with Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland, to
    try to get 'Sheed to New York now.

    "Our preference is to make that now, before the deadline, but Rasheed would be
    willing to explore the option of a midlevel exception this summer," Strickland
    told the New York Times.

    The hurdle for Strickland is that the Knicks don't have the expiring contracts
    the Hawks are looking for. The Times claims that a combination of Kurt Thomas,
    Othella Harrington, Dikembe Mutombo and either Mike Sweetney or Frank Thomas
    could get a deal done . . . but none of those players has the type of expiring
    contract the Hawks are looking for. Unless the Knicks can find a third team with
    expiring contracts that is willing to take on all of those contracts, chances
    are 'Sheed stays put.

    The Knicks' pursuit of Erick Dampier also appears to be a pipe dream. The
    Warriors want expiring contracts for Dampier, and, again, the Knicks don't have
    any. They could try to package Kurt Thomas and Mike Sweetney together with the
    thinking that Thomas would opt out of his contract this summer to get out of
    Golden State . . . but that's a pretty big risk by both sides at this point.

    Memphis is the other team that likes Dampier. The Grizzlies pursued him hard
    last summer and came close to a deal, but now things are trickier. If the
    Grizzlies put together a package of Stromile Swift, Jake Tsakalidis and either
    Earl Watson or Troy Bell, you have to believe that the Warriors would jump . . .
    but is Dampier really worth it?

    If I were Bulls GM John Paxson, I'd try to see if the Warriors would be willing
    to swap Dampier and Jason Richardson for Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford and Marcus
    Fizer. The move would give the Warriors much more cap flexibility and a couple
    of prospects in Curry and Crawford as well give the Bulls their more traditional
    two guard and a center who would clean up in the East.

    Speaking of the Bulls, there was talk on Tuesday that the team was talking with
    the Wizards about a possible Crawford-and-Fizer-for-Jerry Stackhouse swap.

    Clearly Paxson is trying to figure out a way to add the missing piece that turns
    the Bulls into a playoff contender. Why would the Wizards even consider it? The
    move would give them a little over $10 million to play with in free agency
    should they decide not to re-sign Crawford or Fizer. Sources claim that the deal
    is unlikely to happen, but I thought it was an interesting proposal.

    Speaking of the Wizards, they are resisting the sudden surge in interest toward
    Kwame Brown. Says one Wizards' source: "Our phone hasn't stopped ringing about
    Kwame but we're not moving him. Our investment is just now paying off. Why would
    we move him?" What's interesting is that last year the Sonics turned down an
    offer of Brown for Vladimir Radmanovic and Brent Barry. Now they're getting
    laughed at for proposing it.

    Speaking of the Sonics, it appears that the team has finally come to the
    realization that it has a small window of opportunity to make something happen
    with the expiring contract of Brent Barry and is talking to a number of teams
    around the league. One source told Insider on Tuesday that Vladimir Radmanovic's
    agent has been pushing for the Sonics to get Radmanovic out of Seattle.

    Radmanovic and Barry have the same agent, David Bauman, and he's been making
    phone calls of his own trying to find a package that works for the Sonics. With
    other assets like Ronald Murray and, to a lesser extent, Jerome James, what's
    the hold-up?

    One league executive said that the Sonics are asking for too much. "They want a
    lot for those guys, and I mean a lot," the exec told Insider. "There's a lot of
    interest in that package, but no one's prepared to give up a seven footer or an
    all-star for them. I think right now that's what Rick (Sund) feels he needs to
    justify the trade. If he sticks to that line of thinking, I don't see anything
    happening."

    Talks with the Bulls, a natural trading partner, have gone nowhere. The Sonics
    are insisting that either Eddy Curry or Tyson Chandler be included in any deal.
    Paxson is willing to talk, but is only willing to give up Crawford and/or Fizer
    in return. Talks with the Pacers (for Al Harrington and Austin Croshere) and the
    Wizards (for Kwame and Christian Laettner) are also going nowhere.

    The hottest rumor on Tuesday evening had the Sonics talking to the Raptors about
    a swap that would send Barry and Radmanovic to Toronto for Donyell Marshall and
    Morris Peterson. There was also talk that the trade could be expanded into a
    three-way deal with the Blazers. The Raptors have been in the hunt for a center
    so that they can move rookie Chris Bosh back to his natural position at power
    forward. Under that arrangement, Radmanovic and Barry would head to Portland,
    Davis would go Toronto, Marshall and Peterson would head to Seattle and the
    Raptors would send Michael Curry and Michael Bradley to the Blazers. However,
    the same sources said that the Sonics are concerned that they're not getting
    enough in return for Radmanovic.

    If Sund can't get what he wants, there shouldn't be any reason to rush into a
    trade. Radmanovic, Murray and James will all have value this summer. But still,
    with the Sonics in the hunt for a playoff berth and the availability of Barry's
    expiring contract, it's hard to believe that the team can't find a deal that
    makes sense for them.

    One more tidbit worth reporting. Tracy McGrady can not opt out of his contract
    this summer. We've talked about this before, but I keep seeing it reported on TV
    (the Bucks announcers said it 10 times Tuesday night during the Bucks-Magic
    game) that he's likely gone this summer. McGrady has an ETO (early termination
    option) on his contract after the 2004-05 season -- not this summer.
    Around the League

    There are a ton of mid-to-smaller deals also making the rounds. Here are the
    other things being talked about out there.

    The Mavericks have been unusually quiet. That seems to be freaking out a number
    of GMs who insisted, without any type of concrete evidence mind you, that the
    Mavs were working on something big.

    The Magic's Gordan Giricek seems to be a hot name at the moment. Not only is his
    salary reasonable ($1.5 million) but he's also a free agent this summer. In
    almost every scenario he's being packaged with Tyronn Lue or Juwan Howard. Among
    the rumored suitors? The Bulls (offering Fizer for Lue and Giricek), the Pistons
    (offering Chucky Atkins), the Jazz (offering Carlos Arroyo and DeShawn
    Stevenson) and the Celtics (offering Chris Mills and Chris Mihm for Giricek,
    Howard and Pat Garrity).

    The speculation running rampant on Tuesday was that the Celtics were going to
    send Mills and Mihm to Orlando for Howard, Garrity and Giricek. Obviously it
    didn't happen, though one Celtics source remains optimistic that they can
    convince the Magic to pull the trigger.

    I wonder, however, whether the Jazz wouldn't be a better suitor. Jazz GM Kevin
    O'Connor denied interest in Giricek and Lue last week when the rumor first
    popped up, but it does make some sense for Utah if Howard got included in the
    deal. The Jazz need some frontcourt help in the worst way, and Howard seems like
    the perfect type of player for the Jazz's system.

    Howard's long-term deal shouldn't hinder the Jazz too much as they'd still be
    looking at more than $20 million in cap room even with Howard on the books. If
    the Jazz were willing to take Howard, Giricek and Lue along with Andrew DeClercq
    and possibly Pat Garrity and be willing to give up Arroyo and Stevenson, that
    could make some long-term cap sense for the Magic and give the Jazz some more
    tools to work with.

    While a deal for Steve Francis isn't going to happen before the deadline, the
    Rockets are trying to see whether they can find someone interested in Bostjan
    Nachbar, Maurice Taylor and/or Kelvin Cato. With the Celtics looking for more
    firepower, and with their two expiring contracts, you can add them to the list
    of potential suitors. Ainge is a big fan of Nachbar's. All the Rockets are
    looking for is a little more cap flexibility at this point.

    The Hawks are already trying to move Michael Doleac, and reports in both the
    Chicago Sun Times and Tribune claim that a possible three-way deal with Detroit
    that sends Doleac to the Bulls could be in the works. Under that scenario Fizer
    would head to Detroit. It's unclear who the Pistons would be giving up to make
    the trade work under the CBA. The Jazz and Nuggets have also shown some interest
    in Doleac, whose $1.6 million deal expires at the end of the season.

    The chances that the long-rumored Jerome Williams-to-Philly-for-Aaron Mckie
    trade happens are "very high," according to one league source.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  2. #2
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2004-02-18

    Is Iverson wearing out welcome?
    By Terry Brown
    NBA Insider
    Wednesday, February 18
    Updated: February 18
    8:38 AM ET

    Unless the Philadelphia 76ers plan to fire their second head coach in one week
    and hire their fourth in less than one year, they've got less than one day to
    trade Allen Iverson.

    "This is always going to stay with me," Iverson said in the Philadelphia
    Inquirer after being benched by interim coach Chris Ford for the start of
    Tuesday night's game against the Nuggets. "I'll never forget it. I'll always
    remember it. I don't have to be his friend. I don't have to speak to him. I
    don't have to say how you doing or anything to him. I can play for him, though.
    I can go out there and play hard for him, and I can try to do exactly what he
    wants me to do, night in and night out. I'll definitely do that. I don't have
    any problem with that. As far as having a relationship with him outside of
    basketball, that's done from day one."

    Despite missing the Monday practice with supposed plane problems and the first
    seven-and-a-half minutes of the game, Iverson tallied an impressive 27 points,
    14 assists, three boards and two steals on 8-for-17 shooting.
    And the Sixers still lost by 21 to fall to 22-32.

    "I was angry all day from shoot-around," said Iverson. "Going in there, having a
    meeting, being with guys that I don't really know telling me that I wasn't going
    to start, telling me what I had to do for us to be successful. We've had success
    here, so, obviously, I know how to do something right."

    Ford begs to differ. Team president Billy Kings begs to differ. Philadelphia
    Daily News columnist John Smallwood begs to differ:

    "For 7 seasons, the Sixers organization has cajoled, coddled and turned its
    head to appease Iverson. The Sixers did so because there always was hope that at
    some point Iverson would mature into the type of leader who could take the
    organization to the highest level of success. It's not going to happen . . . If
    ever the Sixers needed Iverson to be a true leader by action, not just word, it
    was Monday. He failed miserably, and sadly, I don't think many are surprised."
    Iverson missed the Monday practice because his plane was delayed. Iverson missed
    the Monday practice because the dog ate his homework. Iverson missed the Monday
    practice because . . . does it really matter why anymore?

    "This is an organization thing, not a coach vs. a player," Ford said in the
    Philadelphia Daily News. "We have standards we have to live by. [King and I] are
    on the same page. Did [Iverson] do something wrong? Yes, but we just move on
    from here. He missed a practice, and he should've been here because we put in
    new sets and everything. The result is [this], as far as what I decided was
    going to take place."

    Let's not forget. Larry Brown left the Sixers before this season started because
    he could no longer tolerate a separate set of rules for Iverson. Randy Ayers was
    recently fired because he could not win with a team led by Iverson. And, now, a
    distinct line has been drawn between Ford and, guess who, Iverson.

    "I don't want to leave Philadelphia," Iverson said. "They'll have to push me out
    of here."

    So the same reporter asked him if the benching could be interpreted as a push.
    "Most definitely!" Iverson said.

    Consider it done, then.

    After 14,267 points, four scoring titles and an MVP award, Iverson could very
    well be finished in Philadelphia with the trading deadline coming Thursday at 3
    p.m. EST.

    "The most frustrating thing in that meeting [with the Sixers' coaching staff]
    was hearing a guy that I don't know [Ford] tell me I don't have respect for my
    teammates, my teammates don't have respect for me, and that my teammates feel I
    don't bring it every day," Iverson said. "No coach ever questioned whether I
    brought it every day. None of my teammates from grade school ever questioned
    whether I bring it every day."

    And, perhaps, that's the way it had to be done. By a coach who has no emotional
    ties to the player, the team, the city.

    Ford has 26 years in the NBA as a player, head coach and assistant coach and
    earned three NBA championship rings along the way. He has 311 career wins as
    head coach with the Celtics, Bucks and Clippers.

    But he has been in Philadelphia for less than one season. His record as Sixers
    head coach is 1-1. His reliance upon Iverson for his job is nil.

    He'll be working in the NBA next season whether Iverson scores 30 points in a
    Sixer uniform on Friday, Feb. 20 or not.

    "When I addressed [reporters] on that first day, I said I was going to coach and
    whatever that entailed," Ford said in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "If guys step
    out of line or are not doing the right thing or not doing it the right way, then
    I have to do what a coach is supposed to do . . . It's not going to be ups and
    downs as far as I'm concerned. There is a right way and a wrong way. This isn't
    a platform thing. I'm just coaching."

    Friction arises with the Answer
    Stephen A. Smith / Philadelphia Inquirer
    A punishing night for Iverson
    Joe Juliano / Philadelphia Inquirer
    Sub torpedoes Ford
    Phil Jasner / Philadelphia Daily News
    We're talkin' divorce
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  3. #3
    Member Ragnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2004-02-18

    I second that thanks Jay.

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