1/16 Traded Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins to Dallas for DeSagana Diop
Taking this trade from a Larry Brown perspective, it makes some sense. Brown loves defense and does not necessarily appreciate shooters who don’t defend like Carroll. But look a bit closer and this makes no objective sense. Yes, Diop can block shots and defend but he can do nothing else (.379 FG%, 4.5 pts/36 minutes) and his boards and blocks aren’t even that astounding. In terms of actual need, the Bobcats are 9th in defensive efficiency and 27th in offensive efficiency. A non-offense guy like Diop might not actually really fill a hole.
On top of that, the Mavs were silly enough to give Diop $26.8 million over the next four seasons (not including 2008-09). So, Diop is extremely overpaid and you could make a pretty good argument that Hollins would be as good over the next four seasons, not even factoring cost (Hollins is making under $1 million this year). Hollins is younger (24), can score a little (12.5 pts/36 minutes) and even blocks shots at a similar rate (actually better than Diop this year). Carroll is dead weight on the Bobcats but could help them as a three-point specialist. But even if Carroll were just glued to the bench going forward, the Bobcats would be better off with him because by acquiring Diop they have added $7 million in payroll (Carroll has a bad long-term deal for roughly half the coast and Hollins is on a one-year deal). Charlotte is still under the cap going forward but adding a bad contract just to scratch an itch never makes sense. Brown has the Bobcats competing but this is one of those times one he needed a GM to tell him stick to coaching and forget personnel moves.
1/7 Waived Jawad Williams
1/12 Signed Jawad Williams to a 10-day contract
It’s not quite clear whether Williams can play but the Cavs have been happy enough with his effort and his local pedigree to keep him around. They just aren’t ready to give him a guaranteed contract. By the end of January (Williams’ second 10-day contract), the Cavs will have to make a decision.
1/16 Traded DeSagana Diop to Charlotte for Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins
Signing Diop to a big deal after discarding last year seemed odd. Somehow, Dallas was bailed out of this bad contract and were able to dump Diop on Charlotte (see above). As for the actual return in players, we like Hollins as a cheap backup big man. Carroll has wilted with Larry Brown but was previously a useful scorer. Carroll’s three-point shooting can help here. The Mavs are shooting only .333% from three as a team. But the problems are coming from bench guys (not including Jason Terry). There are (almost) no decent three-point shooters here. Either you can shoot well or you cannot shoot at all. Check the break down of three-pointers here:
The Top Guys From Three
Dirk Nowitzki, 38-98 (.388%)
Jason Terry, 87-242 (.360%)
Josh Howard, 27-76 (.355%)
Jason Kidd, 61-168 (.363%)
Everybody Else From Three
Jose Barea, 22-67 (.328%)
Antoine Wright, 11-46 (.239%)
Gerald Green, 10-34 (.294%)
Devean George, 17-55 (.309%)
James Singleton, 2-14 (.143%)
Jerry Stackhouse, 3-16 (.188%)
Shawn Williams, 1-17 (.059%)
Brandon Bass, 0-4 (.000%)
While Barea has been merely poor from three, all the other non-primary options look putrid. It’s not clear why they have been so uniformly bad at waiting out on the perimeter for kick out threes. No matter what the reason, Carroll should almost certainly fill that role better than the incumbents. He cannot defend like some of these players but his skill set should earn Carroll at least 10-15 minutes a night in Dallas. Throw that need on top of the money saved on Diop and Hollins’ potential and we have a winning move on every level for the Mavs. The Mavs aren’t suddenly a title contender but they are better than they were before.
1/5 Traded Cheikh Samb and cash to the Los Angeles Clippers for a conditional second-round pick
1/7 Traded Chucky Atkins and a conditional 2009 first-round pick to Oklahoma City for Johan Petro and a 2009 second-round pick
Figuring that they already have a nice shooting point guard, Atkins became superfluous so they sent him packing for another big man to replace Marcus Camby. Petro has looked pretty mediocre as a pro but is perfectly fine as a back up big man and he is actually cheaper than Atkins to boot. It’s a minor improvement but still works for Denver.
Golden State Warriors
12/16 Waived Ricahrd Hendrix
1/5 Waived DeMarcus Nelson and signed Jermareo Davidson to a 10-day contract
1/15 Signed Jermareo Davidson to a second 10-day contract
Davidson has barely played in a game but he’s a big body for a team that desperately needs such a player. He was putting up 16 ppg and 11 rpg in the NBDL before coming to Golden State. This is also a tough end for Nelson, who was a starter at the beginning of the year but fell out of favor since. Nelson’s inability to shoot (5-14 from the free throw line and 0-3 from three) and passing issues (13 assists and 15 turnovers for the year) killed his chances.
12/24 Traded Steve Francis, a 2009 second-round pick, and cash to Memphis for a conditional 2011 second-round pick
12/30 Re-signed Dikembe Mutombo
Deke returns for his age-42 season. Can he still help the Rockets? I don’t see any reason why not. For a few minutes a night, he shouldn’t have any problems clogging the lane if the match ups are right. It’s not a huge coup for the Rockets or anything but we all enjoy seeing a likeable vet still hanging around and still being an asset (albeit a limited one). As for Mutombo, this makes this his fifth season in Houston. Do you realize that Mutombo will have been a Rocket as long as he’s been anything else in his NBA career? Here’s the breakdown of Deke’s career:
1991-1996, Denver Nuggets (5 seasons)
1996-2000, Atlanta Hawks (4.5 seasons)
2000-2002, Philadelphia 76ers (1.5 seasons)
2002-2003, New Jersey Nets (1 season)
2003-2004, New York Knicks (1 season)
2004-2009, Houston Rockets (5 seasons)
I’ll always remember Mutombo primarily as a Nugget but there is a decent shot that he could have his longest tour of duty in the NBA with the Rockets.
Los Angeles Clippers
12/28 Signed Fred Jones
1/5 Waived Paul Davis and Fred Jones
1/5 Traded a conditional second-round pick to Denver for Cheikh Samb and cash
1/7 Acquired Hassan Adams from Toronto for cash and a future second round draft pick; Waived Hassan Adams
1/9 Signed Fred Jones to a 10-day contract
You have to love the Clippers. They’ve technically been the most active team on the transaction front in 2009. Every single one of these moves, however, has been either to avoid guaranteeing contracts or facilitating another team’s salary dump. At the end of the day, the Clipps end up with Jones, a nice defensive player, and Samb, a project. Unfortunately, Jones doesn’t actually help the Clipps, who are an average defensive team and the worst offensive team in the NBA.
12/24 Traded a conditional 2011 second-round pick to Houston for Steve Francis, a 2009 second-round pick, and cash
1/6 Waived Darius Miles; acquired Shaun Livingston and cash from Miami for a 2012 conditional second-round pick
We already covered the Miles Saga very closely, so we won’t revisit here. As for Francis, he’s soon to be bought out, primarily with Houston’s money. We can only join the chorus in noting the irony that Francis’ career will likely end with the franchise that he helped wreck, when he refused to play for the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999 (despite being their top draft pick). But the irony is only skin deep. Francis wasn’t actually good enough to save the NBA in Vancouver anyway AND the Grizz really should’ve gotten more value for him (Michael Dickerson, Othella Harrington, and scraps). Yup, we have to remember that the Grizz were hurt by Francis’ holdout but they were killed in Vancouver by their own management’s poor decision making.
1/7 Acquired a 2012 conditional second-round pick from Memphis for Shaun Livingston and cash
Livingston was an interesting project for Miami but they appear to have given up. The speculation is that Pat Riley is close to a trade or that Alonzo Mourning will be brought to help for the playoff stretch run. No matter what the motivation, the side point appears that Livingston isn’t ready to help a playoff team just yet.
1/6 Waived Austin Croshere
The Bucks didn’t want to guarantee Croshere’s contract. Scott Skiles had determined that rookie Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was entitled to a bulk of the minutes. On a young team like the Bucks, this was an entirely reasonable decision to make. Croshere may still have uses as we will see below…
Oklahoma City Thunder
12/22 Signed Nenad Krstic to an offer sheet
12/30 Waived Steven Hill
12/31 Signed Nenad Krstic
1/7 Traded Johan Petro and a 2009 second-round draft pick to Denver for Chucky Atkins and a conditional 2009 first-round pick
Nabbing Krstic was a nice little move for the Thunder. With a ton of a cap room and little in the way of scoring big men, the Thunder took a shot on Krstic. Krstic had signed in Russia but he had an out to go to the NBA and he was not actually getting playing time. So, Krstic was ready to bail but was still a restricted free agent (with New Jersey having the right of first refusal). Krstic isn’t riskless, as he’s still recovering for a knee injury from 2006-07. The Thunder offered Krstic three years and $16 million, just enough to scare off the Nets, but not enough to really risk clogging up payroll. So far, Krstic has looked like the same player he was before the injury. Not a star player but a very useful one for the Thunder and we also see in the execution that the Thunder front office knows how to strike. This is something worth remembering when they try to cash in on their big cap room in the next few years.
12/23 Signed Dee Brown
1/6 Waived Dee Brown
Just a brief cameo for Brown (two games) before he was cut. He still can’t shoot but is athletic enough that he might get another shot somewhere.
San Antonio Spurs
12/22 Signed Malik Hairston
1/16 Signed Austin Croshere to a 10-day contract
Speaking of Croshere, this is the perfect spot for him. Croshere isn’t young (33) but he is athletic and isn’t that old (for a Spur). Croshere was pretty effective in Milwaukee and there is no reason to think he won’t get a shot in San Antonio, perhaps filling the old Robert Horry swing big man. Croshere doesn’t defend like Horry did but he’ll create shots and give the team another dimension (slasher) they haven’t always had from the bench.
1/7 Traded Hassan Adams to the Los Angeles Clippers for cash considerations and a future second-round draft pick
Adams didn’t impress on the Raptors (30% from the field) but he really didn’t play enough to make a definitive statement that he’s not an NBA player. Rather, Adams fits in as one of those bench players you could pay the minimum rather than overpaying for a defensive specialist. Unfortunately, the shooting was so bad in Toronto that he may not get another shot in the NBA.