Transactions 1/16-2/1

Charlotte Bobcats 

1/31    Sign Earl Boykins 

Tough summer for Boykins, who turned down a $3 million option with the Bucks in search of a better situation and a long term deal.  It didn’t quite work out that way, as Boykins had to sit out half the season and ends up with $1.1 million for high trouble.  It wasn’t a crazy decision for Boykins to opt out at age-31.  He was playing at about the same level for the past five years so he won’t be any more marketable next summer unless he really goes crazy.  Still, the best laid plans can go to crap and it did for Boykins, who ended up losing $1.9 million on his gamble. (The one thing we don’t know is whether Boykins had any decent offers in the summer that he should’ve jumped on).

Boykins will actually help the Bobcats.  They are on the outskirts of the playoffs and point guard has been very weak.  Raymond Felton has shown little growth in three years in any area except shooting (which is only slightly up).  Backup point guard is even worse.  Jeff McInnis’ game has decayed dramatically.  He’s scoring 4.2 ppg, and can no longer shoot the three (3-17 on the season).  The surprising thing is that McInnis is getting a ton of minutes (25 per game) and he still can’t score (which was once his forte).  Boykins has his weaknesses:  he’s short and not a great defender and he shoots too much but a scoring point guard is actually something the Bobcats could very much use.  So, this is my long-winded way of saying that I like the deal and maybe Charlotte can get hot enough to squeak into the playoffs. 

Golden State Warriors 

1/18    Sign C. J. Watson to a second 10-day contract

1/28    Sign C.J. Watson for the remainder of the season

1/29    Sign Chris Webber; Waive Troy Hudson 

A lot of things going on here.  The most obvious noteworthy move is the return of Webber to Golden State, which is a truly bizarre occurrence.  Webber and Don Nelson seemed to truly hate each other back in Webber’s rookie season (1993-94).  In the most unlikely reunions, this ranks pretty high.  As for how it’ll actually work for the 2007-08 Warriors, I’m not so optimistic.  Webber’s pretty slow and plodding these days and the Warriors are the antithesis of slow (they are third in the NBA in pace factor).  I just don’t see Webber’s stationary style blending in for more than a 10-20 mpg.  My sense is that Webber made much more sense in Boston, Dallas, or San Antonio.  Still, you can’t fault the Warriors for taking a shot to see if Webber can run with them for a few months. 

As for the point guard situation, Watson has cooled off a bit but he still looks able.  His re-signing pretty much ends the Gary Payton talk, which is also a good thing.  It’ll also be interesting to see if Hudson ever gets another shot.  He’s never been healthy since suffering severe ankle sprains a few years back in Minnesota.  If a shooter like Hudson can’t work out in Nellie ball, it’s hard to think of a context where he can still play in the NBA. 

Los Angeles Clippers 

1/18    Sign Guillermo Diaz to a second 10-day contract 

There is nothing in Diaz’s game stats to indicate that Diaz deserved a second contract but he got two to see what he could do.  In the end, he never received more than 5 minutes in a game and didn’t stand out.  Diaz second contract has expired and the Clipps are already looking to replace him. 

Los Angeles Lakers 

1/21    Sign D.J. Mbenga to a second 10-day contract

2/1      Acquire Pau Gasol and a 2010 second-round draft pick from Memphis in exchange for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first round picks in 2008 and 2010; Lakers sign D.J. Mbenga to second 10-day contract 

My how things have changed…Out of nowhere a solid Laker team now looks really dangerous.  Kwame Brown had become synonymous with Laker mismanagement because he was traded for the vastly superior Caron Butler.  Now, Brown has a helped the franchise by being the expiring salary the drove the Gasol dump.  In addition, Mitch Kupchak is looking pretty smart for not trading for Jermaine O’Neal this summer, as Gasol is younger and healthier at this point.  

This leaves the Lakers with a starting lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Gasol, and Andrew Bynum (when he returns).  Moreover, the move only makes the bench that much deeper.  In short, this team is a title contender and we now have as a realistic shot of a Lakers-Celtics Finals since 1988 (I know the Celts and Lakers were close to playing each other in 2001-02 but that really wasn’t a good Celtic team).  You would think that Kobe is pretty content now.  

Memphis Grizzlies 

1/20    Sign Bobby Jones to a second 10-day contract

1/28    Waive Damon Stoudamire

2/1      Acquire Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first round picks in 2008 and 2010 from the L.A Lakers for Pau Gasol and a 2010 second-round pick 

If you are a Grizz fan, you can see the white flag flying.  Buying out Stoudamire made some sense since they had several younger point guards who were at least as good.  Trading Stoudamire was also too tough since they gave him a very long contract and the buyout at least saved a few bucks on a sunk cost. 

As for Gasol, it’s very hard to decide what to do with a star on a crappy team.  Gasol has his limitations (he’s not a great defender) but he’s a star and there is really no reason to trade him unless there are locker room issues or the team was looking to save money.  It seems pretty clear that the answer is the latter.  Gasol is due about $50 million over the upcoming three seasons while Brown will be gone at the end of this year and Aaron McKie was only traded as a salary slot.  So, all the Grizz get for their 27-year old star is Crittenton, Gasol’s brother in Europe, and a couple of first-rounders. 

Even if the Grizzlies were sucking, it would’ve made sense to keep Gasol to see if he could help the team when he was coupled with yet another high lottery pick.  Of course, the Grizz situation is not that simple.  The team was rumored to be losing money for awhile and there have been threats to pare payroll for several years.  Now you have a bad team, a low pay roll, and a bunch of potentially good young guards (Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay).  Unless they get really lucky in the lottery, the Grizz look to be returning to stuck in bowels of the NBA through the end of the decade.  Rebuilding could’ve been a little easier if money was not an issue but it seems to be a very major issue in Memphis. 

San Antonio Spurs 

1/20    Re-sign Jeremy Richardson 

Richardson lasted a few weeks in San Antonio and even started a game but his time is sure to be over soon.  The rumor is that Damon Stoudamire will be coming to town and Richardson is the prime candidate to be let go.

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