Transactions 12/9-12/10 (Part 2)

New York Knicks

12/10    Waived Chauncey Billups

12/10    In a sign-and-trade three-team, Dallas sent Tyson Chandler, the rights to Giorgos Printezis, and Ahmad Nivins to New York for Andry Rautins and a conditional 2012 second-round pick from Washington; Washington received Ronny Turiaf, a 2013 second-round pick and cash from New York, and a 2012 second-round pick from Dallas

12/11    Re-signed Jared Jeffries and signed Mike Bibby

Chandler is exactly the kind of athletic, quality, defensive big man that the Knicks have been desperate for since they had Marcus Camby (no…Ronny Turiaf doesn’t count).  Assuming he stays healthy, Chandler fits into the team perfectly.  He can run and he doesn’t need shots to be effective. Chandler, however, is far from risk free.  Before last year, he missed almost half of the previous two seasons and was at diminished capacity when he did play (averaging a PER of 13.0 those years).  The question is whether Chandler’s career high PER in 2011-11 was flukish and whether he can stay healthy.

In addition, the Knicks had to cut their point guard in Billups to fit Billups under the cap.  So, if you throw in the Chandler’s injury history and the loss of Billups, this is still a deal the Knicks had to do but it tempers my enthusiasm a little.   One thing to watch on the injury front is that Mike D’Antoni tended ride his best players really hard last year:

Raymond Felton, 38.4 mpg

Amare Stoudemire, 36.8 mpg

Carmelo Anthony, 36.2 mpg

Danilo Gallinari, 34.8 mpg

Wilson Chandler, 34.5 mpg

Chandler had only 28 mpg last year and hasn’t broken 35 mpg since 2007-08, which was followed by two injury plagued seasons.  D’Antoni needs to lay off both Chandler and Amare a little bit for their long term health.  Of course, D’Antoni’s contract status (he is in the final year of his deal) only encourages him to be a little reckless on this front and the situation should be watched by management to ensure the future isn’t sacrificed for modest gains in the present.

I’m less enthused about Jeffries or Bibby.  Jeffries still can’t shoot or board and Bibby looked close to done for Miami and is now just a three-point specialist.  They can fit in subsidiary roles but let’s not pretend that either will have a big impact.

Orlando Magic

12/9    Signed Larry Hughes, waived Gilbert Arenas

The Arenas gambit wasn’t likely to work and it didn’t.  It is staggering, though, how bad Arenas was for Orlando (.344% from the field and an 8.6 PER).  Cutting losses made obvious sense.  His spot is taken by another gamble in Hughes, who missed all of last year when he couldn’t find a contract to his liking as a free agent.  Hughes is also not the best fit with Dwight Howard, since Hughes rarely has shot well (with the notable exception of 2002-03) and he shot an Arenas-like .355% his last season in the NBA.  Even if Hughes returns to his usual shooting levels (40%ish) he still is not the type of player that fits in well as a spot up shooter.  At the very least, he is a capable defender and is big enough to guard shooting guards and the occasional small forward.

Phoenix Suns

12/9    Waived Vince Carter, re-signed Grant Hill, and signed Sebastian Telfair and Shannon Brown

With Aaron Brooks stuck in China, the Suns turn to Telfair, who is still only 26 to run the backup point.  Telfair hasn’t shown much so far but the hope is that Steve Nash will rub off by osmosis or something.  Brown should be a little more useful because he is a solid bench guy and can jump out of the gym.  He should have fun running with Nash but is still of limited utility (doesn’t get to the line much and doesn’t shoot well) but man is he athletic.  At $800,000 for one-year, it’s a good deal for moderate player.

Portland Trailblazers

12/11    Signed Kurt Thomas

Nice to see that Thomas was able to snag another contract.  Truly, Thomas is a latter day Rick Mahorn, hanging around for a long time as muscle off the bench.  Thomas, though, is much more skilled than Mahorn was at similar age.  At 38, Thomas played 22 mpg with a 10.0 PER while Mahorn played only 10 mpg and had an 8.8 PER.  In any event, Thomas will still get contracts as long as he can run up and down the court.

Incidentally, if you asked anyone in 1997, Thomas was probably the least likely member of the class of 1995 to still be playing in 2012, after all the injuries he had his first few years.  Now, the only players left from that draft class are Joe Smith, Kevin Garnett and Thomas (Antonio McDyess just retired and it is not clear if Jerry Stackhouse or Theo Ratliff will play this year).  Just for kicks, here is the list of currently active players left from the 1990s by draft class.  The list is limited to players that were active last year and have not yet officially retired (in classes where no one is active, we’ll note the last player to retire in parentheses, along with his last season):

1990: None.  (Gary Payton, 2006-07)

-1991: None.  (Dikembe Mutombo, 2008-09)

-1992: None. (Shaquille O’Neal, 2010-11)

-1993: None. (Lindsey Hunter, 2009-10)

-1994: Three (Jason Kidd, Juwan Howard, and Grant Hill)

-1995: Five (Joe Smith, Kevin Garnett, Kurt Thomas, Jerry Stackhouse, and Theo Ratliff)

-1996:  Seven (Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Erick Dampier, Marcus Camby, and Jermaine O’Neal)

-1997:  Six (Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups, Tracy McGrady, Antonio Daniels, Stephen Jackson, and Tony Battie)

-1998:  Eleven (Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Mike Bibby, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, Al Harrington, Jason Williams, Nazr Mohammed, Larry Hughes, and Brian Skinner)

-1999:  Fourteen (Andre Miller, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, James Posey, Richard Hamilton, Lamar Odom, Baron Davis, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Ron Artest, Jeff Foster, Andrei Kirilenko, Manu Ginobili, and Francisco Elson)

Sacramento Kings

12/9    Re-signed Marcus Thornton and signed Chuck Hayes

I like Thornton but question what the hell the Kings will do with Evans, Jimmer Fredette and him.  How many chuckers does one team need?  At four years and $31 million, the deal isn’t awful but I would’ve allocated my assets elsewhere given the roster composition.  As for Hayes, he could help as a hustler but he is apparently have some cardiac issues on his physical. Hopefully, that can get cleared up.

San Antonio Spurs

12/9    Signed T.J. Ford and Kawhi Leonard

Ford is a questionable fit on the Spurs because he isn’t a great spot up shooter, can’t hit the three at all (29% for his career), and can be muscled defensively.  This doesn’t mean the Spurs won’t find good use for him.  In 2002-03, the Spurs got some good playoff minutes from the similarly skilled Speedy Claxton and used his speed to change up pace.  I expect the Gregg Popovich will find a way to make Ford useful for the Spurs.

Toronto Raptors

12/9    Signed Jamaal Magloire

12/10  Signed Rasual Butler

12/11  Signed Aaron Gray

That is not an inspiring bunch of signings for the Raptors.  Magloire can still board and defend but has turned into a hacking machine (averaging over 6 fouls per 36 minutes the last four seasons).  Gray doesn’t look like Magloire but duplicates his game exactly (lots of fouls and boards, little offense).   Despite the fact that a Jaaron Magray platoon at center leaves a lot to be desired, it makes some sense to pair them at center with Andrea Bargnani’s offense-only approach at power forward on a team that was worst in the NBA on defense last year.

Utah Jazz

12/10    Signed Jamaal Tinsley and Keith McLeod

Someone has to backup Devin Harris and Earl Watson as the third point in Utah and the candidates have very outdated resumes.  After a solid career in Indiana, Tinsley ended up in a contract/buy out dispute and missed all of 2008-09 and re-emerged with Memphis in 2009-10 but greatly diminished (7.8 PER).  Previously, Tinsley was a great passer and a weak scorer but on Memphis his assist rate plummeted and had problems guarding anyone and did not play in the NBA last year.  McLeod is not stiff competition.  He was Williams’ back up on Utah in 2005-06 as a hustler/defender without much defense but has been out of the NBA since 2006-07.  Tinsley might stick of these two but they are not fighting over much available playing time.

Washington Wizards

12/10  In a sign-and-trade three-team, Dallas sent Tyson Chandler, the rights to Giorgos Printezis, and Ahmad Nivins to New York for Andry Rautins and a conditional 2012 second-round pick from Washington; Washington received Ronny Turiaf, a 2013 second-round pick and cash from New York, and a 2012 second-round pick from Dallas

In the big trade, the Wiz come away with Turiaf’s six fouls a game, some minor picks, and cash.  Not a bad haul for sending a condition second-rounder and cap space to let a deal get done.

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