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ESPN Insider - Chad Ford thinks highly of Moochie - What did we not see?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Do WHAT?, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. Do WHAT?

    Do WHAT? Member

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    More trades coming for Suns and Knicks?
    By Chad Ford
    NBA Insider
    Send an Email to Chad Ford Tuesday, January 6
    Updated: January 6
    9:33 AM ET


    Stunned.

    That's the only way to describe my reaction when sources told Insider on Monday morning that the Suns had sent Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway and Cezary Trybanski to the Knicks for Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, Howard Eisley, Maciej Lampe, the draft rights to Milos Vujanic, two first-rounders, including an unprotected Knicks' first this year, and cash.

    The trade meant many things that were essentially inconceivable two weeks ago.


    Within a space of two weeks, Isiah Thomas found a way to trade two players who were thought to be virtually untradeable -- Clarence Weatherspoon and Howard Eisley -- and a number of spare parts -- Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, Maciej Lampe -- and somehow parleyed them into the all-star point guard who Knicks fans had been clamoring for the last few years and one of the better backup point guards in the league in Moochie Norris.

    Within a span of roughly 100 games, the Suns have gone from the popular 2002 preseason pick to be the worst team in the West, ascended to the title of best young up-and-coming team in the league when they pushed the World Champion Spurs to the brink in the first round of the playoffs and then descended back to where we all thought that we would be in October of 2002 -- at the bottom of the well in the West.

    In a league where things like the luxury tax, salary cap and long-term financial obligations really matter, the Knicks agreed to send out roughly $16.8 million in guaranteed contracts while agreeing to take on roughly $123 million in salaries from two players. When Suns GM Bryan Colangelo calls those numbers "staggering" he's not kidding. I did a quick search through trades over the past five years and could not find a trade even close to that $100 plus million disparity.
    That also means that the Suns are on the verge of one of the biggest cap-clearing jobs in NBA history. Before Monday's trade, their payroll stood at around $66 million this year and was projected to fall at around $58 million in 2004. Currently their cap number is number is $61 million (once they dump Charlie Ward), and in the summer of 2004 their cap number could be as low as $36 million. Add in the cash that the Knicks threw in and the Suns netted roughly $10 million extra from the trade this season, and slashed another $22 million from payroll next year.


    Knicks GM Isiah Thomas wants to make more moves, but he's running out of trade bait.

    Say what you will about Isiah Thomas, but he did more in two weeks than Scott Layden was able to get done in two-plus years. The difference? Sources claim that Layden had numerous offers on the table, but was paralyzed with fear about ever pulling the trigger. He felt his leash was short and he couldn't afford to make another big mistake via trade. He also was under pressure from owner James Dolan to start cutting costs, which would've made a deal like the one Thomas pulled off impossible.
    Thomas feels no such pressure. James Dolan empowered him to go out and remake the team in his image, at whatever the cost. Thomas hasn't hesitated. Whatever you think about the huge amount of salaries the Knicks swallowed ($92.8 million in guaranteed salaries in '04-05; $83.98 million in guaranteed salaries in '05-06) or the fact that Thomas mortgaged the future to make this trade, there's no question that Thomas has made this team much more talented -- on paper anyway.


    With that said, Isiah better be right. Having an owner with unlimited funds is both a blessing and a curse. Only two other owners in the league, Mark Cuban and Paul Allen, probably had the wherewithal to pull the trigger on a trade like this. The ability to transcend the salary cap obviously creates jealousy among other GMs. But Thomas is quickly painting himself into a corner. He was able to make the trade he did because he had two players (McDyess and Ward) with expiring contracts.
    Now that the trade is complete, the Knicks' flexibility has virtually vanished. Word is that Thomas wants to give Kurt Thomas an extension, meaning that Michael Doleac, Frank Williams, Michael Sweetney, Othella Harrington and Cezary Trybanski are the only guys left who could be trade bait to a team looking to reduce its payroll. Combined they're due $8.8 million this year and $7.8 million next season. If Thomas tries to package them in a deal to get another big-time player (and the word is that's exactly what he's trying to do) virtually every player on his team will be locked into long-term deals. If this team fails to jel or compete for an championship, Thomas' wiggle room is gone and he'll be stuck, much like Layden was the past few seasons, with very few options.


    The Suns better hope that Kobe loves the desert. As I wrote on Monday, the Suns, with a little more maneuvering, should be able to make a strong push for Bryant next summer when he hits free agency. Before the move, Kobe could talk about leaving the Lakers all he wanted, but where were the viable alternatives?
    The Clippers? They have a nice core with Elton Brand and Corey Maggette, but if Kobe really wanted to flee the limelight, changing locker rooms in the Staples Center probably doesn't get it done. The Jazz? They have the cash, but somehow I don't think they'd have the stomach to bring in Kobe, even if he is acquitted of all charges. The Nuggets? Again, Kiki would love to have him, but it's a bit of PR nightmare considering Kobe's legal problems all stem from Colorado. The Spurs? They're not close to having enough cap room to pursue him. Kobe would have to take a $10 million a year pay cut to play for any team over the cap.

    That leaves the Suns as, in my mind at least, the best alternative to the Lakers if Kobe decides to bolt. If he doesn't come to Phoenix, the other free-agent options out there aren't nearly as attractive. The Suns made this move with the thinking that they now had the flexibility to make a move or two to put them in contention for an NBA title. If they can't land a player of Kobe's caliber, however, I'm not sure that a core of Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion and a number of nice role players will be enough to get them there anytime soon.


    The Suns are quickly catching up to the Mavericks and Pistons as the NBA's premiere embassy for international players. With Zarko Carbaraka, Leandrinho Barbosa and Maciej Lampe in the fold, Milos Vujanic on the way and Italian coach Mike D'Antoni at the helm, expect the Suns to start resembling the Mavs and Kings offensively.
    By the way, having D'Antoni as the coach of the Suns certainly doesn't hurt the team's chances of landing Kobe. Rumor has it that Kobe wears the No. 8 in honor of D'Antoni, who was a superstar in Italy when Kobe lived there as a kid. Said D'Antoni several weeks ago. "I don't know," D'Antoni told the Sacramento Bee. "It sounds good. It's a great story. Kobe grew up there. We were killing people (on the basketball floor), killing his dad. We had a lot of fun. I've known Kobe forever. ... Maybe if he ever goes with a retro jersey from Italy, I can get some royalties."
     
  2. A-Train

    A-Train Contributing Member

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    This is Chad Ford we're talking about here...
     
  3. HAYJON02

    HAYJON02 Contributing Member

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    i dont think this guy even follows the nba.
     
  4. ymc

    ymc Member

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    Interesting to see there is a connection between Kobe and Suns' coach. If Kobe joins Suns, they will be one of the most athletic team in NBA! :eek:
     
  5. Sane

    Sane Member

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    Moochie just wasn't a good fit for our system. Maybe another system is what suits him. I think he can be ok in an up-tempo offense, and that's not what we're trying to do here.
     
  6. emjohn

    emjohn Contributing Member

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    Chad Ford is marginal at best, at worst he reminds me of Jayson Blair: part plagarist, part fiction writer.

    #1 - Since when has Kobe said, "I want to flee the limelight?" That egomaniac lives for the cameras as much as JLo. I don't see him saying he'd like to go somewhere and be under the radar of the media. Please. Besides, the only team name Kobe has dropped this season has been the Clippers. Not reuniting with Jerry West or joining TD. Clippers. Chad must have forgotten that while cutting and pasting other people's news articles into his column.

    #2 - Last I checked, the Spurs have $32 Million committed in salaries next year, and that's assuming Horry's $5 option is picked up. Why is it again that tthey don't have the cap room to chase Kobe? Seeing as they recruited Kidd despite Parker, I doubt they'd sign Manu before talking to Bryant.

    #3 - Ford, Walton, and Vescey should be deported.

    Evan
     
  7. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    Good fit or bad fit.... it doesn't matter!! Anyone who's seem Moochie play this year or last would never even put his name in the same sentance as the words, "one of the better backup point guards in the league."

    (Unless they were saying, "One of the better backup point guards in the league would torch Moochie Norris on talent, BBall IQ, and court saavy.")
     
  8. MFW2310

    MFW2310 Contributing Member

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    With all due lack of respect, Chad Ford is a moron. Name one thing that he predicted that came true.
     
  9. dookiester

    dookiester Member

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    lol
     
  10. 3-a-charm

    3-a-charm Member

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    If Moochie Norris is "one of the better back-up point guards in the league" then the NBA is in serious trouble, like ready to go out of business. This guy obviously has not seen him play. This just shows you how the media operates on myth, hype, and fantasy. The media has become like a giant National Inquirer.
     
  11. benchmoochie

    benchmoochie Contributing Member

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    he hasn't watched Moochie play an 82 game season.
     
  12. MFW2310

    MFW2310 Contributing Member

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    Hey, remember, this is the guy that picked Moochie to be the what was it again? Most improved player or 6th man of the year.
     
  13. montelwilliams

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    He made his judgement after one game.
     
  14. Asian Sensation

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    B]He made his judgement after one game.[/B]


    Probably the game against Indiana back 3 years ago or so in OT....... where mooch was on fire.
     
  15. wstar

    wstar Member

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    not to mention in moochie's 'breakout' 9 pt, 9 assist game, jason kidd had a season high 35 pts and the knicks lost by double figures.
     

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