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Houston Chronicle: Yao Ming is untouchable

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by vtkp99, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/rox/2540606

    April 30, 2004, 12:48AM
    All but Yao expendable to deal
    By RICHARD JUSTICE
    First thing I'd do is telephone the Los Angeles Clippers and ask about Elton Brand. If the asking price is Steve Francis, I'd pay it.

    No matter what the answer is, that discussion would set a tone for an offseason in which the Rockets should not be timid.

    No more should they cling to the false notion that they've assembled a core group capable of winning a championship.

    What they've done is collect a lot of talent that does not fit together cohesively. The Rockets sometimes have focused too much on getting guys who can play instead of guys who can play together.

    This is the summer they can continue correcting that.

    That they won 45 games and forced the Lakers to break a sweat in the first round of the playoffs is a tribute more to their effort and desire than their blueprint.

    Coach Jeff Van Gundy, who once took a ragged collection of New York Knicks to the NBA Finals, did a tremendous job of instilling his belief in defense and possession basketball into a group that was more inclined to the white-water fast breaks of past years.

    Yet the Rockets should not kid themselves. This was not a breakthrough season, and this is not a club that's a year away from the Finals.

    This is a team that needs major pieces, beginning with a power forward capable of upgrading the interior defense and rebounding.

    When the Clippers tell Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson that Brand isn't available, Dawson will begin exploring Plan B.

    Somewhere, there's a guy who'll make the Rockets better. He might not make them more talented, but he'll make them better.

    If I'm Dawson, I tell every general manager that Yao Ming is untouchable, but that every other player can be had.

    Maybe the guy I acquire won't be as good as Brand, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds, but he'd move the Rockets in the right direction.

    Then I'd assemble my scouts and ask them to evaluate every available point guard. Instead of high-profile, big-money guys, I'd ask them to consider bargain free agents, bench warmers and players from overseas and the National Basketball Development League.

    Perhaps more than any other position, point guards can be found in unlikely places. Some of the best have bounced around or been cut before finding a place they fit.

    I'd shop for a traditional point guard, someone capable of running the offense, leading the break and getting the ball in the right hands.

    If Francis is back next season, he'd be getting significant minutes at the other guard spot, so the new guy would have to be enough of an outside shooter to draw defensive attention from Yao.

    I'd also want a guy who is at his best when things get frantic, someone not prone to silly passes and forced shots. And the new guy has to consider the team's bottom line more important than his personal line.

    After that, I'd spend the rest of the summer trying to acquire another big body and maybe another guard.

    And that's how I'd begin to improve the Rockets.

    If only it were this simple.

    General managers love it when sportswriters spend three minutes overhauling teams that have taken years to build.

    We sign on, we sign off. If it doesn't work out, we move on to something else while the guy who runs the team works 16-hour days trying to make things fit.

    Unlike sportswriters, general managers don't get to say: "Oops, sorry, blew that one. Let's have lunch."

    Their ink is permanent. If you thought the signings of Mo Taylor and Kelvin Cato were bad ideas when those contracts were done, raise your hand. They looked good then. Now, they're salary-cap roadblocks to progress.

    With no first-round draft choice and little available cap space, Dawson won't have an easy summer. Before you cry him a river, though, remember he won the lottery two years ago, giving him the player every other general manager would love to have.

    At 23, Yao already is one of the five best players in the league. He's the guy who guarantees the Rockets will be in contention.

    To get better, Dawson might be forced to trade his second-best player -- Francis.

    He might be the only guy good enough to bring a first-rate power forward. If that's the price, the Rockets have to pay it.

    Remember, the Rockets didn't have much flexibility after last season, either, but ended up with Jim Jackson and Clarence Weatherspoon. They're the kind of players and people Van Gundy wants on his team.

    They're older and fundamentally sound. There are more like them out there someplace. The trick is identifying, then acquiring them.

    Welcome to a long offseason.
     
  2. SA Rocket

    SA Rocket Contributing Member

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    Francis for Brand would be the perfect offseason. Please let it be so. That would be a great early Christmas present. Heck, I'd never ask for another Christmas present ever again if I could have that!:D
     
  3. nyquil82

    nyquil82 Contributing Member

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    he's untouchable, but if he touches someone, better call it a foul.
     
  4. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

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    If we can get Brent Barry, that would be great too !!!!!
     
  5. qrui

    qrui Member

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    so true. bball is a team sport and the emphasis should ALWAYS on the TEAM rather than individual.
     
  6. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

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    I guess the FoF's are sleeping in this morning. :D
     
  7. Mick

    Mick Contributing Member

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    I agree that Yao shows promise, but somebody pass me what Justice is smoking. Clearly, he is a YOF. :D

    Mick
     
  8. ptw1

    ptw1 Member

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    This clearly shows he's not qualified to write about basketball. Let's see - Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, KG, Tracy, J O'Neal are all better than Yao. That's six right there. You can make the argument for CWebb, Dirk, Kidd, Peja, AI, Pierce, and even Lebron. Yao is still only a 17 pt 9 reb player. That's good but not top five in the league. Potential means nothing till it's actually realized.
     
  9. LooneyToon

    LooneyToon Contributing Member

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    Agreed. I wouldn't say top 5. Let me see..

    1-Kobe
    2-KG
    3-Tim Duncan
    4-Shaq
    5-Jason Kidd
    6-Dirk Nowitzki
    7- Tracy McGrady
    8-Vince Carter
    9-Iverson
    10-Francis
    11-Elton Brand
    12-Yao Ming....

    Yeah, 12th best player in the league fits him right.

    (my rankings are based on recent play over the last year)

    Let's trade Yao. What can we get for him? I like that idea better.
     
  10. amed

    amed Contributing Member

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  11. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    We have been talking about Elton Brand for quite some time on these boards. I think it would be a good fit.

    You have to wonder what the Clippers will do this summer. Last summer they paid out those HUGE salaries for the first time and in return what did the team do? They still lost all of those games! Talk about not getting good return on your investment! The Clippers will have a high lottery pick and have a blue chipper waiting in the wings at PF in Wilcox. The Clippers have a BIG hole to fill at PG. Makes you wonder if Brand is expendible for the right player. Perhaps Francis?

    I agree with the article above, everyone is availabe except Yao. This team needs to make some roster moves. Like it said, not just to acquire "talent" per se but to acquire the right pieces for the TEAM.

    Tracy McGrady, Elton Brand, Ray Allen....all guys I would seriously look at this summer.

    Brent Barry with the MLE? absolutely!
    Perhaps on a lesser scale a Charlie Ward or Bob Sura.

    Rasheed Wallace for our 6.9M T.E. & 2005 1st round pick? I would offer that!

    Better pieces, more talent where it counts, and more depth. Let's go CD!
     
  12. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    I sent my friend, RM95, an email immediately after reading this article this morning saying that I have never read an editorial I more strongly agreed with. If I were writing an editorial this morning...if that were my job...this is the exact article I would write.
     
    #12 MadMax, Apr 30, 2004
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2004
  13. pasox2

    pasox2 Contributing Member
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    Thank you, Richard Justice.

    It's good we got someone from the Washington Post, with major sports network ties, for a new writer. I'd rather read his take than that of local-only hacks like Feigan, Lopez, Robertson, Herskowitz, Blinebury.

    There's better perspective on the Rockets from Sporting News, ESPN, Realgm, and other national outlets. Local stuff is so compromised.
     
  14. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    not FOFs . . . SOFs

    yet another Houston Media BS Article . . . .
    I mean these folx still think Biggio and Bagwell are Untouchable


    I wonder why . . . .

    Rocket River
     
  15. amed

    amed Contributing Member

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    LOL!!!!!
     
  16. codell

    codell Contributing Member

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    Why is Feigen a hack??

    Because he doesn't agree with your trade happy mentatlity??

    Why??

    Please explain.
     
  17. MFW2310

    MFW2310 Contributing Member

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    Where's Jermaine?
     
  18. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Charlie Ward? The same stud who is nailed to the pine in SA?
     
  19. droxford

    droxford Member

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    I would have to say that Yao and JJ are untouchable because they're very cost-effective. They provide a LOT of strong talent for not a lot of money.

    Yao is the second-best center in the NBA, will probably continue to improve, and will only be paid $4.1 million next year. That's less than Clarence Weatherspoon.

    JJ has shown some excellent play, and will only be paid $2.25 milllion next year. That's less than HALF of Weatherspoon.

    Together, their salary next year will be $6.4 million. That's less than Kelvin Cato's salary.

    Trading others, while keeping these two would allow us to get high-dollar names together with these cost-effective, talented players.

    -- droxford
     
  20. Master Baiter

    Master Baiter Contributing Member

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    Vince Carter is not top ten material anymore. He is still a decent player but I wouldnt rate him that high anymore. The only reason that he averaged 22 points this year is because there is no one else on the Raptors.
     

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