Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trade Deadline & the Return of J. Kidd to the Wild West

New Orleans 104 | Dallas 93

Wednesday night in the Hive hosted the arrival of Dallas' Golden Calf: Jason Kidd. Supposedly, Cuban has been after Kidd since the Mavs went rigor mortis (the first time) and lost to the Heat in the 05-06 finals. Well Mr. Cuban, your prize has arrived. You traded your only defensive player worth anything in the post and an up-and-coming star at the point for it, but I'm sure it was worth it. Actually, that last statement highlights the lows and highs of this deal. Devin Harris, as good as he was (or could be), was not among the elite in the West, and while he does an excellent job on the fast-play-makers ( CP3 and Tony Parker), he has trouble running an offense that develops slowly and revolves mostly around isolations. He's a great player, but it's hard to play like a true point guard in that system. Also, the move to the East should help his development since he'll be among the upper tier of point guards with Billups and... well, Billups for sure. Calderon can come, too. So... Jason Kidd adds excellent passing ability (to a team totally devoid of it) and an intangible known as experience. Acquiring Kidd for Harris was good. Losing Diop in the process will hurt them because Dampier is washed up and the lack of imposing big men will force Dirk to play harder and more like the seven-footer he is... of course, Dirk hates this idea (not that he could play harder if he wanted to). So, Dallas becomes a small team. They got a little faster in the process, but ultimately, I don't think this is the solution to the present (and certainly not to the future).

So, the game. CP3 played out of his mind (I'll repeat his stats because they bear repeating: 31 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, and 9 steals). He set the franchise record for steals in a half (7) and was only 2 shy of the NBA record of 11. Every time he touched the ball in the fourth quarter a MVP chant would break out. They started out low, but eventually the whole stadium was belting it out at the top of their lungs (unintentional comedy moment: the moment these chants reached their loudest was after a offensive rebound and put-back by Paul... but Uncle Bowen had been fouled on the first shot... so, as the roof is about to fly off due the chanting, we have Ryan Bowen trying to take free-throws... I would have loved for Sir Charles to walk in at that moment [thinking the chants were for Bowen] just to hear his reaction).

The Mavs actually played pretty sloppy for most of the night. You could tell Kidd wasn't quite in sync with them yet: he passed out of bounds a lot and managed to facilitate most of CP3's steals. Nevertheless, he put up an 8,5,6 night with 3 steals so Mavs fans should take solace in knowing he hustled and that those first three numbers are only going to increase. In fact, by trading Diop, Cuban may have accidentally ensured that Kidd continues his triple-double reign.

Additionally, Peja and D. West contributed 18 a piece, Bobby Jackson knocked down 17 from the bench.Actually, he shot from the court, but... I'm not even going to finish that joke. All in all, we had a solid night against a slightly off-kilter team, who happens to be a major contender from our division. Sweetness.


Welcome to the show, Jeff Bower. About midday, the Hornets released a statement verifying the rumors that had been flying all morning about a three-way trade with Houston and Memphis. The trade looks something like this:

HOU to NO: Mike Jackson (2 years, $13 million), Bonzi Wells (expiring, $2.3 million)

HOU to MEM: Draft rights to Malik Badiane, cash considerations

NO to HOU: Bobby Jackson (1 year, $6.1 million)

NO to MEM: Marcus Vinicius (expiring, $700,000)

MEM to HOU: Draft rights to Sergei Lishchuk

So, what does this mean for the Hornets? Well, for starters, it means adding to veteran scorers who should provide a pretty good boost from the bench (alongside Pargo, Ely, and Armstrong). Jackson has fallen off the map lately (and that contract seems unnecessarily large), but hopefully Byron can reign him in. Speaking of reigning in players, Bonzi Wells is certainly the Wild Card in this equation. Byron and Paul are stern enough in their resolve to win; if they can get Bonzi to learn and accept his role, we should be golden. Wells will also clear a little more cap space for us this summer when we re-sign Paul. It isn't much (because he'll no doubt pull a max deal), but every little bit helps. Honestly, we won't have any clue until we see them play in our system. Oddly enough, the first time we'll have the chance to see that will be Friday's hosting of... the Rockets. Strange.

Well, here's to hoping that Bower knows what he's doing... (I think he does, in case anyone cares).

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