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Believe it!


I had a feeling that the Golden State Warriors were becoming a super special sports story when I watched Game 5 from my local watering hole in DC on Tuesday night and wound up in the middle of a Warriors love fest. People were cheering for them like we were in the middle of Oakland at a Raiders bar or something. People love the underdog but I've never seen that kind of reaction to an NBA team in a neutral city.

After what I witnessed last night, sitting in Oracle Arena and watching the No. 8 Warriors blast Dirk Nowitzki and the No. 1 Mavericks right out the playoffs, I have no doubt that we are witnessing one of the best tales in modern sports history. It's unreal. I've covered huge sporting events for several years now: sat in a packed Allen Fieldhouse at the University of Kansas (forget Cameron Indoor, Allen is the best college atmosphere), covered the Rose Bowl, been in domes with ear-splitting noise reigning down on me during NFL playoff games, sat in old Mile High and felt like I was going to shake right out of the press box under those old risers and sat from a fourth row seat in the Palace of Auburn Hills as the Pistons ended their Finals win over the Lakers a few years ago in front of the drunkest set of fans I've ever seen.

Nothing I've witnessed compared to the scene at the Oracle last night.

It started a full hour before tip-off. I would say that the building was already 3/4s full and they were already chanting, waving "We Believe" signs and giving it to Nowitzki and the Mavs while they warmed up. By the time tip-off arrived, I couldn't hear the person sitting next to me, Lee Jenkins from the NY Times. We turned, looked at one another and just shook our heads as if to say: "Are we really seeing this:?"

Once the game started, I had no doubt that Golden State would win. It just felt like the crowd wasn't going to let it happen. I swear, and this sounds crazy, it felt like those fans willed the ball into the basket a few times. A ripple of fear did shoot through the building when Baron Davis came up grabbing his right hammy in the first quarter but once his replacement, fan favorite Monta Ellis, checked in and knocked down a couple of shots, the place was back to being bonkers. Other than Jerry Stackhouse, who came to play like the true vet he is, the Mavs never looked comfortable.

Nowitzki looked like he was four times slower than everyone around him. He rarely tried to post up and when he did Stephen Jackson or Al Harrington or even Matt Barnes got underneath him and forced him off his sweet spots. After that, Dirk just floated around the perimeter and waited to throw up bad three-point attempts.

The coolest moment of the game for me came in the second half when Davis was fouled pretty hard by Austin Croshere on a drive to the basket. Davis got up and stepped to Croshere and players from both teams crowded around. At that very moment, the entire crowd looked to Jackson, who was on the court but behind the action, and let out a collective: "Nooooooooo." Obviously they are aware of what a hot head Jackson can be and didn't want him getting tossed and maybe getting suspended for the start of the next series for doing something stupid. When Jackson turned and walked to the other side of the court, the place went crazy. Smart hoop fans.

I spoke with Gilbert Arenas by phone early yesterday and he predicted last night's scene. Gilbert, who began his career with the Warriors and like Ellis, was something of a cult figure with the fans, said the atmosphere would be crazy.

"If they make some shots early, that crowd will take over and they won't let them lose. Golden State's crowd is not going to let them go back to Dallas. You don't realize, a crowd like that can win games and not just in the fourth quarter. The WHOLE game. I always said that if they got the right players in there, that place would be one of the toughest to play in the league. They were like that when I was there and we were losing."

Gilbert isn't buying the notion that the Warriors are typical No. 8 seed however: "That ain't no eight seed. If Baron Davis had played 82 games and Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington been there the whole year, they would've won 45 to 50 games. They have some players on that team. People sleep on Baron but when he's healthy, he's one of the best players in the league."

On a Wiz note, I asked Gilbert about last year's first round pick, Oleksiy Pecherov. The 7-foot-0 Pecherov will be signing a contract soon and coming over to play summer league. Gilbert saw him up close last summer as the summer league team prepared to leave for Vegas and is a fan. "He wants to work and you can never go wrong with a guy who wants to work. He can shoot but he also likes to rebound. He's active, hands all over the place. I think he'll help us. We need that athletic, rebounding type coming off that bench."

As for knee injury, Gil said he's coming along fine and can't wait for next season: "Watching all of this and seeing what happened to us is just going to make it that much more special next year."


By Ivan Carter  |  May 4, 2007; 10:52 AM ET
 
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Next: Second Round Musings, First Round Reflections

Comments

Ivan,

I am one of those "new' Warrior fans. Love the way they get after it at both ends. You're a lucky guy to be able to get paid to see that game live last night.

Posted by: Charlie32 | May 4, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Ivan, I agree. The Warriors are my adopted "other" team.

Posted by: Lisa | May 4, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Miami -- gone.
Lakers -- gone.
Dallas -- gone.

What's left:
Detroit-Chicago; Cleveland-Toronto/NJ;
Spurs-Suns; Warriors-Rockets/Jazz.

Man, David Stern must be pulling his hair out by now!

Posted by: iceberg | May 4, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, I was one of the "crazy screaming fans" all night long!! I loved every second of it. Nellie's cool, calm demeaner and watching Cuban moulting in the back like a mushroom!! I love the fact Nellie can take second rounders, D League players - & first rouners -headaches - mix um all together & play his own "small ball" and WIN!!!! I noticed in the 4th in an attempt to survive Johnson finally went "small" it helped for minute but that was it.
I don't care what they say about Stephen Jackson - everytime he touched that ball - it was $$$$. He set the tone for the 2nd half. He said: we need to take care of Byron, get more in control & play better defense & thats what they did. Whats his name? Beirtus from Latvia? Really poor free throw shooter...the ball never went above the rim. But, his last time to the line? Baron walked behind him and you could see him say the words "up high/up high" to Beitrius then they showed Nellie actually laughing when it went in..Pietrus and Richardson all came up HUGE!!!

What team work..they covered Byron like a blanket..and allowed him enough room to shoot & they lept for the rebound if it didn't go in. I swear..Barnes must be a ball blood hound(if there is one)always under the basket and following the ball

Can't wait to see them play the "SUNS!!!! Yikes!! Run n Gun fun...

Posted by: Robin | May 4, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Contrast that crowd with our's. Verizon Center is so devoid of life at times because they've priced out the true fans, and most real fans can only buy upper-deck seats. Although the Wiz playoff games were "sold out," it was easy to count the empty seats in all the pictures.

Too bad because DC should be a great place to play ball.

Posted by: Rob | May 4, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

GIVE ME SUNS V. GOLDEN STATE eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Ivan:
Can you explain how Nellie's smallball approach is different than Jordan's smallball approach? (I mean, other than that one approach is successful and the other is not.) I haven't seen enough of Golden State to know the difference.

Posted by: Henry | May 4, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Keep the posts coming, guys. Oleksiy... maybe his name is backwards. Yiskelo. Doesn't that look like a more realistic name? Yiskelo it is.

I don't think those "We Believe" tshirts would look as impressive with the Wizards circa 1994 blue. Hopefully the Wizards adopt the ugly-but-original gold 3rd jerseys full time. Might be nice to get rid of that clip art looking logo, too. Yeah, then we could win a playoff game.

Posted by: mikem | May 4, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I would say Rob that atmosphere would've been better in the Verizon Center if the fans didn't already know it was hopeless. I went to playoff games the last 2 years and I thought we had a raucous atmosphere in the games I was at (although not like Oakland).
It is really amazing what has gone on recently in the NBA. Two years ago it was the Wizards winning their first playoff series in 23 years. Last year the Clippers, who hadn't won a series since they were in Buffalo (I think it was 32 years since they won a series). And this year the Warriors, who hadn't won a series since 1991, get over in the most dramatic way possible. I know the joy those fans felt and I am thrilled for them, I hope they can find a way pasts Houston or Utah.

Posted by: George Templeton | May 4, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Eh, the Warriors beat the Bullets in '75 4-0 in the finals. It's kinda hard for me to root for them.

Posted by: charlie | May 4, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ivan - just wanted to correct something. Contrary to popular belief, Stephen Jackson ain't that bad. When Baron stepped up to Austin Croshere, our NOOOOOO in the crowd was for Baron, not for Stephen. We knew Stephen wasn't going to do anything but break it up, but Baron was pissed. It was when Baron made it clear that he wasn't taking the situation further that we were relieved. It's unfortunate assertions like yours without backing that perpetuate a reputation like Stephen's beyond what he's earned.

Bottom line: We. Love. Stephen. Jackson.

Posted by: Mark | May 4, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Nellie and Baron should fly Jessica Alba to all their remaining playoff games. The combination of good luck charm and sheer hotness are a FANtastic

Posted by: Jason | May 4, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

We have waited 13 long years for just a little taste of the playoffs, and this is certainly the most delicious one. We stuck with our team good and bad, mostly bad for last 13 years, and our Warriors finally delivered what we waited so long for and more. Thanks, Warriors!

Posted by: Ron | May 4, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Just an awesome series. THAT'S NBA entertainment and THAT'S what the league needs to strive for. Watched every game.

The crowd went crazy in Oakland from start to finish... Guys playing their hearts out and even getting thrown out since they were that into it and playing that hard... the feeling that Stephen Jackson may do something really trippy at any moment and that I'd get to see it... the Mavs getting all intimidated... Jessica Alba just being there and being - her royal hotness...a huge upset of a series...All of it. Congrats Warriors!!! What a series. What can you say?

Ivan you a re SO lucky to get to cover that.

Posted by: fenderdeluxe | May 4, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Henry, the big difference is that you have to put five guys out there who can really shoot the rock and when a defender comes flying at them to contest the jumper and drive to the rack.
At the defensive end they have to be quick enough and strong enough to swarm to the ball and force the other teams bigs to pass out of the post. Or contest the dribbler and front the post-up players so they never get the ball.
Our version of smallball had Jarvis at the 4 when he couldn't buy a J so the other team's 4 stepped off him where he could help other defenders. Sometimes we had Ruffin at the 5 and he can't hit a layup so there's no way he's pulling the other team's 5 out of the lane. So offensively many times we were playing 3 on 5. And for the most part all of our shooters are streak shooters.
Defensively if you're going to play small ball you need swarming in your face defensive pressure on the ball, need I say more? If you noticed the playoff version of Smallball with Songalia at center and Daniels at point actually worked to some extent.
Saw in today's Post Grunfeld made his first indication of his offseason course. Looks like they will look at Pecherov as a center in summer league and they plan to bring Veremenko over and take a look at him in summer league as well. Made his same "in the heat of battle" comments that he used when EJ was all hot and bothered with Kwame. So I think he's doing his best to hold up Brendan's trade value. Brendan's not dumb, he saw what buttons Kwame pushed with EJ and how he got him self a bigger deal elsewhere. He good as gone!

Posted by: GM | May 4, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Henry, the big difference is that you have to put five guys out there who can really shoot the rock and when a defender comes flying at them to contest the jumper and drive to the rack.
At the defensive end they have to be quick enough and strong enough to swarm to the ball and force the other teams bigs to pass out of the post. Or contest the dribbler and front the post-up players so they never get the ball.
Our version of smallball had Jarvis at the 4 when he couldn't buy a J so the other team's 4 stepped off him where he could help other defenders. Sometimes we had Ruffin at the 5 and he can't hit a layup so there's no way he's pulling the other team's 5 out of the lane. So offensively many times we were playing 3 on 5. And for the most part all of our shooters are streak shooters.
Defensively if you're going to play small ball you need swarming in your face defensive pressure on the ball, need I say more? If you noticed the playoff version of Smallball with Songalia at center and Daniels at point actually worked to some extent.
Saw in today's Post Grunfeld made his first indication of his offseason course. Looks like they will look at Pecherov as a center in summer league and they plan to bring Veremenko over and take a look at him in summer league as well. Made his same "in the heat of battle" comments that he used when EJ was all hot and bothered with Kwame. So I think he's doing his best to hold up Brendan's trade value. Brendan's not dumb, he saw what buttons Kwame pushed with EJ and how he got him self a bigger deal elsewhere. He good as gone!

Posted by: GM | May 4, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post, every once in awhile this site freezes up.

Posted by: GM | May 4, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I already have a nickname for Oleksiy Pecherov....OPEC

Posted by: Lisa | May 4, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love what the Warriors did. One reason is that I really, really can't stand Mark Cuban. The same way fans hate the Skins because of Danny Boy, I feel about Dallas because of Cuban. For some reason, his face has always reminded me of Herman Munster. His whiny, big baby personality does, too.

Posted by: Keithinator | May 4, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a lot of love coming from DC. Much appreciated.

I was at last nights game and still buzzing. I know everyone thinks their crowds are the best, but honestly, Oracle Arena was at another level last night. I've been to many games, but last night was incredible. They might as well have turned off the speaker system, because it was never used. Why was it so explosive?
The stars aligned with
1) 13 years of pent up frustration. Loyal fans lived through Spreewell's choking, the drafting of Todd Fuller, Arenas giveaway, etc. If ever an outlet was needed, this was it.
2) 13 years of frustration = cheaper tickets. You get the real fans in the room, not just those earning six figures.
3) Who doesn't like the underdog of underdogs. Squeeking into the playoffs on the last day of the season against defending finalists with a 67 win record! Easy pick.

Go Warriors.

Posted by: Warrior Fan | May 4, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"The coolest moment of the game for me came in the second half when ... the entire crowd looked to Jackson, who ... walked to the other side of the court, the place went crazy."

The "coolest" moment was when a 29-year-old man playing a child's game decided to walk away instead of act like a child and the fans cheered? Is that how bad the NBA is? People now cheer when adults act respectable?

Posted by: Eman | May 4, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the difference b/w successful small ball & EJ's version, GM pretty much had it on the money.

I'd also add in having good athletes helps. It helps when you have five quick and athletic guys out there who can push tempo and have the ability to rotate & recover on D.

Smallball with DSong & Ruffin doesn't allow for this. Jamison isn't a good fit defensively either.

Posted by: Dat2U | May 4, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

As much as the Warriors are underrated this season is just as much or more that Les BouleS were overrated. I especially saw that during their final game when Baron Davis took the game over in the game were Stephen Jackson got tossed early.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=270323009

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 4, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I have been a Warriors fan since the days of Run DMC, but this is better than anything I can remember. I think this series was so compelling because of the underlying soap opera- Nelly v. Cuban, Nelly the mentor of Avery, Dirk the "MVP", and of course the underdog aspect, the Warriors who barely made it into the playoffs on the last day of the season vs the powerhouse, best record in the NBA mavs, owned by the outspoken billionaire Cuban. You could not have written it better.

Go Dubs-

Posted by: Dubs Fan | May 5, 2007 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, run TMC- its late- that Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin-

Posted by: Dubs Fan | May 5, 2007 2:52 AM | Report abuse

The breakup of Don Nelson and Mark Cuban is a classic case of the Billionaire owner that was highly successful in another field thinking sports are easy, and "I should be able to master this in a few easy lessons".
"I'll just hire a guy like Don Nelson(or Gibbs) and look over his shoulder and pretty soon I'll know everything he knows and since I'm smarter than 99.99% of the rest of the world I'll dominate the sports world like every thing else I touch. Because you know, I'm a Billionaire and that makes me better and smarter than the rest of the people out there".
No wonder the rest of us enjoy watching their very public downfall! And Cuban just adds to the fun because on top of everything else, the guy's just a total ass and a jerk when he's not winning. And such a total ass and egotistical jerk when he is! The classic Cuban was to very publicly begin planning their victory parade last year, well, before their victory!
I saw an interview with Nellie where he basically said that the end between him and Cuban came when Cuban decided to let Nash go. Cuban didn't say we've got to get salary down and you need to make choices, just made it clear that he was making big roster moves himself.
Congradulations to Nellie and the Warriors. Since the 70's, when he was coaching the Bucks, Nellie has been the master at creating and exploiting matchups to create an advantage out of what appears to be a weaknesses to the rest of us.
One of the classic Nellie moves was teaching Manute Bol a two hand set shot. He took a guy that caused headaches on the defensive end but had zero offense and taught him a skill that made him into an offensive threat and pulled the opposition center 25 feet from the rim and kept Bol out of the way of his scorers.
Eddie Jordan could learn a few things watching Nellie, great coaches learn to win with incomplete players and maximize a player's strengths. There is no such thing as a player without weaknesses, guys like Nellie learn how to adapt to their roster and win with what they've got.
Looking at our team and it's skills, Nellie would have a ball with this club and we'd have a wild time watching! We don't need to change what we are so much as we need to force teams to play our game not theirs.

Posted by: GM | May 5, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember how CWebb soured on Nelly? I think Nelly hazes his rooks, and CWebb came in with a big ego.

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 5, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 5, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for keeping the blog going Ivan! Love seeing what the Warriors are doing! Stephen Jackson is one of those guys everyone hates, unless he's on your team then you love him! Wizards could use a guy like that or 'Sheed, a total hothead that plays with fire which is contageous and intimidating. Agree the atmosphere at Verizon stinks compared to Oakland because it's too expensive for tickets/food etc, real fans can only go to 1 or 2 games a year and are stuck in the uppers when they do. Verizon is filled with execs and lawyers who just go as a status thing or to take out business partners etc. They are not really fans, and have probably never played the game or don't know much about it. Something to do to spend time with their yuppy suburban kids. The real fans are stuck at home watching the game on Comcast with Buck and Phil. Believe me when I do go I am yelling my head off! Yelling "Loyal Larry" or "Tyson Chandler can't shoot!" and having a blast! It could be a great place!! Instead it is corporate yuppyville.

Posted by: Darnell | May 5, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Too bad prices will be even higher with the welfare Dishonest Abe is asking from the DC Government. Will only affect the fans going to the games though, so that's cool with me.

Monies will be going towards replacing the scoreboard and upgrading luxury boxes so Abe can charge 400K vice 100K per.

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 5, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

What about Spanish Fly (aka - Pau Gasol) in the 5 spot? I say offer up Jamison for him straight up...don't know if the numbers match up though.

Posted by: Mo in CLE | May 6, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Mo in CLE, as it has been mentioned several times before, it would be shocking to see Jamison traded after he carried the team on his back after Gil and Caron went down. Shocking...and unjust....

Posted by: Lisa | May 6, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Jamison(16m) for Gasol(13m) would work capwise and I'd assume Memphis would bite since they made such a public play of moving Gasol during the season and their owner came out after the trade deadline repeated again that he's on the market.
If they end up with Oden or Durant they will have a new face to rebuild around might want to rid themselves of 64m+ that they owe Gasol. With a rookie to rebuild around their fans will be gullible enough to except losing and going back to the lottery for a couple of years while they rebuild around their future star.
I don't think Grunfeld will be very fast to pursue the option of trading Jamison. Despite his obvious weakness at defending 4's his scoring and leadership are invaluable. Grunfeld seems to be trying to strengthen his position by selling the idea of Pecherov as a center weather he beleives it or not.With the 7/0 240lbs. Pecherov and the 6/10 230lbs. Vereemenko due to arrive for the summer Grunfeld can take his time and evaulate if one or both of them can fit in the rotation next year.
Last year Ken Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN had rated Pecherov as a possible lottery selection if he'd have waited til this year's draft. He has continued to grow and fill out and Grunfeld is now saying that he wants to look at him as a center. Having two more bigs on hand will allow Ernie to look at trade options for Haywood and possibly Etan without having to get a big in return.
There are also a couple of names that might drop to 16 in the draft that could be part of a rebuilt frontline. Tiago Splitter 7/0 240lbs. is another guy that is playing in Spain that is 22 and has to stay in the draft this year. He's flirted with coming over for a couple of years and never gotten a high lottery promise and has pulled out each time. He's another guy with a buyout clause in his contract that will keep him from going real high but is considered to be one of the best bigs in Europe right now. Gasol's younger brother is a 7/1 center and Jason Smith a 7/0 power forward are all projected to go somewhere around our selection.
I think Ernie will wait things out awhile, see what interest he can generate in Haywood and Etan and if their is anything to be gained in a sign and trade with Jarvis. And most of all get to work on signing Blatche.
If there is a trade involving a guy like Gasol it will be awhile and Ernie will try and see if he can move some other peices around to see if he can arrange to bring in another major peice without giving up one of the big three.

Posted by: GM | May 7, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I just hope the Warriors can get past Carlos Boozer and Okur. And Phoenix can have a real miracle happen by somehow beating the Spurs. I read Nash called out his team for "not having enough fire and heart to play past the invisible barriers in order to get beat a championship team." (All said while his nose was pouring blood and getting stitches.)

Brendan & his agent have already placed Eddie Jordan as his reason for wanting out. his attitude, lack of performance, etc. are supposedly all results of poor communications, training or the lack there of.

He stated he "won't play for Eddie Jordan."

Other GM's aren't dumb but considering Arenas televised statements and Eddie Jordan's own admissions that he relied totally on Gil & Caron all year then suddenly started working with: "an essentially brand new team" just before the playoffs. Add credence to Brenden's statements til he actually plays for somebody else. The proof will be in the pudding so to speak. If he's "lousy"
Eddie will look better. If he plays brilliantly - Jordan simply didn't know how to develop his players. case closed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The case is far from closed.

Brendan is a paid professional. Blaming his unwillingness to earn his paycheck on a nightly on the fact that he didn't like his boss makes him look like a petulant child. Coaches and players have splits all the time. It's rarely all one's fault or the other, so the idea that Brendan's performasnce in his next stop would somehow be an indictment of Jordan as a coach is reaching.

As for the mythical Gasol trade, I won't rehash all of the obvious issues that make it utterly unlikely. I will, however, point out that since the goal of building a team is to win games and to win games you need talent, the Grizzlies drafting Durant or (esp.) Oden would, in all likelihood, reduce the odds of their trading Gasol (at least over the summer) to near absolute zero. It would make no sense for them to jettison Gasol without finding out what he can do with soime adequate support.

Posted by: kalorama | May 7, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

But kaloroama don't you think, the extra $16 million in cap room would be an enticement for Memphis. The Grizzlies want to start over and if they can't get some young prospects, then cap room is the other thing they have to be looking for in any deal fro Gasol.
Plus wouldn't Jamison's leadership be something Memphis would want for the very young team they will probably have next year.

Posted by: George Templeton | May 7, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

There seems to be a belief floating out there that all the Grizzlies are concerned about is saving money, dumping slaries, and entering a rebuilding process. But there's little evidence to support that theory.

The Grizzlies are talking to Larry Brown about being their next coach. That's not a move a team starting from scratch to save money makes because (A) Brown will not come cheap and (B) he's not a coach you hire as part of a long-term rebuild because everyone knows he'll only stick a round for the short-term.

As for Gasol, the main reason the whole trade issue became public is because it was reported he asked to be dealt because he was tired of losing. Hiring Brown as coach and drafting Oden to pair with him on the front line would likely take care of some of that problem.

If they end up with Durant or Oden (esp. the latter) then it would make no sense for them to trade Gasol without first seeing what he can do with the additional help (as well as a healthy Kyle Lowry). If things still don't pan out by midseason, I could see Gasol's name resurfacing on the trade wire. But unless the Grizz management have an overwhelming desire to become the new Clippers, trading away their best player in the offseason for what amounts to empty space just to save a few bucks would be a foolish move.

Posted by: kalorama | May 7, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Its not far reaching. Many other former Wiz/Bullets players going to other teams perfomrances improved with different environment, coaching, maturity, new opportunities,etc. Its been discussed previously.

As I stated: "General Managers aren't dumb! But you tend to focus on what you want in order to make a "statement."

Not to mention the fact that observers in the NBA already know the deal with Haywood and Jordan. They've already opined what should happen w/him endlessly.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"But you tend to focus on what you want in order to make a "statement."

Considering how blatantly you misread what I wrote in order to fuel your petulant infantile ranting, that's pretty funny. Or pretty silly. Or just sad. Can't decide which.

As anyone who actually read the entire post would know, I wasn't implying that Haywood couldn't perform better in a new environment (although I wouldn't bank on it). My very clear and unambiguous point was that if Haywood does perform better in a new environment then it doesn't automatically reflect negatively on Jordan as a coach. That was the part that was "reaching." And it still is.

Posted by: kalorama | May 7, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama, You say the goal of EVERY team is to win games and to win games you need talent. After watching Pro Sports for 40 ys. I couldn't disagree more.
The Bidwells, Robert Irsay, the succession of the last three Orioles owners are Exhibits A B & C.
But closer to home, have you been to a Nationals game or looked at a box score lately? They're not even making an attempt to pretend that they are even thinking about putting a competitive team on the field. And how many dollars did they shave off of last year's payroll? And their new ticket selling drive is geared around telling the fans to spend your money Now(We Didn't) and assure yourself a seat in the new ballpark that you paid to build(We Didn't).
And of all things, they sent out Stan Kasten on the talk radio circuit to sell the virtues of building the franchise via the draft, and that the more games that you lose the higher the pick that you will receive in the free agent draft.
Stan forgot to mention that in baseball you're looking at High School kids and some college pitchers. And that the failure rate amoung baseball draftees is higher than any other sport. And even the ones that make it are 3 to 5 years away! While the Nats fans are watching their team lose and looking at the box scores of single A ballclubs hoping to find help on the way, how many million dollars will Kasten have banked for the Lerners?
So are the Nationals trying to accumulate talent at the major league level to win? They could've signed a number of reasonably priced FA's to short contracts and tried to win while they rebuilt their farm system. And then as their prospects made their way to Washington the Vet's deals would have been over and they could have traded them for more youngsters.
Most owners are in pro sports to make money, take the depreciation expense on their players to hide their profits and move on. If they are all trying to win how come so few ever do?
In the case of Memphis IF they hire Brown that MIGHT signal a win now approach, but if they give him control of the team like Pat Riley has in Miami it could also signal that he will want his own guys and will build around defensive stoppers. That's his style, and in case you haven't noticed Gasol isn't quick enough of foot to gaurd alot of 4's. He's better defensively at the 5 and causes some mismatches on offense there. So if they get Oden, and they have more balls than anyone, Brown will want a shutdown defender at 4 that is a tough rebounder. His best chance to build a title contender long term if he plans to move upstairs would be back in the lottery another year and reinvest the 64m owed to Gasol in a FA of his choice.
If you would have read my post fully you would see I wasn't advocating a Jamison for Gasol deal. I'd like to see Gasol here, but Ernie would have to move around alot of other peices to make that happen without giving up a member of the big three. And I don't think that's highly likely, concentrating on signing Blatche, getting our assests from overseas here on the team, and ridding ourselves of some deadwood and dissentors will come first.
Ernie will get a solid grade for the offseason if he pulls all of that off. If he does all of that AND pulls off a trade for a guy like Gasol he's put us at the top of the east. And that's the goal isn't it?

Posted by: GM | May 7, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"Kalorama, You say the goal of EVERY team is to win games and to win games you need talent."

Well, no. Actually I did not say that. I especially did not include the word "EVERY" in all caps. What I did, IN FACT, say was:

"...the goal of building a team is to win games and to win games you need talent"

There's a very clear, qualitative difference between the two statements.

Not EVERY team cares about winning (see the Clippers for most of the past two decades) but then, those teams aren't really concerned with building anything, either. If the Grizzlies weren't concerned with that, they wouldn't be looking to spend a bushel of money to hire Larry Brown as coach.

"If you would have read my post fully you would see I wasn't advocating a Jamison for Gasol deal. "

And if you'd have read mine fully you'd know that nowhere in it did I claim you were advocating a Jamison for Gasol deal.

What you did say, however, in no uncertain terms was that a Jamison for Gasol deal was viable financially and that you thought the Grizzlies would "bite" on such a deal, but that it was unlikely primarily because Grunfeld wouldn't be willing to trade Jamison.

As I've stated before, I don't think that position has any merit.

I do believe that Jamison won't be traded (as I've stated many times, well before his playoff performance). But even if the Wiz were willing, I still maintain that there's no way the Grizzlies would trade Gasol for him because that deal fails to create a significant advantage for Memphis.

Posted by: kalorama | May 7, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

OK, how about Haywood, this year's #1 (16 overall) and Hayes (via sign and trade) for Gasol?

Posted by: Mo in CLE | May 8, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

It's very unlikely that if you don't want your own garbage, that someone else would want it.

I think this team will just hold on to what they have, retain DS, let Jarvis go, and just hope that the cavalry (OPECH & the other Russian dude) will make enough of a contribution such that if Les BouleS are missing 1 of 3 of their superstars, they will still have a chance. Regardless, this team still needs to get more athletic, and they'll probably address it in the draft by drafting the best available.

Posted by: DC Man88 | May 8, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

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