Thirty Years ... And Counting


Guess what? In 30 years, you'll still be waiting to get back here and the Sonics won't even exist. (Photo by Richard Heyza/The Seattle Times)


With the NBA Finals two days away, I thought it was a good time to reflect on one of the league's longest championship series droughts. The Washington Wizards. Thirty years.

The Bullets/Wizards last reached the NBA Finals in 1979, when the Seattle SuperSonics defeated Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and the defending champion Bullets in five games in a rematch of the seven-game title series from the previous season.

Sounds terrible, but it's far from the worst. The Washington Bullets won a championship in 1978, but the franchise ranks seventh for the most number of years without reaching the NBA Finals. The Sacramento Kings last got to the Finals when it won a championship as the Rochester Royals in 1951. Good gracious. The Atlanta Hawks franchise hasn't been to the Finals since 1961, when the team was in St. Louis. The Los Angeles Clippers, of course, have never been. The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lost to Boston in 1974. Golden State has been absent since beating the Bullets in 1975, and the Denver Nuggets have never been since joining the league from the ABA in 1976.

The Seattle Times did a couple of articles commemorating the 30th anniversary of that Sonics team -- it's a shame the NBA is no longer in that beautiful city -- which claimed its only championship at the Capital Centre with 97-93 victory on June 1 of that year. Times columnist Steve Kelley recalled a funny story from that season:

The previous season, [the Sonics] had lost in seven games to the Washington Bullets. In the seventh game, Seattle's star guard Dennis Johnson went 0 for 14 from the field and the next regular season, when Johnson missed his first shot against the Bullets, Washington coach Dick Motta barked at him, "0 for 15."
D.J.'s payback, however, was lush.

Johnson would win Finals MVP, as the Sonics won four games in a row after losing the first game of the series. Former Bullet Greg Ballard told the Times' Percy Allen, "Even though we returned with the same team from the year before, they improved more than we did and, truth be told, they had the better team. They came back with revenge in their minds."

Here's a passage from Dave Kindred's column after the series was complete:

No anger in this defeat, nothing ugly, no recriminations. The Bullets lost with style and class ...
It was over, and if the city of Washington went bonkers a year ago when the Bullets astounded us all with a world championship, it seems that another celebration is in order. These guys did a wonder.
Twice they won seventh games to get into the championship round. Jimmy Carter came to see them. [Elvin] Hayes was grand for 101 games, [Bobby] Dandridge beautiful in his work, [Wes] Unseld a redwood inspiring awe. [Coach Dick] Motta was never more a genius than this year when he took a team within three games of doing something that hasn't been done in 26 years: it was 1953 when any team without Bill Russell won back-to-back NBA championships.
A hell of a season, this one.

No one could've expected back then that the franchise wouldn't come close to sniffing the NBA Finals in the 30 years that followed.

By Michael Lee |  June 2, 2009; 9:27 AM ET
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How about this 4-way trade between the Rockets, Knicks, Nets, and Wizards?

Rockets get: BH, Jared Jeffries, Keyon Dooling, and Nate Robinson.

Knicks get: ET, MJ, OP, DaS, DeS, and Eduardo Najera.

Nets get: Tracy McGrady, Chuck Hayes, Brent Barry, and the #5 pick.

Wizards get: Vince Carter, Brook Lopez, Eddy Curry, and the #8 pick.

The Rockets fill their gaping holes at the backup C and SF spots, and they clear space under the luxury tax to re-sign Ron Artest. They also get to play Yao with Nate Robinson (sign and trade). Manute-Muggsy, take two! This time with less suckage!

The Knicks get rid of their immovable contracts, and it only costs them the #8, their rights to Nate Robinson (which they weren't going to use anyway), and a year of luxury tax payment. ET, MJ, and OP expire in 2010. DaS, DeS, and Eduardo Najera do not, but they should not be too difficult to get rid of, especially since the Knicks have never been averse to throwing cash around.

The Nets also get 2010 cap space, and they can at least try to sell tix this year with T-Mac. It costs them Brook Lopez, but with the #5 pick as well as their own #11 pick, they can move up to #3 get Rubio or Thabeet.

In exchange for their dead wood, the Wizards upgrade at both the SG and C positions. Brook Lopez is a better fit for us than BH because Lopez can hit a midrange jumper. He’s not as good on D as BH, but he’s good enough not to be the weakest link. Trading down from the #5 pick to the #8 pick isn’t a major drop in talent this year, so we don’t lose much there. Vince Carter and especially Eddy Curry are overpaid, but we only have to pay them for two years, and the second year is their contract year, so they should be very motivated. Biggest downside is that we will be committed to paying the luxury tax for the next two years at least.

Wizards depth chart:

PG: GA, JC
SG: Vince Carter, NY
SF: CB, DM
PF: AJ, AB
C: Brook Lopez, Eddy Curry, JM

Take the best available player with the #8 pick.


(Extra side benefit: Helping NY and NJ clear cap space in 2010 makes it more likely that LeBron leaves Cleveland.)

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 9:53 AM

Like the trade except for the fact that there is only one basketball and I doubt Carter, Arenas, and Butler could share it. We'd be worse defensively minus BTH and Eddy Curry's contract is horrendous. I'd rather wait until the All-Star break and try to unload the expiring contracts of both ET and Mike James if we could find a taker. Don't see us being a big participant in FA next summer unless the Wiz decide to blow things up next year and trade both Jamison & Butler.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 2, 2009 10:33 AM

And then we can trade Javaris Chritendon for a pack on Unicorns and save money on airfare from game to game. It's perfect!

Posted by: Bonzi77 | June 2, 2009 10:51 AM

Don't be crazy. One, maybe two unicorns, tops. No chance we get a whole pack unless we include Etan Thomas and Mike James. Those deals are expiring you know!

Posted by: pondaz | June 2, 2009 11:00 AM

Personally, I'm against any major trades for this teams incarnation until we see how it performs. Based on my admittedly shaky memory, we played fairly well against the cream of the crop lately. Haven't we played Boston and Cleveland tough the past year or so despite the injuries?

Sure, we have weaknesses..particularly with defending the 3 point shot and interior rebounding/defense. Who's to say that with BTH back, and DM starting, our rebounding and defense won't be better? If so, maybe we can start extending our defense out to the 3 point line. I'm not trying to imply that BTH is the panacea but it's amazing what one decent defensive player can accomplish with help. DM should be more effective with a backstop.
I'm a homer but I like our chances as is. This team with Tap would be a 35 win team. With Flip, I'm hoping for 45-50.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 11:04 AM

That '78 team is probably one of the weakest champions ever. Despite having a couple of HOF players, I can't think of a NBA champion over the last 30 years that could NOT beat them. Maybe the Rockets teams with Hakeem but all of the Celts, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls teams would have trounced us. Even some of those old Suns and Portland teams that lost to MJ wold have beaten us handily probably.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 11:11 AM

I'm sorry...it only took me seeing a pic with Wes Unseld in it and I could care less about this article. O_o

Posted by: cbmuzik | June 2, 2009 11:25 AM

Yo - that's an interesting trade scenario. I'm getting tired of folks posting that we should "trade our expirings" or "trade the pick" without thinking about what team would want our expirings or what we might get in return. In light of the cap and trade rules, it's really only a wild scenario like that which could yeild significant players on the move. And it will take a team (or two like you have here) that is OK with trading good players for bad just to lower their salaries. It's hard to conceive that a team will start doing that until mid-season after ticket sales and tv deals are well established.

On this deal...any deal that brings us Brook Lopez and Carter for our trash is a really good deal for us. Looks good for the Rockets. And I'd love to see Etan in a D'Antoni offense just for the comedy of it. James and Opec would have no problem adjusting to the requirement to jack up shots; making them would be an adjustment. But I can't see the Nets being OK from their perspective. They'd be downgrading from Carter for Tmac, trading one of the most promising young centers in the game for the #5 in a weak draft. Even if they got Thabeet, it's still a longshot that Thabeet will show as much promise as Lopez. It does not make sense to restructure for the future by loosing a potential cornerstone in Lopez.

Posted by: cballer | June 2, 2009 12:14 PM

Well, I won't argue with one thing. Getting Carter and Lopez for our trash would be a good move. So would trading our trash for Chris Bosh. Or Amare. Or, you know, Carmelo Anthony.

But those are all about as likely as getting the unicorns. And really, they'd be a better long-term investment anyway. They'd do wonders for attendance and probably give us a down low presence we need. I bet Superman would back off under threat of a unicorn horn in his stomach.

Posted by: pondaz | June 2, 2009 12:21 PM

word is: the dallas mavericks are interested in 6'10 forward from arizona, jordan hill and would like to swap picks with a few players to get him. And Hill looks like he might slip to the #5 in the draft. But the wizards are most certainly going to package that pick with an expiring contract.

they are willing to part ways with Josh Howard and perhaps jerry stackhouse.

I dont know how well that trade would work out for us. But if we did bring Howard in here, i would also want to look for an upgrade over andray blatche. and Josh Howard would be an upgrade over nick young.
definetly
maybe the nets would take another expiring contract with blatche for jianliang ..not only would jianliang sell tickets, but hes kind of cheap and he could be solid in a wizards uniform coming off the bench. for instance

arenas
howard
butler
jamison
haywood

6th man- critt
7- jianliang
8- young
9- songalia

keep the rotation solid like that

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 2, 2009 12:29 PM

I honestly think that a change in this franchise fortunes will not happen until ownership changes hands (when Ted Leonsis takes over). And even after the ownership changes takes place, you are probably looking at a working window of another 3-5 year period.

PS.- ML could you do a piece on what the franchise would possibly look like under Ted ownership. (a look at the styles in management). Thanks.

Posted by: Gladiator5569 | June 2, 2009 12:36 PM

From our point of view, we're trading our trash for Brook Lopez and Vince Carter.

From the Nets' point of view, they're trading Brook Lopez and Vince Carter for a chance to get LeBron James and Chris Bosh. After this trade, they will have 2010 cap space to sign two max free agents.

Is that enough? Maybe. I guess it depends on what other expiring contracts they can get. With the bad economy, the luxury tax and salary cap are both expected to go down. Expiring contracts could be in very high demand.

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 12:41 PM

And Teddy would bring exactly what to the table?

Posted by: dabing | June 2, 2009 1:01 PM

Wizards will win 50+ games next season.

Believe.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 2, 2009 1:06 PM

Did anyone see the rumor about the Wizards trading Jamison, Mike James, and the # 5 pick for Amare Stoudamire? I for one would love that trade if Amare's eye is better. Amare is a beast. He's a post presence that we need. He's not about shotting jumpers he's about being a beast on the inside. I think if you make that trade, and sign a mid level free agent, say Chris Wilcox? we'd be a beast. This would be our team.
PG Arenas, Critt
SG McGuire, Stevenson, Young
SF Butler
PF Wilcox, Stoudamire,
C Haywood, McGee, ET

That's not a bad team right there

Posted by: DCSportsFan28 | June 2, 2009 1:18 PM

I think-----
Ernie will trade the #5.
Gilbert will be in All Star game.
Antwan will be 6th man before end of season.
Brendan will be Monster.
Someone, Nick, Javale, Dom, Critt or Pech will have a major impact.
Ted will take over ownership.
Flip will be COY.
Deshawn will feel his face.
Phil will stick a dagger in Buck.
LaBron will shake hands with everyone in the PhoneBooth after the Wizzies beat the Cavs there.

Posted by: VBFan | June 2, 2009 1:30 PM

No one could've expected back then that the franchise wouldn't come close to sniffing the NBA Finals in the 30 years that followed........

the Wizards will not win a championship till ABe sells the team!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | June 2, 2009 1:41 PM

"That '78 team is probably one of the weakest champions ever. Despite having a couple of HOF players, I can't think of a NBA champion over the last 30 years that could NOT beat them. Maybe the Rockets teams with Hakeem but all of the Celts, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls teams would have trounced us. Even some of those old Suns and Portland teams that lost to MJ wold have beaten us handily probably."

-- original_mark

That team did not have a very good regular season (mostly because of injuries). But when everyone was on the court, that team was excellent.

Everyone talks about the front line of Hayes, Unseld, and Dandridge. And rightly so. I would put that group up against all but perhaps the top 2 or 3 of all-time. But they weren't together as a group long enough to make a bigger mark in the history books.

What people mostly forget is that the Bullets backcourt had Phil Chenier and Kevin Grevey at shooting guard. Both could shoot as well as anyone you care to name in today's NBA. Only a bad back kept Chenier out of the Hall-of-Fame.

And Tom Henderson was an excellent point guard who could shoot. But he was very willing to sacrifice his own stats for the good of the team.

Throw-in Mitch Kupchak -- the league's top 6th man -- rookie Greg Ballard, and C.J. (Charles Johnson), who was instant offense off the bench, and I would be very happy to match-up that team with many of the teams that have won the title in the last 30 years.

Here's one more stat: The Bullets finished one game behind the Lakers for the most wins in the decade of the '70s.

Posted by: noslok | June 2, 2009 1:42 PM

I forgot to include Larry Wright!! He was listed at 6-1 but, more likely, he was around 5-11. But he was lightning-fast with a deadly touch. And he could jump out of the building. I once saw him block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Sky-Hook!

Yea. Give me that team in its prime and I'll take-on all comers.

Posted by: noslok | June 2, 2009 1:47 PM

Over the years of watching the bullets/wizards front office, the 30-years of ineptness is no surprise. only someone not watching this team for the past 40 years would ever think something like that. Immediately after '79 or 80, I would not have said 30-years. Having watched some of these teams from the 80's, it is no surprise the Wiz organization is where it is now.

This is an organization that traded its young talent for over the hill players. this is the organization that drafted no-one that amounted to all-star status, signed no one of all star status as a free agent. The bullets touted the visiting players more than their own in marketing. They were thankful Pat Ewing was with the Knicks and came to town 3 or 4 times a year. Same for Bird and other Eastern Conf stars. yet, they run out the NBA's shortest player (Mugsy) and tallest (manute Bol) like a circus side show.

From Abe pollin, susan O'malley, bob Ferry to Wes unseld, they can explain the 30-years. the one guy (Nash?) came in and unseated and rubbed some of Pollin's people wrong and Pollin canned him quickly. Pollin never ran this like a real business.

Posted by: oknow1 | June 2, 2009 2:03 PM

if we change our name back to the bullets and bring back the old uni's we have a chance at glory, what free agent wouldn't wanna rock the red, white and blue striped jersey? until then I'll tell you what my pops tells me, that oh so popular refrain of a washington fan, we had a pretty good year back in 78

Posted by: bford1kb | June 2, 2009 2:04 PM

He's a post presence that we need. He's not about shotting jumpers he's about being a beast on the inside

I think Stoudemire's interior presence is overstated. Look at 82games.com. Last year, 55% of his shots were outside shots and 45% were inside.

Jamison was at 66% outside and 34% inside. neither is a beast down low.

The things is, Tim Duncan was at 57% outside and 43% inside. My point is that we don't really need an interior beast offensively. Offense will come. We just need defense and we need for someone ...ANYONE...to take the ball to the hole and draw some fouls.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 2:13 PM

I was a Blazers fan back then, but I vividly remember watching those '78 and '79 Bullets teams as a kid. They were damned good! They didn't have a Kareem, Walton or Dr. J, but they were one of the best top-to-bottom teams I recall watching. The Sonics team they played in the Finals those two years was much the same way, actually. Not a weak spot on the roster.

The salary cap has made it impossible to build a team like that anymore. Now, it seems like the good teams are a superstar, one or two good players as his sidekicks, and a bunch of scrubs to fill out the roster. This year's Magic team is one of the most evenly balanced I've seen in awhile.

As for the Wiz, they won't sniff the Finals until they get an owner who has a knack for hiring the right personnel guys.

Posted by: acoberst1 | June 2, 2009 2:21 PM

noslok, don't get me wrong...I loved that team because I'm a Bullets fan. I just look at some of the players there and it's hard for me to see us matching up well. Take the Bad Boys, for example.

Isaiah vs. Henderson/Wright
Dumars/Microwave vs. Chenier/Grevey
Rodman vs. EEEEEEEEE
Laimbeer vs. Unseld
Dantley/Aguirre vs. Bobby D.

Salley/James Edwards vs Kupchak

To me, they Pistons have the advantage at every position besides PF...and I'd call that matchup close to even. I can see Rodman giving E a hard way to go.

We lose 50 games out of 50 in a matchup between these two teams, IMO.

But I (for probably the first and perhaps last time ever) agree with Barno. 50 wins if healthy for this team.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 2:22 PM

The difference between Duncan and Stoudemire is that Duncan's inside basket are set up moves in the half court that facilitate the offense around him if he gets double teamed. Stoudemire's inside baskets are mostly put backs, alley-oops, and leads off fast breaks. He's really not a half-court low post player.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 2:23 PM

I'll give Wes the HOF benefit of the doubt and call it even for him, too. But seriously, Laimbeer would pull him away from the hoop and limit his effectiveness. He can't block Laimbeer's shot cuz he's only 6'7".

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM

"From the Nets' point of view, they're trading Brook Lopez and Vince Carter for a chance to get LeBron James and Chris Bosh. After this trade, they will have 2010 cap space to sign two max free agents."

A team doesn't trade away a potential cornerstone player at the toughest position to fill for a "chance" to do something that the odds are against them doing. That's bad business. And that's not even addressing what a bad deal it is for Houston.

Teams aren't going to line up to give the Wiz their best players for junk in return. Doesn't work that way.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 2:27 PM

He's really not a half-court low post player.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 2:23 PM

..AT ALL. And there are questions about his defense. Given the dearth of 3 point shooters on this team, I'd rather have AJ than Stoudemire. Throw in the injuries for AS and it's a landslide for me. If we play Aj the way he should be played (25-30 min per game off the bench) he can be effective for a few more years.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 2:28 PM

We have zero ZERO chance of getting Brook Lopez. We may as well forget that deal.

Who has EVER given up a first round 2nd year healthy center who played well his first year and improved as the season went on? I can't think of any team.
Young big good centers just dont get traded. I think thats probably a NBA reality.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 2:33 PM

And I'll note, once again, that the odds of Jamison coming off the bench are slim to none (and slim don't count). He came off the bench in Dallas because the team had a surplus of All-star level talent at his position(s). The Wizards don't. As long as he's the best player they have at PF, he's going to be starting.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 2:33 PM

As long as he's the best player they have at PF, he's going to be starting.

I see your point but I believe that sometimes the best player at a position is not necessarily the best player for the team starting at that position.

I think we're better off taking a hit at PF but gaining it back from the bench. In our case, the dropoff may be too great, though. I still believe that Ab would make a pretty good starting PF. His rebounding is below average at the C position but perhaps at PF?

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 2:38 PM

"I see your point but I believe that sometimes the best player at a position is not necessarily the best player for the team starting at that position."

Most coaches, however,don't believe that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 2:50 PM

Off the top of my head: Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Moses, and Bill Walton all got traded during the prime of their careers.

Brook Lopez is not untouchable.

Normally, good centers with years left in the tank do not get traded, but the free agent period of 2010 has the potential to be anything but normal. The 2010 free agency period may be a once in a lifetime event.

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 2:58 PM

"The 2010 free agency period may be a once in a lifetime event."

Ore, more likely, it'll be a bunch of hype that doesn't amount to much.

No one said Brook Lopez is untouchable. What we're saying (and what is true) is that a team doesn't give away a player of his caliber, esp. at the C position, for no guaranteed return, which is exactly what the Nets would be doing under that ridiculous proposal. What happens when Chris Bosh and LeBron don't sign there (because, y'know, players are only allowed to sign with one team)? And then there's the issue of the Rockets trading away McGrady--and his quite valuable $20 mil expiring contract-- for a bunch of marginal backups.

That entire thing goes beyond pie-in-the=sky. it's an entire bakery in the sky.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 3:05 PM

Good examples but I don't think any were traded after just one year. I can't recall that happening though it may have.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 3:06 PM

"Off the top of my head: Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Moses, and Bill Walton all got traded during the prime of their careers."

The Kareem trade is widely regarded as one of the worst in the history of the NBA. Moreover, most of those trades happened in a much different era financially and have no real relevance to the way things work today. As for Shaq, (A) he was not in the prime of his career when he got traded from L.A.; he'd already started on the downside, in large part because of his weight issues and inability (unwillingness) to stay healthy and in shape, and (B) he basically demanded a trade because he was sick of Kobe. I haven't heard anything about Lopez begging out of NJ.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 3:12 PM

The Rockets turn a soft, injury-prone, bad for team chemistry T-Mac into a re-signed Artest, a couple of decent role players, and Brendan. Brendan is much, much more than a "marginal backup". Brendan is capable of playing 25-30 minutes per night and getting the Rockets to the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, a rested, healthy Yao can take over. Personally, I will be very interested to see how Brendan does when he has a bunch of really good, really responsive defenders playing in front of him. I think he's a much better fit with Houston than with us.

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 3:39 PM

You'll see the Sixer's in the finals before you see the Wizard's now that they have a better coach(EJ).

Posted by: dargregmag | June 2, 2009 3:42 PM

If the trade is almost, but not quite, good enough for all of the parties involved, it can be tweaked with "cash considerations" and swaps of draft picks, including future picks. Future draft picks can be protected to various degrees. There may be assets overseas, like Veremeenko.

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 3:52 PM

"Brendan is much, much more than a "marginal backup"."

Not on a team with Yao Ming he's not.

"Brendan is much, much more than a "marginal backup". Brendan is capable of playing 25-30 minutes per night and getting the Rockets to the playoffs."

The Rockets are quite capable of getting to the playoffs without Haywood, as they've proven. And there's not a chance in hell Haywood would play 25-30 mpg because, since he can't play PF, every minute he plays is a minute Yao doesn't play, and there's no way the Rockets win with Yao playing fewer than 25 mpg.

"a couple of decent role players"

Who? Jeffries and Dooling? Please. Jeffries would be their 3rd string SF behind Battier and Artest and Dooling would be their 3rd string PG behind Brooks and Lowry. And Robinson is a terrible fit for Houston's defense first, half-court offense oriented scheme. He'd get beaten like a drum on defense and, without the benefit of a constant green light and a wide-open, anything goes scoring attack, would be negligible, at best, on offense.

McGrady has a 20+ mill contract that expires at the end of next season. The Rockets won't get full value for him in a trade, but they can get a hell of a lot more than a bunch of backups, most of whom will rarely see the floor.

And BTW, that deal does nothing to help them re-sign Artest this summer.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 3:56 PM

"If the trade is almost, but not quite, good enough for all of the parties involved, "

Like most fan trades, the only "party" it benefits is the favorite team of the person suggesting the trade. It's a terrible deal for everyone else involved.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 3:59 PM

"You'll see the Sixer's in the finals before you see the Wizard's now that they have a better coach(EJ).

Posted by: dargregmag | June 2, 2009 3:42 PM


Don't know why people are still pissing and moaning over Eddie Jordan...

It was time to move on the day he was fired.

He's been gone now for a good while now. Time to cut off the lights on that "Eddie shouldn't have been fired, Eddie is better than Flip" nonsense.

Eddie is not shedding tears because he's isn't in D.C. anymore. I don't know why some can't understand that sometimes a relationship runs it's course. Once is done, it is done.

Eddie Jordan will have success with the 76ers, I believe. He's got a real PG to work with -- if Andre Miller returns, and overall he has a more talented and more well built team than he did in Washington.

Do not cry for Eddie Jordan. He doesn't hear you, nor does he care. But keep filling that creekbed with your tears if it floats your boat.

Posted by: RedDMV | June 2, 2009 4:25 PM

Houston without Yao pushed the Lakers to the brink. They're definitely a playoff team with Brendan playing the majority of the regular season minutes at center.

The trade saves Houston $5 or $6 million in salary next year, depending on how much it costs to sign Nate Robinson. That gives the Rockets a total of $11-$13 million under the luxury tax to re-sign Artest. Plenty.

Nate Robinson is actually a surprisingly good defender. Pesky and willing to take a charge. He even rebounds, almost 4 per game last year, and contests shots- didn't he block Yao once?

Houston plays Artest at the 2. Jeffries would be the backup 3 behind Battier.

Dooling is a throw-in because the Nets want to get rid of all of their contracts that reduce their 2010 cap space.

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 4:26 PM

"The trade saves Houston $5 or $6 million in salary next year, depending on how much it costs to sign Nate Robinson. That gives the Rockets a total of $11-$13 million under the luxury tax to re-sign Artest. Plenty."

Except that (A) Artest is a FA this summer not next, (B) It can't save them $5-$6 mill in salary next season because the salaries on both sides have to match up, and (C)without making a single move the Rockets will have a payroll of under $65 mill next season, more than enough to sign Artest to an MLE deal without going over the luxury tax.

"They're definitely a playoff team with Brendan playing the majority of the regular season minutes at center."

So now they're trading for Haywood so he can replace Yao?

Okay, I'm now going to assume that this whole thing is a joke, because such a suggestion is much to ridiculous to even pretend to take seriously.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 4:38 PM

The trade saves Houston $5 or $6 million in salary for 2009-2010 (next year). That gives them space to sign Artest for the 2009-2010 season.

Artest is going to want more than the MLE.

In trades, teams cannot take in more than 125%+$100k of the salary that they send out. This is what the Knicks contribute to the deal. They are taking on that extra 25% of salary (and taking the luxury tax hit).

Haywood will not be replacing Yao. Brendan is playing lots of regular season minutes to keep Yao healthy for the playoffs. He can also step in and start if/when Yao gets hurt.

Posted by: yop32 | June 2, 2009 4:48 PM

"The trade saves Houston $5 or $6 million in salary for 2009-2010 (next year)."

How, exactly does it do that?

"That gives them space to sign Artest for the 2009-2010 season."

And, as I pointed out, they already have space to re-sign Artest to a market value deal without going over the luxury tax.

"Artest is going to want more than the MLE."

Doesn't matter what he wants. In the current down economic climate, that's likely the most he can expect. Anything more than that is going to franchise making players, and Artest isn't one. Also, the contract he's playing on now is an MLE deal, and he's not as good a player now as he was when he signed that deal.

"Haywood will not be replacing Yao. Brendan is playing lots of regular season minutes to keep Yao healthy for the playoffs. He can also step in and start if/when Yao gets hurt."

(A) That's a different tune than the one you were just singing, about Haywood playing the majority of the minute, (B) It's nonsense because Haywood cannot come close to replacing Yao's offense. But that's fine because it only reinforces my point: On the Rockets, Haywood is a short minutes backup, nothing more.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 2, 2009 4:58 PM

Keep Haywood & Jamison. We haven't seen a healthy team in 2 years and no one knows how good we can be. If anything, we need to trade bad contracts and the pick (although I think Jordan Hill will surpass Amare...bad eye and knee). To get deep in the post season, we need bigs with good basketball IQ's. Maybe AJ will restructure. We don't need Lopez, VC, and definatly not Eddie Curry. Can you say BUST?

Posted by: Gooddad | June 2, 2009 4:59 PM

The last time the Wiz won the championship they picked up an all-star piece, Bobby Dandridge. They need to add an all-star piece now without subtracting an all-star piece to make it happen again. An experienced point guard and some rebounding and toughness are needed too. Let's hope it happens. It is worth more than money to Abe! He deserves another championship.

Posted by: JoeC2 | June 2, 2009 6:24 PM

30 more if OPLLIN has anything to do with it.

Posted by: glawrence007 | June 2, 2009 6:38 PM

Thanks for giving us something with details to discuss Yo!

The most intriguing part is that two guys with a history of heart concerns are getting swapped. How can we work Turriaf and Mobely into the deal? Expriring contracts...ha

Posted by: cballer | June 2, 2009 8:02 PM

Here is the only trade that makes any sense for both teams.
Wizards trade the 5th and 33rd picks plus…
Mike James 6,466,600
Blatche 3,000,000
Nick Young 1,714,800
Total 11,181,400
To the Pistons for the 15th pick and…
RIP 11,375,000

The trade works financially and considering AI and Wallace are gone Detroit is rebuilding and needs bodies and draft picks. Dumars is a class guy and would want RIP to have a chance at another title. The Wizards need a 2 guard who can shoot and with a lineup like they would have who would the other team guard?
PG Arenas, Crittenton
SG RIP, Stevenson
SF Butler, McGuire, OP
PF Jamison, Songaila, Thomas
C BTH, McGee

Draft…Ty Lawson and Gil can play at the 2 spot

This also clears some roster spots to sign a vet at the min. Yes, Abe you are going over the cap.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | June 2, 2009 10:13 PM

that should be

Yes, Abe you are going over the cap if you want to win a championship.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | June 2, 2009 10:16 PM

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 2, 2009 11:16 PM

The Larry O'brien Trophy is just missing for the last 30 years. Eventually it will find it's way home.D.C needs a parade!!!

Posted by: jeremydvid | June 2, 2009 11:36 PM

Houston saves money by sending out more salary in the trade than they take back in.

Since trades are a zero sum game, that means that one (or more) of the other teams involved in the trade must be taking in more salary than it is sending out. That team is the Knicks.

The Knicks are trading away approximately $22 million in salaries. The exact amount will depend on Nate Robinson's free agent deal. On the other side of the ledger, they are taking on $26.9 million in salary. 26.9/22 = 122%, which complies with the requirement of 125%+$100k.

Posted by: yop32 | June 3, 2009 6:53 AM

Artest is currently paid significantly more than the MLE. He is just finishing up the long term contract that he signed with Indiana at the end of his rookie contract.

Artest is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. With Houston this year, he has been a model teammate and has shown the ability to control his temper even after the provocation of rough play and undeserved flagrant fouls. He is only 29, but this will probably be his last long term contract. Artest is going to demand, and get, much more than the MLE. Besides, even if you could force him to take less, do you really want a disgruntled Ron Artest on your team?

Posted by: yop32 | June 3, 2009 7:08 AM

I imagine Yao starting and finishing games, but his minutes need to be strictly regulated. At the start of the season, only play him 10-12 minutes per game, then slowly ramp his minutes up to 30 per game for the playoffs. No minutes at all in the second game of back to backs. The remaining minutes, the bulk of the regular season minutes, go to Haywood.

Posted by: yop32 | June 3, 2009 7:19 AM

yop:"I imagine Yao starting and finishing games, but his minutes need to be strictly regulated. At the start of the season, only play him 10-12 minutes per game, then slowly ramp his minutes up to 30 per game for the playoffs. No minutes at all in the second game of back to backs. The remaining minutes, the bulk of the regular season minutes, go to Haywood."

Geez -- looks like somebody's broken into the pixie dust again. I suppose the Libertarians want it back.

Houston could put out a press release. "The reason Yao is only playing 10 minutes a game is because we're saving him for later in the season when the games actually count. We're happy you fans who paid all that money for season tickets give away the entire first half of the season to people you don't like or are seeking to punish by making them pay for parking and concessions to watch Brendan Haywood."

I'm sure it would boost TV ratings, too.

Good thinking, my friend. It's always appropriate to suggest that somebody else take one for the team.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 3, 2009 7:44 AM

Fans will put up with a lot as long as the team is winning. Brendan is good enough to ensure that the Rockets keep winning even with Yao only playing limited minutes.

Posted by: yop32 | June 3, 2009 8:19 AM

yop: "Fans will put up with a lot as long as the team is winning. Brendan is good enough to ensure that the Rockets keep winning even with Yao only playing limited minutes."

You must be watching a different Houston team. The one I saw in the playoffs was offensively challenged whenever Yao was not in the game. He makes Scola and Artest more effective by drawing defenders to him, and he makes it possible for the outside shooters to get open looks.

In fact, I might even go so far as to argue that Yao is the most dominant inside player in the game today. Dwight Howard included.

Brendan is a defensive center who's at greatest value on a team full of scorers.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 3, 2009 8:44 AM

I agree about Yao's dominance, especially at the end of the game. His free throw shooting is a huge factor there.

Yao's weakness has proven to be injuries. He went down this year due to a stress fracture, an overuse injury. Clearly he needs to be playing fewer minutes. Brendan can take up the slack and keep the team playing at a high level.

Houston without Yao is still a very good team. After Yao went down, the Rockets took two games out of four from the Lakers. The biggest matchup problem was Chuck Hayes against Pau Gasol. The 6'-6" Hayes could not keep the 7' Pau Gasol from scoring or off the boards. Switch in Haywood instead of Hayes, and maybe the Rockets are still playing this postseason.

Posted by: yop32 | June 3, 2009 10:41 AM

Before I say some thing about the trade recomendation on BH, i would like to tell you some other false hope from the clippers.They are trying to get rid of Davis, they have been working with memphis to send their 1st pick and davis to memphis.Washington also had a cross road talk to go up to #2 for memphis to take JM and our pick.In the mean time the clippers front office has a talk about taking Arenas, yes our Arenas to LA for davis and the 1st pick, they aslo want to take NY and send their last year point gard since he is not going to get significant minutes with Arenas.The talk is still on the air, our GM is hesitating to the deal rather trying to make a deal on The dallas howard with jordan HIll. I personaly do not think howard's offense is going to help us from the 2 position but i have a great respect to his defense.
BH is one of the top 7 experianced centers in NBA, he is not expenssive, He is not going to ask big money but long term contract, i do not think our front office will have a problem to sign him next year.
why do you like to trade him? Are you trying to make our court more open for haward?BH is not a talented player but he is well coached in college and in NBA, his importance in washington has been clearly evident by going down from 43 wins to 19 wins when he was out.Yes, you are going to argue about Mason and stevenson injury but we were like 10th in offenssivew rebound the other season and 20th in rebound, we became last in both when he is out.He was not the one who was pulling the rebounds but he is boxing out and taking a lot of space for our fast guys to rebound it.
In this season eastern confrence final, if the big Z was fast enough or strong enough to alter atleast 3 baskets from Haward in one game orlando would not have been in this position.In basket ball game the little things that can not be picked by stat. are very important.Haywood had a great machup history with big Z, Haward .
The last player I will involve in trade is BH.

Posted by: gtefferra | June 3, 2009 6:02 PM

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