On The Playoffs…
Not a whole lot going on in Thunderland so the goal from here out is to use this space to air my thoughts, opinions and analysis on all things NBA playoffs. If I’m any good at what I do there should be some sort of Thunder relation to a good amount of my thoughts. Bare with me.
I thought much of the first round was predictable and borderline boring. Celtics-Bulls and Portland-Houston really being the only exceptions. The only other first-round series I found halfway compelling was the Nuggets-Hornets series, but only because I watched in complete amazement at how thoroughly Denver thumped New Orleans.
ABOUT THE HORNETS
Time to blow it up. The front office made several win-now moves after drafting Chris Paul in an attempt to fast forward through the rebuilding phase — The Tyson Chandler trade. The Peja signing. The Morris Peterson signing. The Posey signing. The Hornets had their taste of success last year but injuries and underachieving plagued them this season. Now New Orleans is stuck with ailing and aging players and really only has Paul and David West as building blocks for the future. But blowing it up is much easier said than done. Stojakovic will be 32 in June and has a bad back and an even worse contract ($29.5 million remaining over the final two years). Posey is 32 and has three years and $19.4 million left on the four-year, $25 million deal he signed last summer. And Morris Peterson, who also turns 32 this summer, has two years and $12.8 million remaining on his contract.
The Hornets were super aggressive in assembling their current roster and could be paying the price for the next two seasons. Seeing how things are potentially playing out in New Orleans should make Thunder fans happy that OKC has chosen to take the exact opposite route. Rather than bypassing the rebuilding phase through pricey signings for a one- or two-year shot at a title, OKC is taking its two, three or even four-year lumps now while building a team that can contend for eight to 10 years.
ABOUT THE CAVS
The Cleveland Cavaliers are making the entire Eastern Conference playoffs a bit of a yawner, with sweeps against Detroit and Atlanta en route to what will be an inevitable trip to the NBA Finals regardless of whether it’s Orlando or Boston they draw next.
About the only thing that interests me about the Cavs’ cakewalk to NBA Finals is the play of Delonte West. The fifth-year guard is averaging 13.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in the playoffs. I’m sure much of his success can be attributed to playing alongside LeBron James. But West is talented nonetheless. And my question is why didn’t Sam Presti keep this guy rather than essentially giving him away in that three-team, 11-player mega deal that sent Ben Wallace to Cleveland in February 2008? West was described as “disgruntled” by Seattle media prior to the trade and reportedly never embraced P.J. Carlesimo’s system. (Who did?) But you think the Thunder couldn’t use West’s defense and perimeter shooting? He was set to become a restricted free agent when the Sonics traded him, and Cleveland later signed him to a relatively cheap three-year deal worth just under $13 million, starting at just $3.8 million this season. And West doesn’t turn 26 until July 26. Wonder if Presti wishes he had that one back?
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