Answering your questions (cont.)
Posted: Friday November 23, 2007 1:16PM; Updated: Tuesday November 27, 2007 11:56AM
I keep hearing rumors Isiah Thomas might get fired. Is [MSG president] Jim Dolan finally ready to pull the plug? And if so who would be in line to replace Thomas as coach and GM?
It wouldn't surprise me. Thomas has been walking around like a man headed to the gallows ever since his conviction on the sexual harassment case. The Knicks' dismal record this season, and the Marbury incident, have only added to the gloom in the Garden. With the New York crowd booing on a nightly basis, Dolan might have to do something soon. As for replacements, Knicks assistant Herb Williams would be a fine choice to run the team as coach at least on an interim basis. For the role of team president, the names mentioned most often include former Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe, current Knicks assistant GM (and former Raptors boss) Glen Grunwald and Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh.
I just got finished watching Shaq labor up and down the court for the Heat, and I can't help but wonder if he's washed up. He just doesn't seem to have it anymore. What do you think? Can he still be the World's Most Dominant?
We'll find as much WMD in Miami this season as we did in Baghdad. Shaq is 35, with a lot of mileage on those legs. It is unrealistic to expect him to play like he did even two or three years ago. That being said, he's still 7-foot-1 and 350 pounds with considerable skill and knowledge of how to play the game. He can be a factor the rest of the way. He'll have some big nights, now and then, such as Nov. 9 against the Suns when he had 25 points, 10 boards, three assists and three blocks. But he'll also have those nights of 10 points and three boards, like he did Nov. 14 against the Sonics. The bottom line is, if the Heat are going to get back in it, Dwyane Wade is going to have to do the heavy lifting.
What did you think of the Lakers' trading Brian Cook and Maurice Evans to the Magic for Trevor Ariza? I don't think it's going to placate Kobe Bryant. Is Mitch Kupchak just trying to make it look like he's staying busy?
It's a trade that won't tilt the balance of power in either the East or West but makes sense for both teams. With Tony Battie out for the season with an injury, and the slender Rashard Lewis manning the power forward spot, the Magic felt they needed another reserve big man. Cook was available, and his outside shooting touch (even if he wasn't showing it this season) should make him a good fit in coach Stan Van Gundy's system. Evans, meanwhile, fills Ariza's role as a backup to Hedo Turkoglu at the small forward spot. As for the Lakers, they pick up the best prospect of the three in Ariza. He can't shoot a lick, but he can defend and run the floor. It also saves L.A. some money since Ariza has just one more year (and $3.1 million) left on his deal while Cook is owed $10.1 million over the next three years.
Can the Wizards still make the playoffs now that Gilbert Arenas is going to miss the next three months because of knee surgery?
The Wizards are toast. Unless GM Ernie Grunfeld pulls off some kind of major trade, I don't see Washington making the playoffs this season. Antonio Daniels is a competent point guard, but he's no Agent Zero. Plus, his move to the starting lineup leaves the bench too depleted. The real interesting thing will be to see whether Grunfeld decides to blow it up completely. Keep in mind, Antawn Jamison is a free agent after the season. Arenas had indicated he would opt out of his contract after the season to become a free agent as well. It might be time for the Wizards to make a major overhaul.
Sure, trading Marbury would be difficult, but isn't it viable if another GM is looking to dump bad contracts and/or malcontents?
Yes, it's possible. In the NBA these days there is no such thing as an untradable player. Some team might want to take on Marbury knowing his contract comes off the books after next season. The '09 free-agent crop looks like it could be a good one, with several big-name players (including Kobe) having opt-out clauses that would make them free agents. The idea is that some team might decide to take Marbury's contract, which pays $21 million in that final season, then use it clear some significant cap room to make a run at one of those guys.
Any truth to the rumors that the Blazers might be interested in Marbury?
The Blazers have been mentioned as a possibility, mainly because owner Paul Allen has the deep pockets to buy out Marbury (like he did for Steve Francis). But Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard has said he has no interest, and I believe him. For one, it's too early to know what the '09 free-agent class will look like. Plus, the Blazers or any team that might want to trade for Marbury's contract would still have to give up some players to make the contracts match up. Obviously the Knicks would have to be willing to accept those players (and their contracts) in return. It makes for a very difficult situation for Portland, or any other team.