Roundtable: Disappointing players
Baron Davis, Eddy Curry rank among biggest disappointments of 2008-09 season
Offseason could prove busy for teams looking to unload high-salaried players
Debating Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's motives in criticizing referees and teams
SI.com NBA writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the league each week. (All stats and records are through Monday.)
1. Excluding players who have been hurt most of the year, who has left you feeling he could have accomplished more this season than he did?
Ian Thomsen: My first thought is to look at the Phoenix Suns, who have too much talent -- Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, Amar'e Stoudemire, Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Leandro Barbosa -- to be missing the playoffs. But you can't criticize them without also blaming a number of management decisions that affected the style of play.
Eddy Curry has had a horrible year personally, and he is deserving of sympathy. But professionally he arrived to camp overweight and never recovered. Baron Davis has been fighting injuries, but overall the year he's had affirms the decision by the Warriors to not give him a long-term deal last summer.
Jack McCallum: Boy, this is a tough one. Can you be disappointed in someone you didn't believe in that much to begin with? (Hello, New York's Chris Duhon.) Can you be disappointed in someone who's having a pretty good statistical season? (Hello, Toronto's Chris Bosh.) Can you be disappointed in someone who you're almost always disappointed in? (Hello, Detroit's Rasheed Wallace.) Can you be disappointed in someone who has stopped being a gunner and now doesn't shoot enough? (Hello, Minnesota's Mike Miller.) And can you be disappointed in someone while acknowledging that he has had injury problems? (Hello, Detroit's Allen Iverson and the Clippers' Davis).
Hmm, I guess I just gave my list.
Chris Mannix: Curry pocketed $9.7 million of James Dolan's cash this season and for that he has given the Knicks a grand total of five minutes. Yes, Curry was hampered by a knee injury early in the season, but he has been healthy for weeks (if not months) and still can't crack a lineup that is desperate (repeat, desperate) for fresh, healthy bodies. Curry didn't do himself any favors by showing up to training camp overweight; he never recovered from that. Curry has two years and $21.8 million left on his contract, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Knicks try to negotiate a buyout with him if they believe he isn't committed to getting back into shape.
Steve Aschburner: My default response to this sort of question is Rasheed. I'm convinced we never have and never will see the best of him, based on sheer ability and reachable potential, because he doesn't burn to be great. OK, now that I've got that off my chest, I'm nominating Davis. In what was supposed to be an exciting Clippers resurgence and serious Staples Center synergy with the Lakers, Davis' arrival has been a flop. The Clips were 8-23 through December, 2-11 while their $65 million point guard nursed a tailbone injury, then 8-20. Now Davis is out with a calf strain and stomach ulcers. How do you think those paying him, and paying to watch him, feel? His 15.4 ppg is Davis' lowest since his second season and his 36.9 percent field-goal shooting is the worst of his career. I'm not cutting him slack for the injuries, I know, but guys who underachieve seem to get hurt more, and stay hurt longer, in this league.
2. Talk has swirled since the trade deadline that some big-name, big-salaried players could be dealt for financial reasons as much as basketball ones. Who are some players you foresee moving this summer under those circumstances?
Ian Thomsen: Bosh could be dealt, depending on Toronto's strategy moving forward. In his case, he would be traded if the Raptors believed he was going to leave in 2010. Cleveland also could make a move with Ben Wallace, who has a big expiring contract worth $14 million next season. The Suns are obviously loaded with expiring contracts (Shaq, Stoudemire, Nash) that could be moved. Elsewhere, New Jersey's Vince Carter and Milwaukee's Michael Redd or Richard Jefferson will be some of the more expensive names on the market. There will be a number of players making less than $10 million who will be available, and because the market will be so crowded, their teams shouldn't expect to receive much value in return.
Jack McCallum: Well, allowing for the fact that you need at least one other team to make a trade, and that draft-lottery placement will be a factor -- in other words, at this point no one knows anything -- this would be my list: Jermaine O'Neal, Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady and Carter. (Of course, I mention Carter ever year.) Despite the speculation that is sure to surround Phoenix, I don't see the Suns getting sufficient return to deal either Nash or Shaq.
Chris Mannix: I've been hearing whispers that the losses being incurred by many teams are a lot more substantial than what is being reported, so I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few players with sizable contracts are unloaded for cheaper alternatives. Especially since there will be a few buyers out there, specifically Detroit, Oklahoma City and Memphis.
As to who might be on the move, if the Raptors are convinced that Bosh isn't interested in re-signing in 2010, I think they will listen to offers. The Hornets were willing to deal Tyson Chandler for 25 cents on the dollar last month, so I can't see any reason for them not to put him on the market this summer, especially when at least eight teams called to express interest in the 7-foot-1 center. And with the Suns still trying to decide if they want to be Dr. Jekyll (a half-court team) or Mr. Hyde (an up-tempo team), Stoudemire could find himself back on the market. So, too, might Nash, who has a contract that expires in 2010.
Steve Aschburner: Chandler would be gone from New Orleans now if not for that darn big toe of his, so he figures to be on the block again, for the same monetary reason as in February. Another possibility, whose team has both financial and basketball motives, is Chicago's Kirk Hinrich, who is making $10 million this season, has three more years on his deal and has way more value for another club than he does in a Bulls backcourt rotation.
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