By Craig Kwasniewski
One week into July and there's been a flurry of player movement... okay not really a flurry more like a trickle. (Outside of the first 10 picks of the draft has there been a more boring off-season?) Anyway, here's my thoughts on some of the hot stove action in the NBA:
Zach Randolph to the New York Knicks: Z-Bo to the Knicks... Let me just say this, come February or March the New York tabloids will be looking for headlines for the back pages and they'll all be waiting earnestly for Randolph's third or fourth misstep (they'll already be a few by then). Basketball-wise, did the NBA change the rules and widen the key to 47 feet? Unless Eddy Curry developed a sick mid-range game (and drops 50 lbs.) I can't see both Curry and Z-Bo meshing on the floor. This will not end well in Gotham.
Luke Walton re-signs with the Lakers: Six years at $30 million for a starting small forward seems like a good deal. The only problem I see in this is the length of the contract. First, he's a Walton and we all know the health record of Bill Walton (Dare I say horrrrribbblllleee terrrrribble!). Also, Walton is a great fit in the Triangle Offense, but I can't see Phil Jackson sticking around longer than 3 years. So what happens with the new coach? Will a new system hide his lack of athleticism or will he be relegated to the pine? The upside is the extremely high basketball I.Q., but how does that stop a Kevin Durant from slicing down the lane for a thunderous dunk?
Kapono reaches agreement with Raptors: I'm not too sure about this one. Because Bryan Colangelo's one of the best GM's in the NBA I'll give him a pass. But in reality, the Raps got a one-dimensional jump shooter who had a career year simply because opposing defenses doubled off him to guard Shaq. He can't create his own shot, he's not really a smart player and he's can't play defense... other than that 4 years at $24 million is a steal. Again, Bryan Colangelo gets a pass because of what he's done in Toronto.
Rashard Lewis signs with Orlando: A potentially third-best player on a team for a max contract? I'd say it was a good deal if the Magic got Lewis for $10 mil., but he's not worth a max. contract. A 6-10 guy with range who prefers to play behind the three-point line... don't they already have that for a lot cheaper in Hedo Turkoglu? Obviously, the Magic are looking to spread out the defense for Dwight Howard in the pivot by loading up on players with range. But why not sign someone like Kapono and save the dough for a quality point guard? Plus, the Magic sould be worried about Lewis' disappearing act in the 2005 playoffs with some random injuries.
Grant Hill signs with Phoenix: This looks more like a deal done to prevent other Western Conference contenders from signing Grant Hill. I can't see him fitting with the fast-paced style of the Suns. He's not a great jump shooter and he's got more of a slow-it-up-and-check-the-defense-before-slashing-to-the-hole type of offensive game. I really thought he'd fit well with the Lakers and the Triangle Offense or possibly with Dallas or San Antonio. Otherwise, I see him playing the role of the 2006-07 Jalen Rose and having AWESOME courtside seats.
Stackhouse agrees to stay with Mavericks: I had to finish with a deal that I loved (see... I'm not cracking on every single off-season move!). Stack's the only Mav with a pair and they needed to re-sign him. Now if only he could toughen up Dirk this off-season.