‘Dr. Dino’ a.k.a. James Borbath from Dino Nation Blog, is a Broadcast Journalism Grad turned basketball blogger. He has worked as the publisher and writer of the Dino Nation Blog for almost 2 years. Dino Nation Blog is part of the sports federation of theScore.com. James also live blogs many NBA games for The Score.
The NBA Free Agency period is in full effect. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger moves thus far and i’ll offer some of my analysis on them. Let’s kick it off up north here with Hedo Turkoglu and the Raptors.
Hedo Turkoglu to Raptors
You may think, I am going to be over the moon about this move. However, I am far from it. In order to sign Hedo away from under the nose of the Portland Trailblazers the Raptors had to pay a big price, 53 million for 5 years is a big and long contract for a guy that is 30. But it is not just that. Raptors will have to renounce the contracts of Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker, Joey Graham, Carlos Delfino and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. But that is not all, the Raptors also unless they can work some crazy sign and trade with for Shawn Marion, they will not have use of there Mid Level Exception. So, that is 6 assets the Raptors have given up to get 1 in Hedo. This is not Dwight Howard it is Hedo. If Raptors did this in a trade, it would be seen as nuts. This move also now makes Raptors draft pick Demar DeRozan the starting shooting guard, backed up by Quincy Douby. Raptors are banking on players slipping through cracks in free agency and sign guys to minimum deals, to address a glaring lack of depth at the 2 and 3 spots. Raps may be in same spot as last year, one injury away from doom. This move should make them a playoff team, but beyond that I am not even sold this gets them out of first round. The East is a lot better and The Raptors are still a team that is in the bottom half of playoff mix. If you look at it realistically.
Ben Gordon and Charlie Villianueva to Pistons
Joe Dumars fires Micheal Curry and is the first to dive into free agent pool, signing the two former UConn products who won a title together with the Huskies. Honestly, what is going on with the Pistons? I mean Gordon and Villanueva both are streaky and unpredictable talents. I like both as players, but do I like them enough to pass on the free agent pool in 2010? No chance in hell. Joe Dumars was once considered one of the smartest and G.M’s in the league. His star shines much brighter than that of his ex-back court mate Isiah Thomas in terms of front office work. But of late, Dumars is on the decline and may be in a free fall that he can not escape from. I don’t understand what the Pistons are thinking and they just seem a team that has lost his way. The ill fated Iverson deal was thought to be a ticket for the Pistons being a player in the free agent pool in 2010. Bosh and even LBJ had been names talked about. Well not anymore. Pistons have until further notice taken themselves out of the mix.
Ron Artest to Lakers
Peoples reaction to this deal was like…WOW!!!. That was pretty much mine as well. When the news came out that Yao Ming was gone next year and his career itself being in doubt. It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Ron Artest instantly became in play for teams outside of Houston. I was dreaming as a Raptor fan that Ron Artest may end up in Toronto. However, Ron Artest said he has made his money and he wants to win a ring. In the true spirit of if you can’t beat them join them, Artest comes to the Lakers. What might be even more important than Ron coming himself. This got Phil Jackson off the fence and a day later he announced he was coming back. It is said he had medical tests come back, but the timing of signing Artest and his announcement seems to good to be true. Phil of course took someone who can rival Artest, in terms of being unpredictable, in Dennis Rodman and made that work with the Bulls. The most crazy thing I remember Rodman doing was showing up on Monday Nitro (the WCW wrestling show) the night before a playoff game. Jackson never said a thing about it that I remember. Ron may be a whole new challenge, and Phil is not as young as he use to be. However, if the presence of Artest is why Phil is back, the Lakers are better for it. Much better than that idea of Phil coaching part time. Ron Artest is no doubt a full time job. But if he does not have dreams of becoming a movie producer, or any other strange things he may want to try in L.A, this can work. Ron Artest is a very talented guy, beyond all the extra stuff that is Ron Ron. I dare any reporter to ask Ron Artest if he still thinks Brandon Roy is better than Kobe now? Oh the fun that this could be.
Trevor Ariza to Houston
So Artest in L.A made it impossible for Lakers to have both Odom and Ariza back, so Ariza was on the market. Portland and Toronto locked in a war to the death for Hedo Turkoglu, all of the sudden had a very attractive option instead. The word is that the Raptors had offered him as much as 9 million more than what Houston would eventually give him. I have no doubt Portland had an over in as well. Ariza for whatever reason decided to head to Houston. He did not seem thrilled with his former team. He said he went to Houston to prove a point. Not sure what that point is beyond he does not like money, or maybe he doesn’t like Canada. Yeah I will say it now. Ariza will get booed out of the building at the ACC this season when Houston comes calling. If Tracy McGrady is healthy he can offer advice to him how to handle it. McGrady was pre-Vince Carter leaving the most hated man in Toronto. I still don’t like him to be honest. Anyway, back to Ariza and why he does this? Arron Brooks is a nice player. But honestly with no Yao and McGrady always a question mark why do you go to Houston for less money. It is a mystery with no answer at this point. Least not on the makes any sense.
Rasheed Wallace to Celtics
Before we get to Sheed I just want to say NBA needs to do what they do in NHL. Let guys sign right away and end all this waiting for a week nonsense. Now on to the Celtics. They went full out to bring Wallace into the fold and I think this is a match that makes sense. I was hearing Celtics have lost, or were going to lose Glen “Big Baby” Davis to the Spurs. I guess he didn’t like K.G making him cry after all. But Sheed is a massive upgrade from a Davis. Hard to remember what the Celtics truly look like with all the injuries. Leon Powe will be back along with K.G. Wallace really fits the whole Celtic attitude which borders on total arrogance. The only question I have is if the Celtics do win a title is Sheed buying title belts again? That was great and a moment not lost on the WWE that referenced what he had done back when the Pistons won their title. The belts were actually copies of the World Championship Belt still used in the WWE today. Who has the wrestling title now? I don’t have a clue as I no longer take an active interest in wrestling.
So those are some of the major moves that have went down to this point. Some players still out there? Shawn Marion, Allen Iverson, Anderson Varejao and many more. The two most interesting for me will be Shawn Marion and Allen Iverson. A.I has once again stated he has little interest in being a bench player and basically whoever signs him better start him. That leaves very few options for him. He has said if he can not find a team that wants him as a starter he would likely consider retiring. If he did that would be truly sad for all fans of the sport in my view.
Marion is going to be interesting in where he ends up and for how much. The salary numbers being rumored he was seeking to stay in Toronto seemed high. The question I have with Shawn is will he leave cash on the table to be on a contender or not. Not sure but I do like the guy and he is one of a few NBA players who has responded to my Tweets. He is @Matrix31 and I am @dinonationblog look us both up. In closing, on Canada Day (July 1) I had a chance to talk with Andre Aldridge of NBA-TV on my blog. I admit we do talk a lot of Raps. But it is a good interview and worth checking out.
You folks in America are coming off the 4th of July and I hope you had a good one. If you have a topic you’d like me to cover next week leave a comment or track me down on Twitter. See you next week.