June 14, 2007

You Know Your Town Is Dangerous When You See The Strangest Kid Come Home From Doin The Bid And Nothing Changes

I've been completely remiss in discussing the greatest MC to ever walk the earth, The GZA. So that's going to change.

Perhaps one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, Liquid Swords is pretty much non-stop word flow and expansion of parameters. From the beginning, The Genius was always about getting you to think about his rhymes. There were things buried within the content, truisms not only about life, but about eastern philosophy and global thought. Only it was never forced, it was never "heady". It just happened, he flows like a prophet, without having to call himself a prophet. That's what elevates him, I think, in the hip hop game - because he can spit just about anything he wants and it always comes off as wise. Despite being just about the least approachable member of the Wu - what with guys like Method and Ghostface willing to get right in your face - GZA carved a place out for himself long before rappers were getting into serious shit. I read an interview with the RZA a while back ahd when asked what The Genius was up to, he said "he's just layin low, playin chess, smokin blunts, you know". The mystery of shadowboxing, indeed.

Anyway, a trade went down last night, and it was obvious KG has been heard, because the Wolves definitely have their back, but now it's time to watch their front.

(oh man, that was the sleepiest segway of all time)

The front court is in shambles.

FLASHBACK THROUGH TIME **********

1998

Tom Hammonds
Sam Mitchell
Dean Garrett
Rasho Nesterovic

Summary - The front court is in shambles.

2001

Marc Jackson
Joe Smith
Gary Trent
Loren Woods

Summary - The front court is in shambles.

2006

Mark Blount
Mark Madsen
Justin Reed
Craig Smith

Summary - The front court is in shambles.

***************************

It doesn't matter how far back you go, the best our front court has ever been was when we had Big Swerve in the paint and KG and Spree roaming like lions. That's it. And even then, defensively, that wasn't that great. Throughout history, the front court has been so incredibly bad for the Wolves, it gets to the point where getting Juwan Goddamned Howard gets me excited. Why? Because he stays down there. Because it appears that he can control his bladder when someone big approaches him. Because although he is absolutely one of the most un-exciting players in the NBA, he does his job, whatever that has been, throughout his career. Would you rather have him or C-Webb? And I'm not just talking about time-out-taking skills.

Here's a blast from the past: I actually used to own a #25 Michigan jersey, because I always thought Howard was the class of the Fab 5. Well, he certainly didn't cash as many checks as C-Webb (both during and after college), and didn't piss as many people off as Jalen Rose, but he's had a notable NBA career, and still plays decent minutes for a 34 year old.

The key to this trade is to look beyond the basics. Simply put, we traded Mike James, a 31 year old point guard who had been marginalized by the emergence of Randy Foye and the fact that we have a high first round pick this year, for Juwan Howard, a guy who had been marginalized on his own team by age and similar circumstances. But it's the contracts that matter. With James we get out from three more years of pain.

Right now, the Wolves have 4 absolutely albatross contracts:

Mark Blount - 3 more years, roughly 7mil per year
Troy Hudson - 3 more years, roughly 6.5mil per year
Marko Jaric - 4 more years, roughly 7mil per year
Mike James - 3 more years, roughly 6mil per year

Right now, and for the rest of the offseason, their mission absolutely has to be to get out from as many of these contracts as possible. They have to be willing to accept WHATEVER teams can give to them. Even if it means Steve Francis. That's right.

If they have to trade for Steve Francis, and they can get rid of two or more of those listed above (James already being gone), then it works. Steve's only got two more years, and he'll be a very tradeable piece if he mans up with KG. I would do it in a heartbeat, but ONLY if it means dumping nearly all of those guys listed above. The Wolves have to think long-term right now, something not usually done by a deceased GM. The product on the floor isn't going to matter. KG isn't going to matter. If you don't dump those guys above, it isn't going to make a lick of difference if KG is here or not, because you'll still be committing as much money as you paid him to three total scumbags. The argument isn't about swinging a big deal for immediate help. The argument has to be to free themselves to do something, anything in the open market. First, they have to dump. Those 4 players listed above are not going to increase their value anymore, and in all four cases, they have dropped their value considerably since signing their contracts. Specifically Troy... he would not be able to sign a contract to play in the NBA were he a free agent this season. Blount is borderline. Jaric could catch on somewhere as a backup. And James is the best of the 4. And we just traded him.

I'm happy about this trade. Now we have a more tradeable piece in Howard, and he can be packaged with other guys (oh wait, Deadzo doesn't understand "packaging") and perhaps our pick this year to make a run at something. This move was a small one, but a positive one, I believe, for this team. We get a better contract, and we lose a guy who was the most expendable on the team. Whatever Howard gives us is gravy. Will he be better than Mark Blount? Well, considering I walked by a guy at the bus-stop this morning who was talking to himself about how it's just a matter of him "getting some money and then getting a job", and HE is better than Mark Blount at basketball, I think it's a safe bet.




"I slayed MCs back in the rec-room era,
My style broke motherfuckin backs like Ken Patera"

1 comment:

WinningTheTurnoverBattle said...

I just saw your post on ballhype, funny thing being that I wrote a post earlier today about the ten worst contract situations in the NBA, and I had Jaric and Hudson as #9. I've always been partial to the T'Wolves, so I hope they can straighten things out.