Saturday, June 9, 2007

Matrix Revolution?

Is that a sweet fucking photo or what? I can safely say that nobody will ever take a photograph like that of me, and honestly that makes me a little sad.

Anyways, the estimable Chad Ford over at ESPN reports on his blog (subscription required, goddamit) that rumors are circulating of a potential C's deal for Shawn Marion. Apparently Ainge was in LA on Wednesday privately working out Yi Jianlian. Take it away, Chad:

"If Boston is passing on Yi, I think that means we might see a trade coming. There's talk that the Suns -- to slash payroll -- might be willing to take the No. 5 pick, Theo Ratliff's expiring contract and Delonte West for Shawn Marion. That would make Paul Pierce happy."

Now, it's obviously part of Chad Ford's job description to report on wild speculation, and he's truly outstanding at it, so this might be absolutely nothing. On the other hand, Ford also has considerable and often unrivaled access and a real knack for breaking stories, so maybe this thing has legs. In any event, allow me to go on record as saying that if Ainge can pull this deal off I think it's an excellent trade for the C's and would go a long way towards (partially) repairing Danny's rep in my eyes. Because it's Saturday morning and there's precious else I'd rather do than drink coffee and obsess about the Celtics, I will now analyze the living shit out of this imaginary trade that will probably never happen.

In my mind the only guys worth holding on to the fifth pick for are Brandan Wright, Al Horford, and possibly Corey Brewer if Ainge is ready to trade Pierce and blow up the team, but I don't think that's happening. Danny genuinely believes that with one more legitimate impact player, combined with the stunning awfulness of the Eastern Conference, this team can make some noise. And hey, maybe he's right. It's looking more and more like Atlanta's going to once again defy glaring need and take Brandan Wright over Mike Conley at 3 (which all but assures that Conley will become a dominant NBA point guard in the next couple years; Christ, at least I'm not a Hawks fan), and I think there's a good chance the Grizz take Horford, as he makes sense for them on a number of levels. That brings us to the C's; it seems as though Yi is definitely impressing people with his mystical private workout sessions, but I can't see us drafting him, since he's certainly a few years away and Ainge isn't big on overseas talent. However, he makes a ton of sense for a team like the Suns, who could afford to bring him along slowly and have a fabulous coach in D'Antoni who's got a great rep for developing foreign players. Alternately, the Suns could use the fifth pick and reach for Joakim Noah (who, as Simmons frequently notes, would be great in their system), or take someone like Brewer, who could quickly develop into a Marion-type slasher without the considerable rebounding ability. So I can understand why the Suns would want the fifth pick. Ratliff's expiring deal is attractive if they're concerned about cap stuff, and Delonte might be a nice complementary player in that offense. I still think giving up Marion is idiotic--I firmly believe that it should be the Suns in the Finals right now, and as currently constructed they'll definitely contend again next year--but apparently the money thing is a big concern out there. If the Suns are set on unloading Marion's contract, this deal's not bad for them.

From the C's side of things, this deal would be huge. If things play out as many expect on draft day, the fifth pick is of questionable value for Danny & Co. I like Delonte a lot--he plays hard and smart and has come up big in some tight situations--but I honestly don't think he's ever going to develop into a legitimate NBA starter like we all continue to hope. He's never going to be a point guard, and lacks the size and offensive firepower to be a legit 2; I think he'll have a very productive career, but it'll be as a combo guard coming off a good team's bench. So I can stand giving him up.

Marion would be a godsend for the C's. He's a truly outstanding player who does a lot of things well and would be a huge asset in the Eastern Conference, where he'd frequently dominate other forwards. He's a very good scorer and a great rebounder and defender, and he'd be great alongside Pierce and Al. According to some accounts he's got something of a sour demeanor but it never seems to affect his play, and moving out of Nash's shadow might give him the recognition he always seems to crave, especially considering the numbers he could potentially put up in the East. He also makes a huge amount of sense in terms of the more up-tempo offense that Ainge and Doc always talk about running, and would probably even be a huge boon to Rajon Rondo in that he'd be yet another point of offensive distribution. If the C's can make this trade, I'm on board 100%; I really think that adding Shawn Marion while retaining Pierce and Jefferson makes us a playoff team.

Love Tim's Tony Allen post, btw. I seriously have no idea when or even if we'll see TA again. So it seems to go around here.


Anonymous said...

i agree, if you're phoenix, why would you blow it up? you're probably the favorite next year...

Alex said...

i like yi a lot, and if treated carefully he will help us in the future. marion will make us a conference finals team, not a lot more. but you never know, i think it's a good situation to be in.

Anonymous said...

Phoenix blows it up because word is the owner has MANDATED the team gets salary relief. If true, in this scenario they get Theo's expiring, but also get relief this season as theo's contract will be about 90% covered by insurance. Makes total sense for the Suns if that mandate did in fact come down.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of trading the pick for a veteran star and I like Marion's game. I'm just a little worried about possible chemistry problems. If he had problems with Amare and needed to get out of the shadow of Nash, how is he going to adjust to playing with a young and possibly immature rising star in Big Al and playing in the shadow of a new alpha dog in Pierce?

Don said...

Here's something to consider: no current Phoenix player (other than maybe Leandro Barbosa) will play as well with their next team as they do playing with Nash. Marion and Pierce would not be complementary players. Also, having Marion would put Jefferson at center most of the time. Better rebounding for sure, but not better defense. If I were Phoenix, I would want Ryan Gomes -- he would fit perfectly for them at both ends of the floor.