Category Archives: Basketball

Trade Grades

by Kristian Winfield

This year’s trade deadline has included some of the more historic movements in the history of the NBA. The league hasn’t seen trades like this in a long time. However, some of these trades were good moves, and others bad.

Charlotte: C+
Joel Przybilla, Center
Dante Cunningham, Forward
Sean Marks, Center
Two first-round draft picks and cash

Portland: A
Gerald Wallace, Forward

The Blazers went out and grabbed Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats for virtually two first-round draft picks. With a team as young as theirs, the Blazers don’t need those picks to develop as a team. And with Brandon Roy returning from injury, and LaMarcus Aldridge’s increase in productivity, the Blazers can do some big things in the future. As long as Greg Oden and Marcus Camby can find a way to play more than 50 games in a season, I see Portland as a definite contender in the Western Conference for years to come.

New York: B+
Carmelo Anthony, Forward
Chauncey Billups, Guard
Shelden Williams, Forward
Renaldo Balkman, Forward
Anthony Carter, Guard
Corey Brewer, Forward

Denver: B
Danilo Gallinari, Forward
Wilson Chandler, Forward
Raymond Felton, Guard
Timofey Mozgov, Center
Kosta Koufos, Center
Knicks first-round pick (2014 or later)
Warriors’ second-round picks in 2012 and 2013
$3 million

Minnesota: B-
Eddy Curry, Center
Anthony Randolph, Forward

Well, the Knicks did it. They went out and snatched Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. They had to give up everything, and the kitchen sink, for him, but they got it done; and now they can be serious contenders in the East. With Melo and Amar’e  in the back court, and Chauncey and Landry Fields in the front, the Knicks can cause some problems for many teams in their conference. Denver, however, got as much as they could (thanks to Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov) and ended up getting some pretty decent pieces out of the Knicks. They were able to squeeze out both Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, a dynamic duo if you will, as well as Timofey Mozgov, the 7-foot-1 rookie center with so much “upside,” Raymond Felton, and three draft picks. They’ve got some pieces to build their franchise around and can become a powerful team in the West if they can utilize those picks.

New Jersey: B-
Deron Williams, Guard

Utah: A
Devin Harris, Guard
Derrick Favors, Forward
Two 2011 first-round picks
$3 Million

I think the move that the New Jersey Nets made was very risky. They gave up their speedster Point Guard in Devin Harris, their rookie Power Forward, Derrick Favors, AND two first-round draft picks. Utah did a great job of getting what they could, knowing that Deron Williams wouldn’t sign with them at the end of this season. And the craziest part? DERON WILLIAMS HAS NOT SIGNED A CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH NEW JERSEY. They could’ve given up everything to, essentially, rent Deron Williams for half of a season. If the Nets can’t capitalize in the free agency, Deron Williams will not be there in 2011-2012 season.

Houston: A+
Goran Dragic, Guard
Suns first-round pick

Phoenix: F
Aaron Brooks, Guard

Maybe I don’t see what the Suns’ front office saw, but THIS WAS A DUMB TRADE. Goran Dragic was Steve Nash’s protege. That little skip pass that Dragic does in pick-and-roll situations? That’s Nash’s move! Dragic would’ve been the perfect heir to Nash, who’s getting older by the second. But Phoenix’ front office went ahead and messed it up by moving Dragic AND a first-round draft pick for Aaron Brooks, a speed demon. Maybe they wanted a change of pace, but Dragic will be the next Steve Nash, and Phoenix just lost out, big time. On the bright side, if Dragic can get a starting role in Houston, it’ll give him some experience with a bigger role for a team. This trade could be a very good move for Dragic’s career.

Boston: B
Jeff Green, Forward
Nenad Krstic, Center

Oklahoma City: A-
Kendrick Perkins, Center
Nate Robinson, Guard

This was a great move by Oklahoma City. They’re definitely going to have some growing pains parting with Jeff Green, but Kendrick Perkins’ inside presence is a outweighs Green’s shooting ability. Jeff Green helped spread the floor for Kevin Durant, and Russel Westbrook had great chemistry with him, but in the end, Perkins is a necessity to take down teams like L.A. or Portland with their dominant inside game. Nate Robinson will also help bring a spark on the offensive side for the Thunder.

Los Angeles: A
Mo Williams, Guard
Jamario Moon, Forward

Cleveland: B+
Baron Davis, Guard
2011 first-round pick

I think this was a really good move by the Clippers. Baron Davis, in my opinion, wasn’t really a compliment to the monster, in Blake Griffin, that they have. Baron Davis is limited to the mid-range, foul line extended area, and Mo Williams will help spread the floor and give Blake more room to work with. Additionally, getting Jamario Moon, another incredible athlete, will help the Clippers put some points on the board and play defense.

Atlanta: D
Kirk Hinrich, Guard
Hilton Armstrong, Center

Washington: A
Mike Bibby, Guard
Maurice Evans, Forward
Jordan Crawford, Guard
2011 first-round pick

I really don’t understand what the Hawks were thinking when they put in the trade call for this offer. Mike Bibby is a renowned shooter and an underrated passer. Jordan Crawford, Mr. I-Dunked-On-LeBron, could put up big numbers if he got the playing time, and Mo Evans does everything he’s asked to off the bench; he plays D and knocks down the 3. The Wizards completely swindled the Hawks, only giving up Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong for all these players AND a first-round draft pick. I understand that Atlanta needed to address their need for a big man off the bench, but giving up this much for Hilton Armstrong, who hasn’t proved his worth, and Kirk Hinrich was not a smart move by the men up front.

Houston: B
Hasheem Thabeet, Center
DeMarre Carroll, Forward
First-round pick

Memphis: B
Shane Battier, Forward
Ishmael Smith, Guard

I’m not too sure about how this trade will work out, but Shane Battier is a great look for Memphis. His ability to guard a variety of positions, as well as knock down some threes and bring some veteran leadership definitely helps this young Grizzlies squad. It looks like a pretty decent trade to me.

The Knicks and the Blazers came away with the most on the trade deadline. Look for them to turn it up in the second half of this season.


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Lakers Massacre Cavaliers; 112-57

by: Kristian Winfield

Yes, you read correctly. The Los Angeles Lakers simply blew out the Cavaliers in what was their best defensive effort this season.

The Lakers held Cleveland to 29.9 percent from the field (23-77) and just seven percent from the three-point line (1-14).

The high man for the Lakers was Ron Artest who finished the game with 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Andrew Bynum, also, had 15 points, but had five blocks, and six rebounds.

But the Lakers won by 55 points, Kristian? How did they do that when their highest scoring player had fifteen points?

Team Basketball is my answer.

Los Angeles had seven people in double-digits. Kobe finished with 13 points, EIGHT assists, five rebounds, and two assists. “The Spaniard” Pau Gasol had a double-double, with 13 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block. The others who scored in double digits for the Lakers were Shannon Brown (13), Lamar Odom (13), and Derek Fisher (10).

As for the Cavs… The struggle continues.

They’ve lost 20 of their last 21 games. The only two players in double digits for Cleveland were Alonzo Gee, with 12 points, and Ramon Sessions, who had ten.

When LeBron caught wind of this beating, he posted on Twitter:

“Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”

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Say Bye to Pierce, Allen, & Garnett. There’s a New Big Three In Town!

by: Kristian Winfield

NBA Free Agency 2010 has been, by far, the most interesting offseason this decade. Teams like Miami, Chicago, New York, and even New Jersey had cleared cap space in hopes of signing a superstar, but not every team got what they wanted:

Miami: The Heat were the most successful team this offseason thanks to the uncanny marketing skills of Dwyane Wade, who convinced both Chris Bosh and LeBron James to come to the Heat for less money than other teams were offering. Bosh and James both signed 6-year/$110 million contracts, while Wade signed a 6-year/$107.5 million contract. The Heat also re-signed Udonis Haslem to a five-year contract, and have signed Zydrunas “Big Z” Ilgallskus to the veteran’s minimum contract: 2 years/ $1.3 million. Though Miami had to get rid of Michael Beasley, they will sign their 3 rookies in DaSean Butler, Jarvis Varnado, and Dexter Pittman. The Heat still have PG Mario Chalmers under contract, effectively putting 10 players on their roster. With more talk about signing Brad Miller, the Heat are looking like surefire contenders this year.

Chicago: The Bulls, too, freed up cap space in hopes of signing Wade or LeBron, but they both committed to Miami, the Bulls decided to sign Boozer to a 5-year/$80 million contract. With him in the front court alongside Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, the Bulls are looking to turn the heat up in the East. The Bulls also traded guard Kirk Hinrich to the Wizards for essentially nothing, receiving the draft rights to Vladimir Veremeenko who won’t be in the NBA for another 2 years. The Bulls are also looking to sign J.J. Redick, but they will need much more help filling up 5 more spots in their roster


New York: The Knicks also made a strong acquisition this free agency by signing forward Amar’e Stoudemire to a league maximum, 5-year/ $100 million contract. This deal was made to entice LeBron James to come to play for the Knicks, but Wade and Bosh in Miami was a bit more attractive. Along with Stoudemire, the Knicks have also signed PG Raymond Felton to a 3-year/$25 million contract, and have traded PF David Lee to the Golden State Warriors for G Kelenna Azubuike, F Anthony Randolph, and F Ronny Turiaf. The Knicks are definitely playoff contenders this year, but for them to make a championship run, they need another dominant scorer. Stoudemire had Nash to set him up, and though the Knicks signed Felton; he is no Steve Nash. A scorer like Allen Iverson, who is still available in the market, would do the Knicks much good in their championship efforts this year.

Utah: The Jazz lost a lot this offseason, losing both Carlos Boozer and Wesley Matthews to the free agency. They have done an excellent job of replacing Boozer by trading C Kosta Koufos and two future first-round draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for big time center Al Jefferson. Though Al Jefferson is not as much of a defensive presence as Boozer, he will get you 20 points and 10 rebounds, filling a big gap in the Jazz’s scheme. They will sign rookie Gordon Hayward out of Butler, but they will still need to replace the energy and intensity that Wes Matthews brought to the floor.

Phoenix: The Suns had been trying to move Stoudemire since midway through last season. But now that their wish was granted, Phoenix was having trouble filling the gap. Stoudemire was a defensive presence as well as a monster on offense. He averaged 23.1 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game on the season. The Suns did a decent job replacing him, trading combo guard Leandro Barbosa for the Raptors’ Hedo Turkoglu, and trading their 2012 second round pick for Josh Childress. Phoenix will still need to sign a big man to replace the rebounds and blocks that Stoudemire brought to the team, but they did a good job otherwise.


New Jersey: The Nets lost out yet again, failing to sign any superstars in the free agency. They did manage to sign Travis Outlaw to an excessive 5-year/$35 million contract, and trade a 2011 second round pick for G Anthony Morrow, but other than that, they haven’t gotten anything great. They did sign G Jordan Farmar to a three-year deal, but their biggest acquisition this year has to be their rookie PF Derrick Favors. The Nets still have a long way to go before they return to playoff contention, but they are slowly moving in the right direction.

Obviously, the Heat have made the biggest gains this offseason, signing  three members of Team USA in Bosh, Wade, and James, but the Knicks have made footsteps in the right direction signing Stoudemire, and the Bulls have followed suit in signing Boozer. The East has become very interesting, Orlando, Boston, Miami, and Atlanta being the definite front-runners, and Cleveland, New York, Milwaukee, Charlotte, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington all fighting for the last four spots. This is definitely the year to tune in to the NBA.

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A.I. Back For More?

by: Kristian Winfield

Allen Iverson is ready to play again.

Iverson’s manager, Gary Moore, says that he will return to the NBA next season.

“Allen is working out and he’s getting himself prepared to make his return,” says Moore “He will absolutely try and play next year.”

A.I. came back to the Sixers in December of 2009 and took leave in March of 2010 because of an undisclosed illness of his daughter. He hasn’t spoken publicly since his wife, Tawanna, filed for a divorce.

A.I. is well known for his fallout with the Sixers in the 2003-2004 season when he was suspended for missing practice, fined for not reporting an illness, missing a game because of that illness, and feeling “insulted” for being asked to come off the bench. He is also known for the press conference in which he said the word practice 25 times.

But let’s not forget all the good he’s done for Philly.

Drafted as 1st overall in the 1996 NBA draft, Iverson has won Rookie of the Year, been an All-Star 11 times, led his team to the NBA Finals in 2001, won the All-Star MVP award twice (2001 & 2005), and is a 4-time scoring champion. He has averaged 26.7 points over 14 years, and at 6 feet, has been one of, if not the only person to do so at such a small frame.

The only thing left to solidify him as a surefire Hall of Famer is an NBA championship.

“Allen is wants to come and help a team win a championship, which he’s completely capable of doing,” said Moore.

If Iverson can swallow his pride and accept a “Sixth Man” role, rather than insisting on being a starter, his skill set can greatly benefit a team.

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Lakers Win Game 7; Kobe Gets 5th Championship Ring


by: Kristian Winfield

Published: June 18th, 2010

Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif. – The smell of champagne and a hard day’s work wafted throughout the Lakers’ locker room and the fans cheered until they could no more.

Kobe kissed his wife and embraced his children, and Ron Artest ran around the court, singing and screaming at the top of his voice while grasping the fruits of their success.

Los Angeles defeated the Boston Celtics in a historic seven game series for the 2010 NBA Championship last night.

The game dragged on for three quarters, as Boston continuously blew double-digit leads thanks to the unlikely, but very timely offense of Ron Artest, who stepped up when Kobe went cold, going 5-20 before the fourth. Artest had 14 points through three quarters.

But as usual, the brightest stars shine in the fourth quarter, and Kobe did just that. With approximately 2 minutes left in the fourth, Sheed knocked down a contested three to bring Boston within three points. On the ensuing play, Artest knocked down a three to put the Lakers back up by six, and began blowing kisses to the crowd.

“I knocked down that three, just like he told me,” said Artest after the game.”What a perfect time to blow kisses at the crowd! What a shot. What a shot. I always wanted to hit a shot like that. That’s why I took that shot.”

But the game wasn’t over after THAT shot.

Ray Allen caught the ball in his corner hot spot and nailed a three to bring the game within three points once again. It looked as though Kobe would be the savior once again. He trotted up the court and jacked a deep three but was short. Pau Gasol was there, once again, to clean up his mess. He gave the ball back to Kobe who got fouled and knocked down two clutch free throws to put the Lakers up 81-76.

“I can’t say enough about the Spaniard. We wouldn’t have won without him.” Kobe said after the game.

The Spaniard, Pau Gasol, ended up with 19 points, and an astounding 18 rebounds.

But as history shows, the Celtics never go away. Ray Allen came up court and pulled up for a three. He missed, but Rondo grabbed the offensive board and nailed a three to bring the Celtics within two. Phil Jackson called a timeout and brought in Sasha Vujacic, an 88% free throw shooter, which proved to be yet another clutch move. Vujacic was fouled on the imbound and knocked down both free throws to put the Lakers back up by four.

LA was determined to keep Boston down. Their stifling defense on the imbound forced Rondo into a contested three point shot which resulted in an airball. The Lakers were back to back champions, defeating the Celtics 83-79.

“This is the sweetest,” Kobe said after the game “It’s the sweetest because it was against THEM and we were down 3-2.”

Kobe finished with a game-high 23 points and 15 rebounds. But more importantly, he left Staples Center with the Bill Russell MVP trophy for the NBA Finals 2010.

Artest was so overjoyed, he couldn’t finish his interview. He shouted out his family, and his “‘hood”
and carried on. Who could blame him? His 20 points, 5 rebounds, and critical 5 steals deserved the most energetic of emotions. It was definitely his best game as a Laker this season, and what a time to perform.

“Ron Artest was the most valuable player tonight,” Jackson said. “He brought life to our team, he brought life to the crowd.”

And who can forget Mr. Much-in-the-Clutch, Derek Fisher? He shot the incredible, well-contested, deep three pointer that tied the game at 64 and sparked an 11-0 run for the Lakers midway through the 4th quarter.

“That’s just who he is,” Bryant said. “There’s not enough words of praise that I can use to describe him and how I feel about him.”

Fisher finished the game with 10 points and 2 assists.

The Lakers’ locker room was buzzing after the game, but it was the exact opposite in the Celtics’.

Emotions ran high among the Celtics, as they realized that they had just lost what might be their last opportunity at an NBA Championship in a long time.

“Well there’s a lot of crying in our locker room, a lot of people who care,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I don’t think there was a dry eye. A lot of hugs, a lot of people feeling awful.”

In the loss, 5 players hit double figures, Paul Pierce leading the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds. KG was right behind him with 17 points, and Rondo was third with 14 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds.

The Celtics were thought to be at a disadvantage with the injury of Kendrick Perkins in Game 6, but Rasheed Wallace impressively filled his role, providing offense and another big body in the paint. He finished with 11 points, 8 reboounds, and 2 blocks before fouling out in the 4th quarter.

Perhaps one of the most emotional players was Ray Allen.

“This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime,” Allen said.

He finished with 13 points and 3 steals.

After the majority of the first round of celebrations came to a close, Kobe came to the stand for a press conference.

“Umm, I just wanted it so bad. Wanted it so, so bad. On top of that I was on E. I was really, really tired. And the more i tried to push, the more it kept getting away from me. I’m just glad that my teammates got us back into the game. I was thankful that i was able to make one damn shot at the end of the game, and make some free throws,” said Kobe. ” I had to do something. So I had to rebound the ball. Rebounding was a big key for us. It was a big focus for me. it’s Whatever it takes to win the game, you gotta do whatever it takes. That’s my job. Sometimes shots aren’t gonna fall but you gotta figure something out to try to help your team win, and nobody was better at it than MJ.”

The best question of the night, by far, came from a journalist who asked, “We know what is means as a team, but what does it mean individually to you?”

Bryant responded, ” I just got one more than Shaq. So you can take that to the bank!”

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