A lot of people have asked for my opinion on the Rockets’ moves last week. My answer was that while the moves were good for the team long-term, we have more or less given up on the season. That sounds dramatic, and I’m sure anyone affiliated with the Rockets would vehemently disagree, but a 10th seed team trading away an aging starter and sixth man for a promising rotation player, draft picks, and a “project” big man screams “win-later,” long-term thinking. The Rockets replaced assets with declining value with assets that should appreciate.
I watched some nationally televised games last night, and I thought some things about them. If you’d care to read them, please do.
New York Knicks 91, Miami Heat 86
A great deal of the talk surrounding this game will concern Carmelo Anthony’s defense of this game’s best player, LeBron James, toward the end of this game’s fourth quarter, defense which certainly tipped a few very important possessions in the Knicks’ favor (most notably Amar’e Stoudemire’s last-minute block of James that was created by Anthony’s body control and initial tip of the shot). Still, after watching this one and having to wash the taste of it out of my mouth for a few minutes, I can only exit thinking, “The Heat still don’t get it.” Miami has, at its worst moments this season, been feeling itself a little too much, and at no time was this dynamic more apparent than the Knicks’ runs to end the last three quarters of basketball. At the beginning of every quarter, the Heat boys took control, forcing the issue on defense and creating turnovers from a team that has not even begun to properly gel into a fully-functional unit. After such gleeful flurries, Miami got the idea in its head that its nucleus has won anything together or has any reason to coast against a New York team that literally has more weapons than its coach knows what to do with them all. Read More
This past weekend, as I conversed with colleagues and acquaintances about the deadline deals struck across the league, the one trade most lingered upon, time and time again, was that of Perkins to the Thunder. Without fail, almost all sought to glean some sort of understanding as to why and how the Celtics could trade the very heart and soul of their team. I knew the reasons stated–the injury, contractual status, the Heat–but was at a loss myself, dumbstruck by the occurrence.
There’s just something about trading an “enforcer” that evokes emotions unparalleled. Perhaps it’s subtle guilt, the knowledge that a man whose primary purpose was sacrifice of his body for team betterment had been discarded like an old shoe, worn of its past value.
From the lens of Garnett, who described the news as similar to “the loss of a family member,” the tragedy is imminent. Imagine raising a helpless child into a grown man and then working beside the man to prosper in your craft, eventually gaining complete dependence upon him; then one day the boy is gone forever. That’s what the Perkins trade meant at the human level to Kevin Garnett. He had raised Perk from a boy into a man who helped him win a title and whose loss in last year’s Finals deprived him of another; that child was now gone.