So, now what?

I spent the weekend speculating upon possible trades which involved much of the roster.  You can access those thoughts by clicking the ‘trade deadline 2012′ tag below.

Last night the news broke that point guard Kyle Lowry will remain sidelined for up to a month.  In the meantime, the Rockets continued their losing ways.  The circumstances beg the question: now what?

You almost have to think the news on Lowry throws a wrench into the Rockets’ plans: even if another team were willing to waive a physical on Lowry, it would be a public relations disaster to trade an ailing player currently laying in a hospital bed.  In my opinion.  Maybe I’m wrong and it wouldn’t be a big deal.

The other issue is the season itself.  They’ll be without their best player, yet are insistent upon competing.  At this point, it wouldn’t make sense to tank anyways.  But they can’t possibly expect to win games with Jonny Flynn playing significant minutes.

I’m really at a loss for words.  If they finish 9th or 10th yet again, this season will have been a complete waste of time.

in musings

Jonny Flynn

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If the Rockets hope to stay in this race, they’ll need to seek an alternative backup point guard.  If you watched tonight’s game, and his other appearances, you’ll understand what I mean when I describe Jonny Flynn as one of the worst basketball players I’ve ever seen.

In early January, I assessed Flynn’s game as follows:

Except for the fact that he’s now shooting 25% and Hasheem Thabeet is no longer relevant, the assessment stands.

Flynn dribbles for the mere sake of dribbling.  It’s beyond painful to watch.

The ‘crossover dribble’ is used to change direction and get past one’s defender. Flynn does it with no purpose, standing in place, almost as if having no plan of where to go.  As I tweeted tonight, it’s become so bad now that one can only watch and appreciate it.

If Lowry is truly out for two weeks and the Rockets hope to stay in the race, they’ll need a new backup.  With already a slim margin for error, I fear those few minutes per game when Goran Dragic sits might be enough to push the outcomes into the loss column.

in essays

More Bogut speculation, Lin, Okafor

Thanks to a reader, Stephen, for passing this on.  Via Gery Woelfel:

I’ve heard the Bucks have been offered a “young, All-Star type point guard” for center Andrew Bogut. If that is true, and the Bucks took up that offer, would that mean current point guard Brandon Jennings could be jettisoned as well? Yes, it would.

That sounds a lot like Kyle Lowry.  In fact, Steph Curry is the only other possibility that comes to mind in fitting that description.

Stephen writes:

Total speculation,but have we gone from Lowry is untouchable to he’s being included in trades for a big? What changed? Is there a hidden problem between Lowry and McHale?(I was struck by how long Lowry and Adelman talked after the first Minn game and how Adelman seemed to be trying to encourage Lowry.)

I agree; it’s interesting.  I think the organization sees its real chance at an upgrade and hopes to capitalize, avoiding a repeat of the Aaron Brooks value deflation fiasco.  They’ve seen how tough it is to land a star, they’ve seen Lowry’s production drop, and they’ve seen Dragic fill in beautifully.  It might be the time to cash in while demand remains high.

If trading Lowry, what would come of Martin?  It seems he almost must be dealt at this point, but the Lakers would appear to not have any use for the frail-framed shooting guard.  At this point, the only way I’d keep Martin is in the event of a Dwight Howard rental.  I worry his trade value will drop even lower as this season continues.

Another note: one ironic consequence of the Jeremy Lin fiasco is that it just might save the Rockets.  New York was the one team out there that desperately needed a point guard and might have offered Goran Dragic a full MLE deal this summer.  Now, with Lin filling the spot, the Rockets might rest a bit easier in dealing Kyle Lowry, liking their chances at retaining Dragic.  Speaking of the Knicks, they’ve lost 6 of their last 7.

How many here would take on Emeka Okafor’s contract for the rights to the Hornets’ draft pick?  The Rockets could theoretically trade Dalembert and some combination of the 09ers for that New Orleans package, and then still make the Gasol trade.  That would leave them with an Okafor-Gasol frontline and an incoming likely-top 5 pick in the summer.  Many things can be done with cap space.  Let’s hope the Rockets make good use.

in musings

03/11/12

  • I was looking at Kris Humphries’ numbers last night, for the first time, involuntarily as they were flashed before me on my television screen.  I was shocked to find that he’s actually good (13.2ppg, 10.5rpg).  This came as a surprise because through the course of the entire Kardashian experience, I had been under the impression that he was a complete scrub.  Not sure how this is relevant to anything noteworthy but I thought I’d sure this information.
  • Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) reports that the Hornets are entertaining offers for their 1st round draft pick, contingent upon inclusion of Emeka Okafor in any deal.  If you’re not aware, Okafor makes roughly $235billion/year and has long been considered one of the worst contracts in basketball.  This is something I’d give a look, but I don’t think it’d happen. Honestly, I’m so psyched about the prospect of Bogut that almost anything else–even a top pick–would disappoint. That guy, is really, really good.
  • See that game-winner by Wade last night?  The entire sequence, commencing with Lebron summoning Wade and handing it off–after hitting a game tying 3 himself–was just awesome.  It reminded me of those old-time WWF tag team matches where the star-studded duos took turns beating other people up.

Surprised I watched wrestling?  Don’t be.  I too was very young once.

in columns

One day closer

Three things happened today:

1. Timberwolves rookie sensation Ricky Rubio was lost for the season.

2. Point guard Goran Dragic had yet another stellar performance filling in for starter Kyle Lowry, scoring 21 points and dishing out 8 assists in a winning effort.

3. Kevin Martin was benched to close out yet another close fourth quarter.

What does it all mean?  First, that despite the recent struggles, the Rockets might not mail it in and sell off the farm – they’re still very much in this race.  Second, there’s a serious possibility that either one or both of the starting guards could be traded next week.

Why the speculation? Consider: we’re talking about a team that traded two starters at last year’s deadline and then, just months later in December, traded two more of the remaining three opening day starters to the Lakers [only to have the deal nixed.]  It’s not outlandish to surmise that deals will be made.

[read more…]

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