Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Paging Mr. Gomez. Pedro Gomez please pick up the red phone."

According to the Fox Sports website, "Barry Bonds was indicted Thursday for perjury and obstruction of justice, charged with lying when he told a federal grand jury that he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs. If convicted on all five counts, baseball's home run king could go to prison for up to 30 years."

For something that was definitely a long time coming this sure does seem all of a sudden. Maybe they've been waiting in the wings until the HR record was broken and the World Series was over? If so, they clearly didn't go to the Boras school of headline-grabbing. Either way, it is officially on.

Fistacuffs and a Flux Capicator

If you believe what you read in the papers or hear from Jalen Rose on ESPN than the Isiah vs. Marbury stand-off kicked off with a phsyical confrontation on the team's charter flight out to Phoenix a few days ago. It's not hard to believe that Isiah is wearing his '89 Pistons uni under his three-piece suit and being ready to rumble as soon as Rick Mahorn calls. Either way, the one thing that is undeniable is that there are MAJOR problems behind the scenes. And in front of the scenes and between the scenes.

The internets, the radio waves and the newspapers are all spilling words about buy-outs and benchings. It's mass hysteria. It's a soap opera. It's cats and dogs living together. But I'm not ready for a world where the Knicks buy-out Marbury and then KG brings his old running-mate to Boston where he is rehabilitated and wins a title, so I've decided to focus on the chance that we might be able to trade him.

Marbury still has above average NBA talent and he's got some run still in those legs. And, I feel like enough people around the league know how inept Thomas is at everything he does that there is more internal benefit of the doubt for Steph than there is externally. In any case, I headed over to ESPN.com's TRADE SIMULATOR to see what I could figure out. The simulator couldn't be any better if Doc Brown himself put it together. It does all the math on the salaries and just spits out results.

If a trade were to go down it would likely be between clubs who are also desperate, either because they have their own problem-children or are just very, very bad. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Or one man's Stephen Jackson is another team's captain. So, the teams who could be trade partners:

Sacremento
Lakers
Atlanta
Minnesota
Charlotte
Miami
Philadelphia

(It's also important to realize that most Western teams would chip in as a third-party if it meant moving Kobe east. Conversely most Eastern teams would refuse to do that)

1) Three-Way Deal Between Knicks, Lakers and Kings
How They Met: Everyone has one serious problem on the roster and the Kings (and any other third-wheel in the West) would love to help move Kobe out of the Conference.

Knicks receive:
SG Kobe Bryant ($19.5 million)
GF Maurice Evans ($1.7 million)

Lakers receive:
PG Stephon Marbury ($19 million)
SF Ron Artest ($7.4 million)

Kings receive:
SF Quentin Richardson ($8.1 million)
C Randolph Morris ($810k)

Why They Would Do It: Everyone passes their own hot potato. Lakers get two bona-fide box office draws for Kobe. Each has only two years remaining on their contract and can hold you over until you figure out what the post-Kobe Lakers should look like. The Knicks get Kobe and lose Steph. Enough said. Kings help weaken rival, move Kobe across the country and unload their biggest problem for a solid team guy in Q and a young, cheap center.

2) Three-way deal between Knicks, Kings and Heat:
How they met:Knicks and Kings met at crazy-star support group, while Riley and the Heat are desperate after awful start. They're an old team and need to try something to win one last time with Shaq.

Knicks receive:
SF Ron Artest ($7.4 million)
FC Shareef Abdur-Rahim ($5.8 million)
Chris Quinn ($687k)

Kings recieve:
PG Jason Williams ($8.9 million)
PF Udonis Haslem ($6 million)
C Randolph Morris ($810k)
Dorell Wright ($2 million)

Heat receive:
PG Stephon Marbury ($19 million)
C Spencer Hawes ($2 million)

Why They Do It: Why Not? Knicks and Kings jetison their gifted and guilty while the Heat take a reclamation project in Steph with the hope that he can contribute in sane fashion on a team where doesn't have to carry the load on-camera, on the court or in the paper. Spare parts move around as well but they do fill position needs that open up on the teams involvevd.

3) Four-way deal between Knicks, Kings, Lakers and Hawks:
How they met: Three teams with problem players, one team with problem decades.

Knicks receive:
SF Ron Artest ($7.4 million)
PF Vladimir Radmanovic ($5.6 million)
GF Josh Childress ($3.6 million)
PG Tyrone Lue ($3.5 mllion)
FC Sheldon Williams ($3.2 million)
G Salim Stoudamire ($783k)

Kings receive:
SF Quentin Richardson ($8.1 million)
F Lamar Odom ($13 million)
F Renaldo Balkman ($1.2 million)

Hawks receive:
SG Kobe Bryant ($19.5 million)
C Randolph Morris ($810k)
C Kwame Brown ($9 million)

Lakers receive:
PG Stephon Marbury ($19 million)
G Joe Johnson ($13.5 million)
FC Brad Miller ($10.5 million)
FC Shareef Abdur-Rahim ($5.8 million)
SF Jared Jeffries ($5.6 million)
GF John Salmons ($4.7 million)

Why they do it: Well, malcontent carousel gets Knicks, Kings and Lakers involved. Kings get the cleanest return on their investment in the deal and it is a no-brainer for them. The Knicks take on a bunch of parts but Artest is the centerpiece and gives you another hometown hero. The Knicks almost drafted Salim Stoudamire when he came out of Arizona, Williams is a suitable, conservative backup to Curry and everyone else fills a need. Moreover, Isiah has never been shy to take on extra parts to get what he wants. The Hawks get Kobe, so they are willing to take on the expiring conduct of Kwame Brown in the process. And, lastly the Lakers get several marketable and startable players in exchange for moving Kobe.

Rorvit Castrealba

The Mets have apparently agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba, formerly of the NL champion Rockies of Colorado. According to Mets.com the deal with would be worth $14.4 million over three years. The plan is for Castro to remain the backup but for him to play more than he did last year while Lo Duca was the starter.

Last year Paulie was making $6.25 million and Castro was making $850,000. And, Jorge Posada-who is 36 years and will never hit for the same average he did last year-just inked a four-year pact for $52 million Yikes.

I like being younger and cheaper than we were last year at this position. Paul was a double-play machine during the September tailspin but his veteran stature kept Castro on the bench. Now, we can pair up Castro with a member of the rotation and make sure that he plays at least once a week aside from the day game after night game duty that he was relegated to last season. I've always wanted to see if he could keep up those power numbers with more ABs.

Additional Reading: There was a great piece on Mets Blog yesterday in which Troy Renck from Denver Post gives a full run-down on Torrealba. He does sounds a lot like a younger, cheaper Lo Duca. And, he speaks Spanish.

Around the Internets in Eighty Minutes

1) Eli = Eeyore

2) Phil Jackson apologizes for equating a game featuring repeated dribble penetration to the film Brokeback Mountain

3) Aubrey Huff. Deviant? Or honest, virile, slightly perverse everyman?

I've played with people I don't like, I've won with people I don't like...However I feel about a person it doesn't matter. We're trying to win."

As this post-game quote from coach Isiah Thomas shows, something is still very rotten in New Amsterdam. Steph was back on the floor last night in Los Angeles but is clearly not back on Isiah's Chrismtas card list. The Knicks lost last night to the LA Clippers thanks largely to the worst/unluckiest quarter of offensive play that I've ever seen. They missed 17 straight shots in the third quarter. They were outscored 22-9. They missed layups. They missed baby hooks. They missed three-points shot from the corner. They missed runners in the lane. Eventually they were also missing on desperate drives to the hoop. Randolph, noticeably off his game (and with a legitimate excuse for it), and Curry were the main culprits but over the course of that third quarter everyone in rotation chipped in. It was the second time all season that the team seemed to be all be on the same page since the fourth quarter against the Nuggets last week.