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JetCityPersian

NBA Eastern Conference

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Jet here,

The NBA off-season thus far has featured several moves by Eastern Conference GM's that signal a "win now" mentality: but what exactly will they be winning? The rights to be the next sacrificial lamb sent to almost certain embarrassment at the hands of the next Western Conference Champions? Let's start with a trade that I've beaten to death in this blog: The Knicks improved themselves on paper for the upcoming season, but does anyone really think that a team anchored by Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph is going to hoist the Championship Trophy sometime in the next four years?

With perhaps one or two notable exceptions, moves made by Eastern GM's have the feel of desperation strikes at the Finals, a sort of "well, let's get there and see if a miracle happens"-type shot in the dark... Let's look at some of the other trades and free agent signings that we've seen over the past month:

1) The Celtics deal Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and the #5 pick in the 2007 draft for Ray Allen and a 2nd round pick (Glen Davis).

Like the NY/Portland trade, this should add some wins next year. Will it propel the Celtics to the Finals? I say that's a long shot in even Danny Ainge's most optimistic dreams. If they somehow made the Finals, would they beat a San Antonio, Phoenix, or Dallas? In 3-4 years, when Al Jefferson is potentially entering his prime, the 32-year old Allen will be seeing significant fall-off. A level-headed critique of this move will predict mediocrity at best for the Celtics. They may well indeed reach the playoffs, but they won't win a Title and they'll be even less likely to get a franchise player out of future drafts.

2) The Charlotte Bobcats trade the draft rights to Brandan Wright to the Golden State Warriors for Jason Richardson. Shortly thereafter, they sign Matt Carroll to a 6 year, 27 million dollar deal:

I found these moves equally odd. The Bobcats are still young, and I actually liked the Wright pick for them. He needs a couple years, but he could be a stud PF to anchor their frontline along with Emeka Okafor. Instead, they tie themselves to a brittle Jason Richardson, one of the streakier scorers in the league. Then, they turned around and made a long term commitment to a guy who plays his exact same position in Matt Carroll. They'll undoubtedly be better next year as a result of the Richardson deal, but the upside is much less than if they'd kept Wright. I think this is another example of an Eastern GM trying to seize the day, but at the same time locking the franchise into years of par-level play.

3) The Orlando Magic agree to terms for a max deal with SF Rashard Lewis:

Lewis was hailed as the top commodity on this year's free agent market, and that should tell you how weak the crop of free agents is this summer. Lewis is a nice scoring forward, but he's not worth max money. He can shoot well from outside, which will complement Dwight Howard's blossoming inside game. He's a poor defender and rebounder, however, and the Magic will have a tough time accommodating those weaknesses now that they've tied up so many resources in acquiring him. This criticism standing, I still see this as one of the better off-season moves so far. Lewis is still relatively young, and Howard is just entering his prime. Good move, I just think they overpaid. It will take some clever GM'ing to make the final leap to a championship contender.

4) The Nets sign Vince Carter to a four year, 62 million dollar contract with an option for a fifth year:

I think this was a no-brainer. The Nets weren't able to move Kidd last year, and watching the Cavaliers make their way to the finals this year was only added fodder for an argument to keep Kidd and to try to make a stab at a championship now. Kidd's game doesn't rely on leaping ability, speed, or quickness. I think he has at least 3 good years left, so bringing back Carter was the right choice. This is a lot of money for Vince, who's no spring chicken himself, but I see Carter as a bona-fide superstar that could propel the Nets to a championship if they can put together a run to the Finals. The Nets had some bad luck last year with injuries in the front court (particularly to their promising young center, Nenad Krstic). They should be competitive for the Eastern crown this season.

5) Quietly, the Toronto Raptors sign Jason Kapono to a four year, 24 million dollar deal:

I like it. Wait a second, signing Jason Kapono was the best FA move so far this off-season? Jason Kapono???!!! Hey, this guy was probably the best three point specialist in the league last year, and he'll fit right in on a Raptor squad styled after International play. I think this is just the latest example of Brian Colangelo earmarking and nabbing his perfect role-player. The Raptors are building a team around Bosh's inside game and sharpshooters on the perimeter, and Kapono will fit in perfectly with that scheme. Finally, here's an Eastern GM with a plan.

And with that, I think I understand Colangelo's desire to leave the Suns and go out to Toronto more and more. Look at the poor management he's competing with out East... It only took him a season to have the Raptors right in the hunt for a trip to the Finals, and I think we won't have to wait long to see them put up an Eastern Conference Championship banner. I'm not sure if they're good enough to beat the likes of San Antonio, Dallas, or Phoenix in the Finals, but they do have young players who haven't neared their ceilings yet.

Other than Colangelo, I'm seeing a lot of muddled decision making out of Eastern managers. In desperate moves to win right away, I think they stunt their chances to actually compete for a Title down the road...

- Jet out

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isnt it strange how there is such inequality between the conferences/leagues in the nba, nfl and mlb?

i mean, the eastern conference, nfc, and national league just flat out stink...

these nba contracts still amaze me...6 years 27 million for matt carroll???? he's a local kid, but he wasnt even that good at notre dame...

then i pick up the philly inquirer this morning and see the sixers top priority for the rest of the off season is to re-sign Joe Smith? sign me up for season tickets!

the sixers are excited about darko milicic, but apparently his being young, tall and athletic outweigh the fact that he has completely sucked since he's been in the league, so the sixers feel the 5.5 million they have to spend just won't be enough....

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and then six million for jason kapona...... amazing...does he still wear the headband????

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isnt it strange how there is such inequality between the conferences/leagues in the nba, nfl and mlb?

i mean, the eastern conference, nfc, and national league just flat out stink...

these nba contracts still amaze me...6 years 27 million for matt carroll???? he's a local kid, but he wasnt even that good at notre dame...

then i pick up the philly inquirer this morning and see the sixers top priority for the rest of the off season is to re-sign Joe Smith? sign me up for season tickets!

the sixers are excited about darko milicic, but apparently his being young, tall and athletic outweigh the fact that he has completely sucked since he's been in the league, so the sixers feel the 5.5 million they have to spend just won't be enough....

Sounds like Philly is looking three or four years out at this point to me... it could work out for them. I think that's why they went with Thaddeus Young over Al Thorton in the draft. Thorton is the more developed right now, but Young could have a higher ceiling. I think Philly lands back in the lottery again next year, and the face of the franchise could end up being Mayo, Rose, or one of these guys...

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All these GMs gunning for the Eastern Conference Championship are idiots.

If you don't have what it takes to hang with the Spurs, Suns, and Mavs, melt that sucker down and rebuild. It's the only sane thing to do.

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All these GMs gunning for the Eastern Conference Championship are idiots.

If you don't have what it takes to hang with the Spurs, Suns, and Mavs, melt that sucker down and rebuild. It's the only sane thing to do.

That should be the extreme abbreviated cliff notes version of my blog entry there... B)

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