Monthly Archives: June 2009
Vince Carter. An 8 time NBA All-Star and one of the NBA’s premier scorers. Famous for the “Dunk of Death” OVER 7’2’’ Frederic Weis at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Thursday’s blockbuster trade that sent Carter and Ryan Anderson to the Orlando Magic for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie gives Vince a credible shot at a championship.
Averaging 23.5ppg in his career, Carter gives the Magic a reliable scorer and he can be the #3 option on the team, behind Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and if he re-signs, Hedo Turkoglu. The Nets get a promising talent in Courtney Lee, who can form a young, exciting backcourt with Devin Harris. It also means the Nets, who are unlikely to cause a stir in the East next season, avoid the luxury tax and free up cap space for 2010, where owner Jay-Z hopes to tempt best mate Lebron James to Brooklyn.
With Carter and a fully-fit Jameer Nelson next season, the Magic look set to return to the NBA finals again, where they lost to the Lakers this year. Add Dwight Howard, who is guaranteed to have improved his low-post game and come up with at least a couple of new post-up moves and improved his jumper, and the Magic can be a powerhouse and not a surprise next season.
But it will not be easy. The Cavs, angered by their near-sweep by the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, will have improved. Although Wednesday’s trade for a past-his-peak Shaq from the Suns for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic does his improve the Cavs, they will need better perimeter defenders if they come up against the Magic again with their array of 3 point shooters. If they can get the likes of Boozer or Rasheed Wallace through free agency, or orchestrate a trade involving the big Z, then Cleveland might be able to improve on their franchise-record 66 win season last year.
Add to this a resurgent Boston Celtics with a fully-fit Kevin Garnett and you have another challenger for the Eastern crown. Although with Boston’s big 3 (Pierce, KG and Ray Allen) being a year older when the next NBA finals coming around, it may be the C’s last chance of a championship with their current group of players.
The Wizards, with their trade last week for Timberwolves’ duo Randy Foye and Mike Miller, complimenting Washington’s existing Big 3 of Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards have been touted as a contender in the East next season. Although, much of this depends on the fitness of Agent Zero. Ravaged by injury for the past two seasons, Arenas is key to the Wizards’ success. Without him, a 19 win season like last year and its time for Arenas to start justifying that $111 million deal he signed last summer.
Who will dominate the Eastern Conference next year? My guess is the Magic. He may not be successful as the #1 guy on a team, but there is no doubt that Vince Carter is an excellent player, who the Magic have given little away to sign, and if he can play as a #2 or #3 option on the team to compliment the post presence and the behemoth that is Dwight Howard, the Magic may have a chance of redemption against the Lakers next season.
August 2008. The USA, with its influx of NBA superstars had just won the Olympic Gold medal after decimitating the competition. The “Redeem Team”, as it was known, featured the likes of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. But there was one All-Star in that team who was tipped for greatness last season, a player expected to join the elite level of the NBA – Toronto’s Chris Bosh.
But instead of reaching the playoffs as expected, the Raptors failed miserably, slumping to a 33-49 record and Bosh had to watch in frustration as his Olympic team mate Dwight Howard led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals. The acquisition of Jermaine O’Neal did not work, even the trade for Shawn Marion failed to galvanise the team, as the team slumped out of playoff contention.
Now the Raptors have a big decision to make: trade Bosh or let him leave for nothing in a year’s time, just like T-Mac and VC and join the class of 2010 with the likes of Lebron, D-Wade and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Bosh is reluctant to sign an extension with the Raptors, where his contract ends next season. After a dismal season in Toronto, it doesn’t look like they will be challenging for a championship next season. With Kapono already traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and Shawn Marion’s expiring contract, the Raptors don’t have an adequate supporting cast to complement Bosh. Although, Toronto has the #9 pick in this year’s NBA draft and many believe they will select forward DeMar DeRozan from USC. If DeRozan can live up to the potential he came out of college with, then he could be a Toronto’s reincarnation of Vince Carter.
It is evident that Bosh is not a franchise player, he needs to be the number 2 option on a contending team in order to win a championship, like a Pau, a Pip, a Worthy. He is in his prime and has a lot to offer (averaging 22 points, 10 rebs last season), but ask Lebron, you can not win a championship on your own. Bosh could do to a team what Pau Gasol did to the Lakers, compliment their #1 guy (Kobe) and transform a team from a playoff team to a championship contender.
But where could CB4 go? The Lakers don’t need him: they have got Gasol and Bryant. The Magic have Dwight Howard as their big man, and Bosh and Howard would not compliment each other. The Celtics have the big 3 (KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen). Cleveland could be an option, teaming with Bosh with Lebron James would be a match made in heaven. But who would Cleveland trade him for? Ben Wallace and Wally Sczerbiak are on big contracts, but Toronto would be unwilling to take either of those two.
The Raptors need a player they can build around, if they are going to trade Bosh they need a cornerstone for the future. There have been rumours about a swap deal with Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire. But would Amare’ be an improvement over Bosh? His talent is unquestionable, his attitude is poor and he is susceptible to injuries (an eye injury sidelined Stoudemire for most of last season). Also, Bosh would not fit in with the Suns’ high octane offence, Stoudemire is the perfect player for that system alongside Steve Nash.
What about Bosh for Al Jefferson of the Timberwolves? An excellent shot blocker and rebounder Jefferson would work well in Toronto, and allow Andrea Bargnani to play his preferred position at power forward and put Shawn Marion, if he re-signs, at small forward. But would Bosh go to Minnesota? It’s dubious, as the Timberwolves are not going to win a championship in the near future and Bosh’s talent would be wasted.
If Bosh were to stay in Toronto next season and then join the class of 2010, the picture looks a lot more promising. Many teams are clearing cap space for 2010, and places like New York is an attractive destination. If they can attract Lebron and maybe another top free agent, like Bosh, they were primed for a championship run. Also, what about Miami? If you can team Bosh with D-Wade, that’s a team with a big future, alongside an improving Michael Beasley.
All you need is a couple of big moves and you can transform a team. Look at the Celtics, 24-58 in 2006-07 and then moves for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen lead to a championship in 2008. Maybe Bosh can be the answer for a team looking to compliment a superstar, he could be this generation’s Scottie Pippen. And look at the success Pippen had.