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Friday, June 29, 2007

Draft Aftermath

posted by on June 29 at 11:25 AM

Last night was heavy. We got Kevin Durant. That was enough. Then came the unexpected (to me, anyway) trade of Ray Allen to the Celtics for the #5 pick, Delonte West, and Wally Szczerbiak. (Wally Szczerbiak?!). We got Jeff Green (from Georgetown, who I happen to love, great passer). It was a lot to process, and listening to sports radio afterwards made me start to question everything. Fans were angry that we let go of Ray Allen; vitriol was negating the excitement and joy of landing Durant. It felt so infuriatingly Seattle. What the hell was going on? Like quite a few people, I assumed the arrival of Durant guaranteed the departure of Rashard Lewis. What were the Sonics thinking? I wanted to understand.

I turned to (future Seattle resident) Bethlehem Shoals of FreeDarko (essential reading for balling fans). He gave me back hope. I asked him to write some of his thoughts so that I might share this hope with you, Seattle.

I don’t live in Seattle yet, and thus have none of your emotional ties to Ray Allen. That said, I’m moving there in a month and have always had a soft spot for the NBA’s foremost art collector and fingernail painter.

THAT SAID, I couldn’t be more thrilled about all the roster slicing and dicing that the Sonics performed last night. During the telecast, there was a lot of talk about Presit adhering to a San Antonio Spurs template. That was bullshit that gets said when people are asked to move mouths for four hours straight. Kevin Durant is the future on so many levels it’s not even funny. Ray Ray, lovely as he was, was the essence of basketball classicism; hell, on some days, you might have even mistaken him for a pre-Jordan shooting guard. Not saying that this is a bad thing, but every team not blessed with a domintant big man (hey Oden) is going for versatility and creativity.

No single prospect sums that up like Durant; putting Jeff Green beside him only underscores that. And while cynics or sentimentalists might decry the trading of Allen as a money-saving move, IT OPENS UP SPACE TO RE-SIGN SHARD. Lewis plus those two guys equals endless possibilities. And while Shard may have bucked at not being the man during the Ray Allen era, he’ll be a mentor to Durant, the older, wiser master that this pupil is destined to exceed. That’s ninja movie maturity that all athletes dig, and what’s more, it’s the truth. See also Nuggets, today’s Denver.

Delonte West is better than you think, Wally cannot hurt you if he’s pushed out to the margins… we’re not talking an instant powerhouse, but this team just went from “House of Durant” to a grand basketball experiment on par with the Suns or Raptors.

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at least the sonics arent the warriors. having grown up and seeing the warriors make trade after trade that totally backfired or was stupid on the face of it killed my love of basketball.

nerdball (basketball played by nerds like me and my friends. it was always a low scoring, brutal, affair) was still fun.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 29, 2007 11:42 AM

Do we have any players left who *arenít* small forwards?

Posted by BB | June 29, 2007 11:45 AM

Forget the Sonics... they won't be around much longer anyway. PORTLAND is were the action is - and will be - for the next 5 to 10 years.

Oden will dominate and Rip City will be in full swing once again.

Gas up the buggy and head south for some exciting b-ball.


Posted by P-Town | June 29, 2007 11:51 AM

We've got no point guard.

Posted by DOUG. | June 29, 2007 11:57 AM

Ray was great, best pure shooter, but is better to trade him early. This was a good move. You want a winner, you have to build it, you cant hang on to players too long because theyre fan favorites, The Hoya is going to be better than people think, Im quite surprised that Boston made such lousy moves. Ray is going to be an old man in 2 years. I also want to ship out that useless whiteboy Luke, but I would keep Collison. Rashard Lewis should go too, the Hoya is going to be more consistent and tougher. The Sonics need a coach. I still say they should get Kareem Abdul Jabar.

Unfortunately, I agree with P- Town the Blazers are set. Two rookie of the years in a row. The west will be theirs.

Posted by SeMe | June 29, 2007 11:57 AM

Well said by Shoals, as per usual. The Sonics gave up a lot for, essentially, Jeff Green and a new canvas. I love Ray but he's not the kind of centerpiece that you build a winning basketball team around. The investment is in Durant and therefore every corresponding personnel move should reflect that. Green is a great glue guy (reminiscent of Detlef). Delonte is a throw-in and Wally is the bitter pill that we had to swallow. I just hope, hope, HOPE Seattle realizes how special KD can be in time to keep him here long term.

Posted by bclodis | June 29, 2007 12:02 PM

I'm sad to see Ray go but I think it was a wise move. Ray Allen is the kind of player that can put a contending team over the top over the next season or two, but he's not going to be around long enough to really build around, and he's too expensive.

I love the move and think that the gamble on Jeff Green is great because it allows us to hedge our bets by resigning Rashard.

Portland is set up to be HUGE over the next five years, but I'm a lot happier with where the Sonics are right now than where they were two days ago.

Posted by Clifton | June 29, 2007 12:17 PM

I understand this move--especially coming from a number crunching young GM with no emotional ties to the team or the area, acting without having to consider a coach's opinions or instincts or loyalties, working for a GM who has no need to try to placate the local fan base.

It makes some rotisserie sense.

But for anyone with an emotional investment in the Sonics--and a dream of a team ready to win NOW, trading away Ray Allen when he could have been part of an Allen/Lewis/Durant core, is hard to accept.

It certainly makes me feel like there's a conscious effort to strip away any emotional connection between Seattle and the players which would make it less likely that anyone here would fight their eventual move to Oklahoma City.

It's kind of the reverse of "You Gotta Love These Guys", isn't it?

I can see the billboard the Sonics, taunting me while I'm stuck in traffic entering the Mercer Mess headed towards I-5--it'll read:

By The Time We're As Good As You Know We'll Be, We'll Be Gone--Seattle Sonics Basketball

...but, that's just my emotional reaction...which has gone from excitement about this season and the chances of keeping the team in the area--possibly in Tukwila--to deeply cynical resignation...and it all happened on draft day, when we ended up getting two of the best five players available.

Weird how things work, isn't it?


Posted by pgreyy | June 29, 2007 12:20 PM

Gilbert Arenas should be courted not only for his talent, but for his entertainment too.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 29, 2007 12:24 PM

@2 - Robert Swift is not a small forward. Good luck with him.

The Blazers will be legit in a few years - just enough time for the new 'Zers to work on their flow for Rap City v2.

Posted by Hustle & Flow | June 29, 2007 12:45 PM

Oden's got a lot to live up to.

Posted by Hustle & Flow | June 29, 2007 12:55 PM

It'd be nice to get a fast, athletic team on the floor, but what do you do about the tall, pasty white kid you drafted two years ago?

This will be an interesting experiment, but trading away your leading scorer for a rookie talent, a point guard and a spare part leaves a huge production gap that you're hoping Durant will fill in. Durant can easily be a 12-15 point, 5-6 rebound guy off the bat, but to think he's going to seamlessly replicate the perofrmance he put up against inferior, corn-fed college kids isn't a very bright assumption. Maybe he closes the gap, but we're talking in the next 3-4 years, not right now.

Durant couldn't bench 185 pounds for scouts. Lacking that strength may be fine in the big 12 when you can run around people, but when you're facing 6'9"-7"0, 230-250 pound pros, many of whom are just as fast as you, or strong enough to knock you over with a shiver of the wrist... you're not going to step in and immediately do more of the same star-play that made you college player of the year.

Posted by Gomez | June 29, 2007 1:21 PM

I loved Ray and like Wally less than any other player in the league, but Delonte West is just the kind of pickup the Sonics need - he's tough as nails, plays with broken fingers, ribs, sprained ankles, unless his coach forces him to sit. He'll never be an all-star, but the Sonics haven't had a tough guard since Payton left.

Posted by Rambo | June 29, 2007 3:29 PM

I loved Ray and like Wally less than any other player in the league, but Delonte West is just the kind of pickup the Sonics need - he's tough as nails, plays with broken fingers, ribs, sprained ankles, unless his coach forces him to sit. He'll never be an all-star, but the Sonics haven't had a tough guard since Payton left.

Posted by Rambo | June 29, 2007 3:29 PM

@ 4:

we have the same point guards we had last year.

i HOPE we have a different one by training camp.

sign & trade softy lewis

Posted by maxsolomon@home | June 30, 2007 1:05 PM

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