The NBA Economic Crunch In The Summer Of 2009

Dan SmithCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

CHICAGO - MARCH 06:  Head coach Scott Skiles of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Is your team a buyer or seller this NBA off-season? 

If you are a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks then you are rooting for a team that is selling. They traded away Richard Jefferson for a bunch of old guys from the San Antonio Spurs. They did not even offer Charlie Villenueva a contract and that turned him into an unrestricted free agent.

It's enough to make Scott Skiles hang his head.

The Phoenix Suns have a stripped down roster as of right now, and there is still talk of them moving Amare Stoudemire. That would be selling too much of your team since it seems to me that a player like Stoudemire, at 26, is someone that you can build your team around for another run.

The Knicks and Nets have been trimming payroll for a few seasons now so that they can go after LeBron James in the summer of 2010.

Fans of those four teams already know that the 2009-2010 season is going to be a lost one as they prepare to revamp their franchises with the blockbuster free agents of next summer, and hope the economy is in better shape as well.

As of right now, there are more buyers than sellers and that is a good sign for the league. If a substantial number of franchises were selling this off-season, then the 2009-2010 season would be a bad product for all fans.

Of the buyers, there are really only about eight teams with a real shot at the title next season. No free agents can be signed until July 8 so any player movement before then are all verbal commitments.

The Lakers have improved on the court with the addition of Ron Artest. It is all of the stuff that might happen off of the court that makes this a curious pick-up to me. LA loves drama so Ron Ron might fit right in, but with a team primed for a repeat, do they really need to take a chance with Artest?

The Spurs could have a starting five of Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Michael Finley, Richard Jefferson and Tony Parker with Manu Ginobili coming off of the bench. If the Lakers slip up at all, then the Spurs could be the ones pushing them.

The Cavs added Shaquille O'Neal and have been mentioned as the destination for a few big name free agents. Even though Orlando has not improved so far this off-season (adding Vince Carter while losing Hedo Turkoglu and Courtney Lee), the Cavs still need to get an athletic big man to help with their math-up problems with the Magic.

The Celtics are talking to Rasheed Wallace and that will help them. What the Celtics really need is a healthy Kevin Garnett to be the beast of the East next season.

The Hawks added Jamal Crawford to their young and talented roster. The Trail Blazers also added another cog with Hedo Turkaglu to steady their improving team.

The biggest victim of the NBA economic crunch is Allen Iverson. Nine years removed from his only appearance in the NBA Finals, no teams are showing interest in him. There is no market this off-season for a superstar that wants a team built around him. 

Iverson's people have made contact with the Memphis Grizzlies. If AI can accept a new role as a scorer off of the bench then he would be a great pick-up for any team. If he still wants to be the man then there is talk that he might be forced into retirement.

A lot of people have had to make a lot of hard choices during this time in America. Here's hoping that Allen Iverson chooses to take a big pay cut to go along with his new role in the NBA and hook-up with a team. He is a proud player with a Hall of Fame body of work.

You always want guys like that to end their careers on their terms.