Tonight's article will briefly step away from the entertaining mayhem and mass hysteria generated by yesterday's hypothetical trade feature. Instead, we'll take a more relaxing look at a handful of recent signings/re-signings. I'd imagine this won't raise the same polemical fervor...but hey, I can always be wrong.
Without further ado, welcome back to the Dr. Trade feature as I try to give you expert-level analysis of NBA transactions past, present, and future.
Completed Re-signing: Steve Nash remains with Phoenix
There will always be a large group of people who mock Nash's back-to-back MVP wins in 2005-06 and 2006-07, but it is also hard to find a player who did a better job during those days of making those around him better.
Nash was in the right place at the right time to lead the NBA's version of the "Run & Shoot" offense. Like June Jone's Falcons, the Suns left us wondering what could have been with such a flawed, yet innovative plan of attack.
Today's Phoenix Suns are trying to retrace their steps back to the closest thing to "glory days" that they've experienced (while the franchise has had many other extremely good teams, I think the D'Antoni squads will be what the Suns are remembered for the most).
Why would Steve Nash re-sign with a team that so recently lost its identity, and in its ongoing search, lost its place in the Western Conference?
Why not end his career with the coach who made him an MVP, by defecting to New York?
Why not force his way into joining one of the current NBA elites to make a run at that elusive ring?
From the sounds of it, Nash highly values the opportunities that the Phoenix Suns gave to him as a rookie and then as a ninth-year player. They not only drafted him out of an unknown college, but they also brought him back when many wondered whether he was "washing up" after his time with Don Nelson's Mavericks.
Will Nash win a championship in the next three seasons with the Phoenix Suns? Not as long as their budget remains constrained. Has he shown enough loyalty by re-signing to engineer an amicable parting (trade) should his desires change? Yes.
Steve Nash will continue to shoot and pass at an efficient level. His defense will continue to decline as he ages. He'll get another chance to play for the team he loves, but he's also now able to leave the door open for a KG-type "pity trade" to a contender if he so chooses in the future.
Completed Signing: Jarrett Jack to Toronto Raptors
Jarrett Jack is a good player who certainly has a lot of variables swirling about him right now.
Is he a point guard or a shooting guard? Where is he most effective at, considering that his steady, but unspectacular numbers don't change all that much when he starts or comes off the bench? If he's good enough to have a lot of teams that want him in trades, why isn't he considered good enough for those teams to hold onto him for the long-term?
Despite these unanswered questions, Jarrett Jack is actually a very good fit for what the retooling Raptor's roster (say that five times fast) needs right now.
Jose Calderon is one of the best point guards in the NBA (I wish more people would recognize that), so Jack is not going to have to start at that position. However, because he is capable of manning that spot, he should be the Raps' primary point-guard sub whenever Calderon needs to sit. That is, unless Roko Ukic develops into the player Toronto hopes he'll be.
Jack will also be effective in splitting time with DeMar DeRozan at shooting guard. You don't want to throw a rookie into a full-time starting job until he's ready. Jack provides the perfect solution in that he can hold down the fort for half the game, but also get the rest of his minutes by switching to point guard when Calderon comes out.
A Jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none? Some rosters need that, and Jarrett will fit the bill just fine.
Completed Signing: Matt Barnes to Orlando
Just how much money have the Magic hidden under their mattress anyway? After forking out more than enough dough for Rashard Lewis a few seasons ago, Orlando continued their post-Finals reload by taking on Vince Carter's contract, plucking Brandon Bass away from Dallas, going all in on Marcin Gortat, and by now adding another proven sub in Matt Barnes.
Granted, Barnes' contract, while yet unannounced, is certainly unlikely to break the bank. However, the fact that Orlando would sign him this early in the free-agency period again shows that they were not ready to be scraping the leftovers just before the season started.
Barnes basically bounced around the League for a few years before having one notable season with Golden State in 2006-07. His numbers actually improved last year in Phoenix, but I'm not sure that most coaches would view him as a sure-fire starter.
Orlando has likely signed him for depth and defensive intensity. I don't believe that he will (or should) take minutes away from Mikael Pietrus, but those two will effectively man the backup shooting guard and small-forward spots next season. Most importantly, he's another body to throw at LeBron in the playoffs.
Barring a major injury to Lewis, Carter, or Pietrus, Matt should expect to see his minutes go down this year. That being said, if he was looking to sign with a contender, he really didn't need to look any further than the Magic.
Completed Re-signing: Jamaal Magloire remains with Miami
Seriously, what happened to this guy? After an All-Star season in 2004, Magloire quickly descended to an NBA vagabond status, scraping by just to make a roster each year.
The very interesting (scary) thing is that, just like Antoine Walker, Magloire is only in his very early 30's. Unlike Walker, however, Magloire will actually play in the NBA this year.
What can he contribute beyond six fouls? That remains to be seen, as his numbers have been microscopic the last two seasons. Nonetheless, he'll provide another physical presence beyond the equally declining Jermaine O'Neal and the "never made it there" Joel Anthony.
If it's any consolation, he'll still play more than Mark Blount. Seriously though, what happened to this guy?
Trust me on this one. After all, I am a Doctor.
- "Doctor Trade"