Breaking Down The Off-Season Pt. 2

Robert C BinyonContributor IIJuly 3, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06:  Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Ron Artest #96 of the Houston Rockets look at the ball in the second quarter of Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Lakers Land Artest, Lose Ariza

First off let me start this off with a NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....OOOOOOOOOOO....OOOO. Ok, got that out of my system. Damn, damn, double damn, I hate to see Trevor Ariza go. But I saw it coming, I really did. Not only due to the reports that we weren't "offering him enough money". But because of the way I saw him look at times down the stretch.

Yea, he always had that smile, that look of absolute ecstasy, that look that says "I'm living my dream", but when you really looked, you could tell that some people pissed him off. Take this for example, Kobe takes a fadeaway contested jumper over three defenders, Ariza is wide open.

You can see the look on Ariza's face. No longer is it that happy-go-lucky Ariza grin we're all accustomed to, it’s a look that I too am all too familiar with. It’s the, "HEY MAN! I'm wide open over here, so open I could walk the ball into the hoop, give it to ME!" That look.

That look is never good, anytime you get a look like that, with a kid who is only 24, who just had a great playoff run, developed his three-point shot, and played a pivotal role in your playoff success, you had either be ready to try and coerce him to come back with the big bucks, or come to grips with the fact that you already lost him, because he wants more attention.

There are reports that the Lakers offered Ariza the same contract that the Rockets did, but Ariza selected the Rockets deal instead. It makes perfect sense when you take into consideration what I just said. He wants to be the number one option, he feels he's ready, and wants to be the man.

I love you Ariza, but I don't think you're quite the feature-quality type guy yet. You thrived with us because you had guys like Kobe, Pau, Lamar and Andrew taking attention to leave you open, get you holes, and get you out on the break. When you’re the number one guy, trying to do it with the ball in your hands all the time...it's going to be a whole lot tougher.

I hope you can do it, but Houston is looking bleak. They have a young point guard, who can shoot, and could possibly blossom into one of the top young point guards. He's quick; he can shoot and has good vision. But now he has no one to pass to. Yao Ming is done at least for the beginning of the season, if not its entirety.

Tracy McGrady is most likely out for the start of the season. That leaves you, as of now, with a starting line-up of Aaron Brooks/Trevor Ariza/Shane Battier/Luis Scola/Chuck Hayes? That's assuming that the Rockets would rather have Ariza start over Wafer. That team right there has no REAL scoring threat. Brooks may go off from game to game, but other than that,

people will most likely be keying in on you Trevor. And that is going to be tough. I hope you thought about all of this before you left us. I'm not angry with you, nor am I disappointed. I totally understand, I just think that it will be tough. And sort of find it hard to comprehend

why you'd leave a team where you just won a championship, and leave the city where you've lived your whole life. In the end I hope it all works out for you. Your game improved leaps and bounds this past season, and I think you could become a very solid player in this league. Good luck to you Trevor, I hope it all works out.

NOW, on to Mr. Ron Artest. Welcome. At first I couldn't even comprehend what the heck was going on. It took me a minute. Then I liked it, I really liked it. I remember the beef Kobe and Ron would have when playing each other, disliked the thought of them playing together. Then I liked it.

You know why? If all goes as planned, Ron should bring that nonexistent grit to our team, that attitude that we won't be beat, and you won't man-handle us at all. He has that toughness you can't teach, and in many cases it has gotten him into trouble. But I think with guys like Phil and Kobe around, they can keep him in check.

Ron has been around UCLA a lot lately, in fact one of my roommates friends shot around with him about a week and a half ago. I didn't even think about putting two and two together. Now, that it looks to be official, I'm liking the thought of it. Ron is one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, sure he's lost a step over the past few seasons, but he still is one of the best.

He, along with Kobe, will form one of the best defensive back courts in the league. Adding to this, that you have Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, and possibly Lamar Odom backing them up in the paint? And wow, sometimes it won't even be fair for opposing teams.

I think Ron can be the perfect match for the Swagger of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Shaquille O'Neal. They push us, Ron will push them back. I don't want to be a thug, but I want him to stay tough. We've always needed that, and personally I think we got lucky winning it all last year without that toughness.

That's one of the reasons the Celtics beat us two years ago, they were just tougher, they wouldn't say die. Now, they had better get ready to. Welcome Mr. Artest, I welcome you with open arms, just don't make us all sorry that we're expecting you to deliver not only on the court, but off quite certainly as well.

Pistons Lure Gordon, Villanueva

If you read my last article, you know that I wasn't high on the Detroit Pistons, they were looking bad, and they didn't have a coach. Well now, they're looking a lot better, and they don't have a coach. Bringing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to town is absolutely great for the Pistons.

I like it a lot. You're bringing in a great all-around scorer, one of those guys that can just get absolutely and ridiculously hot against you. And you're bringing in Lamar Odom V2. Villanueva to me is a cheap man's Lamar Odom, in this case a lot cheaper. Of course, as most say, you get what you pay for.

These two "signings" have to scream to everyone though, that the Pistons are looking to now get rid of Rip Hamilton. Who for? I'm not quite sure; I've seen rumors of him being shipped to Houston for T-Mac. But what will really happen we don't know. We know that Gordon has been an electrifying sixth man before in his career,

heck, he won Sixth Man of the Year as a rookie. But did the Pistons just pay him for that? Rip Hamilton has the character to actually play off the bench, but the Pistons had better hope they win; otherwise they're going to need to trade Rip. Either way though, I see Hamilton playing for a new team at some point next season.

As for Villanueva, he looks to be the starting 4, and if the Pistons can bring McDyess back, that is a pretty nice looking front court. A little undersized perhaps, but look at the past Pistons teams. They were never huge. These moves set the Pistons up nicely; they get to add another couple of young guys to a team that they've wanted to build around Rodney Stuckey

since trading Chauncey away last season. Tayshaun Prince will be 30 this next coming All-Star break, but he still has 4 or 5 more energetic years left in him. And the Pistons always have the wonderful KWAM-EE Browncoming off the bench as the possible starting Center.

Good luck Detroit, I hope you guys can bring in Avery Johnson, and if you can teach BG to maybe play some defense I think you guys are looking pretty good next season. You're not quite going to be able to stack up to the STACKED teams next season, but you look to be going to the playoffs, and could even make it to the second round.

Z-Bo Headed To Memphis?

Zach Randolph looks to be moving to the Midwest. The Clippers, in a move that looks to be setting up the starting job for new "Face of the Franchise" Blake Griffin. They are giving up the better player in Randolph, but they are getting a better character in Q-Rich.

There are arguments to be made that having Randolph on your team automatically subtracts at least five wins from your win total. Why? Because he's a cancer. But, in all seriousness, for Memphis, I think that Randolph could be great for them. Now they finally have a legitimate low-post scorer.

Someone who, if he stays in the paint and doesn't shoot hook shots from half-court, can attract attention down low and allow some of Memphis' deadly shooters to get some open looks. Nothing like some open looks to help you win some ball games.

BUT, their defense still looks to get no better as of now. Smart move from the front office though, because they basically turned Darko Milicic into Zach Randolph, a guy who can night in and night out get you 20/8. I like the Grizzlies, I'm a sucker for young up-and-coming teams, and hope that Randolph works out well for them.

Like I said, it should allow Gay, Mayo and company to get some more open 3's, and maybe even help open up some lanes. Too bad Z-Bo isn't a great passing big man, but how many other players can we say that about?

Kidd going to New York? Dallas? Maybe Even L.A.?

Well, this was a little more possible last night, but now it looks as though the Knicks are trying to low-ball for the 36-year-old future hall-of-famer. It is no secret that the Knicks are looking to hold on to every penny for next year's Free Agency Bonanza(wouldn't it be hilarious if nothing really happens next off-season? I'll write an article on that soon).

But, it can also be said, that having J Kidd in New York would be a great piece to lure LeBron to The Big Apple. The recent acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal suddenly screams TITLE OR BUST for Cleveland. You guys better hope you win the title(which you won't) or else Bron Bron is probably skipping town. Because face it,

if you don't win it next season, what else can you do? You will have down everything in your power to try and win, and have nothing more than a disappointing ECF appearance and whatever happens next season. LeBron wants a title, he wants a big market, and he wants to be a billion-dollar athlete. If he can get two of those by going to New York I think he will.

But this is about Jason Kidd, not LeBron James.

Where will Kidd end up? Will he go to New York? Stay with Cuban? Or will he go to L.A.? Wait WHAT?! You must be asking, who the hell is this guy, and what the hell is he talking about. But really, there have been reports that Jason Kidd could be coming to L.A. Honestly, I hope he doesn't.

That to me just screams Payton-to-Malone-to-Bryant-to-Shaq. That's just too much. Derek Fisher handles the reigns just perfectly, and if we get Shannon Brown back, we have two great back-up point guards to help keep Fisher healthy and rested.

Jason Kidd is still a great point guard, but he's getting older, you know he wants a championship, which makes you think he could be eyeing Cleveland. They could use a point guard, because a lot of people were disappointed with how Mo Williams played in the playoffs last season. He proved he deserved to be an all-star after all the crying

from the entire area of Cleveland. Where Kidd goes could be big news, it is now secret that Cuban wants him back, he's not afraid to spend money, and he generally gets what he wants. But will he get Kidd? Or will Kidd be off to the races for the championship trophy?



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