NBA Ramblings…Dress Code Non-Issue, Trade Analysis, Doubting Thomas

By Gregory Moore
Updated: February 24, 2006

SAN ANTONIO – Well we are officially about a week removed from the 2006 NBA All Star weekend festivities and while there have been some so-so trades that have taken place on Thursday, the biggest non-story happens to be the very one that had many in this country in an uproar. The biggest non-story from the league has officially been declassified. “Dress gate” is now so watered down that nobody has talked about it for months now.

Remember the flack that the league and commissioner David Stern was taking by several in the African American community over having the athletes be in ‘business casual’ attire when they were at a league-sanctioned event? Remember that one of the biggest detractors was Jermaine O’Neal himself?

Well where is he today? On the injured reserve list for the Indiana Pacers looking good in a suit; just like in the picture for this story. As a matter of fact, last weekend showcased some of the league’s best dressed ball players as many of them had hit the city of Houston to attend and/or host various parties.

Well just like I had predicted along with many others, this non-issue would quietly go away because once the naysayers understood the importance of looking good, they would easily comply with what the league wanted in the mandate. As a matter of fact, once part of the media contingent started questioning the validity of their arguments with arguments of their own on how these detractors could scream that they will need a clothing allowance but yet show up at some swanky establishment with their entourage, the debate would be diffused. Well ladies and gentlemen of the reading public, as you can see for yourself there has not been a single story about this dress code and you probably will be hard pressed to even find a player being ‘fined’ for not being in compliance.

It just makes you wonder what was the fuss all about in the first place doesn’t it?

Go to fullsize image ANALYZING THE TRADES THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE There were a few NBA trades that went down on Thursday and some of them still have this writer scratching his NBA noggin. Here is a quick summary and analysis of the trades that went down at the start of Rivalry Week for the NBA: Go to fullsize image Rockets’ Anderson traded to Heat for Gerald Fitch: The Rockets aren’t going anywhere this season and since Derek Anderson has not really produced like they had hoped when they acquired the nine year veteran in the off season from the Portland Trailblazers.

Anderson will probably help the Heat in their backcourt, as they need an offensive player but they aren’t giving up much to the Rockets with the move of Fitch; a guy stuck behind Jayson Williams and Gary Payton on the depth chart.

WINNER: It’s a draw.

Go to fullsize image Nets deal Johnson, Jackson to Hornets for Nachbar and cash: Big man Marc Jackson and swingman Linton Johnson probably weren’t helping the New Jersey Nets much but when the New Orleans Hornets agreed to take those two players in exchange for Bostjan Nachbar and cash considerations, the deal reminded me of when former Spurs general manager Bob Bass sent Vernon Maxwell to Houston for $50,000. In other words the Hornets didn’t really make a sound player decision by giving up Nachbar.

WINNER: Jersey. They get a player who plays big when given the chance.

Go to fullsize image Cavaliers get Flip Murray in exchange for Wilks and cash: Ronald “Flip” Murray is probably one of the league’s underrated players this season and when Danny Ferry was able to get him away from a struggling Seattle Sonics team in exchange for giving up Mike Wilks and some cash, it was a sound decision. Murray will flourish under Mike Brown’s system.

Wilks may find himself back in the D-league shortly as Bob Hill will not be using him much. The Cavs also made a deal to get Lee Nailon from the Philadelphia 76ers and all they have to do is give up cash. Ferry has fleeced this team as well because Nailon will work well in Brown’s system and shore up the frontcourt of this young and upcoming team. Can anyone say Carlos who?

WINNER: Cavs’ make out like bandits.

Go to fullsize image The four-team deal between Denver, Portland, Sacramento and Seattle: Okay follow along carefully. The Sonics acquired Earl Watson, Bryon Russell, a 2008 second-round pick and cash from the Nuggets. The Nuggets acquired Reggie Evans from the Sonics, and Ruben Patterson and Charles Smith from the Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers acquired Vashon Lenard from the Nuggets and Brian Skinner from the Kings. The Kings acquired Vitaly Potapenko from the Sonics and Sergei Monia from the Trail Blazers.

You want to know who was the biggest winner out of this four team, nine-player trade? The Nuggets. Look what they gave up in Earl Watson and Byron Russell along with Vashon Lenard. In return they get a power forward that plays like a center in Patterson, a defensive presence in Evans and they do get a professional in Smith. The team who got taken was the Kings. Potapenko and Monia will not help this team any more than Donald Duck and Minnie Me would.

WINNER: The Nuggets and their playoff hopes.

Go to fullsize image DOUBTING THOMAS’ GM SKILLS JUST FLABBERGASTING It’s going to be a rarity that I even agree with Peter Vescey on an NBA topic but I am right there with him and others on whether Isaiah Thomas is the right person to be leading the rebuilding project of the New York Knicks. The conclusion has been thoroughly solidified by the fact that Thomas decided to bring on troublemaker Steve Francis into a locker room that already doesn’t know what its identity is and he has taken on another non-expiring contract.

To be really frank about this I don’t think anybody at MSG has a clue how to run the franchise. Even by any normal business practicum that you learn at a college freshman level, your accounting practices have to be balanced and non-creative.

It simply makes no sense for this franchise to give up an expiring contract like that of Anfernee Hardaway’s and then take on a contract like Francis that will not expire for at least two seasons. You couple that with the fact that the salary cap is not the Knicks’ best friend right now and you have to question whether James Dolan has a clue on what it takes to build a competitive team.

Now maybe Thomas doesn’t think this such a big deal but there is no way I would give him a second shot at being a general manager in this league. He has become a laughing stock of the league because he has become the “Doubting Thomas” during the trade deadline. He will buy anything because he is that desperate to fulfill the MSG mystique that was the Knicks of old. The bottom line on this latest move is that Francis is not going to bring the Knicks any closer to being competitive in the playoffs than they were yesterday.

Isaiah take my advice. Quit while you’re just a bit below .500. You haven’t done the Knicks any favors and all you have done is bring baggage to a fan base that deserves more. If you won’t step aside then at least hire somebody who is a capologist and a deal maker. Then again, give me a call. I think I have some swamp water that you can substitute your Noni juice supplement with and still get the vitality you need to fight your battles.