Extend trade or cut

Extend, trade or cut – Eastern Conference All-Stars edition

by Micah Hart

It’s been a minute or two since we’ve done one of these, but with the announcement of the All-Star starters, everyone’s attention is now on which players will be named All-Star reserves.

Last night on the TNT pregame show, Kenny, Charles, and EJ gave their picks for the East, and they all agreed on five players: Atlanta’s Al Horford, and the Celtics’ foursome of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen.

There was no consensus for the last two spots, as they each picked a different pair from amongst Miami’s Chris Bosh, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, and New York’s Raymond Felton. Given the lack of agreement,  I thought now would be a good time to revisit everyone’s favorite game, Extend, Trade, or Cut.

Just to refresh you on the rules, picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you have to trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.

Let’s examine the evidence:

Chris Bosh: Is he on the same level as his more famous teammates? No, he’s not. But he’s still a guy that can get you 20 and 10 on a given night, and he’s one of the sweeter-shooting big men in the game. He has caught some flak lately for suggesting that players maybe shouldn’t try so hard all the time.

Joe Johnson: For this exercise, we are only considering his merits as a basketball player. Therefore, you should disregard the fact that he most likely has at present the worst contract in the NBA. JJ’s had a bit of a down year, but some of that was due to an elbow injury, and he seems to have regained his form in January.

Raymond Felton: Has helped reignite the age decade old NBA question, is it the point guard, or is it Mike D’Antoni‘s system? On the other hand, some might argue that Felton has always been a capable PG, but was too restrained in Charlotte under the heavy hand of Larry Brown. Either way, there is no doubt that Felton is having a career year in his first season in New York City.

That’s the choices. What’s your decisions?

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Extend, trade or cut – bad contract edition

by Micah Hart

Today is Monday, which means it’s time for another fabulous edition of Extend, Trade or Cut. Today’s scenario examines three players who have all been All-Stars at various times in their careers, who were then paid accordingly because of that level of performance, but now because of their contracts’ size and length (and other considerations) are considered almost untradeable. Step right up, Orlando’s Rashard Lewis, Philly’s Elton Brand, and Washington’s Gilbert Arenas.

Just to refresh you on the rules, picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you have to trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.

Let’s examine the evidence:

Rashard Lewis: I have always thought that people find Lewis disappointing simply because he looks capable of so much more. He may not be capable of more, but based on his size and shooting ability, it just seems like he should be one of the game’s most dominant players. Couple that with the free-agent contract he signed with Orlando that will pay him upwards of $20 million a season through 2012-13, and you have a player that fans expect more from than the 11.8 ppg he’s giving the Magic right now.

Elton Brand: The prize of the free-agent class of 2008, Brand signed a five-year deal with the Sixers and left his boy Baron Davis at the altar in L.A. in the process. Maybe what has happened since is karma (though given that it was the Clippers, I doubt it), but a shoulder injury suffered early in his Philly tenure has left him out of the Sixers’ plans and usually brought up in any conversations of anyone trying to trade for one of the team’s blue-chippers — i.e., we’ll only give you Andre Iguodala or Jrue Holiday if you take back Elton’s contract, too. That said, Brand appears to have gotten back on track, averaging 15.8 points and 7.9 rebounds this season.

Gilbert Arenas: You might think the Wizards regret Arenas’ deal because of his locker-room episode from last season, but injuries alone have made his extension a bitter pill to swallow in D.C. Agent Zero has the Wizards on the hook for close to $20 million through 2013-14. That’s so far away robot basketball players will probably have taken over by then. All kidding aside, Hibachi has been putting up some numbers so far this year, with a season-high 31 coming in Saturday’s last-second loss to the Magic. Forget about his off-court shenanigans – can you count on him to keep up that kind of production going forward?

All right, supper’s on the table. Get to eatin’.

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Extend, trade, or cut – Unextended 2007 Draft pick edition

by Micah Hart

Today is Monday, which means it’s time for another fabulous edition of Extend, Trade or Cut. Speaking of Mondays (excellent segue Micah), last Monday was the final day for teams to offer contract extensions to players from the 2007 Draft class, or risk said players becoming restricted free agents when the season ends. Not many players ended up with that security this year, in part due to labor negotiations and in part due to lack of talent/production. Of the 30 players drafted in the first round, only Kevin Durant (duh), Al Horford, Mike Conley (surprise!), Joakim Noah, and Jared Dudley signed on the line which is dotted to secure their playing futures for the next several years.

So what of the players left in the cold, forced to play for their (future) pay this season? Today we examine three players in that current situation: Houston’s Aaron Brooks, OKC’s Jeff Green, and Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey.

Just to refresh you on the rules, picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you have to trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.

Let’s examine the evidence:

Aaron Brooks – The Rockets’ speedy point guard is perhaps a victim of circumstance rather than undeserving of a long-term deal; Houston made a decision across the board not to extend anyone without a new CBA. In more certain times, I’d say it’s pretty likely Brooks would have a deal. Brooks was the Most Improved Player in the league last year, starting all 82 games for the Rockets and averaging 19.2 ppg. He’s a scoring point more than a distributor though, and at his size he’s not much of a defensive presence.

Jeff Green – People are ALL over the map about this guy. Some see him as a crucial component to the Thunder’s future, a Scottie Pippen jack-of-all-trades to Durant’s Jordan. Others think he’s overhyped, and point to the fact that OKC’s plus/minus is consistently worse with him on the floor than off it.

Rodney Stuckey – Stuckey started fast out of the gate in his career, looking at times like a future star in his first couple seasons with the Pistons. But he too is a bit of a tweener – is he a point? Is he a shooting guard? Lately, he appears to have fallen into Pistons’ coach John Kuester‘s doghouse, getting benched for most of the second half in a game against the Hawks last week. How much of that is just the dysfunction of playing with a seemingly rudderless franchise right now?

All right, the pins are set. Knock ‘em down with your vote below:

UPDATE: Aaron Brooks is apparently out 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury – I can’t tell you what to do, so if you want that to factor into your hypothetical decision feel free, but I’d say you can pretend for the sake of argument that he’s a picture of health.

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Extend, Trade, or Cut – new starting PG edition

by Micah Hart

Today is Monday, which means it’s time for another fabulous edition of Extend, Trade or Cut. It’s not just any Monday though, it’s the Monday before the start of the 2010-11 season. That being the case, I thought today we’d take a look at three players who start this new season in similar places — as the projected starting point guard for their team for the first time in their careers. The nominees: the Sixers’ Jrue Holiday, the Bobcats’ DJ Augustin, and the Pacers’ Darren Collison.

Just to refresh you on the rules, picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you have to trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.

Let’s take a look at your options:

- Jrue Holiday: Holiday had an up and down rookie season in Philadelphia a year ago, but came on strong toward the end and established himself as the team’s starting PG going into the new season. Known for his sticky defense (many think he can be in the Rajon Rondo class of lead-guard stoppers), his offense is still a bit of a work in progress. A teammate of Collison’s at UCLA, Holiday — who is 20 — is the youngest of this trio.

- DJ Augustin: Larry Brown and Michael Jordan saw fit to let Raymond Felton leave for New York, handing the reins to Augustin in Charlotte this season. Augustin ain’t the tallest cat in town (the Bobcats generously list him at 6-foot), but he makes up for it with the ability to use the angles to get shots in the paint over taller defenders. He’s also an excellent shooter from distance and from the charity stripe.

- Darren Collison: Many were surprised to see the Hornets trade their Chris Paul insurance in the offseason, but Collison was so impressive in relief of Paul last season that the Pacers dealt for the UCLA product and immediately installed him as their starter. Better known for his his defensive capabilities at UCLA, Collison surprised the league by averaging 18.8 ppg in 37 games as a starter during his rookie season.

Them’s the choices. How do you vote?

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Extend, Trade, or Cut – Young Centers Edition

by Micah Hart

It’s Monday, which means it’s time to start the week off right with a little hoops arguing. Today’s episode of extend, trade, or cut is brought to you by the Prime Minister (familiar to anyone who reads the Hang Time Blog) who had a good suggestion for today’s discussion — a trio of the NBA’s best young pivotmen in the Hawks’ Al Horford, the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, and Grizzlies big man Marc Gasol.

Just to refresh you on the rules, picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you can trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.

Let’s take a look at the candidates:

Al Horford: I’m not saying which way I will vote on Big Al, but I must admit upfront a healthy bias towards him from my days covering the Hawks. Here is a comment you often hear about the Hawks: “They’d be good if they had a legit center instead of having to play Horford there rather than his natural power forward position.” This statement is a crock o’ something. Here’s a little stat I just made up — Horford is better than 90 percent of the centers in the league. I’d actually have to do some research to decide exactly where he fits in, but just because he struggles to check Dwight Howard and Yao Ming doesn’t mean he’s out of his depth in the post. You know who else has trouble checking Dwight and Yao? Everyone.

Andrew Bynum: The Lakers big man is brimming with talent, and when he’s been healthy he’s established that he is capable of being a perennial All-Star. Alas, that health just hasn’t been a constant. In fact, being injured has been the constant, as he has only played 82 games once in his five-year career. Still, Bynum is only 22 (he turns 23 next week), and if the injuries get under control, he could be the best center in the league.

Marc Gasol: Is he as good as his brother Pau? Maybe not. But for as much grief as the Grizzlies get for trading Gasol the Elder to L.A. (and believe me, I’m with you), I don’t know if they get enough credit for getting Gasol the Younger in return. Marc is pretty much exactly what you want in an NBA center – he rebounds, he protects the rim, and he has the traditional Euro-style abilities to be a good passer and solid face-up shooter. If anything, I still wonder why Memphis (with Gasol in the fold) would draft Hasheem Thabeet instead of homegrown hero Tyreke Evans.

Them’s your choices. Now it’s your turn to weigh in – what’s your poison?

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Extend, trade or cut – #1 Draft picks

by Micah Hart

And we’re back with another installment of the hit game Extend, Trade or Cut!

Just to refresh you on the rules (there seemed a bit of confusion last time), picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you can trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.

Today’s scenario asks you to consider some recent #1 picks in the NBA Draft: The Wizards’ John Wall (No. 1 in 2010), the Clippers’ Blake Griffin (No. 1 in 2009) and the Blazers’ Greg Oden (#1 in 2007).

Some pros and cons on each to help start the discussion.

John Wall: An electrifying talent with almost unlimited potential, Wall is preparing to take the nation’s capital by storm. However, he’s very young, and has only a year of college ball on his resume. The NBA is littered with seemingly can’t miss prospects who did, in fact, miss. Do you know enough about Wall to say he won’t be one of them?

Greg Oden: He may look 56, but the Blazers’ big man is still only 22 years old. A myriad of injuries have derailed each of his three NBA seasons, which means the information on him feels incomplete as well. Still, the light bulb did seem to turn on a bit last year before his latest injury (from which he has yet to return), enough that many think that if he can just stay healthy (a big if) he could still blossom into the dominant pivotman everyone thought he would be coming out of Ohio State.

Blake Griffin: Griffin was one of the most dominant college players these eyes have seen in years. He personified the expression “a man among boys” in his sophomore season at Oklahoma before declaring for and becoming the top pick in the 2009 Draft. Unfortunately, the curse of the Clippers befell him, and his subsequent knee injury forced him to miss the entire 2009-10 season. Like the other two (notice a theme here?), not much is known yet about whether his brilliance will translate to the NBA.

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Extend, Trade, or Cut

by Micah Hart

One of my favorite pastimes with my friends growing up was “Date, Dump, or Marry”, a silly little game where given three options of people you had to choose which person you’d date, which you’d dump, and which you’d (surprise!) marry. Always made for fun arguments and often times disagreements.

One of my favorite pastimes now as an NBA fan is arguing the relative value of different players, which also makes for lots of arguments and disagreements. So, I thought it’d be fun to try to translate this game over to the League, with what I am going to call “Extend, Trade, or Cut“. The premise is simple – pretend you are an NBA GM, and for your mythical team you have three players, one of which you can sign to an extension, one which you can trade for some hypothetical asset, and one you have to flat-out dismiss.

To get it going, I thought we might start with three point guards who competed against each other for spots on the U.S. National Team this past summer, all of whom are considered among the best young talents in the game at their position. Here’s a little info to help inform your decision:

Rajon Rondo: Has a ring to his credit, and seems to turn his game up a notch in the playoffs. Might be the best defensive player at the position, and doesn’t lack for confidence. Not a terrific shooter though, and attitude has been questioned in the past.

Russell Westbrook: Terrific athlete is also a tenacious defender and rebounder. A bit turnover prone, many would say he is still learning the position after playing off the ball much of the time at UCLA.

Derrick Rose: Made his first All-Star game in just his second season, and has shown in the NBA and at the World Championship there may not be a player alive who can stay in front of him. Perimeter game could still use some work though.

These are your options – all terrific players with tremendous potential, so it won’t be easy. The choice is yours: extend, trade, or cut?

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