Malcontent spare parts/free agents = Wilcox and Watson? Wow.

In the aftermath of the NBA deadline, I’m actually impressed and surprised that the Rick Sund was able to take their spare parts, malcontents and pending free agents in exchange for an above-the-rim power guy in Wilcox (he’s only 23??) AND a top-flight defensive point guard who will really push Ridnour!?!? I’m VERRRRY impressed with their core:

Ridnour – Watson
Ray
Lewis – Wilkins
Wilcox – Collison
Swift – Petro

Some random thoughts David Locke had yesterday:

Especially likes the idea of someone pushing Ridnour. Told some stories about Luke and about how incredibly stubborn he is, one example he was told he’d be out for 2 weeks with an injury, but that afternoon he was at shootaround, stuff like that. And he THRIVES when told he can’t do something, thrives when pushed, like Daniels pushing him to heights in the playoffs last year, but this year he’s been drifting until late. Watson makes them a lot better, immediately, on a lot of levels.

Loves the 4-man frontline of Wilcox, Collison, Swift and Petro. Young, improving, and all under contract through 2007. The only team in the NBA with two 7-foot centers under 20 years of age.

Wilcox is a huge get, a guy who was only getting about 10 minutes per game, if that, behind Brand, and didn’t fit their style. He’s already showed in limited minutes about what an explosive player he can be in an open offensive style. They will run, and he will thrive. This could be the best trade Sund ever makes, considering how miserable Radman was this year, a guy who wouldn’t even post up Earl Boykins a few weeks ago! True story. He chose to shoot a fadeaway 20-footer instead of backing down a guy 19 inches shorter. Talk about a soft 6-10.

I don’t think this year will bring any kind of Denver-style run like last year, where the Nuggets go so freakin’ hot that they nearly overtook the Sonics to win the division, but I really do believe they have achieved a ton in the last few weeks. You think about who the traded – Radman, who not only turned down $42 million guaranteed, but couldn’t wait to be a free agent; Vitaly, a guy who asked for a trade in early January; Evans, who has gone backwards in terms of offense and defense and was buried on the bench; and Flip, a guy who has plummeted to new lows and was also going to be a free agent, for youth and athleticism that will be part of the core going forward?? All 4 of those guys were pending free agents, and they turned them into Wilcox and Watson? Just a tremendous job.

Now if only the team will stay in town, they will be pretty interesting next year!

Cougs hired a new recruiting coordinator. He’s credited with some big names at K-State, probably a good fit considering Manhattan, KS vs. Pullman. It sounds good right now, but I guess the next few classes will really show what he’s made of.

I’ve also heard that there are some real academic risks with this ’06 class. Namely J.T. the running back, per a quote from Doba, supposedly has “a lot of work to do” before he can set foot on campus. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised. Doba also railed about the new academic levels that will be in place I believe in ’08, where the requirements are going up quite a bit for incoming high school players, and Doba said JC’s are going to be more important and more popular than ever. Things are certainly changing.

Finally, the Hawks tagged Hutch with the transition tag. Makes sense to me, really, now he can go out and shop himself around, get the best deal possible for him, and the Hawks will match. Hugh Millen said yesterday that offensive guard is widely considered the least important offensive line position, and maybe the least important position on offense, period, but when a guy like Hutch is just so much better than any other player at his position, you have to keep him, period. With the transition tag, they don’t play the holdout game, as the odds are quite strong that he’ll actually get a real offer, instead of a franchise label where players never get offers. It’s a good move, and on that will pay off when the Hawks match any offer.

2 Responses to “Malcontent spare parts/free agents = Wilcox and Watson? Wow.”

  1. DuckHATER Says:

    I could not agree more about the quality of moves that the Supes made. My only question: will this make them too good. As is, they are SO BAD and on such a solid course for a top 7 pick–I’d really hate to see them blow it and wind up with the 12th or 13th. I just hope that Swift can get back and they can really develop those kids in the last 25 games.

    With that in mind, the Watson-Ridnour battle should be interesting…as of right now, the Sonics backcourt is the worst backcourt that I have seen defensively in a long, long time. Ray doesn’t even try to guard anyone and Luke has been ridiculously awful. So, we’ll see how Earl does…the only issue I have: Watson and Wilkins are making 11 mil between them. That’s a lot of bread for 40 minutes combined a night…

    Good news on the Cougs re: the K-State guy. I like having another mind that is pro-running the football. I think that the more possession ball that this team plays, the better we will be…

    Lets just sign Alexander now and get on with it…

  2. Sedihawk Says:

    Good point about the pure salary standpoint. Will Wilkins and Watson, being tied to them for the next 4 years (Watson at 5 per, Wilkins at 3 per) hurt them in trying to keep Ridnour, Collison and/or Wilcox? The good part of that is they own all of their Bird rights, so going above the cap wouldn’t be a problem, unless the player just doesn’t want to be here (which I guess is a strong possibility). At least the arena and ownership will be sorted out by then, one way or another.

    Great about the lack of D in the backcourt, and you are right, Ray doesn’t play D. But he’s never played D, not much anyway, and neither does Rashard, and that’s a big problem when your two best players are two of the worst at their positions defensively in the league. It makes you wonder if last year was as good as it can get with this group, as we both know that getting to the finals requires you to dig deep on d, at some point! And to think, they nearly pushed the Spurs to 7 games last year….amazing.

    Not really sure on Shaun. We’re about to find out what he’s all about, whether it’s all about whoever pays the most money, or if he wants to stay where he knows he’ll put up great numbers and all the while make a lot of money (and before anyone cries poor mouth for Shaun, remember he did make $7 million last year as the franchise guy, not a bad haul?).

    Personally I think he’s got some A-Rod in him. I’ve heard some things here and there that he’s really not a team guy, never has been, and only this year played along and tried to say all the right things but a lot of eyes were rolling in an A-rod/Eddie Haskell kind of way. So we’ll see.

    If he does go to the highest bidder, say someone throws the world at him? I don’t blame him, really. Think about it, what kind of a window do you have to play the game? The average running back lasts about 3 years, tops, and Shaun is most likely going to sign his last contract. You gotta get every penny you can, now, because that window slams shut awfully fast, as soon as you lose a step or blow out a knee! He’s always been more about than just playing football, so it won’t be just to stay in Seattle and run behind Hutch and Walt, there will be a ton of other reasons on where he ends up.

    But, in the end? I think he PROBABLY will stay here. John Clayton said last weekend that the sides are actually making progress, and that they may only be about 500K per year apart on a per-year basis. But there are also wild stories floating around that he wants more money than Ladainian, and will shop for that, and he ain’t gonna find it! Thing is, IF teams were ready to give him whatever the hell he wants? Then they would have grabbed him last year. The Hawks had him on the table, available for a 2nd round pick and would have waived the two first-round pick requirements that go with the franchise tag, yet they still couldn’t find a taker.

    I don’t think he’ll be back until he hits the open market however. He’s come too far and been through too much to not try and see what’s out there. Even if he loves the final Hawks offer, he’s got to shop around. I think around a week at the most into free agency, he’ll re-sign for 5 years, I’ll guess $40 million including signing bonus pro-rated over the life of the contract. That would have his contract expire when he’s 34 years old, about the age of Curtis Martin, so I’ll take whatever he can give for the next 5 years. Of course he could always be cut if he starts to break down!

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