A guest post from TONY BLOGS friend Stuart Millstein. Stu currently works for CBS Sports in New York. Here it is:
When I was asked by my good friend and former “CortSide” co-host to write a guest blog post, I was speechless. Now for people who know me, I am rarely speechless. However, since Tony started TONY BLOGS in 2006, I have been an avid reader and one of its biggest fans. I especially enjoy when he name drops me (see “Favre in Jersey?” and the February 29, 2008, “Around the Web.”) Writing a guest post is the ultimate honor and I hope to not disappoint.
While the dog days of baseball are upon us, I thought I would write about the NBA offseason. Since the Celtics won their 17th NBA Championship last month, plenty has happened. For one, we had the NBA Draft, which I think made two non-playoff teams this past year (Bulls and Heat) into playoff teams for this coming season. While Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley are young, they will definitely make an impact sooner rather than later. With a healthy Dwayne Wade, Shawn Marion and Beasley, Pat Riley might pull a “Stan Van Gundy” and come back and coach this team.
On draft day, there were two huge trades. First, the Nets traded Richard Jefferson to the Bucks for Bobby “I had one good year with the Clippers” Simmons and Yi Jianlian, who I personally have never been a fan of. On paper it looks like a terrible trade. While RJ is not a superstar, he is a premier swingman who averaged over 20 points a game and was the Nets’ lockdown defender. However, if this move allows the Nets to sign a big free agent in two years (Lebron, Wade, Chris Bosh) to be the Roc of Jay Z’s team, then this trade was worth it. I’ve believed in Rod Thorn before (Kidd for Marbury, Vince Carter for a bag of pretzels) and I have no reason to doubt him now.
The other big deal was Jermaine O’Neal going from the Pacers to the Raptors. I personally love this trade for Toronto. When healthy, O’Neal is a superstar and would make a lethal combination with Bosh north of the border. Plus, they got rid of good, but injury prone, PG in T.J. Ford and this allows the underrated Jose Calderon to become the main man. If O’Neal comes back to his old self, Toronto could be a major sleeper in the East next year.
Another major sleeper in the East is the Sixers. If they are able to hold onto Andre Iguodala, they will have a very solid starting five with Andre Miller, Willie Green, Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert, and the newly signed free agent Elton Brand. While I won’t get into if I think Brand screwed over the Clippers, I will say he has been one of the good guys in basketball who has never been on a great team. Remember, this Sixers team was the 6th seed in the East last year and gave the Pistons a hard time in the first round. Add a healthy Brand and you might just see the Sixers in the Finals next year. It’s not so far-fetched considering the Celtics went from worst to first in one year.
I’m out for now; just like the Clippers chances of making the playoffs after Brand deserted them.