Gasol's Grizzly Grief

Before Kobe Bryant, Shawn Marion and Andrei Kirilenko made it popular to have your organization completely ignore your public trade demand, there was Pau Gasol.

Gasol is still in Memphis, where he doesn't really want to be so long as the Grizzlies keep losing. But he won't ask for a trade again, because he knows where that got him last year. Nowhere.

Memphis tried to move Gasol near the trade deadline last February, but got greedy in its attempt to raid the Chicago Bulls of nearly every talented piece they had, most notably Luol Deng. A year later, Gasol has his name tossed in trade rumors after almost every Grizzlies loss.


Ayúdeme, por favor! Help me, please! (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

"But I still haven't moved anywhere," Gasol said last Friday at Verizon Center. "It doesn't mean much to me. Obviously, I want to win as much as possible. I want us [Memphis] to do well. I can't fight through all the other stuff that goes on."

Gasol admits that the trade rumors distracted him last season. He said he has blocked it out this season, but he has had to deal with other ailments to his toe and ankle and a sore back that has kept him out of the past two games for Memphis.

"I've been fighting through a few things this year that have not allowed me to play 100 percent all the time," Gasol said. "I'm just trying to keep producing, keep my mind positive, help my team be a better team. That's all I can do."

Gasol is averaging 19.1 points but second-year forward Rudy Gay has taken the reins as the Grizzlies' leading scorer this season. If this keeps up, it would be the first time since the Grizzlies moved to the Memphis that someone other than Gasol led the team in scoring average.

It seems as if the fates of the Gasol and the Grizzlies have taken a precipitous drop since that glorious weekend two years ago in Houston, when he made his lone all-star appearance. At the time, it looked like the first of many for Gasol.

The Grizzlies were also one of the rising young teams, as they went on to finish with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. Their reward? A first-round meeting with the eventual conference champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round - and the Grizzlies' third consecutive playoff sweep.

"Once you make it, you got the status and you want to be there consistently," Gasol said of his all-star selection. "The injury got me away from it."


Porqué yo? (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The injury.

Gasol has no regrets about playing for his native Spain in the 2006 world championships in Japan. He won MVP honors, led Spain to the title and guaranteed a spot for his country in the Beijing Olympics this summer. It should have been Gasol's greatest career triumph, but he fractured his left foot prior to the final game, which led to this current hideous ride in Memphis.

He missed the first 22 games last season and when he returned, the Grizzlies' season was already over and Gasol was on the trading block. He was taken off after the trade deadline, but Memphis finished with a league-worst 22 wins and missed out on the chance to select Greg Oden or Kevin Durant when it got the fourth pick in the draft lottery.

Team president Jerry West walked away after the season, leaving the franchise in the hands of new general manager Chris Wallace and first-year coach Marc Iavaroni.

Now the Grizzlies (13-31) seemed destined for another trip to Secaucus, N.J., and the mini-renaissance for the franchise - when it averaged 48 wins a season from 2003-04 to 2005-06 - seems like a distant memory.

"Those losses after losses, they get real heavy," Gasol said. "It seems like it's been a while since we have been successful, with that kind of swagger. Right now, it's tough for everybody. Not one guy. It's tough on the coaching staff and all of the players."

It's probably tougher for Gasol, the one constant in Memphis the past seven seasons.

"Through all my years I've been in this league, I've been through a lot of rebuilding; a lot of top picks; a lot of prospects; good talent; different coaching staffs. I've been with all of them," Gasol, 27, said. "It's been tough because it doesn't allow you to develop fully personally, individually and as a team. I'm at a stage in my career, I wish it could've been more different and more stable, with a more veteran look. We're still trying to figure that out. That's the frustrating part."

Last summer, the Grizzlies drafted Mike Conley Jr., signed Darko Milicic - adding the player Detroit used with the No. 2 pick they gave away for nothing in 2003 - and traded for Juan Carlos Navarro, Gasol's close friend from the Spanish national team.

Milicic still looks lost. Gay and Conley have the potential to be really special. Navarro has been one of the better rookies and has helped make this season a little less miserable but Gasol is running out of patience.


John Paxson, bring me to Chicago already. Andale! (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)

"I expected much more," Gasol said. "I knew it was going to be hard, having a pretty young team, experience wise. A rookie point guard [Conley], a second year small forward [Gay] and Darko is in his first year playing consistent minutes and starting, so that's inexperience right there. That's going to cost you games. A new coach and a new system is going to take time. You put it together, you realize, it's going to be tough. But as a competitor you want to expect more. You want to believe things will go well."

Gasol doesn't even want to speculate on how the situation could improve. "I'm not the [general] manager. I'm not the owner. I'm just a player that tries to make it the best out there," Gasol said. "That's something I can't comment [on] because it's not appropriate."

The hardest part, Gasol said, is that he sort of knows what the other side feels like. "I got that taste and I wanted more," Gasol said. "It wasn't enough for me to have 49, 50 wins and get to the playoffs and get swept. I wanted to go to the playoffs and be successful. That's something that I'm still pursuing. I hope one day I have a chance to redeem myself there. A lot of things I would wish for. Right now I have to focus on my present and that's what we deal with."

The prospect of a turnaround seems unlikely any time soon with the Grizzlies being in the Southwest Division - the toughest division in the NBA - with San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and now, the surprisingly good and young New Orleans Hornets.

Gasol was asked if he could see himself winning in Memphis. "I don't know. I have no idea. I haven't seen it happen," he said. "I live in the present. I don't deal with hypothetical situations."

By Michael Lee |  January 28, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
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Got to love a Washington Post Wizards Insider that goes into such an in depth story on an opposing team/player. Yet again, kudos to Michael and Ivan for bringing us these stories that go above and beyond our craving for Wiz-related news. Great job guys! Keep it up.

Would have loved, Michael, for you to ask Gasol what it's like as a Spaniard living in Memphis. It's no Barcelona, that's for sure.

Posted by: Chapin St, NW | January 28, 2008 9:59 AM

Not sure Gasol really fits the uptempo system that the Giz want to run now. Some guys just wind up stuck in a system that doesn't fit their talents. His skills always seemed to me to lend themselves to the Princeton system.

The guy may leave Memphis for pennies on the dollar at some point, he might be a player for Grunfeld to keep in mind over the next couple of seasons.

I sure wouldn't give up Jamison, Butler, or Arenas to get him. But if Ernie could rangle him away for some spare parts he could flourish in the Wizards' system.

Posted by: GM | January 28, 2008 10:36 AM

Nice article, Mike. But boy that was LOOONG! I appreciate the insight on Sour Pau, but sometimes you just want a cup of coffee, not a bucket! :)

Posted by: misguided bullets | January 28, 2008 10:39 AM

Gilbert for Brand?

Check this out:

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/cs-080127-sam-smith-nba-trades,1,4218602.column

What about Gil for Pau? I don't know if I'd rather have either one of those guys over Agent Zero.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 10:57 AM

My submission for a Gil trade goes like this: Gil to Toronto for Calderon and Kapono. Calderon is a much better point guard for the Princeton offense and Kapono is the best at his specialty, the 3. (hard to figure out salary implication as both Gil and Calderon's contracts are expiring so it would have to be a complicated sign and trade) From Toronto's point of view, a team with Gil and Chris Bosh would be tough to handle.

Posted by: mtl | January 28, 2008 11:50 AM

Wasn't Sam Smith the guy that started the Zack Randolph to the Wizards rumor last spring? I think he was afraid the Bulls would be dumb enough to pull that move and was hoping the Wizards would first. Good thing for both teams Isaih was running the Knicks, we've all saw what a move that was.

I'm not one that is on the trade Gil bandwagon, trading any player while he's injuried or when he's able to opt out will get pennies on the dollar.

But if Ernie ever goes shopping Gil the team's got to look for a tough physical inside guy that can score in the lowpost. In many ways Brand fits that bill, but he's not a shotblocking defender.

And he's not really going to play the 5, so playing him and Jamison and Butler together could be a problem. Could Jamison guard threes, and Butler twos? Or in the East could a team go with a three forward alignment? Not alot of real centers to contend with anymore.

As much as I hate Duke, I've always loved Brand's game. The guy's not really that tall but he has long arms and a wide body in the lowpost.

I could really see Sterling opting for some kind of a deal for Gil to create excitment. But is Ernie ready to retool this team? I doubt it, but who knows...

Posted by: GM | January 28, 2008 11:58 AM

"In many ways Brand fits that bill, but he's not a shotblocking defender."

Brand has always been a solid defeneder down low. Not Camby-like spectacular, but he gets the job done. And he's regularly among the top 10 or so in blocked shots. He's averaged at least two per game each of the past six years. He's also an excellent passer (about 3 appg on his career) out of the double team. He'd be a perfect fit for the "Princeton" offense.

If they do decide to trade Arenas, a healthy Brand would be a great return. But the key word is "healthy." He's just a few months removed from an injury and surgery that sometimes can take 18 months to two years for a player to fully recover from. A much, much more serious injury than Gilbert's. Right now Brand is way more damaged goods than Arenas.

All that being said, I don't see any chance of this deal happening. Smith's entire piece is based on some pretty wild speculation with nothing of substance to back it up.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 12:21 PM

The first guy that I would want if I were talking to Sterling about trading Gilby is Chris Kaman.

Although Brand is only 6-8, he's got the wingspan of a 7 footer, so he doesn't need to be 6-11, especially since he's also very wide.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 12:31 PM

How could Elton possibly come back east after becoming a big shot producer in holywood!? Not gonna happen. The guy has invested too much time and effort to leave LA.

Posted by: Nick | January 28, 2008 12:37 PM

Uh, they also do movies in NYC.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 12:38 PM

If I'm Memphis, I hold on to Gasol. He's a very offensively-gifted big, and still very young, with about 5 years left in his prime.

Alternatively, if he's really upset, why not trade him to Chicago for Thomas and Noah?

Posted by: Dellis2 | January 28, 2008 12:38 PM

"Alternatively, if he's really upset, why not trade him to Chicago for Thomas and Noah?"

Because that would be a terrible deal for the Grizzlies.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 12:41 PM

Kalorama, that was my point of bringing up Zack Randolph, Smith seemed to be saying last spring the Wizards were deep in trade talks for him. Grunfeld said he never had an interest. I tend to beleive Grunfeld, I don't think he was going to get rid of Jamison for Randolph which was the rumor floating around last spring.

I don't think Ernie is ready to retool this team, he's not been able to see all the peices on the table healthy and together yet.

I would think that the Clippers would be slow to want to trade Brand until he shows that he has regained elite status. But the real problem for them is the end of his deal looming and getting nothing in return. Oh well, that's their problem...

But for the trade Gil crowd, since he's a bargain at 11m, not many top 15 in the league players making that little. How do the Wizards get a fair return? For that to happen I'd thing the Wiz would have to wait til summer and do a sign and trade to make the idea of trading him worthwhile.

In the meantime the "trade Gil" guys will have to have hope he comes back and plays really well to drive up his value so the team can get a fair trade. But if that happens, why trade him?

Posted by: GM | January 28, 2008 1:43 PM

Trading GA for EB only makes sense if you are willing to let AJ leave via FA, since they play the same position.

What that says to me is that you are giving up on a team that has only been together for 3 years. Giving up two players that make up 50% of your offense is a drastic move.

If you trade GA for any big man, he better be a starter. What happens to BH? He certainly is the most improved player on the Wizards and should garner some most improved player consideration. So you reward that with taking his minutes away? For Kaman?

Trading GA doesnt make sense, any trade requires an overhaul at other positions. Trade GA for another guard? Calderone? Please...

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 2:02 PM

"Trading GA for EB only makes sense if you are willing to let AJ leave via FA, since they play the same position."

Not true. Brand is more than capable of playing C and, in fact, has played the position quite a bit in his career. If Al Horford can play C successfully in the East, Brand would have no problem.

"What happens to BH?"

He either accepts the fact that Brand (and, for that matter, Kaman) is a better player than he is and accepts a support role for the betterment of the team OR he whines and complains, gets benched, and then gets traded. Either one would work for me, if it means the Wiz get a go-to low post scorer capable of putting up a double-double on a nightly basis.

Like I said, there's almost no chance of the Wiz trading Arenas for Brand, but to seriously suggest they should pass on such a deal because it might hurt Haywood's feelings is beyond ludicrous.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 2:12 PM

Feelings? who said anything about feelings...

wasnt that a song? i digress...

I'm talking about replacing a player who is coming into his own with another player, in this case EB.

By doing this, you are taking 10ppg and 8rpg off of the court along with 28ppg and 6apg and replacing it with 20ppg and 10rpg. Not to mention BH doesnt need the ball 20 times a game.

The front court isnt our issue right now, its our shaky and inconsistent backcourt who can only hit shots if they're on, which lately isnt very often.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 2:22 PM

The issue is improving the team. Brand (if he's healthy) is a much, much better player than Haywood and there's not a coach or GM in the NBA who, given a choice, wouldn't hustle Haywood to the bench (or out the door) for the chance to have Brand in his starting lineup.

It's really that simple.

But, again, it's all moot because Brand's not coming here and Arenas isn't going to the Clippers.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 2:27 PM

Elton Brand is not a center, and is not "more than capable of playing center."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 2:31 PM

"Not to mention BH doesnt need the ball 20 times a game."

A player needing the ball is a good thing if he actually knows what to do with it.

The Princeton offense is designed to be run with lots of cutting and passing, and works best with the offense being facilitated from the post by a passing big man. Brand is one of the better passing big men in the NBA and he gets double-teamed on almost every possession, creating lots of opportunities for teammates. He'd be a perfect fit for the Wizards offense.

But, again, it's all moot because Brand's not coming here and Arenas isn't going to the Clippers.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 2:32 PM

Kalorama...

I doubt the trade is viable...

And it is about making the team better...

Im not saying BH is better than EB or CK, thats crazy...

But I'd rather have GA and BH starting than EB and of course CK.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 2:32 PM

I think Sam Smith articles are useless. The guy is just trying to create news...

Let's be honest, Gil's not going anywhere unless he really gets shafted by Wiz management, and that's probably not going to happen. Ernie's not dumb, the guy knows what he's doing. He's managing a team in the top 4 of the Eastern conference right now. Nothing is going to happen before the trade deadline for the Wiz, and the summer will bring us a re-sign of AJ and Gil, and Ernie's smart draft moves.

Posted by: Nick | January 28, 2008 2:37 PM

"In the meantime the "trade Gil" guys will have to have hope he comes back and plays really well to drive up his value so the team can get a fair trade. But if that happens, why trade him?

Posted by: GM | January 28, 2008 01:43 PM "

The same reason Philly traded AI, and Minn. traded KG, and Orlando traded TMac. You can have a player who's a great scorer, but that doesn't guarantee any playoff success, and AI at least had a little success.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 2:39 PM

I don't know, Nick. I'm certainly not advocating to trade Arenas, but I don't think the outcome of his free agency can be predetermined. What happens with him will be largely determined by how he plays and how the team fares after his return. And there's no way to predict that.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 2:40 PM

One of the biggest questions EG needs to resolve is what kind of trade value ET has, not BTH.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 2:40 PM

ET has little to no trade value. He also has some kind of kicker that gives him some 7 figure sum if he is traded. I could be wrong.

We should just buy him out.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 2:45 PM

"We should just buy him out."

What possible good will that do? Even if they buy him out, the buyout amount will still count against the Wizard's cap. It wouldn't give them any significant cap relief or more room to sign a FA. Never mind the fact that, if he's healthy and able to play, they could use him.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 2:53 PM

Instead of trading Arenas, why not fire EJ and hire Larry Brown. Let's see what kind of team this really is with 3 all stars and a great coach.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 28, 2008 2:57 PM

Larry Brown won't work here b/c of how Abe dissed MJ. UNC bond is tight.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 3:02 PM

Didn't Antawn and Brendan play at UNC?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 3:08 PM

Yup.

AJ with VC.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 3:10 PM

So that "UNC bond" isn't that tight. AJ and BTH are Wizards because Abe's checks don't bounce. I don't think Larry is committed to anything more than that dollar bill.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 3:13 PM

You guys need to stop tripping on Larry Brown and UNC or whatever. Eddie's our coach. And if you don't realize that he's a great coach with what he's doing this season, then you're insane.

Posted by: misguided bullets | January 28, 2008 3:15 PM

I can't believe Sam Smith gets paid to write that drivel. How hard is it to come up with random trades?

Getting back to the Michael Lee's article, I think the trade that should be under consideration is Jamison for Gasol. A year ago, Memphis would have laughed at the offer, but now that Jamison is having arguably the best year of his career and Gasol is having one of his worst, the trade might be plausible. The Wizards would probably need to throw in a first round pick plus the Memphis pick gained in the Navarro deal.

I absolutely love how Jamison has played this year, but you have to seriously consider this deal if you are Ernie Grunfeld. Jamison is real good, but that doesn't change the fact that he is 31-years old and a below-average defender (though much better defensively this year). Gasol is 27. He's essentially the same age as the rest of our veteran core: Arenas, Stevenson, Butler and Haywood (25, 26, 27 and 27 respectively). Those guys could grow together for the next 6 or 7 years.

You gotta love the idea of Gasol on offense with either Haywood or Blatche covering his back on D. Gasol also averaged 5.1 assists per 40 minutes (pace adjusted) two years ago so he'd be the first legit low post center capable of running the Princeton Offense the way it's supposed to be run.

Posted by: nate33 | January 28, 2008 3:15 PM

"absolutely love how Jamison has played this year, but you have to seriously consider this deal if you are Ernie Grunfeld. Jamison is real good, but that doesn't change the fact that he is 31-years old and a below-average defender"

Gasol isn't exactly Dennis Rodman on defense.

Jamison's value to this team goes well beyond his statistical production (which is better than Gasol's this year despite his "advanced" age)

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 3:21 PM

"Eddie's our coach. And if you don't realize that he's a great coach with what he's doing this season, then you're insane."

Eddie's a good coach NOT great. If he's a great coach then why are there a lot of people complaining about his substitution pattern, small ball, no offense/defense subs on the last 2 minutes, etc. etc.

I just pick Larry Brown but there are still a lot more in the market.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 28, 2008 3:23 PM

nate,

Do you think the Wiz would be in as good a shape as they are right now (without Arenas) if they'd traded Jamison for Gasol last summer?

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 3:25 PM

"If he's a great coach then why are there a lot of people complaining about his substitution pattern, small ball, no offense/defense subs on the last 2 minutes, etc. etc."

Because (A) people like to complain and (B) people who like to complain often don't know what they're talking about.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 3:26 PM

"So that "UNC bond" isn't that tight. AJ and BTH are Wizards because Abe's checks don't bounce. I don't think Larry is committed to anything more than that dollar bill.

Posted by: | January 28, 2008 03:13 PM "

Do you think Abe will openly court LB? Abe isn't going to hire anyone that is as big a diva as LB is. Abe wants coaches to walk the company line, not stomp on it.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 3:27 PM

Kal - I have great respect to MOST of the people here (except for few...you know who they are) and I truly value their opinion so what you say as.....

"Because (A) people like to complain and (B) people who like to complain often don't know what they're talking about."

....is a a very stupid comment coming from you and totally uncalled for.

Raise your hand if you think EJ is a GREAT coach....Kal, DC...thats two.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 28, 2008 3:47 PM

I never said Jordan was a great coach. He's a very good coach. You asked why people complain about him. I told you.

That simple.

As for great coaches: Please enlighten us by providing a complete list of all of the great coaches currently active or available that the Wizards could get.

"....is a a very stupid comment coming from you and totally uncalled for."

As uncalled for as calling someone "stupid" because he expressed an opinion you don't like? Hmmm ... irony. Or is that hypocrisy?

People in glass houses ...

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 3:56 PM

Uhh, I never said EJ was a great coach. If he was so great, they wouldn't have needed to bring in Ayers.

EJ seems like a players coach. He gives them a long leash. X and O's - wise, he's not consistent in how he runs is offense, nor is he secure with his lineups.

Given all that, I think it's commendable what he's done this season given that they lost Gilby, ET, and Opech and EJ's been working undermanned. Results are very good, and team is playing with a lot of chemistry and toughness, which was absent last season.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 4:02 PM

Kal - read again your comment B and tell me if that's not stupidity in highest order. Again, a lot of people here are very knowledgeable and knows their basketball.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 28, 2008 4:14 PM

I read it while i was writing it, don't really need a recap. You don't like/agree with it? So be it. But if you're going to continue to call people "stupid" because you disagree with what they say, you might want to climb down off your high horse while doing so.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 4:24 PM

"Again, a lot of people here are very knowledgeable and knows their basketball."

And some of them like to complain about things (like Haywood only playing 29 minutes when he should be playing 30) regardless of whether those complaints have any validity.

Posted by: kalorama | January 28, 2008 4:26 PM

Does Pau Gasol smile? Those pictures are hilarious. Wah! Wah! He looks like he needs a pacifier.

Posted by: peripheral vision | January 28, 2008 4:39 PM

Back to Pau Gasol....

That dude needs to take a very long look in the mirror.

He's soft like goo.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | January 28, 2008 4:48 PM

Some people are so quick pull the plug, quick to judge...

EJ, if he manages to keep this team at .500 while GA is out should get some coach of the year recognition, Nate McMillan comes to mind for coach of the year.

This team wasnt on many radar screens even before GA went out with injury.

This current team is overachieving, people are playing out of position, then bench isnt that good yet, and the starters are logging in too many minutes.

EJ is doing a fine job given the circumstances.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 4:53 PM

I say Eddie is doing a fine job, period. Do we remember where this team was before he became our coach? He needs to win another playoff series, though. First round and out ain't fun.

Posted by: misguided bullets | January 28, 2008 5:14 PM

This is a fascinating article from the NY Times about "Moneyball" applied to the NBA. I'd love to know Michael and Ivan's opinion on this trend and whether the Wizards are buying it. I can't link it so you'll have to cut and paste.....it's worth the effort!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/sports/basketball/28morey.html?ex=1202187600&en=07db432724f4a164&ei=5070

Posted by: arnie | January 28, 2008 7:06 PM

Looks like my link button worked on the above post. Check it out.

Posted by: arnie | January 28, 2008 7:07 PM

"The same reason Philly traded AI, and Minn. traded KG, and Orlando traded TMac. You can have a player who's a great scorer, but that doesn't guarantee any playoff success, and AI at least had a little success.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 02:39 PM"

While I agree with you on this point, shouldn't we give Gil at least some time to see if he CAN fit in with this team's newfound commitment to defense and unselfish offense? I mean, I agree with you that his scoring a whole lot probably won't help this team at this point, but if he can commit to defense and mature as a team player, then think how good this team would be with a player of his caliber and athleticism running the point, WITH caron and jamison in the forward spots and haywood's newfound reliability. as for the SG position....well...no comment. But from what I've heard, Gil DID show flashes that he had changed his mentality in terms of Defense int he few games he played this season. Of course, I haven't been able to watch any of those games, so that's just second-hand. But in terms of ability, he does have the quickness and toughness necessary to be a good defender.

Posted by: babbtong | January 28, 2008 7:13 PM

I use stats all the time in here, but I'll be the first to admit that stats in baseball mean so much more and can be more easily quantified than stats in basketball.

Basketball is so much more a team sport with personalities dictating at least part of the game.

Houston is not in the playoffs right now and his in the bottom 1/3 in offense. Although they are top 10 in offense, its because they have a 7' 6" center that is the reason for that.

I believe that Hollinger idiot had Houston as the best team based on statistics.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 7:28 PM

I use stats all the time in here, but I'll be the first to admit that stats in baseball mean so much more and can be more easily quantified than stats in basketball.

Basketball is so much more a team sport with personalities dictating at least part of the game.

Houston is not in the playoffs right now and his in the bottom 1/3 in offense. Although they are top 10 in offense, its because they have a 7' 6" center that is the reason for that.

I believe that Hollinger idiot had Houston as the best team based on statistics.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 7:28 PM

I use stats all the time in here, but I'll be the first to admit that stats in baseball mean so much more and can be more easily quantified than stats in basketball.

Basketball is so much more a team sport with personalities dictating at least part of the game.

Houston is not in the playoffs right now and his in the bottom 1/3 in offense. Although they are top 10 in offense, its because they have a 7' 6" center that is the reason for that.

I believe that Hollinger idiot had Houston as the best team based on statistics.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 7:28 PM

I use stats all the time in here, but I'll be the first to admit that stats in baseball mean so much more and can be more easily quantified than stats in basketball.

Basketball is so much more a team sport with personalities dictating at least part of the game.

Houston is not in the playoffs right now and are in the bottom 1/3 in offense. Although they are top 10 in defense, its because they have a 7' 6" center clogging up the middle.

I believe that Hollinger idiot had Houston as the best team based on statistics. Go figure.

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 7:29 PM

Sorry for that...

Posted by: JSchon | January 28, 2008 7:32 PM

"While I agree with you on this point, shouldn't we give Gil at least some time to see if he CAN fit in with this team's newfound commitment to defense and unselfish offense? I mean, I agree with you that his scoring a whole lot probably won't help this team at this point, but if he can commit to defense and mature as a team player, then think how good this team would be with a player of his caliber and athleticism running the point, WITH caron and jamison in the forward spots and haywood's newfound reliability. as for the SG position....well...no comment. But from what I've heard, Gil DID show flashes that he had changed his mentality in terms of Defense int he few games he played this season. Of course, I haven't been able to watch any of those games, so that's just second-hand. But in terms of ability, he does have the quickness and toughness necessary to be a good defender.

Posted by: babbtong | January 28, 2008 07:13 PM "

I've said this before, that we have to see it to believe it. Not just in 5 games or 7 games, but over time.

Even with Gilby conforming to the current team, I still don't think he's a max player, and by him issuing a "threat" that if he doesn't get max, that he will walk and take less money elsewhere, that paints a clearer picture on who he is, which is a guy with little credibility and a lot of self interest.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 9:33 PM

"paints a clearer picture on who he is, which is a guy with little credibility and a lot of self interest."

HA! That describes you EXACTLY 88Whatever you are!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 10:08 PM

"HA! That describes you EXACTLY 88Whatever you are!

Posted by: | January 28, 2008 10:08 PM "

And the Gilby apologists return.

Yeah, by me blasting Gilby here, I stand to gain max money also....and I also preach that I won't do one thing, but turn around and do the opposite.

Yup.

However I am to you, it doesn't matter, because I'm not your sports hero.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 10:20 PM

"Even with Gilby conforming to the current team, I still don't think he's a max player, and by him issuing a "threat" that if he doesn't get max, that he will walk and take less money elsewhere, that paints a clearer picture on who he is, which is a guy with little credibility and a lot of self interest.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 09:33 PM"

sorry for my ignorance, but what exactly is a max deal anyways? Is there a limit to how much a team can give a player? Max money meaning the most that a player has ever recieved? It seems be aroun 16 mil, from what I've seen and read....why is this?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 10:26 PM

A max deal is the max amount of money in a contract for a specified # years that a guy like Gilby, with his seniority, can make. Les BouleS can offer him 6 years, while any other team can offer him up to 5 years, so Les BouleS can give him the most money in a new contract. All guaranteed.

Usually, a team awards their franchise player max money, but Les BouleS have prospered this year without Gilby, so that stands to reason that Gilby isn't really worth max money to this team if the team can prosper without him.

Last season, Gilby said he would not hamstring this franchise by asking for max money, unlike AI and KG did with their former franchises, as he called out his peers.

Of course, Gilby had a change of heart and said he will opt out of his current contract early, thus making himself an unrestricted free agent so that he can hamstring this franchise because he said he has to feed his kids. Keep in mind that Gilby has already earned about 60 mil from his current contract, nevermind his endorsements.

His kids must eat a lot of caviar, truffles, kobe steak, and whale sashimi.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 28, 2008 10:44 PM

On the other hand, it was a shrewd business decision to opt out of his current contract THIS year.

It allows:

  • The Wizards opportunity to sign a FA before signing Arenas & Jamison.
  • Arenas to maximize his career earnings

  • The Wizards to offer a 6-year contract (which no other team can).

  • Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2008 12:09 AM

    Sorry Rook, but the Wizards can't sign any other FAs before they re-sign Arenas and Jamison.

    If a team has a player's Bird rights (as the Wiz do for both Arenas and Jamison) then even when he becomes an unrestricted FA, his salary counts against the team's salary cap (it's called a cap hold) at an inflated percentage of whatever he was paid in the last year of his deal (I believe it's about 150%, but don't quote me on that) until the team either (A) renounces the player's rights (at which time the team loses his Bird right and the cap hold is taken off the books) or (B) they re-sign the player and the actual amount of his contract replaces the cap hold.

    The Wizards won't be able to sign any players before re-signing Jamison an Arenas because as long as they hold their Bird rights and haven't actually signed them to a deal, they'll actually count more against the Wizards salary cap than they did when they were under contract this season. Of course, once they do sign them the Wiz won't have any cap space. They will have the MLE but likely won't use it because of luxury tax concerns.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 12:53 AM

    It's also worth noting that Gilbert hasn't actually opted out of his contract yet and, in fact, can't opt out of it until the season is over.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 1:06 AM

    It is fun to spend other people's money and risk their employment status to boot, but if you look at the hard realities here NEITHER Pau Gasol nor Elton Brand has played on what you would call a winning team.

    Gilbert Arenas has made the Wizards a winning team and will have a shot at taking them to the next level over the next 100 days or so.

    The Wizards need to see where we are come May before they do anything more than tinker around the edges... like getting some possible short term help for AD at point guard.

    The home and home with Toronto should give us plenty of fresh meat to chew on over the next few days too!

    Posted by: KHRabb | January 29, 2008 7:53 AM

    If a team has a player's Bird rights (as the Wiz do for both Arenas and Jamison) then even when he becomes an unrestricted FA, his salary counts against the team's salary cap (it's called a cap hold)...........................
    The Wizards won't be able to sign any players before re-signing Jamison an Arenas because as long as they hold their Bird rights and haven't actually signed them to a deal, they'll actually count more against the Wizards salary cap than they did when they were under contract this season.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 12:53 AM

    ---------------------------------
    Thanks, you're right Kal. I looked it up and a 150% "hold" will be placed for Salary Cap purposes until Arenas and Jamison are resigned.

    Of course, that means my salary cap analysis for the teams that might be able to make a FA offer to Arenas at the end of the year is flawed as well. I'll have to go back and see which teams may have a shot, given their FA status. I know Charlotte is still under the Cap; but I think it will effectively eliminate the remaining candidates.

    I guess Ernie Grunfeld has more bargaining power than I thought.

    Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2008 8:34 AM

    "Of course, that means my salary cap analysis for the teams that might be able to make a FA offer to Arenas at the end of the year is flawed as well. I'll have to go back and see which teams may have a shot, given their FA status. I know Charlotte is still under the Cap; but I think it will effectively eliminate the remaining candidates.

    I guess Ernie Grunfeld has more bargaining power than I thought.

    Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2008 08:34 AM "

    Gilby has threatened that he would "take less money to go to a championship team." Doesn't that make salary cap issues a moot point?

    I don't see Gilby taking less money though, but he has threatened it. That cannot be denied.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 10:02 AM

    "It is fun to spend other people's money and risk their employment status to boot, but if you look at the hard realities here NEITHER Pau Gasol nor Elton Brand has played on what you would call a winning team.

    Gilbert Arenas has made the Wizards a winning team and will have a shot at taking them to the next level over the next 100 days or so.

    Posted by: KHRabb | January 29, 2008 07:53 AM "

    First of all, Elton was on a playoff team with Sam Cassell last year.

    Secondly, let's not heap too much praise on Gilby. Gilby alone did not will this team to the playoffs. Recall that other impact players on this team include AJ and CBut. The team is doing just as well this season, without him, the "franchise max money wannabe player."

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 10:10 AM

    "It's also worth noting that Gilbert hasn't actually opted out of his contract yet and, in fact, can't opt out of it until the season is over.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 01:06 AM "

    I think it's a given and he's said so himself. He's sacrificing security with an extra year and picking up options to opt out and risk for more money.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 10:11 AM

    "On the other hand, it was a shrewd business decision to opt out of his current contract THIS year.

    It allows:
    # The Wizards opportunity to sign a FA before signing Arenas & Jamison.
    # Arenas to maximize his career earnings

    # The Wizards to offer a 6-year contract (which no other team can).

    Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2008 12:09 AM "

    I wouldn't call it a shrewd business decision. It's common among all players to opt out.

    What I would call it is greed and lack of credibility. Don't say you're not going to do it, and then diss your peers who have done it, and then go out and do it. Then you badmouth Deng and BGordon for not taking money on the table.

    It's not shrewd. It's risky. If he wants financial security for his kids, with less risk, he should play out his contract and take any options. Not opt out, especially when he's still out injured and who knows what kind of player he will be if/when he returns.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 10:20 AM

    First of all, Elton was on a playoff team with Sam Cassell last year.

    Ah... no... they didnt make the play-offs last year... Brand has been to the play-offs in 1 of his 7 years in the league.

    He called out players that wanted max money that did nothing to deserve max money. Deng, Gordon and Iggy.

    We all know that you dont agree with GA getting max money, and that topic is debatable. But in GA's case, his accomplishments far exceed any of those players.

    Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 11:15 AM

    What has Gilby done to deserve Max Money? Max money is someone like Lebron. Not a one and done, one dimensional guy like Gilby.

    Gilby shouldn't be calling out other players. Deng and BGordon have taken their team deeper in the playoffs.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 11:24 AM

    "Ah... no... they didnt make the play-offs last year... Brand has been to the play-offs in 1 of his 7 years in the league."

    So had Antawn Jamison before he joined the Wizards. So had Caron Butler Before he joined the Wizards.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 11:37 AM

    "First of all, Elton was on a playoff team with Sam Cassell last year.

    Ah... no... they didnt make the play-offs last year... Brand has been to the play-offs in 1 of his 7 years in the league.

    He called out players that wanted max money that did nothing to deserve max money. Deng, Gordon and Iggy.

    We all know that you dont agree with GA getting max money, and that topic is debatable. But in GA's case, his accomplishments far exceed any of those players.

    Posted by: | January 29, 2008 11:15 AM "

    And please ask yourself, were Les BouleS REALLY in the playoffs last year? Were they a serious contender?

    Les BouleS were in a freefall and basically squeaked into the playoffs because there were no more games to lose. Then they got swept. This all happened during a season when the East was gawdawful. Three teams in the East that made the playoffs wouldn't have had they been a west coast team.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 11:50 AM

    HALLLELUJAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Everbody who can read: Please check out today's Washington Post Sports Section, second page, under "Best Reader Post."

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 11:55 AM

    I'm a fan of Gilbert but I'm embarrassed to say that I have to agree with DC that GA is not a max player. In my humble opinion only TD, Kobe and Lebron should only be the ones getting the max contract. Until you've accomplished what Timmy and Kobe then I guess you should be labeled in the next highest category. Again that is my humble opinion. I hope I didn't annoy those so-called experts here (K).

    Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 29, 2008 12:00 PM

    Fortune Teller, you are wise.

    BTW, does anyone care that Damon Stoudemire was put on waivers and may clear? If he clears, can he be signed for an amount that will keep Les BouleS under the cap?

    Not that we will need another shoot first guard, but it would be fun to see how he mixes in.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 12:13 PM

    "BTW, does anyone care that Damon Stoudemire was put on waivers and may clear?"

    Not really.

    "If he clears, can he be signed for an amount that will keep Les BouleS under the cap?"

    They can't be kept under the cap because they're already about $14 mill over the cap. They're reportedly about 300K below the luxury tax threshold, but there's not a chance Stoudemire signs for that amount (at least not with the Wizards). He's most likely headed to Boston or Cleveland.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 12:17 PM

    Thanks.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 12:18 PM

    Here's a remark from one our beloved writer in ESPN's J. Hollinger:

    All - Sleepers Team: These guys deserve your attention


    Brendan Haywood, Wizards
    With Washington playing so well minus Gilbert Arenas, it's kind of surprising that Haywood has managed to avoid getting any credit. He's having a career year with an 18.65 player efficiency rating (PER) and career bests in points and rebounds per 40 minutes (15.1 and 11.1) and true shooting percentage (59.1), not to mention a shocking improvement to 73.3 percent from the line -- he was at 56.2 percent for his career entering the season.

    Yet Haywood's greatest impact may come at the other end. The Wizards as a group are the league's most improved defensive team, and the 7-footer's ability to anchor the middle has been a huge reason. So while Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison get the lion's share of the credit, don't sleep on Haywood. If the Wizards make noise in the playoffs, I expect him to be one of the reasons.

    ....I just wish EJ gets it.

    Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 29, 2008 12:57 PM

    "....I just wish EJ gets it."

    Oh, stop already. Eddie has been quoted, many times giving Haywood props for his improvement this season. Really, people just need to let this whole imaginary "feud" thing go.

    Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 1:02 PM

    ooops I've disturbed the sleeping gods again :-)

    When will my boy Etan comes back?

    Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 29, 2008 1:13 PM

    Yikes!

    Is DC Man88 on the blog payroll now? ;)

    All these posts are making me blind. :)

    - Ray

    Posted by: rmcazz | January 29, 2008 2:32 PM

    "All these posts are making me blind. :)

    - Ray

    Posted by: rmcazz | January 29, 2008 02:32 PM "

    Are you sure it's the blog and not "something else" that's making you blind?

    Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 5:48 PM

    1) Kevin Garnett $22,000,000 no ring
    2) Shaquille O'Neal $20,000,000 should retire
    3tie) Jermaine O'Neal $19,728,000 shell of his former self
    3tie) Jason Kidd $19,728,000 not worth 19m
    5) Kobe Bryant $19,490,625 great player
    6tie) Allen Iverson $19,195,312 not worth 19m
    6tie) Stephon Marbury $19,195,312 no comment
    8) Tim Duncan $19,014,188 worth every penny
    9) Tracy McGrady $19,014,187 playoff bum
    10tie) Baron Davis $16,440,000 no ring
    10tie) Shawn Marion $16,440,000 no ring
    12tie) Antawn Jamison $16,360,090 no ring
    12tie) Dirk Nowitzki $16,360,090 no ring
    12tie) Paul Pierce $16,360,090 no ring
    15) Ray Allen $16,000,000 no ring
    16) Ben Wallace $15,500,000 has been
    17) Sam Cassell $15,344,000 are you serious?
    18) Rashard Lewis $14,884,951 laughable
    19) Michael Redd $14,520,000 joke
    20tie) Amare Stoudemire $13,762,775 no ring
    20tie) Yao Ming $13,762,775 not in the playoffs
    22) Pau Gasol $13,735,000 no defense
    23) Andrei Kirilenko $13,725,000 joke
    24) Mike Bibby $13,500,000 ?
    25) Joe Johnson $13,488,378 ?
    26) Zach Randolph $13,333,333 done nothing
    27) Vince Carter $13,325,000 done nothing
    28) Rasheed Wallace $13,140,000 rings

    These are the top contracts in the NBA. GA is better than 70% of these players
    29tie) Carmelo Anthony $13,041,250
    29tie) Dwyane Wade $13,041,250
    29tie) LeBron James $13,041,250
    29tie) Chris Bosh $13,041,250
    33) Kenyon Martin $13,000,000
    34) Richard Jefferson $12,200,000
    35) Larry Hughes $12,000,084
    36) Wally Szczerbiak $12,000,000
    37) Gilbert Arenas $11,950,400
    38) Raef LaFrentz $11,813,750
    39) Peja Stojakovic $11,664,000
    40) Carlos Boozer $11,593,816
    41) Steve Nash $11,375,000
    42) Jason Richardson $11,111,110
    43) Kirk Hinrich $11,000,000

    Posted by: JSchon | January 29, 2008 8:04 PM

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