|Irish Coffee: Another NBA conspiracy theory||12.09.11 at 2:20 pm ET|
Please indulge me, whilst a tell you an NBA conspiracy theory. It involves a Mormon, a camel, two giants and an insurance salesman. None of them walked into a bar.
On July 31, 2007, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge convinced former C’s teammate, good friend and Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale to ship Kevin Garnett to Boston in return for Al Jefferson and a cup of poop soup over a deal with the Lakers involving Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. And the road to a 17th NBA championship was paved.
On Feb. 1, 2008, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dangled the immortal Kwame Brown and his 5.7 points/5.7 rebounds per game as the centerpiece of a trade for Grizzlies All-Star Pau Gasol and his 18.9 points/8.8 rebounds per game. And former C’s general manager Chris Wallace delivered the 2009 and 2010 NBA titles to L.A.
On June 25, 2009, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers brass traded $20 million worth of Sasha Pavlovic and a washed up Ben Wallace for four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.
Not seven months later, Gilbert’s Cavs acquired two-time NBA All-Star Antawn Jamison in exchange for backup center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was promptly released by the Wizards and re-signed in Cleveland. As a result, LeBron James and his new supporting cast became the prohibitive favorite to win the 2010 NBA championship.
During the summer of 2010, Following three straight NBA titles orchestrated by management and won by either Garnett or Gasol, free agents James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh took matters into their own hands, each taking less money to cement the Heat as title favorites for the next five years and transforming Miami from a middling NBA market (16th of 30) into the center of the basketball universe — much to Gilbert’s chagrin.
All the while, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban orchestrated deals for Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler in exchange for the likes of Devin Harris, Devean George and Erick Dampier, assuming tens of millions of dollars worth of contracts and forming the core of the 2010-11 NBA champions.
In December 2010, David Stern and 29 NBA owners purchased the Hornets for a cool $300 million, begging the question from Lakers coach Phil Jackson, “When Chris Paul says he has to be traded, how’s that going to go?”
The following summer, after trading their superstars for terrible basketball but sound financial reasons to help three of the league’s top seven media markets build the past four NBA champions, small market owners prolonged the lockout in an attempt to create competitive balance while players relinquished $300 million in salaries.
As the first order of major business following that lockout, Paul requested a trade and the NBA’s Hornets oblige, agreeing to a deal that would send Paul to the Lakers, Gasol to the Rockets and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and a No. 1 draft pick to the Hornets. Meanwhile, Kupchak would still have the assets in place (i.e., Bynum and draft picks) to deal to the Magic for Dwight Howard.
To recap: The Lakers would package the pieces Celtics Hall of Famer McHale rejected in return for Garnett in Minnesota and the player former C’s GM Wallace hand-delivered to the Lakers three years ago to form the nucleus of a team that could help L.A. surpass the Celtics’ franchise record of 17 NBA championships. Diabolical.
Naturally, the NBA nixed the deal, perhaps in part because Gilbert is pissed. So pissed, in fact, that he wrote an e-mail to Stern with the following explanation: “I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process.” How do you like them sour grapes?
Cuban should be pissed. He spent the past 24 hours watching as Chandler, the starting center of his world championship team, neared a deal with the Knicks, partly because of the constraints the new collective bargaining agreement forced upon him — thanks to Stern, Gilbert and his fellow owners who run the Hornets.
Meanwhile, Ainge dangled the foundation of his franchise’s future in hopes of landing Paul, only to watch as his team’s biggest rival beat him to the punch for the game’s greatest point guard. You don’t think he’s pissed?
How great would it be if Ainge convinced now Rockets head coach McHale (whose Houston team was the only one getting screwed in the nixed three-team trade) and fellow president of basketball operations Larry Bird to join him in urging Stern to put the kibosh on the Paul-to-L.A. deal, only to turn around and revisit the Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and picks trade for Paul reportedly involving Bird’s Pacers as the third team.
What better way for the Celtics dynasty of the ’80s to keep their legacy as the winningest franchise in history intact? Ridiculous, for sure, but just the type of conspiracies Stern invites with Thursday’s absurd fiasco.
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT KEYON DOOLING
The Celtics acquired veteran guard Keyon Dooling from the Bucks in exchange for a second-round draft pick, according to an AP report. The deal will be finalized on Friday when the free agency period officially begins.
- The Magic took Dooling with the 10th pick in the 2000 NBA draft, just before the C’s took Jerome Moiso.
- He is the vice president of the NBA Players Association.
- His favorite TV shows are “Martin” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Seriously.
- He has averaged 7.2 points, 2.3 assists and 1.4 boards in 21.6 minutes over 675 games for five teams.
- John Hollinger’s scouting report: strong defender at both guard spots, decent spot-up shooter, lacks handle, weak finisher and poor rebounder.
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT KEYON DOOLING
The Celtics and Magic have agreed to a sign-and-trade of Glen “Big Baby” Davis for Brandon Bass, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. That deal is also expected to be finalized when free agency opens on Friday.
- Drafted by the Hornets with the No. 33 overall pick in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft.
- He played the 2004-05 season as Big Baby’s teammate on LSU.
- His favorite food is red beans and rice. Seriously.
- Bass has averaged 7.7 points (51.5 FG%, 81.5 FT%) and 4.1 rebounds in 336 games for three teams.
- John Hollinger’s scouting report: strong undersized ig man, accurate midrange jump shot, effective driving right, plays best as undersized 5, average at best defensively and limited help awareness.
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)
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