|Smith deal called off||02.18.09 at 11:57 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, big man Joe Smith is heading back to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Smith has been mentioned as a possible addition for the Boston Celtics front court. On Tuesday he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets as part of a deal for Tyson Chandler. However Chandler, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, did not pass the Thunder’s physical. This means the 6-10, 225 pound Smith could be back on the market. Even though the Celtics are not expected to make any major moves, they do have a roster spot made available by the Sam Cassell trade. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
|No ordinary Joe, no ordinary trade||at 9:42 am ET|
In the vast universe of NBA players that may have been available, few would have fit better with the Celtics than Joe Smith. The veteran big man possesses just about every skill the C’s bench needs–shooting range, length, experience.
But Smith is gone to New Orleans of all places, along with Chris Wilcox and some future considerations for Tyson Chandler, and indications are the Hornets are going to keep him. That’s too bad for the Celtics, but that’s merely a sidebar to the developing story within this trade, which is Sam Presti is one heck of a general manager.
When Presti took over the then-Sonics he had an unbalanced roster with two high-priced scorers–Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis–and a collection of mishmashed talents. In a year and a half he now has one of the most dynamic rosters in the league.
Trading Allen and letting Lewis walk cleared the runway, while drafting Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook and collecting oodles of draft picks and cap space laid the foundation. But at some point Presti had to avoid the trap that so many small market teams fall into. Namely, utilizing all those assets to acquire a real-live NBA player instead of hoping for an imaginary free agent that may or may not materialize.
In Chandler, Presti obtained a still-young and still athletic shot-blocking, rebounding big man, which is truly one of the rarest commodities in the sport. And he got him for players with expiring contracts he didn’t need without surrendering any of those draft picks.
This is a bad move for New Orleans, no matter how the Hornets try to spin it. Smith and Wilcox might help, but they’re no Chandler. Devon Hardin might be a poor-man’s Chandler or he might be another Saer Sene. The rumors are out that the Hornets are having money problems and it’s hard not to see this deal in any other light.
If there is one benefit for the Celtics it’s that it significantly weakens a contender in the West, but that’s small consolation.
|Joe Smith traded to Hornets||02.17.09 at 4:15 pm ET|
First Dikembe Mutombo re-signed with the Houston Rockets. The Alonzo Mourning retired. This afternoon ESPN reported the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Joe Smith to the New Orleans Hornets as part of a deal for Tyson Chandler. And like that, three potential big men acquisitions for the Boston Celtics were off the market.
There had been much speculation that the Thunder would buy out Smith, allowing him to sign with another team. However they shot down those talks weeks ago and held on to Smith for trade bait. Smith offers a P.J. Brown-like mid-range game, versatility that proved critical for the Celtics in last season’s playoffs. The Cs traded Sam Cassell today to the Sacramento Kings, making room if they decided to add another player for the postseason. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
|One less option||01.22.09 at 3:16 pm ET|
When rumors began buzzing about the Boston Celtics need for a back up center. Alonzo Mourning’s name had been mentioned in the mix of veteran big men. On Thursday, Mourning put those rumors to rest when he announced his retirement from basketball.
“I truly feel it’s best that I retire,” Mourning said at his press conference. “When you’ve got something you love and you’re passionate about, it’s hard to let that go. But at 38, I feel I’ve physically done all I can for this game. It has been an amazing ride.’
Mourning had been rehabbing from a knee injury he suffered over a year ago with the Miami Heat. The 15-year veteran, who had already overcome a kidney disease to win an NBA championship in 2006, decided to leave the game with a positive attitude.
“It’s not a sad day, but it’s a day to celebrate,’ he said. ‘I can think of a million people right now that would have loved to walk the path I’ve walked. The ups and the downs made it even more joyous.”
In addition to Mourning, the Dikembe Mutombo and Joe Smith were also mentioned as possible acquisitions for the Celtics. Mutombo re-signed with the Houston Rockets in December after losing patience with Cs. Smith is still under contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.