The NBA Trade Deadline less than 24 hours away. The drama will soon be past us and the teams will begin to focus on the games and the long-term plans. Here's a few quick NBA thoughts.
1. Ben Gordon (Bobcats): On the market. Bottom line, he's a guy that will score points for you off the bench and can give your team a jolt. To try and pretend that he's going to be a high assist guy or lockdown defender is fool's gold. He is what he is and in certain instances, he can be helpful. To expect more (in spite of his big money ticket) only leads to frustration.
2. Billy King (Nets GM): His team has had a nice season yet I get the sense that they feel like they have bigger fish to fry in Brooklyn. Lots of pressure on them to overtake the Knicks on the New York basketball scene. Kris Humphries is on the block and doesn't play enough for his salary. Big money invested in guys like Gerald Wallace, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to varying results. Expectations are high and demands will increase as the season moves along.
3. Golden State Warriors: Gotta tighten up the D! Have lost six straight and watching them lately, I've seen slippage. Lackluster effort getting back in transition and protecting the paint. Close-outs and help have been slower. Don't seem to have the same zip in their step. Tired or maybe a little full of themselves after the great start? A bit of both. They're a fun and good team. Get the focus back on the D and things will turn around again.
4. Derrick Williams (T'Wolves): Averaging 16 and 8 in his last five games. Only in his second year and we've all heard the trade rumours. Too early to give up on him. In time, he will figure it out. Patience is key. Rick Adelman hasn't been thrilled with his inconsistent play this season and rightly so. He's a combo 3/4 still trying to figure out what he is as a pro. Once he does figure it, he'll be fine. By the way, if Luke Ridnour is on the market from this team, he'd be a bargain for someone. I'm a big fan.
5. Andrew Bynum (76ers): Claims he'll be back in a 'few weeks'. Last time I checked, next Friday is March 1. Season's only got 30 per cent to go. He's a free agent at the end of the season. Philly and lots of other teams will be keeping an eye on the oft-injured big man to see what he looks like and try to determine his dollar value in a market with the new more punitive luxury tax on the horizon. No team, I repeat, no team will be willing to pay big money and provide many years to a guy unless he's going to give you a significant return on investment (70+ games and winning). A bad/huge contract in the new financial world of the NBA is too difficult to absorb. Gotta be able to play and produce.