Thursday, June 26, 2014

NBA Trade Breakdown: Arron Afflalo for Evan Fournier

With a few hours left before the 2014 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic completed a trade sending Arron Afflalo back to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Evan Fournier and a 2014 second round pick.

Arron Afflalo (28 years old, 16.0 PER, 57 TS% on 23 USG%, 17 AST%, 2,552 minutes)
2015: 7.50
2016: 7.50 (Player Option, likely declined)

Afflalo has quietly become a top 10 SG since leaving Denver, and is a quality upgrade over Randy Foye and Fournier.  With large question marks surrounding the offensive capabilities of Danilo Gallinari and Javale McGee's as they return from injuries, Afflalo offers some offensive stability while also qualifying as the team's top perimeter defender.

Nuggets Depth Chart
PG: Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Aaron Brooks (FA)
SG: Arron Afflalo, Randy Foye
SF: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Quincy Miller
PF: Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Anthony Randolph, Jan Vesely (FA)
C: JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson, Timofey Mozgov

Evan Fournier (21 years old, 10.3 PER, 53 TS% on 20 USG%, 12 AST%, 1,503 minutes)
2015: 1.48
2016: 2.28 (Team Option, likely exercised in 14-15 Training Camp)

While Afflalo is a quality player and reasonably priced, the writing has been on the wall since the 2013 draft when the Magic drafted Victor Oladipo 2nd overall.

Fournier slipped in his sophomore season after showing promise as a rookie (13.8 PER), but youth and time are on his side.  He should get ample opportunity on a Magic team with considerably less depth that has experimented with Oladipo at PG and regularly uses E'Twaun Moore there as well.

The trade also saves Orlando about 6 million dollars, so there's that.  If they plan on using any cap space this summer, there's more cash to burn now.

56th Pick of 2014 draft (Current Draft Express projection: Dwight Powell

Rob Hennigan has shown to be a good drafter, and found Kyle O'Quinn with the 49th pick in 2013, so a pick this late should not be discounted in a deep draft.

Magic Depth Chart
PG: Jameer Nelson, E'Twaun Moore, Ronnie Price (NGC)
SG: Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Doron Lamb (NGC)
SF: Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris
PF: Andrew Nicholson, Tobias Harris
C: Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O'Quinn (NGC), Jason Maxiell (NGC)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NBA Trade Breakdown: Tyson Chandler for Jose Calderon

With one day before the NBA draft, we kicked off what should be a dynamic off-season with our first blockbuster trade.  The Mavericks have sent Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, and two second round picks to the New York Knicks for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

Jose Calderon (32 years old, 15.6 PER, 60 TS% on 16 USG%, 22 AST%, 2,468 minutes)
2015: 7.09
2016: 7.40
2017: 7.70

On paper, Calderon is the offensive orchestrator that Knicks fans have long-sought, but the reality is Calderon played off the ball more than ever and ceded much of the ball-handling responsibility to Monta Ellis and even Vince Carter.  With that said, this makes him a near-perfect fit for the triangle offense, and Phil Jackson may have made a very shrewd investment here.  You can question Calderon's defense and athleticism, but his shooting touch at the PG spot is paralleled only by Stephen Curry (untouchable) and Steve Nash (8 years older at the same price).  That stroke is exactly what Phil and newly minted Knicks coach Derek Fisher will want from the PG spot in the triangle offense.  Calderon's defense will be a problem, but not one unique to 80% of the league's PGs.  The Knicks added some long-term salary, eating 3.5M of their 2015 cap space, but this should prove to be a quality investment over the next two years.

Samuel Dalembert (32 years old, 16.8 PER, 61 TS% on 15 USG%, 19 REB%, 1,614 minutes)
2015: 3.86 (1.80 guaranteed) this is BEFORE his 15% trade kicker (likely affects the guaranteed money and consequently salary cap calculations)

I honestly don't see much of a reason for the Knicks to buy Dalembert out, as many are speculating.  They just traded their only rim enforcer, and Dalembert replicates Chandler's skills at a fraction of the cost.   He isn't overpaid, he's not Andrea Bargnani, and he has no impact on the Knicks' 2015 free agency plans.  This should be an easy one.

Wayne Ellington (26 years old, 12.2 PER, 55 TS% on 16 USG%, 7 AST%, 393 minutes)
2015: 2.77

Ellington is the definition of a salary throw-in, as the Knicks have no shortage of SGs with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr.  His inclusion makes it more likely that one of the aforementioned trio is traded in the near future.  Hardaway has the most trade value of the three, and Ellington duplicates his skill-set, so my bets are on him.

Shane Larkin (21 years old, 8.3 PER, 45 TS% on 17 USG%, 20 AST%, 489 minutes)
2015: 1.60
2016: 1.67 (Team Option, likely exercised in 2014 pre-season)
2017: 2.57 (Team Option)

Larkin has some upside as a speedy backup PG, in the mold of J.J. Barea and Patrick Mills.  However he will need great improvement across the board in order to reach those levels.  Expect another year as a 3rd string when it's all said and done.

34th pick of 2014 draft (current Draft Express projection: Glenn Robinson III)
51st pick of 2014 draft (current Draft Express projection: Cristiano Felicio)

It's probably reasonable to expect one college player and one stashable European by the Knicks, pending any further trades.  Given that the Knicks had no draft picks entering tomorrow's draft, this is certainly a win for a team that typically trades away picks rather than receive them.

Current Knicks Depth Chart
PG: Jose Calderon, Pablo Prigioni, Shane Larkin, Toure Murry (FA)
SG: Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway, Wayne Ellington, Shannon Brown (NGC)
SF: Carmelo Anthony (FA), J.R. Smith
PF: Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Kenyon Martin (FA), Lamar Odom (NGC)
C: Samuel Dalembert, Cole Aldrich (FA), Jeremy Tyler

Tyson Chandler (31 years old, 16.4 PER, 62 TS% on 13 USG%, 19 REB%, 1,662 minutes)
2015: 14.59

The Mavericks ultimately win this trade by reacquiring the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year who helped carry the team to an NBA championship (and may have cost them a few by leaving).  Chandler's ability to finish at the rim, defend, and crash the boards are a perfect compliment to Dirk Nowitzki.  Is he overpaid at this point?  Yes.  Is he more cost effective than a Dalembert/Wright platoon?  No.  It's a monetary sacrifice that has to be made in order to get Calderon's long-term contract off the books (a player who was easily the weak link on a team that took the NBA champion Spurs to 7 games).  Whether or not Chandler returns to DPOY form, the Mavericks will be much improved defensively by subtracting Calderon.

Raymond Felton (29 years old, 12.9 PER, 48 TS% on 18 USG%, 28 AST%, 2,017 minutes)
2015: 3.79
2016: 3.95 (Player Option, likely exercised)

Felton had worn out his welcome in New York, and a change of scenery should be good for him.  It's very likely that he'll be backing up Devin Harris (whose re-emergence made Calderon expendable) next season, but is capable of starting for the oft-injured player in a pinch.   If he can develop any sort of chemistry with Dirk Nowitzki in the pick & roll, this could very well be a very salvageable piece for the Mavericks.

Current Mavericks Depth Chart
PG: Devin Harris (FA), Raymond Felton, Gal Mekel
SG: Monta Ellis, Ricky Ledo
SF: Shawn Marion (FA), Vince Carter (FA), Jae Crowder
PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion (FA)
C: Tyson Chandler, Brandan Wright, DeJuan Blair (FA), Bernard James

Let's give this a shot.

To all those thinking I went off the deep, 

I had an opportunity to do what I love at the highest level, but the timing simply wasn't in the cards.  I'm extremely passionate, and it's very frustrating to me knowing that opportunity, one that took a decade to present itself, might never be there again.  That was simply the tipping point for what's easily been the most tumultuous time of my life.  In the past 12 months I've had 9 jobs.  . As with an alarming number of people my age, I'm still trying to figure out the long-term direction of my life.

Instead of playing video games, I've been playing a card game known as Magic: The Gathering.  I played it as a kid 20 years ago when the game first released, and it's since evolved into quite the machine.  The strategic options available simply appeal to me more than most of the current VG fare.  To me, deck construction, understanding, and leaving the house to interact with real people (there's the kicker) is just much more fulfilling than sitting at home collecting headshots against hateful bullies hiding behind TV sets.  My current goal is to qualify for a pro tour.  It ain't much, but it's something.

For those worried about my drinking... I only drink socially, and never in excess.  I work in the hospitality industry where co-workers frequently go out for drinks after a long shift (and I have plenty of those).  Haven't partook in a month, which has lead to more sleep, less stress, and a lot more money in my pocket.

I went on one more date.  It went really well... until we were spotted by the brother of the OTHER guy she was apparently seeing... needless to say, I'm just not really interested in any romantic pursuits right now.  But on that note...

It's draft time and I still love the NBA.  I've never missed draft night, so here I am.  I don't know how much time I'll have to commit to future projects (if any), but for now, just being around the NBA at it's annual peak is good enough for me.

Thanks to all who've expressed concern,