Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Thank you, David Stern, for creating the 1999 Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

Sure, it's not the one the NBA is currently working under, and it did sort of destroy the 1998-99 season (sort of?), but let's call it - that season was going to be rubbish anyway.

While we're on the subject, Steve Aschburner came through with a must-read column on the labor impasse from ten years ago.

And while we're not on it, here's a list of some of the recent NBA transactions, with some words to follow ...

Elton Brand

What can I say that hasn't been detailed perfectly in the days leading up to this glorious Friday?

EB may have been kept at arm's length from what the Clippers were really trying to do, he may have let his emotions get the best of him as David Falk tried to prove that he can still be relevant at all costs, and he really has a pillock for an agent who can't stop talking about the summer of 1996.

But he signed for more money, joined a better team, will have an actual chance at the second round of the playoffs, and I can't blame the guy.

I hate the way it went down, but that's how this mess usually flows.

Mickael Pietrus

Signed with Orlando, for the full MLE.

My initial reaction? He's years better than Maurice Evans or even Keith Bogans defensively, he'll thrive in slower offense where all he has to do is set up for the three-pointer and crash the occasional board, and he's exactly what Orlando needs. But the full MLE? Otis Smith, what do you have against the summertime?!? The livin's easy!

But now that I give it more than a moment's thought ... hmm, not bad. There was going to be competition for Pietrus' services, likely enough to drive his price right up to the mark Orlando signed him for, and it's for an average salary. Below-average offense, well-above average defense - sounds about right.

Sorry, Otis.

Baron Davis

It really hardly matters at this point, does it? Kevin Arnovitz nailed all the BD thoughts this week, and while his unorthodox approach to the free agent season was interesting for a spell, he still went with the team that could pay him the most amount of money while being able to (you watch) parlay the upcoming era of good feelings into a few years of not squaring his shoulders, not seeming all that interested, and letting a wave of excuses do the talking for him.

There's a reason this guy didn't sign with the Lakers, you know. The Lakers are close to a title and in Davis' hometown but could only offer him less than half as much money. It's not as if Dash Tripstar (or whatever Jessica Alba's better half is named) can't get those same seats for Laker games. It's not as if Davis is actually interested in the win.

There's a reason the Warriors never challenged for the playoffs in 2005-06, and while that reason is named "Mike Montgomery," BD's three-point happy ways weren't far behind. There's a reason Baron never spoke up when Don Nelson made the (silly, and damaging) move to sit Davis in that April game against the Suns. Everybody was ready to pounce on Nelly, and for good reason. He screwed up. But Baron knew why Nellie kept him on that bench. He knew, and he didn't say a word.

Baron's been playing NBA basketball since November of 1999. He's done some good things, but there's been quite a bit of nasty that's gone on whilst our attention was focused elsewhere. I like him, and I like his game. That said, I've a sneaking suspicion that I also know his middle name.

Brent Barry

Rockets GM Daryl Morey knows his stats. I'd like to think that I also know my stats, and in spite of Brent's advancing age, I still can't figure out why he wasn't more of a knockout in San Antonio. Sure, he had his moments, but the white-hot shooting and passing never seemed to translate in that Spurs offense.

And though the Seattle teams that Brent thrived on were slower than people realize (check the stats, watch the games; not in that order), I worry about the same issues showing up in Houston.

And then you realize that he signed for, essentially, Rashard Lewis' per diem. Barry really must have wanted to come to Houston. Good on Brent, and great job Daryl Morey.

Roger Mason Jr.

Athletic, under the age of 39, somewhat sporty, somewhat shooty, and somewhat defensive-y for a good price. What's not to like?

Corey Maggette

Corey Maggette is a fan or money, we learned that this week, because he decided against signing with the Celtics or Spurs in favor of a chance to work for a team with 42 other guys who play his position for a few million quid more and about 25 wins less.

What's worse? If Corey does decide that he wants to play for a winner soon enough (that's obviously not happening with Golden State), he effectively priced his way out of being able to be traded easily, even in his prime year next season. Have fun, moneybags.

Congrats to the Warriors for bidding against themselves, again.

Brad Miller

"Doug, Bob Dylan is alive and well. In fact, I produced his last three albums."

Andrew Bogut

I truly do like Bogut's game, think he's been used improperly, and understand that you pay centers 1.43 times worth what you pay every other position player who contributes about the same amount.

It doesn't mean the Bucks didn't bid against themselves. You can still sustain a good relationship with a player and person that you like while demanding that the market determine what he should be paid.

Ronny Turiaf

OK, so he's already 25. And he might not be taller than Steve Smith.

But the Lakers had 11 home playoff games last season. 11. Pay the piper. Pay a power forward that knows the game, has fun playing it, and sometimes appears to understand your offense.

Turiaf, who can't shoot and is a horrible rebounder, would waste away on the Golden State bench anyway.

Jarvis Hayes

Bobby Simmons, Vince Carter, Yi ... the Nets are more or less set at that position.

Sure, all three of those guys plus Jarvis are different. But in the end, the average is "3."

At least the deal is for only two years.

Jarvis, you couldn't parlay this into a winning team that you'd want to work for?

James Jones

He won't shoot as well as he did last season, when he was egregiously screwed out of a chance at winning the Three-Point Contest, but he will help the Heat. Eight minutes at a time.

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