Thu Jul 15 12:05pm EDT
There's no point in pretending that this offseason hasn't shaped, or re-shaped, just about everything. Save for your happier outposts in Los Angeles, Boston and Orlando, just about this entire league has been turned on its ear by this free-agent class, and all the moves made to accommodate it.
It's been going on since 2006, when LeBron James(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) signed their similarly styled contract extensions, and we've seen franchise after franchise stumble over themselves to, rightfully, shoot for the moon.
And yet, through all of that, next summer could be bigger. Not in terms of boffo free agents, because we'll be done with that for a while. But with the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players expiring, and a lockout looming as something falling barely short of an eventuality, 2011 will change everything. And until the league and the players' union suss things out, we're going to comment on just about every transaction as if 2010 will flow on. Naïve, to the bone, I is. All mod cons, not 2011 definitions.
Spreads the floor, even if he doesn't even touch the ball within a possession, and that helps teams. Hits shots from long range, can hurt opponents from the triple-threat position (even if he looks those cutters off), scores in the post, and isn't completely Corey Maggette(notes)-styled selfish with the rock. Especially now that he's got his contract.
A five-year contract, with the Denver Nuggets. Not completely five years, though, because the guaranteed money only flows for about 3 1/2 (essentially) of those years. So, with the knowledge that Al turns 31 right around next season's All-Star break in hand, I still dig this contract.
I'm not overrating this deal because of need, but you do have to consider Denver's leanings in this direction. To say nothing of who is available.
Chris Andersen(notes) might tat it up like a kid in his 20s, but he's in his 30s. Kenyon Martin(notes) can still slap the top of the shot clock, but he's had the legs of a 40-year-old since his rookie year. Nene's an underrated beast, but the Nuggies are hurting for frontcourt depth. Have been for years.
And Harrington, for all his faults, can play both forward positions, and Denver coach George Karl can work with the rest of the team's rotations to help to mitigate his shortcomings. The shot-happy nonsense. The non-existent defense. The crummy rebounding. The nearly (but not completely!) Maggette-leanings.
These can all be worked around, when you recognize a player's gifts, while considering and anticipating his faults. He can hurt, and he can help. That averages out to an average player. Now use your other helpers to prop up the hurtin' end.
God, how Timberwolves fans wish David Kahn lived in a vacuum. A big, giant, sucky one.
His team is full of youngsters, and it's hoping to score another lottery trip, the stateside rights to Ricky Rubio(notes), and cash in with all those draft picks, tradeable contracts, salary-cap space, and potential trade exceptions should they go over the cap.
And while Luke Ridnour, though he won't ever top his career year from last season, might be worth four million a year even in his early 30s ... what's the ruddy point?
Seriously, for what? To have a nice backup for Rubio when he comes over? To keep a guy in his early 30s on call when the rest of your team is still a few years away from its prime?
Or, to completely and utterly trash what possible leverage you had for Ramon Sessions(notes) on the open market? As if people didn't think — after haggling for weeks last summer, and after watching the way coach Kurt Rambis completely misused Sessions throughout 2009-10 — that you couldn't give a rip whether he was on your roster or not?
Also, YOU RUN THE TRIANGLE OFFENSE, DAVID KAHN. Or you, at least, attempt to.
It's the offense that, given 20 years of championship history, Ron Harper and Brian Shaw may have worked as the perfect examples of a "point guard" in its schemes. You don't need a guy to run a screen and roll with Kevin Love(notes). You need a guy to make an entry pass to Love, run to the corner, and dis-a-flippin'-peer.
So, yeah, Luke Ridnour for four years and $16 million. Congrats to the Pacers, in 2012, for trading for him.