Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here…
highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.
For those of you who didn’t listen to The 2 Man Game last night… we spent a significant portion of the show going from roster to roster looking for REALISTIC trades that may exist for Rasheed Wallace’s contract.
Let me pause there for a moment to say that this is just banter and not a trade proposal. I think ESPN’s Trade Machine has unleashed a scourge of stupidity upon NBA fans that is dragging the conversation into the netherworld. Just because you get the green “trade is successful” box, it doesn’t mean that trade makes sense.
So we went to Hoopshype.com’s salaries page, went from team to team, found contracts for big men (our most pressing need since the C’s have now signed Von Wafer) that worked in a trade for Sheed’s deal…
… and we didn’t find much.
Of all the names out there, we found 3 that MIGHT make sense.
3: Joel Pryzbilla – Portland: His name has been tossed around out there. His contract matches and Portland’s got other big guys. But here’s the problem: Why would Portland do it? Their big men are injury prone and their owner is one of the richest people in the world. Unless they have some sudden pang of fiscal responsibility… this is a long shot.
2: Nick Collison – Oklahoma City: He’s a big guy (but certainly no banger) who can provide some insurance. His contract is a perfect match and he was used sparingly in Oklahoma City. But OKC is already under the cap, so they’re not REALLY saving much getting rid of Collison.
1: Jeff Foster – Indiana: He’s 6’11, his contract works and it expires after this season… so there’s no long term commitment. He played 16 games last season before a back injury, but in 16 minutes per game, he still grabbed 5 boards. IF he’s healthy enough to play, and if Indiana decides to dump some salary (current payroll: $68.9 million), then the C’s could get foster as insurance. He can be the back up until Perk comes back, and then he an Jermaine O’Neal can fight it out after that.
Basically, that’s probably our best option out there on the trade market. Some people will argue that there’s some kind of sign-and-trade possibility with Shaq. I argued against that last night and said we should only bring Shaq in at the minimum so you can cut him if need be. Regardless… it doesn’t change the fact that there’s virtually nothing available out there in the big man market.
And let me stress again that we’re not out there actively campaigning for these deals. We’re just looking at possibilities and illustrating that few exist.
On Page 2: Analysis of the Von Wafer deal.
On the surface, the addition of guard Von Wafer provides Boston will a sharpshooter who can score points off the bench. But dig deeper into Wafer’s stats and you’ll find that he’s not just a chucker.
During his 2008-09 season with the Houston Rockets,
Wafer averaged nearly as many shots per game at the rim (2.4 per game)
as he attempted 3-pointers (2.6). What’s more, he converted 60 percent
of those shots around the basket, showing he can finish when he beats a
defender off the dribble and gets to the rim.
Wafer was bought out of his contract only a few months into the deal
and he appeared headed back to the NBA, but he reportedly failed
physicals with the Grizzlies and Rockets. He spent the summer training
in his hometown of Louisiana and declared himself healthy. It’s still unclear what caused Wafer to fail his physical, but he has had back issues in the past.
Wafer also clashed with Rockets coach Rick Adelman about playing time
and was sent to the locker room during a playoff game, for which he later apologized.
All of that makes this an interesting addition for the Celtics. His
shooting ability will certainly be a plus for a bench that could use
some. If he can accept his role and do it without complaint then this
move has solid potential. If not, then it’s still a reasonable low-cost
gamble for a player with an obvious skill.
But Wafer will help if he can be a calmer version of the player who
shot 45 percent overall and 39 percent from deep for Houston. Eddie
House can shoot threes. Tony Allen can attack the rim and post up
smaller guys. Wafer can do both. In 2009, he took just as many shots at the rim as he did from three-point range (about 2.5 per game), and finished those shots at the rim 60 percent of the time—a league average mark for a guard. (League average is wonderful for a back-up). He hit long twos at a solid clip and flashed a usable mid-range game.
In other words: He can score from anywhere on the court. He won’t
always do it efficiently or within the flow, but there isn’t a spot from
which he is a total non-threat.
His passing numbers in 2009 were dismal, but he turned the ball over
on fewer than 10 percent of the possessions on which he tried to do
something with it—an outstanding mark for a guy who looks for his shot
so often, and a lower mark than every Celtic regular last season other than Rasheed Wallace. (And Sheed wasn’t exactly driving and dishing in 2010
So Wafer is a being brought in as a shooter but, unlike Eddie House, he can get to the rim and finish pretty effectively too. He won’t turn the ball over a lot, but he also won’t pass it a lot either. He’s also potentially a hot-head that has clashed with past coaches.
All that for the minimum salary? Sign me up. It’s the same argument I’ve made, and will continue to make, with Shaq: A minimum wage guy is a zero-risk signing. The second he becomes a problem… you cut him.
But I believe in the power of the Boston Celtics power structure. The veterans on this team, the coaching staff on this team, and the ownership/front office won’t let someone walk in here and be disruptive. The upside of this signing is far greater than the downside.
The rest of the links: