Thursday, May 29, 2008

Point guard prices

You have to love Sam Smith, especially around this time of the year. There are few people in NBA writing circles that can spin a yarn like Mr. Smith. It's often not the most reliable information, but it's fun nonetheless.

Writing today for Sporting News (he writes for about three different sites since joining the growing number of established journos taking buyouts from their respective papers) Smith throws out a few possible destinations for Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, who might be available assuming Chicago takes Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick. Take it away Sam.
Other pieces would be required to match salaries, but here's some speculative possibilities for Hinrich:

• Miami for Shawn Marion
• Indiana for Jermaine O'Neal
• Golden State for Al Harrington
• Portland for expiring contracts, like that of Raef LaFrentz, so the Bulls can get into the free-agent market over the next few years for Brand or Wade
• Charlotte for Jason Richardson (he and Gerald Wallace play similar roles); perhaps the Bulls throw in a veteran like Andres Nocioni for new Bobcats coach Larry Brown
• Milwaukee (would Scott Skiles want to coach Hinrich again?) for a contract they want to dump, like Bobby Simmons', with Yi Jianlian thrown in
• New York. Actually, it seems they're saving cap space to make a run at LeBron James in two years.

I'm confused. I can only assume Smith has seen Hinrich play hundreds of times, seeing as both worked in the same city for the past four years, but some of these ideas seem so lopsided that it makes me wonder if Sam has watched Captain Kirk, at least in the last year or so.

Hinrich (plus salary filler) for Marion? That's crazy unlikely. Say what you will about Matrix's attitude, but he's still one of the best small forwards in basketball. If Marion was going to walk, then maybe the Heat trade for Hinrich to get at least something, but even that seems like a stretch of monumental proportions.

Jermaine O'Neal hasn't been at his best as of late, but neither has Hinrich. I'm about 95% sure that the Pacers could get more for O'Neal.

I guess I could see Hinrich for Al Harrington. It wouldn't be a bad move for the Bulls and it does make some sense for the Warriors. Brandan Wright is quickly becoming a better option at power forward than Harrington, and they'd be light at the guard position should Baron Davis decided to roll out. File this one in the maybe category.

Hinrich for Richardson? Charlotte just traded for Richardson! There's no way they'd move him for Kirk, especially when they've got Ray Felton at point. And since when do Richardson and Gerald Wallace play "similar roles"? One is a scoring guard, the other is a lanky, defensive-minded forward. If anything they compliment each other.

The Milwaukee scenario is a possibility, though I doubt the Bucks would consider trading Yi after all the trouble they went through to get him on the roster in the first place. But this is the kind of trade I think you're likely to see involving Hinrich.

Finally, we come to the Blazers tidbit: Raef LaFrentz for Hinrich. I'm not much of a Hinrich fan, but that's the kind of deal I could get on board with. It instantly erases any future cap space, but you get a starting-caliber point guard without giving up anyone who plays significant minutes. This is the only scenario Smith throws out that isn't skewed in Chicago's favor, but I think it best represents Hinrich's actual current value.

13 comments:

Philski said...

Casey,
The other day I asked you what you thought about a Hinrich for Raef & Jarrett trade, so it's interesting to see that other people view that trade as a possibility. The salaries for Raef & Hinrich match, so the deal could be done straight up, but by including Jack, the Balzers would be able to do two things. First, it's necessary to reduce the logjam at Point. Second, the Blazers would be able to receive a trade exception from the Bulls. The trade exception would be yet another bargaining chip the Blazers could use in future deals (ala James Jones).

I think this trade makes more sense for the Blazers than others I've heard about, although Hinrich's contract is pretty hefty ($37 Million over 4 years). The good news is that it drops over time rather than increases, but I still think that we'd be paying too much money for the net improvement.

Hinrich would be another veteran on the roster for the Blazers. That's a plus. Hinrich's a tenatious defender. That's a BIG plus. Hinrich's is a streaky shooter (35% - 84/240 from downtown as opposed to 41% - 121/298 for Steve Blake). That's not so good. Hinrich's Assist/Turnover ratio is also not as good as Steve's (2.9 as opposed to 3.65). Once again, not so good for a Nate McMillan team.

Would Hinrich improve the Blazers ? I definitely think so. Would that improvement be significant ? I don't think so, but then again, it's hard to know how Hinrich would fit in. A change of scenery might turn Hinrich's game around.

Phil

Casey Holdahl said...

Good points Phil. It doesn't seem like the addition of Hinrich would chance the team dynamic that much, but, as you noted, maybe a chance of scenery would benefit his game.

As far as moving Jack as well, I'm not so sure. I think you would have to get more in return than a trade exception. (By the way, if the numbers already matched, could you add in another player simply for the purpose of getting a trade exemption?)

mrblazer said...

Casey,

Hinrich's acquisition would not erase all of our cap space, just a portion of it. In fact, if you take a look at how his contract is structured, it actually declines in dollar amounts instead of increasing. By the end of next season, he will basically only count as much as Darius would have.

Even with Darius on the books, the blazers still felt they would have enough cap space to make a run at some of the biggest names through trade or free agency. I don't see picking up Hinrich as something that would keep us from still having a lot of leverage next summer.

Casey Holdahl said...

I knew someone would call me out on the cap space comment. You're 100% right mrblazer, we'd still have some cap flexibility with Hinrich on the roster. The Steve Francis contract ensures that.

Philski said...

Casey,
As far as the trade exception goes, it's my understanding that the Blazers did exactly as I described when they made the Zach Randolph for Channing & Steve Francis trade. They added in Fred Jones specifically so they could get a trade exception. That trade exception was subsequently turned into James Jones.

If the Blazers want Hinrich, then adding Jarrett would sweeten the pot enough for Chicago to make the trade. Chris Duhon is an unrestricted free agent this Summer, so getting Jarrett would solve Chicago's backup PG issue.

The change of scenery might be good for Jarrett as well. As much as the Blazer fans loved all of the players, Jarrett was the most under-appreciated by far.

Phil

Casey Holdahl said...

I'll have to do some research into how acquiring a trade exemption works. There must be rules regarding how close salaries must be when doing two for one trades.

It would be funny if Jack ended up taking over Duhon's backup role, considering they're cousins.

Storyteller said...

Casey,

A trade of Hinrich for LaFrentz and Jack could not take place until after July 10th because of Hinrich's BYC status. But such a deal could take place after the July Moratorium.

Essentially, it would be 2 trades. The first is Raef for Kirk, which brings back a trade exception for the Blazers. The second would be Jack for nothing (the Bulls would use part of their existing trade exception to facilitate this portion of the deal) with the Blazers getting a trade exception for the full amount of Jack's contract.

The end result being that Portland would have two small trade exceptions - one for $2,472,500 (the difference between Raef's contract and Kirk's) and one for $2,002,623 (the full amount of Jack's contract).

Casey Holdahl said...

Makes sense Storyteller. Great information as always.

CheckThis1 said...

This has some potential- with the proposed trade exceptions involving Jarrett Jack (if in fact receiving an exception is a validated point.) I would think that this trade would better satisfy the need enough at the more critical starting PG position than staying unchanged with JJ.

Hinrich's leadership and experience would provide the reliability necessary to elevate the team to the playoff level (perhaps even past the first two rounds.)

However, I haven't given up on the league leader in Assist-to Turnover Ratio, Jose Calderon. So-what the Raptors say he's "untouchable" folks, that doesn't mean diddly if you consider that he's currently not under any contract with them, they don't have any say in the matter of what type of contract Jose signs next, that's his choice and no one will know until after July 9th, including Toronto.

The Raptors would love for everyone to jump on the "untouchable" band wagon, but the fact of the matter is, Jose just may elect to sign a one year contract, refuse a 2009 offer from the Raptors and enter the 2009 off season as an unrestricted free agent. He doesn't have any leverage right now to leave them as he pleases(he's a Restricted Free Agent,) but next year he'll have it all; and that's the band wagon riding down one center court, it's big enough, Jump On!

So give yourselves more options, we and the Blazers deserve the best we can get. At least wait and see what kind of contract Jose signs. If he in fact does opt for the one-year, use Reaf's $12M next year on Jose, don't waste it before you're absolutely sure he's truely untouchable. Go Blazers!

-J. Nash

Rick D. said...

Please do not waste the money on Hinrich's contract.
Wait for Raef's contract to expire, and see if we still need a point gaurd then. We may have found that JJ has progressed enough (see Chauncy Billips) or we then have tons of cap space for a free agent.. or Brandon plays a little more at the point with Rudy at the two.
Give this sqaud one more year to develop and you might be saying "the best trade was the one we didn't make".
Give these guys a year with Oden covering their backs on D, and attracting defenders' attention on offense.
Again, if we need a point gaurd in two years, we will have plenty of resources to get one. Besides by then free agents will be standing in line to play with this sqaud.

Patience Patience Patience

oldschoolblazer said...

What about Koponen in two years he maybe just what the doctor ordered.

Bradley said...

Casey,

I am a Portland transplant in the Chicago area. Hinrich isn't what he seems. He's a poor defender and streaky shooter. Yes, it would be great to dump LaFrentz's contract but the Blazers need more then Hinrich. Also he's a headcase. Hinrich is more of a two guard then point. He doesn't move the Blazers closer to a championship.

Casey Holdahl said...

checkthis1: I'd really like to get Calderon, and maybe waiting an seeing what he does contract-wise this offseason is the way to get. But I get the sense that KP and Nate are ready to get this team put together now, and I wonder if they'd be willing to wait with no assurance that another team might offer Calderon big dollars as a FA.

rick d.: Letting Raef's contract expire is an option, but I'm of the opinion that it's worth more in a trade than it is as cap space for free agents. It seems to me that it's very hard to attract top-teir free agents, as the money is almost always better with their current team.

oldschoolblazer: Keep your fingers crossed re: Koponen. If he has a great summer league, maybe he gets a shot at the roster. That's a big "if" and a huge "maybe", but this might be his last crack at making the roster.

bradley: I'm not a huge Hinrich fan either. I have legitimate concerns that he's no better than any of the point guards we currently have. But if you can get him for an expiring contract? That's something worth considering.