I was at John Wayne Airport yesterday waiting for my flight back when Bluntman called me and asked, "Have you heard?" He didn't know I was out of town and working so he figured I was all over the internets. At first, I thought he was lying. Then, I thought I was dreaming. This morning, I was thrilled it wasn't a dream.
Forget J-Rich, at its worst this is addition by subtraction. Unfortunately, I don't know what I'll do with my favorite Boris avatar.
I poked around the internets, interested in the general reaction and it largely confirmed my thoughts.
The pessimism is still there in that the Suns' holes at backup PG and backup bigs still exists. True, they need help there. However, they upgraded. No doubt. Not a question. Sure, it would've been nice to land Johan Petro or whoever Stan's got a man-crush on this week, but it wasn't there. That's like arguing that you're against the war in Irag because the US should be doing more in N. Korea. It's either a good idea or a bad idea, but pointing out other weaknesses is a red herring.
I like this trade even better than I did last night.
The national press thinks Kerr made a steal, but I'm more interested in what the locals think. Here are some links:
The Suns new player Jared Dudley?! What the deuce? I head to ESPN...and it gets worse: Suns score Cats' Richardson in big trade. Am I awake? Is this real?
Bobcats Planet says, "Hey, Raja Bell clotheslined Kobe once. That's got to count for something." In what can only be called a delusional attempt to remain sane, the blog continues with
Lets look at the toughness and defense issue first. Raja Bell has long been known as a lockdown defender.
Too bad they haven't been watching him play recently.
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tries to answer the question, "Huh?!"
I'm not worried -- at all -- about the alleged "slip" in defense from Bell to Richardson. I'm not worried about losing a power forward averaging less points and rebounds than appearances on thedirty.com; waiting for Boris to return to his 2005-2006 form was about as eventful as leaving the light on for Jimmy Hoffa.
Here are some numbers for you. This year, Richardson has been averaging 18.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 2.6 apg. Bell and Diaw COMBINED were averaging 17.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 3.4 apg.
The Suns now have 3 legit long-range bombers, each shooting over 40% from the arc (not too sure about LB this year, but that's where he's been historically) who are more than spot-up shooters. The Suns have become more athletic, have added hustle and really cannot get much worse defensively with this move. The Suns are out from under Doris' bloated contract, and, let's be frank, Bell wasn't really earning his $5M a year either. And I've got to imagine that Richardson will just be happy to be on a good team and will stop whining. This was the guy that, a few years back, took out a full-page ad in the local paper apologizing to Warriors' fans for not making the playoffs. [Update: Here is a link to the ad with thanks to Stuck in LA]
Does this elevate the Suns past the Lakers? No.
It gets the Suns closer, much closer, though. Maybe this year, they'll be able to get out of the first round of the playoffs.