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10 Hours to Midnight

Citizen John R has started his own little countdown.  At midnight EST, it becomes December 15th at NBA HQ in Secaucas, and Sam Cassell is eligible to be included in a trade.  Is that why he didn't play last night?  Is that why there's been no news on the Iverson situation, league-wide?

Billy King isn't taking calls from reporters.  It's not even clear if he's taking calls from other GMs at this point, perhaps believing that a deal will get worked out on its own.  I don't think he's taking calls from his mother.  He's definitely NOT taking his meds.

With the information well drying up, there's very little Iverson news today.

Art Thompson III of the OC Register provides his Iverson-Clippers recap, albeit with stale and sometimes illogical information.  For instance, he points out that if Mobley were packaged with Maggette in the deal

that would leave the Clippers with three guards - Livingston, Cassell and Iverson - none of whom is a catch-and-shoot player but who all need to handle the ball to make plays. Contractually, the deal would work but it would leave the Clippers bare at the shooting guard position.

"Let's see, if I trade two shooting guards for a point guard, then I'd have 3 point guards and no shooting guards.  Hmm.  That's a pickle."  If neither Thompson nor anyone in the Clippers front office has figured out that trading Sam instead of Cat would solve this particular brain-teaser, then they really need to start reading ClipsNation, cuz I'll make it easy for them.  Oh, and by the way, they should stay away from websudoku.com.

Scanning the other papers, David Aldridge's piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer is the only one that's even worth passing along.  According to his source, Aldridge says that (a) the Nuggets are proposing a three team deal, bringing Jamal Magloire of the Blazers into the equation in exchange for Nene and (b) the Warriors are out of the running.

If these things are true, they are significant, and I'll tell you why.  As of yesterday, the Warriors had supposedly offered Baron Davis and Andris Biedrins.  I said at the time, if the Sixers were looking for basketball players in return for Iverson as opposed to salary cap relief, they should take Golden State's offer.  As for the Denver deal, swapping Nene for Magloire and then shipping Magloire and Joe Smith to Philly for Iverson gives them $15M in expiring contracts.  Aldridge:

Magloire and Smith would give Sixers general manager Billy King what he wants: contracts in their last season.

So, if Aldridge's source is right, it tells us unequivocally that Billy King is looking for salary relief almost exclusively.  I'm sure he'd take draft picks also, and Denver has an extra one of those to offer.  

If the Clippers are paying attention, they can act on this.  First of all, they can try to explain to King that the Clippers current offer (Maggette, Cassell, Rebraca, first round pick) is actually better than contracts in their final season.  With $22M on the books for Webber next season, it is unimaginable that the Sixers could actually get below the cap before the summer of 08.  Taking Magloire and Smith gives them nothing from a basketball standpoint, and the money coming off the books in summer 2007 is only that: money.  It's not flexibility, which is what really matters.  (I mean, maybe this is all about saving $18M on a billion dollar investment, but I doubt it.)  How bad would the 2007-2008 Sixers be, with NOTHING from an Iverson trade, and Webber a year older (he'd be 34, his knees would be 106)?  They'd better win the Oden Lottery at that point.

Taking Maggette and Cassell, as opposed to Magloire and Smith, gives them two guys capable of starting in Philly for the rest of this season and next season.  Maggette is perhaps a little redundant, but the Iverson-less Sixers have had a horrible time scoring, and Maggette can score, which Iquodala has never done consistently.  In summer 2008, Cassell comes off the books, and Maggette will probably opt out of his contract to go somewhere else, so he'll probably be gone too.

If the above doesn't make sense to King (and who knows if he's capable of rational thought at this point), the Clippers can always try to do what Denver is doing.  Pull a third team into the trade in order to send more expiring contracts to Philly.  Would Memphis take Maggette and Cassell for Eddie Jones?  Would Portland take Maggette for Magloire?  I can't really see Portland taking Nene.  Denver gave the guy a $60M contract, and he's never done a THING in the NBA.  It's one thing to be saddled with your own mistake when paying for potential.  But how stupid would Portland look if they traded for him AFTER THE BIG DEAL WAS SIGNED and he never panned out?  GM's get fired for that kind of thing.  Not Isiah, but some.

At this point, I've been through every expiring contract in the league looking for trade partners for the Clippers, and I have a few other observations.  

  • Why isn't Milwaukee getting involved?  The Bucks could acquire Iverson straight up for Ruben Patterson, Brian Skinner and Steve Blake, all with expiring deals.  If Philly ONLY wants salary relief, don't you have to pursue that deal?  I mean, I know AI may not be a big hit with Wisconsin fans, but doesn't Mo Williams, Iverson, Redd, Villanueva and Bogut look like the best starting team in the Eastern Conference?
  • Grant Hill and Jameer Nelson for Iverson still makes a lot of sense.
  • Bill Simmons touched on it yesterday, but it bears repeating:  Isiah Thomas waived TWO GUYS with expiring contracts within 5 weeks of the start of the season!  Mo Taylor's $9.7M and Jalen Rose's $17M (!) weren't just contracts, they were bargaining chips in today's NBA.  And why did he waive them?  To make room on the roster for Mardy Collins?  To sign Kelvin Cato?  Here's the most unfathomable part: they're only carrying 14 contracts!  They have a spot open.  So basically, Isiah waived Rose because he's a good guy and he wanted Jalen to have a chance to play this year.  Makes sense.
  •  

Oh, now I'm all worked up about Isiah!  I'm going to have to do a whole different post on this.