Blog Entry

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Division

Posted on: July 9, 2011 12:17 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 10:21 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

Talk of losing an entire season is a bit ridiculous to us. There's just way too much at stake. Money, momentum, fan support, money, loyalty, money -- it's just hard to imagine losing any games much less a whole season.

But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise. We continue with the Atlantic Division.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have already started keeping an eye on the future past this core. Their trade of Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green and the Clippers' draft pick were both aimed at the future. In 2012-2013, the Celtics have less than $30 million comitted. But their best shot at a title is now. Losing 2011-2012 ends the Big 3 era in Boston. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen's contracts would expire just as their ability to anchor a championship team also goes the way of the dodo. Losing next season means they wind up with a single championship for all that money invested, all that excitement created. 

On top of that, no city needs the current structure to hold as much as Boston. The ability to outspend the small markets under a flex-cap, using its big market status combined with its superiority as a historical powerhouse are both tied to the current luxury-tax system. Savvy spending, reasonable contracts, creative maneuvers? Does any of that sound like the team whose current core is the product of Kevin McHale pitching his old team a favor?

New Jersey Nets

Mikhail Prokhorov did not get into this business to lose an entire season, the last he has Deron Williams under contract before an extension he hopes to sign him to, and then begin to build a contender under a system which negates every advantage moving his team to Brooklyn provides. But that's the reality that faces the Russian mogul.

Deron Williams is the big key for the Nets. They sent a fortune in the trade for Williams, with the understanding they would convince him of their grand vision and build around him on his next contract. It was a gamble. But they need the 2011-2012 season to convince Williams that the plan works, that the vision is in place, that they can succeed as the team Williams wants to commit to. Without the 11-12 season, Williams will end up entering free agency with his only time as a Net filled with failure. He may wind up with more wins with his team in Turkey than he won with New Jersey.

From there, Prokhorov would actually be better suited to a system that allows for overspending. If small market teams succeed under the new CBA, his advantage is leveraged. And in such a scenario, New York's power would be amplified within the market. If you're getting paid the same amount regardless, going to the team with the most cache is the best idea.

New York Knicks

Speaking of the Knicks, they have quite a bit to lose in this scenario. A harsher cap drives up the likelihood they won't be able to build effectively around Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, if at all. They're already struggling to fill in the gaps (as Donnie Walsh put it in his conference call after stepping down), with a lower spending ceiling that job only gets more difficult. Dolan has failed to succeed when he's broken the bank open. What happens when he can't spend his way out of a problem?

Bigger than that, however, are the risks of the actua lockout. Amar'e Stoudemire is an injury risk. Despite the fact that he's had no problems since microfracture surgery five years ago, scouts and execs are still hesitant about him. Stoudemire is talking about heading to Israel to play during the lockout. Any uninsured play could wind up wiping out time for Stoudemire which devastates the Knicks' prospects for contention. They need to have the stars available so build around, and another year to see what direction they need to go to build a complete team. Losing the season is a disaster. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Hey, look! They could spend a whole year thinking more about whether to trade Andre Iguodala! They haven't really done enough of that so far.

The lockout could actually help the Sixers on two fronts. First, their attendance was terrible again last season despite making the playoffs. They need the kind of financial overhaul the lockout aims to create. Second, losing the 2011-2012 season means they lose out on a year where they are on the books to pay Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Andres Nocioni (remember him?) over $37 million next season. They can probably do without that with a fanbase that still hasn't bought in.

Elton Brand has an early termination option for 2012-2013, but he is unlikely to exercise it. Instead, the Sixers will be hoping for the amnesty clause to allow them out from under that final year of Brand's contract.

If any team could use all of the ramifications of the lockout, it's the Sixers, big market or not.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors won't be winning the title any time soon. Their huge contracts won't be moving off the books any time soon. Their fanbase is still angry over giving Andrea Bargnani his extension and the damage done by Chris Bosh's departure.

So pretty much the Raptors are fine with however the lockout works out. Lose the season, they get Jose Calderon into a contract year, and have more time to come up with inventive ways to ditch Andrea Bargnani, plus Jonas Valanciunas is available to come over from Europe. A new salary cap may mitigate the uphill climb they face with their market and location.

They're pretty much fine with however this shakes out.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: July 10, 2011 3:17 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Divsion

I do think the Raptors are ready to part with Bargnani. He has not shown the similarities to Dirk that many had hoped and you can't fall back on him being a kid anymore. He is what- a four or five year veteran? Toronto has tried to make him a key component for years now: he will hit a few spectacular shots but overall his game has been a bust. If they had taken Aldridge instead, their recent history may have unfolded differently. Bosh was right on that one.

Dirk and Gasol are not exceptional athletes or rebounders but they do get it done. Bargnani just doesn't seem to have what it takes to play a well rounded game. He doesn't rebound, defend and rarely runs the court. Don't let the occasional flashy shot fool you: Bargnani should be a lot better than he is; but for whatever reason he isn't. A seven footer could and should be pulling down 7 RPG just by moving their feet and blocking out.  Time for a fresh start.

AS for the Raptors I think a coach that will demand tough D will help. But another high draft pick next year and getting Calderon/ Bargnani off the books or traded are the next steps to rebuilding.

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: July 10, 2011 2:31 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Divsion

Adding on to that idea . . . I've always said that cutting the NBA season 25% or so, down to 60 games or less, would make the regular season far more interesting. It would never happen long-term since that would be fiscally insane for the NBA to shorten the season, but from a basketball standpoint it'd improve the games on the floor. And ideally it'd still be a long-ish season, just fewer games per week, perhaps 2-3 per team. Still . . . Maybe we'll get to see a glimpse of this better basketball fantasy? Each game would matter, and the teams would be physically able to go hard for 48 minutes. 82 games plus playoffs is a heavy grind even for these remarkable athletes. A shortened season would mean veteran teams like the Celtics and Dallas and SanAntonio would have a better shot. regular NBA season sucks anyway: Go Lockout!

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:19 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Divsion


you nailed this, im actually rooting for a lockout shortened or canceled season

because if the season is cut in half we get the celtic big 3 dominant as always in the begining of the season excpet because the season is shortened that will transition nicely into the playoffs


the season goes and passes with no games, the big 3 retire together the celtics then have nearly 80 million in sallerys to throw at the FA market to rebuild

either way


Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:59 am

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Divsion

Most teams would give anything to have "one championship" as the Celts had with this core group ... just look at Dallas.   That said, the Celts very well could have had two with this group, save for some criminal refs in game 7 in 2009.    Either way, they have been competitive and came through with a title ... so it's all good.   As for McHale doing the Celts a favor ... you sound like an idiot.   McHale was involved with the Garnett trade in which the T-Wolves got a boatload of talent back, including Al Jefferson who was a STUD and actually outperformed Garnett until he got injured ... so GET REAL and get your facts straight.   If Garnett wanted out, McHale did as good a job for Minn as you could expect.   Ray Allen came from Seattle, so McHale had nothing to do with that ... he was traded for Greene who was our first round pick at the time.   BTW ... if any team needs this structure more, it's the Lakers .. look at all that money tied up in longer contracts  .. the Celts structured their contracts very well, with or without this structure, allowing the Celts to rebuild over-night if they want to with the amount of $$$ coming off the books after next season.   ARTICLE = FAIL ... do you homework next time buddy 

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: July 10, 2011 9:28 am

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Divsion

There is never any good commentary about the Toronto Raptors..These writers seem to forget is one of the biggest media markets in North America, they do well attendance wise win or lose as well.

The writer's & gossipers always seem to think Toronton want's to part with Andrei Bargani..why? Managment hasn't said this.When your a losing club, your willing to do anything , to make any deal that makes sense and improves your club.In saying that, I don't think he's on the trade block.He has a skill set not matched by many in the NBA and all Toronto needs to do is get a legitimate center to grab some boards.Andrei will never be a great defender or a great rebounder...It's no different than a Gasol or Nowitzki, you need to surround him with some guys who can bang down low.I love having a 7 footer who can take it to the net, hit a mid range to medium shot + the three..

I don't think any team would say "They're pretty much fine with however this shakes out." just because they happen to not be a playoff contender, a whole season lost is a whole season less that you have to promote the game, promote your franchise...Toronto was basketball crazy before The Raptors came to town, but the game has spread across the whole country, personally I don't want to see that has a good momentum , and we don't want to lose it.

Not even a mention of Demar Derozan?

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:43 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Divsion

Kind of a lazy analysis when it comes to my Raptors there Mr Moore.

Not sure what you were implying about the "uphill climb" they face because of their market and location? Toronto is actually one of the biggest markets in the NBA and has an entire country behind the team basically. Plus these days the Canadian dollar is trading better than the U.S. - so it's not like that's an issue anymore.

The Raps would also actually be way better off having the season play out simply because they suck so bad. Next year's draft is set to include some of the best talent we've seen in years, and the Raptors are almost certain to lose enough games to virtually guarantee themselves a top-3 pick.

If there's no season I don't know how that will play out (30 team lottery?) but any way you slice it doesn't seem to benefit the Raptors since they are likely to be even worse next season than they were last...

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