Load up on Guns

Well, here’s to several more years of the unwatchable East in the NBA. Now that Oden and Durant will be heading to the West, every regular season will be a basketball gauntlet for fringe teams like my Warriors and Carter’s Lakers. As far as I can tell, the worst teams in the conference are Memphis, Sacramento, and Minnesota, and it’s not like those squads are as devoid of talent (assuming they don’t blow things up this summer) as the East doormats. Let’s sort through the fallout for the primary teams involved:

Reason enough to buy League Pass next year. The dream lineup looks like it will be Jarrett Jack, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster or Travis Outlaw (assuming they resign him), LaMarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden. I’m not convinced they’ll be a playoff contender next year because of all the youth, but in a few years they’ll be beastly. As productive as Zach Randolph was this year, they might want to try to deal him for a wing.

Feel the wrath of the Pacific Northwest! Actually, I’m somewhat worried about the long term effects of Durant ending up here. I don’t think Seattle’s management is smart enough to realize that resigning Rashard Lewis would give them a potential offensive dream world; it’s far more likely that they’ll see Durant as a cheaper, younger, eventually better replacement for Lewis. As such, the Sonics won’t be markedly better next season than they are this season, and Ray Allen’s not getting any younger. Then there’s the mess of where Seattle will even be playing in the next few years. I just don’t see this working out as well as it could have otherwise.

The Big Lead and others have touched on the possibility of Durant and his agent forcing a trade, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

A damn shame that they couldn’t get a top two pick, but with two lottery picks (3 and 11) the Hawks can’t be too upset. If I were them, I’d explore the possibility of dealing both picks for a proven commodity and a pick in the 5-9 range. With that, they could still pick up Mike Conley and maybe get a solid power forward.

Obviously not what they wanted. I think they have to trade Gasol for a set of athletic young guys and embrace an identity as a run-and-gun team that doesn’t pick up many wins. I have no idea where this team goes next year, but it probably won’t be good.

Start the Bill Simmons Suicide Watch now. I would feel bad about their fortune, but the possibility of the Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox all being contenders year after year would have been too much to handle for anyone not wearing a backwards green hat. If Ainge doesn’t trade Pierce this summer, then he has absolutely no clue and needs to go. I’d love to see them end up with Yi Jianlian just for the humor of watching drunken New Englanders root for a seven-foot tall Chinese man.

On the bright side, they’ll be terrible again next year, so good luck in the Derrick Rose/Michael Beasley sweepstakes.

Without a top pick to deal, it seems like they’ll have a considerably harder time picking up someone on the level of Jermaine O’Neal or Garnett. That should be good news for the rest of the West and a team like the Warriors that might be looking to pick up KG.

With Lewis likely out of Seattle, MJ and Bickerstaff need to go after him hard. A lineup with Brevin/Felton, Gerald Wallace, Emeka Okafor, Lewis, and whoever they draft (possibly Roy Hibbert, Julian Wright, Spencer Hawes, or Joakim Noah) would be a lot of fun.

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