Tag Archives: Delonte West

Waiting for those pre-season browwnz to clear

Years ago, in what seems now like another lifetime, I was sitting on the steps of my neighbors porch on Thalia Street in New Orleans, eating a plateful of beans and rice, when my neighbor let out a sigh and looked wistfully at some point of nowhere and away, down toward St. Charles. “What’s the matter,” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know … nothin’ really,” she said, and maybe sighed again (she probably did but, remember, this was so long ago that it may never have happened at all). “I just got a case of the browns.”

I got the feeling she wasn’t talking about the beans and rice. “The browns? What are those?”

“They’re kinda like the blues but, no, not so bad as the blues. They’re, you know, just … the browwnz.”

I haven’t found since better words to describe what the browns are than those: “just … the browwnz.”  The browwnz can be difficult to pin down, I do know that. And I’ve also come to know when I’ve got ’em.

I’ve got em now, thanks to an NBA pre-season that has seemed without end, the Bucks not healthy enough to field their starting roster even once.  The Bucks aren’t healthy yet, 27 hours before their season opener in the very place where the browwnz were identified — New Orleans.  And, no, at last check of the clock, the NBA pre-season hasn’t ended.

The Celtics and Heat tip the 2010-11 season off tonight at 6:35 pm, give or take a minute or two (yes, I’m counting the minutes).  I’m expecting Lebron to find KG, Rondo, Ray and #34 just as smart and clutch-and-grab aggressive as they were in dominating last season’s eastern conference playoffs.  For now, KG is healthy. NBA fans should know by now, after three seasons in Boston, that (sorry D-Wade and Bosh, and Dwight) a healthy KG is the most valuable asset in the conference.

It’s also worth noting that the Celtics have Lebron’s second most valuable Cavs asset, Delonte West, coming off the bench behind Ray Allen (Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mr. Cav, being Lebron’s most valuable teammate in Cleveland). The addition of West (loaded guns aside) to play with Ray, Rajon Rondo and Nate “the gnat” Robinson gives the Celtics, hands down, the best guard rotation on the planet.  Inside, KG, Jermaine O’Neal and Shaq are more than Bosh and Big Z (and Anthony) can handle, whether the Heat jell or not.   If this game is an early season sneak preview of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, no complaints here, unless the Bucks fail to give one of these top two in the East some playoff hell.

The Bucks and Hornets get going at 7:05 pm Wednesday. Brandon Jennings vs. Chris Paul, CP3 finally healthy after missing half of last season … that’s plenty of fun to watch in a season opener, and Andrew Bogut seems to be doing fine, though he’s not yet in 35-minute playing shape.   John Salmons will play — but beyond that, most everything else to do with the Bucks is open to question, given that the rotation hasn’t played together in a game.  Hence, the browwnz, and a preseason that has seemed without end.

And I know enough about the browwnz to realize that trying to answer those many Bucks questions now is hubris.

We don’t know how or whether Skiles will be able to manage his wing rotation with Fish, Carlos Delfino, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Corey Maggette all vying for PT. (This just in: Chris Douglas-Roberts is reporting on his twitter that he had eye surgery today and can’t play ball for a month.)

We don’t know whether Maggette can play tough enough D to warrant solid PT.  We don’t know whether Drew Gooden, Luc Mbah a Moute (hobbled by an ankle sprain) or Ersan Ilyasova will start at power forward. We don’t whether or not Keyon Dooling will be as effective as Luke Ridnour was backing up Jennings. We’ll have to wait and see.

We do know that this is the first season in ten years that the Bucks will go into the season without Michael Redd in a Bucks uniform.  Redd’s nowhere to be found in Bucks camp, and likely will not join his team on the bench in street clothes while GM John Hammond searches for a deal to unload Redd and his ridiculously absurd $18.3 million contract.

And knowing this with the tip-off of the Bucks season 27 hours away, I can feel those NBA pre-season browwnz beginning to clear away.

Dog DaZe in Milwaukee summer… The Fish has been landed

Is there a more slumbering time to be a basketball junkie than the dog days of summer, when it’s so dam hot you can’t get a game on without melting the soles of your shoes?   Last year I broke the tedium by posting video of stripper babes dancing in a hot tub at a Las Vegas nightclub (the post had something to do with NBA summer league in Vegas) but that was when The Jinx was still on the Journal Sentinel sports server — my dancing stripper babes in their Vegas hot tub had to come down.

This summer, I’m too swamped with various get-rich-in-the-slowest-way-I-can-possibly-come-up-with-next schemes to even blog about “The Decision,” which I didn’t bother watching because ESPN’s basketball coverage tends to be nauseatingly bad no matter what the subject matter is.

Lebron James as prima donna with Michael Wilbon’s nose in his keester for an hour is excruciating to think about, much less envision as watchable TV programming.   But ESPN couldn’t help itself and neither could Lebron.  One would think a guy who shares a hometown with avant-punk marketing geniuses Devo (“Are We Not Men?”) would know better.  Or maybe being from Akron, Ohio, is like, well, being from Akron. (What was I trying to say here?)

Lebron might have saved himself a lot of criticism (and the world would undoubtedly be a better place today) had he simply taken the story to the better basketball broadcaster, TNT, where he could have taken his knocks from the Round Mound, Kenny the Jet, McHale and Weber like any ballplayer should.  It might even have been interesting.

Two things to be thankful for:

1. Lebron’s not a Chicago Bull, good on many levels for the Bucks (who get a more balanced rivalry) and it’s not all bad for the Bulls, either. They’ll have to gut it out Lebron-less with guys like Rose and Noah who are growing into bigtime stars (and headaches) just fine in their own right. Bogut-Jennings vs. Noah-Rose didn’t need Lebron in the mix to distort their emerging rivalry.

2. Now that he’s playing on Dwyane Wade‘s team, The Nickname “The King” will die the mercy killing it deserves.


Bucks note: A lot of moves by  Bucks GM John Hammond this summer, my favorite one the resigning of guard John Salmons to be Brandon Jennings’ backcourt running mate for the next few years.  Great job by Hammond defining the Bucks needs and the value of Salmons to the team for themselves rather than allowing the market to determine those things.

The Bucks have guaranteed 30-year-old Salmons about $36 million over four years, which is right about what Salmons was worth in light of other starting shooting guard salaries (Ben Gordon’s to name one).

There are plenty of Bucks fans who think four years is far too long-term for a 30-year-old guard, but wait — there’s a fifth year too, which the Bucks can buy out of if Salmons is shot at 35.  Yes, the Bucks wanted The Fish that bad, and they landed him.

Good work by Hammond, enuff said.  I don’t want to think about Corey Maggette just now.  Or Drew Gooden.

And Hammond isn’t finished shaping the 2010-11 roster.  Not yet.


What’s this link? … which I found laying around on the site.

“This is no time to quibble about details.

“Outside of the Milwaukee Bucks’ overpowering run to the 1971 NBA championship, the 4-minute finish Wednesday night was, without question, the greatest stretch in franchise history.  Are you kidding?”

That was Journal Sentinel Bucks columnist Michael Hunt writing at the height of Bucks excitement, just moments after Ersan “Bobby Jones” Ilyasova stunned the Hawks by stealing Game 5 right from under their uninspired noses.

Is he kidding?  Apparently not. Where was the Milwaukee daily newspaper’s Bucks columnist during the Nellie years? …

…. When in 1983 the Marques-and-Sidney Milwaukee Bucks swept the Bird-McHale-Parrish Boston Celtics out of the playoffs.

Sure, Game 5 against the Hawks was thrilling.  But the Bucks didn’t win the series. And they were only playing the Hawks.

Sweeping Larry Bird’s Celtics was the unthinkable impossible.  The 1983 Milwaukee Bucks, to this day one of the best teams in NBA history to not win the title, swept Larry Bird’s Celtics. How quickly we forget.

How it is that the Milwaukee daily sports guy has apparently forgotten Nellie and even been dismissive of the Nellie era lately (this isn’t the only recent bout of Nellie forgetfulness by Hunt) is a mystery, one I don’t have time to solve at the moment.   For now, let’s say that the hangover from the Michael Redd era will be with Bucks fans for a while, and it has many strange side-effects.

I’d better get to work on a few more of those fish tie blogs.

Lebron, Mo and the Cavs look like contenders; plus Damon Jones

Mo blows town for ClevelandOne could argue that the Phoenix Suns, who defeated the Bucks Saturday, may not be title contenders. I wouldn’t, but it could be argued, Shaquille O’Neal’s age being one talking point.  However, if you come across arguments that the Cleveland Cavaliers are not contenders, then you know those sources didn’t watch the 2008 playoffs.

While NBA wags all over the country were ready to hand the 2008 NBA title to Kobe, Pau Gasol and the Lakers, the real battle was taking place in the East as the Celtics wrested a grueling semifinals series from the Cavs in the waning minutes of game seven.  Once Lebron and his Cavs were dispatched, the Pistons and Lakers were a matter of course for the champion Celtics.

This season, the Cavs are healthy, there are no holdouts to deal with and they’ve improved with the addition of Mo Williams‘ instant offense in the August trade with the Bucks (image at left by Jeremy Janneen) and Sonics-Thunder.

Even without the addition of Mo, the Lebrons of 2008 can’t help but improve:  coach Mike Brown has had more time to integrate the new players acquired last February at the trading deadline — Big Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak.

With Mo and rookie power forward J.J. Hickson joining that group, most of Cleveland’s 9-man rotation is new since they played the Spurs for the NBA title in 2007.  The team that Detroit couldn’t beat in the playoffs has been remade.  They are younger and quicker at the guard positions; they are stronger inside with Big Ben; and with Mo and a healthy, more experienced Boobie Gibson, they shoot better than ever.  The only real question is whether the Cavs’ aging big men, Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas can stay healthy into the playoffs.  Currently, backup big man Andy Varejao — who’s name surfaced often over the summer as a guy the Bucks may be interested in — is playing more than Wallace.

I’m not expecting the Bucks to escape from the Q in Cleveland with a win. In fact, coach Skiles should let Michael Redd shoot all night in his home state** and play the deep bench players like Joe Alexander, Dan Gadzuric, Tyrone Lue, Malik Allen and Francisco Elson — save some energy for the home crowd tomorrow night against an injury riddled San Antonio Spurs.  The Spurs without Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker?  It’s a gift, and the Bucks should focus on getting that win.  The early schedule is so tough, the more wins they can cherry pick here and there, the better off they’ll be in January when the schedule eases up, obviously.

**Anybody else wondering why coach Skiles seems in no hurry to get Redd back on the court?

How is Mo doing? So far so good with room to improve.  Through seven games the Cavs are 5-2 and Mo is playing 34 minutes a game, averaging 14 pts and 5 assists.  He and Lebron are doing most of the ballhandling, which is a load off of West – the Cavs best defensive guard – and Gibson, the 3-point gun.  Mo has yet to get his shot going but I’m sure he’d love to turn it on against his old teammates.


Are the Bucks in the Antonio McDyess sweepstakes? No. But before I get to that, McDyess would be a perfect fit on the Bucks roster — a power forward who plays within the game and can stick a fifteen footer a la Scott Williams back in the days of The Big Three. McDyess would very likely be the factor that would launch the Bucks into the playoffs.

According to McDyess’ agent, 19 teams have called about acquiring Antonio, who refused to report to the Denver Nuggets, negotiated a buyout of his contract and was waived yesterday. Once he clears waivers Wednesday, McDyess is a free agent and can sign with anyone but Detroit. The rules say he must wait 30 days before he can resign with the Pistons.

I’m assuming that one of the calls to McDyess’ agent was from Bucks GM John Hammond, simply because Hammond is too thorough to NOT make the call. But if McDyess wouldn’t report to the Nuggets (reportedly because the Nuggets are not a title contender), what chance would the Bucks have? They wouldn’t be able to compete with the Celtics, Cavs, Lakers and Pistons, all of whom are very interested in signing McDyess.

It’s difficult to imagine McDyess abandoning his Pistons teammates of the last four years and jumping to Cleveland or Boston, but stranger things have happened in these self-interested times. I wouldn’t bet on McDyess going anywhere but back to Detroit. NBA fans should keep this in mind when reading the wishful thinking in the Cleveland and Boston media, or watching the any-rumor-for-a story channel, ESPN. 

In this Boston.com story, Sam Cassell, a friend of McDyess’, figures his pal will wait 30 days and return to Detroit, where they’ve missed him in the paint already.


What’s Damon Jones up to? At the tail end of the Cleveland Morning Journal McDyess story linked above (here ’tis again), the MJ tracks down former Cav Damon Jones:

Former Cavs guard Damon Jones, who was traded to Milwaukee in August but never reported, is working out in California under trainer Joe Abunassar. He’s waiting for another shot at the NBA. The Bucks don’t appear over-anxious to give up on his expiring contract, which is why he’s still on their roster. Jones isn’t interested in a buyout.

So what does “Bucks don’t appear over-anxious to give up on his expiring contract” mean?  It means that John Hammond likely views Jones and his $4.5 million contract, which expires at the end of this season, as good to have around when you’ve got to work out a trade. The bigger question is who else on the Bucks roster would Hammond be willing to trade? My speculation is that Bogut and R.J. are safe – and probably Ramon Sessions and the rookies. The rest will likely wait until after some more games are played.

Mo Williams trade brewing (and stalling) with Cleveland and Oklahoma City… Luke Ridnour VIDEO hour

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ quest for backcourt help for Lebron James continues … With Michael Redd apparently unavailable for the time being, Cavs GM Danny Ferry has set his sights on Bucks point guard Mo Williams, first reported Sunday in the News-Herald of Northern Ohio, a Cleveland area daily.

The Cavs want scoring, and that’s our Mo. He was one of the top shooters in the NBA last season, 2nd only to Utah’s Kyle Korver in 2-point jumpshooting with a .508 percentage (Korver, Mo and 2-time MVP Steve Nash were the only players in the NBA above 50%). Mo led the Bucks in three-point shooting (38.5%) and free throw shooting (85.6%), averaging 17.2 pts, 6.3 asts per game.

Yet while Mo was the Bucks best shooter last season, he leaves a lot to be desired as a floor general and playmaker — and he’s terrible defender with a five-year, $43M contract. This doesn’t make him coach Scott Skiles’ kind of point guard. And Cleveland has been knocking.

News-Herald writer Bob Finnan speculated that trade talks may have begun with Cavs point guard Delonte West and two Cavs 2009 expiring contracts — former Bucks Joe Smith and Damon Jones. West, a restricted free agent, is in a contract dispute with Cavs GM Danny Ferry, and has been offered a “take it or leave it” minimum offer — $2.8 million for one year.  A sign and trade deal sending West to the Bucks with a higher salary would break the impasse.

I watched a lot of Cleveland Cavs playoff basketball. West was acquired from Seattle in the three-team Ben Wallace-Larry Hughes trade and had been on the team only two months — yet he had stepped in and was doing yeoman work running the offense with Lebron, playing scrappy defense and hitting key shots. He started all 13 playoff games as the Cavs ousted the Wizards and pushed Pierce, Garnett and Allen to the final minute of game seven.  Mo Williams for Delonte West and Smith, the crafty 33-year-old forward-center with a soft shooting touch, works for me.

But apparently Bucks GM John Hammond and Skiles are not interested in West. Too much like Mo, probably. Enter Oklahoma City (the team that left its name in Seattle), one of the teams that have reportedly been involved in talks with the Cavs r.e. forward-center Anderson Varejao. (The Bucks have also been one of those teams). OK City, as luck would have it, has a corral of point guards that Scott Skiles could like — draft pick Russell Westbrook, last year’s starter Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour, the point guard during the Ray Allen years in Seattle.

After days of speculation centering on Watson and the possibilities for a larger trade involving power forwards Varejao, OKC’s Chris Wilcox and Charlie Villanueva, who do the Bucks reportedly want for Mo Williams?  Luke Ridnour, the third stringer, fallen on hard times since the departures of coach Brian Hill and Ray Allen. With the Sonics last season, West played more minutes per game than Ridnour prior to being traded. The Mo trade would reportedly send Mo to Cleveland, Joe Smith to OK City and Ridnour to Milwaukee. Setting aside for a moment whether or not this deal works within NBA rules …

Luke Ridnour???

That had to hurt. I can understand how Skiles sees a little bit of himself in 27-year-old Ridnour, but

… Luke Ridnour???

And people say Mo is a bad defender … But hold on. This trade is now stalled. Apparently, ESPN league sources say, Cavs GM Ferry is “balking at taking on Williams’ contract. OKC and Milwaukee are ready to do the deal. The trade is not dead, but I’m told as of right now it has stalled.”

At least someone came to their senses. I don’t think, however, that this was ever “the trade.”  The salaries don’t match. [whole bunch of trade $ mumbo jumbo deleted]  Cleveland and Milwaukee are both over the cap, and the Cavs are over the luxury tax threshold.

The Cavs need to find at least $2.3M to send out in order to take on Mo’s contract. This trade could work if the Cavs sawed Delonte West or Damon Jones in two (I’m assuming they would choose Jones) and sent half a player and contract to Milwaukee and half to OK City. Barring that, they could send 1st round draft pick J.J. Hickson, a 6′ 9″ forward to either team, and fill in the other team’s gap with Tarence Kinsey, an athletic 6′ 6″ guard built to play D whom the Cavs signed this month. After all that, the Cavs would still be $200,000 short of being within 15 percent of Mo’s salary. Going deeper to the Cavs bench, guard Billy Thomas or center Lance Allred would cover it.

By now, Danny Ferry is no doubt cursing Larry Harris for paying Mo too much last summer. The Cavs have an $85.5 million payroll, some $13M over the luxury tax limit. Because Cleveland is over limit, the Cavs would have to send a dollar-for-dollar tax to the league based on how much additional payroll Mo’s contract adds. As this deal lays now, the Cavs would pay Mo his salary plus about $1 M to the NBA — a total of $9.3 million. For this privelege, they would give up Smith, a key role player in their front court rotation, and possibly three players including the 1st round draft pick — after pinching pennies with Delonte West.

No wonder Ferry’s balking and the deal is stalled. The price is high. Keep in mind that the Cavs can stand pat and still know that they are a contender for the title. The only team in the East that has proven it can beat Lebron in a playoff series is the Boston Celtics. Would Mo make the difference? Or would a healthy Boobie Gibson serve just as well? Cleveland and Ferry may have picked up the phone to get the ball rolling on this trade, but they’re good enough as a team to risk nothing by waiting to see how the season unfolds.

And Luke Ridnour? Here he is in better times, the 2005 playoffs against Sacramento. This must be the guy that Hammond and Skiles are hoping to acquire: