Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Deng for Maggette trade unlikely / Pacers resemble Blazers of old

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Sam Smith today floated the idea of a Luol Deng for Corey Maggette trade in order to improve the Bulls. The main thrust of Smith's idea is sound: the Bulls have a solid defensive core in place with Big Ben and PJ Brown on the roster, as well as numerous other nice pieces in Kirk Hinrich, Chris Duhon, Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni, but need more of a scoring punch to take them over that hump.
The problem with the idea if I was the Bulls' GM: those knees of Maggette. The last thing you want is to pick up a guy who has had constant injury problems hampering his promising career. Maggette relies on his athleticism to get to the hoop and pick up the trips to the three throw line which score him a large number of his points. Deng is a solid forward who will never be a superstar but had a strong body and will be a constant contributer for years to come -- ala Xavier McDaniel. Thus a trade I wouldn't make if I were the Bulls who seem to be onto a good thing at the moment.
Smith also went on to mention the newest saga with the Indiana Pacers. If you didn't catch it, Stephen Jackson fired a gun in the air in public after he was hit by a car -- apparently in self-defense. The rest of the Pacers have rallied around Jackson in support. Reggie Miller does not agree with this approach. As Reggie said, "You shouldn't stand behind a player that is someone slapping you guys in the face during the middle of training camp being out at a strip club at 3 o'clock in the morning shooting it up like it's the Wild Wild West." I have to say I agree.
Smith compared the Pacers' current situation to the 'Jail Blazers' of old. The similarities are strikingly similar. A team full of talented players with questionable personalities that management is trying to turn a blind eye to in -- the ostrich's head in the sand approach -- which is destined for a disappointing conclusion. You would think that a guy like Jermaine O'Neal, having witnessed the Blazers' problems from the bottom up, would have some solid advice for his teammates to put an end to this sort of behaviour. Well, any sensible person would have thought that the problems had stopped after the biggest brawl in professional sports. But of course that is the opinion of someone living in the real world -- not in the world of seemingly unlimited money and glittering fame which goes to one's head.

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Deng for Maggette? Well, one is an impact player who gets injured, the other is a very solid player who isn't as impactful. Which is the better player? When Maggette is on the court, he makes a bigger difference, but that's when he's on the court. Deng plays most of the time, but he isn't as big of a difference maker when he's on the court.