By now, everyone and their great-grandmother has heard of this rumored deal. While the pieces are being altered or fought or whatever, it seems like the Jazz would be giving up Andrei Kirilenko (and draft picks?) for Boris Diaw.
Everyone and their aforementioned great-grandmother seems to hate this deal. My thoughts on this can be found on my twitter feed for the past day pretty much. That said, there must be some positives to the deal, right? Otherwise the Jazz wouldn't even think about accepting it. So what are these positives that all the fans seem to be glossing over?
Oh, and the "AK has a bloated contract" and the "AK cries when he doesn't get playing time" BS needs to stop. This bloated contract expires at the end of the season, and would be a huge trade-chip if the Jazz were to keep him around; either for future picks or for a more productive player with too much money on his contract. Three years ago, yeah that was a reason to deal him. Now? Not so much. ... As for the crying, its been a couple of seasons. Get over it. Both sides have moved on; hating him for that is just pathetic.
Enough about AK though... this post is about Boris Diaw. Mostly.
(Obviously, this deal hasn't happened yet... but just in case, we should know what we're looking at.)
1- Carmelo Anthony will no longer be in the Northwest Division
Lets be honest. Carmelo Anthony scares us. Just remember the playoffs last year, when he got to the line 75 times/game against the Jazz. We struggle stopping him. By helping in sending him out of the Northwest, the Jazz guarantee that he won't be competing against them for the much-wanted division title. In return, they'll get a top-3 rookie in Derrick Favors and Andrei Kirilenko... who is perfectly capable of stopping himself. And since the Jazz often rely on shooting unnecessary jumpers, they don't even have to worry about AK blocking their lay-ups. Huge win right there!
2- Carmelo Anthony will no longer be in the Western Conference
Even better! He won't even be competing with the Jazz for a playoff spot. And since we can't stop him, that's all wonderful. And if you are going to foul him like mad, its better at only 2 games/season instead of 4 games/season as it has been since he entered the league. Lets be honest, what scares you more? Competing against a Carmelo Anthony-"led" team, knowing full well that he can score at will (until his constant pushing-off gets him 6 fouls), or competing against a team featuring Andrei Kirilenko, knowing full well that he can...
block shots er... launch ugly jumpers? Not even close. Fear the 'Melo.
3- Boris Diaw is cheaper this year
I don't know why the Jazz decided this was the year to get under the luxury tax... they obviously didn't mind it last year despite everyone knowing the Jazz didn't have a good shot at competing for the title. But they've decided that. So they're shipping out AK's "bloated" deal (with 1 year left on it) for Boris'. Boris' deal has the same money on it, I think... but at twice the number of years. Therefore, using simple math I learned in 3rd grade (and have since forgotten), he costs half as much money this year! That's 50%! Even Geico can only save you 15%. See that? The Jazz are more efficient than Geico! Plus, I'm sure the Jazz Bear eats geckos for lunch. And now the Jazz can start the money they saved at SF. Supposedly, money is an offensive threat. And he can get in the head (not literally) of opponents, which could cause an internal war between players on the other team.
4- Denver might be rebuilding
I highly doubt the Nuggets plan on making AK part of their future. With 'Melo gone, rebuilding could be under way. And now they'll have a couple of huge contracts (AK, Billups) to deal, with Derrick Favors and Ty Lawson leading the youth movement. And Al Harrington, but I don't know quite where he fits in right now. Given that they've been competing with the Jazz for the division title for the last couple of years, it can't hurt much to see them decide its time to go the way of the Thunder or the Blazers or the... wait. That is bad. Well, maybe this youth movement will fail. And even if not, trading AK & Billups this season will probably take them out of the division title hunt, at least for this season. The road gets a bit easier for the Jazz?
5- Gordon Hayward, Superstar
This is obvious. The reason you trade a 3/4 in Kirilenko for a 4/5 in Diaw is because you have a superstar 3 on hand. Raja Bell is a 2-guard. CJ Miles is good, but he isn't a superstar (yet?). That leaves the one and only Gordon Hayward, Superstar. Sure, he's only a rookie. Sure, Sloan hates playing rookies. But this guy... he's amazing. He's going to make you wonder why he didn't go #1 overall, especially after the Wizards traded for Kirk Hinrich and didn't move Gilbert Arenas. He's like a combination of Kirilenko, Carmelo Anthony and LBJ... minus the stupidity involved with the ESPN show. He crab dribbles with the best of them. His 3-point shooting will remind you of Ray Allen (when he's on fire). His post presence, both offensively and defensively, will have you wondering why he didn't come out last year. And best of all... Gordon Hayward, Superstar is ready for the limelight. He's going to be a starter before you know it, and will carry this team to unforeseen heights. And until he starts, he'll be in line for 6th Man of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards. Yeah, he'll be a better 6th man than Manu. Gordon Hayward, Superstar. Are you ready to witness the evolution of AWESOME!?
6- It kinda worked for the Suns
Remember way back when, when the Suns had a big (Shaq), another big (Amar'e) and then like Nash, Diaw & Bell? They used to run with the wind, play Seven Seconds or Less basketball, and won 31 championships in 2 years. Yeah, we're rebuilding that. We have our bigs (AlJeff, 'Sap). We have Deron instead of Nash. That left us with 2 holes, which will now be filled with Bell & Diaw... veterans of the old system. With Bell, Deron, CJ, Hayward, Ronnie P, Earl Watson/Sunny D and Okur (when healthy) there to launch jumpers, the Jazz needed one more guy. AK isn't as good of a jump shooter, and gets too many rebounds. Rebounds will be unnecessary when our team is shooting 80% from downtown. So they added another jump-shooter. Play SSoL ball, the Jazz will be on target to score 140 points/game this season. And who cares about defense?
7- We get something for Kirilenko
Partake in this exercise with me. Lean back in your chair, and dream ahead to mid-season. Where do you see the Jazz? Correct answer is "in the playoff hunt, but struggling with the Lakers". Realizing they can't win it all, they turn to AK... only to hear from his agent that AK might not return after the season. Panicked, the Jazz start looking to deal. You can't let him go for nothing. That would be devastating. Unfortunately, they can't find anyone willing to trade for AK or his expiring contract. In the end, AK is dealt to the Nets for Keith Van Horn's jersey and Jordan Farmar. The uproar is huge amongst Jazz fans... they'd have preferred Brook Lopez's jersey (well, at least the non-Utes fans amongst the crowd). Come back to reality now. The Jazz brass is afraid of this, so they're taking the best offer they can find right now. Getting an actual semi-useful player, plus kicking Carmelo out of the division? Its almost a win-win... the only way it would be better is if they could get the Lakers involved to ship Odom to Toronto, Kobe to Greece and Gasol to Detroit.
8- Jeremy Evans love
This guy is our AK replacement. He's a skinny PF that can block shots. What more do you need? Moving AK means Evans will get some time. And since Evans is a 2nd rounder, he's more likely to get playing time. See Collins, Jarron. Or Millsap, Paul. And compare to Almond, Morris. And Maynor, Eric. Like Gordon Hayward, Superstar, Evans is ready to step in and contribute immediately. 15 MPG, 4 BPG... that's just the start for the kid. Before long, he'll have us wondering why we were so against trading AK. Just like we feel about Maynor whenever Ronnie Price gets extended minutes at PG. Or Ronnie Brewer whenever CJ Miles is on his "shoot without getting set" streak. Or Curtis Borchardt/Kris Humphries/Tom Gugliotta/Ben Hadlogten whenever Greg Ostertag saw time.
9- Its all about the rotations guys... the rotations!
Between CJ, Hayward, Evans and Bell (plus Ronnie P or Deron or Earl Watson whenever Sloan feels like it), the Jazz are set at the wings. There's no time for AK to play anyways. I mean, do you seriously think he'd get time over the rookies and an oft-doghouse'd CJ? (Don't answer that.) On the other hand, our big man rotation is currently AlJeff and 'Sap. Okur may or may not be ready for the season. I think those are the only 2 options for him. Kyrylo Fesenko is currently MIA. He might be looking at backing up Yao Ming, because he'd probably actually see the court then. And there's Francisco Elson. No offense to him, but if he's seeing 30 minutes/game, there could be issues. And obviously the Jazz don't see AK as a 4. Boris Diaw fixes all that. At 6'8, he fits in perfectly as a C/PF behind AlJeff (6'10) and alongside 'Sap (also 6'8). He's amazing at either position (provided you ignore most of this), and will help create mismatches as a jump-shooting big. The Jazz haven't had that since... well, early in the series against Denver last year. And can you imagine a line-up of Ronnie P/Earl Watson- Deron- CJ- Evans- Diaw? It would be a complete disaster! ... For the other team, I mean. Yeah. For the other team. Like David Locke tweeted, a scout has said that Diaw is a reasonable big if your first 3 are solid. Our 1st 3 are solid, if healthy. So Diaw will get his 5 minutes of fame as a reasonable big behind our triumphant trio.
Diaw was once traded (as a "future pick" 2 years before he was drafted) for Jamaal Tinsley. He's been traded with Rajon Rondo & Robin Lopez (both as "future picks")... for Joe Johnson. He's been traded with Bell (and more) for Jason Richardson (and more). He might be traded for Andrei Kirilenko, in a deal involving Carmelo Anthony and Devin Harris. In other words, the Jazz could find themselves with a high volume shooter at some point before his contract expires, which is exactly what the Jazz are lacking in their quest to adopt the SSoL offense. What does Kirilenko have? He might be traded for Boris Diaw. Where's the glamor in that?
11- The NBA is a family friendly sport... well, except for the insane cost of everything
AK-47. Really. How family friendly is that? And the one free pass? And Halloween parties? Boris Diaw... well, no one in Utah knows who Boris Diaw is. But he's French. There has to be some joke there. And his nickname is 3D. You know what else is going to 3D? Disney movies. And what's more family friendly than Disney movies?
So, as you can tell... Boris Diaw could do more good for the Jazz than people seem to be willing to give him credit for. I understand the love for AK, but trading him (and future picks!) for Boris Diaw isn't the end of the world. Its not even the end of the Deron era here. There are plenty of reasons to not be a fan of this deal. For example... AK > Boris. Oh, and the deal seems to be financially motivated. But that's no fault of Boris'. He didn't demand a trade to the Jazz. He's been on the market for a while (see the Jose Calderon/Boris Diaw talks earlier this summer) and the Jazz supposedly have had interest in him before. This is their chance to bite.
(This post was supposed to be serious. Then I started, and realized I don't know how to do serious. So its not so much of that anymore.)