Q: If the Cavs get Amare Stoudemire, and with Dallas having made its huge trade for Caron Butler to now be an equal to the Lakers, don't the Lakers have to trade Andrew Bynum for Chris Bosh? I do not feel that the Lakers can beat Cavs with Stoudemire in a seven-game Finals.
— Alan, Portsmouth, R.I.
A: OK, first take a deep breath. Then exhale.
While Dallas improved with the Butler and Brendan Haywood acquisitions, if only because the erratic contribution of Josh Howard is now gone, I would not overstate that deal.
For the Mavericks, it still comes down to Dirk Nowitzki coming through when needed most and Jason Kidd making the open shots that opponents inevitably will allow.
If you do one of those "who's better" matchups between the Lakers and Mavericks, position by position, the Lakers still have the superior lineup, even when getting down to the sixth-man comparison between Lamar Odom and Jason Terry.
Then there is the issue of why the Raptors would in any way feel compelled to move Bosh for Bynum.
If anything, Toronto can wait until the offseason and then work out the best possible sign-and-trade for Bosh, upping the ante for what it can get in return.
As far as the Lakers looking to match moves by the Cavaliers, I just don't see it. It is one thing if a team in your conference makes a major move and you feel the need to respond. But no matter the Cavaliers' machinations, there still is no guarantee that Cleveland gets past Orlando, Boston and Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
No, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has always been very good about getting his own house in order and not worrying about the moves of others. An upgrade at point guard certainly is one concern, but Bosh over Bynum takes a bit of the physical edge away from the Lakers.
With so much muscle in the West, Bosh teamed with Pau Gasol might not be the best way to go for the Lakers.
In many ways, the Cavaliers are taking the approach of a desperate, got-to-win now team, still in search of that elusive title to placate LeBron.
The Lakers, by contrast, have rewarded Kobe Bryant with ample championships and have always taken more of a long-view approach.
Remember, Bynum is just 22. There still is room for growth there.
And he is a center, a true, Western Conference center. Bosh is not.
Q: Ira, don't you think it's time for Suns owner Robert Sarver to quit impersonating an NBA owner with a bogus front office and sell the team to someone with far better financial assets, who will bring in NBA-lifer executives to run it. He doesn't have the net worth any more to keep the club financially competitive with his bank and real estate company losing net worth day by day while the team supposedly is losing quite a bit of money each year.
— Herman, Phoenix
A: Sarver is not alone in that respect among owners.
Heck, if you take commissioner David Stern at face value, with his well-publicized moaning about $400 million in league losses, no one is thriving in this economy.
Based on the sale of the Bobcats, this is not exactly the best time for any sports owner to be selling. Instead, I would expect Sarver, who seems to maintain a passion for the game, to try to follow the model of teams that have thrived while operating closer to the cap.
With Steve Kerr's contract coming to an end, it will be interesting to see the front-office direction taken by management. Clearly, the Shaquille O'Neal move set the franchise back. Then there were the mixed signals given by the extension offered to an aging Steve Nash.
In many ways, the Suns have become an old young team, anchored by Nash and Grant Hill, but relying to a degree on less-proven talent.
Even the Jason Richardson acquisition was a bit mystifying.
Because of the loyalty shown over the years by Suns fans, starting over might not be the worst of all worlds.
Perhaps if the Knicks realize their prime moves can't be made in a free agency, a sign-and-trade could be worked out to deal Nash to Mike D'Antoni for younger prospects along the lines of a David Lee, Danilo Gallinari or even Jordan Hill.
Right now the Suns are stuck in the middle, and there appears to be no easy way out of that position, no matter the financial state of the owner.
PBT: San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio on Tuesday to get a split in the series.
PBT: The Pacers were too tough for the Knicks, but Miami is a different animal. The clubs face off in the East finals, starting Wednesday night.
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