Bill Simmons’ “Almost Famous” tribute, Pt. 2

In Part 2 of Bill Simmons’ “Almost Famous”-is-the-greatest-movie-of-the-decade spiel, he continues to take quotes from the movie and apply them to the 2009 NBA offseason. Here’s one about the Pistons…

47. Please don’t give him any more acid. Thank you.
To Joe Dumars. In the span of 14 months, he hired the wrong coach (Michael Curry), overpaid the wrong bench guys (Kwame Brown and Amir Johnson), traded the wrong star too early (Billups, who would have netted more than just an expiring cap figure near the deadline), extended the wrong star too early (Rip Hamilton), overrated the wrong young guy (Rodney Stuckey, who might not even be a point guard), threw away the wrong season (2008-09, when the East was more wide open than we thought), then made it up to Pistons fans by saying, “I just spent $94 million on two guys who will never make an All-Star team!” Shouldn’t you be worried when your top five guys (Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Hamilton, Stuckey and Prince) are all perimeter guys who don’t rebound, play inside or make other guys better?

I too think that the Pistons overpaid for Gordon and Villanueva, who are certainly good offensive players, but really seem to struggle on the other end of the court. Dumars had the rep for being one of the savviest general managers in the league, but with these signings all the Pistons’ cap space is gone and they don’t have an inside presence.

The funny thing is that Dumars was pretty much bidding against himself for Gordon’s services (the Bulls didn’t even bother to make an offer) and the best Villanueva could have hoped for was a mid-level deal (from Cleveland?). This is one of the more interesting rebuilding projects going.

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The Top 10 Head Scratchers of the 2009 NBA Offseason

The NBA offseason is by no means over, but the lion’s share is behind us, so it’s a good time to take a look back at a few of the…um…let’s say “questionable” decisions of the summer. Here are my Top 10, in no particular order. Feel free to add to the list if I missed something.

1. Trevor Ariza plays spiteful hardball…and loses.
Let’s get this straight — the Lakers offered Ariza the same deal he was getting on the open market, and he refused since the Lakers could have offered more, but didn’t? Um, okay. David Lee (the agent, not the Knicks forward) says that Ariza wanted to go somewhere where he’d be “appreciated.” Lee overestimated the market for his client, and the Lakers quickly moved on to acquire Ron Artest. Now instead of playing for the world champs, Ariza is stuck in Houston on a team that faces a very uncertain future. Lee now says that Ariza turned down a deal worth $9 million more, but still picked Houston. It sounds to me like he’s just trying to save face.

2. Grizzlies acquire Zach Randolph.
Once the Clippers traded for Randolph (and his toxic contract) last season, I thought the bar for NBA general managers had hit a new low thanks to Mike Dunleavy and his wily ways. But Dunleavy proved that he wasn’t the dumbest GM in the league when he convinced the Memphis Grizzlies to take on the final two years Randolph’s contract at the tune of $33.3 million. Remember that $25 million or so of cap space that the Grizzlies were going to have next summer? Yeah, that’s down to about $8 million with this brilliant move. Just when it looked like Chris Wallace was going to rehab his image after the Pau Gasol trade — Marc Gasol panning out, trading for O.J. Mayo — he goes and does this. Sigh.

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