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Oh wow. Don't we open against them?

A league source confirmed to ESPN.com that the Celtics and Sonics have reached a deal that will send Vin Baker and Shammond Williams to Boston in return for Kenny Anderson, Vitaly Potapenko and Joe Forte. The teams will submit the paperwork to the league in the next few hours. The Celtics will hold a news conference at noon on Tuesday.

Facing the loss of Rodney Rogers, a key free agent, this summer due to luxury tax issues, the Celtics decided to act swiftly to replace Rogers scoring and inside presence. Baker, who had career highs in scoring (21 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg) for the Bucks during the 1997-98 season has struggled since being shipped to the Sonics. Last season Baker averaged 14.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg, but only started 41 games for the Sonics. However, Baker averaged over 19 ppg versus Eastern Conference teams.
 

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Originally posted by HoosyerDaddy55
Interesting. Now who will be their starting point guard? Shammond? What will be their starting lineup? Maybe Walker will move to SF.
C- Battie
PF- Baker
SF- Walker
SG- Pierce
PG- Delk

Looks pretty good.... :eek:
 

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I'm sorry to be the voice of dissent, but I don't think Baker's going to put them over the top. Honestly, I think it's an absolutely horrible deal from Boston's perspective. Probably an ideal example of how not to run a team.

First, this pretty much assures that the Celts are going to be in luxury tax territory for the next four years. They won't even be able to use their exceptions to sign a couple players who might legitimately put them over the top.

Second, wasn't the whole issue of them not offering a decent contract to Rodney Rogers that they were going to be in the luxury tax range? So, as soon as they find out that there is no luxury tax to deal with this year (although there will be next year... which wouldn't have been a problem for signing Rogers, since Anderson would be off the books), instead of signing Rogers, they go out and trade for a guy that will provide a marginal upgrade at twice the price. Yuck.

And I do view Rogers as only a marginal upgrade over Baker. Baker's been woefully out of shape for like 5 years now, and has a reputation as a headcase who literally starts crying when things go bad.

Even if they wanted to take on a big contract, there were probably better guys available. Miami has been shopping Eddie Jones and Brian Grant, and Portland has any number of overpaid big guys who would have brought as much to the table as Baker, but have contracts that don't run until 2083.
 

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it's not a perfect solution for the Celts... but I think it makes them a better team in some respects --

when motivated, (and in shape), Vin Baker was one of the better PF's in the league. he was a 20 and 10 guy about 4 years ago. emphasis, however, is on WAS.

while he's not a force anymore, he is a legitimate inside scoring option. and playing Walker at PF was never a perfect fit. Walker always has been a perimeter player, so it makes more sense to play him at SF.

this does give them a problem at PG now... as Delk and Shammond are not exactly booming with talent for distributing the ball. You can bet they're going to resign Erick Strickland now - even if he's not a pure point either.

but they need someone already familiar with the system, the players, etc.
 

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Apparently the Sonics are in the midst of a huge makeover, and the consumation of the Baker deal may set in motion a series of trades, one of which just may involve the Bulls.

With Kenny Anderson and his ending contract in Seattle, can a trade of Gary Payton be far behind? The Payton trade rumor I've heard most often links the Sonics and Wolves in a deal that among other things could result in Wally Szczerbiak becoming a Sonic. If something like that were to occur then the Sonics might very well look to Chicago to fill their other needs.

Think of it...a sign and trade transaction that sends Lewis to Chicago for Crawford and Fizer would complete the Sonics' makover. Kenny Anderson would run the point for one year and then turn the reigns over to Jamal Crawford. Barry continues to operate out of the SG position. Szczerbiak replaces Lewis at SF and Fizer takes over for Vin Baker at PF. Wally and Rashard's salaries are a wash, Crawford ultimately replaces Payton (and Anderson) at a much lower cost, and Fizer economically takes over for the greatly overpaid Baker.

My guess is that the Sonics might have to accept Brandon from the Wolves as part of the Payton deal. But if Brandon's prognosis is as bad as some have reported, chances are they just might buy out the rest of his contract and move on. Then again, there are many ways to skin a cat. I'll leave the details to the cap guru's.

Rashard Lewis effectively moves Jalen Rose to the Bulls SG position. The Bulls would probably seek a cheap backup for JWill at the point...someone like a Kevin Ollie for one year while Roger Mason develops his PG skills at practice. What else makes this scenario possible? The answer to that is the continued impressive play of Lonny Baxter. What we end up with is a starting lineup of Williams, Rose, Lewis, Chandler and Curry. They'd be backed up by Ollie, Hassell, Robinson, Baxter and Bags. Depending on what it took financially to secure Lewis' services, Krause might still pursue a veteran center using the million dollar exception.

This is all highly speculative, but, IMHO, not beyond the realm of possibility.
 

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HJ,

It is hard to see how Lewis would not be a part of the new look Sonics when he was the guy tagged as leading the charge for the new look Sonics.

Seattle hasn't necessarily been coy in telling GP they have been in rebuilding mode since last season.

To me the move signals that they intend to keep Lewis because of the future cap relief that moving Baker provides.

When Payton gets moved, and I fully believe it is just a matter of time, the Sonics have some decent pieces to work with, assuming they keep Lewis.

pg - ?
sg - Mason
sf - Lewis
pf - radmanovich
c- james/booth
 

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Originally posted by BCH
HJ,

It is hard to see how Lewis would not be a part of the new look Sonics when he was the guy tagged as leading the charge for the new look Sonics.

Seattle hasn't necessarily been coy in telling GP they have been in rebuilding mode since last season.

To me the move signals that they intend to keep Lewis because of the future cap relief that moving Baker provides.

When Payton gets moved, and I fully believe it is just a matter of time, the Sonics have some decent pieces to work with, assuming they keep Lewis.

pg - ?
sg - Mason
sf - Lewis
pf - radmanovich
c- james/booth
I certainly can't disagree with you. However, recent reports suggest the relationship between Lewis and the Sonics is growing more acrimonious by the day. I'd like to refer you to a recent Seattle newspaper article for some insight on the matter.

http://www.tribnet.com/sports/story/1449324p-1567643c.html

As I said before, it's nothing more than speculation at this point. But if negotiations do stall between Seattle and Lewis, who knows? Anything is possible.
 

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Originally posted by HJHJR


I certainly can't disagree with you. However, recent reports suggest the relationship between Lewis and the Sonics is growing more acrimonious by the day. I'd like to refer you to a recent Seattle newspaper article for some insight on the matter.

http://www.tribnet.com/sports/story/1449324p-1567643c.html

As I said before, it's nothing more than speculation at this point. But if negotiations do stall between Seattle and Lewis, who knows? Anything is possible.
I see your point, but I still have to agree with BCH on this one. Notably, that article is from a couple days ago, before the Baker trade was consumated. Thus, all the talk of the Sonics having a spending limit for Lewis beyond which they'll pay the luxury tax seems to now be null and void.

Now, you could be right, but it seems to me that the most likely course of action is for the Sonics to either keep Anderson or trade him for another expiring contract (at a need position?), so that they can sign Lewis.

And anyway, if Lewis truly wants the max, is he worth it? I like him, actually I like him quite a bit... but I don't see him having the passing or defensive skills of a guy like TMac or Kobe (guys who, in my opinion, are worth the max).
 

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The Baker Trade worsened Seattle's Cap Position This Year

Yes, MikeDC, the Baker deal improved Seattle's cap positioned in the future, but for this year, it puts them precariously close to going into luxury tax territory. They added about $1M to this year's payroll with this deal putting them at $46.4M not counting Lewis.

(Boston, on the other hand, dropped $1M, which may keep them out of luxury tax territory this year, possibly saving them $17M-$25M. The deal doesn't look so crazy from that perspective, does it?)

Signing Lewis at $6-$7M almost surely will put the Sonics into luxury tax territory this year, which might cost them an additional $17M-$25M.

See http://www.basketballboards.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=305

Lewis has to be very frustrated because signing James at $4.5M and adding $1M with this Baker deal practically guarantees that he will not get much more than the mid-level exception ($4.5M). He has to be a little peeved given that he re-signed with the Sonics a couple of years back with suggestions that he would be taken care of in his next contract.

Finally, neither we nor Seattle will be paying Lewis the max or anything very close to it. If Seattle signs Lewis to a max or near-max contract, he becomes nearly impossible to trade because of BYC player issues. If we trade Crawford and Fizer for him, the most we could accept back in starting salary would be about $5.8M, which is very, very reasonable for Lewis.

Note that Seattle signing Lewis for this much puts their payroll at $52.2M, while trading for Fizer and Crawford puts it at $51.4M. My best guess right now is that the luxury tax will hit at about $52M, so this trade could save the Sonics $17M-$25M. Makes you think that we might be able to pry a little more from them as well?

(Notice that Crawford and Fizer earn exactly $5.0M combined, exactly the amount the Sonics have offered to Lewis as a starting salary, claiming that they cannot offer him any more without going in luxury tax territory.)

I have been saying all summer that the luxury tax was going to cause teams to do a lot of crazy things, and the Baker trade and Clark renouncement are just the beginning of the craziness. $17M-$25M is a lot of money, especially as owners see their stock portfolios going down the drain.
 

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It made their cap situation worse this season but not the ones following. Paying the Luxury tax one season is much more preferable to knowing you are going to have to pay it for the next 5.

Moving Baker helped Seattle with the overall money involved and they should give Lewis more now than a team with the exception can match.
 

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Yes BCH, but the luxury tax is a near 100 certainty for this year, while it is less certain in future years. Also, with Payton's salary going off the books after this year, the Sonics have never been in danger of being in luxury tax territory in future years, so their luxury tax situation this year will be what most determines what they do with Lewis.

So yes this deal does improve their long-term cap position by a lot, and gives them extra leverage with Lewis. But it also might alienate Lewis, since they won't be able to offer him much more than a $5M starting salary. Lewis is starting to say bad things about Seattle and is starting to poison the well with his comments (complaining about all of the rain, the disloyalty of management). Trading a pouty Lewis who was a bit disappointing this year for two good prospects, one who loves Seattle, might sound like music to their ears. Especially if it gives them a little more breathing room from hitting the luxury tax threshhold this year.
 

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The luxury tax is not official until the July after the season is over, so we know that there is no luxury tax for 2001-2002.

Right now, it looks like the luxury tax is a near certainty for 2002-2003, but we won't know for sure until July 2003. When I said "this season," I was referring to 2002-2003.

Right now, I would guess that there is a better than 50/50 chance of a luxury tax in 2003-2004, although it is far from being a certainty. When I said "next season," I was referring to 2003-2004.

Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Just to chime in here. I think Boston got hosed on this deal. They gave up a solid vet pg in Anderson, a solid pf/c (when healthy) in Vitaly, and an impressive youngster in Joe Forte, all for Vin Baker, who will start crying the moment things don't go right, and Shammond Williams. This trade stinks for Boston IMO and will ultimately make them weaker rather than stronger.
 

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I'd just like to add a little fuel to the fire regarding Lewis. According to ESPN Insider Lewis is on his way to Dallas to meet with Mark Cuban. All Cuban can offer him is the mid level exception like everyone else. Lewis would also have to accept a secondary role behind other established stars like Finley, Nash and Nowitzki. So it seems unlikely he'd sign with the Mavs. Also from today's Insider: "Insider has learned that the Bulls, 76ers, Raptors, Jazz, T-Wolves, and yes, the Knicks, have all inquired about Lewis the last few days." It's being reported that Lewis will accept a three year, $15 million dollar deal to earn his Bird Rights and then sign for max dollars down the road.

Three years and $15 million is probably the same kind of contract they're willing to offer Harpring. Soooooo...

Stay tuned.
 

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Very interesting, HJ. Thanks!

In three years time with the Bulls, Lewis could be the best player for a team on the verge of winning an NBA championship. He probably will be better than Rose by then, and JWill, Chandler, and Curry probably will still not have caught up with him yet.

Contract-wise, that could be a very enviable position for Lewis, which might make Chicago more attractive than being the 3rd or 4th best player on the Mavs. However, he knows that Cuban will give him the max three years from now, but there will be some uncertainty with the Bulls.

Offering Fizer and Crawford for Lewis could make us more attractive to Lewis, since it would allow us to be able to offer Lewis $19.5M over the next three years rather than $15M. Through this sign-and-trade, we could also offer him a 7-year deal for $56M, whereas the most Cuban could offer without a sign-and-trade is 6 years and $34M. Notice that the $56M is not that far from what Lewis would get if he signed for three years with Dallas and then signed for the max for the next 4 years after that.

Also, it is interesting that Houston isn't in the list of interested parties. Signing Lewis without a sign-and-trade would (I think)put them over the luxury threshhold, and I am not sure they are willing to do that before Francis is out of his rookie contract.
 
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