FanDuel - WFBC

October 20, 2003

We've Taken Antoine Walker and Improved Him:
The Celtics traded away Antoine Walker and Tony Delk for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills and a 2004 first-round draft choice that promises to be waaay up on the draft board. So they moved Antoine Walker for a paler version with a larger and longer contract. This is the fiscal sanity Danny Ainge brings us? Please Maverick fans, tell me why this works for the Celtics.

posted by yerfatma to basketball at 09:07 AM - 39 comments

Jiri Welsch background.

posted by yerfatma at 09:11 AM on October 20

Other than trying to lower the Kentucky quotient and officially giving the keys to Pierce, I see no benefit for the Celtics. Although my blood pressure will benefit since Walker will now be launching half court threes while wearing another team's jersey.

posted by usfbull at 09:27 AM on October 20

I don't follow basketball as closely as I do the Red Sox, but didn't Ainge have it in from Walker from the start?

posted by jerseygirl at 09:46 AM on October 20

Actually, if I'm a Dallas fan, I'm wondering where the hell Antoine plays. Nash, Walker, Jamison, Finley, with Dirk playing... Center? I'm so confused.

posted by Bryant at 09:47 AM on October 20

This hurts the Celtics immediately - and LaFrentz is a total stiff- but Welsch seems to have some serious potential, despite being alredy traded a few times. Walker on Dallas though? C'mon guys, there's only one ball. And he plays the same position as Nowitzki? WTF? So Welsch is going to play the point in Boston? They were thin already at PG and then packaged Delk in the deal. From contender to pretender as far as I'm concerned. Still can't believe Cuban managed to ditch LaFrentz's contract.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:52 AM on October 20

Wow. That was unexpected. I'm not sure I like it a whole lot from the Mavs point of view either though. It's not what we needed. We need a big man. And as usfbull pointed out, Welker's shot selection can be really sketchy. That said, I'm glad to dump Raef's contract. Welsh and Mills are pretty much non-issues. Delk will be nice if something happens to Nash or Best (or Finley, for that matter). We'll see how it works out though (one week from tomorrow!) On Preview: Bryant, the article I read on ESPN (sorry, already closed that tab or I'd link it) said that he'll share time with Jamison and Dirk. Or maybe they'll wind up trading one of them before mid-season for a big man. Trading Jamison or Walker would be a lot easier than LaFrentz.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:00 AM on October 20

Still can't believe Cuban managed to ditch LaFrentz's contract. That's the real stunner to me. Maybe the trade would be defensible if LaFrentz had a year left. So much for freeing up cap space. didn't Ainge have it in from Walker from the start? Seems like. So did every old-time Celtics fan I ever spoke to. I wound up being 'Toine's apologist in those conversations: kid's 19, has the expectations of a lottery pick on the worst team in basketball and he's the immediate (and only) scoring option. If he developed bad habits, he had some encouragement.

posted by yerfatma at 10:02 AM on October 20

So is this like picking up another Vin Baker contract for the Celtics?

posted by jerseygirl at 10:07 AM on October 20

As a Mavs fan, I'm boggled by this deal but deeply gratified that Raef LaFrentz has been taken off their hands. If that guy ever came through in a clutch game in the playoffs, I must've missed it.

posted by rcade at 10:23 AM on October 20

Jgirl puts it all into perspective - LaFrentz and Baker together on the floor... And behold the seventh sign... Oh well - at least y'all have the Bruins (snicker). It's the karma police back from rounding up all them extra-nice priests.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:26 AM on October 20

It's the karma police Perhaps you missed the events of last week. We should be able to exceed karmic speed limits for years.

posted by yerfatma at 10:32 AM on October 20

The Mavericks hopefully have something else up their sleeve. Adding Antoine Walker to this team is not an improvement. The only way I can justify it if it was purely for salary cap reasons. In LaFrentz's defense, I think he would be a good fit as an Eastern conference center. He got a bad rep in Dallas as a hack, but I think that was just the end result of bad perimeter defenders. Opposing players would beat their man, he would get funneled to Raef, and Raef would commit the foul. Currently, the Mavs lineup looks something like this: PG: Nash / Best / Delk SG: Finley / Howard / Abdul-Wahed SF: Jameson / Najera PF: Nowitzki / Walker C: Fortson / Bradley The center spot was our weakest link, so why did Dallas just try to upgrade it's most dominant position? No clue. Hopefully, there is something else in the works.

posted by jmevius at 10:45 AM on October 20

The more it's sinking in the more I'm convincing myself that this is just a step towards building a more attractive trading package to get a real center here. Putting up Walker and Travis Best, or Jamison and Delk gives you much more clout than Raef or Bradley and a couple of other guys. We're stuck with Shawn Bradley as the only true centere here. That isn't going to last. That said, if Ainge wanted to get rid of Walker so badly, he likely could have done much better than what he got from Cuban.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:47 AM on October 20

We should be able to exceed karmic speed limits for years. Obviously not. The ball-kicking continues, unabated.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:00 AM on October 20

I'm not so sure of that ufez, Walker's stock has taken a hit the past two years because of his inability to lead the Celts past NJ. Pierce never got any flack because he ate Kittles and Jefferson alive. Meanwhile 'Toine could never figure out KMart. Ainge is still a blithering idiot. He better pray to god that LaFretz pans out, that Welsch becomes a viable starting PG or his tenure as GM will be short lived.

posted by lilnemo at 11:03 AM on October 20

Y'know, Fortson and Walker played together once before. It did not so much work out so well. jmevius -- LaFrentz would need to do the same thing here. The Boston defensive scheme relies on a guy in the middle playing stopper. So he might run into the same problem. Ainge was pretty clearly not so fond of Walker. Which is a pity; Walker had so much potential... Crap. Now I'm depressed again. I'm going to miss the brilliant side of his game.

posted by Bryant at 11:06 AM on October 20

jerseygirl, the LaFrentz contract is worse. Bakers ends in '06, Raef's has a player option for '08. Meaning Boston is stuck with Raef possibly thru '09, unless they can trade him. Either way, both were back loaded max deals I believe. So the Celts are on the tab for the bulk of their salaries.

posted by lilnemo at 11:07 AM on October 20

So is this like picking up another Vin Baker contract for the Celtics? Ummm...yes and no. Financially, it seems like it's the same thing, and certainly doesn't look like a genius first move for Ainge. However, LaFrentz is a far better player than he gets credit for -- certainly not as valuable as his contract would suggest, but better than the fans seem to think. You know Ainge wants to bring back the old-school Celtic style and the fearless, take-it-to-the-hole Pierce fits that while the waggling Walker doesn't. Raef also fits that, though I don't know if that style will work in today's game. I think Weedy gets to the crux of it, which is what the hell will the C's do at point guard? Ainge must be really high on Welsch, or really got the wool pulled over on him.

posted by smithers at 11:08 AM on October 20

Oddly, I'm not so worried about the PG spot. Mike James has been very good in preseason play; Jiri Welsch could turn out to be a steal; and Marcus Banks is really incredibly fast. Seriously, you wouldn't believe how fast he is. We're OK there, as long as we don't mind a little development time. But man, that's a lot of salary.

posted by Bryant at 11:15 AM on October 20

This trade is terrible for the Celtics. Walker has a low shooting percentage yes, but he is a brilliant player in other parts of the game. And I'm buying NBA league pass to watch this Mavs team. Nash, Finley, Jamison, Walker, and Dirk ... on the court together? Those five guys are really talented basketball players. Passing, dribbling, and shooting, this has to be far and away the NBA's most talented team. Wow!

posted by Mike McD at 11:17 AM on October 20

Ainge saw a 7 foot white boy and somehow mistook him for Kevin McHale. Ainge is going to be disappointed when he realizes Raef lacks the skills his old teammate did. Next you'll see Ainge trade for Keith Van Horn thinking he's Larry Bird, he already thinks Vin Baker is Robert Parrish, too bad Bobby Hurley retired, he could have picked him up thinking he was picking up Danny Ainge. Then all he'd need is an ugly point guard who lacks the skills of DJ and he'd be all set.

posted by jbou at 11:34 AM on October 20

As bad as 'Toine could be on the court, he was, as the Sports Guy put it "The Heart and Soul of the C's". Pierce may be the unrivaled star, but 'Toine was the outspoken leader in the huddle. Ainge is taking quite a gamble with the team's chemistry here. He has all but wiped away Pitino's mistakes, but in doing so he may have made a few of his own. Dallas has enhanced their trade prospect standing and little else. In looking at last years roster and this years, I prefer last years. They have taken a step back. They may have more "skilled" players, but the pieces don't match up as well. Cuban better have one hell of a trade up his ass to show for the results of the last two. As in a big man.

posted by lilnemo at 11:38 AM on October 20

If Nelson plays Nowitzki at C and Walker at PF, is he not going to have a team that scores 110-120 points a night? If he does, there aren't more than a handful of teams that can match that type of scoring even against the worst defense. Perhaps he swings a deal down at the trade deadline for a top-line C but right now, I could see them just trying to shoot the lights out on anyone else.

posted by therev at 12:47 PM on October 20

If Nelson plays Nowitzki at C and Walker at PF, is he not going to have a team that scores 110-120 points a night? If he does, there aren't more than a handful of teams that can match that type of scoring even against the worst defense. Yeah, but that isn't going to help against the Spurs or the Kings or the Lakers, who are pretty much what Cuban and Nelson are trying to figure out right now anyways. They can beat the Warriors and Clippers and Hawks by an average of 40 points, but playoffs are what matters, and to be competitive in the West, they need someone to play defense and get those rebounds. I'm not sure who all is available out there. They may still be interested in Brian Grant, who was tossed around last year as coming to Dallas. Trading with the Kings to try to get Brad Miller would just be like giving supplies to the enemy, so I don't think that will happen. And didn't Elton Brand just sign a huge new contract? I'm racking my brain but I can't think of who they should shoot for.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:06 PM on October 20

they need someone to play defense and get those rebounds I disagree. That's what is so interesting. The Mavs are embarking on the novel strategy of assembling a team that is so talented offensively that their defensive deficiencies are irrelevant. With this team we'll find out if defense really wins championships. Here is why I will watch the Mavs. Nash and Toine are superior passers. Finley and Dirk can shoot and handle the ball. Jamison can shoot, has improved his dribbling, and is a tremendous finisher. The Mavs scored 103 pts/game last season and they replaced Van Exel (12.5) with Jamison (22.2) and Lafrenz (9.6) with Walker (20.2). Now I know everyone's scoring average will go down because they'll have to share the ball more but this team should average 110/game which means they'll hit 120-130 with some regularity, no? The Mavs have to be one of the greatest offensive machines of all time.

posted by Mike McD at 01:30 PM on October 20

...novel strategy of assembling a team that is so talented offensively that their defensive deficiencies are irrelevant...
Don Nelson has employed "Nellie Ball" since his Milwaukee Buck days thru Golden State, etc, etc. It has yet to produce a championship. It makes for some fun basketball though. As for the new parts, Jamison and Walker do not a Van Exel make. They have more size, but they are no where near as clutch as Nick.
If they don't get someone to defend in the post and rebound, they will never get by the Lakers, Spurs, or the Kings. The only reason they got by the Kings last year was that Webber went down. I hate to say it but its true.

posted by lilnemo at 01:52 PM on October 20

We'll have to see. If they had just added a scorer I wouldn't think that much of the move but Antoine is a wonderful passer as well. I just don't think you can overstate the positive impact of that. With Nash and Walker the Mavs have a team the likes of which has never been seen in the NBA.

posted by Mike McD at 02:11 PM on October 20

Mike McD - yeah, but there really is only one ball, and I think that the teams that really do well have a proven clutch go-to guy when the chips are down. You have 5 potential all-stars on Dallas now and someone better say hi to humble pie. More than one. Nowitzki is still the number one - but sharing is goint to be difficult - especially with Walker used to jacking threes like no one in history. Plus, one could argue that they ain't even the most talented team in the West - those Lakers have a floor of Hall of Famers going out there. Sac-to has some serious giddy-up too - and they can play defense. Oh well - Don Nelson-ball for ya. Will be fun to watch, but I can't see them being or beating the best.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:12 PM on October 20

This hurts the Celtics immediately You people are all nuts. Walker is awful, any shot is a good shot as far as he's concerned. His 3pt average is horrible, he's streaky and he trash talks way too much considering his game. I think the Celtics made out like gangbusters on this deal, and now the Mavs have another whiny punk with no position to fill because everyone else on the team is better than him.

posted by insomnyuk at 02:23 PM on October 20

insomnyuk, Funny thing, all these trash talking primma donna superstars (i.e. Barkley, Webber, Rasheed) tend to do alright on their new teams. Like I said, we will have to wait, but put me down as one the first on the Mavs Bandwagon. I love this team. Both Jamison and Walker can run the floor which in my opinion is critical ... they fit the offense. And they are not potential all-stars ... all of those guys already are all-stars. IMO, having five all-stars in the prime of their career is better than what the Lakers have.

posted by Mike McD at 02:32 PM on October 20

Walker is awful No. Talk all you want about whining or show-boating or whatever, but we're heart-sick at work. We've given up a 6'9" player who can shoot threes (poor selection yes), pass like a point guard and play a decent power forward in the East (he's too light, especially now, to really back people down). And he cares. I imagine it's tough for fans of oothers teams to see it through the trash-talking, but the kid gives a good goddman, and that seems rare nowadays.

posted by yerfatma at 02:43 PM on October 20

Oh yeah - Wlkers a damn talented player and worth more than the rest of the guys in the deal combined. If it's a roster shake-up, and philosophy change on the part of the Celtics, fine - but couldn't Ainge have gotten more?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:13 PM on October 20

Plus, the Mavs have a good history of taking those with attitude problems and helping remedy those (Nick Van Exel anyone? I groaned when he came and shed a tear when he was traded). Nelson doesn't BS around with his players, and if Walker can't reign in his shot selection, he'll ride the pine. Assuming he's still around. I'm still anticipating another trade in the not-too-distant future. Oh well - Don Nelson-ball for ya. Will be fun to watch Damn straight. This year the West is going to be fun. The new look Mavs, new look Lakers, new look T-Wolves. Plus San Antonio has had some shake-ups (and the loss of Robinson is devastating. Duncan doesn't have the personality to be a vocal leader). If Webber can stay healthy, we've got five teams that can easily contend. 8 days. 8 long days.

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:32 PM on October 20

I'm still anticipating another trade in the not-too-distant future. Nooooooo. They've got to keep this team together. I'm not asking for it ... I'm demanding it. I love this strategy ... forget defense ... try and drop 130 on your opponents every night. Walker is really fooking good. They have to give this team at least a year.

posted by Mike McD at 03:38 PM on October 20

They have to give this team at least a year. We all agree on that. But it won't happen with ADD sufferer Cuban at the helm. Expect at least one starter and maybe two bench players to be traded by this time next year for a coaster, the name of Marv Albert's toupee weaver, loose change, and of course, a trade exemption. The core of this team is Nowitzki, Nash, and Finley. Anything else is on the block should a power player come along. On preview:8 days. 8 long days. Amen brother!

posted by lilnemo at 03:45 PM on October 20

I have to wonder if the West will be quite as deep this year as some of you seem to be forecasting. No Admiral commanding SA and where Koby's head will be at and how much that affects the Good Ship Jackson is anybody's guess. Sacto, Dallas, Minnies all seem to be a step above them so far.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:06 PM on October 20

Yeah, but that isn't going to help against the Spurs or the Kings or the Lakers, who are pretty much what Cuban and Nelson are trying to figure out right now anyways. They can beat the Warriors and Clippers and Hawks by an average of 40 points, but playoffs are what matters, and to be competitive in the West, they need someone to play defense and get those rebounds. I'm kinda new to the NBA, but why does the game change so much in the playoffs? If a team can score 120 points in the regular season against the Lakers, what happens in the playoffs that prevents them from doing that? I've never quite understood that. Teams can play more defensively but so many skilled shooters to defend seems like it'd be hard to stop.

posted by therev at 04:12 PM on October 20

I believe Ufez is stating that scoring over 100 pts a game is nice. But its also misleading. A lot of those pts are scored against subpar competition. As for the playoffs. Current NBA playoff games tend more towards a slower pace than the regular season. You aren't likely to see many high-scoring affairs. Most recent playoff dominance has correlated with good post-play, ball-handling and post feeds. Ball control. Slowing down the pace cuts down on mistakes (turnovers) and allows for teams to run their offense from the inside out. Most eastern conference teams run a motion offense (share and share alike). But I hesitate to call the EC games playoff calibre. So this is the jist of the argument, though the Mavs are offensively impressive, in a playoff atmosphere against a quality opponent perimeter defense heightens, and the Mavs have no one who can defend, rebound or score under the basket, the opposition will lay the ball in from 6 feet in with impunity. Shooting percentages drop the farther away from the basket you get, the Mavs fire away from 3 anyway. During the season this is a fine practice, but in postseason play there is a tendency to clam up. I said it before, I'll say it again They have more size, but they are no where near as clutch as Nick. For an analogy think of Football. Sure the Rams can put up a lot of points thru the air during the season. But ultimately, last year it was the better running teams that got into the playoffs and succeeded. Ball control offense. Slow and efficient. Watch as your opponent cries as you drain the clock, all the while inching towards victory.

posted by lilnemo at 04:37 PM on October 20

Actually all of the above is true - but I think the biggest difference is that in the playoffs, players just play harder. Especially on defense.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:16 AM on October 21

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