The dish on Charlotte:
CHARLOTTE: FI should point out that an "F" is a relatively high grade in Simmons' analysis. Cleveland bottomed out with a "Z-infinity-minus."
The only team with enough cap space to facilitate a three-team deal (where they'd absorb a big contract and pick up a No. 1 for its troubles) ... and naturally, it didn't do anything. For instance, let's say the Knicks wanted to get Vince from the Nets for Jamal Crawford and Channing Frye, only the Nets didn't want to take Malik Rose's contract back. Charlotte comes in and says, "We'll take Rose ($7.2m per, expires 2008) if you take Othella Harrington back ($2.2m per, expires 2008) if you gave us $3 million and Chicago's 2007 No. 1 pick." So the Nets get 80 cents on the dollar for Vince (Frye and Crawford, an underrated player with a reasonable deal); the Knicks make a huge splash with Vince; and the Bobcats pick up a No. 1 in a loaded draft. Everyone wins! Again, probably too logical of a scenario for this league.
ORLANDO: F-minus-minus-minusMeanwhile, apropos of Adam Morrison:
I like Otis Smith's philosophy here: We don't own a 2007 No. 1 pick, our team is sinking like a stone, we have Grant Hill's expiring deal ($16.9 million) to move for an asset and save our season, we desperately need scoring ... screw it, let's stand pat. Hey, that's one way to keep your job -- just don't do anything. How can the Magic fire you if you don't do anything? I'd like to see how long Otis could keep this strategy going -- Orlando's owners probably won't catch on for another 2-3 years.
TORONTO: A-plusTonight, Morrison met the Raptors, and the Raptors came out on top.
Now here's a guy who knows what he's doing: Bryan Colangelo. And yes, I'm quietly rooting for the Raps, who have the most rabid fans of anyone in the league. I get at least five angry e-mails every day from Toronto about (A) the fact that I dismissed their playoff chances two months ago (you're right, it was a mistake), (B) the fact that I killed them for taking Andrea Bargnani over Adam Morrison (you're right, big mistake, Bargnani is good with a nasty streak), and (C) the fact that I killed them for the T.J. Ford-Charlie Villanueva trade (the jury's still out on that one). You can stop e-mailing me. I like your team. I was wrong. OK? I was wrong! LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU BRYAN ADAMS-LOVING FREAKS!!!!
It's conceivable that Charlotte could make the playoffs, since they're only five games back of Orlando and Miami, tied for the last spot in the East. Scary.