Geltzeiler: An Open Letter to Rob Hennigan

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He seems more interested in growing his hair to look like Fletch and going bowling than rehabbing his knee and proving himself to a new employer in a contract year.

I have always been a big fan of Bynum and his game, even as questions about his conditioning, drive, and maturity always persisted, however, his tenure with Philly has been the antithesis of impressive.  Word is that Bynum’s knees are starting to feel better, which is good for the Sixers but better for Bynum.  He’ll need to play to get a max contract, and Philly actually needs to see if he fits with Jrue Holiday and Turner before they give him one.

Frankly, it hasn’t been all that much better for the Nuggets.  They traded Afflalo, Harrington, and a first-round pick and got back Igoudala, who hasn’t been all that much of an upgrade from Afflalo, which really makes this deal look bad.

Harrington’s partially guaranteed contract is great trade capital and first-rounders, even low ones, are very valuable in the new ultra-punitive luxury tax era.

Igoudala has played his trademark defense, but he’s been a mess offensively. He’s shooting 44% from the field, 2 points under his career average and he’s turning the ball over in excess of 3 times per game, which is almost a full turnover per game above his career average.

The Nuggets have been average and Igoudala has struggled to adjust, which is troublesome.  The Nuggets are a team without a go-to guy on offense.  Their system is designed for an ensemble approach.  Igoudala’s very poor shot selection has been a detriment.

Denver GM Masai Ujiri doesn’t lose a lot of trades, but you may have got him on this one.

The Lakers’ end of things hasn’t exactly simulated the nightly parade of excellence they conceived when they traded Bynum, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts and a first-rounder for Howard, Duhon, and Earl Clark.

Howard clearly doesn’t look like himself in recovering from back surgery.

He’s athletically compromised at this stage.

He certainly can make his way back to his old form, but he’s got a ways to go.

The other problem with Howard has been the Lakers’ hiring of Mike D’Antoni.  With pleasing players on the list of criteria in making their hire, they’re at serious risk to lose Howard when his contract expires at the end of the season.

And that will be the time to evaluate this trade.

So, Rob, when you look at how everyone else in this mega-deal is struggling with their new pieces in one way or another, all of a sudden Vucevic’s rebounds, Afflalo’s defense, Harkless’ athleticism and a handful of first-rounders isn’t such a bad haul for Dwight Howard.

You hired an impressive young coach who appears to have a knack for developing players.

I thought you were crazy when you made the Howard deal.

What appeared to be indecision and panic, was really just the youngest GM in the league being crazy like a fox.

Congratulations … so far.

Brian Geltzeiler is the executive producer and co-host of SheridanHoops radio, and the editor of hoopcritic.com. His father, Burt, was an elite college basketball player for Newark Rutgers in the late 40′s and was drafted by the Tri-City Hawks (now Atlanta) in 1950 by their GM Red Auerbach. You can follow Brian, who lives in Livingston, N.J. with his wife and 4 children, on Twitter.

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  1. Jerry25: “Brook Lopez appears to be the best offensive center in the NBA”

    LOL, dude what are you smoking? You are talking about a center with his bulk who can barely shoot over 50% and can not haul over 7 rebounds a game. Those numbers are not good for a center and even worse given how the league, especially the eastern conference, has gone very small so its not like he’s being guarded by lots of large guys. Throw in the fact he’s 24 and the last three years have been a disaster health wise – never a good sign for a 7 footer who weighs 265 pounds. If Lopez had been able to stay healthy and improve his game, especially his rebounding, it might have been clearer for Hennigan, but I think he was right to not get suckered into taking Lopez and his contract which is going to wind up being an albatross for the Nets.

  2. We won’t know the outcome for 1-2 years actually. Brook Lopez (now that Bynum is a mess) appears to be the best offensive center in the NBA, and back to his Rookie yr. of almost 9 rebounds per 36 min. His shot blocking is one of best in NBA. He has bulked up, now that his Mono is history and is still only 24 years young. His defense is better this year and will only improve. Should Brook make it through the season without re-fracturing his foot (the 2nd hairline fracture was apparently related to the 1st fracture not being 100% recovered, but Nets couldn’t admit to that publicly), it is unlikely he will have foot problems in the future. He hadn’t missed a single game before that fracture. His brother had the same injury/surgery years ago, and never had foot problems since. His recent foot sprain (top of foot) was unrelated and Nets kept him out an extra week for caution.
    I’m not even convinced that in a year from now, that Nets would agree to trade Lopez for Howard straight up. Howard has been somewhat disappointing, his FT shooting is terrible, he is still immature and his back problem could flare up again, and he may be past his prime already.

    All of that is secondary to the fact that pre-Hennigan, Magic had at least two other chances to trade with Nets, the first being before last season, in a deal that would have sent Lopez (pre-fracture), Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks for Howard.
    There was also the pre-tradeline offer of Lopez, MarShon 3 1st round picks including the 2012 pick that turned out to be #6 (Lillard). Since Howard was already damaged goods at the time (herniated disk), that pick would have been there. It was reported by the NY Post, that the main reason Howard accepted his option year with ORL, is that Smith threatened to trade him to the Lakers right before the deadline, if he didn’t sign.
    Billy King believes that ORL just didn’t want to trade him within the Conference, which is likely correct.

    Finally Hennigan also had the option of waiting until after Jan 15, 2013 and seeing how Lopez and Nets were doing, and craft the best deal for ORL. ORL certainly would have a better record than they do now. ORL didn’t panic when they should have and Did panic when they didn’t need to.

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