Unfortunately, the chance to cut him lose was this summer when his contract was up, but Presti re-upped him. The fact that it took so long makes me believe he thought long and hard about cutting Brooks.
Basketball is the only sport where coaches of top teams are not questioned when they should be.
Most players never get a shot at a max deal. When you've got an opportunity for one, you should never feel bad about taking it IMO. There is no such thing as team loyalty to player. Like Bill Simmons said, take Steve Nash. He took hometown discounts to give the team money to sign guys to keep them in contention and they used the savings to let Amare go, lowball Joe Johnson, sell off draft picks year after year, etc. They screwed him over.
OKC was trying to pay Harden less than they paid Ibaka. And I would agree with Harden if he felt that was insulting.
"John Wall will never be as good as Kyrie Irving was in his first week in the NBA" - David Falk, published February 14, 2013.
I believe he would have...if the Thunder offered him a contract extension before Ibaka. Absolutely FOOLISH to go about business in the manner the Thunder did. Presti gets a lot of credit for how he runs things in OKC, but he absolutely needs to fry if this team doesn't reach the finals.
I'll put it this way...If they let Ibaka walk and kept Harden, I would say that they would be a lock for the Finals. Letting Harden walk and keeping Ibaka is going to come back and bite them in the ass.
Shaq did say he tried to be the most dominant though--which is different, and I understand where he's going with that.
Shaq could have been the best big man of his era Wilt style but he didn't have that work ethic and he wanted to have fun with ball. That's kind of the bottom line on him for me. Shaq was an unstoppable force. You couldn't even stop him by doubling him. He wasn't just the best athlete in the NBA. He was smart too and he knew how to play when he was actually on the court. But yeah, his effort kept him from ever truly being a great two way player.
Shaq is a weird guy. Half the time he talks on NBA TV he's incomprehensible. He's an old country man. Prickly and insensitive, you're just not going to get through to him if he doesn't want you to. He doesn't care at all how dominant you think he should be. He is always going to do it his way.
---------- Post added November-2nd-2012 at 08:43 AM ----------
The gamble is that Ibaka is going to get a lot better, Martin can fill in the shooting and second line scoring in the short term, Lamb can do it for cheap in the long term.
I don't have faith in those bets.
I think finding that proper third star is a hard thing to orchestrate.
It needs to be a guy who has the mindset to sacrifice his game and numbers (because only two guys can put up Superstar numbers on any team IMO). They need to do dirty work and not get the same glory as the other top two guys. And they need to come in and be clutch with the limited opportunities they do get. They need to be smart and instinctive with when they take over. Russ is cold or pressing and needs to dial it back? Let me have the ball and I'm going to start facilitating and scoring and giving the team that emotion and confidence back.
CWebb is right--Harden was their fourth qtr PG. Losing that is a huge deal offensively.
When you have that third guy, it makes all the difference IMO. Boston had it in Ray Allen with their title team. Miami has it with Bosh. OKC had it with Harden. A three star construction is more valuable than anything in the NBA. It could be the difference between being a great contending team like the Utah Jazz and Sonics of the 90's, or a multiple title team like the Spurs of the 2000's
I really hate this trade. I hate that OKC may have peaked already. I was looking forward to them being the biggest force in the league one day.
I agree that Brooks' rotations have always been off and without Harden to bail him out with the second unit, this might be a major problem this year. You can have questionable rotations if no matter what you do, you have an All-Star on the court. That's not the case this year.
We love Jordan, Bird, Magic, etc because they were obsessed with winning. Shaq was not driven that way. He wanted to win because winning helped him do everything else. But I never thought it was his driving force.
If Shaq had been wired like Kevin Garnett, he would have won 12 titles and hospitalized players on a weekly basis. But he wasn't.
Last edited by Lombardi's_kid_brother; November-2nd-2012 at 09:05 AM.
If Shaq had any work-ethic, he'd be considered the greatest basketball player of all time. I'm not kidding. His athleticism was off the charts. For as good as he was, he could have been MUCH better. Dude always used the first 60 games of the regular season to get his fat ass into shape. SMH.
I can see why there was friction between him and Kobe. Polar opposites. Not saying Kobe is absolved from fault, but this was about as poor of a duo that you could form in the NBA. And yet they still won 3 titles LOL. Could have had way more....
In the 80s, the cap rules were different in the league was smaller so you could have 3rd and 4th stars. But those stars needed the same mindset.
Boston - Dennis Johnson was once a big-time scorer and Finals MVP. He came to Boston and became a facilitator and defensive stopper. Robert Parish was a great center whose job was to get rebounds and set picks. He could have been a 25 ppg scorer on a mediocre team but knew his role. Even early on, Kevin McHale spent half his career as a Sixth Man.
LA - Worthy spent his entire career in the shadow of two of the 8 or 9 greatest players ever. His job was to fill the wing. Norm Nixon could not handle being the third guy so they shipped him out.
Chicago - Rodman had the perfect mindset for the third wheel as all he wanted to do was rebound and play D. He seemed annoyed when the ball came to him on offense. And the thing is, he was actually a pretty effective offensive player in his early years in Detroit.
The argument has now changed that OKC messed up in not signing Harden before Ibaka. Maybe Harden should have stayed and Westbrook should have gone. Who knows. Either way, two top-20 players, including the 2nd best player in the NBA, will find a way to win.
Last edited by Hersh; November-2nd-2012 at 09:09 AM.
As others have pointed out, as soon as he signed that deal with OKC, he would become the most valuable trade asset in the league. A superstar 2 guard entering his prime being paid 40 percent of his value. He was going to spend the next 4 years the subject of trade rumors.
---------- Post added November-2nd-2012 at 09:10 AM ----------
They had a chance to compete with Miami for the next five years or so. I feel cheated as an NBA fan that I don't get to watch this.
And I agree completely about Shaq's lack of focus versus Kobe's bball only focus being a big cause of their friction.
Shaq should not regret his career tho, as someone mentioned earlier he made the most money, got his rings, got the acclaim, and is famous. But as a fan, I do have the right to ask "what if?"
---------- Post added November-2nd-2012 at 10:14 AM ----------
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