Well, the question for Stephon Marbury of late has not been "if" or really "when." It has been a matter of "where" for a while now. The Nets shopped him to the Bulls, Clippers and Suns last season. And now the Suns have bitten. So Marbury's period of uncertainty is over, and he's going to a playoff team. But before you cheer for Marbury, shed a tear for Jason Kidd. He's on the Nets now.
So, you exchange two All-Star point guards. What is going on here?
The Suns were looking to get a bit younger, and Marbury is four years younger than Kidd. Phoenix has Shawn Marion (23) and Iakovos Tsakalidis (22) and want to build on them. One caution is that Tom Gugliotta and Marbury did not get along in Minnesota, but it is not unreasonable to think time can heal whatever problem existed.
The Nets really just seem to be dumping payroll. This week it's Marbury, and it could be Keith Van Horn to Utah next week. And they still have the albatross of Kerry Kittles contract. But Kidd will make half the money Marbury will, so that makes him a perfect Net.
I did not like the trade the Nets made on draft day, dealing Eddie Griffin to Houston for three players. Griffin was a local kid with a little baggage from his one year at Seton Hall, but hey, he's just a kid. It seemed like his troubles were easily explained and were ones he could address. Now Richard Jefferson has a chance to be a decent player. But Jason Collins can't play in the NBA. Brandon Armstrong from Pepperdine showed an ability to score, but he's a question mark. Griffin, however, will play right away and make a positive impact. He is worth more than the three other guys. And the Nets were apparently not interested in that? Just not a good trade.
So they bring in Kidd, who runs the break and passes the ball well. But the rest of the Nets can't shoot or rebound. Kidd has been able to get his teams to the playoffs, and Marbury has not. Marbury is the more explosive player, Kidd the better point guard. But is either guy on a team that really suits his talents more than his previous one? Marbury maybe. Kidd no. Is either team a whole lot better? No.
It seems to me Kidd's talents will be wasted in New Jersey. It will be a case of Jason and the four other guys. I'm sure the Nets will say they now have some depth. Not a lot of talent. Just a lot of players. What is the direction of this team? Are they better? Are they truly deeper?
Everyone will tell you that no one spreads the ball around better than Kidd. But who would you pass to on the Nets?
Phoenix may have gotten the better end of the deal just by getting younger with Marbury. The roster looks a bit better with a 24-year-old point guard running the show. The Suns have more work to do, but this was a nice start.
As for the other guard trade, I like Mike Bibby coming to Sacramento for Jason Williams. Bibby thinks to make the play first; Williams thinks to make the SportsCenter highlight first. The under-control Bibby is a really solid point guard, unlike the wildly inconsistent Williams. If the trade helps the Kings re-sign Chris Webber, who has mostly played with cool veterans at the point, it becomes a truly great trade for the Kings.
And if playing in Memphis helps Williams realize that the NBA does not recognize degree of difficulty in assists, maybe he'll get better and the Grizzlies will end up as happy as the Kings.