Right now, moves in the NFL are being made so ferociously that I can’t even keep up. One minute it’s Donovan McNabb. Then dudes like Roy Williams are being released and Carson Palmer is talking retirement. Now it’s Albert Haynesworth.
With the lockout being abruptly lifted, it’s a mad dash to training camp, who can secure which players and who will come out on top. While lockouts have always sucked, the aftermath is normally like shoving all the owners into a closet, giving them caffeine and then telling them not to come out until at least half the teams have discussed epic trades. The season after a lockout never ceases to be wild, inconsistent and memorable.
So as the NFL is in the midst of it’s shortened offseason, I decided to head back to the NBA’s last lockout “offseason” in 1999 and find some of the best/most impactful trades or signings of that period. Of course, the biggest change of all – Michael Jordan retiring for a second time – is obvious. But here are a few others.
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Mar. 11, 1999
New Jersey gets: Chris Carr, Bill Curley, Elliot Perry & Stephon Marbury
Milwaukee gets: Paul Grant, Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling
Minnesota gets: Terrell Brandon, Brian Evans & 1999 1st round pick
While it didn’t happen immediately once the lockout was lifted, this trade was partially a product of the new deal, a deal that wouldn’t allow a player such as Marbury to get the mega-contract Kevin Garnett had recently signed in Minnesota. That planted the first seed of discomfort, which eventually led to Starbury asking out, even to a place as desolate as New Jersey (he figured he was going home).
As for Minnesota, Brandon was a solid player (the following season would be his last at a high level, averaging 17 & 9). But the potential wasn’t there. It felt like someone had put a ceiling on how high the T’Wolves could go now that their young combo was broken up, and it was never really the same. Still, that first round pick turned into Wally Szczerbiak.
Jan. 21, 1999:
*quick note…somehow the Warriors went 21-29 that season despite their leading scorer being a 34-year-old John Starks who didn’t even average 14 points a game. How does this stuff happen?
New York gets: Latrell Sprewell
Golden State gets: Terry Cummings, Chris Mills & Starks
The subplot of Sprewell and P.J. Carlesimo had been ongoing since December. What would happen with the former All-Star? Who would trade for him? How much would Golden State get in return? People forget, but Sprewell was considered an outlaw to a degree that might’ve been even worse than the image Ron Artest dealt with during his season-long suspension.
Then New York stepped forward, scooped up Sprewell for a relatively modest price of a declining Starks, Cummings and Chris Mills’ gangsta and they were on their way.