Have I given a shout-out to my man Steve lately? His pictures and captions on the daily roundup deserve some serious props. I think need to double his pay...
Seriously though it is great to see Nick Collison develop into the double-double machine we see before us today. Many will remember that during last years inaugeral (and hopefully annual) tour of the Furtado Center SC.com readers were treated to lunch with Rich Cho, Rick Sund, and Wally Walker. In attendance this August day were Luke Ridnour and Nick Collison working their tails off at nooon on a weekday. Later, when lunch arrived it was delivered by a freshly showered 6'9(in shoes) PF who is now kicking ass across the league. It's a great example of how Karma(and a work ethic) can pay dividends. My favorite Collison quote of the day was "What else would I be doing?" when asked why he was in the gym on a Tuesday. Hmm....If I were 24, rich, and not obligated to be anywhere I can think of a few places he could have gone. If nothing else he could have asked his absent teammate who definately know how to enjoy the off months. Remember to e-mail me at email@example.com if you're interested in a lunch with team officials in the next few weeks.
Enough about Nick. There's plenty of stuff to talk about today....
First off lets get to gossip. I'm hearing two rumors circulating around the team. First is that the team is actively shopping Johan Petro and he expects to be gone at or before the deadline. Johan's value is pretty interesting. Despite not being perfect he is only 20 years old, 7 feet tall, and has proven that he can play in the league. That is the type of guy who could really come back to bite you in the butt if he developes. Could you expect better out of a draft pick? Would you trade him for an unknown quantity? I'm not entirely sure.
Secondly there was a brief, but unsubstantiated mention of Danny Fortson winding up in NY at this year's trade deadline. Fortson's bridge is burned with the team and both sides are anxious to find him a new home but the Knicks don't seem to have anything I want on their roster. Forston straight across for Seattle native Jamal Crawford works straight up and NY may be willing to give the better player to get out of Crawfords contract. I don't think Seattle really wants Crawford. The majority of the Knicks roster guys I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole but there is some real physical talent that could be available dirt cheap.
Most of the reporters in the last two games expect Damien Wilkens to be trade bait at the deadline. Mickael Gelabale is simply playing at too high a level to reduce his minutes when Rashard Lewis returns. Wilkens becomes the odd man out in that scenario.
GET OUT TO THE KEY!
Yesterday was the second consecutive game at Key Arena that almost felt like the mid-90's again. Simply a great experience for everybody in attendance with exciting play, a loud and enthusiastic crowd, and an entertainment experience that makes you understand why keeping the Sonics is important for this community. Lots of people there with their young kids and a great product turned out by the organization. They're unlikely to make the playoffs this year but lets build on the enthusiasm and enjoy it while it's here.
HE'S NOT A BOY ANYMORE
Getting to see Robert Swift a bit lately I think it is time to completely, completely re-evaluate the young center. It is too easy to retain a mental image of the shy and skinny 19 year old that was drafted 3 years ago but that boy is long gone and it's time we simply looked at him through fresh eyes. More has changed than just the hair and the tattoo's, Swift is almost a different person with confidence not only in himself but in his place in the league. Swift's doctor has advised that even if recovery continues to be ahead of schedule he will not be cleared to play again this season. It is simply too great of a risk following the substantial surgery he has undergone. In the meantime daily weightroom workouts have resulted in significant gains in upper body strength and it is noticable. Robert is massive and getting bigger, barely recognizable as the guy who arrived a couple of years ago. He is a serious wild-card for next season.
It is nice to be playing well. Let's continue basking in the Gelabale/Collison lovefest for a little while....