In an earlier post, colleague Eddie Sefko asks which team you'd rather have -- the Mavericks or Thunder? I kept reading long enough to determine that he was talking about players and future rather than nicknames because anything is better than Thunder. I'd rather be the California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs than the Thunder.
Anyway, Large Ed says that the Thunder will be the new Portland, which I guess means a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2003, passed on Kevin Durant for a gimpy Greg Oden, currently sits fifth in the conference and has the proverbial two chances of winning a title -- slim and none.
I think it may be premature to say someone has a chance to be the new Portland before the current Portland becomes the new Portland.
The Thunder has done a much better job of getting players than it did coaches. P.J. Carlesimo was fired after one season and 13 games. Not exactly a visionary hiring.
The answer is that right now, I'd rather be the Mavericks. I'd rather have Dirk, cap room in 2010, flexibility to take on big contracts from other teams trying to create salary cap space and more of a chance for success in the next few years than the Thunder. And if Ed's shot at the city of Oke City is true -- and I don't know because I haven't been there in many years -- but if Oke City is not attractive enough to encourage players to stay, then the Thunder will lose the good young players to free agency, anyway.
Now if you are talking about Durant, Westbrook and Green on the same team with Dirk, then I'm down with that.
The other thing is that Rick Carlisle said the Bucks are better now then they were when they beat the Mavericks by 34 in Milwaukee last month. Not true. The Bucks lost Michael Redd for the season because of injury. Michael Redd is by far the No. 1 player on the Bucks. You don't lose your best player and improve.
Unless, of course, you're the Spurs.
-- Jan Hubbard