Huge news came down for the OKC NBA team just moments ago. Luke Ridnour, whom many have suspected would be moved before the start of the season, was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three team deal that also involves Adrian Griffin being moved to Milwaukee as well, Mo Williams goes to Cleveland, Damon Jones with the Bucks (he was on ESPN First Take just this morning), and Oklahoma City gets the veteran forward Joe Smith from the Cavaliers and former Oklahoma State and NOK Hornet shooting guard/small forward Desmond Mason.
Desmond Mason has had an interesting career track. Goes to Seattle from OSU first off, wins a dunk contest, the Sonics ship him to Milwaukee, then he's traded to the Hornets for Jamal Magloire to give the fans in OKC a home town boy to cheer for, then when the Hornets leave OKC he goes back to the Bucks for a season, and then finally comes back to OKC but doesn't return as a Hornet as someone might have predicted three seasons ago, but to the organization that started his career, the one formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics.
I think this is a wonderful trade. Mason instantly becomes The City's best defender and though won't be a starter, will fill in nicely as the sixth man. Joe Smith was highly coveted by the Cavs towards the end of last season where they looked to him for his veteran leadership in the playoffs, as well as being a key role player. He'll be the grizzled leader of this team now, which I thin is for the better. Not that Donyell Marshall is incapable of filling that role, but I just think that Joe Smith has already been there and done that, and I just think he's better at the grand-daddy role than a more rambunctious Marshall. I see Smith kind of fitting into that P.J. Brown role back with the OG NOK Hornets, except not as a starter.
As for what OKC gave up, I'm not missing them too much. Luke Ridnour was a solid shooter and distributor but simply could not defend, which seems to be Sam Presti and P.J.'s top concern for this team. With the addition of Westbrook in the draft, the trade for Kyle Weaver, and this acquisition of Desmond Mason, its clear that they want to turn this team into a defensive-minded one, ala, of course, San Antonio.
To truly take the San Antonio strategy into effect though, we really need the third triplet. Durant and Green are obviously two of them, but OKC still needs that one PG or PF/C to really start being competitive. Hopefully that can come sometime during the FA periods coming up. LeBron James, anyone? OK, doubt that, but still, this trade gives OKC a lot of pieces that I think will at least help them be competitive this season, though not truly any good.
As for the rest of the moves, I've always liked Damon Jones, not so much as a player, though I think he's a great shooter, but more as a personality and I think its too bad that hes going to a city where he won't be in the spotlight as much. On the other hand, I really like Mo Williams, I think its a great move for Cleveland. This gives them the twin towers of Big Ben and Big Z up front, King James, Hughes, and then Mo Williams at PG with Delonte West and Szerbiak as solid backup guards and Anderson Varejao backing up the bigs. Its a line-up I like, though I think it still won't be enough to put them over the top in the East though.
Speaking of Zorgon, Zorgon's Note: Joe Smith and Donyell Marshall are reunited!!!! They were formerly teamamates on the Warriors back in the 90s, and they should form a dynamic veteran duo, something this team needs. If we trade for Erick Dampier and Adonal Foyle and pull Mark Price and Latrell Sprewell out of retirement, we should be in business for our starting 5.
Right now we're really in a pinch for a Point Guard though. With the departure of Ridnour, we currently only have Earl Watson. I'd expect more moves to happen soon.