Carnival of the NBA, #46 – Made in Japan

16 07 2007

Made in Japan…

A cold dark shadow crept across the land, it’s chilling touch reaching out to everyone. A… void… an absence of a loved presence. Yes indeed children, the NBA season has drawn to a close. But do not fear – there are a few, a few brave souls who continue to strive for all that is good, just, and… basketball.
Like a shining sword cutting through the darkness, here is your Carnival. The Carnival of the NBA (#46)… Made in Japan (well… that’s where I live anyway!).

Golden State of Mind gives us three excellent entries: Report Cards (extensive, and well worth the read – Matt Barnes is one of my favourite players!); an in depth exploration of the Yi issue; Golden State waves goodbye to Jason Richardson.

The guys at Pistons Notebook tell us about the FIBA Americas – a look at who is playing for the US team, and who should start.  Excellent article, and a must read.

20 Second Timeout gave us his impressions of the draft (and the wild spending by Paul Allen).

We’re given a tribute to Derek Fisher in Win or Go Home‘s A Utah Fish No More. One of my all-time favourite players. Guy is all class, and in this day & age, that really means something. WoGH also explores who’s likely to join the Jazz

Girl in KimonoAre NBA Players Like Fine Wine? is the question proferred to us by Miami Heat Wired. A look at the Miami Heat’s veterans…

Matt at Blog a Bull wonders if he’ll ever be able to cheer for Yannick Joakim Noah in Your Newest Chicago Bull. Jury’s still out for Matt, but if I was a Bull-fan, I couldn’t (be a fan). Not after I read one comment comparing him to Sanjaya.

At Bullets Forever, we have two articles. One that offers responses from DC bloggers on the Wizard’s draft (So how do your bloggers like the draft), and the second explores the Juan Carlos Navarro situation (and made reference to the Kwame-Brown-for-Caron-Butler trade… which as a Lakers fan still hurts).

“Where to go from here?” is a question I’m sure a lot of front offices and fans are asking at the moment. CelticsBlog.com asks that very question for Boston in Writer’s Blocked.

Clips Nation‘s ClipperSteve got to do an interview with Jared Jordan. Can he make it in the big time? Read this article to find out what the author thinks…

So… what’s Shaq up to? Shaq’s Fat Camp of course! Pyle of List recaps episode 3 on Shaq’s Fat Camp Episode III.

Ego is not a dirty word? Green Bandwagon looks at Egos… percieved slights are just as real as intentional insults (if anyone can get a message through to Shawn Marion, tell him we’ll organise a Lakers cheergirl in a Shawn Marion uniform… but only if it’s in purple & gold!).

Corey Brewer’s a wolf. A Timberwolf. Whilst watching the NCAA final, this guy was the ‘Gator I was most impressed with. I Heart KG explores why he’s a great pick at #7 in the NBA Draft.

in kimono…Darren Heitner explores Greg Oden’s character development in the very illuminating Greg Oden’s First Endorsement Should Be For Hand Sanitizer at I want to be a Sports Agent.

The guys at HoopsAddict bring us two excellent articles. One from Kinnon Yee explores how the acquisition of the gunner Jason Kapono changes the Toronto Raptors… in the second, Ryan McNeill gives us an excerpt from Filip Bondy’s book “Tip-Off: How The 1984 Draft Changed Basketbal Forever that looks at the 1984 draft, the Philadelphia 76ers of the time, and ‘shapes’ in The Imperfect Fit.

Red’sArmy.com‘s Matty G Thanks Delonte West for Everything. Even tho’ I’m not a Boston fan, I really like Delonte. You gotta admire the way the guy plays.

MVN Basketball has a host of writers I like to read… Jon Burkett gives us two articles, the aptly-named What the Yi is going on? (written in the NBA Draft University section) and he cheers Hooray for Thadeus Young (within the Passion and Pride – Philadelphia 76ers section).

Another MVN basketball piece from Wolves Watch – Minnesota Timberwolves, (where even tho’ it’s not mentioned – as a Laker fan I get excited when I read KG trade pieces) Too Late To Trade KG? Nope.

Signal To Noise explores the NBA free Agency (neat picture of Ron Van Gundy too)…

NBA Glue presents an article exploring free agency in 3 pieces. The first & second look at NBA Glue‘s Top 10 free agents (I love lists), whereas part 3 explores where are the likely destinations for some of those agents.

Seth of Posting and Toasting (part of the SB Nation group) gives us the absolutely bizarre Stephon Marbury on YouTube… words do not suffice.

Spencer Hawes learns basketball from… YouTube? Sactown Royalty exposes Hawes’ youth.

David Stern makes sure the money keeps rolling in… Sportsbiz explores the extension of NBA digital media rights to it’s broadcasting partners in NBA Extends TV Deals.

TWolvesBlog.com weighs the balance in any trade involving Kevin Garnett in What Have We Become?… I sympathize, I for one would love him to come to the Lakers, but I cannot imagine a world where there’s a Minnesota without KG.

History. The NBA has it by the ton (metric or imperial!)… and none more so than the Boston Celtics. LOY’s PLACE explores the history of the C’s in A Dose of Celtics History Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Lastly, my own (With Malice…) exploration of one of the ailments of the NBA players today, in two parts: When arrogance rules supreme part 1, and part 2.

And that’s the end of issue #46 of the Carnival of the NBA… make sure when you visit the sites that submitted to have a look around. Each & every one a gem…

The End…

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Kobe beef for Chicago Bulls? Hmmm… Nuh-uh… I still don’t think so

22 06 2007

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First & foremost, let’s get one thing straight: I’m a fan of both the Lakers, and of Kobe’s. Doesn’t stop me from having negative opinions about either tho’…

So trade rumors abound in regards to one Kobe Bryant.

Will he go to Chicago?

Will he go to Boston?

Will he go to Phoenix…

New York…

Washington…

blah blah blah

blah blah blah

blah blah blah.

It sounds as if most pundits out there ‘believe’ that Kobe is the power that decides if & when the Lakers trade him. Friends ‘n’ neighbors, he doesn’t. Sure, he can impact decisions made (and Kobe does wield a helluva lotta power – far more than the average superstar), but the when the sun sets, the man who’ll be making the decisions is Jerry Buss. And at the end of that day, Kobe remaining in Los Angeles is what’s best for the Los Angeles Lakers (for now), and – believe it or not – for Kobe Bryant. And I think he knows that. Still… at the end of the day, will he still be there? I don’t know… but I think so.

Let’s explore, shall we?

The LA Lakers are like very few (no other?) franchises in the NBA. Even during a ‘rebuilding phase’ (heaven forefend), the residents of LA LA land cannot afford to not have a player of superstar stature on the team. The bottom line for the purple ‘n’ gold is that there has to be someone that justifies the patrons shelling out thousands of dollars for those seats next to Jack, and sorry – but Ben Gordon Jamal Crawford just ain’t gonna do it. Kobe does. Like him or not (and probably no player in the NBA polarizes peope as much as Kobe does), he is probably the best player in the NBA. Any trade that gets done (for Kobe + junk) has to bring in bona fide hand-clappin’, dollar-pullin’ star quality… which cuts out about 99% of the league’s players, other than being fillers in the end deal.

Who would do it (as far as getting the high-priced bums-on-seats)? Lebron’d be of that caliber, so would D-Wade… but both are untouchable. Of all the names floating around as far as being places of interest for Kobe, only Chicago would be a logical trading partner for LA… and that’s not going to happen. Not if Jerry’s thinking straight and doesn’t sell Kobe for 75 cents on the dollar. And as long as Dr Buss’s running the show (and not the idiot-savant son, Jim), I hope pray believe think something will be done to assuage Kobe, at least for the next season.

The thing about trading Kobe for a cheap deal is that you devalue the LA franchise. You’re not going to get Lebron… you’re not going to get Dwayne Wade… you’re not going to get anywhere near what’s needed to get the value-for-money that the celebrity set are going to demand to see. And that’ll effect the income…

The thing about trading to GET Kobe is you’re probably going to have to put your franchise in hock to get him.

kobe22.jpg

So… the main protagonists thus far named in the rumor-mill: New York, Chicago, Phoenix… and recently, Washington.

  • New York simply doesn’t have the pieces to make this work, despite what Isiah might want. David Lee, Channing Frye and Jamal Crawford??? What are you smokin’ Mr Thomas???
  • Washington – despite it being highly unlikely that Kobe would want to go to Washington & play for the Wiz (and he does have that oh-so-annoying ‘no-trade clause’), it’s equally unlikely that Agent Zero would be a sought-after piece for the Lakers. Despite his quirkiness (and I really enjoy Hibachi!), on the court he’s simply ‘Kobe-lite’.
  • Phoenix – It’s highly unlikely that the Lakers would make a conference rival stronger (ignoring the fact that Kobe probably doesn’t really want to play in the West any way), let alone a divisional rival. No way in hell do they trade with the Suns.
  • Chicago… the most interesting of the suggested destinations. They DO have the pieces to pull this trade off, and Kobe DOES want to play there. But, they’d have to pretty much gut the franchise to do it (Deng & Gordon?), and Paxson’s notoriously conservative when it comes to pulling off trades with his ‘boys’. Won’t happen (unless Dr Buss gets drunk… uh-oh… nah, won’t happen anyway!).

From Kobe’s perspective on being traded, maybe he does want out – but whatever destination he ends up in could end up being WORSE off than the Lakers currently are, just by virtue of GETTING Kobe they’d have to sell most of the franchise. Kobe is (whether you like him or not) probably the best player in the League, and entering his prime now (and that’s some scary stuff there!). He won’t come cheap. The Lakers aren’t going to just give him away… and nor should they.

So… the team that Kobe (should he be traded) ended up on would be so much weaker given they’d have to trade away most of their assets to get him. And I’m fairly sure that Kobe’s aware that if you’re going to be on a mediocre team, best to be in LA. Additionally, the owner they have in Jerry Buss is probably the most willing in the league to open the checkbook. Sure, he’s no Steinbrenner, but he’s probably one of the closest things the NBA has to it. If any owner in the league will throw money around to get a deal done, it’s Dr Jerry Buss.The amazing thing is that Kobe probably realizes ALL of this. So what’s with the ‘divattitude’?

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There are three main trains of thought:

1. Kobe is a petulant spoilt brat, who is basically saying the first thing that comes into his head. He’s angry, and wants out. He sees the East as a way to have success relatively easily (compare Kobe’s Lakers to Lebron’s Cavs… not much difference, and if there is, the Lakers are probably the better team!).

2. Kobe is playing Machiavellian games. He knows that the Lakers will be hard-pressed to trade him. He realizes that the dummy-spitting is tarnishing his image further, but feels there is no other avenue of recourse. He cannot come right out & say “sack Kupchak, and while you’re at it get rid of Jim Buss”… but he can make it so that Jerry Buss has to pretty much choose between the two (Kobe, or Kupchak/Buss Jr.).

3. A mix of the two… Kobe is being calculating, but he does want out. He sees the way Dwayne Wade & Lebron are winning with similar teams around them as he has around him (ie. CRAP) – difference is they’re in the East. And in the East, it’s a lot easier to win with a mediocre team.

 

I lean towards believing the second (tho’ daily that’s getting harder to stick with), but starting to lean towards number 3. Whichever it is – I’d love to know who’s counseling Kobe to behave like this, because their advice sucks.

It could’ve been handled so much better with Kobe avoiding the rants, and perhaps even talking to people first before shooting off at the mouth, and damaging his reputation even more (and he’d done so well rebuilding it post Colorado). Sure, let folks understand your position, and put pressure on the LA front office, but with just a tad more class and decorum.

Sad thing about this is that Kobe’s right. Yes, the Lakers have been badly mis-managed. Yes, Mitch Kupchak has really, really made what was the premier franchise in the league into an also-ran. But none of this absolves Kobe from the way he’s behaved over the last month.

Drop the petulant sulky crap, and return to what’s true: basketball.


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Drama today… A comparative look at 70s TV & the NBA.

18 06 2007

Definitely inspired by both Pyle of List‘s excellent Kill Buss creation, and the very funny ‘The Spurs Don’t Exactly Rock’ from Rumors and Rants

I grew up in the 70s. As a kid, I endured flared purple pants with matching jacket… paisley… bell-bottom jeans… velure tops… questionable hair… not-so-high platform soles… and literally square miles of polyester. And the TV shows. Really, really bad TV. Cheesey. But so cheesey it was kinda fun. The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Colombo & Number 96 (I wish… I was too young – but here’s a taste of Australia’s *best* from the 70s).

I think all of it has indelibly marked me… but I’m recovering (with qualified help, but that’s another story).

But reading some of the stuff on blogs recently got me thinking… if the NBA teams were TV Shows, what TV show would they be?

Here are a few of the really apparent ones that leapt out at me…

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Los Angeles Lakers – Days of our Lives… Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on where your allegiance lies) that’s what LA’s become. Drama abounds galore, and what does it all signify? Ultimately, nothing… and yet we’re drawn in. You can walk away, ignore it for 2 years – then come back & get back up-to-date within minutes. Story’s the same, only the faces have changed. And given Kobe’s latest hue & cry – a diva who’s become too big for his own stage…

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Cleveland Cavaliers – For a while there (ie. around the end of the vs Detroit series) I had them down as ‘I dream of Genie’, or even Bewitched – I know they cast a spell on me (I thought that they might actually give the Spurs a game)… now I just have them as ‘Gilligan’s Island’. Role players around a central guy who (at the moment, with the finals oh-so-fresh in my mind) seems a bit inept. Yes, I just jumped off the bandwagon (until next season anyway).

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The reigning champions, the Spurs. Gotta be the Addams Family. C’mon, can’t you just see Timmy saying “You rang?”!!! Manu “Gomez” Ginobli, Greg “Uncle Fester” Popovich, and Tony “Thing” Parker??? It’s even in black & white, just like San Antonio!!

And… the Addams Family got pretty damn boring to watch in the last years too.

The Phoenixs Suns – in my humble opinion the best team (yeah… I KNOW they didn’t win the Western Conference Finals) in the NBA. So, what other TV show could they be but

suns.jpg

Think about it… a leader who is a master of disguise (-ing the pass), with a penchant for danger – are we talking George Peppard or Steve “Hannibal” Nash? A muscle-bound side-kick? Quick, someone give Amare a bad mo-hawk! Who can’t see Amare “Bad Attitude” Stoudemire saying “I pity the foo’ who goes out tryin’ a’ take over da world NBA!”

amare.jpg

 

Lastly, Miami…

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Do I need say more?


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