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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Larry Brown and Jalen Rose now join the ever-expanding list of people who are being paid millions of dollars not to work for the New York Knicks. The buyout of Brown's contract was reportedly finalized yesterday for somewhere north of $30 million. Rose's buyout is probably worth around $15 million.

So how much are the Knicks paying people to stay away?

  • Larry Brown: ~$30 million (possibly as much as $52, but unlike James Dolan, we'll be conservative with the money)
  • Jalen Rose: $15 million
  • Maurice Taylor: ~$9 million
  • Allan Houston: $20 million
  • Jerome Williams: $6 million
  • Shandon Anderson: $8 million
For those keeping score, that's $88 million dollars Cablevision is paying out so those six guys won't be associated with the Knicks.

Attention Mr. Dolan -- I don't work for the Knicks. How do I hitch a ride on this gravy train? I guarantee, I'll come even cheaper than the junkyard dog. Give me $500k, and I won't show up for a single practice.

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Man Flies in the Eyes of Mutombo

The miscreant who used racial slurs while heckling Dikembe Mutombo at a preseason Magic/Rockets game has reportely issued a full apology, offered to make a $5000 donation to a charity of Mutombo's choice, and pledged not to attend any Magic games until he gets an OK from the big fella.

That's all very nice. But his explanation leaves a little bit to be desired... he claimed that he didn't know that calling Mutombo a monkey might be considered offensive.

Really? You didn't think that big Deke might object to that term?

If Mutombo had simply swatted the guy in the head, the way he's redirected so many weak shots in his career, that would have been just fine with me. Give this clown a great big ol' finger-wag, Dikembe. You owe it to yourself.

We Got Next...

The WNBA is 10 years old today.

Hard to believe we've been ignoring it for that long, isn't it?

Isiah's Metrics for Success

Knicks owner James Dolan has made it clear that the Knicks will need to show improvement this season, or Isiah Thomas will go the way of Scott Layden. But "show improvement" is a pretty vague standard, especially when you're following up a 23-win season. So the big question is: exactly how long is Isiah's leash?

Well, if you listen to Isiah, the Knicks are already on the right track. After Friday's preseason finale against New Jersey, Zeke told reporters that the Knicks played with "competitive fire" and that the team had "turned the corner."

Wow. Sounds great, huh?

I suppose it does. If you ignore a couple of minor issues like:

  • The Knicks allowed 138 points in the game (Final score: Nets 138, Knicks 121)
  • They couldn't hang on to the ball, coughing up 27 turnovers that led to 39 points
  • Three knicks (Quentin Richardson, Channing Frye, and Eddy Curry) fouled out
  • They let Bostjan freakin' Nachbar score 20
I'm sorry, but no team that lets Bostjan Snackbar score twenty has turned any corners. Apparently, Isiah was all pumped because the team actually responded when Mikki Moore threw a forearm shiver at Steve Francis late in the fourth quarter.

(In fairness, last year's team probably wouldn't have noticed if Moore had taken a folding chair to Francis head all WWF-style... so maybe that IS progress.)

The fact that Zeke chose this occasion to talk up the Knicks' positives gives me the impression that maybe... just maybe... he has a different set of success metrics than the rest of us. With that in mind, I'm going to make a couple of guesses as to what Isiah will say when this year's Knicks hit a few more key milestones:

When the Knicks open the season 0-5:
Isiah: I feel like the team is really gelling. I've been impressed with their intestinal fortitude.

When the Knicks drop their 20th game and take sole possession of the worst record in the NBA:
Isiah: We've really turned the corner. Our competitiveness was excellent. When we fell behind by 25 points in the second quarter and Kyle Korver was openly mocking us from the Sixers bench, I could tell that the team was really upset by it. They took it to heart, man.

When he's fired -- probably around the All-Star break:
Isiah: I feel like right now, the team is in a better position to turn things around than at any previous point in my tenure.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Column Live on Rotowire

This week's Give and Go is now live on This week, Rotowire managing editor Chris Liss and I discuss:

  • The disappearance of the prototype NBA center. Where are today's Hakeem, Patrick and The Admiral?
  • Is the NBA of today deeper at the wing positions than it's ever been? How do Kobe and D-Wade and LeBron and 'Melo stack up against Dream Team-era guys like Magic, Bird, Jordan and Drexler?
  • Should NBA teams draft "tools?" Or should they draft guys who've been proven to win basketball games? Would you rather have a Shelden Williams or a Rudy Gay?
Give and Go is published every week on Friday, and is available to subscribers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Downgrade D-Wade

New on -- my weekly fantasy hoops "Barometer." In this week's article:

  • Dwyane Wade has a championship ring. Will that have a negative effect on his fantasy value this season?
  • NBA teams are finalizing their rosters, and a few recent lottery picks are looking for jobs.
  • Halloween is the deadline for teams to pick up options for rookie contracts -- who is getting re-upped, and who is looking at free agency next summer?
Plus, the usual player upgrades and downgrades.

If you're not a Rotowire subscriber, you can check out the article in Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Steroids in the Association?

A pitcher in the World Series takes the mound looking like he forgot to wash up after using the potty, and the entire country is subjected to a week-long tizzy on cheating and the national pastime.

An unknown cyclist tests positive for some flavor of performance-enhancers, and it's Oprah material.

A couple of baseball players and track stars testify before a grand jury in the trial of a steroid supplier, and respected journalists get access to the "closed" transcripts, use them as the basis for a book, and are threatened with prison.

But the best player on the best defense in the NFL is hit with a four-game suspension for a failed steroid test, and the only reaction is "How are the Chargers going to get by without Shawne Merriman?"

(An aside... my favorite take on the Merriman story has been the "The Chargers are now without two of their top linebackers" angle... published while ignoring the fact that one, Steve Foley, is out after being shot during a confrontation with the police and the other is facing a drug suspension. Never mind what happened... let's get right to how this is going to affect the point spread.)

What's wrong with this picture? Why is it that we only care when baseball players and cyclists cheat?

With cheating in general and steroid abuse in particular on the top of the North American collective sporting consciousness this week, a reporter for the Toronto Globe and Mail spoke with Raptors Chris Bosh and Fred Jones about 'roids. Jones is built like an NFL halfback; Bosh is one of those super-slight big men who looks like he should stop skimping on dessert.

Bosh had a particularly enlightened view of steroid abuse, saying:

"You'd be a great player for a year, but after that, it would come crashing down."

"You can't play for a long time, getting big that fast, probably because it's more work on the joints."

"Eighty-two games is no joke. It can wear down on you . . . we play too much. Shoulders, ankles, knees, there's too many joints working at the same time."
(It is worth noting what he didn't say... which is "steroids are illegal and cheating is wrong. Besides, the NBA drug-tests for that stuff.)

The NBA does test for 'roids and has since 1999... but the only players who have been caught to date are Matt Geiger, Samaki Walker and Don McLean. None will ever be confused with Anthony Mason in terms of physique. (McLean's suspension inspired one of Charles Barkley's all-time best one-liners, "I've seen Don MacLean naked, and he doesn't use steroids.")

Three guys in seven years of testing. Either the NBA is remarkably free of performance-enhancers, or the marketing genius behind the "Original Whizzinator" is making a mint.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Money, it's GOT to be the shoes

Oh, the Nike people are going to be working overtime on this one.

Today's Daily News reports that Stephon Marbury is suffering from a minor case of bursitis in his heel and was held out of a preseason game as a result. So of course, one of the first questions from the press corps was "Does it have anything to do with the shoes?"

"The shoes" are Stephon's low-cost basketball kicks, which he's marketing via Steve & Barry's University Sportswear for $14.98 a pair -- and wearing in games this season.

So before this becomes a big to-do about how Steph is putting his image rehabilitation before team goals or some such nonsense, I want you all to embrace a couple of minor points:

  • Basketball players will occasionally fight aches and pains during training camp and beyond. As of yet, no one that I'm aware of has questioned Jerome James' shoes.
  • There is no early reason that basketball sneakers need to cost over $100 a pair. The unit cost of a pair of top-line kicks has been estimated at around $20. (Approximately $.02 of that is for labor.)
As Chuck D once said, "I like Nike, but wait a minute..."

I love the fact that Marbury has lent his name to this effort. I hope his sneaker line, and similar lines from other NBA stars (Shaq's shoe sells for around $40) bring a little sanity to the industry.

And I reserve the right to re-think this entire post of Stephon misses 20 games due to insufficient arch support.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Eric Musselman's DUI

Sacramento Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have announced that coach Eric Musselman won't face punishment from the team as a result of his recent arrest for driving under the influence. (Musselman could still face a fine or suspension from the NBA if he's convicted.)

Musselman is, by all accounts, a good guy and a family man. He's apparently not a big drinker. He made a mistake.

But this is not a strong enough response from the Kings or the NBA.

I'd like to see something a little stronger than Musselman's tearful apology. A substantial donation from the richer-than-god Maloofs to MADD or something similar. A SADD fundraiser at the Kings home opener. Anything to show that the NBA and the Kings take drunk driving seriously.

One would think drunk driving would be top-of-mind for David Stern and the rest of the NBA this week, given the recent news that the three-time loser who killed Malik Sealy in a drunk driving incident six years ago was arrested on October 17th with a blood alcohol content more than twice Minnesota's legal limit.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On Stephon's Couch

Finally -- an answer to the question, "What do Stephon Marbury and Rachel Ray have in common?"

Apparently, low-cost sneakers are just the first step in the large-scale image-rehabilitation campaign being put together by Marbury and his people. Today's New York Post tells us that Starbury is shopping a talk show.

"It's fun," Marbury told The Post's Marc Berman. "It's a lot of easier to speak to basketball players. I get certain things out of them because you're going through the same things that they're going through. The lives that we live is different than anyone else. You can relate to the person you're speaking to better than you [the media]. It was a great interview [with Kobe]. A lot of things people wouldn't be able to get from [Kobe], I can."
Along with Kobe, Chauncey Billups and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will reportedly submit to Stephon's questioning... as has Knick teammate Steve Francis. We'd be interested in seeing the Stevie Franchise interview, if only to determine whether or not Steph and Stevie can communicate OFF the court. (The Knicks' laughable perimeter defense tells me all I need to know about them ON the hardwood.)

Of course, Steph isn't nearly so accomodating when he's the interview-ee... he's reportedly been dodging questions about his cousin's run-in with the law last week.

Rotowire Barometer

In this week's Rotowire Barometer, we're taking a look at how lineups and rotations are shaping up for a number of teams across the NBA.

If you're not a subscriber yet, you can also read the column on Yahoo! Fantasy Sports.

Give and Go

New column is up on -- The Give and Go.

Give and Go is a weekly roundup of news/issues relating to the NBA and fantasy hoops, written as a conversation between me and Rotowire editor Chris Liss. This week, we're talking about:

  • Possible expansion of the NBA to include a European division
  • The NBA's transformation back to a faster-paced style of play
  • How to fix the playoff structure
Check it out: The Give and Go

( subscription required)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Case Against O'Neal Dismissed

This blog is starting to look more like a police blotter and less like a basketball roundup. Can we move up the start of the regular season a little?

Anyway... following up on the story about the lawsuit filed against Jermaine O'Neal in the wake of the Pistons/Pacers brawl: the suit was dismissed. The jury reportedly decided that Mr. Haddad was asking for a whuppin' -- which is more or less how we summarized the issue.

For those who have finally managed to get the image out of their heads... here's O'Neal's haymaker punch. (How did we ever live without YouTube?)

Ripped from the Headlines

This is going to make an excellent episode of Law & Order.

Earlier this week, Boston's Sebastian Telfair left a preseason game against the Knicks at halftime to speak with police. Telfair reportedly had a $50,000 necklace stolen outside P Diddy's restaurant in Manhattan -- the same place where rapper Fabolous was shot.

Didn't really think anything of it at the time. Gunfights involving rappers aren't that uncommon in the big city.

But today's Daily News casts the whole tale in a more interesting light. According to their sources, here's a more detailed sequence of events:

  • A member of Fabolous' posse, the "Street Family" steals Telfair's chain and flees into Justin's.
  • Telfair makes a cell phone call.
  • Twenty minutes later, the gunman is seen on video leaving the scene.

No one's accused anyone of anything... but I've seen enough episodes of CSI to put this one together. Someone thinks 'Bassy called in a favor.

For what it's worth, Telfair is reportedly cooperating with the police and has shared all the numbers he called that night.

Still, this sure doesn't sound good.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

First Impressions on the Celtics

Some quick notes on the Celtics, after watching their preseason game at Madison Square Garden last night.

  • Granted, I was watching them against the defensively-challenged Knick guards, but Boston's backcourt looked great. Sebastian Telfair was able to get into the lane at will and hit open teammates. Rajon Rondo is a speed demon. And Tony Allen was very solid... and the only one of the bunch who seemed to offer much on defense (though he did make a bonehead play by fouling Jamal Crawford on a three-point attempt). If I'm Delonte West, I'm getting increasingly nervous about missing these preseason games.
  • The Celtics are going to score an awful lot of points. Their guards bring the ball up quickly, and with their quickness, they'll get to the line a lot. They posted 108 points last night without leading scorer Paul Pierce, who sat out due to a sore hip.
  • The Celtics are going to give up an awful lot of points. Some of this is due to strategy -- they're looking to outgun opponents, not get into defensive battles. And some of this is due to personnel -- Theo Ratliff also missed last night's game. But some of this is due to the fact that they're just atrocious on defense. Michael Olowokandi allowed Eddy Curry (not known for his footspeed) to blow past for a couple of easy layups, and the Celtics front line at one point allowed the 5'9" Nate Robinson to score on a putback.
  • Player to watch -- Wally Szczerbiak. Opposing defenses will need to key on Paul Pierce, and Boston's points will be able to beat nearly any other backcourt off the dribble. That should open up tons of kick-outs for Szczerbiak, who has more than enough skill to take advantage.

First Impressions on the Knicks

Got my first look at the 2006/07 edition of the New York Knicks last night, as they played a preseason game against the Celtics. Here's my take:

  • Jalen Rose started, but don't get used to that. Isiah Thomas told the press that Quentin Richardson probably would have gotten the nod if Paul Pierce had been able to play. The Knicks seem to be thinking that small forward will be a primarily defensive position, and Rose plays no D. Until Jared Jeffries returns, Richardson or David Lee or even Renaldo Balkman would be better options.
  • New York's perimeter defense was atrocious last season, and right now it seems that's a trend that will continue. The starting backcourt of Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis doesn't match up well with quick guards. Look for guys like Allen Iverson, Sebastian Telfair and T.J. Ford to do a lot of damage against the Knicks.
  • How can you not like Nate Robinson? At one point in the first half, Robinson brought the ball up and passed off to someone on the wing -- it was either Jamal Crawford or Quentin Richardson, I didn't see. "Crawfordson" took a quick three, which hit the front rim... and Robinson snaked his way down the lane and scored on a putback. Left-handed. The guy is about as tall as my three-year-old son, and he's scoring on putbacks. That's outstanding.
  • Eddy Curry was active, and he looked a lot quicker than at any point last season. Of course, the Celtics' interior defense could charitably be described as "horrendous," so last night might not be a representative example.
  • Channing Frye was aggressive on the offensive end, really looking to score when he got the ball inside of 18 feet or so. I think he'll have a big season.

And finally, I think the fans at Madison Square Garden are going to fall in love with... Renaldo Balkman. The guy is crazily energetic on the floor, he attacks the basket with abandon, and he's able to rip down a rebound and immediately start pushing up the floor leading the break. New York hasn't had a big man with that sort of ability since Anthony Mason.

The more I see of Balkman, the more he reminds me of Mase-in-the-Face. Manic energy. Surprising ball-handling skills for a man his size. Active defense. Very limited offensive game. (Balkman's range extends to maybe six feet. Mason was famous for using the same ball-fake every time he got possession on the block, and then having his shot swatted.)

Do I think they drafted him too early? Yes. Could they have gotten another player with their first pick and still nabbed Balkman with the 29th? For sure. But Balkman will be fun to watch, and I think he'll make New York's rotation.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My New Favorite College Team...

Is the McMurry University... uh... "team."

I don't even know if they play hoops.

Doesn't matter.

Update on Eric Gordon/Kelvin Sampson

Interesting new twist to the Eric Gordon/Kelvin Sampson recruiting controversy. In today's "Hoops on Hoops" blog, Dick Weiss indicates that Gordon backed out of his verbal to Illinois over the summer. If that's true, I take back all... well, most... of the mean things I said about Kelvin Sampson.

The mean things I said about Jim Calhoun stand.

The Risks Associated with International Travel

Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, "When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?"
-- Saturday Night Live, "Bad Idea Jeans"

I've been taking a beating on the comment board of my 2006-07 Fantasy Busts column ( subscription required)... mostly for suggesting that Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade might not live up to the hype this season.

My reasoning? Paul just played an 82-game NBA season for the first time, then followed it up with a lot of difficult minutes for Team USA. Wade played all the way into June and then joined the national team, with very little time for rest or recovery. In either case, I'm concerned about the number of miles on their odometers this year, and thinking they might not play up to their usual standards.

On the other hand, Kevin Pelton of has an analysis that says I'm way off base; that there's no evidence to suggest that players in Paul or Wade's situations are at a higher risk of injury. (For the record, his column doesn't factor in players who are hurt while participating in international competitions -- like Tony Parker or Pau Gasol.)

I'm still on the fence. I'll concede that you can't make a blanket statement that players who participate in big-time tournaments over the summer are at a higher risk of injury. I'll even admit that some players probably benefit enormously from the international competition. (I think Carmelo Anthony is this year's example -- I think the leadership role he took with Team USA will benefit him, and the Nuggets, enormously this year.)

But I'm still not taking Paul or Wade in the first round of any of my drafts.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Verbals... not worth the paper...

Another day, another example of shady dealings by NCAA hoops coaches. This time it's Indiana's new head man, Kelvin Sampson, who managed to recruit Eric Gordon for the Hoosiers even though:

  • Gordon had already verbally committed to Illinois
  • Sampson is under recruiting restrictions dating back to some shenanigans when he was the head man at Oklahoma
This is a serious gray area for NCAA hoops programs. Generally, there's a working "gentleman's agreement" not to work players that have verbally committed -- but there's no hard and fast rule against it.

Now to be fair, Gordon is a tailor-made Hoosier out of North Central High School in Indianapolis. When he gave Bruce Weber his verbal last season, the coaching situation at Indiana was highly unsettled, and a blue-chipper like Gordon would have been nuts to commit. That said, Gordon (and Sampson) could have eliminated the appearance of any skullduggery by simply coming out and de-committing over the summer. That would have given Weber a chance to fill his scholarship -- now, it's a little late in the game to attract a player of Gordon's caliber.

This is the second time in recent memory that a big major conference recruit has switched teams at the last minute. Doug Wiggins, a mid-level recruit from Hartford, Connecticut gave an early verbal to Norm Roberts at St. John's. Wiggins then spent the summer shooting up the recruiting rankings with a series of stellar performances at camps and AAU events. The the Marcus Williams/AJ Price laptop scandal made the point guard situation at Connecticut a lot less solid, and suddenly, Wiggins signed with the Huskies. Roberts, like Weber, was hung out to dry after a coach in his own conference recruited a player who'd given a verbal.

This issue should become a big topic of conversation in the offseason. Other big-name coaches like Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Michigan's Tommy Amaker have spoken out on the subject, and the ethics committee of the National Association of Basketball Coaches is expected to weigh in, ESPN's Andy Katz blogs (ESPN Insider subscription required).

Friday, October 13, 2006

NBA Barometer

The first NBA Barometer of the season is live tonight on Rotowire. Barometer is a weekly column for fantasy basketball players, looking at who's hot and who's not. Some of the items covered this week:

  • Why the trade market for point guards should start heating up
  • Who should be the number one overall pick in your fantasy NBA draft
  • Who stands to gain from the legal troubles of several Indiana Pacers
To read Barometer and the rest of Rotowire's updates, you need to subscribe. And tell 'em Three Seconds sent ya.

More Legal Trouble for the Pacers

Even yet still more legal troubles for the Indiana Pacers, as a judge has inexplicably allowed the fan who stormed the court during the Detroit/Indiana melee to sue Jermaine O'Neal.

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post offers his take, which is essentially this: once this Charles Haddad set foot on the court, he was asking for whatever he got... just as Ron Artest had no defense for his actions once he entered the stands.

It pains me to admit that I'm 100% in agreement with Vecsey on this one. Imagine what happens if Haddad wins a chunk of O'Neal's money. We'll have "fans" falling all over themselves to pick fights with players in all sports.

Maybe it's time to bring back the cage around the court.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Six Pack of Beer > Six Stolen Laptops

Write a blog about hypocrisy at big-time college sports programs... you'll certainly never run out of material.

The latest entry features our old friends at the University of Connecticut. You remember them -- the same guys who suspended future NBA player Marcus Williams for a semester, and reserve-player-recovering from a life-threatening disease AJ Price for an entire year, after the two were caught up in the theft of some laptops. At the time, much was made of the apparent inequity between the two suspensions, and UConn coach Jim Calhoun washed his hands of the affair, claiming that a university disciplinary committee handed down the punishments.

(Right. Jim Calhoun has no say over what happens to his players. I'd be more inclined to believe that Jodi Rell runs legislation past stutterin' Jim before she signs anything into law. But I digress.)

So now, thanks to Deadspin, we have the story of five Connecticut football players who have been dismissed from the team. Their transgression? They are under 21, and they purchased a couple of six-packs of beer.

Couple of points worth noting:

  • They bought the beer. They didn't steal it. And this was reportedly a first offense for the students involved.
  • Even if they HAD stolen the beers, we're pretty sure that a laptop costs a whole lot more money, Moore's Law be damned.
  • According to the Hartford Courant, the punishment was handed down by coach Randy Edsall -- not some mysterious disciplinary committee.
  • I may be going out on a limb here, but I haven't seen any of these kids' names on Mel Kiper's big board.
So what have we learned? At the University of Connecticut, it is worse for an underage player to purchase a six-pack of beer than to steal and attempt to fence fellow students' laptops. I wonder if they have a course in ethics up there in Storrs.

I hope Jonathan the Husky is hanging his tail between his legs in shame.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Potentially, the best Knicks news in a LOOOOONG time

You'll need an MBA to really decipher most of what's going on in this story from Blogging Stocks. Here's the "I was an English major" summary:

  • The Dolans are trying buy up shares of Cablevision and make the company private.
  • Some shareholders and other financial-analyst types think the current shareholders might get a better deal by splitting up the company assets -- like, say, the Knicks -- and selling each to the highest bidder.
  • There's also conjecture that Time Warner's cable division could get involved.
What does all this mean? Possibly nothing. The Dolan family has a huge controlling interest in the company, and they're unlikely to give that up without a great deal of kicking and screaming. But, for the first time in forever, it does seem like a real possibility. And ask any Knick fan -- like my man "Sell the Knicks" -- Isiah Thomas has been bad, but the root of the Knicks' problems is in the executive suite.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bull Market for Backup Points

Kenny Anderson, get your resume ready... it looks we're about to have a big run on backup point guards.

Two teams that consider themselves title contenders, the Heat and the Pistons, are reportedly looking for additional depth at the point. Miami is likely to make the first move; no one thinks that the tandem of Jason Williams and Gary Payton will make it through 82 games (plus the playoffs) healthy. Plus, Shandon Anderson's neck injury has put his future with team Riley in doubt, which means there may be an open spot on the champs' roster.

Detroit is also rumored to be on the lookout for point guard help, and Atlanta seems like a reasonable destination given Speedy Claxton's recent injury.

So clearly, there's a need -- what about a supplier? Milwaukee seems to be three-deep in serviceable guards with Mo Williams, Charlie Bell and Steve Blake. With the announcement that Williams will start, it would seem that one of the other two could be expendable. The Knicks seem to have a massive glut in the backcourt, but there's not really a pure point guard in the bunch, and the New York papers seem to think that Jim Dolan isn't eager to let Isiah Thomas swing another big trade (as evidenced by the reports that Jalen Rose won't be dealt this season).

Two names to watch: San Antonio's Beno Udrih and Utah's Brian Chase. Udrih has fallen to fourth on the Spurs point guard depth chart, behind Tony Parker, Brent Barry and Jacque Vaughn, and the Spurs haven't yet picked up his third-year option. Chase, an undrafted free agent from West Virginia, has reportedly given second-year man Deron Williams fits with his quickness and attacking style.

And let's not forget Jay Williams. I'm not sure about Williams' chances of sticking with New Jersey; not with Marcus Williams in the house. But all these openings -- some of them with very attractive teams -- have to increase the odds that he'll play in the NBA in 2006-07.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Another Reason to Root Against Miami

Taking as inspiration Pat Riley's legendary trademark on "three-peat," a financial analyst in South Florida has registered a trademark for a pun that we'll be hearing entirely too often
if Miami makes another run at the NBA title.

I won't mention the actual phrase here, because I don't want to encourage this sort of thing. Oh, and I don't want him charging me.

Miami Herald: Cashing In on a Catch Phrase

Hawks with Broken Wings

I don't think the Hawks will be good -- not by any stretch of the imagination -- but I wrote in several season previews that I think Speedy Claxton is an excellent fit and fantasy sleeper on a team with tons of athletic wings and finishers. The big caveat: can Speedy stay healthy?

The big answer: No, not so much.

Speedy broke a finger during a workout; he'll miss six weeks and might not be ready for the season opener. Zaza Pachulia is also on the shelf, after taking a Lorenzen Wright elbow to the noodle during practice -- he needed 30 stitches . And now, rookie Solomon Jones is sidelined with a sprained ankle.

I still think Claxton will put up big numbers on this team -- but with him missing the entire preseason now, it seems reasonable to expect that chemistry will take more time to develop. The new recommendation: don't draft him, but target him for a "buy low" trade or free-agent pickup around New Year's, and look for Speedy to put up nice numbers down the stretch.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Hawks Limping Through Training Camp

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Wild Night Out with Stephen Jackson

"After his arraignment, Jackson is rumored to be headed to the Portland Trailblazers in a three-player trade."

This one is almost too easy... - Stephen Jackson punched, hit by car, fires shots

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Troy Murphy moves to Center

The NBA is a better place with Don Nelson in it.

Now, I don't think Nellie is going to win anything with the Warriors... one could actually make the argument that he's become the Buck Showalter of the NBA -- he can get teams pointed in the right direction, but it's his successor that'll get a ring.

That said, it takes a known noncomformist like Nelson to do something truly earth-shattering... like setting up a starting lineup that puts the best five guys on the floor, regardless of the positions listed on their basketball cards.

(Do they still make basketball cards?) Murphy moves to center for new-look Warriors

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Olowokandi Makes Surprise Appearance

Quick poll -- what's the most surprising fact in this story?

a) Michael Olowokandi, the first overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, showed up for camp with the Celtics as the 18th man on a 15-man roster.
b) Michael Olowokandi was the first overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. (How did that happen? Did he have the same agent as Ryan Leaf? We need to get to the bottom of this.)
c) Michael Olowokandi is in camp with the Celtics, and not the Knicks.

Olowokandi makes surprise appearance - The Boston Globe

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Return of A. J. Price

OK... I'm glad to see that AJ Price is doing well. Really, I am.

But I still think the "The University decided the punishment, Jim Calhoun didn't" story is shaky at best. Price and Marcus Williams committed the same crime -- but somehow, the NBA-caliber point guard was only suspended for a semester, while the redshirt recovering from a life-threatening medical condition had to miss the whole year.

Remember this, Jimmy Calhoun... karma is a bitch. 'Course, maybe you learned that during the George Mason game. UConn's Price itching to make his mark

Isiah Already Screened Out

Could the Knicks actually get worse this season?

Could be.

Here's an ominous sign -- the New York Daily News is reporting that Isiah Thomas invited the entire team to New York for informal workouts starting just after Labor Day. Apparently only Channing Frye and David Lee deigned to attend.


New York Daily News: Isiah already screened out

'Cheap, toy store balls'

I'd like to thank Shaq-Fu for weighing in on the NBA's new game ball... which he compared to the sort of indoor/outdoor balls usually sold at places like KayBee Toys, imprinted with a picture of SpongeBob Square Pants.

Here's my suggestion -- let's bring a grand pickup hoops tradition to the NBA. Each player brings his own ball, and before the game, the teams will decide whether to use the leather ball with one of the panels starting to tear away on one side, the ball that's slightly deflated, the ball that's over-inflated like the ones used in the free-throw booth at a church carnival, or the beat old model that has a slight bulge on one side. Let's see what THAT would do to shooting percentages. Shaq detests NBA's new balls

Monday, October 02, 2006

Maybe THIS is how he made the original Dream Team...

As if we needed another reason to think that NBA players are vastly overpaid... Group including Laettner agrees to buy Grizz

State of the Knicks

My first post on this blog will serve notice that the East Coast Bias will be in full effect here at Three Seconds; I'll kick things off with a few observations on everyone's favorite punching bag, the New York Knickerbockers.

How will the Knicks do this season?

My guess (and my worst fear... well, not my worst fear, but my worst fear relating to NBA hoops) is that the Knicks will finish with a thoroughly mediocre .500 record and squeak into the sixth or seventh playoff spot.

That would be real bad. Why? Because it would allow Isiah Thomas to take credit for an 18-game turnaround.

You are what your record says you are -- true. But I don't think the Knicks were a 23-win team last year. Larry Brown came in and tried to force a roster reconstruction, the team resisted, and Isiah took the players' side. A coach without Brown's credentials would probably have been able to coax 10-15 more wins out of last year's squad by simply staying out of the way. That in mind, I'm discounting any Isiah-related turnaround by the 16 or so additional games Starbury and company should have won last year.

'Course, my opinion doesn't really matter. If the Knicks make the playoffs, Jim Dolan will probably extend Isiah's contract well into the next decade.

Other Knicks News
Eddy Curry is reportedly in much better shape going into training camp. Big Ed doesn't have the reputation of being a workout warrior, but remember, last summer he was more or less shut down for months due to his heart problems. Let's hope he keeps his playing weight under three bills.

Mo Taylor is gone. He won't be missed. Zeke is bringing in some pretty interesting names to fill the open roster spot, including one I won't even attempt to type. The New York Post has the story.

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