Blog Entry

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 5:55 pm's Ken Berger discusses the tech debate, Amar'e Stoudemire's MSG debut, the Celtics' depth, and the continuing MeloDrama about Carmelo Anthony.

Posted by Matt Moore

Each week we'll be bringing you five questions for our own Ken Berger of about the inside happenings of the league. This week, Ken talks about the Celtics' depth, this ridiculous tech debate, and drops some knowledge on the latest happenings in the Carmelo Anthony trade discussions. You can email your questions to the Friday 5 With KB at or hit us up on Twitter at @cbssportsnba.

1. Obviously the big story this week is about the technical fouls and Kevin Garnett's ejection which you wrote about. Do you see the league trying to take this hard of a line when the season starts or will they back off to make sure we don't have Garnett tossed on opening night against Miami?

Ken Berger, Both sides are going to have to adjust and find some sort of middle ground. The NBPA put its cards on the table Thursday by threatening legal action over the league's clampdown on complaining. On one hand, this is a way for the union to force the league to make the next move and soften its stance. With the CBA showdown looming, I don't see that happening. In fact, by doing exactly what the league is trying to eliminate -- complaining -- the players may have actually caused the league office to dig in even harder on its desire to enforce the new rules. There's no comment or response from league executives yet regarding the players' lawsuit threat. I suspect the NBA will publicly ignore the players' complaint, but privately urge the officials to lighten up a bit. I think players, officials and fans will agree that blatant bullying and demonstrative complaining should result in a tech. It's unrealistic to think that spontaneous outbursts -- a fist pump, a clap, a shrug, and "and-one" gesture -- can be legislated out of the game. Another undesirable result of teeing up every player who disagrees with a call will be the shutting down of communication between players and refs. A little give-and-take is vital to keeping the game moving and letting the players feel as though they have a voice. Trying to force the players to clam up and become robots will only heighten their frustration, lead to more techs and ejections, and make for a bad, bad scene.

2. The other story this week is the continuing saga of the idiocy that is Gilbert Arenas. Flip Saunders talked about how disappointed he was in Arenas, and that seems like such a shame because Saunders has gone out of his way to try and embrace Arenas back into the fold. Is this going to to renew the Wizards' efforts to move him, no matter how difficult that may be?

KB: The problem is this: Washington's best chance to trade Arenas would be if he proved right away that he's OK mentally and physically. He's 0-for-2 so far -- faking an injury and getting fined, and then actually getting hurt in the very next game. So until Arenas can stay on the court, tone down the distractions and prove that he's still capable of playing at an All-Star level, the Wizards are stuck with him and the $80 million he's owed. He has to do that consistently; I'm told that any teams that may be interested in taking a chance need to see a body of work consisting of at least a month or two with effective play and no shenanigans before they'll be willing to consider it.

3. Amar'e certainly looked good against the Celtics, even during the brief period Garnett was on the floor. Raymond Felton seems to be struggling with him in the pick and roll, but is it possible that Stoudemire (gasp) actually doesn't need Steve Nash in order to be a top flight power forward in this league?

KB: You're right. If he stays healthy, Stoudemire will put up immense numbers in New York. Mike D'Antoni's offense has been like a giant fan with nowhere to blow the air. Stoudemire is the outlet the system has been craving. It will take time for Felton and Stoudemire to achieve anything that resembles chemistry; and it hasn't helped that Felton embraced his new team, new power forward and new system by showing up barely a week before camp, and overweight, at that.

4. Boston's depth seems like it's going to be better than it has been in years. If that's the case, they're going to rest starters even more than last year, right?

KB: That's the plan, but Doc Rivers is ready for the plan to change. The players he's most concerned with health-wise aren't Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They're the role players, such as the role players named O'Neal. Rivers already has admitted publicly that it's unrealistic to think the Celtics can make it through the regular season without injuries. Once Kendrick Perkins comes back, Jermaine O'Neal will go to the bench, but he won't be any less susceptible to aches and pains. I think if Doc could shave a minute or three off Pierce's and Allen's averages from last season -- 34 and 35, respectively -- he'd feel good about it going into the postseason. Keeping Garnett around 29 minutes -- his average last season -- is probably about right, given that he's healthier than he was at any point in 2009-10. The big concern is with the aging bigs. Doc is going to have to be careful with anyone named O'Neal.

5. The Blazers got outed this week as one of the failed participants in the last gasps of the Carmelo four-way. Miller's got to be getting tired of being on the block, especially after only a little more than a year with Portland. Is that situation going to go anywhere any time soon?

KB: The Melo talks never stopped; they've just quieted down. New Jersey has continued to engage in discussions with Denver, though there's been little progress over the past week or so. Rarely does a low-profile front-office hire have a major impact on a franchise-shaping decision, but the Nuggets' hiring of cap whiz Pete D'Alessandro will greatly streamline the Melo negotiations once they Heat up again. One of the biggest problems for teams dealing with Denver was that new GM Masai Ujiri had never put together a trade of such magnitude. His strength is personnel; with Mark Warkentien out of the picture, the Nuggets had nobody well-versed in the complexities of structuring complicated trades. D'Alessandro's knowledge of the CBA and his relationships with other deal-makers around the league will breathe new life into the Melo talks. There may still be philosophical hangups among Denver's convoluted power structure, but at least there will be someone involved who has experience navigating the minefield of NBA trade rules. The Nuggets, Nets, Jazz and Bobcats were close enough to agreeing on a deal that a little tweaking here or there by someone with a strong background in such things would've pushed it to the finish line. It's only a matter of time before it gets to that point again. And once it does, a significant obstacle to completing the original deal won't be a factor anymore.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2010 6:43 pm

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

It appears that Carmelo may have learned from the experiences of LeBron and Bosh this past summer. Thus far, Melo is leaving the behind the scence negotiations to his agents and is conducting himself in a very professional manner as a member of the Niggets. No one can agrue that Melo, like Bosh and LeBron before him, does not have the right to not accept an extension with the Nuggets and leave after the season for the team of his choice. However, after everythiong is said and done, hopefully unlike the case with Bosh and LeBron, there will not be the preception that Melo played with peoples' emotions in the process.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2010 12:07 pm

The Knicks will....

The Knicks will make the playoffs this season!

Concerning Felton, he did arrive at camp overweight; he is a professional athlete, that has been successful throughout every level of basketball. I am not worried about him having the drive to get him self ready for opening night. With Gallinari, Mason Jr., Chandler, Randolf, and the young rookie from Stanford (I can't think of his name right now) on the perimeter, he will rack up a lot of assists. When his "on the court" relationship with Amare grows, his PG ranking in the NBA will rise with it. The kid was a star at UNC, and was one of the rare "bright light" on the Bobcats, the past few seasons. I am actually excited to have and Felton.

Everyone has overlooked the David Lee trade and have failed to realize that the Knicks made out BIG TIME! Randolf is a 22 yr old, freak of an athlete. In my opinion, he is a Raw, lefty Marcus Camby, with more Athleticism and better offensive skills. He tends to take bad shots, but makes up for it with his great plays. Turiaf is a battle tested big man, who will block shots, grab boards, get dirty, and bang with all the big men in the league. You need "maniacs" like that on your team, roaming the paint. Azubuike is an athletic 2 guard, who can shoot the 3, and dunk it on your head; plays good D, but needs to stay healthy.

What has plagued the Knicks the past few seasons is their lack of consistent play and their lack of a STARS/leaders. Gallinari is an athletic Dirk Nowitzki, that if he stays healthy, he will average 20+ pts per game, easy! With Felton, Chandler, Gallo, Amare, Turiaf in the starting line up. Then having Mason Jr., Randolf, Toney Douglaus, Mosgev, Azubuike, and the two rookies on the bench, the Knicks are built for the present and future. They are an exciting team in the making, and will give every team in the league a problem.

What was Extremely annoying last season was that the level of their play came and went based on their opponent. When they played a good team, they stepped it up and battled the entire game. When the Raptors came into town, they stunk up the court. This season will be different. All the Knicks haters will be dissappointed to realize that the Knicks are back and that the NBA is at its best when the NY Knicks are a good team.

Ps: If the Knicks trade for Carmelo, forget about Miami, NY KNICKS is the team to beat in the EAST!

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:04 am

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

I really don't see the Knicks making the playoffs this year, and if they do it will be just barely.  I think they'll do well beating up on the lesser teams with their speedy offense, and they'll fair well against the mediocre teams, but the good teams are gonna eat them right up.  I'm definitely not sold on Felton, although I don't think he's terrible.  Really they need to get Melo next year, then it will be a totally different ball game, that is the main piece they're missing if we want to talk about contending.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2010 12:04 am

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

Missing piece maybe, but there still are a lot of other missing pieces in D'Antoni's Knicks system...

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: October 16, 2010 8:07 pm

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

'Stoudemire Missing Piece for D'Antoni's System': nice headline for Knicks-sucker readers.  Knicks, again, going nowhere.  Missing pieces are all filed under Checketts/Thomas idiocies.

Since: Jan 12, 2009
Posted on: October 16, 2010 5:59 pm

Burger Question

When are you going to get a new head shot for your blog?

Since: Oct 16, 2010
Posted on: October 16, 2010 1:48 am

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

I feel bad for GA... He was such an awesome exciting player and now he can not seem to do anything right. I know he was said things to the effect that he is only trying to teach John Wall the ropes and get out of Washington, but if he could only pull himself together and maybe return to his old form and old self than Washington could be a seriously good team.

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