Friday 5 with KB: Nuts and bolts
Posted on: February 4, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 2:26 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
In today's Friday 5 with KB: All-Star snubs, the upcoming CBA talks, and the league's policy on, ahem ... man-parts.
1. Interesting note from Donnie Walsh yesterday, mentioning that he's more concerned about the trade deadline, among other things, rather than his contract future. Your Post-Ups today cover Walsh's situation in detail, but it still begs the question: Do you think the Knicks are making a move before the deadline? (Shotout to Antonio on Twitter for the question.)
I think the chances are fairly high -- great than 90 percent -- that the Knicks make some sort of trade before the deadline. Not necessarily a Carmelo trade, although that's still possible, but some kind of trade to either give Amar'e some help in the front court, upgrade backup point guard, or replenish future draft picks that were lost in Walsh's monumental effort to get the Knicks under the cap and with roster and cap flexibility for the next two years. Walsh totally deserved the two-year contract extension Jim Dolan just gave him. Wait, what? Dolan hasn't even decided whether to exercise Walsh's option, which comes due April 30? Oh. Oh, that is really bad. Please refer to Post-Ups later in the day Friday for an explanation of Walsh's limbo and where the 'Bockers stand in trade talks.
2. Well, Ken, the coaches didn't heed your words. They took Tim Duncan over LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Was that the most egregious selection or was there another that bugged you more?
I felt really good about the rest of the picks -- both mine and the coaches', since other than Duncan they were the same. At the end of the day, it's hard to get too bent out of shape over an immortal player getting a lifetime achievement vote to the All-Star team. So I won't be mad about Love getting snubbed until the commissioner snubs him as Yao's injury replacement. Then I'll be mad at the commissioner. It would've been nice to find a spot for Aldridge, too, as well as Josh Smith. Those were the most deserving guys who didn't make it, in my estimation.
3. So the CBA talk is in two weeks at All-Star weekend. Some are predicting the apocalypse. Some are predicting a peaceful, productive meeting. We had a phalanx of All-Stars blow off the day of service to make a statement at the bargaining table last year. What do you think we're going to get this year?
Probably a lot of rhetoric, and a lame/tame bargaining session that will mostly be symbolic. Not a whole lot of actual negotiating and work will get done due to the nature of the weekend. It seems like time is running out, but actually there is still plenty of time left for the lawyers and number-crunchers to figure all of this out. So in terms of developments, I'd like to see a small concession or baby step forward by each side. For example, if David Stern says the owners won't lock the players out immediately on July 1 if there is reasonable expectation of an agreement, and if Billy Hunter says the players are willing to give up the mid-level exception, those would be small but important signs of good faith on both sides. If both sides remain absolutely entrenched in their positions, the All-Star bargaining session and accompanying news conferences will be a waste of time.
4. Tom Thibodeau's defense has been so superb this year. And he hasn't been at full strength outside of more than a few weeks. Are we overlooking Chicago penciling in Miami or Orlando for the Eastern Finals?
Given Orlando's defensive struggles and identity crisis at the moment, I think it's fair to say that the Bulls shouldn't be overlooked as a candidate to upset Miami and meet the Celtics in the conference finals. Chicago has the two ingredients that could pull that off -- outstanding team defense, as you mentioned, and an outlandish talent in Derrick Rose, who is good enough to win a playoff series by himself. Having said that, I plan to be in Boston next Sunday for the Heat-Celtics, and I fully expect that to be a preview of the conference finals.
5. Kevin Garnett tapped a guy in the man parts. Eddie House intimated that he has sizable man parts. Kevin Garnett was neither fined, nor suspended. Eddie House was fined. Does the NBA need to re-examine its junk policy or am I completely nuts?
I have not queried Stu Jackson about the, um, nuts and bolts of these decisions. But knowing how the league office views such things, I believe the distinction was that Garnett's actions came during the course of a basketball play -- defending a 3-point shot, however dirty those defensive tactics were. Garnett got ejected, and that punishment fit the crime. (Easy for me to say.) House's actions fell under the category of excessive celebration and unsportsmanlike conduct -- similar to barking at the opposing bench or standing over a fallen opponent and talking about his mama. So that's the difference.
Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at@cbssportsnba .