Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:21 am
Posted by Royce Young
You have to give it to the NBA 2K series. They constantly crank out terrific games, but on top of it, their marketing is always sublime. The latest batch of commercials have been good, but pretty much all you have to do is put Giants closer Brian Wilson -- and his beard -- in some Stockton-style tight shorts, a blond wig and let him riff on the Celtics, and you've got a winner. Guarans.
Posted on: October 8, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 5:24 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
On Thursday, Yahoo Sports detailed the active role played by Boston Celtics All-Star forward Kevin Garnett in the ongoing labor negotiations. Garnett, who is 35 and set to make $21.2 million in 2011-2012, has been urging his fellow players to stand firm in collective bargaining negotiations despite the fact that he stands to lose more money than anyone not named Kobe Bryant if the coming season is delayed or cancelled.
Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant said on Friday he wasn't capable of the same sacrifice that Garnett is prepared to make during a Twitter conversation with Nate Jones, an employee of the agency that represents him, Goodwin Sports Management.
"Would u give up 20 million for the better of the CBA?" Durant asked Jones. "I wouldn't do it."
Jones rightly pointed out that Garnett isn't necessarily "giving up" the money, but simply putting the money at risk in the name of leverage in the ongoing CBA negotiations. Jones later clarified that Durant "wasn't saying he thinks the players should just accept 50/50," a reference to the owner's current reported down-the-middle proposal for a revenue split. The National Basketball Players Association has been pushing for something closer to a 53 percent share for the players, which is still down from the 57 percent they were paid under the last agreement.
This is a very interesting and honest admission from Durant, but it shouldn't be surprising, even though he is one of the league's brightest stars. His statement isn't evidence that he's a "greedy millionaire" and it doesn't represent disloyalty to his union.
Really, it's evidence that his perspective is shaped by two key factors: the presence of restrictive rookie contracts in the just expired CBA and his age.
Durant, 23 years old and the NBA's scoring champ for the past two seasons, has had his salary set in stone by the NBA's collective bargaining agreement for his entire 4-year career. Basketball-Reference.com puts his career earnings at $19.5 million over four years and while he has numerous national endorsement deals, there's a decent shot that after taxes and expenses Durant doesn't have $20 million in the bank. In other words, all Durant is saying is that he wouldn't give up what amounts to his lifetime savings to secure a stronger collective bargaining agreement. That seems to be a fair position.
Garnett, on the other hand, has banked some $270 million in salary over the course of his 16-year NBA career. Six times he was paid more than $20 million per season; another six times he was paid between $16 million and $20 million. Over the past two seasons, Durant has been in the MVP discussion and has been of similar importance to the Thunder as Garnett has been to the Celtics. Durant took home nearly $11 million; Garnett was paid more than $35 milllion.
While $20 million is $20 million, the relative hit that Garnett would take from such a sacrifice is peanuts compared to the impact a similar sacrifice would have on Durant. It's quite possible that in 10 years, with an extra $150 million in contracts in hand, Durant would feel differently than he does today.
The worst thing that you can say about Durant here is that he's self-interested. That's no crime in the ongoing lockout or anywhere else in our country, a nation built on pursuing self-interest free of restrictions. NBA officials, NBA owners, rich NBA players, average NBA players, below-average NBA players, agents, stadium employees, media and fans have are all self-interested in this labor struggle.
The bigger issue raised by these comments is where non-stars stand in all of this. Durant, now that he has completed his rookie deal, has a lucrative five-year, guaranteed contract coming his way no matter what. Indeed, he is set to make $13.6 million next season. For players without multi-year contracts and without the skills to ensure large amounts of future income, the temptation to take whatever deal is on the table and get back to work is very real, and increasing by the week.
Garnett has, without question, put his money where his mouth is this week. But his money, frankly, is unimaginable to the average player. It's virtually impossible for Garnett to lead by example here because his earned income, despite public perception, is such an exception, rather than the rule.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 2:13 pm
By Matt Moore
The Chicago-Boston rivalry may be the best in the NBA. The rivalries with the Heat are too stilted, too forced, too bent on the drama surrounding the Heat without actual basketball behind it. But the Celtics and Bulls have the 2009 seven-game series which is still revered as one of the greatest first-round series ever, if not the best. You've got star power with contrast, in the form of Derrick Rose vs. Rajon Rondo, Carlos Boozer vs. Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen vs.... no, wait, no one on Chicago can shoot. But still. Throw in Joakim Noah and you've got a great rivarly that it would be a shame to lose to a lockout should we lose the year and that be the end of the Celtics' real run.
But if you're looking for some lockout bulletin board material, here's a nice tidbit. Rajon Rondo did an interview with Red Bull after one of their events, and he went ahead and gave Chicago the love it's shown him for so long, right back.
Madison Square Garden however, does not harbor the noisiest fans according to Rondo, an honor that he says goes to the Golden State Warriors. “They got a pretty loud crowd,” he pointed out.via Celtics Basketball Player Rajon Rondo Stays Busy in NBA Off-season.
Rondo famously threw Kirk Hinrich into a table at one point during a scuffle, and has had run-ins with about half the Bulls. So this should come as no surprise. So Joakim Noah probably hates the Heat crowd the most, and Rondo's against Chicago's. Oh, hey, Rondo and Carlos Boozer have something in common!
This rivalry will be interesting to watch as the Bulls continue to develop under former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and the Big 3 decline in Boston. Somehow I'm thinking Jeff Green isn't going to be sparking any huge conflicts. But it's good to know Rondo will always have a place where everybody knows his name, even if they're following it with the word "sucks."
Posted on: September 29, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 5:06 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Chemistry isn't just something that Walter White is good at. It's a basketball buzzword, that hidden ingredient that can supposedly take a good team straight to greatness.
Build a team with talent, add a good coach and make sure they all like each other and you've got a recipe for good things. Isiah Thomas had chemistry as a major part of "The Secret," which is the secret formula to winning. The right mix of stars, role players and quality chemistry means success.
Everyone embraces that idea. Everyone agrees that it's better to like your teammates than not. Everyone knows that if you've got two guys on the floor that hate each other's guts, it's going to affect their ability to win.
But the question is, how much does it matter? And moreover, why does it matter?
Dwyane Wade admitted this week that he feels the real reason the Mavericks topped his super-loaded Heat team is because they were mixed better. He said, "One thing that Dallas beat us at – they had more chemistry than us. They had a game plan and we were still figuring ours out in our first year together."
Chemistry can kind of be a cop-out though. When you're losing and things are working right, it's easy to just say, "It's our chemistry, man." The Heat certainly lacked a feel for each other at times. Between LeBron and Wade, it was a teeter-totter on who got the ball with Chris Bosh awkwardly hanging in the balance. It was really a basketball science fair project. The Heat were putting the limits of basketball chemistry to the test and I suppose they failed since they lost, but there's always time to improve.
Wade's referencing on-court chemistry though. What about just general locker room mood? The off-court chemistry. Is it equally as important? Here's the thing: I think with one, comes the other. If you get along off the court, you're likely to get along on it. I'm not totally sure it works the other way -- see: Kobe and Shaq -- but it's always better to like the guy next to you rather than not.
What made me really start thinking about it was the supposed rift between Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins. The Thunder -- a team known worldwide for their outstanding chemistry -- traded away Jeff Green, a player Kevin Durant, Westbrook and James Harden referred to as a "brother," for Perkins.
The Thunder really we the ideal model of "The Secret," except for one flaw: Jeff Green really isn't good, at least not where the Thunder were playing him. So general manager Sam Presti risked chemistry trading away brother Jeff to bring in a big, burly, scowly center.
With the Perkins/Westbrook supposed scuffle, the fact is, chemistry is important, but really mostly when you're losing. It's easy to stick together when you're winning. But when you lose, things get tested. That's really where it affected the Celtics most. Nothing was wrong with them except their heads were shaken after Perk was dealt. And when they started slipping, they had actual evidence for why they were sulking. See? We need Perk! Maybe with Perk in the locker room, the Celtics would've been able to stay together. Maybe because he was gone, the team went into a funk and stopped trusting each other. Who knows. Chemistry certainly matters, but mostly when times are bad. What happens to the Thunder if they start next season 5-11 or something? Will fingers get pointed? Will Perk and Westbrook clash more? Will Durant have to try and put his foot down? It's all rosy until it's not.
Here's how important Jeff Green was to the Thunder: Presti actually cried during the press conference announcing the deal. If you want to know about team chemistry, the Thunder with Jeff Green were the model. Every player loved each other the same. All that Westbrook vs. Durant stuff was yet to come and honestly, it might've never surfaced if Green had stayed on the roster. He was the most veteran of their young core, the steady, calming influence.
But Presti obviously was ready and willing to risk that chemistry for the sake of bringing in a player that actually strengthened the roster. Not that Perkins was some kind of bad guy that couldn't get along with teammates. In fact, his relationship with the Celtics was almost exactly the same thing as Green in OKC.
The Celtics were shaken when Perkins was traded. Ainge dared to mess with Boston's brotherhood and in the end, paid for it. Was it because the chemistry was shaken or just because the team was kind of a mess, considering Perkins was replaced by Nenad Krstic, a broken Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal. Ask a basketball chemist and it's because Ainge tinkered with the winning locker room formula. Maybe it's a case by case thing, but clearly the Thunder were able to move past it. In the end, it was more about matchups, ability and rosters, not some imaginary force where friendships when games.
It all matters to a degree when you're trying to win, but chemistry alone doesn't win, both on and off the court. Chemistry's just one of the ingredients in the larger recipe for winning.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:22 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Free agent guard Delonte West, who spent last season with the Boston Celtics, has managed to wiggle his way into more than his fair share of headlines this summer. And now, after a lengthy and public search, he reports on Twitter that he's landed himself a new job.
West has spent the lockout summer working on a rap album, trying to explain why he arrested with multiple loaded weapons while riding a motorcycle, applying for a job at Home Depot, and contemplating selling knives. All the while, he's repeatedly made it clear that he's looking for work during the ongoing NBA lockout.
On Wednesday, West tweeted that he was applying for a position at Regency Furniture Showrooms, a furniture chain in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., because he "need[s] a second job to stay afloat during the lockout."
Later Wednesday, West tweeted: "I am now an official employee of Regency Furniture."
Regency's website describes the company as follows.
Regency Furniture Showrooms is a growing leader in home furnishings. With style and selections, as well as unbeatable prices, insures us to be on the cutting edge in the current market. Seven (7) stores conveniently located allow consumers the easy of access though out Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area.The fun part here is that West tweeted a photo of his job application. The application shows that West applied for a "stock" position, is ready to start work "yesterday," found out about the company through "word of mouth," and was looking for "full-time" work.
On the application, West does disclose that he has been convicted of a crime. Asked to explain what happened, West simply wrote that his gun arrest was the result of a "misunderstanding."
Here's a look at the Regency Furniture Showrooms employment application that West uploaded to Twitter.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Posted by Royce Young
So the lockout could be ending soon, depending on who you're listening to. Maybe it extends into the season, but if it doesn't and a deal gets settled in the next few weeks, we're going to have one heck of a free agency period. Really, no matter when it's settled, we're going to have one wild free agency period.
(Unless we were to miss all of 2011-12 and you combined this class with next year's group. Now that would be something.)
If you thought the summer of 2010 was a frenzy, try cramming it all into a two-week period. Maybe I'm just thinking of how horrible it'll be for me. Regardless, you can be sure that all 30 teams have a pre-written itinerary on what they want to accomplish once the lockout is lifted. They have been planning, plotting and preparing to target the players they want or finish up a few final transactions on the roster.
But what's the first order of business for everybody? What's the priority, the thing that each team wants to get done right away? Here's a stab at each team's top job.
Atlanta Hawks: It really appears that the Hawks are ready and willing to let Jamal Crawford walk, but there's still a decision to made whether or not they want to compete for him in the free agent market. He was a key part of the team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Eastern Semifinals and re-signing him could be a priority. Problem is, they don't really have the funds for it.
Boston Celtics: What happens with Jeff Green? The Celtics have already tendered him a qualifying offer, but someone surely will extend him an offer sheet. The Celtics have issues at center still and Glen Davis is unrestricted, but figuring out Jeff Green's situation is probably weighing heaviest on Danny Ainge's mind.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats made a big splash in the draft, but if that's going to matter, they've got to get Bismack Biyombo on the team. His buyout could still be a major issue and though he says he'll be on the team when training camp starts, that's definitely up in the air.
Chicago Bulls: Wing scorer. Say it with me, wing scorer. Derrick Rose needs help (and an extension) in a big time way and it's up to Gar Foreman and company to find that help. Jamal Crawford maybe? Caron Butler? J.R. Smith if he wasn't in China? Someone has to give Rose a little offensive help and that's the top priority for the Bulls.
Cleveland Cavaliers: First thing? Putting Baron Davis on the scales to make sure he doesn't weigh 300 pounds. After that, there isn't a whole lot to be done in Cleveland. The club's rebuilding around their two lottery picks and you don't want to crowd the roster in a way that stunts their development.
Dallas Mavericks: The defending champs have a whole lot on their plate once the lockout ends. Caron Butler's contract is up. So is J.J. Barea's. So is DeShawn Stevenson's. So is Brian Cardinal's (just kidding -- well it is up, but you know what I mean). But the first order of business for Mark Cuban is to get Tyson Chandler re-signed. Not just that though, but to get him re-signed to a number that makes sense for the make-up of the roster.
Denver Nuggets: Despite the lockout, the Nuggets have kind of been gutted. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are in China until at least March. Danilo Gallinari signed in Italy but has an NBA out. But all of that doesn't matter near as much as getting Nene re-signed. Without Nene, it doesn't matter. With Nene, there's still something worth building around.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are kind of trying to quietly usher out the old and bring in some new. Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, but I don't think they care. What'll be most interesting is how they handle Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons drafted Brandon Knight in June with Stuckey already their point guard. Do they want Knight to take over? Do they want to play them together? Share the role? Sorting out Stuckey's future is definitely what Joe Dumars has to do first.
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be players in free agency, but really, it's about deciding once and for all if Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry really are the backcourt tandem of the future for the team. If there's a time to move on, it's now when both of their values are still high. The Warriors flirted with dealing Ellis last season but it didn't happen. They're probably planning on revisiting that.
Houston Rockets: First order of business: Properly sending off Yao with a jersey retirement ceremony. After that, the Rockets are fairly settled, though you know Daryl Morey is just itching to pick up a phone and start transacting once the lockout's over.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have a number of expiring deals and aren't likely looking to re-sign them (maybe Josh McRoberts, maybe Jeff Foster). Larry Bird has been hunting more pieces to add to his mediocre roster for a while and you can be sure the Pacers are going to target some of the bigger free agent names in this class.
Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon is ready for an extension, but the Clippers better be ready to match any offer DeAndre Jordan gets. You might not think that's a big deal, but forget Chris Kaman. The future of the Clips frontcourt is Blake Griffin and Jordan. You seven-footer from Texas A&M finally started figuring himself out a little last season and he's not far off from becoming a major defensive impact player.
Los Angeles Lakers: Shannon Brown's unrestricted, but he's really not that much of an impact player to be that concerned with. The Lakers might have to focus on how to re-structure the roster to suit a new CBA that could greatly cut into their total salary. Will they have to move Lamar Odom? Metta World Peace? But first things first: Giving Kobe and Mike Brown a proper introduction and letting them figure out the direction of the offense.
Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol. That's it for Memphis. It'd be nice to get Shane Battier back, but it's all about Gasol.
Miami Heat: It's kind of been overlooked, but Pat Riley and the Heat have a busy couple weeks waiting on them. Mike Bibby, Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and James Jones are all unrestricted and Mario Chalmers is restricted. It's decision time for the Heat. Do they start restocking with veteran talent or look to get younger and develop?
Milwaukee Bucks: That first practice in Milwaukee is something Scott Skiles has probably been thinking about for a while. "Brandon, this is Stephen. Stephen, this is Brandon." The Bucks have some new talent as Stephen Jackson joins Brandon Jennings, but how will they get along?
Minnesota Timberwolves: Here's what David Kahn's to-do list looks like: 1) Hug Ricky. 2) Hug Darko. 3) Overpay a questionable free agent at a position you already have three guys. What it should look like: 1) Convince Kevin Love somehow to sign an extension. 2) Get rid of Michael Beasley and let Derrick Williams have the starting small forward spot all to himself. 3) Tell Rick Adelman to do his thing.
New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphies is an important piece of business but his re-signing goes hand in hand with the larger thing: Proving to Deron Williams that this is a place he wants to re-sign. The Nets have to take advantage right away of showing Williams they're serious about winning. And you do that by getting him some immediate help.
New Orleans Hornets: It's all about David West for the Hornets. Yes, he suffered a major knee injury last season. But he chose to become an unrestricted free agent and a team like the Nets is likely to come calling quickly. Can the Hornets hang on to Chris Paul's buddy?
New York Knicks: The Knicks have a little bit coming off the books but really they need to try and resist the urge to do something drastic in this free agency period. Which they will because of the big names coming up in 2012. Still, they want to field a solid team for this season -- and Mike D'Antoni needs them too -- so adding a quality veteran to help on the inside would be good.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The young Thunder roster is pretty much entirely set up. But Sam Presti has something to do right away once the lockout ends -- get Russell Westbrook his extension. Presti brought Kevin Durant his at midnight last July to make sure there was no doubt about locking up his superstar. Presti better be stalking Westbrook's house on the whim he lockout ends so he can extend the same treatment to his other star.
Orlando Magic: First order of business for Otis Smith and the Magic? Resume begging Dwight Howard to stay. One way to show it would be to get him some help, but Smith sort of laid those cards on the table last year in the Gilbert Arenas/Hedo Turkoglu trade. So it's back to convincing Howard there's a plan for the future and that it'll get better.
Philadelphia 76ers: Someone is ready and willing to give Thaddeus Young a serious offer, so the Sixers better be ready to match anything and everything.
Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash's trade value will be highest at the beginning of the season, so it's up to Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver to figure out if they're ready to move on. Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent so if the Suns lock him up by matching an offer sheet, that'll be an indication that the Suns are preparing for life without Nash.
Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are in love with Nicolas Batum, so extending him could be the first order of business, but really, the Blazers need to find a new general manager first. And whoever that guy is needs to decide that if for the off chance someone gives Greg Oden an offer, if he's willing to match. Oden already has an $8.8 qualifying offer, which is huge, so once Oden signs that, he'll likely be signing with the Blazers for another year.
Sacramento Kings: The Jimmer-Tyreke backcourt is going to be an interesting experiment, but Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the more intriguing free agents out there. The Bulls are likely looking at him long and hard right now. He's restricted, so the Kings could keep him, but the question is, with Tyreke moving off the ball for good and Jimmer handling the point, is it worth paying Thornton to just have him come off the bench?
San Antonio Spurs: Um, I guess just resume the typical day-to-day of the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach with a team and R.C. Buford probably isn't looking to go do anything drastic in this market. The Spurs are definitely aging, but there's not a lot to be done about that right now.
Toronto Raptors: Assuming the Raptors actually have Jonas Valanciunas for next season, Dwane Casey and company have to figure out if he's ready to cover for Andrea Bargnani on the inside. Can those two really play together and handle enough rebounding and defensive duties? The Raptors are in a place where they have to wait and see with some young players and aren't likely targeting any big names in the open market.
Utah Jazz: Most likely, Andrei Kirilenko won't be re-signing with the Jazz. So Kevin O'Connor will have to make a choice when the lockout's over: Does he try and restock a roster that can maybe squeak out the eight-seed, or does he commit to rebuilding around Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and others and just let them play it out? The Jazz would love to get some wing scoring help, so O'Connor will probably at least look that direction, but we'll have to see how serious he is.
Washington Wizards: It's not an earth-shattering decision, but Nick Young is a restricted free agent. And with his scoring ability, someone is ready to pay him. Do the Wizards want to keep him? Do they want to look elsewhere and maybe target say, Marcus Thornton? Or do they just let Young walk and see what Jordan Crawford's got?
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Paxers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Mikwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Royce Young, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
Posted on: September 21, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 11:07 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
One of the NBA's strangest incidents in recent memory came when free agent guard Delonte West, most recently of the Boston Celtics but then a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was arrested while riding a motorcycle with multiple loaded weapons in September 2009. West, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was suspended 10 games for the incident.
At the time, this was a classic "What the heck really happened?" story. West has remained mostly tight-lipped regarding the incident but he recently opened up to Slam Magazine.
In his version of the story, West says he had taken his bipolar disorder medication and was preparing to sleep when he was interrupted by his friends waving the guns around in the basement music studio.
Gassed up from the commotion, West decided it would be prudent for him to relocate the guns to an empty house he owned nearby. So, with his other vehicles blocked in by guests’ cars, and expecting it to be a short trip, he haphazardly loaded up his Can-Am and placed the weapons in a Velcro-type of bag—“not a desperado, hardcase, gun-shooting-out-the-side type case”—and set off.Not really. West's explanation doesn't take the edge off at all.
Grown men horsing around with firearms in a house with children present without the gun owner's knowledge? Operating a motor vehicle while under the effects of strong prescription medication? Operating a motor vehicle while transporting firearms while under the effects of strong prescription medication? That's plenty bad.
Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:19 pm
By Matt Moore
Jermaine O'Neal really thought he had it. By signing with the Celtics, he thought for sure this would net him a title. And for most of the season, right up until the last quarter, really, it looked like the Celtics were the best team in basketball. But it didn't work out, and O'Neal's season didn't go well either, as he was constantly sidelined with injuries. He'll be 33 next month, and the time has come for him to look at his future. CSNNewEngland.com's Sherrod Blakely spoke with O'Neal in Vegas at the Impact Training Series, and the veteran big man says 2012 will be his last season. He'll retire in 2012, regardless of whether there's a season or not.
"I'm going into my 16th year, so I know my time is near," O'Neal said. "I know someday the ball is going to go flat; you have to plan for life after basketball and that's what I have been doing."via J. O'Neal talks retirement after 2011-12 season.
O'Neal's retirement would coincide with the expiration of his contract, so it wouldn't affect the Celtics' cap situation. O'Neal told CSN New England that his business interests have been diversified to prepare for his life after basketball.
It's also notable that O'Neal says he won't pursue an overseas offer. Instead, he wants to spend more time with his kids. An admirable change from the common refrain that money is all that matters.