Tag:Friday Five with KB
Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 5:55 pm

Friday 5 With KB: Techs, STAT, and MeloDrama

CBSSports.com'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 CBSSports.com 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 cbssportsnba@gmail.com 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, CBSSports.com: 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.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com