By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, Ken Berger talks about how you should evaluate trade rumors, if anyone will ever touch Wilt's 100-point-game, and how David Stern's legacy has evolved.
1. 50th Anniversary of Wilt scoring 100 this week. There's a lot of talk about whether it will happen again or not. Do you think if the NBA went through a hyper-scoring binge like we've seen in the past it could ever happen again, or be passed?
KB: Never. The game is too different, defenses are more sophisticated and the talent level is more equal than in 1962.
2. 'Tis the season, KB. What are the things fans should look for when judging the accuracy of a trade rumor?
KB: Excellent way to put it. You have to consider the source (who's reporting it and how many outlets are reporting it) and dissect the potential agendas that are at play. For example, is an agent trying to manufacture news because he wants his client out? Also, teams have dozens of conversations about possible trades at this time of year. The mere occurrence of dialogue isn't news; serious discussions, with details of proposals that have been exchanged, perhaps rising to the ownership level, should be valued above the garden variety, "Team X is shopping player Y." As Ricky Watters once said, "For who? For what?" Details are proof. Finally, most teams have several people in the front office who are authorized and in position to discuss possible trades, which clouds the inevitable denial of those discussions. When a GM or coach says, "I've never even spoken with that team," or, "I've never even had a conversation about Player X," that doesn't mean someone else in the organization who's authorized to have those discussions didn't do so. In short, it's a tangled web we weave in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
3. Steve Nash is both the most adamant he doesn't want to be traded and one of the most involved in trade rumors. Do the Suns know exactly what they want to do with him, considering their public statements of "Nash now, Nash forever?"
KB: The key question is, what does Nash want? He doesn't want to be out there publicly lobbying for a trade, but if he decides it's time to move on, I believe the Suns will try to oblige.
4. Michael Beasley's another name out there on the wire. Are coaches receptive to dealing with his... er... eccentricities?
KB: For a contender that needs versatile scoring punch (Lakers, Celtics, Magic), Beasley would be the ideal fit. The questions will become, can he be had for a second-round pick? And if not, will a team -- particularly the Lakers, who have two first-rounders -- become so desperate to upgrade that they'll part with one?
5. David Stern said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel he can't be concerned with his legacy because it will impact his ability to do his job. What do you think Stern's legacy is today, given the events of the past 12 months?
KB: Any time you discuss legacy, it has to be a big-picture, textured discussion. Though the lockout, lost games and hard-ball negotiating tactics are fresh in our minds, those things can't move ahead of certain undeniable accomplishments like dramatically increasing national TV exposure and revenue and globalizing the brand. But depending on how things work out in New Orleans and Sacramento, Stern is in danger of having his legacy tarnished by franchise relocation. The financial circumstances in markets like those and Milwaukee, Charlotte and Memphis are grim. If the problems can't be solved by revenue sharing, then what? So Stern can't retire yet simply because he achieved a new collective bargaining agreement. He can't leave the NBA until he's leaving all 30 franchises (or however many there are when he leaves) on sound footing competitively and economically. So that part of his legacy, which includes over-expansion, is still to be determined.