1. If Howard is still on the Magic when training camp starts, that's going to be the worst locker room environment in the league right? I mean, even DeMarcus Cousins doesn't sell out his point guard who the team just re-signed.
KB: Oh, it's going to be a circus, all right. I'm beginning to think this is a big part of the Magic's strategy: Wait him out, let Dwight twist, and maybe at some point he'll say "uncle" and decide to stay.
2. So Team USA won by 80 and Melo broke a record for most points. That Nigerian team was no Angola, either. While I'm still firmly on the side of "no team will ever touch the Dream Team," what kind of impression did that performance leave you with, if any?
KB: Not much. In an otherwise thrilling Olympics, though, I don't see anyone lapping the field in any other sport -- and it makes me ponder the usefulness of the U.S. doing that in basketball. Also, I'm wondering what's taking so long for the breathless columns proclaiming that Nigeria could beat the Bobcats. But this is the world Team USA lives in. Humiliate Nigeria and they're ruthless bullies. But dare they lose to Spain or Argentina on a buzzer-beater in the medal round, and they're the world's biggest chokers.
3. Brandon Roy is still being paid by the Blazers, but is playing for the Wolves next year, and says that he didn't really want to retire but the Blazers needed him to. He also showed up for his intro presser with a big grin on his face. Most Portland-thing ever?
KB: All's fair in the amnesty game. The Blazers wanted Roy's contract off their cap. Roy wanted a chance to try to play again. It's really the best outcome for everyone involved, even if it is a little weird. Welcome to the new NBA.
4. Is this the year the Bulls finally pay the luxury tax or are they going to find a way to skate under it?
KB: They're probably going to be taxpayers for the first time in franchise history. There would be ways around it -- a salary-dump at the trade deadline -- but that's the kind of move a non-contender makes, not a conference title contender. The Bulls are one of the most interesting teams in terms of how their roster was affected by the new rules -- not matching on Omer Asik and letting three solid rotation players go in Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer.
5. I know you're a big Rush fan, so if I'm trying to get into the band, what album do you recommend? (Yes, we've reached that point in the summer.)
KB: Best Friday 5 question ever, Matt. I'm currently getting into their new release, "Clockwork Angels," and honestly think it's some of the best work they've ever done. But if you're a newcomer to the band, I feel like you wouldn't have any context. Even for someone like myself who's been listening to the band religiously since ... well, never mind since when. The point is, the best advice I have for you is to experience Rush the way I did. Start with "Moving Pictures," the first Rush album I owned, and go forward from there. If you want a faster primer, there are several live albums I'd recommend, starting with "R30," from their 30th anniversary tour. In "Time Machine 2011, Live in Cleveland," they play "Moving Pictures" from start to finish. As for older stuff, "Exit ... Stage Left" is one of the best live rock albums ever, and I still listen to "A Show of Hands" constantly. My favorite studio album -- like if I were on lockout stakeout in 2017 and could only bring one thing to listen to -- is "Permanent Waves," followed closely by "Power Windows." Once you get a feel, go back to the earlier stuff; "Hemispheres" is probably my favorite pre-"Moving Pictures" album.