In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with Ken Berger, the CBSSports.com senior NBA writer talks the end of the world, frustrating owners and the pressure on Steve Nash. You can follow Ken on Twitter at @KBergCBS.
1. So, hey, Ken, the world's ending today. What's the biggest thing the NBA should try to do better if it comes back in the next universe?
KB: Not to take a funny question and turn it into a serious answer, but get a better grip on the sleaze that permeates the recruitment of players by agents and their bagmen. This situation with Myck Kabongo and LeBron's agent, Rich Paul, is not just a stain on the NCAA, but on the NBA, too.
2. If you were them, what NBA owner would it be the most frustrating to be right now?
KB: It's a close race between Ted Leonsis and Mikhail Prokhorov, with the tiebreaker going to Leonsis simply because Prokhorov is so rich, he shouldn't really get too upset over his NBA team struggling. Having presided over an NBA lockout that has resulted in nothing but bad basketball from the Wizards since it ended -- with no end to the badness in sight -- and now presiding over another lockout that threatens to wipe out the entire NHL season, Leonsis has had to dig increasingly deeper for positive things to write about in his blog, "Ted's Take." Even the Mystics are terrible!
3. Trade talks starting to warm up; what are some names we should consider?
KB: Pau Gasol, certainly. Amar'e Stoudemire, if he can prove he really is capable of returning to his "dominant self." Kevin Love, considering his level of frustration -- although I maintain that the Timberwolves are pretty good with a healthy Rubio, and it's hard even for a malcontent to harbor too much discontent when he's winning.
4. Steve Nash maybe, possibly, theoretically, could return Saturday. Is this the most pressure that Nash has been under since the Western Conference Finals?
KB: Based on Nash's most recent comments, it would appear that Christmas Day is more realistic for Nash to return. Even though I celebrate Hanukkah, I've formally asked Santa to make an exception and give me Nash for Christmas, since that will make my trip to L.A. for Knicks-Lakers all the more fun and compelling. To your point about pressure, it's hard to argue that Nash has ever been expected to do this much to fix a broken team. The Suns didn't completely come apart until he left.
5. What's your favorite part of the holiday season? (Happy belated Hanukkah, by the way.)
KB: Shalom. I'm going to remove my basketball hat and dig through the closet for the hat that I wore in a past life as a Jets beat writer. Given the calamities that have befallen that team -- many of the same issues that I chronicled for several years -- it's always my favorite time of year, when longtime Jets beat writer Rich Cimini breaks out the old "circus tent" and "send in the clowns" lead. Hey, if the shoe fits ...