1. So I know you spent all your time at the D-League showcase watching the on-court talent and not hobknobbing with the executives. ... OK, yeah, let's pretend anyway. See anyone who stood out?
KB: I mentioned a few guys in Postups who caught the eyes of scouts and execs there, including Jerome Jordan, DaJuan Summers, Chris Wright, Luke Harangody, Shelvin Mack and others. I really like Wright, who showed he can play some true point guard and can defend the ball. He's also a great story after being diagnosed with a form of multiple sclerosis that, for now, is dormant and relatively asymptomatic.
2. Rudy Gay is all the rage this week, and the question is what exactly Memphis is looking to get back for him. Grizzlies folks leaked aggressively to local media that they're not just looking to shed salary, that they want to improve the team as well as clear the $4 million to get under the tax. Can they make both happen?
KB: It's true, Memphis isn't looking to do a straight salary dump. And this year's $4 million tax bill isn't really the problem. It's next season, when the rates go up from $1 to $1.50 for teams up to $5 million above the tax line. That equates to a $7.2 million tax bill for the Grizzlies next season if they don't do something with one of their highest-paid players -- Gay, Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph. My feeling is, if they don't get an offer that keeps them competitive and addresses the future tax burden, they'll wait until the draft or July to make a move.
3. Sacramento-Seattle deal still hanging up in the air. Do you think there's a chance this thing falls through, or as I like to call it, "gets Maloof'd?"
KB: It's a negotiation between a buyer and a seller, and it isn't done yet. So anything can happen, including a Sacramento buyer jumping into the fray. As I pointed out in Postups, the Seattle price and the Sacramento price do not represent an apples-to-apples comparison. If the team stays in Sacramento, the $77 million loan the Maloofs took from the city could be assumed by the new buyer. If the team leaves, that money has to be paid back. So essentially, you subtract that from the $500 million Seattle price to get a fair assessment of what a Sacramento buyer would have to pay to match it.
4. How long will it be before Scott Skiles is back barking on the sideline?
KB: Not long. It's too early to speculate on the team, but he's a very talented coach who tends to burn out and needs to change players and scenery every now and then. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing what kind of impact Skiles' no-nonsense approach would have on Deron Williams, who has allowed his game to slip significantly over the past two years.
5. A week in Reno, Ken. Tell us about the sights, the sounds, the smells.
KB: The surroundings are breathtaking -- the mountains, Lake Tahoe, the snow. Downtown Reno is breathtaking, too, as in, it's difficult to catch your breath once you realize that the Delta plane you traveled in was NOT a time machine that sent you back to 1972. I swear I overheard a couple of locals with their mullets and Western wear debating what was going to happen with the whole Watergate thing. Also, there seemed to be a severe vegetable shortage. Someone please send those people some vegetables.