Jemele Hill: The Pistons should get Larry Brown back. Not likely. Also, Terry Porter could be close to joining the Piston staff, which doesn't bode well for his role as the figurehead of an effort to buy the Blazers.
Darryl Howerton and I have both been writing for the same magazines for a while. On his MySpace blog he makes an interesting point: Keith Van Horn is a tough matchup for Alonzo Mourning. Hard to imagine Van Horn being valuable in the NBA Finals, let alone against one of the great warriors. But it's happening.
None of the good players go to the NBA's pre-draft camp. Chad Ford: "One NBA league executive told Insider on Friday that the league might consider banning NBA teams from doing individual workouts before the Orlando camp. That would limit the number of workouts prospects could attend, and likely push many more of the top players into the camp."
Bryan Colangelo trades Rafael Araujo to Utah, where he is loved, for two NBA players. According to the Toronto Star, that's a good trade, becase "two rutabagas would have sufficed."
Jason Quick meets Adam Morrison: "I can't express enough how impressed I was with Adam Morrison. I love his swagger, his confidence, his intelligence, his intensity, his depth, and I just got the feeling that he would be a guy who would instantly become a leader in the locker room. Darius loafing in practice? I can't imagine Morrison standing for it. The guy has "it", and I just can't help thinking he is going to be special. And by the way, he says he would love playing in Portland..." It should be noted that in interviews, Quick liked the two players from his part of the country. Could be cultural.
Doug Smith: "Trail Blazers' reprobate-filled roster isn't too intriguing at the moment" Name the criminals, Doug. This roster's pretty clean.
Recapping, from the AP, in case you missed it: "Two years ago, not long after Shaq fled LA for Miami, Dampier signed a big deal in Dallas and immediately declared himself the second-best center in the league. O`Neal responded by renaming Dampier 'Erica,' then got a little extra mileage out of the gag by insisting the only place Dampier would be a dominant center was in the WNBA. And when an injury in the playoffs last year limited his effectiveness, he couldn`t resist telling reporters he was 'playing like Erick Dampier.'" Dampier had more points and rebounds than O'Neal last night, for the first time in their 25 career meetings.
Mark Murphy: "Brazilian center Tiago Splitter, largely considered a lottery pick, reportedly has decided to return to Europe for an additional season."
Bob Ryan: "Was it horrid for years? Yes. Was it unrecognizable as true NBA basketball for years? Yes. Did the powers-that-be come to understand this, and did they act on the problem? They certainly did."
Human Growth Hormone in the NBA? We don't know, and we won't find out any time soon. ESPN: "NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter told Bloomberg News that he would not agree to blood tests that would show the use of HGH."
Steve Belkin wins a court victory. Appeal forthcoming.
Crafty Veteran: "Speaking of Adrian Griffin. Who is this guy? Is there anyone else in the league that anybody knows less about?"
Eight reasons the Celtics should trade Paul Pierce.
Dallas columnist Kevin Sherrington gives Miami something to put up in the locker room: "Think this series is still too early to call? Want to remind of the San Antonio series, when the Mavs went up 3-1 and needed a miracle three-point play from Dirk Nowitzki just to get into overtime in Game 7? Forget it. San Antonio was a far more worthy opponent. Phoenix, too. Even Memphis wasn't as grisly as Miami. In these Finals, only Dallas beats Dallas."
Steve Kerr explains: "Nowitzki is 7-foot, so the size he brought on the double teams made it difficult for Shaq to find open cutters. With Diop and Dampier bodying O'Neal, and Nowitzki aggressively double teaming, Shaq never could get going. He attempted only five shots, scored five points and simply tried to find open shooters. Dallas is so quick though that it was able to recover to shooters and bother them. One of the things double teaming does is that it quickens the game by activating weak-side defenders. With guys like Howard, Terry, Harris and Stackhouse, the Mavericks have the length and speed to scramble to shooters, and when Miami missed, they were off to the races."
Ira Winderman: "It can't be as simple as Dallas' double-teaming keeping Shaquille O'Neal down. The inability to get him the ball is an indictment of each of his teammates, and the game planning of coach Pat Riley."
Big talk of fixing the grass roots of basketball.
Theory: Chicago is talking up Brandon Roy to get Portland to trade with Toronto to take the apple of their eyes (Roy or Adam Morrison) #1 overall. Why? Because Chicago really wants LaMarcus Aldridge above all else.