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Wednesday Bullets

  • People who know Dell Demps rave about him. But no one knows that much about what he'll do in New Orleans. He was the fourth in command in San Antonio's front office behind Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford and Dennis Lindsey, so it's hard to know how much of that team's shrewd work can be attributed to him. At the Hive has done a nice job of filling in some of the blanks of his biography, back to his days as a college player -- he was a "bull" on the court who just missed out on his dream of going to Stanford -- then a guy who played 108 minutes in the NBA before working in the D-League and for the Knicks and Spurs.

  • Research suggesting that players may have a real tendency to choke at the free throw line when games are close. (Via Portland Roundball Society)

  • Oh, read this. It's really interesting. If you take five players with good individual plus/minus numbers and put them on the court together, do they tend to have good plus/minus numbers as a group? Sometimes.

  • Ooh, wow, good question. Should the Cavaliers retire LeBron James' number? Unthinkable a few weeks ago they wouldn't -- he's by far the best player in team history. But just as unthinkable today that they would.

  • In analyzing how the SuperFriends will play together in Miami, Team USA can be helpful. They had trouble with zone defenses -- does that mean the Heat will see a ton of zone? A video investigation.

  • Why it is Rashad McCants was a no-show for the Cavaliers' summer league team. Both the team and the player say they are on good terms after McCants decided to stay with his ill mother.

  • ESPN Ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer has written a very long, and very thoughtful examination of issues surrounding ESPN's role in "The Decision." It's well worth taking the time to read the whole thing, which includes no small amount of insight into the thinking of different ESPN executives that led to how it all was handled. One thing that I have not seen elsewhere, but that resonated: "James might have been better served by making a concise, well-rehearsed statement that articulated the angst-ridden process that led to the most important decision of his life. Gray's interview seemed to be an attempt to dance around that point without giving away the climactic moment. After watching James' performance on 'The Decision' a number of times, I felt a tinge of sympathy. He seemed quite likable, but there were few moments in which he seemed to exhibit any real joy. He looked tense, uncomfortable, on edge, nervous, ill at ease. There was little bravado except for the flip 'I'm taking my talents to South Beach,' which felt like a line someone else gave LeBron that he was having difficulty delivering."

  • You should really read this Mother Jones article about a hotline BP long had to give California lawmakers tickets to Kings games and similar things. Wow.

  • Tracy McGrady is not the solution.

  • The Blazers didn't turn Rich Cho loose to the media until their own interview with him was posted on the team's website. And then they only made their owner available to their own staff interviewer. It's a pretty strong example of a team controlling the message. From a media theory point of view, is that OK?

  • Rashad Mobley of TruthAboutIt on young Wizard big man Javale McGee: "I want to say McGee has developed a top-notch chemistry level with [John] Wall, but McGee develops that chemistry with everyone including Antonio Daniels, Randy Foye, and Gilbert Arenas. He just has that knack of making eye contact with his guards, and then taking that perimeter pass and throwing it down in one fluid motion. And even when that motion lacks fluidity, McGee has the presence of mind to come down and go right back up and score."

  • Lon Babby told Suns fans he had his dream job as team president, and it's easy to believe him. But what about his real dream job, of running a summer camp?

  • Would you want Shaquille O'Neal on your team if he came cheap? I'm honestly not sure. You'd be assured of some strange mojo and a lot of hype, and some nights you'd get a motivated big man. But I'd think you'd have a more effective team with someone truly hungry taking up that roster spot, even if they're not as big or talented.

  • One of the fishier deals I can remember. Did Richard Jefferson really balk at his big salary and delve into free agency? Are we supposed to believe that on the day he opted out of his good one-year deal, he had no idea the Spurs would be coming along with a multi-year deal that would help the team's roster and luxury tax strategies?

  • A little whisper of a thought -- apparently now dead -- that the Kings might have considered moving to Seattle, but rejected the idea because an arena there would be tougher to get built than in Sacramento. Not an inspiring piece of news for those ready to revive the Sonics' franchise.

  • Ronny Turiaf, traded to the Knicks, says one of the things he will miss most about the Bay Area is the restaurant Chipotle. San Francisco has a number of irreplaceable restaurants, but that is not one of them.