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Monday Bullets

  • As soon as Marc Stein reported that the NBA would ban any kinds of deals -- even oral agreements -- during this free agent negotiating period, my first thought was well that's going to be impossible to enforce. Secret agreements are hardwired into basketball culture from high school. There's no way some dinky unenforceable rule like this is going to keep some GM and some agent from agreeing to dollar amounts. And lookie here in the Journal Times, where Gery Woelfel reports on D-League standout big man Brian Butch: "Butch," Woelfel writes, "has verbally agreed to a make-good contract." Which team would have offered such a thing? Per Woelfel, it was none other than the New Orleans Hornets, in other words the team owned by the NBA.

  • The Bulls don't have a high-scoring shooting guard. But that is not the same as needing a high-scoring shooting guard.

  • Word is the Heat may be making a run at Greg Oden, something I remember speculating about last season. Makes all kinds of sense. It's a team that has to make high-risk/high-reward decisions in a search for a center, and he's the ultimate high-risk/high-reward center. Also, it's a player who could really benefit from a special kind of motivation, and a team, coach and front office that can provide it. As a Blazer fan, I want Oden to figure it out in Portland. As a human who has met him several times, I can't shake the notion a change of scene might be a good idea -- if nothing else as a way to maybe cheer him up.

  • Online high school video outfits like HoopMixTape and BallisLife are massive forces in basketball, which people are just starting to figure out.

  • The New York Times sports section -- which has led the charge reporting brain damage from football -- is two-thirds of the way through a massively long series telling the story of deceased NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard. Boogaard's big break, rising up the ranks of junior hockey, came after he entered the opposing team's bench and took on all-comers. That's psychotic, criminal and crazy. And that was the exact moment that inspired the scouts and GMs in the stands to promote him. Meanwhile, medical research is increasingly telling us that when you're cheering for people to hit each other in the head, you're likely cheering for their long-term brain damage. I know, I know, people have been doing this forever and maybe on some basic level it's part of who we are. We're not talking about an end of fighting, or of war. But when it comes to spending your precious entertainment dollars, is this really something you need to see? "When you're ignorant about the consequences of these fights," says one researcher in this nice accompanying video, "it easier to get excited about it." When people are no longer ignorant, will scouts really have incentives to scour the globe for the most insanely aggressive fighters?

  • Ray Allen plays a key role in a televised anti-bullying campaign, but because of some lockout lawyer craziness, it's not televised. I understand the legal restrictions in place, and they make sense to me. But if everyone involved had just ignored the rules, I'd dare anyone to make a big stink out of it. Ray Allen on TV helping a kid in need is really a serious problem to someone because there are NBA logos involved. Who'd have the nerve to really complain about that? It's a shame this happened the way it did.

  • If the Mavericks are really being stingy with Tyson Chandler I suppose that could be taken as a sign the new CBA is having some effect. The Mavericks are like the Knicks and Lakers in how they have spent, historically, but they are not at all like those teams in how they earn, and have lost mighty amounts of money as a result. A stiff luxury tax could, in theory, hurt Cuban more than anyone -- as he's one of the owners already feeling the most financial pain.

  • If the Clippers want to be a good team, now's a big opportunity -- even if there are strong arguments against trading Eric Gordon.

  • The Karl Malonization of Kobe Bryant.

  • Former dunker, current Pistons assistant coach Dee Brown says he used to have hops and now he just has hopes.

  • See with your own eyes the ways in which the Nets play bad defense.