Michael Grange of Toronto's Globe and Mail says Sam Mitchell will likely be back with the Raptors: "According to NBA sources, talks between Raptors president Colangelo and Mitchell's agent Lonnie Cooper have been progressing well this week. It's believed Mitchell and his representatives have the framework of a deal, including salary and length of term. 'Things are trending positively,' one source close to both parties said."
ESPN Insider Chad Ford spent quality time with this draft's mystery man, China's Yi Jianlian (there's video, too). Ford came away convinced that the athletic and skilled seven-footer is undeniably the third-most talented player in the draft. He also speaks English, listens to hip hop, and drives himself around L.A. Ford quotes Joakim Noah, former player and trainer Don MacLean, and several others saying, essentially, that Yi is amazing. The only questions are about how all that promise, size, skill, and athleticism translates into the real life of the NBA. Also Ford wrote this a few days ago, watching Corey Brewer scrimmage with, among others, Martell Webster: "Webster was the No. 6 pick in the draft two years ago. He would've been just a sophomore in college this year. He has an NBA body and two years of pro experience. But he still doesn't have the game of Brewer, who clearly outshines everyone else on the floor. His smooth game, from pull-up jumpers to alley-oop dunks, shows just how destructive he could be in an open-court game."
ESPN Insider Jeff Weltman (who predicts a San Antonio win, but admits it's a crap shoot) doesn't buy the theory that the Suns' fatigue will be the story of tonight's Game 6: "Marion, Steve Nash and Raja Bell are three of the best-conditioned athletes in the NBA. Stoudemire and Diaw will be fresher than any core player on either side. With the added adrenaline rush that will attend this game from beginning to end, we don't see this becoming a major factor, unless Nash and Company once again play minutes in the high 40s, but that's true of any game."
Some Suns fan taking things too seriously.
An email from Seth in Portland: "I need moral guidance. I can't seem to care about the Eastern Conference. I think I'm not the only fan afflicted with this condition. Please tell me that somewhere, there are people out there who really are into it and that someone would know if the Palace at Auburn Hills was engulfed by a freak tsunami from the Great Lakes." Detroit? Cleveland? Umm ... East Rutherford? You listening?
Remember when Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury were rookies? Marbury compared them to Magic and Bird.
Basketbawful: "The Bulls' offseason should be an interesting one. Back in the Jerry Krause days I'd be worried Luol Deng would be dealt to Utah for Rafael Araujo and a conditional second rounder. But John Paxson is smarter than that. Unless he resigns Mike Sweetney, then I'll have to edit this post."
Did you know Tayshaun Prince has a big brother, Tommie, who was a pretty hot player himself?
If you were commissioner for a day ... you'd need more than a day to get all this stuff done.
In David Berri's "Wages of Wins" statistical system, Rajon Rondo was the rookie of the year. This is a great time to point out the online film series that Rondo has inspired. With a porn soundtrack and ninja bar fights, how could you go wrong?
Derek Fisher wishes Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal could have gotten along.
Remember: "Nobody said it's going to be cheese on a plate." Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune asked Andrei Kirienko what the team did in practice today, and Kirilenko says (gotta love the frank talk) "nothing really." Siler muses about how the Jazz starting five would matchup against the Suns and Spurs. Then he shares this: "Kirilenko offered this gem when asked if the Jazz were still motivated after exceeding all expectations in just reaching the conference finals: 'We're always hungry. I never won a championship. I want to win. It's tough to do. Nobody said it's going to be cheese on a plate.' Cheese on a plate? I think Kirilenko was trying to say that nobody was going to hand a championship to the Jazz on a silver platter. I think. Maybe."
The Portland Trubune's Dwight Jaynes points out that pro wrestling and SpongeBob Squarepants are among the TV shows with higher ratings than some recent NBA playoff games. And he has Rick Adelman insight: "Rick Adelman is being mentioned as a possible head coach at Houston. Don't know if he'll get the job but I can say this -if he does, Tracy McGrady will have the best seasons of his life playing for Adelman. Nobody is better at getting the most out of his players. Ask Bonzi Wells, Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Rod Strickland, Kevin Duckworth and Jerome Kersey, to name but a few."
Thoughts about potential changes to Golden State's roster. Here's my suggestion: Adonal Foyle for Darius Miles. The salaries work. You assume neither will contribute much, but if Miles gets healthy he's on a team with an unsatiable appetite for long multi-talents. Portland gets another one of those boy scouts the fans love so much.
Heart of a champion: Jack Ramsay, 82, not quitting work, complaining, or stopping his morning routine of sit-ups and push-ups -- even in the face of a wife with Alzheimer's and his own cancer.
Told you so. Actually, with Jeff Van Gundy fired, brothers Stan and Jeff could, in theor
y, be competing with each other for coaching jobs.
The case that the Suns should keep Shawn Marion this off-season.
Yahoo's Steve Kerr on Cleveland vs. New Jersey Game 6: "There's a sort of controlled fury that has to be reached in games like these -- plenty of emotion but with a purpose. The Cavaliers almost looked like they were playing it cool in Game 5 and suddenly got hit in the mouth and were down by 20. Then they got frantic and forced bad shots and never had a real shot. Game 6 will tell a lot about Cleveland's maturity level as it continues its process of learning how to win in the playoffs."