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Monday Bullets

8/6/2007
  • Shira Springer of the Boston Globe has an amazing account of the trade talks that led to Kevin Garnett landing in Boston. Turns out a key figure was ... Tyronn Lue?: "Back in Los Angeles a few days later, Garnett sought the counsel of his best friends, Detroit's Chauncey Billups and Atlanta's Tyronn Lue. Garnett has an offseason home in Malibu, Calif., Billups was in LA for an Adidas photo shoot with Garnett. Lue spends about a month with Garnett in Malibu every summer, though he was in the city to have his right knee scoped July 17 by the Lakers' team doctor. The trio discussed the teams interested in Garnett -- Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, the Lakers, and Phoenix -- and which presented the best scenario for the 10-time All-Star. Billups and Lue helped convince Garnett that Boston would be a good place to play, recognizing what the power forward could add to a mix that already included Pierce and Allen. Also, Lue endorsed Doc Rivers as a coach, having played briefly for him in Orlando at the start of the 2003-04 season. 'I talked to KG and it was tough at first because he's so loyal to Minnesota, his family, friends, and the fans,' said Lue, who was spotted at an LA tennis tournament with Garnett July 20. 'All he knew was Minnesota for the last 12 years. I thought Boston would be a great situation, a perfect situation with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. I thought automatically they'd be in the Eastern Conference finals with KG. He thought about it and asked, 'You think so?' I said, 'Yeah.' 'Then, Chauncey came out and said, 'You have to take the best thing for you and that's playing in Boston, even though we'd be in the same conference and play four times a year.' We definitely convinced him to choose Boston because two great players were already in place. Adding KG and being in the Eastern Conference, it'd be easier to win. 'Then, KG asked me, 'What about the city?' I said, 'You don't go out anyway, so it doesn't matter. You don't go out of the house. You could play in Alaska.' He's like, 'Yeah, you're right.'"

  • The Clippers were young and promising, weren't they, back when they dueled mano a mano with the Suns in the playoffs. Then their ascendant perimeter player, Shaun Livingston, tore up his knee, and now Elton Brand is in serious medical trouble, too. Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog: "As a general principle, I don't subscribe to curses, superstition, and mystical theories about sports franchises. Mythology is fun, but basketball games are won and lost for empirical reasons that have little to do with the script embroidered across a jersey. Now, if your favorite franchise sucks to no end, chances are it's not a goat or the haunting presence of a bad trade that's the problem. It's far more likely that your team's front office can't manage a smart playlist, much less an amateur draft, player evaluation, or a contract negotiation. All that said, I confess that, between Shaun's broken twig and this Elton debacle, I'm beginning to entertain the notion that there is a force in the world larger than James Naismith at work here." Arnovitz later wonders (PG-13 for language) if Sofoklis Schortsanitis, the Greek Baby-Shaq the team drafted in 2003, might ride in to the rescue. Probably not on the court, he concludes but possibly off it.

  • Introducing Liston: "One of the great things about sports is all of the really intelligent arguments that take place in sports bars across America. I recently participated in one such 'bar-gument' over who was the greatest basketball player over the last 10 years. There were three post graduate statistics majors and myself. Each of us was arguing a case for one of four players; Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and Ralph Macchio (a.k.a. The Karate Kid. I know it's ridiculous but Phil the statistician swears he played Ralph Macchio in a 1 on 1 game in 1991 and was crushed by him 10-1. He has been talking about this game for 16 years so we had to include him.)" (I swear, anyone who thinks this thing is serious needs to have their fan license revoked and whatever organ is responsible for humor examined by highly paid professionals.)

  • A basketball point shaving scandal in the Phillipines.

  • Chicago was hoping to get lots of big names, and may end up with none.

  • Time to shine up the Paul Pierce legacy.

  • The case that the Minnesota tax money that should have gone to stuff like fixing bridges went instead to sports stadiums.

  • Iran wins the Asian championships.

  • LeBron James's friend Maverick Carter's marketing company signs an NFL player.

  • Mike Trudell of the Timberwolves' website, as quoted by Jim Eichenhofer on Hornets.com: "I was on the Wolves Caravan around smaller Minnesota towns with Ricky Davis, and RD pulled a few stupidly difficult dunks at 9 a.m. because a few kids asked him once. When I say stupidly difficult, I mean they looked like dunks from Playstation II's 'NBA Streetz.' {Corey] Brewer can do some silly things as well, but Gerald Green? Man. If you kids out there that are set for the SAT analogy section get this question, you'll know what to do: 'Gerald Green is to dunking as Jessica Alba is to hot.' That would be true."

  • Gilbert Arenas did a bad thing when he stole that joke. I totally believe that. His explanation was lame. But it was a small bad thing, that he quickly made better by acknowledging that he had stolen it. I'm over it, but not everyone is.

  • Ivan Carter of the Washington Post says the details are still being worked out in the Juan Carlos Navarro trade: "The Wiz are getting a first rounder but I'm not sure about the lottery protection."

  • One of those "read this article and you'll like this player" articles. This one's about Greg Oden, who is doing two things that strike me as really smart: Buying a furnished house nearish his work (saves hundreds of hours driving and getting the living situation sorted out) and living on a real budget. He has been made fun of for that, but I've got news for you: Living without some kind of budget is just not smart, no matter how much you earn.

  • I get a fair amount of angry mail. Which makes me think that those NBA loose cannons like, say, FOXSports' Charley Rosen, must get a ton of hate mail. Rosen's post today (after he gets done naming all-time teams from cer
    tain cities) makes me think I'm right: "There's nothing intrinsically wrong with being a spirited sports fan. Loyalty, passion, the appreciation of details and trends, of grace under pressure, and just plain fun are some of the wonderful rewards resulting from a total immersion in a ball game. Even the 'agony of defeat' can be instructive. However, when a fan (which is shorthand for 'fanatic') invests too much emotion in what is after all a vicarious pastime, it becomes easy to cross the line that separates enthusiasm from madness. One symptom of the overly rabid sports fan (or zealots of any persuasion) is a tendency to demonize anyone who has a different view. The problem with blind devotion is that it sees any form of criticism as a mortal threat. Critics (no matter how valid their credentials might be) get branded as 'haters,' and much noise is made demanding their resignation and their dismissal, and suggestions are even made that they commit suicide. It's past time for all of us to simmer down. Instead of venting our vengeance on trifles, let us open our minds and hearts to diversity and tolerance, which are indeed the basis of the only meaningful American Dream. Let us root-root-root for the home team, then respect both the winners and the losers. If we can accomplish these admirable goals, then perhaps the loyal citizens of Sports America can set an example that every one of us living in this great country can be proud to follow."

  • Reporter to team president: Stop vacationing.

  • Flickers of life in efforts to keep the Sonics in Seattle, and the suggestion that grassroots activism has scored some victories. Seattle Times Columnist Steve Kelley is calling you out, Sonic fans.

  • Yao Ming reportedly got married today, with a 1:1 guest/security guard ratio. Photo of the happy couple.

  • In a Richard Deitsch interview on SI.com, Dan Patrick looks back: "I did challenge Michael Jordan to a one-on-one contest after he won the title in Utah. He would come in every year after they won the championship to do an interview. So he stood up and I said, Mike, you know what, maybe we'll play one-on-one. I think I can score on you. He had a Cuban cigar in his hand, a basketball and one of his shoes he had already given to the p.r. guy of the Bulls. He turned to me quickly and said, How would you play me? I put my forearm in his back and he smacked it away like it was a gnat. He gave me the look. I even asked Steve Kerr about it. I said, I think I got the look from Jordan. He said, You don't want the look. I said I got it. He said, How did you know you got the look? I said, Well, I wanted to play him one-on-one. He said, Oh, you got the look."

  • Wizznutzz with thoughtful reflections, as always, on the Andray Blatche situation. (I'd say it's PG-13, but it's more just straight crazy!) And you have to watch the team-produced video in which Donnell Taylor and Andray Blatche talk at some length about picking up women. There's even talk about sharing women. This world we live in is crazy.

  • Mark Cuban is cheering for Barry Bonds. "Barry Bonds has had the misfortune of winding up his career and tying the record in the generation of Massive Media. The last 10 years, with the advent of satellite TV, digital cable, the Internet and even camera phones, have placed every minute of Barry (and most prominent figures) lives under continuous scrutiny. Unlike the legendary stories in baseball history that were never made public at the time they happened to protect the player involved, today there is a 'bounty of fame' on any person or outlet who can catch Barry in anything that can be sold to an Internet site or any of the sports TV networks across the country. The escalation of scrutiny, even since late 90's annual Home Run Derbies , has been dramatic. Everything is on video these days. Barry, rather than taking the 'film me please, I'm a celebrity' approach to media scrutiny, has done everything he possibly can to live his life on his own terms. He hasn't been media friendly. He has been family friendly... to his own family. I respect that to no end."

  • UPDATE: I was reading the SportsFrog when I learned something shocking: that according to media in upstate New York Andray Blatche says he was not arrested for solitication of protitution, but instead his friend was (and Blatche was merely hauled in for that outstanding driving without a license thing). Although the Associated Press and Washington Post have covered this story like a blanket, and it seemed impossible such a major fact like that could have been confused, I put in a call and confirmed with the U.S. Attorney's office that Blatche is facing a hearing on August 31 for prostitution/sexual solicitation. Yet again we wonder, what was Andray Blatche thinking? UPDATE: Raw details straight from the police report.

  • UPDATE: In Thailand, misbehaving police officers are reportedly being shamed into good behavior by being forced to wear pink Hello Kitty armbands. Wouldn't it be great if NBA teams did that too? Coach Musselman got a DUI? Here's your armband, wear it in good health. Referee made a bad call late in a game? Stick this pink thing on your arm for a week or two. Andray Blatche could wear two of them.