Sam Bowie talks to ESPN's Marc Stein: "When the whole thing developed with Portland [winning the lottery and getting to choose between Oden and Kevin Durant], you can imagine me reminiscing. But yesterday when I heard the news, it kind of froze me. I said to myself that Portland is right back in the situation where they were [in 1984]. I just hope that he fully recovers and turns out to be one of the best players ever."
Here's a thought: look at Portland's roster. How you doing for big men? There's Joel Przybilla, LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye, Josh McRoberts, and Raef LaFrentz. Most teams like to carry six. Portland has none who are proven durable, and McRoberts has to be considered a D-League candidate. Portland must be trying to trade one of those excess point guards for another big, but if they can't, and they decide they need another big man (or someone else gets hurt), I'm thinking Taurean Green or Darius Miles are the only possible candidates to get cut to make room for a big man free agent.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan emails from Spain that Greece just completed an amazing comeback in the Eurobasket. (Remember that Eurobasket tournament is still on?) Darius Songaila, of still-undefeated Lithuania, is blogging for NBA.com: "The fan reaction in Lithuania has been crazy. I have been talking to my mom and my sister after every game. It seems like with every game, the energy of the fans in Lithuania is building up and people are going crazy after every win. I can't imagine what it's like there, but from what I hear from people, everybody is really excited and happy and it gives people something else to do from every day life. They can get away from work and watch basketball and live that basketball atmosphere for a couple of weeks during the summer." And there's some complaining that next summer's Olympic play-in tournament for European teams is scheduled too soon after the league season.
Just like that, my Christmas shopping is done. I'm getting everyone one of these. (I'm not going to tell you what it is, you'll have to click, but here's an amazing actual excerpt of the Amazon.com product description: "5'' tall while it's resting and 8" tall when it springs into action.")
Charlie Bell will, apparently, likely, not be in a Milwaukee uniform next year.
Eddie Johnson blogs on HoopsHype about talking trash back in the day: "Larry Bird called me every name in the book when we played and I tried to reciprocate as much as I could and maintain some energy to guard him. The first time I guarded him in my career at Boston Garden he looked at me and said I am going to kick your @#$% and even during a game later in the season I popped him in the mouth with an elbow and laughed because they called a foul on him as well. He never lost his concentration and only waited till after the game to come in the locker room and drop his room key on my lap and said, 'Let's finish this at my hotel.' I reminded him of that years later and he laughed."
David Berri of the Wages of Wins on microfracture knee surgery: "Okay, let's start with the good news. Jason Kidd and Amare Stoudemire appear to have fully recovered from this procedure. Both players actually played better after the surgery. And although Kerry Kittles declined in the season following his operation, his career performance afterwards (albeit just four seasons), did improve. Unfortunately, the other ten players all declined. And five of these ten -- Pat Garrity, Anfernee Hardaway, Allan Houston, Eduardo Najera, and Chris Webber -- were quite a bit worse. In fact, it appears that this injury resulted in Hardaway, Najera, and Webber transforming from "great" players into distinctly "below average" performers." One good thing for Oden: he has no NBA "before." He'll be what he'll be, you know?
Nice big Get Well Card for Greg Oden.
Don Nelson returns to the Warriors. Golden State of Mind: "Once again, the front office has gotten what they want at the price they want. It's a good sign that they know how to manage their money, but it would have been a disaster had Nellie just walked away. Seems like a fine line, but so far this offseason, the organization has not been burnt." More.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says the fight is on to keep the Sonics in Seattle. Here's how he could see it working out: "A workable arena plan has to be cobbled together. Without an arena, the Sonics in Seattle are dead. Local politicians and business leaders have to continue to voice their support for the team and the arena. Eventually, Stern has to be brought into the battle to advocate for Seattle and to convince Bennett, who helped him solve the post-Katrina, New Orleans Hornets' problem, to sell the Sonics in exchange for one of a number of troubled franchises in smaller cities. Finally, locals with fat checkbooks (they're out there) need to be convinced that buying the Sonics not only is philanthropic, but in the long term, a good business deal."
Remember when the Nets wouldn't give up Mile Ilic, reportedly insisting on sending Portland a first-round pick for Shareef Abdur-Rahim instead (in a trade that was later canceled owing to a failed physical)? Now the Nets are reportedly done with the Ilic experiment.
We talk a lot about players coming back from surgery. But how about bloggers?
Tom Ziller gets credit for calling Kevin Martin "Speedracer." I'm still waiting for my accolades for Thabo "Swiss Mister" Sefolosha and Tyrus "Ty-Rise" Thomas.
Writing in the New York Sun, John Hollinger spreads the sunshine for Portland fans: "Portland already has more young talent than any team
in basketball - in fact, they may have had the league's three best rookies last year. Silky smooth shooting guard Brandon Roy won the Rookie of the Year award and will become the team's go-to guy in Oden's absence, while big man LaMarcus Aldridge looks to be a sane version of Rasheed Wallace and Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez is the second coming of Jason Williams. There's plenty more behind them, too. High-flying forward Travis Outlaw just started coming into his own last season and should be a quality wing, thirdyear point guard Jarrett Jack is one of the best backcourt defenders in the league, and 22-year-old Spanish wing Rudy Fernandez should be a stud when he comes over from Europe - probably next year. Portland also owns the rights to promising Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen and nabbed a second-round sleeper in Duke forward Josh McRoberts. So if you take all that young talent, and add another lottery pick on top of it once the Blazers take their lumps again this year, then it's easy to imagine Portland making a Robinson-esque leap in 2008-09. This depends on Oden making a healthy recovery, of course, but adding him, Fernandez, and the lottery pick to an already-exploding talent base figures to make the Blazers a very good team extremely quickly. Speaking of which, that's the factor being overlooked in all this - that Oden's odds of a healthy recovery are extremely strong. Consider that five players have been known to have the operation at age 26 or younger, and all five - Amare Stoudemire, Jamal Mashburn, Eduardo Najera, Zach Randolph, and Kerry Kittles - made full recoveries. Mashburn and Kittles started having more trouble a couple years down the line, and that will always be a concern with Oden too."
Rasheed Wallace could be Detroit's starting center.
Pretty gross video, from inside some sucker's knee, of microfracture knee surgery in progress.