Yesterday we heard about Steve Kerr and Michael Jordan mixing it up in practice. Today we get to hear the story straight from the mouth of Michael Jordan, and see some great video of Kerr teasing Jordan at their title celebration.
ESPN's J.A. Adande on Kobe Bryant: "I've never heard such universal frustration and disappointment with Bryant permeating the Laker organization. In the past he had those who would defend him or simply decline to comment, even in private conversations. Not anymore. ... The model for how a team and its superstar should part ways comes from the Lakers' ancestral homeland in Minnesota, where the Timberwolves and Kevin Garnett managed to satisfy both sides and send him to Boston without any rancor. But there was this quote from Garnett in Slam magazine: 'I think [Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's] loyalty is to Kevin McHale, and I had to swallow that. So that's what it was. I was kind of hurt by it, but he's known Kevin long enough, he's believed in Kevin, so that's what it is.' Timberwolves fans should be furious that the incompetent McHale means more to Taylor than Garnett. And Lakers fans should be terrified that Buss is feeling the same way about Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, whom he pointedly defended while meeting with reporters in Hawaii. Jerry Buss has insisted that dealing Bryant would be a business decision. But if it's business, would it really be wise to choose Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss over Bryant? Who's going to win more games and sell more tickets for you?"
Remember a couple of days ago we talked about Chelsea's soccer star, Didier Drogba? Remember, um, just about every day, we talk about Kobe Bryant? TrueHoop reader Rolando points out that like Bryant, Drogba recently decided he was fed up with his team and wanted out. But today Drogba's quoted by Guardian Unlimited's Paul Doyle making the kinds of semi-conciliatory comments we have not heard from Bryant: "When you're disappointed you sometimes take stances that you haven't thought about properly. That was my way of showing how angry I was. But I wouldn't have been able to look my team-mates in the eye afterwards. I am someone who has always campaigned for solidarity, so I've decided to stay until next summer."
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune got his hands on a Sacramento scouting report describing all the Jazz players. All kinds of interesting stuff. Carlos Boozer and Gordan Giricek, for instance, are said to be defenders worth going at. One thing that really occurs to me: guys who are deemed to not like physical contact all come with instructions like "get into him" or "go at him." As you can imagine, being seen as soft can be a real pain, because now you have every opponent instructed to be extra physical with you. But let's be honest: NOBODY likes to be elbowed in the head. Even Shaquille O'Neal can't take it sometimes. The art is in being seen as tough -- making sure no one thinks you're bothered by it. 'Cause if they see you as soft, it's going to be a long night every night, right? By the way, the Kings won that one.
The Starting Five goes in-depth with Rob King, newish Editor-in-Chief of ESPN.com. A little anecdote about the newspaper business: "Well it's funny, I had a lot of friends that talk very fondly about the good ole days in newspapering - not just at the Inquirer, but in other places. I was in news papers for 22 years. I don't ever remember working in the good ole days. Wow. I was in Gannett newspapers from 1987-1997. I was at Knight Ridder from 1997 to 2004. The newspaper years prior to that was I worked at the Washington Post as an editorial assistant - a copy aide really - and I was at Penn State in grad school for a year. I just remember it being about dire changes and newsprint prices going crazy and threats of layoffs. ... I just don't remember those salad days where people were traveling here and there. I always tell people that one of my first exercises as a manager while I was at the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky is that I had to sell a plane. They had an airplane that would enable reporters and photographers to get to one end of the state to the other. I get the job overseeing the photo department and it was my job to find a buy for an airplane."
Taurean Green can sing like the Four Tops.
Blog-a-Bull describes "the Duhon effect:" "If you just look at Duhon the player, he's a starting caliber PG for a half dozen teams that play high usage wing players. He's one of the best defensive PGs in the entire league. He shoots 3s well enough to be an effective spot up shooter. And his turnovers are manageable. He'd be perfect for Cleveland, Atlanta, or the Lakers. However, watch enough Bulls games over the last couple of years and many people, myself included, get the impression that Duhon has a negative impact. While finding that negative impact in his own numbers is hard, I discovered this summer that his negative impact shows up in other players' stat sheets. He drags other people down, specifically Kirk Hinrich and Thabo Sefolosha."
The New York Post's Peter Vecsey has all kinds of stories: Phil Jackson in Kobe Bryant's face a little. Portland shopping Channing Frye. Chris Webber and Detroit not at all close to a deal. And Shawn Marion sticking in Phoenix.
The Sonics and the City of Seattle, before the judge, arguing about where they should continue their argument. The lease has, apparently, conflicting clauses.
On Detroit Bad Boys, Kevin Sawyer identifies the all-overrated team. Here's one: "Ben Wallace. Cost per rebound in 2005-06 - $8,125 Cost per rebound in 2006-07 - $19,488 Cost per playoff win in 2005-06 - $750,000 Cost per playoff win in 2006-07 - $2,666,667."
Something I can guarantee some basketball people are worried about: Who's liable if athletes get potentially deadly staph infections in your athletic facility?
Isiah Thomas has been busy, OK? He can't keep track of the name of every player in training camp.
Oh, this video of how not to interview Sam Cassell interview is hard to watch.
The NBA has announced that Josh Howard has been suspended for two games after that little fracas the other night.
David Berri of Wages of Wins, prepare to get a lot of comments: "Let me summarize what all these tables tell us. Kobe is a great player. But he is not cursed with 'bad' teammates. In fact, his teammates could argue that they are cursed with a star that isn't quite as good as other stars. My sense is that this is not well understood because people tend to assume leading scorer means best player. When we look at Jordan, though, we see that 'best player' is about more than scoring. To be the best you need to be the total package. And Kobe isn't quite there. And this is one reason the Lakers don't compare to the top teams in the West. Their star simply doesn't compare to the top stars in the game. Now once again, who should be demanding a trade in LA?"
People get famous. People get rich. And throughout history, and perhaps for good reason, eventually many of them start to think everyone is out to get them.
Jason Kidd having back trouble, after having just lost their backup point guard to injury, is not a good way for the Nets to start the season.