ESPN Soccer blogger Jen Chang on Marc Stein's performance in yesterday's Steve Nash charity match: "ESPN.com's senior NBA writer needs work on his game conditioning, but got in a couple of nifty tackles (including one on his idol Fowler) and even almost scored on one play. Unfortunately he also blew an open header that should have been an easy goal, but had lots of vociferous support in the crowd (either that or he has a lot of family in Manhattan)."
Marc Stein e-mails: "The free header I missed will haunt me forever ... especially since Nash says he's going to bring it up every time I see him from now on. But I still feel like Lou Gehrig today. Trying in vain to chase after Thierry Henry, shouting to Claudio Reyna to send me the ball out wide, just being on the pitch with my beloved legends Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman ... it was pretty much a Luckiest Man On The Face Of The Earth experience.
Leandro Barbosa played in that charity game, which raised eyebrows in Brazil, where Barbosa has been quoted saying a knee injury may keep him from playing in the Olympics.
Maverick Carter and Leon Rose get O.J. Mayo a Nike shoe deal. Shoe companies like to have their players locked up before the draft, but with last year's big fish -- Kevin Durant -- it took months to get things finalized. The numbers are a lot smaller this time around, but nevertheless Nike got their man.
Not getting drafted in the first round, if you can play, is not the worst thing ever. Here's the one bad part, though: it's tough to get playing time. I once read some Hollywood actor saying it's good to be in big budget movies, because they'll market the hell out of them such that they can almost never fail. Same thing with a first-round pick. The team is invested. But being free of the rookie wage scale is surely nice.
I have a lot of respect for Chris Douglas-Roberts' decision to be on a plane during this draft. It's not good for your psyche to see people you outplayed taken ahead of you. Just find out where you're moving and move on.
It says here that among Charlotte veterans, Jason Richardson is untouchable, but Gerald Wallace could be available. I'd think it would be the other way around. Plus, I remember back when Wallace was drafted, Larry Brown was desperate to get him, but he ended up going to Sacramento one pick earlier. (The Sixers took Samuel Dalembert instead.)
If Joe Alexander, who grew up partially in China, and speaks Mandarin, goes to Milwaukee to play alongside Yi Jianlian, he would be on TV a lot in China. He's also be very well-positioned to help promote products in China. Money.
O.J. Mayo, when I chatted with him yesterday, struck me as extremely professional. I think he sees his career as a business, and I have no problem with that. And at one point he volunteered that he held two teams in particularly high regard: "The New York Knicks and the Miami Heat really impressed me. The facility, first-class operation. Both places I went to were top of the line." Those happen to also be the two biggest markets with a shot at him. I bet he knows that.
ESPN Insider Chad Ford says Mayo is likely to go third, but the Timberwolves would consider trading down if they could still get Kevin Love. He says New Jersey and Portland are both making offers for Memphis' fifth pick, and both love Love, among others.
James Jones, who was on the floor most of the time last year when the Blazers were at their best, is a free agent.
New Orleans sold its first-rounder, which gives them a tad more wiggle room under the luxury tax. Also, they have big financial commitments coming up, and shaky revenues.
More to do with running a basketball blog than the NBA, but ... Why does all the hate mail come from men?
Does this make sense to anyone? As reported by Howard Beck in the New York Times: "According to executives with two teams, the Knicks are discussing a swap of first-round picks with Portland. The Knicks would send the No. 6 pick, forward David Lee and another player to the Trail Blazers for the 13th and 27th picks and a player, possibly Steve Blake or Jarrett Jack." David Lee is a big man who can play. A better draft pick and a better player for the Blazers? The unnamed Knick can't even have that bad a contract -- if it's huge, this deal fails. I think there's either more, or nothing, to this story. As it is, this is an easy win for Portland.
PG-13 hilarious unauthorized use of Dwyane Wade's image.
Scouting combines, pre-draft camps, and Malcolm Gladwell. Very interesting.
Laker fans fussing over the 58th pick. Most fans in attendance at the draft won't even stick around long enough to see that pick.
Getting used the idea of Jermaine O'Neal in Toronto.
Clipper fans, consider Danilo Gallinari.
SuperSonicSoul, awaiting a verdict in Seattle: "I understand Judge Pechman's ruling will do little to remedy those problems. But still, would it not be nice, for once, to see the manipulative David Stern be forced to swallow a dose of medicine? Would it not be satisfying to watch Clay "The Extortionist” Bennett crawl back to Oklahoma City and admit defeat? The evidence in this case is far from overwhelming for either side. For once, just once, let us hope the general public gets a chance to feel what it's like to be a winner."