TrueHoop: Arn Tellem
- Player agent Arn Tellem has a column at the Huffington Post regarding the battle brewing between ownership and players over the collective bargaining agreement. Tellem issues a strong challenge to the players: "Given the NBA's hard-line stance, the players must decide whether they have the skills and the resolve to defend their basket. Will young marquee players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant form a united front? If they don't, the owners will score at will. Which begs the question: Has the union jumped the shark? If so, why even have one?"
- Intellectual property issues can be sticky in our 21st century global village. Shaquille O'Neal hasn't taken kindly to his "Superman" nickname being handed down to Dwight Howard without authorization, as Brian Windhorst explains.
- One of the interesting early subplots of last night's Cleveland-Orlando game was Stan Van Gundy's decision to sandwich O'Neal with Howard and Rashard Lewis. Van Gundy gambled that J.J. Hickson -- Lewis' primary matchup -- wouldn't hurt the Magic. Unfortunately for Van Gundy, it didn't play out that way.
- According to Nazr Mohammed, the NBA's real All-Star destination this weekend is the Bahamas: "Everywhere I look another player."
- DeMar DeRozan tells TMZ he plans to pay tribute to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in the Dunk-off.
- 24 years ago, Dallas native Spud Webb won the slam dunk contest at Reunion Arena. Tim McMahon checks in on Webb, who is now working with Donnie Nelson on building Frisco into a model D-League franchise.
- Celtics bloggers gather in an unmarked warehouse in East Boston to discuss the precarious state of their team.
- Steve Nash, surrealist.
- Anthony Macri of Basketball Prospectus on the Nets' defense: "The defensive problems New Jersey has are apparent to even a casual observer. There is almost no ball pressure, the help-side rotations are slow if they happen at all and transition defense is largely about making sure players retreat. To put it bluntly, the Nets play like a bad high school JV team on the defensive end."
- The Nuggets looked flat last night and their offense was uncharacteristically stagnant for long stretches of the game. Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company: "While Melo forced a good number of bad shots that lead to his 6-17 performance we once again have to go through the chicken and the egg discourse questioning if Melo did not pass because no one would cut or if no one cut because Melo would not pass."
- Andrew A. McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell described the dynamic at the Pepsi Center: "Thursday night’s contest between the Spurs and Nuggets, the last game on the NBA’s slate before All-Star Weekend, had the feeling of a Friday afternoon class leading into Christmas vacation. The Nuggets simply wanted the time to fly by so they could get started on celebrating the occasion. The fourth quarter dragged on like the last 15 minutes of that class, with the Nuggets left wondering if the teacher was going to let everyone out early. And the Spurs were the annoying kid who kept asking questions."
- Basketball Free for All looks at the NBA's best pure shooters.
- How deserving of a Western Conference All-Star roster spot is Jason Kidd?
Tellem is, by nature and profession, an advocate of players' rights. But he's calling for new NBA rules limiting players' right to bear arms. (It's worth noting that he's also saying the Wizards should honor Arenas' contract.)
Tellem writes on Huffington Post:
So what is the appropriate penalty? Three years ago Stephen Jackson of the Indiana Pacers was suspended for seven games after he pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness, having discharged a firearm outside a nightclub. A year later Sebastian Telfair, then of the Boston Celtics, got a three-game suspension after copping a plea to criminal possession of a weapon -- after pulling him over for speeding, New York police searched his Range Rover and found a loaded handgun under the passenger seat.
In Arenas' case, lifelong banishment is too draconian. If he were playing up to his former All Star standards, no one would be calling for the termination of his contract. Arenas' behavior should not serve as cover for the Wizards to void a deal that they now regret. His punishment should be firm and severe, but not excessive, and certainly not open-ended. Currently, the NBA's ban on guns imposes no specific penalties, and past sanctions have proven to be inadequate deterrents. Last week Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets claimed that 75 percent of NBA players, approximately 270 total, own guns. If accurate, that figure -- or even half of it -- is truly horrifying.
The NBA has a zero-tolerance policy on firearms. The league's Collective Bargaining Agreement -- implemented in 2005 -- forbids guns at any NBA venue or event. If I were writing policy, I'd go even farther: Players could own guns for hunting or to defend their homes, but they would not be allowed to pack heat. Violators would draw substantial penalties. I realize that the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution, but in professional athletics, rights are sometimes limited in deference to a sport's well-being. This issue should be resolved now, while it's still Topic A. Why wait until the CBA expires in 2011? In this era of "teachable moments", there may never be a better time for the league and its players to demonstrate that toting guns is dangerous and reckless and has no place in our society.