Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
What constitutes a "lopsided trade"? "Generally, lopsided trades require two conditions: 1. a team that needs to dump salary, either because they are cheap, because they want to get under the luxury tax line or because they want to create cap space to target a free agent in the future. In some cases, this team must also be willing to withstand media criticism and fan anger for making what might appear to be an unfair trade ... 2. a team with cap space willing to take on new contract(s) and sacrifice some flexibility."
The Kamenetzky Brothers marvel at the bifurcated tasks Pau Gasol will have to perform guarding Rashard Lewis one minute, while dealing with Dwight Howard the next: "This is like playing guitar in an Andres Segovia revue one day then ripping for a death metal band the next night."
Given all the events surrounding Luol Deng's injury, the NBA's choice for "Team Physician of the Year" raised some eyebrows.
Who on Orlando's roster is going to guard Kobe Bryant? In addition to spelling Mickael Pietrus' name with
an umlauta diaeresis, Kevin Pelton contrasts Pietrus and Courtney Lee's defensive styles: "Mickaël Pietrus has gotten the toughest defensive assignments for the Magic the last two rounds, making both Paul Pierce and LeBron James work for their points. It remains to be seen whether Pietrus or rookie Courtney Lee will spend more time on Bryant in this series. Lee's style of defense, more technical than Pietrus' use of his athleticism and physicality, may be a better match for Bryant."
Is there a legitimate case for Jeff Van Gundy to recuse himself from doing color for the NBA Finals? Kelly Dwyer says it's a whole lot of nothing: "First, we're big boys and girls. We can handle this. We're grown up enough to understand what Jeff Van Gundy is going through, where his loyalties lie (even though they've only been in place for, quite literally, 24 months), and how it's is going to shape his broadcasting style. That is to say, it's not going to have much of an impact when he's discussing Trevor Ariza."
A footwear substitution for Mickael Pietrus: "While Pietrus has been rockin' the Nike Zoom Kobe IVs for the majority of the season, now that he's going up against Black Mamba means Pietrus is changing his kicks."
The All-Time Blazer Fantasy Draft at Bust a Bucket. With the number 9 pick, Scottie B selects...Zach Randolph?!
Celtics assistant Clifford Ray, who taught Dwight Howard how to operate in the post and was a cog in the Warriors 1975 championship team that upset the Washington Bullets, is picking the Magic. Did you know that Ray once rescued a dolphin at Marine World by sticking his long arms into its stomach and pulling out a screw?
Zaza Pachulia: Worth holding onto: "Beyond his value on the glass, both absolutely and in consideration of the relative weakness his teammates in that crucial facet of play, Pachulia plays sound position defense when able to establish position and forces opponents to make free throws when he's caught out of position. Furthermore, though his offensive role has shrunk since Al Horford's arrival, Pachulia rebounded from his injury-plagued 2007-08 season to post career highs in both FG% and FT Rate"
The Starting Five has a solid interview with Sekou Smith, the beat writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Among other topics, Smith delves into the uncertain future of the newspaper model: "I would like to think that we're resilient enough to reconfigure and stay relevant for a long time, certainly as long as I'm in the business. I don't know exactly where we fit in the traditional model. I know there's a place for what we do. It's just a matter of finding that place."
Are the Clippers suckers for the bad offseason trade? Clips Nation pores over the evidence and says, "Think Again."
Joey at FreeDarko breaks down Mike Breen's game: "Listening to Breen call a basketball game is like hearing someone new to Judaism intersperse oddly pronounced Hebrew among his usual idiolect: you know what he's doing, but it doesn't sound right, and you question its authenticity, not least of all because it already seems borderline obnoxious when you hear it from rabbis."