Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:04 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 3:09 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Kevin Durant has the backpack. LeBron James has... the purse?
Decide for yourself: Did LeBron walk into Staples Center ready to take on the Lakers carrying a purse? Or is it not a purse, but simply European? Or a man-purse? Here's how you know you're a bad man: When you can totally pull it off. And LeBron is pulling it off. Kind of makes me want one.
The question is, what's in the tiny little bag? Is it a bag carrying a toothbrush and shaving tools? Shampoo and conditioner? Or maybe that's where he keeps his clutchness? Who knows.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 7:26 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 7:36 pm
David Stern has made it pretty clear that the end is near for him in the commissioner's seat. He stressed at All-Star Weekend that he would not be around for the next collective bargaining agreement, whether that comes in 10 years, or six.
But as for how soon? Maybe just two seasons from now, reports the New York Daily News:
Insiders say that David Stern is planning to tell NBA owners at their April Board of Governors meeting that he’s good for two more seasons, and that he’ll step down as commissioner then. “At one point, he had talked about doing it for one more season, but it looks now like two more,” said a league source. League suits say there probably won’t even be a search conducted to find a successor and that deputy commissioner Adam Silver is a lock to succeed Stern, with one source saying Stern’s lieutenant has the backing of almost 90% of the owners. All he needs is a simple majority.Stern has almost been as much a constant in the NBA as the basketball itself. He's been around for 27 years since taking over for Larry O'Brien in 1984. To think of the league without him is, well, strange.
He's likely ready to go. He at least sort of seems prepared for it. He emphatically endorsed deputy commissioner Adam Silver in Orlando and really appeared completely at ease with passing the torch.
But it's the sort of thing where you believe it when you see it. Stern's been at this a long time and has probably been planning his exit route for a while. He wants to make sure the game is as healthy as it can possibly be when he hands the keys to the big car to Silver. With a new CBA in place, Stern is going to be sure that the game is in a great place.
Whenever it happens, he's going to leave behind quite a legacy. Which he should over 27 years. He's always been considered one of, if not the best commissioner in sports history, and once he finally leaves his post, we'll all spend plenty of time evaluating that I'm sure. As for Stern, he put it simply this year in Oklahoma City how he wanted to be remember: "Both teams played hard," he said.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 6:12 pm
Michael Jordan is the greatest ever. Let me be more specific. Greatest player ever. Because in terms of being a basketball executive, he hasn't had a lot of success.
He's the primary owner for the Charlotte Bobcats and was president of the Wizards when they drafted Kwame Brown No. 1 overall in 2001. And as Charles Barkley told ESPN Radio in Chicago, His Airness has not been all that great in the front office.
"I think the biggest problem has been I don't know if he has hired enough people around him who he will listen to," Barkley said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "One thing about being famous is the people around you, you pay all their bills so they very rarely disagree with you because they want you to pick up the check. They want to fly around on your private jet so they never disagree with you. I don't think Michael has hired enough people around him who will disagree."Hard to argue with Barkley's assessment, seeing as the Bobcats are an NBA worst 4-29 this season, while losing 19 of their last 20. Jordan fired last season's head coach Larry Brown and basically blew up the roster trading Gerald Wallace while deciding not the re-sign Raymond Felton.
Jordan became a part owner of the Bobcats in 2006 and hired former Bulls teammate Rod Higgins as his general manager ni 2007. Jordan assumed primary ownership in 2010. In June of 2011, Higgins was promoted to president of basketball operations as Rich Cho was hired as general manager after being fired from that position in Portland.
So here's Jordan's record in charge of Charlotte: Drafted Adam Morrison third in 2006, Brandan Wright eighth in 2007 (traded him to Golden State), D.J. Augustin ninth in 2008, Gerald Henderson 12th in 2009, didn't have a pick in 2010 and Kemba Walker ninth in 2011. This will likely be the first time in Charlotte, other than the Morrison pick, that Jordan will have a decision to make in the top five the draft.
That's where you make your moves. That's where you turn things around. As of now, Barkley's right about MJ. He hasn't done a good job. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 12:38 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Another twist in the brief, but strange Lamar Odom situation in Dallas: Now he's not going to the D-League, as was reported a few days ago. The team actually sent out a press release announcing he was "recalled" despite him not actually ever playing for the affiliate. More details via ESPN Dallas:
Forward Lamar Odom will skip what was Saturday's scheduled return to the court in the D-League, and instead report directly to the Dallas Mavericks as they seek to snap a four-game skid, according to sources close to the situation.This comes a day after coach Rick Carlisle didn't hold back on Odom saying his patience was "worn thin" and questioned if he was really all in with the team.
It's not an ideal situation for a defending champion to deal with. They've had enough turnover in losing Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and others so an issue with Odom isn't just a distraction, but hurts them on the court as well.
Odom has missed four games due to a family matter. He'll be in uniform Saturday as the Mavs play the Jazz in Dallas.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 1:01 am
Posted by Royce Young
LeBron James knows it. He knows what you're saying after Miami's loss against the Jazz. He choked. He's not clutch. He's shrunk again.
With the game on the line and the Heat down a point, LeBron passed to an open Udonis Haslem for the game-winner. Haslem missed, and now we're all talking about LeBron. After the game, LeBron tweeted this:
I fell short again. I don't know if LeBron just happened to phrase it that way, but that's real talk. That's digger deeper. That's laying it out there in a way that opens you up to his world.
He knows he failed late against the Mavericks. He knows he has a history of those moments. He doesn't deny it. He desperately wants to win and he did everything but make that shot for Haslem to get his team there. Eighteen points in the fourth, 35-10-6 for the game and brilliant defense and shotmaking down the stretch. But it's that one moment where he failed.
Except he didn't even fail. Haslem did. LeBron set him up beautifully, his teammate just missed the shot. But LeBron takes responsibility because as he tweeted, he could've done more. He could've made a difference. You can say a lot about yourself in 140 characters or less, and LeBron really did.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:51 am
Posted by Royce Young
You want the LeBron James story summarized in a tidy 12-minute quarter? Take Friday's fourth quarter against the Jazz.
With Utah hammering the Heat, LeBron completely took over the game, scoring 18 points on 8-9 shooting bringing Miami within a chance of winning their 10th straight game. He was brilliant. He was spectacular. He was the best player on the floor, the best player on the planet, something straight out of a comic book. He did things only he can do and just had us all shaking our heads at his ability.
But that's not we're all talking about. We're talking about his pass to Udonis Haslem.
Was it the right basketball play? Sure it was. Open man, high percentage shooter from that spot. It's what you ask for there. But still, it feeds the beast. The beast that says LeBron isn't clutch, that LeBron doesn't want the ball late, that LeBron shrinks in the fourth quarter.
Nevermind that Kobe Bryant pulled a similar move with Derek Fisher for a game-winner against the Dallas earlier in the season. Difference is, Fisher made it. Haslem didn't. And now it's LeBron's fault.
But it is though, isn't it? There's this crazy dichotomy between making the right play and just hogging the ball and taking an off balance shot on your own. Thing is, LeBron had just done that hitting this wild shot to put Miami up three with 26 seconds left. Would you rather have had another one of those, or the open look for Haslem?
LeBron told reporters after the game, "It’s just the way I’ve always played ... When the teammate doesn’t make the shot it doesn’t matter much from a media perspective."
Could the right basketball play actually be wrong? It's all about the crunch-time debate. The statheads all say to run your offense and get a high percentage shot in those moments. The guys like Kobe, Durant and CP3 says forget that and want the weight on their shoulders. Maybe they pass in some circumstances, but it certainly isn't a habit. Can you picture Kevin Durant passing to Serge Ibaka for an 18-footer with the game on the line? I can't. Durant wants that shot.
There's a unique difference there, something we can't put our finger on. I don't think LeBron's shy or scared or afraid. I think LeBron just wants to make the right play. But sometimes, maybe it's the wrong one. It's a trend with LeBron. He's might be too perfect a player. The reason everyone made such a big stink about him passing the ball at the end of the All-Star Game was because it was part of a bigger theme. It fit the story. And then five days later, he does it again. We all want to say it's not a big deal, especially if Haslem makes the shot, but it doesn't feel that way, does it? It feels like it means something, right?
At a point, you have to be willing to live with the consequences of taking that shot. You have to be fine with answering questions of how you missed. You have to apply that same mentality that had you dominating 11 minutes and 25 seconds of a quarter and just say, "Screw it, this is my game." You have to be willing to face the music after a game and just say, "So what, I missed." That's a whole lot easier than answering questions about why you passed to Udonis Haslem.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 7:37 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 7:38 pm
It's not going well for Lamar Odom in Dallas right now. He's not playing well, he left the team this week for personal reasons and instead of returing to the Mavericks, he'll be headed to their D-League affiliate in Frisco instead.
And don't think for a second the Mavs are entirely cool with it all. In fact, coach Rick Carlisle is pretty much fed up with Odom. Via ESPN Dallas:
"When he comes back, we're going to find out very quickly where things are at," Carlisle during his weekly appearance Friday on the ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co." "He's going to have to show us with his actions and attitude that he's in."If Odom had been clearly committed on the floor, this obviously wouldn't be a question. But he hasn't come close to playing anywhere close to the level he did last season with the Lakers when he won Sixth Man of the Year. He hasn't just had a down year. He's fallen on his face. And the Mavs, notably Carlisle and the locker room, are pretty much sick of it.
Tell us how you really feel, Rick. But he has reason to be worn out with it. At a certain point you can't just toe the company line and say everything that's politically correct. Odom's making almost $9 million this season and he's not holding up his end of the deal. He's mailing it in for the Mavs and they aren't happy with it.
Carlisle even said this, which I thought was maybe his strongest quote: "When Lamar comes back, if he comes on the floor and he competes the way people expect him to compete as a member of a world championship defending team," Carlisle said, "this problem will go away." The Mavs aren't hiding behind anything here. Their cards are on the table. Now it's up to Odom to meet them.
Odom's agent, Jeff Schwartz, put out a statement Friday on behalf of his player.
"The whole idea of going to the D-League was Lamar's," Schwartz said. "He proposed it to the Mavs; they never asked him. He wanted to get some floor time in actual game conditions before rejoining the team. People need to educate themselves on the rules in place here. NBA veterans don't get sent to the D-League without their consent."
No, they don't. But NBA veterans the caliber of Odom don't typically have to be.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:25 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Watch the video above. It's a documentary done by Bleacher Report as part of series highlighting different aspects of sports. This one being the Los Angeles Clippers most famous fan, Darrell Bailey. But you don't know who Darrell Bailey is. You know Clipper Darrell.
Here's the cliffnotes of what's happened in the past week: Clipper Darrell put up a blog post saying he was "DEVASTATED!!!" that the organization had told him to drop the Clipper off his name. The organization responded with an oddly attacking statement saying Clipper Darrell really was never a fan in the first place, just a money hungry enterpriser trying to make a buck off the team.
It's one of those things that's hard ot understand unless you're involved with the Clipper organization or are Clipper Darrell. There are probably a lot of details, a lot of information we are privy to that would help it all make sense. But when Darrell put up his blog post, the backlash was swift. The Clippers had another black eye. Reason being the organization has a spotty past, especially with owner Donald Sterling. And it would be very much like the team and owner to alienate their most loyal, most famous fan when Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are owning Lob City and have the NBA buzzing.
But then again, after reading Bill Plaschke's column in the L.A. Times, maybe it was the other way around.
"We love him in the arena, fans love him in the arena, everybody loves his energy and his passion," said Carl Lahr, longtime Clippers vice president of marketing and sales.And then shortly after Bailey went public with what happened, the documentary footage surfaced and he had the Internet buzzing about his plight. But could it all have been some brilliant plan to make a buck off the organization in a backwards way? If he wasn't succeeding by being their unofficial mascot, maybe he decided to go a different route and get people talking the other way? Could it be?
Consider this: The Clippers have given Bailey a free ticket for years, and even kept it up when a Clipper ticket turned nearly hot as a Laker one. And it's not a bad seat. It's a lower bowl ticket that's worth a fair pricetag. Say what you will about Sterling, but it's not like the organization is straight stupid. They know how it wouid look if they dumped Darrell. Why do you think they've kept him around and seemed to bend over backwards for him for so long?
I'll admit it. When Darrell's post went up, I was one of many that reacted with disgust toward the Clippers. It reeked of being a very Clipper move. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul all tweeted support for Darrell. And then a funny thing happened: Griffin and Jordan deleted their tweets. Maybe they got a little more to the story themselves. We might have all gotten ahead of ourselves here.
Maybe the most damning piece of evidence in the column is that Bailey reportedly flew to Dallas to meet with Mark Cuban about becoming their new superfan. It was Cuban's offer, but it definitely lines up with the idea that Darrell isn't simply just a lover of Clipper basketball. But maybe a lover of Clipper Darrell and what he can get out being that.