Maybe you're tired of talking about this, but I'm not -- particularly when one of the NBA's whiny elite is trying to mislead fans. Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plains Dealer sat down with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert last night before the Cavs' victory over the equally-hapless Nets last night. Mr. Gilbert had a lot of nothing to say, but he also took time to spew this crap from his mouth:
What did you think of your e-mail to Commissioner David Stern getting leaked to media outlets? "The lesson will be when you get off an airplane, check the Internet first before you go send off an e-mail. If I would’ve checked, I would’ve seen he made his decision hours before and I wouldn’t have had to send the e-mail. It’s a little disappointing someone would leak a personal e-mail. Owners are always making statements and having opinions between them and always sending things back and forth. It was unusual and shocked to see that in the media. I went to bed at midnight, someone sent me e-mail at 6:20, ‘Hey I saw your e-mail.’ One of you guys, actually. (Reed's note: It was me.) I thought I was having a dream. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The lesson for me was probably not to send out so many e-mails and check things before you send stuff out.
"But OaL," you say, "That doesn't seem like crap at all! All of those things are true!" And they are, my lovelies, I don't dispute that.
Read more after the jump because I'm not going to use pretty language and SBN and Yahoo! don't like it when we curse above the fold...
The issue is that this is classic misdirection. Dan Gilbert is making a statement about a highly controversial event -- that time he tried to influence the NBA Commissioner into blocking a trade because he doesn't like that Los Angeles is a bigger and more attractive city than Cleveland. In almost any reading of that event, Gilbert comes off as a petulant douche. Fortunately for Gilbert, there's a classic strategy employed by most accomplished debaters, politicians, and other craven types that is used in just this sort of situation: Don't actually address the situation at hand. Now, Gilbert is getting some help here from the reporter (old-media types love softball questions like "How did you feel when that horrible thing you did was revealed?" instead of "Why are you such a whiny asshole who is willing to kill the NBA to inflate your profit margin and spite Lebron James?" This is because most newspaper sports sections recognize that they are at the clubs' mercy when it comes to access; that isn't an issue for us and won't be until we finally get press credentials and I can ask questions like "What makes you such a stand-up guy?" to Daryl Morey), but that doesn't change the subtext of all of this: this is about THAT TRADE, THE ONE THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, not about press leaks.
But, credit where credit is due, Gilbert is able to recognize Mr. Reed's Barbara Walters-like lob for what it is, and he makes the issue about some upstanding young Daniel Ellsburg rather than about the contents of the email. Classic move. Nixon-like. Bravo.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the actual issues. I don't care that owners talk to each other. I bet it's tough being a multi-billionaire, so you have to make friends with others like yourself just to make it through the day. But the contents of that email are what was alarming. The problem was that Gilbert was trying to get Stern to block the deal -- trying to lobby the League Office to stop a legitimate deal because it would hurt the feelings of guys like Dan Gilbert, Michael Jordan, and Robert Sarver. As it turned out, Gilbert's timing was off, and Stern had blocked the deal anyways, but the email revealed exactly how fucked up the NBA's decision-making is right now.
There need to be more hardball questions on this. We need more Woodwords and Bernsteins asking questions about what in the fuck the NBA is doing, not Diane Sawyers and soft-focus lenses. As little as it matters, I'm not going to forget what the NBA did. I'm not going to let the NBA's continued bullshit slide. The NBA has displayed enormous problems and an enormous capacity to lie to get its way over the past decade: witness Donaghy, the Seattle court case, and two lockouts, and more people need to be saying it. The sports media right now is totally in the pockets of team owners and organizations, but fortunately for us, we're too unimportant to buy off through access.
Kyle Lowry is playing like the best point guard in the NBA right now, and Hardwood Paroxysm wonders if this is Kyle Lowry's true form. If you're a regular here (that is, if you've read anything on here in the past week) you know my answer to that, but here's Connor Huchton on the subject:
But 2010-2011 Kyle Lowry was the equivalent of Mike Bibby compared relatively to what we’ve seen thus far from 2011-2012 Kyle Lowry. The sterling defense we’ve come to expect Lowry is still expectedly there, but it’s now accompanied by the offense of a
young Oscar Robertsonelite PG. I’m not primarily focused on the statistics he’s created thus far, though they’re awe-inspiring (near triple-double numbers, a 35.2 PER). No, where Lowry has really improved is control and maintenance of the flow of an offense. Instead of searching constantly for a shift of role and learning how to run an offense, Lowry has progressed into a player initiating terrific ball movement and understanding of court positioning. Where he once chose the first option or simply kicked out the ball to Kevin Martin for a forced, difficult 3, Lowry is now seemingly capable of checking multiple options and finding the highest percentage option within an immediate time frame. This is an ability possessed by all great point guards, but not one associated with Lowry in the past. He delves fully into a defense, absorbs its spacing, and attacks with incredible intelligence.
On the subject of point guards not named Kyle Lowry, Wages of Wins asks if Derrick Rose is really better than Chris Paul. If you know anything about how WoW's proprietary stat (WP48) is calculated, you can probably guess the answer. For what it's worth, I totally agree with them: Chris Paul was jobbed last year in MVP voting (just as he was in '08).
BD34 says that he's starting to get excited about these Rockets (which is good, I encourage that feeling) because they've started out pretty well, given the schedule. This is something touched upon in Jason Friedman's Rockets.com interview with Golden God:
JCF: So it sounds like when you’re talking about just treading water for the first ten games, you’re probably not even talking about going .500; you’re talking about just trying to eek out three or four wins basically?
DM: If we go 5-5 we’ll be on pace for the playoffs for sure – that would be a very good result. Then 4-6 would probably be what a playoff team would do against this schedule. Even honestly – and we don’t want to do this – but 3-7 would be one we can recover from and still make the playoffs.
There's a lot of good stuff in here:
JCF: Correct me if I’m wrong but this is going to be your fifth year as General Manager, correct?
DM: I have no idea. It’s like dog years ...
JCF: (laughs) Well at least you haven’t gone grey yet …
DM: Yeah, I have! My son the other day was looking and found a grey hair and started crying because he thought I was going to die. That’s a true story. So I had to assure him that a couple grey hairs doesn’t mean I’m going to die.
Though Friedman needs to watch his words, lest he get smote by Morey:
JCF: You’re just teaching life lessons all over the place. Well the question I was getting to was this: What have you learned over the years, what can you point to, that shows that you’re a better GM now than you were when you first took the job?
DM: You ask such deep questions, Jason. I have one but I don’t know if I want to talk about it ...
JCF: Does it have anything to do with iPads?
Fortunately, Daryl Morey is a kind and benevolent Golden God.
While I'm not tired of writing about how much the NBA's owners suck, I am a little tired of reading about how every foreign crazy-tall big man is "Nepal's/Finland's/Swaziland's Yao Ming." People seem to forget that (1) Yao Ming came from a country with an established basketball system (it wasn't great, and Yao's feet were undoubtedly hurt by the lesser quality of medical care in China as well as a lack of shoes in his size -- he apparently didn't get shoes in his size until his original tour of the USA as a teen -- but China had coaches and leagues that made Yao's development possible) and (2) Yao was more than just crazy-tall. He was a crazy-tall big man with a ridiculous shooting touch and very high basketball IQ.
Still, I get the point, and it's hard not to call Satnam Singh Bamara "India's Yao Ming." This story from ESPN's Mark Winegardner is a little patronizing and orientalistic towards its subjects, but it's a very interesting insight into an exciting basketball prospect, as well as the NBA's efforts to expand pro-basketball to all corners of the Earth:
Satnam and his teammates at the academy knew about the NBA, but not much. They had favorite players, but these were only the biggest stars. No one Satnam knew, not even his coaches, could have named 25 active players. No one could have named half the teams. No one had seen a game in person. Though a few games a year were broadcast live on cable at the crack of dawn, almost no one, Satnam included, had ever watched one from beginning to end. Certainly no one had any inkling that the NBA was about to launch an aggressive effort to partner with a few multinational corporations and build Indian basketball into a massive sacred cash cow. The target audience: Indians under 25. In other words, one of every 12 people on the face of the earth.
But Satnam and his teammates had spent countless hours watching clips on YouTube. And although no one from India has ever played in the NBA or even come remotely close, there wasn't a baller under the dim lights in that dingy gym who didn't try to ape the moves he'd seen online, who didn't imagine himself as Kobe or LeBron. For Satnam -- who dreamed of being Kobe -- hardly a day went by when someone didn't say something to him about Yao Ming, about becoming that one big star who ushers a nation of a billion strong onto the world's basketball court, the giant who becomes the catalyst for creating wealth beyond all imagining. The one who, maybe most important, single-handedly subverts pernicious stereotypes about his country's people and what they can do. No one said all of this, of course. Instead, it was always some variation of "the Yao Ming of India." Even for Indians who knew nothing about basketball, this reliably delivered the whole message.
And, just in case you think they were lying about him, here's a video about him:
There's a pretty good post about the history of the Seattle Sonics over at Welcome to Loud City. The discussion there is interesting, as well. Don't call OKC a "backwater." It gets 'em all a-huffin' and a-puffin' and a-riiiillllled up (Yosemite Sam voice). Still, a very good post on what the Sonics' move means for the NBA and the Thunder is made by Zorgon B, the WtLC Manager, and I encourage everyone to read it:
Right now, the Chesapeake Energy Arena is brand new, and will complete renovations in 2013. By then, we’re looking at a 11 year old arena. I’m not saying the Ford Center isn’t adequate, because that’s exactly what it is. Adequate. Not state of the art. When talking to reporters about why the Ford Center was so much better than Key Arena, he said it was because the arena had a bigger "footprint" by almost two times, allowing for more potential expansion. Guess what? We’ve expanded it. And I’ll be damned if we don’t start talking about how we’re going to fund a new arena before 2020.
I know that 2020 seems like the dark side of the moon (I’m only 20 years old myself), but it’s going to come around sooner or later, and the NBA will use the opportunity to bleed us dry.
This is what the mid- and small-market towns don't seem to get: the current system doesn't allow for security outside of the majorest of markets. Does Houston qualify? I don't know. Houston is enormous, and the last time the Rockets threatened to leave was a pretty weak effort (Alexander's NBA-appointed "suitor" was Louisville, KY. That didn't make much sense, but then again neither did Nashville), so it seems unlikely. Besides, something has to give on this arena-building war.
Seriously, screw this business shit.
Last, here's Michael Beasley reacting to finding his finger bone sticking out of his flesh (it's not graphic in the slightest, don't worry).
Great things about this video:
1) Rick Adelman looking like he is going to call a play or do something, then giving up.
2) Beasley doing the "owie" dance.
3) "OH SHIT... THAT'S MY BONE!"