Sometimes I think, “I should write Five Out, there’s not a ton to talk about, but you know, it’s mid week.” Then NBA events overtake me, and I’m glad I waited.
Run to the corner! Run to the corner, it’s Five Out!
Where to even start? How about with the team that owes a bunch of picks and swaps to the Rockets, the juggernaut of bad news that is the Brooklyn Nets?
Nets Negate Nash
Did Steve Nash do a bad job with the Brooklyn Nets? It’s hard to say. When he actually had the Nets as they were conceived (and traded for) together, or even mostly together, it was a team of unstoppable offensive firepower (especially when he had Mike D’Antoni at his side). That hardly happened - 16 games, and they nearly made the Finals anyway.
Then, over the summer, Kevin Durant demanded Nash’s dismissal (and the general manager’s dismissal), after evidently demanding that Nash coach the Nets in the first place. Then apparently everyone got together, drank some wine, and it it was all fine. Of course the only way it could be fine would be if Durant, Irving and Ben Simmons all came out and won a bunch of games and looked good while doing it. This has not been the case. So now there is a mutual parting of ways (to save Sean Marks’ job - the next envelop has your name in it, Sean). Nash probably mostly feels relief. Why?
Kyrie Irving - Again
If companies are willing to pay athletes (hundreds of millions) of dollars to brand a shoe with their name, or other companies will pay quite a lot for an athlete simply to be seen wearing a brand of clothing, or drinking a kind of sports drink, there must be a reason. These are for-profit entities that have concluded that the image, the influence, the fame, of that player is worth the money paid in promoting, or simply being seen with, the product.
Similarly athletes will donate their influence, image, and platform of very high public visibility, to help charitable causes, with no pay for themselves, in order to help good works succeed.
No one has much of a problem with either of those things. (Though Hakeem Olajuwon did try to make low-cost, high-quality, basketball shoes available to kids, instead of extremely expensive Jordan, etc, branded shoes.)
What if the player is donating his image, his influence, to promote or at least highlight, the denial of clearly factual genocide? Are we now going to say that image, or influence, potentially worth millions of dollars, is of no consequence?
If you say “His rights!”, fine, but do rights come with no responsibility whatsoever? The rights are made explicit, to allow the exercise of responsibility. Duty, simply to facts, as the very lowest of standards, was implicit, and understood, in an earlier age. Such now appears to be entirely decoupled, and this is far from being a matter of Kyrie Irving, alone.
The disavowal of Irving’s behavior has been uniformly tepid from: the NBA, the Nets, Sean Marks, Kyrie himself, and the NBAPA.
UPDATE - The Nets have suspended Kyrie, who spoke again and refused to recant anything. We all know how committed the Nets are to suspending Kyrie. Also, good for Nick Friedell for acting like a real reporter.
Culture? What Culture?
Yes, still the Nets, after consciously uncoupling from seemingly admirable Steve Nash, decided to proceed with hiring...Ime Udoka. Ime Udoka was suspended for a year from his job in Boston, where he’d just lead the Celtics to the NBA Finals, for inappropriate sexual relationship(s) with Celtics personnel. Apparently 10 weeks was enough suffering for poor Ime. No doubt his lesson has been learned. He must know now that behavior of that sort will earn him a stern...vacation.
What’s next for the Nets? Players leading fans in a fantasy seal-clubbing camp? Sponsorship from The Wagner Group?
Will the Nets improve? Who cares? I hope they don’t. Not just as a Rockets fan, but as a human being with presumably some moral standards.
How soon until the real story of Ime in Boston comes out, now that none of the Boston press don’t have to hold back to keep their access? How long until Sean Marks is fired?
Pounding Your Rock
Since Ime, and Sean Marks, are both part of the San Antonio Spurs “tree”, we have to wonder what the hell kind of fruit does that tree produce? Now we’ve learned that the reason Josh Primo was waived was for repeatedly exposing himself to a female Spurs employee.
How do we know this? Is it from the deep culture of accountability that produced Ime Udoka? No, it’s from a lawsuit. The woman suing the Spurs and Primo apparently reported this behavior to management 10 months ago, and the Spurs did, evidently, nothing. I’ll speculate that Primo was only waived (after his option was recently picked up) because this lawsuit was going to be filed.
The defense given by Primo’s counsel is astonishing. Apparently Primo’s “junk” just kept coming out of his shorts when he met with the Spurs psychologist. Raise your hand if that’s something that’s happened to you around ten times with the same person, on different occasions, and apparently no one else. Magnificent lawyering.
As someone who has admired the Spurs in many ways for some time, this is a disturbing story, and if I had to guess, one that won’t get better as more comes out.
Right now scoring is up, by quite a bit, in the NBA. The wonderful Kevin Pelton reports that the NBA is averaging 115 points per game. This is the highest its ever been at this point in the NBA season, and would probably be higher still but for the likes of tankeriffic teams like the Rockets. Pelton’s article has many learned speculations within, but I’ll go with “The fast break is back!”, even if the increase can’t all be directly attributed to fast breaks.
Also good? Basketball, generally. With so many teams with ambitions to both make the playoffs, and avoid the play-in, this season, contests are hard-fought. The regular season is well-worth watching as maybe a level of talent and parity, and the play-in system, combined with flatter lottery odds, may be making the real heart of the NBA, the regular season, more meaningful.
Sorry there wasn’t a lot of Rockets stuff this week, there’s nothing going on that won’t really keep a week, I think. I hope. I haven’t conveyed my sense of disgust about most of this stuff, let me know how I can write better.
Next Nets Venture?
This poll is closed
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