Serge Ibaka has been granted Spanish citizenship and will play in Eurobasket. The AP says Ibaka must “must swear loyalty to the Spanish crown and constitution to finalize the process.” Wow.
Brian Robb of Celtics Hub on ESPN.com’s 5-on-5: “Although it would be tough to consider the Thunder the outright favorite, who exactly will stand in their way? An aging Dallas team that could be missing key pieces from its Finals run? The Lakers with a new coach and system? The ancient Spurs? I’ll take my chances with a youthful OKC squad that maintains some continuity.”
The league and union are meeting today. Don’t get too excited though. It’s really just a meeting to schedule future meetings.
David Falk, who was Michael Jordan’s agent, gave a great interview yesterday about the lockout: “But at the end of the day…and I’m a player guy, Mike…but the players in the aggregate are making $2.166 billion dollars. So let’s say you’re a player and I’m an owner, and I say ‘Mike, I’m losing money, I’ve got to change your salary, I’ve got to reduce it, I’m losing too much money.’ And you say ‘I don’t believe you’re losing money.’ I say ‘Really?’ I use my favorite David Falk expression — ‘are you bettin’ or are you talkin’? I’ll bet you $2.166 billion dollars that I’m losing money. If you’re wrong, you’re going to lose all your money, and if you’re right you’re going to get it.’”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com with a terrific take on the NBA laying off 114 people: “Don’t have Lenny Kravitz play at All-Star Weekend during the introductions. Boom, you’ve just saved five people’s job, counting the pyro, production value, and various expenses for travel. Cut back on a few league sponsored parties at All-Star Weekend. Don’t cater the bargaining sessions. Hold them at a Motel 6 by the airport (that’ll get the deal done faster, I promise you). Do any of these things and you’ve saved jobs. Jobs people need, who are depending on them. What about all that money from finding Mark Cuban and David Kahn and Phil Jackson? I understand that money went to charity. Couldn’t that money have been saved to keep a position? With as much money as is thrown around the NBA, couldn’t someone, somewhere have socked away enough cash to let people keep working at their jobs?”
Anthony Macri of HoopsWorld with great stuff on Russell Westbrook: “The second segment would deal with reading defenders. Westbrook struggles at times reading the second line of defenders (this shortcoming also plays out in the fact he attacks in straight lines 99% of the time). Our goal would be getting his eyes up to recognize the full deployment of the defense, using floor positioning as cues. For example, coming off a sideline ball screen we would want Westbrook to locate and interpret the position of secondary defenders immediately after the screen, two strides after (near the ballside elbow), and finally another step later (as he crosses the midline of the court). Three specific reads that all need to be taught, drilled, and repeated. Asking Westbrook to articulate what he saw at each stage would be a great way to cement the mental processes he’ll need to make in a split second during games. For many players, just presenting this reality would be enough to get them on board with reading the floor.”