Nazr Mohammed: “It’s almost amazing to me how our union is handling the new CBA like a business deal while some owners are acting like bitter ex’s who want to make us bleed. We’ve given in on the BRI($300m), luxury tax to police teams from themselves, and we’re negotiating on length of contracts but nothing is enough for them. This is business and we have a good thing going. They need to stop being greedy and start negotiating before we alienate the people who make it possible for us to make a living playing a game. It’s not negotiating if we’re the only ones willing to compromise.”
Andrew Sharp of SB Nation on “Saint Kevin”: “Since his rise to superduperstardom is as inevitable as the constant tug of war between myth and reality and cynicism and naivete and everything else, it’s a good bet that at some point there will be backlash against all the praise. We’ve already seen some of it. (“The sports media celebrate Kevin Durant for being someone he isn’t”; Kevin Durant’s Beautiful Mirages). There are good arguments on both sides, and to some degree Durant’s always going to embody a much broader debate about narrative and how we understand the superstars of today. But even if the debate gets louder among fans, bloggers, and starry-eyed columnists falling all over themselves to deify him, don’t forget to appreciate the real Kevin Durant. The devil—or the saint, maybe—is in the details.”
Noam Schiller of HP fantasizing about Serge Ibaka in the All-Star Game: “When Serge finally did enter the game, there were only 5 minutes left in the half. Even worse, the game was a complete and total farce. Serge had seen all-star games before, but he never realized how lax they were – never the person to stop running, he started off by making two wide-open fastbreak dunks before he was accused of cherry-picking by players from both sides. He spent the rest of his first half stint running around, setting picks, jumping for blocks on defense. On one of those jumps, he connected viciously – Deron Williams had set up a Dwight Howard alley-oop with a gorgeous pass, only Serge jumped with the herculean big man, his arm meeting the ball a solid 12 feet above the ground, and sending it earthward with a loud smack. Charles Barkley managed a tired yelp from the broadcasting booth; Serge just focused on the next possession. It ended with yet another Kobe Bryant 30 footer rattling in above Paul Pierce’s amused, barely stretched arms.”
The Basketball Jones is going on tour and will be in Oklahoma City on Nov. 17. Mark your calendars. Actually don’t, because what else are you going to be doing anyway? Watching basketball?
A case for Harden to start: “We all know the adage it’s not who starts games, it’s who finishes them. Coach Brooks can still go either way at the 2-spot to finish games (include Daequan Cook and Nate Robinson in here). But I think it’s time for James Harden to take on a bigger role in Oklahoma City….more scoring, more leadership, and more facetime. We know he’s ready…..but the question is, are defenses?”
Tom Sorenson of the Boston Herald: “NBA players aren’t greedy. They’re wrong. Without a salary cap, small-market teams will continue to lose games, money and the opportunity to compete for a championship. And yet the players fight it. Small-market San Antonio, which has won four titles, is an exception, and small-market Oklahoma City could be. Of course, the Spurs were able to draft a once-in-a-decade talent in Tim Duncan and the Thunder a-once-in-a-decade talent in Kevin Durant. The last small-market team other than San Antonio to win a championship was Seattle, and that was in 1979. You remember 1979: Jimmy Carter was president, the Walkman made its debut and Durant was nine years away from being born.”
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “If they want to set $800 million aflame — the total carnage once the next two weeks of games are canceled — over a $100 million annual difference in BRI, why should I try to stop them? Silver reminded me Thursday that $100 million a year is $1 billion over 10 years, which is true. But it’s also true that the NBA and its players will lose 80 percent of that simply by canceling one month of games. They have a name for this. It’s called asshattery. Asshattery with a circus tent over it, and soon, no audience — no one left who cares.”
David Thorpe on why we’re missing games: “I’d have to say intelligence. Owners just have no clue, in many cases, as to who is capable of minding their stores. They hire people who convince them to spend gobs of money for average players and who then ask for more money when that fails. And the owners are blaming the system? Remember when Jim Carrey’s character in “Liar Liar” screamed to his client, “Quit breaking the law, #%@#**%!”? GMs, quit spending a fortune on average and below-average players!”