Phil Jackson talking team-building: “Sadly, what inevitably is getting lost in this shift is a sense of continuity over time. Not only will the new agreement make it virtually impossible for teams — no matter how fat their wallets — to assemble lineups with more than two or three bona fide stars, it will also significantly reduce the number of players who can play the bulk of their careers on the same team. When I was with the Knicks, most of the key players on our championship teams — including Bill Bradley, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Dave DeBusschere — were together for six years or more. That may never happen again. Instead we’re going to see a lot of teams made up of one or two stars and a cast of interchangeable specialty players on short-term contracts. As a result, it will be even more difficult to build the kind of group consciousness necessary to excel. The only remedy is to create a culture that empowers the players and gives them a strong foundation to build upon. Otherwise they’ll be too insecure to focus their energy on bonding together as a team.”
Michael Wilbon on the Wizards hiring KD’s old high school coach: “This is not potentially something. This is KABOOM something. Can’t you recognize something when you see something in your own home town? This is huge. Notice the Wizards – you think they put in a call to Carmelo? … No, not as interested, because Carmelo’s from down the road, Carmelo’s for now. Kevin Durant is from the road. He is from D.C., not Baltimore. Kevin Durant is what they want in two years. They’re going to shape everything to get Kevin Durant. Who knows whether he’s coming, but they should do this.”
Overwhelming response for the Thunder to not wear the gold title mark on their jerseys. Here’s my question, though: Why did the Thunder make sure to retain that championship when they moved if they aren’t going to rep it?
Russell Westbrook: “I just feel like I have my own style,” he said with a laugh. “A lot of guys have stylists and things, which I don’t. … It’s not something that I have to do, it’s something I like to do.”
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider on best/worst deals: “In his first foray into basketball ops decision-making, newly hired head coach and president Stan Van Gundy made acquiring shooting a top priority. After snagging Jodie Meeks at a lofty price of $19 million, he signed Butler to midlevel-type money. Unfortunately, RPM sees him as a washed-up 34-year-old. Butler shot 40 percent from deep last season. But his defensive inability erased any value he might have provided as a floor-stretcher. All indications point to him as a positive influence in a young locker room. It’s clear Van Gundy is taking care of one of his guys; he coached Butler in Miami a decade ago. But he’s a much different player now.”