Some good things that have appeared the last few days:
• Tim Varner at 48 Minutes of Hell asks: Should NBA owners be allowed to ban their players from international competition? The question lends itself all too easily to simplistic “yes!” or “no!” screaming, but, as usual, Tim goes a step further and offers some scenarios you may not have thought about before shouting down health care reform international play. Such as:
Suppose David Lee signed a contract with Olympiakos this summer. Big money. He and Yiannis Bourousis anchor their frontcourt, transforming them into a Euroleague dynasty. Along comes Jerry Colangelo, who sees Lee as an a vital part of America’s 2012 gold medal aspirations. “Tsk, tsk,” says Panayiotis Angelopoulos, “he’s my employee. We’re worried about the wear on his legs. Go on home, Mr. Colangelo.” That’s not inconceivable, right?
The NBA has an agreement with FIBA—basketball’s international governing body—that prohibits owners from keeping their players out of international competitions, provided the international team can pay insurance, according to Marc Stein.
You know what’s great, in a selfish way? That this is a non-issue for the Celtics. Pau Gasol breaks a finger, Tony Parker hurts his ankle, all while the C’s just rest and rehab.
• Speaking of rehab, Jeff Clark nails it with this post in which he dubs Kevin Garnett “the most important player in the NBA this year.” This is something I think about every single time I write an post about Lester Hudson or research Anthony Carter‘s game for an hour or two—none of it matters if KG’s knee isn’t ready for May and June. In a macro-sense, the Celtics season depends entirely on that right knee. In a micro-sense, of course, it’s worth writing about Brian Scalabrine or Tony Allen, because almost every player will have the chance to rise up in a key moment, and they must be ready to do so. Leon Powe was ready in Game 2 of the 2008 Finals. Derek Fisher was ready in Game 4 in Orlando. Eddie House was ready in Game 7 against the Bulls. Even Stephon Marbury made his imprint on the Magic series in Game 5.
Other nominees for most important player of 2010 (in the macro-KG sense of health/unpredictability): Manu Ginobli, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest. Any others? Maybe Greg Oden?
• You know who’s not on that list? Jason Williams, the new second- or third-string point guard for your defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic. Third Quarter Collapse is unimpressed, and politely disagrees with this FanHouse column suggesting Williams may find himself in the middle of a point guard controversy with Jameer Nelson.
I side firmly with TQC here. This signing does nothing for me.
• Yes, Charley Rosen of Fox Sports apparently doesn’t like Bill Simmons, and that’s surely very interesting in a sort of media catfight/gossip sense. But Rosen’s intel on the T’Wolves and Kurt Rambis is more interesting, at least to me. Like this:
Several extremely well-qualified NBA assistant and ex-head coaches didn’t even apply for the Minnesota job because they think the front office is loaded with know-nothings. Case in point, the insistence from the team’s brain trust that they expect to have a losing record in the upcoming season. Losing is, in fact, OK.
Or, on Rambis:
Whatever his public posture might have been, in private Rambis nearly always accentuated the negative aspects of players’ performances. They don’t work hard enough. They’re too stat conscious. On this-or-that play they zigged instead of zagged. And so on.
Perhaps working under Phil Jackson has softened Rambis’ attitude and made him more accepting of players’ flaws and more patient in general.
• Henry Abbott at TrueHoop is such a nice guy that it was jarring to read him calling out Kareem Abdul-Jabaar for “whining” on Twitter about his lack of head coaching prospects. You can find the Tweets here, but here are a couple of representative ones:
And here’s Henry:
And what’s he doing? He’s whining, really. This series of tweets does not sound at all inspiring to me. He’s reminding us that life ought to be more fair, which is generally one of the more damaging things to focus on, in my experience.
Cue angry Laker fans in 5, 4, 3….
• The brilliantly named Zach Harper at the Kings blog Cowbell Kingdom wants the Kings (who are under the cap) to swindle a luxury tax-paying team out of a future first-rounder by taking some unwanted contracts off the tax-payer’s hands—with the first-rounder being the price of doing that favor. (As Zach notes, this is what Denver had to give Memphis in order to get the Grizz to take Steven Hunter).
Zach mentions our friends TA and Scal as possible candidates, though he does so only in passing. Which is good, because the C’s aren’t giving up those trade chips without getting something good in return.
• I really enjoyed True Blood this week.
• I’ll intentionally save this for last: What’s the best response to Brendan Haywood‘s commentary on Stephon Marbury’s sexuality? Is it better to do this? Or is it better to just ignore it?