Rick Fox, who was traded to the Boston Celtics this offseason, has officially retired. He had some foot injuries last season (which stemmed back from the year before), and was never really his old self. The Celtics also were expecting Gary Payton from the Lakers, but Payton has continued to say he won't show up for training camp. What a mess. So, it looks like the Celtics may be getting squat out of this trade - another typical move from Celtic GM Danny Ainge. (Granted, the trade had some redactions if Payton was not nearly as cooperative...)
Over in the Mile High City, Rodman had another scrimmage with the Nuggets. The 43-year old “Worm” is wanting to get back in the game, but Nugget GM Kiki Vanderweghe has been non-commital, saying: “There's not really anything to say in Dennis' situation.” Does Dennis have any chance in Denver? I doubt it. He has an issue with alcohol, has not been the best team player, and has a way of driving coaches a bit batty, distracting his team in the process. (See L.A. See Dallas. See San Antonio.) With a young Nuggets team, personally I think it would be a mistake to bring on Dennis. I think for Dennis to work you need:
- An older, mature team with a solid core of leadership that can weather Dennis' antics
- A low-stress coach who can accept Dennis's behavior
- A system where Dennis' style of play can fit in
Namely, you need a team like the '96-'98 Bulls. And the Nuggets ain't them.
On Wednesday, O'Neal dismissed as "ridiculous" Bryant's allegations that O'Neal had paid up to $1 million in hush money to various women and then took his own shot by saying, "I'm not the one buying love."
O'Neal made the remark to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith after the Los Angeles Times quoted a police report as saying Bryant told detectives in Eagle, Colo., "he should have done what Shaq does ... that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything" and already had paid up to $1 million "for situations like this."
The comment was written down by Det. Doug Winters but not recorded on tape.
Of course it's just this detective's word against Shaq's, and Kobe (to my knowledge) hasn't made any public statements confirming or denying this (as I doubt he will). What a mess.
Usually NBA offseasons are pretty quiet, nothing too interesting happens. A big trade, perhaps, an early retirement, or maybe a surprising un-retirement. But usually the months between July and October are pretty uninteresting for us NBA fans. This offseason, though, has been the exact opposite, with the Lakers drama in overdrive, the Kobe rape trial acquittal, Team USA's bronze medal fiasco, et cetera, et cetera. Despit the constant “noise” coming from the media regarding the NBA this summer, I've not had much free time to add to this blog... oh well, this will probably be a long entry.
First, I wanted to throw at a question to the four people that read this blog: how can I improve NBAWebLog.com? I'm all about improving the site in ways that require little to no maintenance for yours truly. That's what's great about having a public blog site: others help provide the content. (A major thanks to those who do contribute to this site's content. For those who are interested in getting started with their own free blog here, it's no harder than dropping me a line and asking for one!) If you visit the NBAWebLog.com homepage, you'll no doubt notice the latest ESPN NBA columns listed up at the top of the page, which is automagically updated thanks to RSS and RssFeed. I'm game for adding additional nuggets of information that are supplied by RSS or can be obtained automatically (like the NBA standings shown on several blogs (see Building an NBA Team Standings Web Service for more information on this, including how to display these stats on your own Web site). And now onto the NBA commentary...
With the Shaq/Kobe melodrama finished, with Gary and Rick Fox's fate sealed, the final big question mark for the Lakers is what will become of Malone? Malone hard surgery this off-season, and there have been hints that he might retire (although his agent denies it), but the latest news from the Lakers camp is that, even if Malone decides to play for the purple and gold, he'll still be out for several months into the season. Purportedly, Malone has been wooed from a number of other teams (such as the TimberWolves), so it'll be interesting to see what he decided to do this next season. If his sole goal is to win a championship, I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign with a team other than the Lakers. After all, as Malone said himself, he came to L.A. to win a ring. That's why I'd find it perplexing that he'd stay here after the Laker meltdown.
On a tangent... Speaking of the Lakers melodrama, Shaq stepped up the “heat“ a bit (no pun intended) when he released his latest rap album, which included some not so nice words about Kobe Bryant. He has also made comments stating that the Lakers made him the scapegoat. But when Jerry West was questioned, he says himself: “Maybe it was time for a change. ... This was more than a decision based upon on a player leaving for being disgruntled. A lot of this was financial for sure.“
Everyone's favorite NBA player of all time (well, mine at least), has had his name dropped in rumors that he might make another comeback. Fortunately, Mike has put to rest any such inuendos, stating formally that there's a zero percent chance he's going to try to stage another return to the league. This is good to hear, the last thing I'd want to see is another comeback. While he definitely has the right to do whatever he pleases, I wish he hadn't comeback with the Wizards a few years ago. Selfishly, I wanted my final memories of Jordan to be him going out with his sixth ring after hitting that game winning shot in Utah's own back yard. (Speaking of comebacks that shouldn't be, supposedly Clyde Drexler, who was recently inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, has stated he would be interested in being a role player / mentor for a team. I doubt anything will materialize from this, and hope Clyde maintains a retired NBA Hall of Famer.)
In addition to seeing its fair share of drama, there's also been supple big trades and big trade demands. Shaq to the Heat for Odom, Grant, and Butler; Francis and T-Mac switching places. Peja has demanded a trade (nothing to come out of that, yet); Jason Kidd wants to be traded, and understandably so after his team has been self-detonated by the actions of upper management (and they're still hoping Mourning can come back and make an impact! That's crazier than pinning your hopes on Mutombo (who's now in Houston)); not to be outdone, Vince Carter is demanding a trade as well. Granted, many of these trade-demanders aren't going to see another team if their lives depended on it.
I'll leave you with my favorite page on ESPN.com - the Bill Simmons Homepage. If you use an RSS aggregator, you can stay abreast of Bill's latest articles through his RSS feed (although ESPN.com only syndicates just the first couple of paragraphs of the column, not the entire piece... drat).
This time last year I was wondering whether the addition of Payton and Malone would help or hurt the Lakers... and now, a year later, I'm wondering what will happen to these two likely Hall of Famers. Payton, who has been traded to the Celtics, is still not happy about the trade and is still insisting he will retire rather than play in Boston. In addition to making claims like that, he's also being arrested for DUIs in the greater LA area.
Malone, who underwent surgery this offseason, has still not committed to where he'll be playing this coming season, if at all. Supposedly Kevin Garnett has flown to LA to attempt to woo the Mailman up to Minnesota. We'll see how that flies. Ideally I'd like to see Malone either retire or go to a team like the Spurs (although the Wolves would be my second choice). I feel bad for Malone, having his prime during Jordan's career... he deserves to win one championship, as he would have had he not had the misfortune to play when Jordan dominated.
The Lakers front court has let out a loud sigh of relief, with the rape charges against Kobe Bryant being dropped. The alledged victim is continuing with a civil case, but legal pundits expect that she will try to settle out of court, to avoid having to testify or edure further embarassing moments. In order to get the charges dropped, Kobe had to agree to read the following statement:
Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.
So now with the pressure of potential jail time off his back, Kobe has to look in the mirror and ask himself: Was one night of sex with an unattractive hotel worker worth the millions of dollars in legal fees, the destruction of my marriage, and the incalculable loss of potential endorsement revenues?” And if he answers, Yes, then that alledged victim must have been one hell of a lay.