• Henry Abbott of ESPN.com has been reporting around the possibility of the NBA and FIBA creating their own World Cup tournament and simultaneously banning NBA players (and presumably all FIBA players) over 23 from playing in the Olympics. He gets into issues of freedom and control in Part II of his series on the matter:
Here’s where the NBA and its owners have a fuzzy agenda. If injury risk isn’t paramount, what is?
It’s starting to sound like owners really want a year-round monopoly on deriving profits from the play of NBA superstars. Without such rights — the Players Association is amenable to such discussions, which have already taken place informally — it’d be tough to convince me, or Kobe Bryant, that the league has a good reason to keep players from playing where they want to play, whether that’s at the Olympics or the local health club.
Great stuff in the full piece.
• Jonathan Tjarks at RealGM comes to the same fundamental (and, really, unavoidable) conclusion: NBA owners are simply out for money. But Tjarks writes they are being short-sighted in their pursuit of it:
Instead, most of the dissatisfaction is stemming from the owners. From their perspective, there wouldn’t be nearly as much interest in the players competing in the Olympics if they weren’t already in the NBA, so why should their publicity machine benefit the IOC and not themselves? Like the short-sighted businessmen they proved themselves to be during the lockout, they don’t want someone else making money off “their” players, regardless of whether it’s good for the sport as a whole.
Just because the NBA gives LeBron a platform doesn’t justify them receiving a cut in perpetuity for everything he does with it. Mickey Arison doesn’t receive any money from LeBron’s shoe deal with Nike, and if LeBron wants monetary compensation from FIBA or the IOC to compete internationally, Arison shouldn’t get a cut of that either.
• Mark Deeks of Sham Sports reports the Bulls are trying to do something very unusual, in terms of salary, with their first-round pick (Marquis Teague). Chicago is nickel-and-diming Teague, still unsigned, in a way only a few teams — San Antonio, and, most famously, Memphis — have ever done with a first-rounder under the current rules for rookie contracts. Deeks explains why in the above post, and how the Bulls might have been able to avoid this pickle had they used a different mechanism to acquire Kirk Hinrich from Atlanta.
• This is fun: Mark Ginocchio, writing at the Nets-themed blog Nets Are Scorching, tries to figure out if the Brooklyn Nets can appeal to the borough’s “hipsters” — and what a hipster actually is. Lots of quotes here from actual Brooklynites.
There is not much to be happy about right now in Orlando. With Dwight on his way out, Van Gundy on a long vacation, and a rebuilding phase on the horizon, it would have been nice to see the Magic hang on to a guy like Ryan Anderson.Alas, the only thing we can do is look back and say thank you. Thank you for years of improvement, thank you for hustling, thank you for fulfilling a generally thankless role, and thank you most of all for an awesome final season with the Orlando Magic — a season that made us collectively realize the importance of crashing the boards, hitting open shots, and working your way up to being undoubtedly the second-best player on the roster.
• John Salley wanted a job with the Pistons, but the franchise rather flatly turned him down. Salley also talks about his vegan diet in this piece from Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
• Slam has a really candid Q-and-A with Anthony Morrow about his Charlotte roots, staying in college the full four years, his reaction upon Golden State signing him to his first NBA contract and what his salary would have been overseas had Golden State not signed him. A great read.
• Michael Lee of the Washington Post catches up with Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who chats about John Wall’s progression, Andray Blatche’s future and whether the Wizards can make the playoff this season.
• Should more than 12 nations make the Olympics basketball field? I have to admit, I’ve been watching games and missing Serbia, Turkey, Greece and several of other perennially really good European teams.