Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not OK With Thunder

Scuttlebutt around the internet is that Oklahoma City is leaning toward using Thunder as the new team name of the recently hijacked Seattle Sonics. Apparently, the runners-up are Barons and Outlaws, both of which seem a bit too on-the-nose under the circumstances (although Oklahoma City Outlaws sounds pretty bad-ass).

But why Thunder? That's a name for a horse, not a basketball team.

Having never been to Oklahoma City, I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that it's mostly famous for:

A. getting bombed by Timothy McVeigh and...
B. being devastated by tornadoes on a pretty regular basis.

I also learned that the Oklahoma City WOMEN'S football team is called the Lightning (pictured). Given the correlation, can we safely assume that Clay Bennett is a huge fan of women's football? How could he not fall in love with these gorgeous creatures?

The men's Arena football team is called the Yard Dawgz. Kinda lame but at least it sounds tough. Thunder ain't tough. Nobody's afraid of Thunder.

Personally, I'd go with the most violent, aggressive name possible. One-upping the Oakland Raiders as the bad boys of sports, I propose...

The Oklahoma City Murder.

Or how about The Oklahoma City Death?

Still not sold?

'Ladies and gentlemen, let me hear you make some noise for YOUR Oklahoma City Psychos!!!'

Now THOSE names would sell some merchandise. Nobody wants a jersey that says Thunder on it. And what would a Thunder LOOK LIKE anyway? What would the mascot be? An acrobatic, tshirt-tossing cat named Rumbles, probably.

NOTE: other names the team is reportedly considering- Wind, Energy. Blech.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Little Nate Honored As Cream Of The Crap

Knicks guard Nate Robinson had his jersey retired by the NBA Summer League 'in recognition of his contributions for the past three years', according to NBA.com.

Why the hell would Summer League be retiring jerseys?

Primarily, Summer League's a place for rookies to get their feet wet. It's also where veteran journeymen (holla back, Jelani McCoy) congregate, desperate to nab one year deals as low-paid benchwarmers.

Being in Summer League more than once means you're doing something wrong, especially if you've already got a contract. Being there THREE YEARS IN A ROW means you should be very worried about your job security.

This dubious distinction is the latest wrinkle in Little Nate's increasingly bizarre career. Best known for The Block on Yao Ming and missing 87 consecutive dunks (and still winning!) at All Star Weekend a few years back, Nate seems destined to be one of those talented guys that shows glimpses (like his 45 point explosion against Portland last year) but never quite becomes a star.

This year could be his best chance. Here's why:

Mike D'Antoni will push the ball and play uptempo, which definitely favors Nate and Jamal Crawford over plodders like Mardy Collins and Chris Duhon. Stephon Marbury's probably a goner, either through buyout or trade. With such marginal talent as his competition, there's no reason why Nate won't log big minutes even if he doesn't start.

The Knicks will be total shit this year but maybe, just maybe, Little Nate can be a shining corn kernel in the middle of that monstrous turd.

NOTE: Nate's jersey has since been 'unretired' and taken off the Cox Pavilion wall (thanks, FanHouse). In short, forget you ever read this.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chris Kaman, German For Hire

So Chris Kaman is representing Germany's Olympic team, despite the fact that he's never been there in his life (and probably couldn't find it on a map). Not nearly talented or popular enough to make Team Nike (aka The C.R.E.A.M. Team), Kaman received instant citizenship and a nice chunk of cash to try and bring the gold 'home' to Deutschland.

Lots of Americans are pissed off about this; they consider Kaman a traitor.

(brief pause while I climb up on soapbox)

I don't really give a fuck which country Kaman plays for but I wish everyone would just admit that the entire corporate entity we call Olympic Basketball has become nothing more than 'pay for play.' Think Kobe, Melo and Lebron would be on Team Nike if they weren't getting crazy money for endorsement and TV deals? Furthermore, if the US economy were to completely bottom out, would anyone be surprised to see all of our supposedly devoted US stars bolt for better paying jobs overseas? It's a joke. So Kaman took the cash and 'became' German just like his great-grandfather. Who cares? Sign o' the times, people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cotton Camby Comes To The Clips

The Denver Nuggets have traded Marcus Camby to the Clippers for, well...nothing, actually. In a cost-cutting move, Denver basically GAVE Camby to LA (the actual trade is for 'the option to swap 2nd round picks in 2010').

They couldn't get a better offer than THAT for a guy who averaged over 13 boards and almost four blocks last year? He was Defensive Player Of The Year in 06/07, for fuck's sake! GS, Philly, Atlanta...none of these teams were interested? I mean, I know he's had injury problems and that his contract is ridiculous but 'the option to swap 2nd round picks'? Really??? The good people of Denver have gotta be shitting their pants right now.

From LA's perspective, this definitely takes a little bit of the sting out of Elton Brand's departure. It does pose some interesting questions, though. Does this mean Camby's playing PF now? He can shoot the midrange jumper, sure, but he doesn't have enough footspeed on defense to guard forwards out to the 3 point line. Or are they looking to deal Kaman?

This signing also effectively ends any Clippers pursuit of the remaining free agent crop, meaning Josh Smith and Emeka Okafor have one less bidder to drive their prices up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best Seat In The House

I went through the final regular season stats and looked at each NBA team to determine who played THE LEAST MINUTES in the NBA for 2007.

To put the numbers below in perspective, Allen Iverson led the league in minutes played with 3,423.

1. Jerome James, Knicks- 5 minutes. Total. For the whole season.
2. Bo Outlaw, Magic- 7 minutes
3. Billy Thomas, Cavs- 8 minutes
4. Keith Langford, Spurs- 10 minutes
5. Courtney Sims, Pacers- 11 minutes
6. Loren Woods, Rockets- 17 minutes
7. Guillermo Diaz, Clippers- 18 minutes
8. Ronald DuPree, Sonics- 21 minutes
9. Ian Mahinmi, Spurs- 23 minutes
10. (tie) Jamaal Magloire, Mavs & Shavlik Randolph, Sixers- 27 minutes

Better luck in '08, boys! Don't give up the dream!

Pictured: Jerome James getting stretched out...to sit on the bench.

Koko Archibong Enters The Pantheon

Whether Koko Archibong makes the regular season roster for the Los Angeles Clippers or not, he's officially enshrined in The Knee Jerk Pantheon Of Super Awesome Names, joining Kiki Vandeweghe, God Shamgod, Olden Polynice, Boniface N'Dong, Fennis Dembo and Uwe Blab.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Del Negro ALREADY On Hot Seat?

I'm not one to gossip or toss rumors around (ahem) but I just saw this comment by John Denton on ESPN's site:

'Possibly of greater concern is the fact that earlier this week Rose confided to Douglas-Roberts, his former University of Memphis teammate, that he was frustrated in Vinny Del Negro's structured offense. At times, he seemed somewhat mechanical and unsure of himself in his two games, turning the ball over eight times while handing out just eight assists.'

Could Del Negro get fired before actually coaching a game? And is Rose really bitching about shit less than a month after being drafted? Geeeeeesh.

Summer League Studs To NBA Duds

Been reading lots of hype about the impressive performances of Russell Westbrook, Mario Chalmers and Brook Lopez in the Summer League. I understand that hype sells tickets and that the league needs new stars but do any of THESE names ring a bell?

Sarunas Jasikevicius? Dejuan Wagner? Von Wafer? Marco Belinelli?

All of these cats looked like All Stars in offseasons past against weak competition (and with unlimited fouling). Then the real season comes around and they're lucky to even make rosters. Summer League ain't shit. Never has been.

Sarus Jasikevicius- uh, wtf?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ron Ron for Lamar? Hmmm...

Once again, the talks between Sacto and LA are heating up (says ESPN) regarding a swap of Lamar Odom for crazy-as-fuck Ron Artest. Most of the Laker fans I know personally are strongly against this move, claiming that not only will Artest ruin team chemistry but also totally screw up the flow of the triangle. The way Lamar and Pau moved the ball the second half of last season was truly a thing of beauty and if LA had won the title, this discussion wouldn't be taking place. But after getting punked by Boston, the brass in Lakerland are convinced they need to add toughness and physicality so here we are, sitting on the doorstep of The Artest Era.

Fact: Artest is just as lousy an outside shooter as Odom
Fact: Artest has never been known as a good passer
Fact: Lamar is an infinitely better rebounder than Artest

So what's the attraction? One thing and one thing only- Ron Ron's a bad ass motherfucker. And LA needs somebody other than Kobe that scares the opposition. Artest even scares his own teammates. Since his trade to the Kings, he hasn't played the All NBA caliber defense he's known for but there's little doubt he's still got the ability to do so. Think Paul Pierce would've shot over 60% from the field with Artest in his jersey?

Anyone Need A Tiny Handed Cake Tosser?

Add the Bucks to the list of numbnut organizations that 'see the potential' in Kwame Brown. Yesterday, Mr Tiny Hands worked out for Screamin' Scotty Skiles, who praised him afterwards and even went so far as to say that they were 'lucky' to have him in for an audition. Any Laker fan can tell you that Kwame's much better at putting a cake upside your head than a ball in the basket. Good luck with that one, Milwaukee. After signing Bogut to a 70mil deal yesterday, their next logical move WOULD be to give Kwame an equally ludicrous contract (and more cakes to throw).

*not actual cake thrown by Mr Tiny Hands. If you look at the background, you can see that this cake is clearly in prison.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sacre Bleu! Ronny headed to GS?

Just heard a rumor that Ronny Turiaf got a 4 yr/16 mil offer from GS. With their already inflated cap numbers plus the intention of resigning Sasha, surely LA won't match this overly generous offer for the wild and crazy Frenchman. So I bid adieu to the inspiring, fun loving, energetic guy who came back from career (and life) threatening heart surgery to help get us to this year's Finals.

We'll miss ya, Chocolate Moose!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Boozered Again!

Remember when Carlos Boozeface left Cleveland at the altar to run away with sexy, younger Utah? Well, deja vu! Reports are out that Elton 'B-Movie' Brand is bailing on Baron & the Clips for the greener pastures of Philly. These Duke guys really know how to stab an organization in the back, right? I blame Coach K.

How's he gonna produce movies in Philly?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Baron and Brand? Maybe Not.

Wow! Didn't see this coming.

In one of the clearest cases of tampering in NBA history, BD said 'no thanks' to GS's 17 mil offer and verbally agreed to jump ship to the Clips, knowing full well that he already had a handshake deal in place with Elton Brand. The Warriors, in full cock block mode, countered with a 19 mil a year offer for EB just to make things interesting. Now Philly's involved in the bidding and nobody's happier than EB's agent, who gets to watch his client's price tag keep on rising.

Bet Sterling wishes he's locked EB up BEFORE coming to terms with Baron. Now, he'll either have to overpay or lose him entirely. Plus there's the looming threat of getting bitch-slapped by Stern (like McHale for the Joe Smith fiasco).

So will Brand pull a Boozer and renege on his word? Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fire David Stern

History proves that leaders with unchecked power often go overboard, intoxicated with greed. Has there ever been a better example of this than David Stern? In a country that prides itself on freedom of speech, he excessively fines his employees for saying anything remotely critical of the league, even when it's a widely held belief that would actually IMPROVE matters (like having the refs be an outside agency, for example).

He fines his employees for how they dress WHEN THEY'RE NOT EVEN AT WORK. Unheard of. It'd be one thing if players insisted on wearing their own designer uniforms during games but he's taking money out of their pockets for how they dress when they board THE TEAM BUS. Ridiculous. Petulant. A gross misuse of power.

Hey, Stern- if you're so concerned with the league's image, take a look in the mirror. Nobody's done more to damage its reputation than you have. I'm sure Sonics fans would agree with me.