It's always fun when our buddy Dave McMenamin swings by. Among the talking points:
- We discuss Derek Fisher's most recent comments about the lockout. For now, Fish doesn't anticipate the union decertifying, which is good for those who'd prefer this process not get bogged down even further by court battles and legal red tape. Plus, the players know decertification would allow owners to void contracts, which could leave many players vulnerable. Frankly, Jerry Buss might be tempted to take action. The Lakers have a fair amount of contracts, whether Luke Walton or Ron Artest or Pau Gasol or even Kobe Bryant, hamstringing payroll flexibility. As I joked, they may decide to go scorched Earth, then build around Devin Ebanks and his dirt-cheap contract.
- Fisher also shared an update on Kobe's health. According to the veteran point guard, The Mamba's knee is resembling the version from a few seasons ago. Is there any chance a recent PRP procedure will allow Kobe to turn back the clock on his body? I'll more than happily eat a seven-course meal of crow if wrong, but I'm skeptical. However terrific his knee may feel now, I doubt it's a reliable indicator of how it'll feel deep into the rigors of an NBA season. After all, Kobe's mileage is the equivalent of almost 19 seasons and these injuries have nagged for a while. One way or another, Father Time typically wins these battles, however valiant the soldier.
Mind you, even with these issues, Kobe's an elite player and at times, still looks like the NBA's best player. But on a day-in/day-out basis, he's grown slightly less effective and this trend will likely continue. However, whether or not he's better at nearly 33 than a still-in-his prime Dwyane Wade isn't particularly important. What matters is a credible debate remains possible, and that's a credit to Bryant's greatness.
- Does players heading overseas crank up the pressure on the owners, a common school of thought? Or does an exodus, particularly involving elite players, actually create the appearance of a weak front where the rank and file get thrown to the wolves? And in the court of public opinion, is a willingness to play overseas for far less money the equivalent of noses cut to spite faces?
- Finally, we attempt to do "the math" with Wilt. Talk about having to "carry the one."