Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered: "Bill Laimbeer is a tough subject for me. I firmly believe he is one of the most underrated players of his era who, because of his reputation as an instigator (and punching bag of Robert Parish), never gets the credit he deserves for how much he contributed to those Pistons back-to-back title teams. He was a great rebounder, great defender, great passing big man, nearly flawless fundamentals and obviously had great range as well as a solid post-up game. He’s basically the prototype for how all big men with limited athleticism should aspire to play. I also hate everything he represents to most Detroit fans. I hate that the extracurricular stuff -- his surly attitude, his cheap shots, his dirty little tricks and yes, his whiteness -- have made him a cult hero in this state and overshadowed the nuances of his game. He’s one of those athletes we have here -- think Brandon Inge or Darren McCarty -- who a segment of fans defend so vociferously, whose contributions they constantly skew and overrate and whose glaring deficiencies they constantly gloss over or flat out ignore. I don’t hate Laimbeer, far from it, but the unflinching love he gets for basically being an asshole is tiresome. And what’s really tiresome is those ardent defenders -- most of whom I would guess are nothing more than casual NBA fans -- who would love nothing more than to see Laimbeer coaching the Detroit Pistons. Bill Laimbeer as head coach of the Pistons (or any NBA team) would likely be a disaster." Also, check that post's comments for what appears to be a rebuttal from Laimbeer's daughter.
Unrelated, but here's a post about another white player becoming a fan favorite. It's undeniable that white players have an easier path to that job -- dubious though its merits may be -- than black players.
David Kahn, in a letter to fans, explains why he paid Darko Milicic so much money: "Last season Darko earned $7.5 million in the final year of a four-year deal. He took almost a 50 percent paycut to return to the NBA. He wants to be here and we want him here. There simply aren’t many centers of his size and athleticism who are capable of playing an all-around game. Telling Darko how important he could be to our future while offering him a contract that represents a major paycut was a delicate dance." For the record, I have wagered that the Milicic signing was not the worst of the offseason.
The Timberwolves criticized themselves in that letter. How should we take that? Zach Harper addresses the issue on A Wolf Among Wolves: "It was just like the final rap battle in 8 Mile. Eminem’s character wins the competition by ripping on himself throughout the freestyle (warning: language NSFW). It’s essentially a version of reverse psychology to get you to let your guard down while they try to throw ticket package options your way. But how much do you believe the message they’re giving you? Do you buy into the plan and the way it’s being executed? What about how they shaped their message in describing the players on their team? The plan is a curious one because while they’ve done exactly what they claim they have wanted to do the entire time (younger, faster, more athletic), we don’t know that the team is truly any better than it was in the first place."
Dwyane Wade says he plans to testify in his ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife. Read that whole article. It's a very sad situation, and a harsh reminder that being rich and famous is not the same as being happy. (Tim Thomas's challenges -- he's reportedly stepping away from hoops to focus on his ailing wife -- underscores the point.)
I'm not sure a public address announcer contest has ever been covered so well.
Blazer GM Rich Cho has said he expects Rudy Fernandez, who has asked to be traded, to appear at training camp. On his blog, Fernandez talks about getting back to work, although it's unclear exactly what that means.
Arsenalist, on Raptors Republic, is funny: "First up, we apologize for the cluster*&^% that this site was yesterday. My guess is that one of our writers (most likely A-Dub) set a weak password, something predictable like ihatebargnani which was guessed by some dude who was desperately trying to sell Viagra and got into our site. Long story short, Google marked us as a hostile site for a day but came to their senses later on. Once again, we apologize and have taken the necessary course of action, which in this case was to indefinitely suspend A-Dub without pay."
Also funny is Ethan Sherwood Strauss of WarriorsWorld, who is making sense of a Warriors' Twitter Media Day event in which you can tweet your way into a media day invite: "I have registered for Tweedia Day, whatever that is. Couldn’t resist the novelty of a twitter application. Now I’m staring at Tweedia Day, trying to make sense of it. It’s like a flying raccoon just sailed into my living room. (Do I kill it? Do I pet it? Should I be angry at it? Is it cool?)"
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is quoted on the cover of David Berri's book, endorsing his brand of stat wizardry. But when the exact brand of analysis described in that book say the Wizards might be the worst team ever, well, Leonsis understandably cools somewhat on Berri's thought process.
M. Haubs of the Painted Area has been at the WNBA Finals: "There can be a school of thought -- a political argument, really -- made by supporters that women's basketball is better than the men's version because it is a purer form of the game, with a patterned, fundamentally sound teamwork which harkens back to some indeterminate nostalgic days of yore in the men's game. I think this is both insulting to the amount of team play and mastery of fundamentals actually seen in the men's game, and ultimately a disservice to the women's game. I view men's basketball as clearly superior to women's basketball, mainly because of the far superior athleticism in the men's game. I appreciate the WNBA for what it is, without either overstating its quality or taking cheap shots at it. Regular readers of this space will know that I believe in respecting the game in all its forms. I can enjoy and respect that the WNBA features the best female players in the world -- players who love the game as much and work as hard at it as their male counterparts -- while still fully understanding that these players are far inferior to male professionals. WNBA basketball helps fill the hoops void in my life in the offseason months of the men's game. I find myself increasingly enjoying the league, not because of some vague echo to Hickory High, but rather, because the style of play increasingly resembles the NBA game."