Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal has been hearing from lost of Cleveland fans convinced that owner Dan Gilbert hasn't been making any moves because his fortunes are tied to the rocky mortgage industry. Gilbert tells Windhorst that's nonsense, and Windhorst says he totally believes Gilbert. The Cavaliers just haven't had a lot of good options. Windhorst then explains why Mike Bibby is not a Cavalier (and yes, it has something to do with money, but it still makes some sense): "From people I have talked to and my reading of the situation, one of the major reasons the Bibby deal did not go down was money. The proposed three-way trade between the Cavs, Spurs and Kings would've added about $3 million to the payroll right off the top. Then there would've been free agents Luis Scola, Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic to deal with. The Cavs would've been facing a payroll probably near $75 million. Plus Varejao would have better leverage since Drew Gooden would've been gone. Next year the payroll would've probably exceeded $80 million and you're passing into nonsense territory."
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an old commercial, protecting the rim against an Atari machine. (By the way, notice that he's playing third fiddle in this commercial. The big star is a robot. The second banana is Carol Channing. Then it's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Basketball has come a long way.)
Oh my word! Are you kidding me? You know how all these crazy things happen on college campuses, that have nothing to do with academics? Like they spend fortunes on private planes for coaches to recruit players who in truth won't learn much on campus? And they have special fancy housing for athletes that tells the academic-focused kids they're not important? And they do all kinds of shady stuff to skate around academic requirements? And then they leave the undereducated athletes with lousy futures if their pro careers don't work out? (I'm rambling, but you get my point.) I'm the ten millionth, or so, person to say that seems fishy. And there's always someone ready to respond "yeah, but those big-time sports programs bring in a lot of money for the school." Myles Brand, head of the NCAA, tells the Associated Press that over the last six years, only six division one athletic departments have shown a profit.
If you are recruiting for some kind of trick shot competition, YouTube is your best friend. UPDATE: If you live in a skatepark, you might consider practicing some of these, which end up getting totally ridiculous. Skateboard as baseball bat to hit the basketball with. And it goes in. That's really something.
Wow, you don't often see statements like this (from Dave Perkins in the Toronto Star): "If the NBA crumbles further on Stern's watch, it's not difficult to see him leaving in disgrace, with the owners turning to someone like Bill Bradley to restore public confidence. Stern's a smart guy, but nothing might save him if he turns out to have called this one so blatantly wrong."
Americans: Not so tall anymore.
If this graph is real, it's hilarious and kind of amazing.
Two D-League teams fold. So long, Rim Rockers. See ya, Flyers. As an extra slap to their fans, assuming they had some, they didn't even get a real send-off. Just a parenthetical mention in a bigger press release, well after the news that the Boston Celtics will now be affiliated with the Utah Flash.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan has a must-read article about Kobe Bryant. Do not assume that he has dropped his trade demand.
It's not easy being Kendrick Perkins right now. Yes, he waltzed into a starting role alongside Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Yes, he's about to have a child. But if he's not rock-solid, everywhere they go, people will watch the Celtics and say "that team's a decent big man away from contending."
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Phil Jackson had a saying that nothing good can happen if you're out past 1 a.m. That's about the latest anyone can stay out who has to go to work the next morning."
This is not new, but it's pleasingly surreal. LeBron James' long-time confidant Maverick Carter was at risk of losing his license after getting a lot of speeding tickets. And then he was in the hospital with strep throat. The upshot of it all was Carter in a face mask, accompanied by one of the most powerful attorneys in the region (both in very fine suits) in the mayor's courtroom in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Carter's lawyer cut a deal taking a few points off his license, and he's back on the road.