Thursday Bullets

  • A fascinating and tremendous account of a very successful fundraising dinner in Beijing with Steve Nash, Yao Ming, Baron Davis, and many others. The big charity game is tomorrow.

  • Ooh, wow. The fight to keep the Sonics in Seattle just got a lot nastier, more expensive, and interesting. There are already plans for seven-figure legal fees from the city's side, and the city is reportedly "lawyering up" with former Senator Slade Gorton.

  • Knick fans, feeling the love. (Language warning. One of those days.)

  • Charity expert: not impressed with Rashard Lewis's charity. Trent Stamp, president of Charity Navigator writes: "After looking at the article and the tax records behind [Rashard] Lewis's foundation, I can tell you that my expert opinion would be the same as that of your mother, your barber, or the guy who cleans your gutters. And my opinion is this: Lewis should be embarrassed. Lewis, like a lot of athletes, has a foundation, and Lewis, like a lot of athletes, has no clue about it. He doesn't know what the group's goals are. He doesn't know who's on his board of directors. He doesn't even really know what his group does or funds. This isn't even worthy of being called 'vanity philanthropy.' It's just vanity."

  • The Charlotte Bobcats allegedly almost became the Charlotte Spiders, which would have been really cool.

  • Rod Benson, in a David Biderman article in the student newspaper of San Diego State: "I've been offered screen writing jobs which is cool because I barely know how to spell the word 'screenplay.'"

  • Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes: "With free agent P.J. Brown in no hurry to sign, the Suns are looking at other frontcourt options. Today, they will work out NBDL rebounding champion Elton Brown, 6-foot-8 veteran Michael Ruffin, ex-Sun Zarko Cabarkapa and ex-Arizona State star Mario Bennett, 34. Vitaly Potapenko, an 11-year pro who is back in shape, will visit Thursday, and wide body Mike Sweetney, center Brian Skinner and 20-year-old wing Yaroslav Korolev are expected next week. Phoenix scouted Esteban Batista in the FIBA Americas Championship and has not ruled out Pat Burke." TrueHoop reader Noah points out: since when do teams hold competitive auditions for veteran free agents? Isn't that amazing? My best guess: they really want P.J. Brown, and are trying to do gain a little leverage as he dithers.

  • Remember that talk about how Anderson Varejao got a great second-round contract? He was the 30th pick in a year when the Timberwolves didn't have a pick, so his agent made the case he should be paid like a first-rounder. TrueHoop reader Anthony points out: "In 2002, Steve Logan was selected 30th, first pick of the second round, by Golden State. Using the same logic that applied to Varejao -- that Logan was a virtual first-rounder, but because the Timberwolves forfeited a pick, he just ended up in the second -- his agent, whom it was I don't recall, made him a hold-out. Popular in football, not so popular in basketball. Turning down minimum, make-good type deals that were offered by the Warriors, Logan sat waiting for more cash. Given he hasn't played a single second in the NBA, I'm guessing he's still waiting." More on Logan.

  • Send a needy kid to a game.

  • The Spanish national team is achieving rock-star status. (How does this article not mention Rudy Fernandez?)

  • Tidy little run-down of the naughty bits of Stephon Marbury's testimony. Some offensive language.

  • The Spurs traded the 2006 pick that became Damir Markota to Milwaukee for the 2007 pick that became Marcus Williams. Markota is out of the league already. Williams could be the latest to make RC Buford look like a genius.

  • ESPN's Chris Sheridan has lots of good information from Europe, including this: "Turkey, despite the presence of NBA players Mehmet Okur, Hedo Turkoglu and Ersan Ilyasova, finished as the only winless team in the qualification round, the team showing clear signs of chemistry problems. It was likely the last appearance as coach of the national team for Bogdan Tanjevic, who said that 'fortunately' his contract as coach was about to expire."

  • Bill Russell on video.

  • David Thorpe loves Justin Cage, who is hoping to make the Bulls. Is this really an email from Thorpe? I'm sure it is, as he has told me many of the same things about Cage. Also, in his chat yesterday, Thorpe said this about Joakim Noah: "I heard from a Bulls scout that he's up 14 lbs and looking amazingly agile. And his work ethic has already turned heads in Chi-town."

  • Corey Brewer does not want your video game advice.

  • Hilarious hoops-themed TV clip from the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Some bad language.

  • Kevin Martin live from Africa.

  • Dajuan Wagner reportedly signs in Poland.

  • Carl Landry, this year's 31st pick, and the Houston Rockets are not seeing eye to eye on the ol' contract thing.

  • Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger predicts Allan Houston will not be in the New Jersey's training camp: "You want a hunch? They'll offer him a camp tryout, vet's minimum. And he'll turn them down. One reason: [Houston's agent] Bill Strickland has already placed one client in Nets camp without a guaranteed
    contract (Malik Allen). Why would he want to diminish the chance of either guy to make the team by placing a second one there? It makes no sense."

  • Remeber Ed Cota?

  • Marco Belinelli has a blog. Kind of. And it's bad. Here's a guess about how it was created.

  • Andre Miller and Marcus Camby improved the Nuggets as much as Carmelo Anthony has, according to the Wages of Wins.

  • UPDATE: A MySpace page that may or may not belong to Bucks free agent guard Charlie Bell appears to contain some pretty interesting insight into his decision-making process between the Bucks and the Greek team Olympiakos.

  • UPDATE: Magic Johnson on video, talking about how he got his nickname.