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Thursday Bullets

  • What's better than a maximum contract? A max-plus contract. Welcome to the world of up-front cash, adjustments for future increases in the salary cap, and trade kickers.

  • It's not like everything is perfect in Europe. One of the greatest coaches not in the NBA, CSKA's Ettore Messina, weighs in on many troubles in European basketball, from his disappointment in the Italian National team, the lack of a system to develop young players, political infighting, and economic instability.

  • Marvin Williams wants you to know that if you have not seen Mario West play in a real game, then you have been missing out. He's a high-energy terror.

  • Did you see that in his first ever game under Mike D'Antoni, Zach Randolph had five assists? (The Knicks as a team matched their assist high from last season.) That number leapt off the page to me. I thought it might be a career high (in fact, I am wrong ... he has had as many as eight, and even had six once last season). Those five assists helped him get on the right side of the assist/turnover ratio. Last night he had five assists compared to four turnovers, whereas on his career he has 734 assists compared to 1,002 turnovers. If he can get his assists up, and his turnovers down, he becomes a vastly more valuable player.

  • Gilbert Arenas talking to SLAM's Myles Brown: "I've got an invention. I'll let your hear it, but if you make money you've gotta hit me off. SLAM: I got you. It's called the Cool Aid (note: I couldn't tell if he said Cool Aid or Cool Wave. Either way, copyright pending...) It's like the microwave, but the Cool Aid. So for instance you can put a warm soda in the machine and boom, it's cold. Most people, "Oh no, you call that the freezer, but nah, the freezer takes two minutes. Just like you've got the oven and the microwave, you've got the freezer and the Cool Aid. SLAM: But what else would you want to make cool besides soda? Gil: Anything. Like if your ice cream is melting, boom, put it in. Beep!"

  • Trainer Brian McCormick: "The reason to draft or recruit 'potential' is to develop the potential. However, college coaches do not have enough time to work with players to really develop players to maximize their potential. Players develop because college programs take weight lifting far more seriously than high school programs, but technical skills like shooting rarely develop in college. For a player to develop greatly, he must take the initiative and work out diligently on his own, which is why a college or NBA team must assess psychological and mental characteristics as much as physical characteristics, because ultimately the player's competitiveness, desire and work ethic will determine his development and success as much as his physical gifts."

  • Benjamin Golliver of BlazersEdge with a funny cheap shot at Warrior guard Marcus Williams, who was famously convicted of stealing laptops at UConn: "According to the Warriors Media Guide, Richard Hendrix's 3 favorite items are his Bible, his laptop and his phone. Funny thing about that: Marcus Williams also listed Richard Hendrix's laptop as one of his 3 favorite things." It's gallows humor, really. Blazer fans are just bitter that the list of players recovering from injuries -- Brandon Roy, Steve Blake, Greg Oden, Channing Frye -- now includes Rudy Fernandez (sprained ankle) and Martell Webster (stress fracture in foot).

  • If you want to fake a famous NBA moment in your commercial, do so knowing you will incur the wrath of The Painted Area. Yes, this rule applies even if Julius Erving is in the commercial.

  • Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer, after watching the Grizzlies vs. Wizards: "According to a team source I talked to after the draft, and also reported in the Commercial Appeal, the Grizzlies had a draft-day deal in place that would have sent Javaris Crittenton to the Washington Wizards for their first-round draft pick (#18 - where the Grizzlies were set to take Courtney Lee). The deal was contingent on certain players being off the board when the Wizards picked. When Nevada seven-footer JaVale McGee was still available, the Wizards declined the deal. McGee looked raw in his pre-draft workout with the Grizzlies, but boy did he look good tonight. McGee came off the bench to score 20 points on 8-12 shooting, grab 8 rebounds, and block three shots. Despite banking in a straightaway jumper, McGee didn't show a lot of skill, but he showed tremendous athleticism for his size and impressive assertiveness for a rookie. He ran the floor, got up above the rim, and dunked with flair."

  • Andrew Bynum lost his spot in the starting lineup for a game. When he eventually checked in, the PA blared that "Welcome Back" theme from Welome Back Kotter.

  • Andrew Vanacore of the New Orleans Times-Picayune quotes Hornets owner George Shinn on the mood among players after Katrina: "Our athletes did not want to come back. They did not want to come back to New Orleans because of everything they read: It's not safe, the educational system is bad. There's potholes. I'm mean, there's potholes everywhere! I had players coming to me and saying 'Mr. Shinn, I don't want to go back to New Orleans.' I said, 'Well, would you like to be traded?'"(Via Ken Berger)

  • Nothing wrong with watching some Darryl Dawkins highlights. That second time he shatters the backboard -- think about the impact on your hands. That's using your hand in a high-speed attack on metal, and winning. (Via Ball in Europe)

  • Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic: "When it was observed that [Steve Nash] almost seemed more comfortable running the half-court sets instead of deciding when he could run a transition game, Nash said, 'It's almost like, 'Are we allowed to do this, Dad?'"

  • You know those fans who scream at players all game long? Mario Latilleon is proud to be one, and writes about it for 3 Shades of Blue: "I spent most of the first quarter calling DeShawn Stevenson "Soulja Boy" everytime he was within earshot. When Stevenson got a rebound or played defense, I kept at it with the Soulja Boy chants. When the Grizzlies shot free throws, I really
    got at it: not only would I scream Soulja Boy, I would stand and hop back doing the superman move from the song/dance. With three or four minutes left in the 1st quarter, it finally seemed like I got DeShawn Stevenson's attention. On the bench, Deshawn Stevenson started yelling something at me; unfortunately I could not hear what he was saying. Eton Thomas, sitting next to Stevenson was yelling at me too, but I really could not make out what they were saying. Within a minute of them yelling at me, a Damon Stoudamire look-a-like doing security for the Wizards came over with an police officer and asked me to stop heckling Stevenson. Since I was wearing a Damon Stoudamire jersey at the time, I thought he would give me a little more love. ... When the game was over, the Wizards left the bench and were walking across the court fifteen feet away from me. While I was looking at my cell phone responding to a text, I saw a hand towel flying towards me out of the side of eye. The towel was soaked in ice cold water. I did not see which Wizard was the thrower, but I originally thought it was Caron Butler because I noticed he was grinning at me. Sneaking around Butler with Roger McDowell like stealth was Soulja Boy himself; Deshawn Stevenson. The most telling fact of the wet towel was the hit was below my calf on my leg. With a shot like that, Stevenson had to be the thrower. Soulja Boy not only no Lebron James, he's no Big Shot Bob either."

  • Some good insight into Lawrence Frank.

  • UPDATE: You ever go to the gym and hop on some bike, or treadmill, or elliptical machine or something? I'm not crazy about those machines, but I use them, and when I do I tend to look around the room and think: All this energy we're putting into these machines ... couldn't it be used for something? Couldn't a room full of people on bicycles create some electricity or heat that could be put to use? Here's a little gym that's doing just that. And a follow-up idea: If the power is out in your house in the dead of winter, wouldn't it be cool to have a bike or treadmill in the basement that you could run on to generate a little power for a heater?