Archive for February 13th, 2009

Tim Duncan talks about David Robinson

Here’s what San Antonio Spurs superstars Tim Duncan said Friday in Phoenix at NBA All-Star Weekend about former teammate David Robinson.

Question: First of all, David Robinson.  One of the 16 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame, how do you feel about that?

Tim Duncan:  Easy decision.  I’m happy for him.  What he has been through over the years, his career, how he has touched people on and off the basketball courts, what he has done, just a great guy and glad that it’s done for on his first try.

Question: What has he meant to you in your career?

Tim Duncan:  Well, he has always been like a big brother to me, ever since day one walking in there, he has always been my big brother on the court, showing me how things are done off the court, just being there for me. So, as I said, just really excited for him.

Question: How about as far as him helping you develop your games, perhaps?

Tim Duncan:  I think more than anything he helped me develop my game by being there, by being next to me, taking the pressure off of me, allowing me to mature and become the player I could be on my own time instead of being forced in there in a situation where I’m the number one pick and have to be the man right off the back.  It was a great situation for me.

Quick talk with Kobe

Here’s a bit of what Kobe Bryant had to say in Phoenix Friday at NBA All-Star weekend:

Question: Do you remember the time when people started telling you were good enough to be in the NBA?

Kobe Bryant:  Nobody ever told me that.

Question: When did you start to believe it?
Kobe Bryant:  When I first got drafted.

Question: That’s when you believed you could make it in the NBA?
Kobe Bryant:  Yep.

Question: What was your first game like, when you scored your first points?
Kobe Bryant:  It was a pass from Eddie Jones.

Question: What’s going on with the Lakers?
Kobe Bryant:  We want to win another championship.  We have a good team, have the team to do it.  That’s our goal.

Question: Why has it been so relatively easy ‑‑ not easy, but going without Andrew, you still seem to be going on a roll.
Kobe Bryant:  Our team is used to playing with guys coming in on the lineup because we had to do it last season.  It was tough but we had to figure it out.
I think because of that, having that experience, we kind of come back.

Question: Can you talk about Lamar, he seems to have stepped up his game?
Kobe Bryant:  He has locked in.  I think what you are seeing now, you are seeing Lamar at an All‑Star level.

Question: When Andrew went out, have you changed in terms of your attitude, more leadership?
Kobe Bryant:  A little bit more aggressive, obviously.  We got to command more double‑teams.

Greg Oden not playing in Rookie Game

Portland Trail Blazers rookie Greg Oden will not play in the 2009 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam this evening after experiencing discomfort in his left (non operative) knee.

Oden underwent a precautionary MRI today, which revealed some swelling and a chip fracture of the patella.

Oden, who practiced with the Rookie Team today, felt some discomfort after bumping knees with the Warriors’ Corey Maggette in the fourth quarter of last night’s game at Golden State.

He is listed as day-to-day and will be reevaluated upon return to Portland.

It’s a done deal, an official transaction, everything’s been signed.

Well, they still have to take physicals and stuff, of course. But unless someone fails a physical, the trade has happened.

More info here.

And fan discussion of the deal is here.

Chris Bosh hitting All-Star tech summit

Chris Bosh reports from AOL Fanhouse: It’s All-Star Weekend and this is the first time I won’t be playing in anything. I really wanted to play in the game Sunday, but I have to be smart and let my knee heal properly. I’m still looking forward to hanging out with my family and enjoying everything the weekend has to offer, though. One thing I’m really looking forward to is being on the panel at the Technology Summit Friday morning. This year the panel I’m involved with is on Global Wireless Evolution.Here’s the list of the people joining me on the panel: Mark Cuban (Chairman, Landmark Theaters & Co-Founder HDNet Films & 2929 Entertainment), Eddy Cue (Vice President, iTunes, Apple), David Eun (Vice President, Content Partnerships, Google), Susan G. Nokes (Chief Customer & Operations Officer, T-Mobile USA), Javier Pérez Dolset (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Zed Group), Baron Davis (Guard, Los Angeles Clippers), Ken Yeung (Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, TOM Group).

Famous spottings at All-Star

New York Daily News (Frank Isola) reports (via blog): You never know who you’ll into at the All-Star Game. On my flight from Los Angeles I traveled with Cedric The Entertainer as well as ESPN’s Bill Simmons, who used to be a writer but now that he’s flying First Class you can’t call him that anymore. At the hotel I spotted Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald as well as Shaquille O’Neal walking with his four kids. No sign of Rihanna and Chris Brown however.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports: John Paxson plans to resign as Bulls GM, the Sun-Times has learned. The timing of Paxson’s resignation is not certain, possibly after the season. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has tried to talk Paxson out of resigning, according to the Tribune. And that report states Paxson may remain in the organization in a different role.

InsideHoops.com editor says: It appears that the New York Post’s Pete Vecsey broke the story, and the Sun-Times has confirmed it. Anyway, I wonder if he’s voluntarily deciding to call it quits or if Bulls ownership privately informed him it’s time to change directions in the leadership department.

Economy affects NBA All-Star weekend

The Washington Post (Michael Lee) reports on 2009 NBA All-Star weekend: An inability to assemble private sponsors has led to the cancellation of some of the more popular parties, such as Zo & Magic’s Eight Ball Challenge, a celebrity-infused pool tournament that usually kicks off the weekend, and an ESPN bowling event. The Jordan Brand shoe company, which held a red-carpet party last year in New Orleans, elected to have a private dinner instead. And the NBA Players Association All-Star Gala, a lavish, invitation-only event considered the premier party of the weekend, plans to rely more on music from a disc jockey after having live performances by comedian Cedric the Entertainer, rappers T.I. and Snoop Dogg, and R&B singer Mary J. Blige in recent years. “I think the people that are coming to Phoenix are going to enjoy All-Star Weekend a great deal,” said Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, president of the players’ union. “At the same time, a lot of our sponsors, a lot of our players and the league overall are very aware of what the people in our country are going through. I think you’ll see a little bit of a subdued feel with over-the-top parties, and guys doing a lot of different things individually.”

Elgin Baylor lawsuit against Clippers

Former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor spent 22 years barely accomplishing anything, making bad draft choices, and not succeeding at making the Clippers a good team.

Now, it’s well known that Baylor faced limits on how much money he was allowed to spend. The Clippers tended to use very little salary, and that makes it hard to ever build a real winner.

Still, Baylor was lousy at his job. Yet the Clippers let him keep his position for over two decades. That’s dedication.

The legendary former player and the organization have since gone their separate ways. But now, it’s getting ugly.  The AP reports:

Elgin Baylor, the former Los Angeles Clippers general manager who left the team last fall after 22 years, has sued the franchise, the NBA and team owner Donald Sterling alleging employment discrimination. The lawsuit maintains that Baylor was “discriminated against and unceremoniously released from his position with the team on account of his age and his race” and that he was “grossly underpaid during his tenure with the Clippers, never earning more than $350,000 per year, when compared with the compensation scheme for general managers employed by every other team in the NBA.”

I side with the Clippers. From the outside, Baylor’s lawsuit sounds ridiculous.

Of course, that’s the thing. We’re all on the outside. No one knows what was going on behind closed doors. But, how bad could it have been? If Baylor was being mistreated, wouldn’t he have said or done something while he actually had his job? The guy had job security for over two decades, despite being fairly bad at what he did. The Clippers showed him amazing loyalty over the years.

Here’s a statement sent to InsideHoops.com and other media outlets from Los Angeles Clippers’ General Counsel Robert H. Platt, a partner at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips:

“Now that they have staged their press conference, it has become even more apparent that the decision to bring the suit was driven by publicity-seeking attorneys hoping to draw attention to themselves. Their false claims carry no weight and have no credibility.”

“Elgin Baylor was with the Clippers for 22 years and he received numerous salary increases and was always treated well.”

“During Elgin’s tenure, the other NBA teams employed over 125 General Managers with an average tenure of less than five years. In fact, despite the team’s poor draft history and record, Elgin was the NBA’s longest serving General Manager when he chose to resign.”

“Elgin rejected the opportunity to continue with the organization as a paid consultant or stay in his current job. People can judge for themselves the results of his performance during his 22 years on the job.  We stand by our assertion that Elgin was always treated fairly and honorably.”

Unless some new information comes out, I hope the Clippers win out here.

- InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner

The AP reports: Ronny Turiaf recorded his first double-double in nearly two years with 14 points and 11 rebounds while helping lead the Warriors to a 105-98 win over Portland on Thursday… Corey Maggette had 24 points while Jackson and Monta Ellis added 20 points apiece for Golden State, which extended its season-high win streak to three games. The Warriors also beat Portland at home for the eighth straight time… Brandon Roy scored 37 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 for the Blazers, who have not won at Golden State since Nov. 3, 2004.

The AP reports: Kevin Garnett was frustrated and sitting on the Boston bench after getting three fouls in a matter of seconds while battling with Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas’ lone All-Star. Celtics coach Doc Rivers was already in the locker room because of the same sequence late in the third quarter, ejected after two quick technical fouls… And they would go on to a physical 99-92 victory Thursday night over the Mavericks. Pierce scored 18 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, but gave plenty of credit to his argumentative coach… Nowitzki led Dallas with 37 and Howard had 17 before fouling out. Ray Allen, playing a night after injuring his thumb in the Celtics’ victory at New Orleans, had 20 points and will play in the All-Star game still. Rajon Rondo had 19 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists for his second career triple-double, both this season.

Beasley scores 21, Heat beat Bulls 95-93

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade found a streaking Shawn Marion for a dunk with 1.1 seconds left to give the Heat a 95-93 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. Wade, selected as a starter for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star game this weekend in Phoenix, scored 24 points… Reserve Michael Beasley finished with 21 points for the Heat, who came in as a loser of five out of the last seven games… Ben Gordon finished with 34 points for Chicago.

Basketball blog