Shaq on the move. Will D'Antoni drink poison?
Wasn’t that a nice little blanket of white to wake up to today? Great, more shovelling. At least I’ll have some help from Super Son since the wusses who run the Peel school board have declared today a snow day, which would be cool if it was actually, you know, snowing out. Man, I wish those softies were running school boards back in the day when I had to walk six miles to school -- uphill both ways with the sun in our eyes and the wind against us -- every day. But I digress.
Not much Raptor stuff going on but a whole lot of news to digest and giggle at. Oh, and for you mailbag regulars, just click here to send one, am a bit low today and Friday’s the regular delivery day.
Let’s say you’re Mike D’Antoni and you’ve built an offence predicated on shooting fast and shooting early, high screen and roll and fast-break basketball.
Let’s say your general manager wants to get you a 700-pound centre who’s been hurt more often that not, who can’t play offence in the high screen and roll and who couldn’t catch Steve Nash or Grant Hill or Amare Stoudemire in a foot race if you gave him a halfcourt head start.
Would you stick pins in your eyes? Protest ‘til the cows come home about how your GM is ruining in everything you’d done?
I know there was a story out a couple weeks ago about how Mike loves Steve Kerr and vice-versa and everything’s sweetness and light around the Suns.
Wrong. Very wrong. And this trade, if it happens and here’s how Ira summed it up in the Sun-Sentinel, will only make that relationship worse.
The Suns had bad chemistry in the locker room before today and something needed to be done. Shaquille O’Neal is not the answer.
End of rant.
Not sure if this is a good thing or what. But two dudes who spent time with the Raptors will play in the D League all-star game next weekend. Andre Barrett and Jelani McCoy. Barrett’s actually a call-up for a guy who’s been called up to the NBA and I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Oh, it’s Red against Blue. I like Red.
How would you feel out there in Raptorland if Bryan Colangelo didn’t make a trade before Feb. 21?
I’m sure he’s looking at the long-term financial situation pretty closely, looking two or three years out, and he knows he’s got to lock up Jose Calderon and Carlos Delfino this summer.
Not saying he won’t make a deal – I know he’s working the phones as diligently as always – but there’s a chance he gets nothing done. Is this team good enough to win the East? To play for a conference title?
Here’s a query for a familiar name:
Q: Do you know when the participants for the 3-point shootout will be announced? Obviously Kapono's going to be there, but I'm interested to see if AP will make the list. I think he definitely deserves to be there and it would be fun to see two teammates going at it.
Amanda F, Barrie
A: I think we might hear as early as today. It will be interesting to see if Parker gets an invite, I’m not sure the league will want two guys from the same team but his stats would make him a possibility.
I do know that if they only had to shoot threes from the corner, he’d win.
|STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR|
|Charles Oakley moment from 2001.|
Friday. 1,000 games. Some success. But, truth be told, this franchise has been a better story than a team for about 10 of its 13 years. And it was never more zany than when Our Man Oak was around.
Two good ones you may have heard.
We’re in Cleveland and Oak’s returning from being suspended for one – I think he threw a ball at Jeff McInnis’s head during a shootaround – and we get to finally talk to him.
Drew Carey, er, Robbie MacLeod starts it off by asking Oak if he thought he let the team down by getting suspended. That’s when the fun starts.
Says Oak: “The NBA let the team down by putting it in Canada.”
From there, it disintegrates into another Oak rant against kids and hype and marketing and softness, yadda, yadda, yadda, all stuff we’d heard before. Until, that is, this pops out:
"Pimpin’ ain’t easy, pimpin’ ain’t dead, the ho’s are just scared.”
Looking somewhat aghast, Media Relations King Jim LaBumbard claps his hands, says, ‘thanks for coming, we’re here all week’ and we go scurrying back to the press room to find out how to spell ho’s.
And there’s the night we’re in Jersey and a bunch of us are standing around Oak and he’s going on off on kids and hype and marketing and softness, yadda, yadda, yadda, all stuff we’ve heard before so we wander away to talk to someone else.
Well, one dude stays, it seems. We get up the next morning to pick up the NY Post (required reading for all the latest zany NBA rumours) and there on the back page is Oak’s contention that 60 per cent of the players in the league smoke dope and some of ‘em play high.
We never left him alone for a minute after that.’
I take a break from Super Tuesday (well, a two-hour break, actually) to watch Cleveland-Boston and it’s not a bad game. Then the final minutes come and if you’re a Celtic fan, here’s why you worry:
In the last three minutes of a nip-and-tuck game, Rajon Rondo has three turnovers driving into traffic and they don’t even have him on the floor for the final 16 seconds of a one-possession game.
Pau Gasol: 24 points, 12 rebounds. I hope Michael Heisley’s getting sized for a championship ring.
Back to the mailbag
Q: Hey Doug, can you explain to us how some bad contracts come to be signed? How does Brian Cardinal go from being waived in '03, to getting inked on a 6 year, 36M$ contract in '04?? I mean seriously, me and my bro could take on Cardinal and ANY other Grizzly 2 on 2 he's that bad!!
Raptors Related: How much better do you think the Raptors are now that Ford is back, and in what ways? Myself I think it will help bring up their tempo, increase points-in-paint, and give the second unit a big shot in the arm (by having Ford or Calderon QB them, instead of *shudder* Whistlin' Dixie.
Alex L, Sudbury
A: Bad contracts? Easy. Timing is everything. Brian Cardinal has a pretty good year in Detroit and gets a big deal; Yogi Stewart has a good season in Sacramento and, presto!, six years, $24 million. Brian Scalabrine, same thing. It’s all about timing. And, it’s also all about not giving contracts to guys who put up good numbers on bad teams.
How much better? Exponentially (which I’m told means a lot). The second unit should thrive and that was a strength of the team. I expect Jason Kapono to tithe some his salary back to whichever guard he’s playing with now.