Of golfing and oligarchs; a strange mix indeed
|LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR|
Yep, today’s the big old Raptors Foundation golfing event (no, my invitation to play never did arrive) but it’s another signal that things are close – really close – to beginning for real.
And who knows, it might give a grunt a chance to sniff out some items. Wish me luck.
Until then …
Not a whole lot, as nba.com tells us; but there’s still enough.
One in, one out
Okay, so the Lakers win the title and they must love the team they’ve got because they draft Chinemelu Elonu and let Sun Yue walk and how in the world is that going to change ‘em?
Right, Artest in, Ariza out.
I don’t know about that one, talent-wise it’s probably an improvement if you like older, slower, defensive-minded players over young, dynamic up-and-comers.
But it’s not about talent, is it? And this is a de facto trade that everyone connected with the NBA is going to be watching closely.
Me? I think it backfires.
Okay, someone needs to explain to me what it’s like to be a fan of the Sacramento Kings, who are small but not particularly fast, young and entirely unproven and who play in the league’s worst arena not called Whatever It Is They Call The Joint In Jersey.
A deal to come?
The Golden State Warriors are, from this vantage point, an absolute mess. Stephen Jackson says he wants out, they keep dangling Monta Ellis in trade speculation, and who knows what Nellie has up his sleeve. At least he’s got Devean George, I guess.
But if you want true train wreck potential, you’ve got to watch the W’s.
Under the radar, Part III
There really isn’t one that sticks out, is there? So let’s go with Channing Frye in Phoenix. He’s a good shooting, athletic big who might blossom in the new-old Suns system.
Less is more?
Not sure the Clippers are at all relevant – they do have the Griffin kid who seems okay but there’s still that Baron Davis-Mike Dunleavy disconnect to worry about – but they did shed Zach Randolph, which should make things a tad better out there.
Less is more, 2.0
In hindsight, it seems there were some, um, issues with Suns in the woebegone Shaq era. That era’s over, of course, and it may mean that the Suns are at least fun again. Whether they’re among the top six teams in the conference remains to be seen. It’s debatable.
What’s it all mean? The Lakers are still the chalk in the division, probably the West and perhaps the league. Other than that, the Pacific – with the Clips and the Kings and the Warriors – is the worst division in the NBA.
We may have an oligarch in our midst! Tres cool, no?
Anyway, news that Russian Mikhail Prokorov has a deal to buy into the Nets and their pie-in-the-sky Brooklyn plan was greeted with some trepidation in some parts yesterday, mostly because there were some concerns that he’d spend the Nets to prominence with some of his billions.
At least not now.
The Nets are not set up to be major players in free agency next year – they certainly can’t go out and sign two max-contract players – and the way the rules are set up, it’s going to take years before they can amass the kind of payroll befitting an oligarch.
And, besides, I’ve never been convinced the Nets would ever play a game in Brooklyn, there are all kinds of unresolved issues and a whacked economy to deal with and therefore I’m not entirely convinced this deal gets done in its precise form, anyway.
Sure, I guess this guy could come in and go all Cuban and Cleveland and MSG on us, building payroll to incomprehensible lessons but just because he’s filthy rich, it doesn’t mean he’s going to sign every expensive player in the league, he can’t.
You heard about the big trade yesterday, didn’t you?
TSN2 gives up the opener against Cleveland and Dec. 16 to The Score for Jan. 20 at Milwaukee and March 31 against the Clippers.
That’s Vince-to-Jersey-esque, isn’t it?
The Score’s Rod Thorn, TSN2’s Rob Babcock.
What’d it take?
Ninety minutes? A wee bit more?
To sell out the end-of-camp scrimmage, I mean?
Whatever it was, it was quick, I bet.
So, what will you lucky ticket holders get to see?
You’ll see tired players at the end of a stretch of six practices in four days doing a little shooting, some running and some stretching. You’ll see a layup line that might be the most entertaining part of the afternoon and it’s all very, very, very low key.
Not a bad way to kill an afternoon, I guess, and the fans do seem to have fun. It is up close and personal but if you’re looking for anything serious, look elsewhere.
One thing about training camp you should know, and one thing I’ll repeat again a couple of times:
There is very little, if any, good access to the players. None of the workouts is open to anyone – we only get in to see them shoot free throws and finish up, if history holds – and while some may stop and sign an autograph near the bus that takes them away, some will scurry to their seats to get out of there.
I have to admit, I wasn’t at all surprised to see Macy Gray and Ashley Hamilton heading out of DWTS.
She can go try to resurrect a pretty dormant career, maybe he can go ask dad for tanning suggestions.
Yes, Canada really did edge the Dominican Republic by 66 down in Brazil yesterday, as I’m sure you’ve already read right here.
What’s it mean?
Canada’s pretty good, but not that good; the DR might be that bad.
As a portend for the rest of the week, though? Nothing.
Canada has known since the schedule was released that the season really comes down to today against Puerto Rico. Win and they’ve got a better-than-good chance at qualifying for the worlds; lose and it’s pretty much over.
The more I talk to people who know more about these things than I do (and, yes, a couple people like that exist out there), the more I hear this is a somewhat special team. Good mix of young and old, good chemistry, good size, good players.
I’m betting tonight’s going to go pretty well.