A strange feeling and a workout roster
My Spidey sense is tingling folks, it’s tingling a lot.
I don’t know precisely why – that’s the thing about Spidey Senses – but there’s just a feeling that something’s going to happen over the next 10 days to shake up this basketball team I cover.
Just from conversations I had in Boston and with a couple of other sources throughout the league, the over-riding sense is that Bryan is going to try to do something of significance before the draft and there is precedent for it.
I remember the night two years ago almost to the day – it was the Saturday of what’s become almost the annual free agent camp here – that a guy whispered to me that Jermaine O’Neal was probably going to be a Raptor and that it was all coming down around the draft.
Armed with the 13th pick and a whole bunch of players of varying degree of talent and contractual obligation to dangle, the chatter is that the president and GM of the Heroes Of The Hardcourt has something up his sleeve as one conversationalist put it yesterday:
“It’s too quiet, he’s got to have something going on.”
The thing about Bryan’s job this time around is that he’s got a lot of disparate parts to move in trades, which would make it easier to make a move, wouldn’t it? He’s got Hedo -- bad contract but, trust me, a guy whose reputation around the league is better than it is here)
He’s got Jarrett – good contract, coming off a so-so year.
He’s got Jose – not-so-good contract but, again, trust me, a guy whose reputation around the league is better than it is here.
He’s also got the No. 13 pick, which isn’t particularly coveted but which could definitely be in play in some package.
Now, I could be entirely wrong about this – not that that’s ever happened before – but all signs point to some kind of transaction coming down the pike before the draft.
Guess I’ve got some stuff to do once I get back around the lads for the workouts today and Thursday.
Speaking of workouts, here’s the lineup for the morning and I’m headed off to google, I guess.
We’ve got littles: Dominique Jones of South Florida (6-4 PG, a late-first or second-round pick) and Lance Stephenson of Cincinnati (6-6 SG, same kind of projection).
But then we’ve got some interesting bigs in Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside and Solomon Alabi of Florida State. Whiteside’s better thought-of but both “people of interest” to the Raptors.
Nothing says good morning like New Zealand-Slovakia in the World Cup, does it?
Couple of things left over from a long trip to Boston – and I can fully endorse the Beantown Pub as a place to hang out and Harpoon IPA or Sam Adams Seasonal as a thing to hang out with so the sojourn had some ancillary benefits.
They’re kind of related because they go to things that people say that get blown, a bit, out of proportion.
I understand Phil Jackson took some shot at the Celtics during a fourth quarter timeout, telling the Lakers that the Celtics were known for blowing fourth quarter leads and that they were doing it again.
Even Paul Pierce had a “duh” to that one.
“You know, he’s right … I haven’t really seen too much of that in the playoffs but coaches say things to try to motivate their teams. He’s supposed to give them confidence, he’s supposed to say something like that.”
The second also involved Pierce, who was caught again by the TV cameras in Game 2 saying the Celtics weren’t going back to L.A., and he was asked about it Sunday night.
“I’m not supposed to think my team is going to come back (to Boston for three) and lose a game at home … I wasn’t being cocky about it, I was just confident in my team. I didn’t say anything negative about the Lakers, I was just referring to what I wanted my team to do, that’s all.”
Now, quite aside from the fact Phil’s likely to have a conniption at having the broadcasters use that comment of his – the deal is supposed to be nothing too contentious gets out of those inside-the-huddle things and there’s someone in the truck checking everything out – I have absolutely no problem at all with either his or Pierce’s statement.
Neither was quite earth-shattering or even newsworthy but they did give a glimpse into the true thought process of athletes and coaches and I’m fine with that.
I don’t think there needed to be any big hue and cry about either of them – sometimes we in the media tend to go overboard (and there’s another ‘duh!’ statement if I’ve ever typed one) and that’s too bad because it puts the fear of whatever deity you worship into the players and coaches.
But a little easily explained honesty’s not a bad thing.
You know me: A bad news, good news kind of guy, right?
Bad news: The journey home not only included a cost-induced stop in Philly from Boston but also a two-hour delay in the City of Brotherly Love, kind of a fitting end to the NBA travel season that created just a 12-hour travel day.
Good news: Harpoon IPA at lunch, Yuengling at dinner.
Yes, we’ll be here tonight to hang out during the game so, please, feel free to join, it’s truly a hoot.
And we may as well get this started: Click here to get the early submissions in for the mail bag.
Oh, that free agent camp that the Raptors are holding this weekend? I’m told they’re shooting for 15 or 20 guys, mostly free agents, D Leaguers and guys who spent time in Europe last season.
Trouble is, we won’t know who the guys are until the last possible minute and that’s an issue every year at this time.
With so many guys trying to get so few jobs with so many different teams, it’s difficult to get hard commitments until the very last minute. If a player goes somewhere and does well, he gets to thinking that maybe he’ll get a job with one team and all those others he told he’d visit can just forget about it.
It’s frustrating as anything for the people trying to put these things together and why we won’t know for sure until Thursday night who will be on the court when things start Friday morning.