Odds and ends and a bit of Canada for good measure
Well, looks like the final has some juice, no? Might make for a good three games I’ll be at and it’s nice to know for certain when I’ll be back home.
More on the series tomorrow, some odds and ends to clear up today.
I guess one of the more interesting off-the-court storylines of the final (Lakers in six!) is the fact Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau is bolting right after to be the head coach in Chicago.
Now, Thibodeau, generally credited for making the Celtics a defensive power (not coincidentally it happened with the arrival of Kevin Garnett) has been the flavour of the month among assistants for a couple years, even if he didn’t get many head coaching interviews.
And, he’s certainly got some high-powered supporters out there; listening to Jeff Van Gundy gush about him was a bit too much.
Still, from afar this seems to be a hire fraught with peril for a team that really can’t afford a step back.
It is a huge, huge step from lead assistant to head coach, there is a ton more responsibility with being the man in charge than there is being the chief adviser to man in charge. Media duties, massaging egos, handling personalities, the whole gamut.
And Thibodeau has never done any of that.
The Bulls are an intriguing team, one with some nice pieces and lots of money to spend this summer and entrusting the roster to a first-time head coach seems to be quite a gamble to me.
I don’t know Thibodeau all that well but I saw him as a head coach in a game here that Doc had to miss when his father passed away and Thibodeau was far too animated, excitable and over the top. That was one game, I can only imagine the strain he’ll feel over 82.
Now, this may turn out to be one of those inspired hires that works wonders; the Bulls may turn into an Eastern Conference power in a year or two.
Or they may not.
This story kind of got lost on the weekend on our website and in our paper but I really thought you should see it to understand what kind of good things athletes do in their communities.
Now, I don’t know what you people all think of Jamaal Malgoire, I like the guy even though I wish he’d played for Canada sometime in the last eight or nine years.
But no matter, I don’t think you can find fault with his off-court actions and it’s been pretty much a constant.
I remember dragging my sorry butt out to some news conference in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to hear Jamaal’s impassioned plea for donations to what was then his professional hometown.
There’s the sponsorship of one of the biggest mas bands and floats in the annual Caribana festivities; kids basketball leagues, his own foundation.
Yes, it’s a bit over the top flattery but we don’t often get to celebrate the good that gets done by athletes in the community and I’m thinking we should.
When I was talking to Jamaal for the story on Saturday evening, I got a sense that what he’d done he’d rather have kept private at the moment.
Too bad, it’s a story that needed to be told.
Wondered this last night during the game, sorry for the repeat.
Hey, do you think eight three-pointers in an NBA Finals game is enough to get Ray Allen invited to The Summit?
That was a pretty impressive game by an old guy, made an old guy’s heart proud.
Getting back to the national team for a second, you Irregulars out in Vancouver might want to pay attention today.
Apparently, a gaggle of Canada Basketball big shots are headed your way to officially announce the Canada-China game (Aug. 10, I believe) that starts a rather ambitious summer for the national team.
With a couple of games a couple of days later against France here in Toronto, it’s the biggest series of games on home turf in quite some time. (Yes, the played Lebanon and New Zealand here a couple of years ago, but that’s Lebanon and New Zealand, this is China and France).
Now, it’s not like France and China are coming to North America to simply play Canada – there’s a little event in New York right after that’s the prime reason for the trip – but it does speak to a growing reputation of the national team program that the other countries are going to stop here on their way to New York.
The credit should be widespread but it really stops and starts with Maurizio Gherardini, whose reputation in Europe and FIBA circles is the most significant thing Canada has going for it these days.
I know it’s still quite far off but if I were you and I could make it happen, I’d find a way to get to one of these games simply to show some support for a program trying to be on the rise.
Mighty Yankees practice tonight and game on Wednesday and sometimes this whole work-for-a-living thing truly gets in the way.
Hands up anyone who was surprised Danny Ferry walked away from the Cleveland Cavaliers last week without even thinking about a new contract when his present deal expires in a month or so.
With the heavy involvement of owner Dan Gilbert – reports are Gilbert and Ferry were at odds over the fate of coach Mike Brown – and the owner’s intention to do everything in his power to be involved in the LeBron thing, it was apparent that Ferry’s power was being diminished.
And when that happens? You have to leave.
I haven’t followed the Cavs closely enough to know whether Ferry is a good GM or a bad one, I suspect like so many others he’s had lots of hits and misses over the years, but when owners start getting truly hands-on, it’s time to go.
While it’s all well and good that the Mark Cubans or Dan Gilberts or Michael Jordans of the world are out front and cheering and making news, I’m not sure any of them truly have the expertise to run franchises on the basketball side of things.
That rather muddled Cavs thing has an impact up here, too.
While Mike Brown was let go as head coach, his assistants kept their jobs and the uncertainty about who might take over and who he might keep on staff may cost Leo the services of Michael Malone as an assistant this summer.
It’s still up in the air but until things get set in Cleveland, Mike can’t 100 per cent commit to his gig with the Canadian national team.
Luckily, there’s enough time before things start to get entirely serious up here for the situation to be resolved.
Yes, there was a rumour of some Jose Calderon-Mo Williams swap but, yawn, if we react to every rumour out there, that’s all we’ll do.
When there’s something up legitimately, you’ll read about it here.
Word I got on this one was: Forget it, put it out of your mind. So I will.
Okay, long travel day ahead, not sure when I’ll get to the inevitable comments but I will eventually so don’t despair.
Talk to you from Beantown.