Of European plans, D League history and some song and dance
So, Deron Williams has an offer to go play in Turkey next year if the NBA lockout drags on, it seems.
Big bucks, too, if the reports are to be believed and there’s no reason not to.
But you know the skeptic in me, right?
I’ll believe Williams is headed to Turkey the day I see him in a Besiktas uniform and I am highly doubtful that any of his NBA brethren will head over for any long period of time.
Yes, it all sounds well and good that Europe is an option for locked-out NBA players and it certainly would give them an opportunity to play at a higher level than they’d get in the hometown gym running with their buddies.
But there are two or three huge issues that convince me this is not going to start a flood of guys signing contracts with big name teams over there.
First, and this is the biggest by far, is the fact there is little or no money for them. It’s hard enough for journeymen North Americans to get all the money they’re owed for playing in Europe and while organizations there might not want to stiff high profile guys, taking that money out of the budget – even if it’s from a sponsor – is going to cut into the cash available for the other guys. We’ve already heard of domestic players going on strike or withholding their talents over financial disputes, if they see an NBA guy making big bucks and their cheques aren’t clearing, it could get ugly.
Second, any NBA player with a contract who goes over there to play assumes a rather significant risk. None of their contracts will be insured since they’re playing in another league and one injury could cost them millions and millions of dollars. And NBA players guard their millions of guaranteed dollars like no one guards anything.
And, third is the fact the NBA could very well settle the dispute before the actual season begins and, trust me, anyone in Europe will come running back the first chance they get.
So, yes, the Williams story is intriguing, no doubt. But it is not over.
Sadly, anyone sent to the minors by the Raptors next season won’t get to enjoy the delights that Erie, Pa., has to offer.
Now they’ll see what’s up in Bakersfield, Calif., and that’s got to be better, right?
Yep, it was D League Affiliate Day around the NBA yesterday and when they spun the wheel, the HOTH won the Bakersfield Jam!
(Wonder if the spin brought three crowns, a crown and anchor or a spade? Anyone?)
Anyway, it’s no big deal, that’s for sure. But it is Raptors “news” and we all know you’re dying for some of that.
And some of you will know this, some will have to go deep into the dark recesses of your mind to find out but the Jam (Jams?) are/is the fifth Raptor affiliate in the long and storied history of co-operation between the D League and the NBA.
Promise you won’t look down below until you’ve thought long and hard, okay?
You gals and guys did okay on the mail yesterday but not as good as the day before and you’ve got one more shot to let me know what’s on your mind.
Do it here and we’ll get the weekend unfolding at its usual pace.
Hey, anyone want to spoil the season-ended Treme episode for me?
Missed it Sunday ‘cause I was sitting on a stool at Legal Seafood sipping Harpoon and eating stuffed baked shrimp.
And since I probably won’t get an hour at On Demand for the next day or two …
(No, wait. Don’t. Please. I hate it when people give stuff away like that).
Canada drops its first game of the classification round at the world juniors today, beaten by three by Latvia. Things are not going to plan, at all, over there.
Big day for the winning teams, though, the knockout quarter-finals go and Jonas Valanciunas and Lithuania get Poland.
We’ll catch up with him and how he’s doing as soon as I can talk to some Henchmen who’re taking in the tournament.
Next up for Basketball Canada’s programs?
The junior women are up in Barrie until Tuesday get ready for their worlds and Leo’s senior men’s team starts its first phase of camps here in a week or so. The men, still the marquee team in many eyes even if the women at the junior and senior level might be more legit threats to do well, have a lot of time to get ready, their Olympic qualifier doesn’t go until September.
To a guy of a certain vintage, that’s a great picture and it was pretty sad news yesterday to hear of the passing of Dick Williams and I know this sounds a bit crass, but I wish I had still been in Boston when the news broke.
Dick Williams was a giant and I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. Aside from Boston’s Impossible Dream of ’67 (first Series I really paid close attention to), he took two other teams to the World Series, won with the old A’s and was known as one of the toughest, no-nonsense managers in the history of the game.
He probably wouldn’t last a homestand in this day and age and that’s too bad.
Anyway, his Toronto links are solid – a couple of International League titles back when the International League mattered – and I’m waiting for Griff and Perk to regale us with some stories.
Here’s the best tribute I found out there, give it a read.
So we’re in the car listening to a homemade CD and on comes a song from the soundtrack of Rent. It’s one of the songs featuring Jesse Martin and the question immediately popped to mind:
The greatest multi-faceted actor from the various Law and Order franchises was …?
Really, when can you think of a TV show about cops and robbers and lawyers that’s had a couple of guys like Martin and perhaps my all-time fave Lenny Briscoe in it over the years?
And while I like Martin in Rent, how can you not go with Jerry Orbach as the answer to that question?
(Oh, yeah, we’re branching out here big-time every now and then)
In case you didn’t get the answer: Arkansas Rimrockers, Colorado 14ers, Idaho Stampede, Erie Bayhawks and now the Jam (Jams?).