The start of the weekend mail
Left very little time to explore Edmonton but this Sherlock Holmes place provided a nice respite.
Got this much of this done early here, there’s some more for tomorrow and still time to join in the fun if you’d like. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: As I am sitting on my sofa reading your delightful blog for my daily dose of sports news, the BBC news is running a piece on the Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi.
I vacillate between wanting to escape to the blissfully simple world of pro-sports and then feel irresponsible for ignoring important world events.
I was wondering if you could elaborate on how you feel sports and sports writing fits into the 'big picture.' Do you ever have moments of great perspective taking in your work?
All the Best
A: I honestly believe games and stories about them are important diversions, if you will, from the harsh realities of life.
I know that sounds a bit trite, and perhaps a bit presumptuous, but I know when I’m working or watching I find it kind of easy to put it in perspective: It’s fun, it’s not all that important and if you have that attitude, I think you can let your mind wander a little bit.
(And yes, my mind wanders often).
But I would never feel irresponsible or anything like that because what I do, and what you watch, provides a much needed break from the stresses of real life.
Treat it that way, as a break, and it’s even better.
Q: In reference to your Ben Johnson comments on Thursday, I have a question about HGH testing in the NBA.
A couple of days ago I saw this headline, "NBA, Players Union Far Apart In Negotiations On HGH Testing". The article said. "The negotiations are ongoing, but the gap may be too wide to close in time for a policy to be in place in time for the start of the regular season."
A commenter made the statement that LeBron wanted to be the Players Association President to ensure HGH testing is never implemented in the NBA.
Do you think that some of the resistance by the Player's Association is due to the realization that some players are using it? Do you think it is possible that in a League of approximately 450 players that nobody is using it? Do you believe there will ever be "effective" testing implemented in the NBA?
I wonder if these 20 year olds who look like they are 40 years old are using it.
Dave B Cornwall
A: First off, I don’t have any clue who that commenter is but he or she is taking of his or her ass and should just shut up. That’s a bold, ridiculous statement. First off, the president of the NBAPA is more ceremonial than anything, secondly, it’s an ignorant assumption made by someone who cannot know.
Now, as for testing, it will come. Sooner rather than later but it is a collectively bargained thing, the union doesn’t even have a full-time executive director and as in any negotiations, the league will have to give something to get something. And it will work itself out in due time, I am sure of that.
I think the resistance would be just that: Collective bargaining and giving to get.
Oh, I’m not nearly naïve enough to think no NBA player has ever used HGH but I don’t believe it to be either prevalent or a problem.
Q: Hello Doug
What precipitated the mass purging of Dwayne Casey's assistant coaches?
Was there a conflict in coaching methods?
Or a perceived lack of connection with the players?
Or was it simply "change for the sake of change"?
And have Johnny Davis, Micah Nori, Eric Hughes and Scott Roth found new jobs in the NBA?
And finally - Who is coaching the 'Bigs' for this season?
Gary from Uxbridge
A: It was a combination of things, as it always is.
A desire for some fresh voices and faces and ideas was a part of it, two that they wanted back – Nori and Hughes – both got better jobs elsewhere. Micah got a three-year deal in Sacramento, Eric moved from a behind-the-bench developmental coach to work as a full-on assistant with his good friend Jason Kidd in Brooklyn and others just found what they think are better jobs with more security. Remember, none of them had guarantees here past last July and with Dwane on the last year of his deal, it’d be prudent to look somewhere else, wouldn’t it?
But there was no “rift” or lack of connection or anything, just the normal course of NBA business.
And there won’t be a speciflc “big man” coach, everyone will be involved in working with players. And that’s actually how it is with a vast majority of NBA teams.
Q: Hi Doug,
I'm not sure if you enjoy this sort of question or not, but I'll take a chance... Are there any unsigned players out there who you're surprised to still see on the market as we inch closer to training camp?
A: There really aren’t, actually. I guess there some veterans at the end of their careers who might be considered employable – Roger Mason Jr., Corey Maggette, Rip Hamilton – but I sure don’t see any diference-makers out there looking for work.
(Late add: I see Roger Mason Jr. got a camp invite to Miami, good for him)
Q: Hello Doug Smith
I suppose just about everybody is in town by now. Was wondering if Jonas is back in the country or due in shortly, and will he get a couple of days off to recover from EuroBasket. I suspect if Brian was still running things the answer would be a resounding NO, but what about the new GM, how do you think he and Dwayne will deal with that.
Watching the TOD for the last few games, and it seems to me that in August when he was really hitting well, Hobbs was a little more spread out in the box with a quieter bat and less motion, and he wasn't talking that stride. I will admit that he was hitting mostly singles and doubles, with few homers, but I see now that he has gone back to the narrow stance with a stride and his bat is dancing again. I am beginning to think he needs to be a singles and doubles hitter with the occasional long ball, cause I don't see him as anymore than a 250 hitter the way he is swinging now. He may hit a few more home runs, but I would prefer to see him as number two in the line up hitting for average.
But then what do I know.
A: The only thing I know about hitting is that I couldn’t do it so the Hobbs thing is totally out of my area of expertise.
As for Jonas, I think enough time will have passed that he can hit the court running and they better not give him more than the usual time off because if they do, fans should scream “TURK” every day
Seriously, the kid is like 20 and should be able to handle a training camp and from the few conversations I’ve had, he’ll be asked to.
Q: Hello Mighty Scribe.
I see that Amir has purchased a ton of Drake CDs to give to some fans. Let us get in the wayback machine, what 8 Track would say, John Havilcek hand out? Perhaps in those salary days, 45's would have had to suffice.
Milwaukee has a new floor. Any redesigns for the Air Canada Centre?
Will the Raptors' offense have at least three passes in every set? Will Lowry and Gay involve the other three starters? If the raps go for the new nicknamed uniforms, will the Leafs follow suit? Are there enough letter y to cover the team?
Many questions, mostly dumb, thankfully training camp starts soon!
Bob E, Kanata
A: Would have had to be 45s, no? And since he played in the 60s, how about some Beatles? He strikes me as a Beatles guy.
I haven’t heard a whisper about any court changes but I do think they might be rearranging the courtside seating on our side of the floor. Not sure how it’s going to work out but I think we might be on the move.
And I’d like three or four passes, actually. Maybe five.
Q: Hei Doug,
I imagine you would expect this considering the grand capitalist venture the Heat and Nets will gain with their players nicknames on the back of their jerseys for a game. However, if we somehow ignore this, what would be your 5 all time best NBA player nicknames. My personal favourites are Dr. J and The Mailman.
All the best Scot in the grand country of Norway
A: All time? So many to choose from so I’ll just throw out these five:
The Iceman, Magic, Pistol, Tiny and The Dream.
Not a bad starting list, is it?
Q: Hey Doug
Quick question for now. What is Brian C. up to? Is he still in Toronto or did he move out? There was rumors of him finding a gig at NBA headquarter's, did anything materialize?
I thought he made way to many mistakes in Toronto and at the end of the day his job was to win which he clearly didn't do but he was a good guy that deserves some kind of role where he can make a difference in the NBA.
A: Except that there were times when he clearly did win, you’re right.
No idea what he’s up to, I spoke to him a few times this summer when he was enjoying down time with his family – as he’d earned – and I will 100 per cent guarantee you that when he wants to, he will be back in basketball in a meaningful way. As he should be.
Q: Hi Doug,
Here's the answer to Monday's blog question about the Calgary sculpture. Apparently it's a girls head and symbolizes the energy and dreams of youth. Go figure!
Thanks for the great blog.
A: Much appreciated.
Q: Hi, Doug:
Would like to mention that in the Dallas morning paper yesterday was a nice article and photo spread of Jose's new mansion recently purchased in Dallas.
Having been a fan of his throughout his years with the Raps and then the Pistons, I certainly hope he will enjoy his years in Dallas, where there probably is a large Spanish-speaking community for his family to join. We certainly wish him well. Also, congrats to the Canadian women's team who are having such success. Go Canada Go.
Thanks for the great work on the blog -- always of interest. Beginning to feel as though I know all the irregulars. Looking forward to the start of the Raps new season with the new additions. Should be interesting and fun to watch. Can't wait for them to get started.
Alice, S.S. Marie, ON
A: I would imagine a lot of fans will spend a fair bit of time checking out the Dallas boxscores and highlights this coming season. And I would hope that many of them come around to the way the majority of right-thinking people feel.
I’ll say this boldly:
As far as Jose Calderon is concerned, I was right and you – not you, but you know what I mean – were wrong.
Q: Who's doing was the 2013 All Star game? Seems to me like it would take more than 3 months to organize and submit a bid. Was it Colangelo's work and now Leiweke gets to bask in the fame?
Andy U, Kingston
A: Well, considering that I wrote last February that the process had already begun then and that league officials had already been in the city talking to hospitality industry people and investigating the availability of convention space, it took substantially longer than three months.
The process was started by Bryan and Tom Anselmi; they deserve credit.
Q: Hey Doug,
You are a garbage writer. The all-star game comes to Toronto and all you do is whine about your BF Bryan Colangelo. But you know what, you a coward and won't post this in your stupid blog. The only reason you are so bitter is because Lewieke fired your BF Bryan, who gave you a little award for your crappy writing and now every great move that Lewieke does, you rip on it.
Lets see, in one offseason, Lewieke has fired one of the worst GMs in our franchise, brought in the executive of the year and bright minds of the NBA and now brought the all-star game to Toronto. Is that not a success in its own right? And when I mean he BROUGHT the all-star game, he CLOSED the deal. You think Bryan has the brains to do anything right? No, when it
comes down to it, we needed someone who was willing to make things happen and who had a name in the industry. And you know why Lewieke has a name in the industry? Because he is a WINNER. End of rant.
A: My Irregulars. Gotta love ‘em.
And it’s actually Leiweke. You might want to commit that to memory.