Ray Felton‘s objective should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention to this summer of free agency: Sometime around January/February, Ray wants to be in the All-Star conversation, setting himself up lovely for a fatter contract in 2010, and as icing on the cake, making everyone wonder just why the hell it took so long for somebody to get him signed in the first place. Felton agreed to the Bobcats’ one-year qualifying offer yesterday ($5.5 million), setting Charlotte up for another run at getting that elusive first-ever playoff berth with Felton and D.J. Augustin at the point, Raja Bell/Gerald Henderson at the two, Gerald Wallace at the three, Boris Diaw at the four, Tyson Chandler in the middle and Alexis Ajinca getting cramps from sitting down for extended periods of time. With Larry Brown calling the shots, is that a playoff team’s rotation? … Some other minor moves were made Tuesday: Chicago re-signed Aaron Gray for one year, the Wolves waived Chucky Atkins, and the Rockets traded James “Flight” White to the Nuggets for the draft rights to Axel Foley. Can this please be the year when White gets some decent playing time? We need to see that guy in the NBA dunk contest before he starts losing inches on his vertical … Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Tribune says Matt Harpring looks about ready to retire — or at least he won’t be able to play this season — due to chronic knee and ankle issues. Who would’ve thought Harpring would leave the NBA with a better reputation and more respect than ex-Georgia Tech teammate Stephon Marbury? … When Al Jefferson was pegged as the 25th-best go-to guy in the NBA (according to Dime’s Austin Burton), the reaction was surprisingly supportive of Al. Most readers thought it was too low, but think about it: Considering there are 300-something players in the League, coming in 25th on a list of the best of the best isn’t an insult. Everyone around here knows Big Al is nice. Check out #24 on the go-to ranking later today … Offseason is a great time for overzealous optimism, but Miami coach Eric Spoelstra might be taking it too far. First he told the Miami Herald that Jermaine O’Neal has “looked like the guy I remembered with the Pacers, but stronger,” which isn’t that bad. But then Spoelstra said Quentin Richardson is “in the best shape of his life” and checking in at 230 pounds. OK, that’s gonna border on false advertising if we see Q-Rich glued to the Heat bench looking like he just got kicked off “Biggest Loser” … Funny story: An Oregon football fan made the road trip for the Ducks’ season opener at Boise State (the game where LaGarrette Blount played Marvin Hagler on homeboy’s chin), and after the team laid an egg, he sent head coach Chip Kelly an invoice for his expenses. And then Kelly actually wrote the dude a check! Has your favorite basketball team ever made you feel like you wanted your money and/or time back? What was the most memorable example? … Oh look, it’s THESE GUYS again. Real or fake, their overall goofiness stands out more than anything else … Michael Jordan vs. Bryon Russell, 1-on-1, with $100,000 on the line. Maybe dominoes or cards, but basketball? Nah, we’re good. Utah Flash (D-League) owner Brandt Andersen has laid down the challenge, saying he’s already talked to Russell and “left a message” for Jordan. Of course Russell would be down; he was just recently trying to make an NBA comeback at 38 years old, so he thinks he can still ball, and this is another shot at some time in the spotlight. As for Jordan, we’re guessing he doesn’t care — especially if the big showdown is supposed to happen at halftime of a D-League game. Not to mention Andersen is clearly on a PR mission; he’s the same guy who extended an invite to Starbury last week to try out for his team … We’re out like Chucky …
Smack / Sep 23, 2009 / 4:50 am
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