In a way, it must be nice playing for an NBA organization that barely seems to know up from down, and for a coach who delivers his rendition of the “Inches” speech while drinking a Bud Lite. Who else but the Warriors would have their most high-profile player, Stephen Jackson, make a very public trade demand and insult the franchise at the same time, and not only do they try to spin it as a positive, the coach also keeps him in place as the recognized official leader of the team. When Jackson said he wanted to be traded because, basically, Golden State sucks, team GM Larry Riley actually tried to sell it as Jackson committing to making the Warriors a contender. Then yesterday, ESPN.com reported Don Nelson won’t strip Jackson of his captaincy, keeping Capt. Jack in place as Capt. Jack. This isn’t like the Lakers in ’07, when a frustrated Kobe made his trade demand but the team really couldn’t afford to trade him or take him down a peg as their top dog. With Jackson, making a trade happen definitely isn’t easy considering his contract, but brushing off his behavior only hurts your very young roster, and it’s not like they can’t push Monta Ellis as their leader since Jackson obviously isn’t fully on-board … Yesterday we looked at the issue of NBA teams discouraging/stopping players from playing in FIBA international tournaments. One argument against the practice is that basketball players are going to play basketabll in the summer one way or another, so keeping a guy from playing FIBA still puts him at risk of an injury if he’s putting in any kind of work in the gym. Then lo and behold, we hear Tim Thomas hurt his knee playing pickup ball and could be out for a number of weeks. Would this have been any worse if Tim got hurt playing for — don’t laugh, just go with it — Team USA? (Seriously, stop laughing.) … Speaking of, here’s some notable stat lines from yesterday’s FIBA European Championships schedule: Pau Gasol put up 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, and Ricky Rubio added five points, nine dimes and three steals to lead Spain over Lithuania; Ersan Ilyasova continues to outshine Hedo Turkoglu for Turkey, putting up 22 points and 11 boards in a win over Serbia, while Hedo had four points (1-16 FG), four steals and seven rebounds; and big man Erazem Lorbek (drafted by the Pacers in ’05) had 20 points, nine boards and five assists, getting the best of Marcin Gortat in Slovenia’s win over Poland … Before the Lakers fans take up all the room on all the ledges in L.A., chill out. Kobe’s comment about playing in China someday — “It’s something I’m open to” Kobe said at a technology summit — doesn’t mean anything. We’ve been to stuff like this before. A Chinese media member asks a player in front of a Chinese audience something wild like, “Would you like to play in China someday?” and what’s the guy supposed to say? Even if you think Kobe’s a jerk, he’s not gonna say, “Nah, I’m good,” in that situation … A while back, we hit up the Converse Band of Ballers 3-on-3 tournament, where Jim Jones, Asher Roth, Pac Div and some other music personalities came out to play. Check out some of the highlights HERE … Watching the Minnesota Vikings play the other day, their defensive line reminded us of Robert “Tractor” Traylor. He’s been in the news lately, having been sentenced to 60 days in prison for violating his probation on a tax charge. Traylor owes the IRS $175,000 and was convicted in ’07. Last time we saw him was with the Cavs’ summer league squad, but he’s been playing overseas in Turkey and Puerto Rico … All this talk about the VMA’s, well, how did this piece of music video genius slip past the MTV decision-makers? … We’re out like good food for Tractor …
Smack / Sep 15, 2009 / 1:48 am
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