Real life hit the NBA once again yesterday, when reports surfaced that a number of Miami Heat employees — most notably Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra — accepted pay cuts up to 20% in an effort to prevent further layoffs in the organization. It’s been public knowledge for years that some NBA teams are in financial trouble (Grizzlies, Bobcats, etc.), but Miami usually wasn’t in that group. It’s not like Riley or Spoelstra is starving or anything, but it’s got to be scary for a lot of people around the League. And of course, it kicks off an easy round of “Why can’t Underachieving Player X take a pay cut?” And by Player X, we mean Jermaine O’Neal ($22.9 million), Quentin Richardson ($9.3M), Dorell Wright ($2.7M) and Jamaal Magloire. And yeah, we know Magloire “only” makes $1.2 million … Don’t go asking Stephen Jackson to borrow any money. He just got fined $25,000 by the NBA for the comments he made to Dime’s Gerald Narciso a couple weeks ago when he said he wanted to be traded. Apparently players not named Kobe Bryant can’t make public trade demands because it’s viewed as detrimental to the League. We’re not seeing the connection, but whatever. Sorry S-Jack … Assuming Jack doesn’t get traded soon (his contract is a beast and Golden State doesn’t seem interested in letting him go), he’ll go into the season as the Warriors’ leader and go-to guy. Yesterday we started a series where we’re ranking the NBA’s 30 go-to guys (one per team) from bottom to top. First up: Rip Hamilton. Check back later today for #29 … Again on the topic of NBA teams having a say in what their players do in the offseason, the Spurs might consider locking their guys in a padded room until training camp. Richard Jefferson dislocated his right thumb while working out at the team facility yesterday, and might not be ready to go when camp starts in a couple weeks. First it was Manu Ginobili wrecking his ankle, then Tony Parker got hurt earlier this offseason, and now their prize offseason acquisition almost messed himself up … According to his agent, Nate Robinson is set to re-sign with the Knicks next week. Cool. But when your agent is saying stuff to the media like, “Where else is he going to go?” it might be a sign that you overestimated your value. Nate’s agent added that they didn’t talk to any other teams this summer because Nate only wanted to play for New York. Either that, or nobody called them … The Wolves signed Sasha Pavlovic to a one-year deal, the day after Phoenix bought him out. Remember when Sasha wasn’t just a relevant player in the NBA, he was kind of seen as part of Cleveland’s young core? That was only two years ago. What happened? We haven’t seen somebody fall off this fast since the Shop Boyz … Old-school day for our “Who’s Better?” feature: Clyde Drexler vs. Reggie Miller. Would you prefer one of the greatest athletes/dunkers/all-around players to ever play the SG position, or one of the greatest clutch players of all-time and arguably the best shooter we’ve ever seen? … Stat lines from yesterday’s FIBA European Championships: Tony Parker struggled in a 12-point, 2-for-7 outing, but ’09 Spurs draft pick Nando De Colo saved France with a game-winning jumper in the final seconds to get past Greece; Roko Ukic scored 18 to lead Croatia over Germany; and Timofey Mozgov posted 25 points, 11 boards and three steals in Russia’ win over Macedonia. Somehow, the 7-foot-1, 23-year-old Mozgov hasn’t been drafted by an NBA team despite making himself eligible in ’08. He’s been described as Andris Biedrins with more muscle, but — and apparently this is possible — with an uglier and less-polished offensive game. Still, you’d think somebody would take him based on size, youth and the mystery factor alone … By now you’ve surely heard the story about Barack Obama calling Kanye West a “jackass” for his VMA’s shenanigans. It really shouldn’t be a controversy, but since he’s the President, Barack should know he can’t cuss to anyone who might have a camera or microphone present. Oh well, such are the drawbacks of having a President who’s actually young and hip enough to even know who Kanye West is … We’re out like Mozgov …
Smack / Sep 16, 2009 / 2:08 am
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