Nobody told us beforehand that yesterday was National Talkin’ Reckless Day in the NBA. With the preseason getting underway in a few hours (Knicks vs. Armani Milano, 12:30 p.m. EST), guys are understandably getting antsy and competitive, and the League’s superstars weren’t immune to lapses in diplomacy … “I hate the Lakers.” That was Deron Williams, telling the Salt Lake Tribune precisely how he feels about the team that ended his championship chase three years in a row. “They’re so good,” D-Will added. “I hate them because they win all the time. They’re a tough team. We definitely talk about it. It’s not a secret. We hate the Lakers.” Hopefully the feeling is mutual. We’re not advocating on-court brawls or anything — although we could see Paul Millsap and Ron Artest swinging at each other while Sasha Vujacic does like Jeff Van Gundy and hangs on somebody’s leg — but the NBA could use a few blood rivalries these days … Kobe Bryant had his reckless ratchet aimed somewhere else, though. In London prepping for L.A.’s preseason opener against the Wolves, Kobe was making an appearance at a school opening when a fan asked who would win 1-on-1 between him and LeBron. “I’d win. I’d win,” Kobe said without a hint of comedy. “That’s what I do. One-on-one, that’s easy for me, you know? Playing 1-on-1 is how I grew up playing. It’s like my thing. LeBron is more like a Magic Johnson; he’s a great passer and plays and all-around game. At the core of me, I’m a 1-on-1. I’d do that in my sleep.” Whoa. Theoretically, Kobe is right. He’s a natural scorer, while LeBron is a natural playmaker. But damn, usually guys will dance around a question like that. Where are the people at Taco Bell to make this happen via pay-per-view? It could be the sequel to that Shaq vs. Hakeem thing back in the day … Rajon Rondo was feeling bold, too, declaring himself the best point guard in the world. “I play the game to prove to everybody amongst my peers that I’m the best,” Rondo was quoted by the Boston Globe. “Hands down. No speculation. ‘Oh, he may be top three, top five, top 10.’ No, I’m the best.” Well, he does have the ring — and it’s not like he was just standing in a corner, as he slapped up 21 points, 8 dimes and 6 steals in that ’08 title clincher — and will vie for the League lead in steals and assists every year. What do you think? … Maybe guys are just getting all the reckless talk out of their systems now, given the announcement that the NBA will start charging double what they have in the past for fines that come via technical fouls. A player/coach will pay $2,000 for each of his first five techs of the season, then $3,000 for techs six through 10. The 11th through 15th techs will coast $4,000 a pop, then it goes up to $5,000 with suspensions involved if they keep going past 15 techs. And seeing as the refs are supposed to crack down harder on post-whistle antics this year, basically Kobe and Dwight Howard (NBA leader in T’s last season) may as well axe that playoff bonus check out of their 2011 budgets … The Amar’e Stoudemire era in New York tips off today in a game that was originally designed to give Danilo Gallinari some shine. The AJ Milano (Italy) squad features Oleksiy “Buckets” Pecherov, former UPenn star Ibrahim Jaaber, and Temple alum David Hawkins. The Knicks will roll out the Ray Felton/Amar’e pick-and-roll combo for the first time, we’ll see if Anthony Randolph can start living up to his potential, and Gallo might jack about 25 shots … The Nets play Maccabi Haifa (Israel) at 7 p.m. EST. Haifa has Virginia’s Sylven Landesberg, Washington State’s Derrick Low, Indiana’s Marco Killingsworth, and Louisville’s Larry O’Bannon. The Nets won’t have Carmelo, but Troy Murphy is a solid consolation prize, right? Right? … We’re out like Shaq vs. Hakeem …
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