It’s crazy the difference a year makes. Last year at this time, the media attention swirling around the NBA was actually picking up steam. Game 7 of the 2010 Finals was an afterthought compared to the free agency craze. Atlanta got so hyped up, they threw Birdman money at Joe Johnson. Cleveland got so hell bent, they were ready to tear down buildings. We were throwing July 8th office parties. Miami was throwing “We are gonna win 10 championships” parties. And LeBron nearly ruined himself. Perhaps the only thing that’s stayed the same is Gilbert Arenas running his mouth like Smokey in Friday and becoming a contender once again for summer MVP. This year, things will be a little bit different, a little quieter. Now, NBA.com is basically shut down (Utah’s page was at least creative: they sent their dance team to the zoo). If you’re an NBA owner, you can’t talk to players, can’t contact them, can’t even mention or retweet them on Twitter (Imagine if that rule was in place during the 1998 lockout. They’d be like “WTF is a tweet?”) … How about those rookies? You FINALLY complete a lifelong dream, with promises of riches and the chance to help your family out or buy something you always wanted, and now you can’t sign a contract for who knows how long … Yesterday, we asked who could name all the players that played in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season who were still playing last year. Some great answers. Y’all got most of them. Check here to see the entire list … One thing we do want to see during this lockout: commercials as good as these were … Amidst all this doom and gloom, here’s an uplifting story: Kyle Korver helped save a snapping turtle. Last summer, Korver was one of a handful who found the snapping turtle (named Thomas) on his deathbed along a road. But after 13 months of recovery, Thomas was released to the wild to cause havoc in neighboring ponds once again. Pretty awesome. Pretty random too … As was reported yesterday, Kobe did everything short of cloning himself this summer to try to regain his touch as the best in the game. He went to Germany, had an innovative procedure done on his knee that no one really wants to comment on, then went and had a full-body cryotherpy session performed, a procedure that isn’t available in the U.S. Maybe it’ll happen, or perhaps it won’t do anything but mentally ease his concerns. But what’s he going to do in four or five years (don’t think Kobe is just gonna get up and retire)? He’ll probably be going on safaris and expeditions to the ends of the Earth trying to find some way to make himself feel 25 again. Either that or he’ll be Darth Vader, slowly turning from flesh into steel … While Stephen Jackson wasn’t entirely on board at first with the big draft-day deal between Sacramento, Charlotte and Milwaukee, Corey Maggette was. Well, at least once he heard where he was actually going. Bad Porn says he was chilling in a plane, set to take off when someone informed him he’d been traded. Before he could call anyone or figure out where the Hell he would be living, the plane took off and he had to shut off the electronics. Bad Porn was hyped to be back causing havoc with his man Jack, but when the plane finally landed, he found out Jack was out and off to the Bucks. Since then, Maggette is saying all the right things, including: “If you understand Michael Jordan‘s game — and I’m from Chicago — you know that he’s a winner. And eventually he’s going to get to that point where he’s winning.” … Would you trade for Thaddeus Young? Apparently, the Sixers might look into dealing him, saying he’s stuck in that canyon between solid role player and star. We’re sorry, but anyone signing Young thinking they’re getting a future star also believed Guerilla Black was gonna be huge. Solid player. But a star? … Eddie House exercised his player option and will stay with the Heat … And the Celtics frontline took another hit when center Nenad Krstic decided to take a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow, although he did leave the option open to return to Boston. The contract has a player option after next year … Golden State’s Vladimir Radmanovic and Philly’s Darius Songaila are both close to playing next year in Europe … In the U19 World Championships, the US barely beat Serbia 80-78 as Joe Jackson (19 points), Patric Young (13 points, seven rebounds) and Tim Hardaway, Jr. (11 points, game-winning shot) were money … We’re out like retweeting.
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