Basketball Prank

There is plenty of free-agency and summer league news, and all the great off-season speculation that goes with it.  There are stories mentioning the Clippers interest in AI, even though they already have a complete back court.  There are the reports of Anthony Randolph scoring 48 against the Bulls in summer-league.  There is also the speculation and rumors about Lamar Odom’s dissolving free agency talks… But really, I’m sick of all that stuff right now, and I’m sure some of you are too.  So I give you this, one of the best basketball related pranks of all time.  (I’m sure some of you have seen this.)

The clip is about 6 minutes long, but if you haven’t seen it yet it’s probably worth it.

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General Commotion

Reports surfaced yesterday that Ron Artest is close to signing a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.  I guess that playoff friction between Kobe and Ron is a thing of the past.  Artest will likely take the starting spot vacated by Trevor Ariza, who is reportedly very close to becoming a Houston Rocket.  The Cavs will now have to look elsewhere to upgrade their backcourt size, as both Artest and Ariza were primary targets.  How this affects Lamar Odom is, as of yet, unclear; details of his negotiations have been sparse.  What is clear though, is that Lamar is seeking a contract in the $10 million a year range.  The Cavs could be looking in that direction, but Lamar’s salary would be more than what the Cavs would’ve likely paid either Artest or Ariza.mmmm grub

Hedo is no longer an option for the Cavs either.  Reports today claim that Hedo in Portland is a done deal. (Portland Dominos Pizza locations get ready.) Terms of the contract are unknown since the league has yet to announce the salary cap for the upcoming season.  Keep tabs on the situation in Portland, where rumors suggest Rudy Fernandez is unhappy with the possibility of diminished playing time.  The minutes were thin at the shooting guard and small forward positions last year, and that’s bound to be exacerbated by the addition of Turkoglu and return of Martell Webster.  Stay tuned.

The Lakers lose an A only to get an A+

10-year veteran Ron Artest is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he will surely be paying some fees for his extra baggage. The move comes after Trevor Ariza, an important part of the Lakers championship run, turned down the team’s multi-year offer. In basically performing a trade without the trade, the two free agents will swap jerseys as Ariza has agreed in principle to a deal with Houston worth $5.8 million for next season, with long term talks on the table. So what does the Artest move mean for the defending champions, and which Artest will they be paying those millions to?

Coming to Hollywood with a shady and checkered past, Artest unfortunately will always be rememkobe_artest_400bered by his participation in the Auburn Hills brawl on November 19, 2004 when he played for the Indiana Pacers. However, I would like to argue that last year with the Rockets was a huge step forward in the maturation process of the forward, who meshed well with his teammates and showed leadership qualities as Houston pushed the Lakers to a game seven in the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers are not only getting the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year who, for his career, has averaged 2.1 steals per game, they are getting the “I have learned from my past mistakes Artest”.

In an interview with ESPN, Artest was asked about why he decided to take less money and play for the Lakers. His response: “I am playing to win; I am not playing for the money anymore”. If you just had a Karl Malone and Gary Payton flashback, you are not alone. However the difference here is that Artest is only 29 and coming off a stellar season. The next big question is what will happen to Lamar Odom? In an ESPN interview, expert NBA Analyst Ric Bucher reported the chances of Odom signing with the Lakers is “good”, stating that the two sides can focus on the contract now that Ariza is out, and that there are limited suitors for Odom around the league. If Odom stays on board, I’m putting my money on the Lakers for a repeat.

An article by David Peterson- our most recent addition to our committee will be found under the writing name: Davepete starting tomorrow

What does this Lakers Championship really mean?

An article by David Peterson.

I have heard it over a hundred times…”Kobe can’t win a championship without Shaq“. ESPN made sure to tagline this past finals series between the Lakers and Magic as Kobe’s quest for a ring of his own. But can the Lake87746142AB051_LAKERS_NUGGETSrs recent title be watered down to simply acknowledging that Kobe led the re-built Lakers back to the top of the NBA world? I would like to argue otherwise.

There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant was dominating in the playoffs and deserved finals MVP honors. However, without the addition of Trevor Ariza, the stronger play of Lamar Odom, and a healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers would have been in the same spot as last year, when they walked out of TD Banknorth Garden with green and white confetti falling to the court. The fact is this: Kobe is Kobe, a dominant, consistent, top 5 player in NBA history. However, he alone cannot win an NBA title. Jordan had Pippen, Rodman, Harper, and Kukoc. Kobe now has Pau Gasol, whom Magic Johnson calls “the second best skinny big man in the NBA behind Kevin Garnett“, as well as Trevor Ariza, who is the most athletic player on the team and who came up with some of the biggest steals in playoff history. Throw in strong play from Lamar Odom and an emerging star in Andrew Bynum, and you have a team with no visible weakness or flaws.

This Lakers team, and this championship season, is much more than Kobe getting the Shaq monkey off his back, it’s the beginning of another Lakers dynasty. This team is built to win two more titles within the next three years. Now it’s just up to Mitch Kupchak to keep the team together and Phil Jackson to somehow find another finger for his next ring. Parting words of wisdom: WARNING-don’t ever leave Fisher open for a crucial 3, you will get burned!

Some Thoughts

The finals are over and the Yankees are champions!  Excuse me, I mean the Lakers.  Kobe deserves props.  Hopefully now he can stop scowling and relax that painful underbite.  Moving on.

It’s the offseason!  Only two and half months of boredom.  (Unless you’re a Padres fan, in which case it’s two and half months of agony.)  Then football season starts, and before any of us know it, basketball will be here again.  Until then, it’s time to address the draft, rumor mill, and all the other off-season activities.

ShaqtusAs Mr. Gomez pointed out, ESPN is reporting that talks have begun between the Suns and Cavaliers regarding the big saguaro, the Shaqtus himself, Shaquille O’Neal.  As currently constructed, the rumors suggest that Ben Wallace, and Sasha Pavolovic would be exchanged for Shaquille “the big aristotle” O’Neal.  The Suns would be freed of their largest contract; while the Cavaliers would immediately bolster their inside presence.  Adding to the intrigue, Ben Wallace mentioned retirement after the Cavs elimination from the playoffs.  It’s a chance for the Suns to save even more money, with a potential buyout.  In all reality the Suns’ interest is purely financial.  Shaq is 37 and can’t be good for more than one or two more solid years.  The Cavs obviously feel they are close but can Shaq physically hold up?  If he is the revitalized player we saw this past year then the Cavs will be sitting pretty.

In other news, free-agent talk is heating up.  Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza are both free-agents and will likely seek big contracts, meaning the NBA Champs may be forced to choose between the two.  Hedo Turkoglu’s representation said they would test the waters.  Ben Gordon is a free agent, as is Ron Artest.  A couple other notables: Shawn Marion and Allen Iverson.

I’ll take a look at the draft soon, but that’s all for now.

Michael Jordan? No, Mikey V.

Hey everyone, it’s Mike here.  I wanted to get this introduction post out of the way before the Finals was set, but some issues made that feat a bit difficult.  The point is however, that I’ll be helping out with and contributing to the blog as much as possible.  I think I’m a qualified observer and articulate enough to speak intelligently about the game of basketball, however only time will tell; the ball never lies.  I’ll do my best to be objective and fair but I do have allegiances.Allison me

I’m bummed out by Cleveland’s elimination.  I feel for the city of Cleveland, my dad is from there.  Ever since that pitifully heart wrenching collapse in the World Series against the Marlins, I have silently (and not so silently) cheered on Cleveland teams in addition to my own home teams.

Moving on.  I’m disappointed with the way the Conference Championships panned out.  The Nuggets’ effort in game 6 was atrocious and the Cavaliers proved they were over-matched the whole series.  We’ve all read and heard enough about it by now that it’s not worth rehashing.  That being said the Finals series should present some really interesting individual match-ups.  In particular with the tweener fowards on both clubs:  Odom, Lewis, Turkoglu, Ariza and Pietrus. The play of Pietrus, and the entire Magic bench will again be extremely important since the Lakers bench is so deep .  It will also be interesting to watch the coaching in these games.  I’m praying for matchup carousels.  I don’t think very highly of Stan Van Gundy, although I really like his brother in the booth.  Then again I tend to think coaching in the NBA is an overrated endeavor, an opinion of mine that usually earns me a bit of grief.

The 2-3-2 series in my opinion makes upsets more probable. My predictions for the finals are as follows: the Magic steal a game and play well at home, winning in 6.  As that series gets underway, you’ll hear more from me. Be ready for it.