Posted Oct 14 2010 7:08PM
• Coming next: Ron Artest, the autobiography. The Lakers forward/jewelry salesman is scheduled to begin interviewing ghostwriters today for a book that will detail his rise from difficult New York City beginnings to colorful NBA personality at what still may not be the height of his popularity. The project will sell -- anything attached to the two-time defending champions will draw interest from publishers, Artest's personal and professional background will hit the Los Angeles-Chicago-New York marketing trifecta, and he will be tremendous on the marketing tour. The only question is whether a publishing house will pay enough to make it worthwhile for Artest and his collaborator when many in the publishing industry don't believe the NBA sells well compared to some other sports.
• The other Artest update is the plan to sell his championship ring Dec. 25 with an online raffle to raise funds to put more mental-health workers in schools. He loves the idea of someone getting the bling as a Christmas gift -- Thanksgiving was also considered as a symbolic statement of Artest giving back in a big way, but the holiday season will allow more time to sell tickets -- and organizers plan to approach the NBA about announcing the winner during the Lakers-Heat national mega-telecast. The Internet raffle was chosen over an auction to give a worldwide audience the chance to win, not just the wealthy. Complete details are expected to be announced within weeks.
• There are many great things about Mikhail Prokhorov buying the Nets. This is not one of them. The team that needs stability and a lot of practice time, not jet lag from playing world-capital hopscotch, just went Newark to Moscow to visit Prohkorov and spent less than 24 hours before heading to Beijing to play the Rockets as part of the grand plan to build an international presence. The Nets may return home spinning the journey as a great bonding exercise, but there isn't a coach in the league who would have wanted the itinerary. Making it worse, they will have a stretch early in the regular season of playing 13 of 19 on the road.
• The algebraic Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations broken down into ominous real-life situations, courtesy Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated. The disclaimer from this corner came last week: Owners will not push a plan that involves forced dumping of contracts to get under a hard cap. Just can't see it happening.
• Chi-Chi-Chi, le-le-le! Couldn't resist. What a moment.
• Only now do we learn the real impact of the Goran Dragic daydream come to life. Sure, 23 points in the unconscious fourth quarter was a highlight of the entire playoffs and not just the Suns' Game 3 win over the Spurs, but that night and that postseason turned out to be a shove that lasted into the next season. Said coach Alvin Gentry of Dragic, linking what happened in May to what is happening in November: "He's played with so much confidence that he's been a little bit of a different player."
• Big-moment time for the Bucks. They play three times in four nights, beginning Thursday in Washington, with Andrew Bogut apparently close to taking his surgically repaired right hand out for a test drive in the first game action since the ugly April 3 spill essentially ended Milwaukee's rising playoff hopes. Bogut has also been sitting out practices after getting hit on the hand. But, in the most ominous message, the third-team All-NBA center told Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that "I might not be 100 percent the whole year" and "I'll have to play through the pain through the season. Even once it gets better, I'm still going to be 90 percent for the year or 85 percent."
• Mark Price is back in the league, as Warriors shooting coach, so an excuse to tell a classic. His mother and brother Brent walked into a restaurant in their hometown of Enid, Okla., a few years ago, the kind of hangout with local memorabilia everywhere. Brent played nine seasons in the NBA and is one of the all-time good guys, but Mark was a star with the Cavaliers. Brent was pointing out photos of Mark in high school on this wall and clippings of Mark at Georgia Tech or the pros displayed over there. "Oh," the waitress seating the group said to Brent, "do you know Mark Price?" Shoulders to the ground.
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