He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
From Jim Keeling:
This is why I moved out of Memphis. Spineless city council and always cowing down to the minority! This is history for God's sake. When all else fails in Memphis, pull the race card! Good riddance to Memphis!
Jim, I can’t speak for all of Memphis, but is it possible -- seriously, now -- for you to try and think of this from someone else’s point of view other than your own?
What you call “history” is what black and brown people remember as systemic, legal enslavement and degradation of their ancestors, and an economic system which had as its engine the free and unvolunteered labor of millions of human beings. The men who were cast in bronze committed treason against the United States -- the country you purport to love -- and who then were complicit in creating organizations and systems specifically designed to intimidate, deprive and, in many cases, kill, those same human beings who simply wanted an opportunity to live free from fear and discrimination.
Are you so attached to rehabilitating Nathan Forrest -- who was a slave trader, a traitor to the United States and a founder of the Ku Klux Klan -- that you left the city in protest? Seriously? The “history” of which you speak is a history of death, legal discrimination, and horror for black people. It is not one they, and many whites and others, believe should be honored in a city in which they live, or in a park which they pay taxes to maintain. Again, seriously: what about Forrest’s life do you think deserves honoring in any form?
They’ll have far from slim pickings. From Chris Larkin:
There is all kinds of speculation about the Cavs already receiving interest in the Nets’ pick they acquired from Boston. While I'm sure that is true, what "superstar" of any value could they really get for it at this point? They'd be nuts to trade it to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony and it's likely too valuable to trade for the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.
The only real assets that are "potentially" available at this point that seem like they would significantly move the needle on challenging the Warriors reside in New Orleans (I don't think Marc Gasol does it). Outside of Boogie Cousins and Anthony Davis (who won't likely get traded) is there really anyone else you'd think the Cavs could get for the pick at this point that even makes sense?
I’d trade it for Davis, but, as you noted, he isn’t available, at least not this year. And even if he were, the pick alone wouldn’t be nearly enough to get him from New Orleans. The only type of player I’d even think of trading that pick for is a dynamic two-way wing -- a Jimmy Butler-, Bradley Beal-type of player -- who would supplement LeBron’s scoring and compliment his defense. Failing that, they have to keep the pick. The opportunity to take a young, big-time talent is something the Cavaliers normally would have no chance to do with their current team, just as Boston was able to add Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to their already-good core group.
Full of beans in Beantown. From Steve Eagle:
… While LeBron is LeBron and there is no moving the immovable object, what the Celtics have on their side this time around is excitement. Their fan base is excited about adding two coveted all-stars (a net gain of one, of course). The players are excited about being with each other and improving each other’s games. There is of course a sense of urgency to win now, but also a sense of fun, and of anticipation.
I do not get that sense at all from Cleveland. They have just lost their second-best player and quite possibly a top-10 player in the entire NBA. LeBron is a year older (ok, so he ages at 1/3 the rate of everyone else, but still), their new GM is still getting a feel for things, there's a big unknown regarding Isaiah Thomas’ performance next year (can he be as elite on a team with LeBron James?), and as usual they are perpetually distracted about what King James is planning. That's not to say they are not going to be one of the best teams in the NBA again -- they most certainly should be. But the intangibles in Boston can't be overstated. They not only have encouragement to go further from their disappointing loss last year, they have objectively gotten better, Brad Stevens is ready to shine with all these weapons at his disposal, and Danny Ainge has waited for this moment for the past ten years. His collection of assets has finally paid off, and the kicker is, they'll continue to pay off for years to come. What does Cleveland look forward to other than the 2018 pick? Their window is a lot smaller than Boston's when looking at the status of their core players and draft options.
So while I agree with everything you said about Cleveland returning to the Eastern Conference finals and Boston being questionable on defense, I don't think we can discount the very real power of enthusiasm, excitement and energy brewing in Boston. LeBron is still the greatest player on the court, but even giants can be toppled. And it's a lot harder for them to get up afterwards. This could very well be the year the king's reign ends, and it will be a collective effort from a hungry team, which Boston most certainly is.
There is no question that Boston is set up both for now and for the next few years. As I wrote, I understand why Danny Ainge pulled the trigger, and the end result is a much more diverse and potentially explosive offensive unit that should have no trouble hanging big numbers up every night. And I think Kyrie, like Kevin Garnett, will be inspired by the Celtic mystique and history, and play his best basketball during his Boston years.
I have just found that it’s a losing proposition to bet against LeBron James’ ability to raise the games and productivity of his teammates. As long as Isaiah Thomas’ hip isn’t a career-threatening malady, and he’s healthy in time for the playoffs, I still believe Cleveland is the team to beat. But that doesn’t mean Ainge was wrong for making the move -- especially when Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum haven’t even approached their primes.
Let’s Make a Deal. From M.D. Williams:
… It's been an insane offseason in terms of player movement via trades, almost makes you forget NBA games aren't actually being played right now. It seems that things are calming, we're hitting the eye of the storm (until next trade deadline), but now I'm curious as to who is really still available via trade and can be an impact player, third banana or better, on a contender.
We all know the ‘Melo drama and his bid to Houston, but who else is out there at his caliber, near it, or not to far off of it if placed on the right team. It seems Eric Bledsoe can be had at the right place. Anthony Davis has to want out, but no way the Pelicans move him just yet with four years on his deal left. So, who's actually still available on the trade market, what's your top 5 or 10 tradable player list?
This close to camp, a trade by anyone is unlikely, unless the Rockets can find a third team with enough stuff to pry Carmelo from New York. But, you can’t discount the possibility.
I guess I’d look at expiring contracts: a list of such would include, in no particular order, guys like Brooklyn’s Trevor Booker ($9.1 million), the Cavs’ Channing Frye ($7.4 million), Portland’s Ed Davis ($6.3 million), Denver’s Will Barton ($3.5 million) and Atlanta’s Ersan Ilyasova ($6 million). I do believe Bledsoe is eminently available for the right deal as well, as are Denver’s Kenneth Faried (see below) and Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert.
BY THE NUMBERS
31.1 -- Average wins per season for the Brooklyn Nets since Mikhail Prokhorov bought controlling interest of the team in 2010 (he bought out the remaining minority investors in 2015). Prokhorov reportedly is putting that controlling interest up for sale after selling a minority share to an investor while giving that person the option to buy more than 50 percent of the team. I personally hate the idea of a Prokhorov-less NBA; while he said next to nothing during his few sitdowns with the media over the years, he always seemed bemused by it all and willing to toss stereotypical clichés to reporters for a good laugh. And he threw money around like Rip Taylor used to toss confetti.
5 -- NBA players and/or management that have appeared on the ABC show “Dancing With the Stars.” Former Knicks coach and ex-NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, named to the cast of the 25th season of the show last week, is the fifth, joining Hall of Fame guard Clyde Drexler (2007), Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (2007), three-time NBA champion (and our Turner colleague) Rick Fox (2010) and veteran forward Metta World Peace (2011).
I’M FEELIN’ …
1) It will be disappointing if Tilman Fertitta isn’t a good owner and steward of the Rockets. Not that billionaires have common sense or wisdom in any larger supply than the rest of us, but Fertitta is, by most accounts of the last week since he agreed to pay $2.2 billion to buy the team, a huge sports fan and a longtime Rockets fan, with courtside seats.
In buying everything, including Toyota Center, from Leslie Alexander, Fertitta can hit the ground running. The Rockets are one of the NBA’s best-run franchises, in a top-10 TV market, and with their regional sports network issues solved, revenue streams are in place to make back the huge investment. One person I spoke with last week who is in the business of sports franchise sales thinks Fertitta will be “Mark Cuban lite. It will enhance his other businesses,” which include the Landry’s Restaurants chain, and his CNBC show, “Billion Dollar Buyer”.
Fertitta will have big shoes to fill. Alexander was one of the league’s best owners for more than two decades, spanning the Hakeem Olajuwon/Rudy Tomjanovich title teams in the mid-‘90s, gave the green light to pursue and engage in the substantial statecraft that it took to get Yao Ming from China and then embraced the analytics movement earlier than most, bringing Daryl Morey and his 3-point philosophies from Boston. And he was never shy about spending money. What more could you ask for?
2) Such a pleasure to finally meet and spend a few minutes with Robert Hughes, the winningest coach in boys’ high school basketball history, on Thursday at the Hall of Fame jacket ceremony. Hughes won 1,333 games in 47 years as a coach in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, for I.M. Terrell and Dunbar High Schools. He won five state championships, coaching teams that were relentless in their pressure and transition. “We’re going to practice every day,” he’d tell his players. “If you have a headache, fine. But just remember who my favorite musician is -- Ray Charles. And he said ‘hit the road jack, and don’t come back.’ ” But Hughes had to be tough. His young men had to be prepared for far worse when they got out of school. Yet they loved him. Easy to see why.
3) Concur. It’s time to make amends.
4) Speaking of which … this is first-rate writing and honest witness, Isaiah Thomas. We too often forget that the players we love and think as heroes are still just people -- with hopes, dreams, fears -- and this story brought all of that out, poignantly.
NOT FEELIN’ …
1) Sixteen years ago. Never forget.
2) May God have mercy on Florida and all of its people. Please stay safe and don’t take any risks, unless it’s to save your life. Things are replaceable. You aren’t.
3) The problem with again potentially tinkering with the Lottery to discourage tanking is that this, like all the others, doesn’t address the salient issue: teams will always take whatever odds you put on them if they have a chance at a generational talent. One in seven odds? One in 12? One in 20? They don’t, and won’t, care. There is no perfect solution, because it’s so hard to get a player who can truly turn a team’s fortunes around. They’re rare. And there’s no one way teams get them.
Some get them in free agency, like Miami did with LeBron James. Some get them through trades, like the Lakers did with Kobe Bryant. And some get them at the top of the Draft, like Houston did with Hakeem Olajuwon and the Bulls did with Michael Jordan. And, you have to be lucky with injuries. Would the Magic have won a ring or two if Grant Hill had been healthy during Tracy McGrady’s prime years? The Warriors took off about the same time Stephen Curry finally got surgical and orthotic relief for his chronic ankle issues. If a doctor had misdiagnosed what was wrong or botched the surgery … no Dub Nation. And even getting the first pick in a given year is no guarantee of a turnaround. All the Draft is is a yearly roll of the dice, hoping you not only draw an inside straight or get a face card sitting on 11, but then have something worth buying with your winnings. No tweaking of Lottery odds is going to change that.
4) Always happy for those who are elected and selected for the Naismith Hall of Fame. But I remain unhappy that my Turner Sports colleague Chris Webber has not yet joined all the greats -- among whom he surely belongs. C-Webb took three moribund franchises, the lowest of the low in the NBA -- Golden State, Washington and Sacramento -- and took each to the playoffs in short order, including the Kings’ Western Conference finals appearance in 2002.
The Kings made the playoffs eight straight seasons on Webber’s watch, during which time he averaged a double-double five years in a row -- including 27.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in 2001 -- led the league in rebounding in 1999 and made four of his five All-Star teams. That resume alone should get him to Springfield. But Webber’s role on the “Fab Five” teams at Michigan are the topper. That team changed basketball forever, making consecutive national championship games and changing the style of hoop -- the long shorts, shaved heads, trash talk as a primary language. And Webber was the catalyst. He should be in Springfield.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Jeff Gordon is sitting beside me on the plane. Don't think he realizes that he's sitting next to a legend.— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) September 10, 2017
-- Nets forward Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz), Sunday, 11:22 a.m., secure in his Q-rating compared with that of the four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion.
THEY SAID IT
“Hopefully, we get an opportunity to sit down and talk about the direction and go from there. I’m 35 years old. I’m a grown man. I can definitely sit across the room from you and listen to your truth and hopefully hear mine.”
-- Dwyane Wade, to me, last Thursday during the Hall of Fame Family Dinner in Springfield. Wade was at the Hall -- for the first time, he said -- to accept the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award. Wade said his plans for now were to report to the Bulls’ training camp later this month; he would not answer whether he wanted a buyout from Chicago, but did say he would like a last opportunity to compete for a championship with a team before he’s done playing. Wade opted in for the 2017-18 season with the Bulls earlier this summer rather than opt out and forgo the $23.8 million he’ll get this year in Chicago.
“I actually like it. Honestly, before I used to hate it, because it's like, 'wow, they want to trade me.' But now I'm thinking, 'Hey, I’m still being talked about, people still know my work in the NBA,' and that’s respectful and humbling to me."
-- Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, on the “Kreckman and Harris” radio show on Altitude 950 AM in Denver last week, addressing trade rumors about him that have continued to swirl for years, including this summer.
"He had thrown like three practice throws, maybe like 10 yards, and I'm thinking, 'he's not gonna get within 20 yards of this thing.’ And he just flicks one out there; it kind of hits the back of the pad but there's a trash can behind the pad and it hits the pad, it hits the trash can and then it pops back up on the pad and it rests on the pad … We've been doing this for 12 years … that has never ever happened. Dude comes out and first throw does it, so, pretty impressive."
-- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, after Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo came to the football team’s practice and hit the padding on a trainer’s table 50 yards away. (Actual video evidence here on Rondo’s Instragram.)
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.