The Fundamentals

» July 30, 2008 7:16 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Mark Heisler of The Los Angeles Times:  “Kobe Bryant, who lives for one-on-one challenges, went at it with former Trojan and soon-to-be Memphis Grizzlies rookie O.J. Mayo, a member of the U.S. Select team, last week in Las Vegas.  “Kobe completely shut him down in the beginning,” said U.S. managing director Jerry Colangelo. “But the longer they went, the better Mayo got.”  Bryant already knew Mayo, who attended his camp last summer, and already thought highly of him.  “I think the world of him,” Bryant said. “I think he’s extremely talented. I think he has a great overall game that a lot of young players don’t have in terms of skills. He can handle, he can shoot, he can pass, he’s fast, he’s quick, so that’s the whole package.”"

Dave D’Alessandro of The Star-Ledger::  “If the numbers being reported on Nenad Krstic’s new contract with Club Dynamo Triumph in Moscow sound too good to be true, it’s because they are.  According to an agent with ties to the Russian team, Krstic signed a two-year deal this morning that will pay him 2.5 million euros in the first season and 2.6 million in the second. At the current exchange rate, he will pocket $7.9 million over the length of the deal if he stays both seasons, but it’s all tax-free.”

Lang Whitaker of SLAMonline:  “The way it works is that the team pays the tax in that jurisdiction, and then at the end of the year they issue a certificate to the player that he can then apply against US taxes. A player is still responsible for his domestic taxes, both federal and state, but he gets to offset those taxes against what’s been paid for him overseas.” – Josh Childress’ agent Jim Tanner

Dan Labbe of  “Don’t get me wrong, Delonte. I like you. I think you’ve got upside. You know how to push the basketball. You can shoot a little. You go to the rim. But you did spend nearly three-quarters of last year as a backup in Seattle. Besides, it’s not as if you left all of Cleveland breathlessly singing your praises and proclaiming our point guard problem solved. Honestly, if you decide to go play in Russia, we’d be mad at first. But I don’t think there would come a single night this upcoming season where a Cavs fan would look away from his or her TV in disgust and say, “That wouldn’t have happened if Delonte West was our point guard.  By the way, speaking of Russia, I don’t want to do your agent’s job for you, but that would be a really bad career move.”

Alan Hahn of Newsday:  “Cablevision today announced the completion of a 97-percent purchase of Newsday. This is significant enough for me to link the story for you Firefox users.  The merger with Cablevision shouldn’t have much of an impact on most of the sports department (actually this is great for sports because of how Cablevision plans to grow the paper and it has a strong interest in sports), but obviously it means something a little more for myself and my good friend Steve Zipay (he covers the Rangers for us and writes a very good and popular Rangers blog). Zip and I now officially cover teams that are owned by the same parent company that owns the newspaper.  Precarious, you say? Agreed.”

Chuck Klosterman of  “This is why the tension between Shaq and Kobe continues to fascinate me, even deep in the doldrums of summer. I love thinking about it. It never stops being interesting. Shaq and Kobe hate each other for real; I’m convinced of this. They despise each other in a way that’s not only rare in sports but rare in life. They hate each other so much that neither would ever admit it, lest the other man get some sort of abstract satisfaction from the admittance of the loathing. O’Neal dismisses the conflict as comedy, and Bryant pretends he doesn’t care, but those are the predictable defense mechanisms they use when faced with uncomfortable emotions. The reality is they want to kill each other. I can’t prove this, but it feels obvious. And it makes me like each a little more and a little less.”

Chris Mannix of  “Will Scott Foster be in the book? Probably. Will his involvement be fact or fiction? That I don’t know.  The NBA does. It has to know. It has to know whether or not Foster, a 14-year veteran referee who reportedly had 134 phone conversations with Donaghy (none lasting longer than two minutes and many coming before and after Donaghy spoke with his gambling cohort Thomas Martino) during the 2006-07 season, was fixing games.  The problem is, the NBA isn’t saying much of anything on the topic.”

20 Second Timeout:  “For instance, Donaghy has not been convicted of fixing games; he has been convicted of providing inside information to illegal gamblers. So, when people wonder why it was the FBI and not the NBA that discovered Donaghy’s wrongdoing the answer may very well be that he did not engage in any conduct (i.e., making bad calls and/or bad non-calls) that the NBA could reasonably have detected. The NBA graded Donaghy as a good referee and it is possible that he was in fact good–in the sense of being competent at his job, not in the sense of being morally upright. Of course, there are many borderline calls in an NBA game so it is also possible that Donaghy was exceptionally skillful in manipulating such calls to the benefit of his co-conspirators without arousing any suspicion; however, as a practical matter it would be almost impossible to carry out such a balancing act–fixing games successfully by making bad calls without grading out poorly or looking suspicious–for several years.”

Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle:  “There is of course also the flip (out) side. Even assuming he stays on the correct side of the law and on the court, he can ignore game plans and go off on his own while teammates stand around, watch and fume. This did not play well that first season in Sacramento, when the holdovers from those great Rick Adelman offenses liked to actually run the offense. But Artest can run the Adelman offense.  He was able to be an effective passer in the double-elbow set that Adelman likes so much. He can also be on the receiving, with an ability to cut, catch and finish that should fit very well with McGrady.”

John Hollinger of  “My spies in Houston tell me the idea is to line up Artest at power forward, where he has the muscle to bang with 4s in the post, and then dare bigger opponents to match up with him at the other end. He was extremely effective doing this in Sacramento, and will have a lot more opportunity to do so in Houston since a big chunk of his minutes figure to come at the 4.  And while the Rockets see him as their No. 3 offensive weapon behind Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, it’s a strong third.”

2 Responses to “The Fundamentals”

  1. Mike Harmon Says:

    Nice site. There

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Thanks Mike!

    I appreciate the words of support.

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