Gilbert Arenas: “Right before dinner I was thinking about how I was going to propose. Everybody wants to make it memorable, but I have this statistic that I’ve never, ever asked a girl out and I didn’t want to change that. Never, ever. In life. I was like, man, I got to keep this streak going. I was thinking up ways to do it, you know, maybe I’ll do like an Easter egg hunt for the ring or something. But then it came to me, I was going to kick it back old school with a “Do you like me?” note that you would do in elementary school. Only, I couldn’t write the note, because that would be like me asking her. So I got my friend to write on a piece of paper “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” in big block letters with two boxes to check off, “YES” or “NO.” Then the final step was for him to write “(READ OUT LOUD)” at the top of the note.”
Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: “He explained that he had told LeBron James before they did a joint Team USA news conference that Bryant would jump in and take any “controversial” questions so as to help the younger James out. The playing-overseas scenario fit that mold, according to Bryant, so he answered first to spare Nike brother James, whose eventual departure from small-market Cleveland has been the subject of widespread speculation. “Somebody throws us this question about playing overseas,” Bryant said. “I don’t want him to answer it. He’s a young kid; I don’t want him to take the controversial stuff. I said, ‘Well, if a team throws us $50 million, then we’ll all go.’ Who the hell has $50 million? … “It’s just something that was a joke for us, and people took it and ran with it or whatever. That’s fine. Everybody needs to banter about something.””
Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times: “Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said recently that he is considering making Lamar Odom the team’s sixth man this season. The Lakers convened this afternoon for a media session in El Segundo before the start of training camp Tuesday and Odom voiced his disdain for Jackson’s idea. “He must have woke up and bumped his head. He probably hit his head on something — boom,” Odom said about Jackson. “To start off like that, you’ve got to be out of your . . . mind.”"
Lakers.com: Video of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum at Media Day
Tom Withers of The Associated Press: “James wishes all the talk would stop. “I’ve never given no indication I was leaving Cleveland,” James said. “I never gave any indication I didn’t like being here, every time I’m asked that question. I love being here. I love playing in front of these fans. My family is here. I grew up 30 miles away from here. I’ve never given any indication that I did not like playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now I did say I like the Yankees and the Cowboys. It has nothing to do with the Cavaliers.” James smiled as he again explained his allegiance to out-of-town teams, a fact that rubs some Cleveland fans the wrong way. “Am I not allowed to be a fan of what team I want?” he said “When I grew up watching sports, the Cowboys were the team to love. If I say I like Michael Jordan, is that a problem? If I didn’t say (Cavaliers All-Star) Mark Price, is that a problem? Is it? That’s who I grew up watching. These are the teams and people who inspired me when I was growing up.”"
The Star-Ledger: “The New Jersey Nets’ move to Brooklyn, already slowed by previous legal challenges, could be pushed back six more months after an appellate court declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by foes of the plan, according to a report. The Nets had been planning to move by 2010 to the Atlantic Yards arena, part of a $4 billion development project. Developer Bruce Ratner said in a statement Monday the opening “may” be pushed back six months in light of the latest legal challenge, according to a report on The New York Times website.”
BMac’s Blog: “I do not understand why fans and coaches want to make every above-average ball handler into the next Magic Johnson. On the men’s side, we do it with LeBron James; now, on the women’s side, Parker. Using Parker or James as a point guard wastes their talent and stems from a gross misunderstanding of basketball. Everyone grows up with the point guard playing the role of the primary ball handler dribbling the ball down court and setting up an offense. 90% of offenses involve the point guard initiating the offense with a pass to the wing or some sort of dribble penetration. However, that is not the ONLY way to play basketball. The primary ball handler does NOT have to initiate the offense and be the play maker.”
Eric Musselman’s Basketball Notebook: Coaches as environmental psychologists
Gary Dzen of The Boston Globe: “”I’ve gained 7 pounds,” Rondo beams. “I guess you have to win a championship to gain weight.” The spindly point guard has added muscle, but he’s also added confidence over the short summer. “I want to be the best point guard in the league one day,” said Rondo. “My coaching staff believes in me. The Big Three believes in me, and the rest of the team believes in me. I’m going to keep working hard regardless of how much I’ve accomplished so far.” He’s definitely been working. Veteran Celtics players had to tell Rondo to stop coming in for two-a-days. So he shortened his daily workout to one, 5-hour session.”
Bucks.com: “Hammond did, however, have a mission in mind when he left his position as Joe Dumars’ highly touted vice president of basketball operations in Detroit to take over the Bucks’ GM job. He had no particular coach-in-waiting nor any immediate list of players he planned to pursue. But he did have his intentions, and he has followed through on them aggressively and successfully. He began looking for qualities rather than certain individuals. And there was one specific quality he wanted to see on the resumes of each of his keepers. “The idea was to try to get as many good people as possible,” he said. “That’s easy to say, and of course anybody can try to do that, but along with saying that we want quality people and good people, we also want a guy that has some kind of skill to help you win a game. “You know the old saying, ‘Good guys finish last?’ There’s probably some truth to that, especially in professional sports.”"
Indy Cornrows: Media Day interview round up [Video]
Scott Howard-Cooper of The Sacramento Bee: “Two of the three most important people in the Kings organization just put the youth movement on hold. Geoff Petrie sort of did, at least. It’s tough to tell — as is often the case when he talks in code — without a Petrie-to-English dictionary handy. But there were words to that effect. Gavin Maloof definitely did. “We’re here to win games,” he said a few hours ago at media day. “If you have to play the veterans more to win games, so be it.”"
Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle: “There were no new injuries, but rather slow recoveries from McGrady’s off-season surgeries and an announcement that the veteran forward will play the season with an arthritic left shoulder. “My knee is about 75, 80 percent right now,” McGrady said. “It took longer than expected. I was expecting to recover 100 percent in four months, but (ellipses) the doctor told me it would be six months or even more. My shoulder had after surgery kept bothering me. I had another MRI and discovered I have arthritis in there so I have to have surgery again on my shoulder. That’s something I have to deal with again this season, but my knee should be ready by opening night (Oct. 29).” McGrady said he will not need that surgery until next off-season but that the condition could hinder his play.”
Jason Friedman of Rockets.com: “And lest anyone worry about this team’s goals being undone by ego run amok, Adelman already has his message prepared: “Everybody has to understand: You can do less on a very good team and get more credit. Just ask the three guys in Boston.” Indeed, in Houston, as is certainly the case nearly everywhere around the league these days, the Rockets are looking east and drawing inspiration from last year’s Celtics team which took the NBA by storm after a receiving a similar infusion of talent. “It gives me hope,” McGrady said. “KG is one of my good friends and I was with him this summer and it just felt good. I was happy for him because he was kind of in the same situation I was; going to the playoffs, being put out seven straight times so he knows what I’m going through and it just felt good to see him happy, and to hear from him that my time was gonna come.”"
Brett Edwards of NBA FanHouse: Steve Nash’s Thoughts on Baron Davis’ New Diet Plan
Jeff Caplan of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Howard said in no way did his remarks about not celebrating the national anthem because he is black reflect his true feelings about the anthem or his country. “I just wasn’t using my head. I guess the lesson I learned from this is words really do hurt and you’re held accountable for what you say…I went to military school, I have friends that served in the military, I know how it is to wake up and salute the flag. And the national anthem every game, I have my hand over my heart every time. It’s nothing new to me. It was just me not thinking, up there acting crazy.”"
Tim MacMahon of The Dallas Morning News: “He’s motivated to prove that the real Josh Howard is the good guy folks around here thought he was before the spree of stupidity. “That’s not Josh Howard that y’all seen,” he said. “That was an idiot.” Howard said he “sincerely hopes” he can win back the fans who have grown tired of his act. And he appreciates that Mark Cuban and the Mavericks organization have always backed him, even when it was far from the popular thing to do. Dirk said he thinks Howard is a good guy who made some bad decisions. Cuban thinks the same thing, although he’s taking a tough-love approach with J-Ho. “I told him, ‘If you [screw] up again, I’m going to kick your [rear],” Cuban said.”
Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News: “I always knew there was something a little screwy about the lack of information emanating from Warriors Central in the days leading up to Baron Davis’ surprise decision last June to opt-out of the final season and $17.8M of his contract. Not everything added up. The basic facts were there: The Warriors called Baron’s bluff, Baron turned over his card, then got the Clippers to ante up $65M over five years and took off. But… there had to be other levels of discussion between Baron and the Warriors in late-June, didn’t there? Turns out: Yes.”
Jason Quick of The Oregonian: “Although he remains a team-oriented player, he has set one personal goal this season: to become an All-Star. “My whole summer, I was training to try and make myself a better team leader, and to put myself in the best position to be an All-Star this year,” Aldridge said. “I got bigger, I got stronger and my game got better. But I also know that if you win games, that’s better than individual things.” He is the third pillar in what the Blazers envision becoming the West Coast version of Boston’s Big Three: Roy, Oden and Aldridge. And even though Roy has received all the awards, and Oden all the attention, McMillan said he thinks Aldridge could be the one player who makes the biggest leap this season.”
Sean Meagher of The Oregonian: Greg Oden at media day [Video]
Mike Dougherty of The Journal News: “On several occasions, Marbury fell back on his favorite “next question” response. It would be interesting to see how teammates were treating him in the locker room. And it will be important to see how Mike D’Antoni works Marbury in when he begins to build chemistry on the court. That will happen in the next week. “If they decide to waive me, I’m fine with that,” Marbury said. “I’m fine with whatever they do. Basketball-wise I’m ready. As long as I’m playing basketball, that’s what’s important to me. … I’m not taking anything personally. There are no emotions attached to this.” And that is a problem. If the players do not have an emotional investment, the season will come apart early once again.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “One moment, he insisted that he no longer cared what anyone said about him, that his spiritual awakening – an annual epiphany – made him “pray” for those belittling his greatness. He cared so little, he called out one New York basketball writer, Newsday’s Ken Berger, for aptly describing Marbury as “toxic” in the paper this summer. At the end of his session, Marbury climbed to his feet and wrapped a creeped-out Berger in the most inappropriate Knicks hug since Isiah and Anucha. Marbury kept saying, “I’m going to pray for you,” in this strange, suffocating clench. And then, he left his teammates behind in the gym and walked toward a curtain patrician leaping into the air and pumping his fists to no one but himself. Once more, Marbury disappeared into his own world.”