The Fundamentals

» July 18, 2009 4:00 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

J.A. Adande of ESPN.com:  “Teams rarely win championships when their best players players are under 6-6. It hasn’t been done since Isiah Thomas’ ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. With Paul under contract for the next three seasons and a player option for a fourth, the Hornets have one of the best and most entertaining players in the league locked in until 2012. But it’s up to the team to bring in the right pieces so he doesn’t feel trapped like those Krypton prisoners in ‘Superman II.’ ‘You’ve got to make sure that you get some other guys that can really help that guy,’ Scott said. ‘It’s not a problem having your leader be 6-1, whatever the case may be. You go back to the years with the Bad Boys and Isiah — Joe Dumars [6-3] wasn’t that big either. That backcourt was an average of probably 6-1. But they won a couple of championships. They were surrounded by a bunch of guys that really understood their roles. Very talented guys, but they understood their roles, they did their roles every single night. We’ve got to get to that point where we get guys that can come in and do their roles on a night-to-night basis.’ Paul is taking his own role more seriously than ever. He’s lifting more weights as part of his workout, and he said he plans to continue lifting during the season so he can absorb more punishment.”

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:  “The names and faces changed on a daily basis at Cox Pavilion, but their actions were always similar. At least once during each of the first five days of the Las Vegas Summer League, a player, a scout or a general manager would stop by in search of the latest Warriors box score. ‘What did (Anthony) Randolph do last night?’ one GM asked. ‘Let me guess: He went for 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) again.’ Randolph’s consistency in Las Vegas matched the reliability of that daily conversation as he posted averages of 26.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.2 steals a game. Whether or not he’s named league MVP on Sunday, when the Warriors assess this year’s summer, they’ll be confident they watched the emergence of a future superstar. ‘It’s hard for us to say, ‘Don’t do this or don’t do that,’ because he has unique talents that allow him to do some things that others can’t,’ said Keith Smart, a Warriors assistant who was the head coach during the summer. ‘His window of opportunity is so big that you don’t want to limit him from doing things that others can’t because he might be able to do it.’”

Jerome Soloman of the Houston Chronicle:  “It could be a long year for a team that will probably have $40 million in payroll (Yao and Tracy McGrady) watching instead of playing. Even Yao was hoping against hope, seeking multiple opinions from some of the country’s finest physicians, hoping to avoid surgery that would cost him a full NBA season. But the stress fracture in the tarsal navicular bone of his left foot not only didn’t heal after two months of rest following diagnosis of the injury, it got worse, leaving Yao with a difficult decision. Imagine the stress of facing a decision to undergo a surgery that could either save your professional career or end it. At 28. … No Rocket works harder or is more dedicated to the sport than Yao. He will be back. What is far less certain is if he will ever again be the player he was.”

Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times:  “The Knicks can match any contract offer to Lee and retain him. They are cash conscious concerning any effect a contract would have on their 2010 free-agent-class aspirations. If the figure is not astronomical, however, all indications are that the Knicks would match an offer sheet to Lee. Ideally, the Knicks would like to keep his contract between $7 million and $8 million annually. Lee has been hampered in that regard, and history has shown there are few restricted free agents who sign an offer sheet that is not matched. Teams have been more willing to discuss sign-and-trade parameters instead of giving him an offer sheet because the Knicks would have up to a week to decide whether to match. If that happened, Portland’s money would be tied up again, while other unrestricted free agents like Lamar Odom and Andre Miller could be scooped off the market.”

Howard Beck of The New York Times:  “Basketball is the No. 2 sport in Israel, trailing only soccer. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Omri Casspi’s team, is considered a national treasure, with 47 championships and 5 European Cups. ‘Iconic,’ Shamir, who now coaches Bnei Hasharon, said of Maccabi. ‘Players there are like rock stars in Israel.’ In the days before satellite television and 500 channels, the country would practically shut down on Thursday nights, when Maccabi was on TV. ‘The streets were empty,’ Shamir said. Next fall, thousands of Israeli alarm clocks may simultaneously wail around 4 in the morning, when N.B.A. games are broadcast. The Kings may become the second-most-popular basketball team in Israel. And Casspi will become an instant hero to millions of Israelis and Jews worldwide. He is embracing the honor, though with no small measure of anxiety.”

Brian Windhorst of The Plain Dealer:  “The window is now open. And it’s a big, complex window. At 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the Cavaliers were able to offer LeBron James a contract extension because July 18 is the three-year anniversary of when he signed his most recent contract. It is believed the team will initiate contact soon to formally present an offer, which can be an extension of up to three years and around $65 million. James still has an option in his contract for the 2010-11 season, and the Cavs could offer three years on top of that. James has said he will consider an extension offer if it comes, which of course it will. But there is no rush — he has the option of extending his current deal until June 30, 2010, and has until the same date to exercise his one-year player option. When the Cavs signed James in 2006, they reached out to him on the first day allowed, and several days later hosted a dinner for him at one of his favorite restaurants in Akron to formally present the offer. James considered it for a couple days and then agreed to take it. The Cavs might take the same tact this time, though the issues are not as clear-cut.”


2 Responses to “The Fundamentals”

  1. shaheen Says:

    …Wade was 6′4 and he was the best player on the 2006 championship Miami Heat team. Does that not count?

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Good catch.

Leave Your Comment