Sports Outside the Beltway

New Jersey’s Jason Kidd wants a trade

What will the Nets do with the malcontent point guard? From AP-

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jason Kidd says he wants to be traded from the slumping New Jersey Nets. “We tried to make this work. We’ve found out it doesn’t,” Kidd told ESPN The Magazine on Monday. “It’s time for us all to move on.”

The Nets, losers of nine in a row, were scheduled to play the Milwaukee Bucks at home Tuesday night. Kidd attended the team’s morning shootaround but did not talk to reporters.

Nets president Rod Thorn did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday.

Trade speculation has followed Kidd since last February when the Nets reportedly were close to making a deal that would have sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last month, Kidd sat out a game against the New York Knicks with a migraine, a move suspected by some to be a one-day walkout to try and force a trade or new contract.

At a news conference, Kidd denied those were his motives, saying, “I am having one of my best seasons — why would I want to be asked to be traded? And as a team, we are doing better than last year.”

New Jersey was 9-10 at the time. Since then, the team has dropped 16 of 25 games to fall to 18-26.

Truthfully I’d trade Kidd. He isn’t helping the Nuts as much as he is hurting the team. Trade the idiot for two good players. New Jersey won’t be the NBA’s worst afterwards. The Miami Heat have a headlock on that at present.


Phil Jackson’s Hall of Fame Career

Phil Jackson is about to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. J.A. Adande takes a look at his unique style of coaching.

Phil Jackson enters the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, and to understand how he coached his way there, it might help to familiarize yourself with the concept of “antimatter” — that is, to realize that the opposite of something is still something, not nothing. That way, it makes sense that some of his best coaching moves come from not coaching, that the best way for players to appreciate him is to not play for him.

For a man with such an immense ego, the irony is Jackson has derived so much success by taking himself out of the equation. He realizes coaching isn’t about getting the players to do what you want, it’s about getting them to want to do what’s right. He always put the game above himself, placed his trust in the players more than his ways.

Opposing coaches might wonder why he doesn’t make an adjustment while they run the same play successfully against him time after time. Fans get agitated when the other team runs off 10 consecutive points and Jackson steadfastly refuses to call a timeout, sitting as motionless as if he were modeling for a Buddha sculpture. Jackson always believed that during times of duress, if the players discovered their own solutions they would benefit in the long run. He was right.

What is the essence of coaching? Getting the most out of your players and putting them in position to win. You won’t find a coach or manager who did that on a more consistent basis than Phil Jackson.

Jackson’s big number is the record nine NBA championships he shares with Red Auerbach, but here’s the telltale stat: Only once has Jackson lost a playoff series in which his team had home-court advantage. That means that nearly every time they were supposed to win, they did. A grand record of 35-1 when starting at home. His squads almost always maxed out, even these past two Lakers first-round departures, who traveled just as far as they were built to go.

Sure he’s had great players, most notably Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago and Shaq and Kobe in L.A. But Auerbach coached 10 future Hall of Famers in Boston, so he wasn’t exactly doing it with scrubs. And if the best talent always guaranteed the best results, Marty Schottenheimer would still be coaching the San Diego Chargers. Why didn’t the 1991 Portland Trail Blazers or the 2002 Sacramento Kings win championships? Oh, that’s right, Rick Adelman was coaching them.

Another sign of Jackson’s success: the way his critics keep turning into allies.


When players see the alternative usually involves more stress and less winning, they realize they’re better off with Jackson. That’s why these days you’ll hear Bryant praise Jackson for “his understanding of the game, his understanding of unit cohesiveness, his patience. I think all of those things, the little intricacies of the game that he’s really picked up, that a lot of coaches and players don’t really understand, he’s mastered. It’s separated him from the pack, in my opinion.”

Jackson can do X’s and O’s. But he isn’t the best at it. And it’s not what he does best. Sometimes less is more.


The goal of Buddhism is nirvana, a state of being that’s devoid of wants and fears, the extinction of the individual consciousness. There’s that notion of nothing again. For Jackson, it might be more of a means than an end. He might not have reached nirvana, but he has made it to Springfield, Mass. He’s the “Seinfeld” of the sidelines, turning the concept of nothing into success.

It’s been an amazing thing to watch. He’s simply unparalleled in modern professional sports, with its free agency, massive league expansion, and culture of individuality. Nobody has come close to getting this much of out teams since the era when great coaches could stockpile talent and keep the same stars together for a decade or more.


Kevin Garnett to the Lakers

Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant could be on the same team if talks currently underway bear fruit. Mike Bresnahan reports:

Kevin Garnett to the Lakers Photo The owners of the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves have begun talks for a trade that would involve sending Kevin Garnett to the Lakers, league sources said Monday. (Ann Heisenfelt / AP)

The owners of the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves have begun talks for a trade that would involve sending Kevin Garnett to the Lakers, league sources said today. A multi-team trade discussion is underway involving the Lakers, Indiana, Minnesota and possibly a fourth team, with the Lakers getting Garnett and the Pacers getting Lamar Odom and teenage center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers. Another minor player will probably be added to make the deal work financially.


Garnett can opt out of his contract after next season. He wants an extension, which Buss reportedly told Taylor he was willing to offer. Garnett is due to earn $22 million next season and $23 million in 2008-09, the last year of his contract.

Garnett, a 10-time All-Star, averaged 22.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 blocked shots last season while showing few signs of slowing down, other than spending the last five games of the season in Los Angeles — he has a home in Malibu — to rest a sore right quadriceps.

Bynum, 19, started his second NBA season with a flurry, including a memorable game against Minnesota in November in which he had 20 points,14 rebounds and three blocked shots. But Bynum struggled during the second half of the season and finished with averages of 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. The Lakers have been criticized by Bryant for not trading Bynum at the February trade deadline to get Jason Kidd from New Jersey.

Odom, 27, was acquired three years ago as part of the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal to Miami. Odom averaged 15.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season and missed 26 games because of knee and shoulder injuries. He had a torn labrum in his left shoulder repaired last month and is expected to return in time for training camp in October.

While Bynum has tremendous upside at his age and Odom is a solid player, this would be a windfall for the Lakers. Maybe this time Kobe will appreciate that having a second superstar player on his team is a good thing.


Kobe Bryant Wants Out, Again!

Kobe Bryant posted this on his website today,

Wassup y’all …

Man, today is one of those surreal days for me and my family. When you love something as much as I love the Lakers its hard to even imagine thinking about being elsewhere. But, the ONE THING I will never sacrifice when it comes to basketball is WINNING. That is plain and simply what it’s all about. It’s in my DNA. It’s what pushes me to work as hard as I do. It’s my daily passion and pursuit.

The more I thought about the future, the more I became convinced that the Lakers and me just have two different visions for the future. The Lakers are pursuing a longer-term plan that is different from what Dr. Buss shared with me at the time I re-signed as a free agent. I have seen that plan unfold for the last three years and watched great trade opportunities come and go, and have seen free agents passed on. That has led to the Lakers not winning a playoff series. All of that was frustrating in itself, but then, this week to have someone “inside” the Laker organization try to blame me in the media for us not being a contender right now — that is what brought me to my current position today.

I want it to be clear that I still love, with all my heart, the Laker Legacy. From Mikan to West to Goodrich to Wilt to Kareem to Magic. That will never change. And the support my family and I have gotten from Lakers fans is undeniably the best. I will also always believe that.

But, now there is a new road ahead. I am gonna keep grindin and keep workin to get back to competing for Championships. Sometimes the trek up the mountain is tough. But, I know we’ll get there.

Strength and Honor,

So, is Kobe going to talk to Phil Jackson and change his mind again. Or, is this it. What a soap opera. Stay tuned, for tomorrow’s episode of As the Los Angeles Lakers turn. Ha


The Short Bus: Kobe, Wants To Stay?


This seemed like a good time to Debut The Short Bus. In an interview with Stephen A. Smith this morning, Kobe stated, that he wants to be traded. Later in the day, Bryant went on Dan Patrick’s ESPN Radio Show and said he wants to be a Laker for the rest of his career. What?

Kobe talks to Phil Jackson after his interview this morning. That conversation changes the way Kobe feels about the Lakers. So, this afternoon he tries to smooth it over, a bit. Maybe, he should have spoke with coach before he decided to air it out this morning. Sure the Lakers have made some questionable personnel decisions, lately. But, he should have went to them first. Now, they all look like asses!


Breaking: Kobe Wants To Be Traded

In an interview being conducted right now on ESPN Radio show of Stephen A. Smith, Kobe has said he wants to be traded and no longer wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

He also went on to say that Jerry Buss mastermined the Shaq trade, management refused to deal for Carlos Boozer, Jason Kidd, and Ron Artest, told two different plans for the team to Phil Jackson and himself. Kobe has also stated he bit the bullet on speaking out to support the franchise, but the current interview blitz was prompted by a “Lakers Insider” reporting to the Los Angeles Times that Kobe was the reason the Lakers dealt Shaq.

More here.

The story lines that have engulfed the Los Angeles Lakers in the last week hit a crescendo Wednesday when Kobe Bryant said he would welcome a trade.

“I would like to be traded, yeah,” Bryant said on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York. “Tough as it is to come to that conclusion there’s no other alternative, you know?”

Bryant, interviewed by Stephen A. Smith, was asked if there was anything the Lakers could do to change his mind?

“No,” Bryan said. “I just want them to do the right thing.”

Earlier in the day, Bryant said team owner Jerry Buss masterminded the trade of Shaquille O’Neal — and Shaq later confirming Kobe’s account.

But Bryant was left “beyond furious” by a report in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times that read, “as a Lakers insider notes, it was Bryant’s insistence on getting away from Shaquille O’Neal that got them in this mess.”

O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat after the 2003-04 season, and the long-held belief has been that the deteriorating relationship between O’Neal and Bryant was a factor in O’Neal’s departure.

In response to the Times’ story, Bryant, who was interviewed by Stephen A. Smith for a Philadelphia Inquirer, said Buss “called a meeting with me after he spoke with Jim Gray [of ESPN] to talk with him about Shaq’s future in the middle of the 2004 season.

“He met with me at the Four Seasons Hotel here [in Los Angeles] across from Fashion Island, which is now the Island Hotel,” Bryant told Smith. “I went up to his penthouse suite. [Buss] looks me dead in the face and says: ‘Kobe, I am not going to re-sign Shaq. I am not about to pay him $30 million a year or $80 million over three years. No way in hell. I feel like he’s getting older. His body is breaking down, and I don’t want to pay that money to him when I can get value for him right now rather than wait.

“This is my decision. It’s independent of you. My mind is made up. It doesn’t matter to me what you do in free agency because I do not want to pay [Shaq], period.’ ”

“Dr. Buss said that,” Bryant told Smith. “And I haven’t said anything for years because I’ve always felt like folks were just looking to create controversy. Now I know. I realize what extent [the Lakers] will go to, to cover themselves.”

Reached afterward, O’Neal told Smith that be believed his former teammate beyond reproach.

“I believe Kobe 100 percent,” O’Neal said when reached in Los Angeles. “Absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind Kobe is telling the truth. I believe him a thousand percent.

“I would have respected Dr. Buss more as a man if he would have told me that himself, because I know he said it. But he didn’t [tell me]. He never said a damn word to me.”

And now Bryant, who reportedly has made it clear to the Lakers that he may see fit to terminate his contract in two years, told Smith he wouldn’t continue to wait for Buss to build the roster around him.

“Promises made to make this team better have not been kept,” Bryant told Smith. “So where does that leave me?”

Bad news for the Lakers, the inpet management has driven the franchise into a disaster area.

I can’t say I don’t blame Kobe, the team around him stinks. The only a handful of players actually work hard, fewer can stay healthy and many more of them are just bums. He’s carried the team for 3 years and my guess is he is just burned out doing it and staying slient and supporting the franchise. Nice work by the Buss family there.



Lakers Owner Busted For DUI

If Kobe Bryant calling the ownership out, management by committee preventing any moves to improve the team, and bad personnel decisions weren’t bad enough for the Los Angeles Lakers now their owner is making bad personal decisions by driving drunk and getting arrested.

– Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss was arrested early Tuesday for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The 74-year-old Buss was taken into custody shortly before 1 a.m. after he drove his gold Mercedes-Benz station wagon the wrong way on a street in an unincorporated section of Carlsbad that has double yellow lines, California Highway Patrol officer Tom Kerns said.

Of course the one bit of humor in this came from one line in the story:

A 23-year-old woman in the vehicle with Buss wasn’t arrested, Kerns said.

Knowing the reputation of Dr. Buss, it wasn’t his granddaughter.


Phil Jackson and Roy Williams Elected to Hall of Fame

Phil Jackson, Roy Williams, and some people I’ve never heard of have been elected to the basketball Hall of Fame.

Phil Jackson can add Hall of Famer to his resume Monday as the current Los Angeles Lakers coach was named to the 2007 basketball Hall of Fame class that will be inducted this September.

Joining Jackson in Springfield, Mass., will be North Carolina coach Roy Williams, WNBA coach Van Chancellor, the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship team, referee Mendy Rudolph as well as international coaches Fedro Ferrandiz and Mirko Novosel. Jackson and the Texas Western squad earned the honor in their first year of consideration. To gain election, each finalist needs at least 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee.

Jackson’s coaching accomplishments include six NBA titles with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls as well as three more titles with the Lakers. He is also the fastest coach to reach 900 wins.

There’s no question Jackson and Williams deserve the honor. I’ve never heard of the other coaches. While, frankly, I’m dubious that someone coaching in the WNBA could possibly qualify, Chancellor’s credentials are solid:

He spent 19 successful seasons as the head coach of the University of Mississippi Lady Rebels. Under his guidance, the Lady Rebels posted a winning percentage of .740 (439-154), made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. As a collegiate coach, Chancellor ranks 14th in all-time winning percentage amongst women’s basketball coaches.

He has been the Comets’ only head coach, the longest tenured in the WNBA. His team won the first four WNBA championships, from 1997 to 2000.

Still, it’s women’s basketball and being 14th best is hardly that big a deal. And the WNBA isn’t exactly the most competitive league in all of sports.


Not Even Jesus Can Save the Lakers

Well, at least according to Phil Jackson:

“The way they are playing now, it doesn’t matter who comes back,” said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, obviously upset. “Jesus Christ could come back and we still wouldn’t have a chance because we’ve ruined the mix by not playing together.”

Well I guess that means all you Laker fans don’t need to block out time in your schedule for the victory parade in.


Greatest NBA Centers Ever

For Shaq’s 35th Birthday ESPN saw fit to rank the top 10 centers of all time and I can’t disagree with #1 at all.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

As for his achievements: 1967-68 USBWA College Player of the Year; 1969 Naismith Award; Six-time NBA MVP; Six-time NBA Champion; Two-time Finals MVP; NBA Rookie of the Year (1970); and NBA Hall of Fame (1995).

Like no other player, Abdul-Jabbar embodied the maestro team brilliance of Bill Russell and the individual excellence of Wilt Chamberlain. His NBA cup runneth over: six championships, a record six MVPs and a Finals MVP award … at 38 years old!

Possessed the single most unstoppable shot in NBA history — the sky hook — but more than that, he was clutch, consistent and underrated in the toughness department.

He was the starting center on six championship teams and had the presence of mind to cohabitate with stars like Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and James Worthy.

He’s the all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points; was named to the All-NBA Defensive team 11 times; and is the only modern era player to lead the league at least once in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, minutes played, field-goal percentage and PER.

However, in their explanation of choosing Kareem as #1 I believe they left out on of the most amazing things about Kareem’s career. His expected arrival in the college ranks led to directly to a preemptive rule change by NCAA when they banned the dunk after the 1967 season and reinstated it shortly after his departure from UCLA. No other player that I can think of recieved the same treatment. While the rule was made mostly to limit his size advantage, it didn’t slow Kareem down as UCLA went 88-2 while he was a player.

The other thing to ponder about this list would is where Bill Walton would be if he hadn’t the chronic injury problems.

As for the complete list:
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
2. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Bill Russell
4. Shaquille O’Neal
5. Hakeem Olajuwon
6. Moses Malone
7. Bill Walton
8. David Robinson
9. George Mikan
10. Patrick Ewing


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