The Truth about Bob Myers, Warriors GM

Marcus Thompson has just written a very nice profile of Bob Myers, who was recently announced as the new GM of the Golden State Warriors.

It is hard to take issue with such a positive piece about such a nice man. And Bob Myers is by all accounts a very nice man. But I do take issue with it.

Because Bob Myers is a lie.

Bob Myers is NOT the GM of the Golden State Warriors.

1) As I have stated repeatedly since forever, Larry Riley was never the GM of the Warriors. Ever. Not under Nelson, and not under Lacob. If that wasn’t obvious to you before, it should be now, after he meekly introduced his successor at the press conference with a shit-eating grin, and meekly accepted his “demotion” to “Director of Scouting.”

Ever seen a real GM, in any sport, do that? Of course you haven’t. No one but a good company man, who knew he was never the real GM, could possibly be so self-effacing.

(By the way, if you recall, I’ve been calling Riley the “chief scout” ever since Lacob took over.)

2) Similarly to Riley, Bob Myers is not the GM, and never will be. Joe Lacob is the GM, with Kirk next in line.

It was Joe Lacob who fired Don Nelson.  Joe Lacob who hired Keith Smart. Joe Lacob who fired Keith Smart, and hired Mark Jackson. (The GM is the guy who hires and fires coaches, right?)

It was Joe Lacob who signed Jeremy Lin and Lou Amundson, over Nelson’s dead body. And Joe Lacob who told you that Monta Ellis was gone — in his very first interview, if you were paying attention. (The GM is the guy who makes personnel decisions, right?)

It was Joe Lacob who announced his intention to “change the culture” of the Warriors from the start: to transform them into a team that walks the ball up the court, plays half-court offense, and focuses on the defensive end. Joe Lacob who coveted that big deal, that “tranformative deal,” for Kevin Garnett…  errr, a genuine NBA star center who would let the Warriors play his preferred style. Joe Lacob who doesn’t know what a spread four is.

It was Joe Lacob who made the decision to tank the last two seasons — before they began. And followed through on that decision at every trading deadline. Joe Lacob who doesn’t believe in veteran backup PGs. Joe Lacob who has in fact never signed a veteran bench player to a multi-year contract (since that fateful Lou Amundson day). Joe Lacob who made the decision to hoard 2nd round picks rather than develop players out of the D-Leagues. Joe Lacob who covets lottery picks so strongly, he not only stripped the Warriors bench for two straight seasons, but induced Mark Jackson to disgrace himself, by throwing basketball games.

Joe Lacob is the GM. It’s obvious and has always been obvious.

3) Myers has absolutely no experience as a player, coach, scout or talent evaluator at the NBA level. Zero. Therefore, we can assume he has zero ability to evaluate players. Which was in fact shown by the way he sold his client Dorell Wright down the river.

And as for knowing how to build an NBA team, or hire the right coach… yeah, right. But you see, that’s not part of his job description.

Jerry West and Larry Riley are the talent evaluators and advisors to the throne. Assistant GM Travis Schlenk is the capologist, as well as another expert talent evaluator, of many years experience. Assistant GM Kirk Lacob is… well, we all know who he is.

Bob Myers is the front man, the young, handsome and articulate face of the organization.

The Little Donnie Nelson to Lacob’s Mark Cuban.

4) Thompson: “As an agent, Myers’ negotiations were not antagonistic. That has its rewards now.”

Translation: He was a lousy agent.

(And I pondered in print when he was hired as assistant GM whether those Dorell Wright “negotiations” had helped get him the job.)

Bob Myers is not an NBA basketball guy, in any way shape or form. He’s the pretty face, a people guy, a guy everybody likes, and likes talking to. The perfect guy to pretend he’s the GM, while Joe Lacob calls the shots.

The fall guy, as Larry Riley was before him.

Because you can’t fire the owner.

265 Responses to The Truth about Bob Myers, Warriors GM

  1. Note: This piece has been edited since I first posted it.

  2. And the decline of Feltbot’s Warriors Blog continues…

    :::sigh:::

  3. For conspiracy theorists: I’m getting that tingle up my leg that tells me the Warriors just might move up in the lottery to snag the #1 pick. David Stern loves Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

    Oddly, this tingle coincides with the news that talks with Utah over ensuring the pick remains with the Warriors have broken down.

  4. if the lottery deities bestow one of the top three picks on the lacobites, we can only surrender to their will. my hopes re. the team’s summer are cast in a different direction — they should be punished by the hoops gods by falling a slot or two and forced to pay off their debt to UT. Malone would move onto another team, ideally Por, so both he and Smart would be on the regular rotation. let’s see the mettle of both the owner/g.m. and coach really tested.

    if they stay at seven, and choose a player to trade to another team, Myers is actually serviceable for finding buyers. they’ll be depending heavily on the logo’s acumen if they pick at seven and keep the player.

    the players have my support, but Lacob needs to see all his grand schemes get shattered until he gives up his plan for constructing his new toy box on the piers. did he get around to mentioning in his grand show and tell that the piers are in trust for the people of California and by mandate kept as open space or used for water/marine – related activities ?

    • “did he get around to mentioning in his grand show and tell that the piers are in trust for the people of California and by mandate kept as open space or used for water/marine – related activities ?”

      moto, isn’t ferry service a “water/marine-related activity”? The piers at AT&T Park are used to ferry people to Giants games and the Warriors have already indicated the piers where the new arena is planned will be used likewise.

      • that rationale will probably be among the ones the lacobites raise, via their insider on the State Lands Commission, Newsom. it won’t change the intent of their project, appropriating a public resource for private profit. a ferry depot at those piers wouldn’t be needed if there’s no arena, and the arena isn’t necessary for a ferry landing or any other water-related activity. the beisbol park on China Basin was built up to the water’s edge, with careful negotiations of how close it could skirt the water, but doesn’t go into or over the water. the lacobites and their supporters/apologists will of course try to emphasize the similarities between that project and their pier heist.

  5. Ownership situation probably quite similar to Paul Allen in Portland and Mark Cuban in Dallas – active ownership.

    As long as Jerry West is well – I don’t have any concerns about the direction of the W’s.

    As for Myers not being a good agent? Didn’t Myers get a max contract for Brandon Roy WITH that known previous injury? Dorell Wright – got $12 million over three years as an oft-injured back-up in Miami. Contract only looked bad after it was a great fit between W’s and Dorell. Not too shabby.

    Meyers had to evaluate which players – he chose to represent, no? Seems to me like talent evaluation enough. Playing on a Collegiate DI National Championship team as a walk-on at UCLA counts for something – lots of GMs have nada. Competing with the best agents in the business for players/prospects and winning more than your fair share of battles says something to me – salesmanship. A GM position is actually a step down in money and difficulty.

  6. At the very least, Meyers has no real experience in his job, and the best we can hope for is that he is a sharp guy who learns what he needs to do in the next 5-6 years — and that he learns from his mistakes during that time and that the team does not pay too heavily for them. And if he does learn, hope he will have the freedom to make good decisions.

    With the exception of West, there is no deeply experienced intelligence in the FO or in coaching (if Malone leaves, if you want to count him). This was Lacob’s decision and it makes makes him the de facto GM for years to come.

    As for West, it’s a matter of how closely involved he is and how much he is listened to — and somebody has to make the argument, whether he knows what is best for this team.

  7. Felt, what took you so long? Lacob, the owner, is next, right? Let’s go!

    “Similarly to Riley, Bob Myers is not the GM, and never will be. Joe Lacob is the GM, with Kirk next in line. It was Joe Lacob who fired Don Nelson. Joe Lacob who signed Jeremy Lin and Lou Amundson, over Nelson’s dead body. (The GM is the guy who makes personnel decisions, right?) Joe Lacob who told you that Monta Ellis was gone — in his very first interview, if you were paying attention. Joe Lacob who hired Keith Smart. Joe Lacob who fired Keith Smart, and hired Mark Jackson. (The GM is the guy who hires and fires coaches, right?)”

    Felt, you’re right, Larry Riley was never really the GM of GSW, both pre and post Joe Lacob. But the reason he wasn’t the GM under Lacob had more to do with the fact that the new owners were still in the process of putting all facets of their organization in place and Riley was simply a bridge to other teams in the league until a permanent GM was found and hired.

    If Riley came across a deal he liked it was left for Lacob and crew to determine it’s value for the Warriors. Where you’re wrong now is that any recommendation made by Bob Myers will be acted upon with much less deliberation from ownership. Yes, Bob Myers is definitely the GM of the Golden State Warriors, for better or worse.

    “Joe Lacob signed Jeremy Lin.” >>>>>> Not bad.

    “Joe Lacob signed Lou Amundson.” (Which led to acquiring Brandon Rush) >>>>>> Even better.

    “Joe Lacob who told you Monta Ellis was gone.” >>>>>> Considering he was “gone” in return for Andrew Bogut, I’m liking it now. Stay tuned for the final analysis.

    “Joe Lacob fired Keith Smart and hired Mark Jackson.” >>>>>> Thumbs up for the Smart firing. MJ a work-in-progress with the ultimate wisdom of the move TBD.

    Hmmm, given the evidence presented, I’d say Joe Lacob, the temporary GM, was more than adequate.

    “Myers has absolutely no experience as a player, coach, scout or talent evaluator at the NBA level. Zero. Therefore, we can assume he has zero ability to evaluate players.”

    People who do too much “assuming” invariably wind up making an ass of themselves.

    “Thompson: “As an agent, Myers’ negotiations were not antagonistic. That has its rewards now.”

    Translation: He was a lousy agent.

    Bob Myers is not an NBA basketball guy, in any way shape or form. He’s the pretty face, a people guy, a guy everybody likes, and likes talking to. The perfect guy to pretend he’s the GM, while Joe Lacob calls the shots.”

    If I’m a player I don’t want an agent that other owners and GMs are uncomfortable talking and dealing with. If Bob Myers is indeed a “people guy, a guy everybody likes, and likes talking to”, then he would make the top of my list of agents to consider for hire.

    And he would also make the top of my list of young, energetic GMs to consider for hire. Ooops, looks like Joe Lacob beat me to it.

    “It was Joe Lacob who announced his intention to “change the culture” of the Warriors from the start: to transform them into a team that walks the ball up the court, plays half-court offense, and focuses on the defensive end. Joe Lacob who coveted that big deal, that “tranformative deal,” for Kevin Garnett… errr, a genuine NBA star center who would let the Warriors play his preferred style. Joe Lacob who doesn’t know what a spread four is.

    It was Joe Lacob who made the decision to tank the last two seasons — before they began. And followed through on that decision at every trading deadline. Joe Lacob who doesn’t believe in veteran backup PGs. Joe Lacob who has in fact never signed a veteran bench player to a multi-year contract (since that fateful Lou Amundson day). Joe Lacob who made the decision to hoard 2nd round picks rather than develop players out of the D-Leagues. Joe Lacob who covets lottery picks so strongly, he not only stripped the Warriors bench for two straight seasons, but induced Mark Jackson to disgrace himself, by throwing basketball games.”

    The “culture change” that new ownership desires has to do with “winning” vs “losing”, not style of play. I’ve yet to see a video or quote, or hear an audio clip, where Joe Lacob states his “preferred style of play”.

    Playing better defense, and having a “defensive mentality”, has little to do with tempo. An aggressive stop and rebound is, in fact, the most likely lead in to a fast break the other way.

    Tanking the last two seasons before they began? LOL

    Doesn’t believe in veteran backup PGs? LOL Regardless of Nate Robinson’s best role on a team he was definitely a “veteran backup” and did an admirable job at the PG position for the Warriors.

    Hoarding 2nd round picks? Well, Gilbert Arenas and Monta Ellis were two damn good 2nd round picks for GSW, and last year’s pick of Charles Jenkins wasn’t too bad, either. If your scouts are good I’m fine with having those 2nd rounders to use.

    I’ll leave this >>>>>> “Joe Lacob who covets lottery picks so strongly, he not only stripped the Warriors bench for two straight seasons, but induced Mark Jackson to disgrace himself, by throwing basketball games.” >>>>>> to dictionary.com:

    ab·surd
       [ab-surd, -zurd]
    adjective
    1. utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation.

  8. From Matier and Ross:

    Returning to San Francisco is not going to come cheap for the Warriors – East Bay officials say the team could still be on the hook for upwards of $70 million to their old landlords at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.

    Oakland and Alameda County spent $140 million to modernize and expand the arena in the mid-1990s under the Warriors’ previous ownership. As the building’s main tenant, the team has been paying as much as $7.4 million a year to help pay off the bill.

    Under the Warriors’ lease, if the team pulls out “for any reason” before the construction bonds are retired in 2026, the Warriors still owe the money – minus whatever events the arena can book to replace NBA games.

    “The language is pretty clear,” said county Auditor-Controller Patrick O’Connell.

    The Warriors’ new owners are reluctant to discuss the issue, but they appear to be taking the position that they are liable for the bond payments only through the 2016-17 season, when their lease at Oracle runs out.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/29/BAS21OP2RM.DTL#ixzz1wKqAh4QU

    • This is kind of a non-story, tossed out there by Alameda County to establish a claim. If the Warriors aren’t responsible for the interest, 20 years of $7M payments would cover the debt. If they are short of the total due when they vacate Oracle, the remaining debt couldn’t possibly be enough to influence the Warriors decision on an SF stadium. It would just cut into the profit margin a little. IF they can get a court to agree that the Warriors owe them anything at all.

      SF is going to donate a valuable waterfront property, pay for (or help to pay for) improvements to the property and its surrounding, assume all costs for modifying the surrounding infrastructure, and assist the Warriors with their building funds via muni bonds (an obvious guess, since they specified that no money from the city’s general fund would be used). The Warriors will end up with a premium arena in a prestigious location, complete with luxury accommodations not possible in Oracle, all built at a city-assisted discount. They will no longer have a landlord – they will solely own the arena and the site. What is the value to the Warriors of the gifts they’ll receive from San Francisco? Don’t know. No one’s talking about those numbers because city management wants this to move forward without publicity hassles. But the total benefit to the Warriors is going to be worth far more than any remaining claim Alameda County can make against a 20-year-old bond issue.

  9. NBA players rank their favorite TV announcers. (My fave is the one and only Hubie Brown)

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/nba-players-rank-favorite-tv-announcers-rank-rankings-194920582.html

  10. Those who think I’m nuts for referencing David Stern’s preferences and his control of the officiating when I make my playoff predictions should listen to the interview Tim Donaghy gave yesterday to Yahoo:

    http://www.yahoosportsradio.com/nba/tim-donaghy-fouled-out-25251/

    “This is a form of entertainment and not a true athletic competition where the best teams are put on an even playing field with everyone else.”

    Not sure exactly when this interview took place, but Donaghy sticks by his prediction that the Thunder will beat the Spurs. I can only assume that he is making this pick based on his knowledge that the league hates to see San Antonio in the finals — those are their lowest rated finals, and cost them millions of dollars. And the ratings bonanza of a Durant – Lebron finals would probably be unprecedented.

    As I think should be obvious to everyone right now, the only way the Thunder can win this series will be with significant aid from the officiating, certainly at home in games 3 and 4, where it will be easy to hide — just get Parker in foul trouble, for instance. But game 5 in SA will obviously be the one to watch.

  11. Doctor Kajita

    Bob Myers worked under Arn Tellem, the most cut-throat agent in the NBA. I’d assume, just like Felt, that he has learned a thing or two from him and his input would be valued.

    A “GM” isn’t defined by one role these days. More and more, money plays a huge factor, which is why most GM’s in pro sports are dictated by their resources, which comes from the owners. While the main responsibility of roster management is of utmost importance, a lot more variables are at play in modern day sports, IMO.

    For the NBA, a good chunk of the money is dictated by the cap, but there are other functions money plays: facilities, scouting, D-League, staffing, statisticians, etc. It’s evident that Lacob is liberal with his use of capital towards these peripheral functions to gain an advantage.

    Which leads me to believe that it might not be so bad that Lacob is the “GM.” Is it an ego-stroke? Most definitely. Is it bad for basketball? Remains to be seen. It seems foolish to presume either way.

    It’s easy to criticize Lacob and Guber. They like pageantry and they’re new to the block. They’re not Larry Ellison. They hire their sons and friends to run their business. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of Lacob bashing. But it’s too early to judge them on their basketball operations acumen.

    I can appreciate different perspectives, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m not excited to see what awaits this franchise.

  12. 2012 team-by-team draft outlook:

    Golden State Warriors

    Record: 23-43

    Odds: No. 1: 3.6% | No. 2: 4.16% | No. 3: 4.9% | Any top-3 pick: 12.66%

    The Warriors sacrificed the second half of their season in order to secure their pick, which would go to Utah if outside the top seven. After acquiring injured Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut for leading scorer Monta Ellis, Golden State went deep into its youth-filled bench down the stretch as it lost 22 of 27 games after an 18-21 start. The poor finish has left the Warriors with a 72.66 percent chance of keeping their pick. If that happens, the Warriors — who also have San Antonio’s first-round pick (No. 30) — are expected to take the best player available rather than homing in on a particular position. But considering they were the worst rebounding team in the league this season, there is a strong focus on players who know how to hit the boards. Robinson would be a dream pick, but North Carolina center Tyler Zeller would fit that bill too. He could provide a capable scorer and defender down low, all while having time to develop while playing behind Bogut and power forward David Lee. Kidd-Gilchrist would be a good fit, and Jones could be a possibility if he impresses in workouts. And while Stephen Curry has the point guard duties secured, you have to wonder if his injury history doesn’t inspire the Warriors to opt for the hometown hero in Lillard. The Oakland native, whom the Warriors watched in a recent workout, looks ready to score at the next level and run a team.”

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/sam_amick/05/30/draft.lottery.outlook/index.html#ixzz1wN9weGZW

  13. Rusty Simmons on lottery conspiracy theories:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/29/SPM81OP194.DTL

    Charles Barkley is a believer:

    “You know, I go back to Patrick Ewing, so I believe in the conspiracy theories.” Barkley is worried the Nets will get the #1 in order to inaugurate their new Brooklyn arena.

    David Kahn is a believer too:

    “This league has a habit – and I am just going to say habit – of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” Kahn told reporters at last season’s lottery before later saying his comment was meant as a joke.

    But he pointed to Washington winning the 2010 pick with the widow of longtime owner Abe Pollin representing the Wizards on the lottery dais. Cleveland was represented last season by owner Dan Gilbert’s 14-year-old son, Nick, who has battled disease since birth.

    And it’s not only human interest stories on the lottery dais that get the minds of conspiracy theorists spinning. In 2003, Cleveland won the right to draft an Akron high schooler named LeBron James, and five years later, Chicago got to choose local product Derrick Rose.

    I have an additional 2 cents to add to the Cleveland move to #1 that netted Kyrie Irving: it happened right after the PR fiasco of Lebron leaving the Cavs.

  14. Effbie,

    Grain of salt time here. David Stern clearly chases the money, so on the surface it might seem plausible for the NBA to tilt the playoffs toward maximum profitability. But Donaghy is not a credible source. He is in the business of saying outrageous things about NBA officiating. It is how he earns a living. Ditto Charles Barkley.

    Think of the risks. Just asking refs to fix games would be a federal crime, and would create huge PR risks besides – another Donaghy or two would devalue the whole league even without a criminal fraud investigation. And the danger in making too-obvious errors with heat-of-the-moment snap decisions by harried employees? Enormous.

    The real profit in the NBA is in asset appreciation, not annual operating profit. We’re talking a 1000x difference in scale here. Prudent management wouldn’t gamble billions in asset value for a few million in short-term TV revenue, not with the level of risk exposure involved in fraud. It would be kinda nuts. Just for a few examples:

    Think Lacob wants to miss out on that new stadium? It’s worth several hundred million to him. Multiply his desire by 30x. No new NBA stadiums if the league has a bad rep.

    Every future NBA expansion team owner will buy in with a minimum of $350M into the NBA’s general fund. Think the owners want the NBA to continue expanding? Won’t happen if the league office is under criminal investigation.

    The league and its teams rake in more than a $Billion in corporate sponsorship money every year. How much of that would they see if the NBA smelled like BigTime Rasslin?

    NBA franchises have historically appreciated in value at an average of 8-9% annually. If Lacob’s team appreciates at only 5%, in 15 years it will be worth more than twice his purchase price (that’s just shy of a $Billion!) even without a new stadium, or a competitive team. And his sale of the team will be taxed as capital gains, not regular income (roughly a $90M difference). The new Warriors stadium will add $2-300M to the market value of the team. Meanwhile, Lacob gets to write off $450M over 15 years through an NBA-only tax exemption – a fantastic tax shelter. And if he can upgrade his average ticket prices….

    All that money is already on the way, as long as something doesn’t happen to screw it up. Now multiply Lacob’s expected gains by 30x, and compare the total to…what? A few million in TV revenue?

    Bet $100 to make 2 cents? Maybe, but criminal fraud doesn’t carry the right odds. I’m not feelin it.

    • First of all, that’s not how Donaghy makes his living now. He makes his living selling his NBA handicapping skills, based on his understanding of referee tendencies — and in the playoffs, the league tendencies, as he experienced them himself.

      And to some astute NBA bettors (I don’t include myself in their class) the NBA playoffs already look like big time wrestling. I don’t know how you could have watched that game 6 between the Kings and the Lakers and believed otherwise. It really takes some kind of extreme crookedness to make Ralph Nader write a letter to David Stern about it. What business is Nader in?

      I and friends of mine have witnessed countless instances over the years. The Pippen phantom foul on a desperation three point attempt, that prevented the Jordan-less Bulls from going up 3-2 headed back to Chicago, allowed the Knicks to make the finals, and preserved Jordan’s aura.

      Compare that to Fisher blatantly clubbing Brent Barry over the head on a three point shot, knocking him to the floor, with Joey Crawford 10 feet away looking right at him. No call.

      Or what about that infamous Fisher shot with 00.4 left on the clock, also against the Spurs? Let’s see, he ran and jumped to catch the ball in the air, traveled through the air after the catch, hit the ground moving away from the basket, pivoted, jumped and shot. No problem in .4 seconds, right? I’ve talked that one over with numerous NBA experts/bettors, and not one of them thinks it was on the square. I think they put up the red flashy thing around the backboard after that one. The suckers made too much noise.

      And I will never forget a time several years go when I was playing no-limit poker at the Wynn. An arrogant blow-hard sitting on a big stack he never moved was showing everyone his $10k ticket on Detroit against Lebron’s Cavs. The Pistons were up 2-1 with game 4 in Detroit, and looking good. I said one simple thing to him: “Never bet against the face of the NBA.”

      In game 4, Antonio McDyess was ejected in the first quarter, for a hard foul that was arguably not even a flagrant. Mild-mannered Antonio McDyess. I think Lebron went for 50 in that game, the Cavs got their confidence back, and the rest is history. Rasheed Wallace went on full melt-down. And I dont’ blame him. I’m on his side.

      As for how its done, you apparently didn’t listen to Donaghy’s interview or read Bill Simmons or Mark Cuban or any of the myriad books on this subject. There is ZERO risk. The league office merely chooses the crew they know will get the job done, shows them tape, and tells them how they want it called. The hatchet men do the rest. And guarantee their future playoff appearances and playoff money in the process.

      The small market team’s star is hand-checking? We want it called. (Happened to Chauncey Billups twice in the first quarter of a game 7 — take a seat Chauncey.) Another team’s center is setting “illegal” screens? Bingo. The league’s darling is over-matched on the inside? I think we should let the big boys play. (We don’t want Blake Griffin fouling out, for heaven’s sake, or the Grizzlies advancing. The exact same thing happened the previous year in the Grizzlies-Thunder series.)

      There’s zero risk, and huge reward. What industry in history has avoided that temptation?

      • While you’re at it, how about the technicals called on Boston the first game vs. Miami? Maybe there wasn’t a conspiracy, but, wow, they sure smelled bad.

      • “… and tells them how they want it called…”

        Depending on how it’s phrased to the refs, that right there is potentially felony fraud, something that could conceivably wipe out every stakeholder in the league. It would be an insane risk for a return which NBA owners could only consider spare change.

        “… [Donaghy] makes his living selling his NBA handicapping skills, based on his understanding of referee tendencies — and in the playoffs, the league tendencies, as he experienced them himself.”

        That’s what I said, merely rephrased.

        Look, if the league and Lacob play it straight Lacob can fully expect the total payback for his investment in the Warriors to be a MINIMUM of $1.5 billion over the 15 years of his tax shelter. In comparison, Lacob’s share of “artificially enhanced” playoff revenue might amount to $2M/year max, for a total of $30M over 15 years. That’s 2% of $1.5 billion. And jazzing the playoffs wouldn’t come at ZERO risk, because just 1 or 2 more Donaghys popping up would wipe. him. out. along with the rest of the league. The asset value of the league wouldn’t instantly become zero, but half the owners would go under from the weight of their leverage. They NEED their teams to keep increasing in value. Any drop would be devastating. Remember what Katrina did in New Orleans.

        2 more Donaghys is a doomsday scenario for the NBA, as is the slightest whiff of a possible federal investigation, or even just a slight decline in fan faith. And public opinion doesn’t have to have any basis in fact whatsoever.

        It’s possible, of course. But I’m still not feelin it. The owners aren’t in this game for crumbs.

      • If you’re genuinely interested in this subject, you should look into it. I recommend Bill Simmons’ excellent archived Sports Guy post, and Donaghy’s book as a starting place.

        Your “rephrasing” actually means something else entirely. Donaghy is paid to be right; if he’s not right, he stops getting paid. That’s the opposite of being paid to say something outrageous. He has skin in the game. And I happen to believe that his decayed morals don’t diminish his genuine knowledge and expertise in understanding referee tendencies, and the ways in which the league manipulates playoffs.

        Before each playoff game, the refereeing crew is shown videotape of the two teams. They are directed to certain things that one or the other teams is doing, and instructed “We need to clean that up” or “We need to make it a point of emphasis that this gets called.” Or conversely, they are directed to look at an infraction that was called, and told “This is a little ticky-tack, we want to make sure the players decide the outcome.”

        Where is the “felony fraud” in that? It is pure and simply, quite innocent supervision.

        And yet, according to Donaghy and Simmons, the message is received by the refs loud and clear. Those that don’t receive it are not given further playoff assignments, based on “poor performance.” Again, completely innocent.

        As I said, there is ZERO risk, because nothing is explicitly communicated.

        • The financial risks on the other side, though, are enormous and immediate. Work out in your mind the difference in total revenues between a Lebron-Durant final, and a Spurs-Celtics final. Or worse, a Grizzlies-Sixers final.

          A billion dollars seems like a reasonable starting point.

          • Or worse yet, an Indiana/Memphis final. Viewership isn’t just about stars, it drops with small-market teams too.

            I admit I haven’t done a lot of homework on the topic, but the NBA finals are not the Super Bowl. Not even close.

            The NFL currently receives about $4 billion a year in television rights fees. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-14/nfl-renews-television-contracts-with-cbs-fox-nbc-networks-through-2022.html)

            All told, the NBA’s season TV revenue is less than $1 billion per year. The Lackers regular season TV deal pays them $200M, but no one else gets anywhere near that. The Warriors get $25M.

            I think the viewership difference between Lebron/Durant vs. Garnett/Duncan wouldn’t exceed 30%. Just guessin’ of course. If 6 games of the finals can bring in as much the Lackers whole 81-game season, that’s maybe a $60M difference.

            That’s a huge amount of money by normal human standards, but still less than the annual salary for one good NBA team. Not worth betting the entire $20-30 billion NBA farm on. One whiff of scandal and the whole NBA is worth, what? 5% less overnight? That’s a billion dollars. Bet your car for a new pair of socks? Nope.

          • I was talking total revenues, not the NBA’s share. Are ad prices set before the matchup? They are not. And Lebron v. Durant = 7 Superbowls.

            As for the league’s share, let’s please not forget the NEXT tv contracts, nor branding, nor certified apparel sales, nor China and Europe….

            A billion dollars is conservative, when compared to Indiana-Memphis. We’re talking about a billion more viewers, monetized at what?

            And there have been multiple whiffs of scandal, with no repercussions. Just take a moment to google Lakers Kings Game 6 with maybe a little Nader + Simmons thrown in. Or Mavs Heat with Simmons + Cuban. Or… The list is endless.

  15. Prediction: Stern fixes the lottery for the Hornets in renumeration for nixing the first CP3 trade with the Lackers.

  16. New Orleans gets the #1 pick — OK, conspiracy hounds! The fox has been let loose! I mean, I’m sure it wasn’t rigged, but could Stern have hoped for a better outcome?

    And of course we know who got #7.

  17. Ahahahahahahaha! Of course! Why didn’t I think about that? Of course, of course, of course.

    • Steinmetz just quoted Kahn “This league has a history…” Lol.

      More Steinmetz: “The Hornets now have a better team than the Warriors.”

  18. From The Point Forward: Behind the scenes at the draft lottery.

    (Felt, has your leg stopped “tingling” yet? LOL)

    NEW YORK — The number to watch, it turns out, is the lowest one in the four-number sequence of ping-pong balls that determine which NBA team gets the top pick in the draft. The balls are drawn from one of those air-powered lottery machines more than an hour before the television broadcast of the lottery, in a room open only to officials from the 14 lottery teams (one from each) and a few media members. Everyone in the room must surrender mobile devices and slip them in yellow packing envelopes, and no one is allowed to leave until ESPN’s telecast is over.

    There are elaborate rules to the process and contingency plans in case of a power outage or if multiple balls fly out of the machine at once — disaster scenarios that have never happened. (The plan in case of a power outage, by the way: A league official sticks all the balls inside a basketball with an opening cut into the top, and they draw from the makeshift Spalding.)

    Each lottery team is assigned a batch of four-number sequences, of which there are 1,001 in total, all involving various combinations of the numbers “1″ through “14.” The league assigns the sequences chronologically, so that the Bobcats, the team with the best odds of winning the lottery, got the first 250 sequences — all containing the number “1.” The Charlotte sequences started with “1-2-3-4″ and went up to “1-7-12-14.” Though the Wizards, the team with the second-best odds, also had some sequences containing a “1,” the odds were very high that if a “1″ came up at all among the four ping-pong balls on Wednesday night, the No. 1 pick would belong to the Bobcats.

    The machine whirred the balls around for the required 20 seconds and spit out the first number — a “6.” Ten more seconds of scrambling passed before a “4″ emerged. Hornets general manager Dell Demps scanned a worksheet of his team’s sequences and noticed that at least a few were in play after the “6-4″ drawing. New Orleans had the fourth-best odds of winning the top pick — a 13.7 percent long shot — meaning many of its sequences contained a “4.” A lower number, Demps knew, would shift the pick elsewhere. After the mandatory 10-second pause for the remaining 12 balls to bounce around inside the machine, a league official drew out the next ball — a “9.” Demps was in business.

    So was Jeffrey Cohen, vice chairman of the Cavaliers. If the final ball was marked with a “3,” the Cavaliers would win the lottery for the second straight season. A “7,” Demps knew, would give the Hornets the top spot. Ten more seconds passed, and a man with his back to the machine raised his hand, indicating that the official in charge of the machine should have it suck up the last ball.

    “I was just thinking, ‘Come on, seven! Come on, seven!’” Demps told SI.com after the drawing.

    The ball surfaced: a “7,” only the way it came out, it initially looked like a “1.” Demps slumped in his chair for a second. “I couldn’t tell,” he said. He then looked more closely and was sure it was a “7.” He was getting excited. “But then I just told myself I had to wait for them to announce it.” That came a few seconds later: The Hornets had won the No. 1 pick. Demps responded with a fist pump underneath the table.

    Cohen had been in that seat a year earlier, though he didn’t realize his good fortune as quickly as Demps did on Wednesday. Last year, Cohen was scouring the Cavaliers’ own four-number sequences and had only just thought to check the sequences linked to the pick that his team had acquired from the Clippers for Baron Davis when the league official announced that Cleveland had won the lottery via a Clippers sequence. The hard part after that, Cohen said, was seeing owner Dan Gilbert and Gilbert’s son, Nick, looking tense on television as the broadcast lottery drawing unfolded.

    “You just want to yell, ‘It’s OK! We got it!’” Gilbert recalled.

    The next sequence, “8-1-11-5,” belonged to the Bobcats, drawing a resigned shake of the head from Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld. Washington had moved down at least one spot, and possibly more. The machine then spit out another Hornets combination, which the league discarded. The next combination was a Charlotte sequence, also discarded. Then finally came a Wizards combination, “13-7-3-2,” and the lottery was over, with the teams behind the top three slotted in inverse order of their regular-season records.

    Acting Trail Blazers GM Chad Buchanan, who was sitting behind Demps, was the first to congratulate his Hornets counterpart. Buchanan himself had just gotten the good news that Brooklyn’s first-round pick (No. 6) would be going to Portland via the Gerald Wallace trade. The Nets would have kept the pick had it landed in the top three, a one-in-four scenario.

    Golden State owner Joe Lacob was also in a happy mood. The Hornets-Bobcats-Wizards ordering meant that no long shot leapfrogged the Warriors and that they would finish at No. 7, right where they had to be to avoid giving their pick to Utah. Golden State had a 75 percent chance of finishing in the top seven, but Lacob had to sweat it out in lockdown until the machine spit out a Wizards combination.

    Lacob is still smarting from accusations that Golden State tanked late in the season to increase its chances of ending up in the top seven. The Warriors lost 17 of their last 20 games, traded a starter (Monta Ellis) for an injured player (Andrew Bogut), deactivated Stephen Curry and David Lee because of injuries and handed heavy minutes to untested rookies down the the stretch. Lacob points out that one of the Warriors’ three victories in that stretch was a 21-point rally against the Timberwolves on April 22 — “a win that could have cost us, big time,” Lacob told SI.com. The Warriors needed to win a coin flip with Toronto after the season to secure the No . 7 spot in the lottery odds instead of No. 8.

    “There was no chance we were trying to lose games on purpose,” Lacob said. “It just didn’t happen.”

    The drawing took about three minutes total. Once it ended, the team officials and three media members in the room had an hour to chat — without cell phones, iPads or laptops. Demps spent some of that time speaking with SI.com about the excitement surrounding the Hornets’ young core and the way they responded to coach Monty Williams.

    “They really bought into it,” Demps said. “You’re talking about guys that were playing 30 and 40 minutes in a shortened season, and they’d come in the next day, voluntarily, for 90 minutes of work.”

    Kentucky freshman power forward Anthony Davis will almost certainly join that young core thanks to that last ball being a “7″ — and not a “1,” or a “3,” or any other number. With the lockdown hour winding down, Demps tentatively asked a league official if he might open the machine and take the four lottery balls as souvenirs. The official laughed and nodded. Demps scurried over, pried open the door and took out the random four numbers that will deliver Davis to the Hornets.

    • It’s fixed I tell you…FIXED!

      Steve, I like your earlier definition of absurd. I just wish it had come from that word-lady who used to come around.

  19. MT with Bob Myers after the lottery.

    http://bit.ly/L0i9E6

  20. Very interesting call on Rondo tonight.

    • The NBA’s credibility sunk to another low tonight, 47-29 foul calls in Miami’s favor. More foul shots were given away to LeBron and DWade than the entire Celtics team.

      To your point Feltbot, three refs missed that fould where clearly Rondo was smacked in the head. And DWade’s kicking of Garnett was an offensive foul as well.

      With all the whining from the Spurs on every call,, or will they go quiet when they play the Heat?

      We shall see in a couple weeks.

      Is it me or is Adam Silver just there to open up Excel Spreadsheets and send email for David Stern?

  21. The real GM of the Warriors attended the lottery drawing, along with Bob Myers:

    Since he couldn’t talk to his staff until the lottery results aired, Lacob turned instead to the other representatives who would spend the next hour in quarantine.

    “Can we get any trades done while we’re waiting?” Lacob said.

    With the nerves settled, he could get back to business.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/30/SPOP1OPJ1N.DTL#ixzz1wQBl0XJC

  22. feltbot | May 30, 2012 at 6:20 am | Reply

    Those who think I’m nuts for referencing David Stern’s preferences and his control of the officiating when I make my playoff predictions…..

    Did you say “think”? LOL

    It seems like only yesterday when you were telling everyone who the 2010-11 “Face of the NBA” was only to watch Stern’s very best buddy, Mark Cuban, win the NBA championship with his Mavs. LOL

    And this year? The 2 best teams in the NBA all season, Miami and SA, will duke it out for the title of “Best Asterisk Team of 2011-12″, officiating be damned.

    I’ve been around gamblers like yourself for 40+ years, given the fact a family member trained Thoroughbred racehorses for the better part of 3 decades here in the Bay Area. I’ve heard all the paranoid cries of “cheat”, “crook”, “fixed”, “drugged”, etc etc. But just like in any other form of gambling these same people who are always hollering “foul” are the first ones in line to place their bets the very next day. It’s a mindset that fuels their desire to figure out what skullduggery is next, or in other words, “you can’t fool me and here’s my winnings to prove it!”

    In reality, here’s a perfect example of what really happens much more often than not.

    One day “we” run a horse at Golden Gate Fields that’s one of the betting favorites in the race. Within seconds of leaving the starting gate the jock takes a big hold of our horse and proceeds to coast around the track, barely moving a muscle or lifting his whip even once, and finishes a well beaten last. Two weeks later, same horse, same competition, he wins for fun and pays 5x the price he would have paid had he won 2 weeks earlier.

    A gambler walks up to us later that day and says he cleaned up on his bet of our horse. He proceeds to tell us how he watched the jock “stiff” our horse the previous time and therefore concluded we were setting him up to win next time, at bigger odds, instead.

    At the end of the day, that guy went home with his pockets full and his handicapping ego totally overflowing with the supposed knowledge that he “caught us cheating” and used that info to profit handsomely.

    Yes, he won, but for all the wrong reasons. In reality we had all bet our money on that horse the day the jock did nothing but coast around the track. Needless to say we eagerly awaited his explanation upon dismounting after the race, crumpled losing tickets in hand.

    He told us that almost instantly after the race began the horse took some awkward strides and “just didn’t feel right”, so he “protected” the horse the rest of the race in case he had somehow injured himself.

    Once we got the horse back to the barn we found out that he had lost a shoe during the race, obviously happening right out of the gate, and something that would definitely cause a horse to change his stride and thus become very noticeable to any jockey riding the horse.

    With all his shoes firmly in place from start to finish in his next race, voila, a totally different and winning outcome.

    In the NBA you don’t have to worry about players losing their shoes, but your incessant need to look at every call by an official (“very interesting call on Rondo tonight”) as the precursor to yet another rigged game is just as misspent and off base as the guy at the racetrack, the vast majority of the time.

    The bottom line for gamblers is winning their bets, and kudos for whenever that happens. But for the sake of your confidence in placing future bets it’s probably a good thing you’ll never actually find out how many times in the past you’ve cashed in, but for all the wrong reasons.

    • Curious, what was the name of your GGF Horse Steve?

      • Robert Myers, I remember the chain of events like it was yesterday but I’ll be damned if I can remember the name of the horse. Happened many, many years ago. Sorry.

  23. Sigh. Ok, I guess I’ll do the work:

    Ralph Nader’s letter to David Stern (but of course, we all know that Nader is a gambler):

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neumann/080611

    Donaghy states 2002 Game 6 Kings Lakers was rigged. We don’t have to believe a word he says. Gambler.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3436401

    Bill Simmons on bad officiating, and in particular on how the 2006 Heat-Mavs finals were highjacked (But Bill Simmons IS a gambler):

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060620

    Simmons puts in a disclaimer that he doesn’t think Stern rigs playoffs, but then goes on to describe just how he does it.

    And if you read the Simmons piece carefully, you will also see that WWE word (alluded to above @19).

    And you will note that the Miami Herald reported that immediately after one of those stolen games (Game 5, I believe), Cuban stood in front of David Stern and screamed “Your league is fucking rigged!” Cuban afterwards denied saying that (on pain of being fined millions, in addition to the quarter million he was fined). What are the odds those words were invented by the Herald reporter?

    (But of course, we all know Mark Cuban is a gambler. He bet hundreds of millions on his Mavs.)

    Mark Cuban calls Bill Simmons “my new hero:”

    http://blogmaverick.com/2006/06/20/bill-simmons-is-my-new-hero/

    Phil Jackson calls for NBA officiating to become an entity separate and apart from the NBA:

    “There’s a lot of things going on in these games and they’re suspicious, but I don’t want to throw it back to there.”

    Jackson also was asked if he agreed with the notion that there were officials that were “NBA company men” who were doing this for the sake of ratings.

    “Only us basketball coaches think that,” Jackson said. “Nobody else can go to that extreme. They referee what they see in front of them. You know, a lot of things have happened in the course of the Tim Donaghy disposition. I think we have to weigh it as it comes out, and we all think that probably referees should be under a separate entity than the NBA entirely. I mean, that’s what we’d like to see probably in the NBA. It would just be separate and apart from it. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3436401

    (Why would Phil Jackson call for officiating to be independent of the NBA? Because he’s a gambler, obviously.)

    Phil Jackson also had an opinion on the 2006 finals:

    “That Miami Finals really was a tough one to swallow,” Jackson said before the Lakers won 96-91 on Saturday night in Dallas. “I think Wade averaged about 25 foul shots a game. You couldn’t even touch him. That was really tough to swallow and I think he [Mark Cuban] understood there’s kind of a pecking order in this league and you keep your mouth shut at times.”

    In other words, Phil Jackson thinks the series was rigged.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/news/story?id=6211182

    You might note as well Mark Cuban’s carefully phrased comment, after 5 years of cooling down: “My opinion hasn’t changed on that series and it never will, nor will the facts.”

    Tracy McGrady: The 2006 Finals were rigged. (Gambler.)

    http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26228

    Here’s another gambler, Michael Wilbon:

    It’s nothing for a player to say to a reporter, “You know the league needs a Game 6 in this series, so we never had a chance tonight.” It’s something I’ve never heard in 28 years of covering Major League Baseball or the NFL. But it’s a constant part of the NBA, to the point that players inquire all the time about which officials are working certain games.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/11/AR2008061100102.html?sid=ST2008061100191

    (Why would NBA players think and say those things? Why are they concerned about which officials are working? Because they all gamble on their own games, obviously.)

    Ok, I’ve quoted the opinions of 5 reasonable men, an uninvolved NBA player, innumerable unnamed NBA players by proxy, and the scumbag whistleblower(heh) Donaghy, who was an actual insider. You can cast aspersions on my rationality because of my profession all you like, but this issue is out there, and it’s real. I’m not alone.

    Not that I need corroboration. I never have. I form my opinions with my own eyes, and I watched every one of the games in question, as well as countless other games that weren’t mentioned. Most of which I didn’t have a bet on. And as a result of that, I have a firm opinion that the league has a bias towards superstars, towards extending series, towards big market teams, and in 2006, against Mark Cuban.

    And just like the best NBA journalist in history, Bill Simmons, I’m going to write about it.

    AND… I’m going to continue putting my money where my mouth is, as I’ve been doing profitably the whole of my professional life.

  24. Felt, Bill Simmons is an excellent writer AND a long time gambler, as well. He and his buddy, Sal Paolantonio, go goofy during every football season playing games, team teasers, parlays, you name it.

    Mark Cuban plays/trades the stock market with equal aggression, even to the point he was once charged with insider trading ( http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2010/09/21/mark-cubans-insider-trading-charges-a-refresher/ ), and just the other day I linked a story on his trading Facebook shares ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/05/24/mark-cuban-buys-150k-facebook-shares-for-trade-not-an-investment/ ). Cuban is every bit the gambler to the point of making any Vegas junkie proud, only he does his on Wall Street.

    Your other names are coaches, players and media types who often are outspoken about officiating/umpiring/refereeing in the wonderful world of pro sports.

    The most recent example of journalistic whining in regards the “striped shirts” comes from our very own Bruce Jenkins (although his rant is minus any intimation of job impropriety):

    “We have reached the point where it happens almost every night. Tight game, close play on the bases, and the umpire misses the call. And it’s not like he sort of gets it wrong – he outright blows it, to the consternation of everyone who watches the television replay.

    It happened once again in the Giants-Diamondbacks game at AT&T Park on Tuesday night, and it has to stop.

    The Giants had the bases loaded and one out in a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning, all set to blow the game open. Joaquin Arias hit a chopper back to the mound, where Brad Ziegler started a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. Except that reality told a different story. Arias beat catcher Miguel Montero’s throw to first, just as clear as day on the replay, but first-base umpire Brian O’Nora somehow saw it differently.

    You wonder how a guy could be so totally wrong on a play that unfolds right in front of him, but this isn’t about O’Nora, it’s about a growing trend in the game – the age of incompetence – and the blatant dismissal of technology that could solve so many problems.

    As play unfolded around the major leagues on Memorial Day, there was outrage in two different clubhouses. Tigers manager Jim Leyland was furious about a call that turned an apparent inning-ending third strike – a foul tip that landed cleanly in catcher Gerald Laird’s glove – into a sustained, game-deciding rally by the Red Sox. Although replays proved him wrong, umpire Bill Welke ruled that the ball had hit the ground, negating the strikeout.

    “The umpires have to be held accountable,” said a furious Leyland. “And right now, they’re not.”

    The Dodgers, meanwhile, thought their one-run loss to the Brewers could be traced to another blown call, by umpire Todd Tichenor, who ruled that first baseman James Loney had his foot off the bag on a crucial play when in fact, as shown on replay, he had held his ground for the out.

    “We need a change in the system,” Loney demanded after the game. “Whatever it takes, just get it right.”

    Commissioner Bud Selig has become the leading voice for tradition on this issue, recently saying he’s not ready to push for escalated use of instant replay. He claims there’s “little, if any appetite” for such a thing, but he’s simply lying. The first two months of this season have yielded a frightening amount of ridiculous calls, and even some old-school types are getting exasperated. Over the course of recent interviews from various outlets, managers Bruce Bochy and Mike Scioscia have called for the increased use of replay, along with storied ballplayers Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline and Jim Bunning, plus countless contemporary players.

    Selig is justifiably repulsed by the idea of balls and strikes being subject to replay. That would be an appalling development, removing one of the game’s essential elements. Although it’s true that there’s no such thing as a standardized strike zone among today’s umpires, the game would be ruined if governed by robotic, electronic jurisdiction.

    Changes must be made, however, when it comes to plays on the bases, players hit (or not) by pitches, trapped balls in the outfield, fan interference on home runs, and fair-or-foul calls. Interestingly, baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement provides for the expansion of replay in all such cases. The new rules could be in place in time for this year’s postseason. But Selig and his MLB cronies, dragging their feet into eternity, have been uncertain as to how to apply them.

    Here’s what doesn’t work: There is call for an instant replay, and the entire umpiring crew disappears from the field to make a ruling. This can take up to five minutes – much like the travesty of NFL replay reviews – well past the point when television viewers have seen the truth.

    But this gets to the heart of the issue: Umpires need to matter. They need to be the big shots, the arbiters, the ones controlling the game. They’re not wild about making a call, then having it reversed by somebody watching television monitors in the press box.

    Well, guess what, guys: It’s time to swallow your pride. If there were an extra umpire or two in every stadium, or a centralized review office where a group of replay officials watch every game, the system would work beautifully.

    “It would really streamline the process,” Scioscia told reporters. “The umps on the field wouldn’t even have to look at the replay. We could do it in, what, 20 seconds?”

    Some would call for a “challenge system,” managers throwing red towels onto the field or some such nonsense, but that’s a dumb and antiquated system, allowing for a situation in which a team is out of challenges and a game-changing call must be examined.

    Leave it up to the review umpires, I say. If there’s a questionable call that raises any kind of ruckus, let them decide to check it out, deliver the message back to the field, and get on with the game.

    Sure, the on-field umpires will be ticked off. They’ll lose quite a bit of authority. But they have lost the right – through sheer incompetence – to keep the traditional system. Technology is worthless if you don’t put it in play.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/29/SPM81OP191.DTL#ixzz1wSiXOeMS

    ———————————————-

    This is all about officials making “bad/questionable calls”. Jenkins says they’re incompetent, you and your cronies cry “crooks”. The sports are different but the commonality is unmistakable: a journalistic end that justifies the means.

    Or in your case, an obsession with playing “Clue” with NBA hoops. I say Tim Donaghy, with the candlestick, in the conservatory.

    • I noticed you didn’t click on a single one of my links before replying (my secret intelligence service provides me with this info). It’s no skin off my back if you have a closed mind, and no interest in investigating for yourself the very thing that you wish so strongly to debate.

      It’s just that if I were similarly inclined, I would show a little more respect for people who have troubled themselves to reach a different, informed opinion. Perhaps they reached those opinions as a result of something other than what you perceive to be their vices.

      Obviously we are going to have to agree to disagree. You are going to believe that the obvious and sustained pattern of extended series and superstars and big market teams getting calls in the playoffs is merely an illusion of the disappointed, and have the satisfaction of believing you are right.

      And I am going to believe something different, and have the satisfaction of making money on it.

      • WheresMyChippy

        Felt, I don’t think you’re going to get through to him. You can provide all the factual evidence you want and he will probably come back with another unrelated anecdote about some other sport.

        Most people simply refuse to look at something objectively once they hear the words “conspiracy theory,” and accept only what those in power tell them to believe.

        Steve, honestly, did you watch the Celtics-Heat game last night? Why is it so hard for you to see what’s right in front of all of our faces? Why believe Stern over ALL these other people? Doesn’t he have more to gain by lying then Nader or Simmons or even Donaghy? Game 6 between Lakers and Kings is UNDENIABLE. It would really take a form of delusion (being a Laker fan counts) to not see that the refs purposefully extended the series.

        BTW I am not a gambler and have never bet on any playoff games..

        [edited]

        • How ya doing, buddy? And thank goodness you’re not a gambler. My faith in mankind is once again restored.

  25. Felty: You seem to equate Pop with Nellie because they both have gone small. But the similarities end there. As Pop offensive and defensive systems seem far superior to Nellie’s.

  26. Also,
    Pops cut his teeth as an assistant under Nellie.
    Might I add, Nellie’s teams are accused of not playing defense. These folks obviously are not from Milwaukee where his team’s were top defensively in the league. Helps when you have the personnel.
    Further OKS scored over a 100 points Tue Night. In large part because of the number of posessions by each team. Nellie’s teams get a bad rap for defense because of the higher number of possessions for each team because of his uptempo offense.
    Ya gotta look past the surface of the water to see the facts. Sort of like the above thread about Stern and referee colussion. But don’t let the Truth get between your pre-conceived narrative about Don Nelson.
    Next year, we can all watch the walk it up offense and see if our defense (like Thib’s Chicago Bulls) is great, just because we hang on to the ball longer.
    Ultimately, it is the wins that count and Nellie gotta a few of those anyway.

  27. Dammit, Felt, I had to go look up the numbers, thank you very much. Here’s the deal:

    Last year ABC, TNT and ESPN earned 1.25B in ad revenue airing national NBA games. The playoffs accounted for 20% of the total, or $250M. Assuming 6 games/series, the playoffs total 84 games. $250M / 84 gives us average ad revenue per playoff game of just under $3MM.

    The networks paid the NBA a total of $930M for season TV rights. 20% of $930M is $186M. For 84 games, that’s $2.2M average NBA TV revenue per playoff game.

    Let’s assume each playoff game with all big-market big stars is worth about 10x the average playoff game (let’s say $20M/game) to the NBA, and a less marketable matchup is worth half that. The difference is $10M/game, $60M or so depending on the number of games. Total.

    There are 30 NBA teams. If playoff revenue were distributed evenly (of course it’s not, but let’s just assume), then the difference between a “hot” series and a less popular matchup is worth $2M to each owner. To an owner who’s building a multi-billion dollar empire, like Lacob, that amount is a minor rounding error. It’s not even worth a glance. And if a ref scandal ruined Lacob’s business he would demand a billion dollar compensation from the NBA. Game over, for everyone. Reward: almost nil. Risk: Tens of $billions.

    Using the same 10x viewership assumptions, the Hot or Not difference to the TV networks could be as much as $15M/game x 6 games, or about $96M. To firms who paid the NBA a total of $930M, that is a big deal, actually. Ideally, they would want to air 7 games of the most marketable NBA product. And assuming the typical TV exec would kill their grandmother for $10, you could see how some might actually push the NBA to “massage” the playoffs. But a game-fixing scandal could easily halve the networks’ $1.25 billion overall revenue overnight, turning their $930M investment into the biggest bust in TV history. Risky. Besides, they could only ask. They’re not in a position to “coach” refs.

    Feltie, a couple of key points here: first, the difference between a Hot series and a blah series isn’t a $billion to anyone. By my reckoning it’s worth, at most, somewhere around 1/10th that amount in network ad sales, and practically nothing to NBA team owners.

    Secondly, if the NBA doesn’t deliver the two very best teams to the finals there’s a big performance gap, which would increase the chance that networks get fewer games out of the series. Two popular teams going for 4 games would generate about the same ad revenue as 2 evenly matched small-market no-name teams going to 7. If the NBA cheated to put those popular teams together, there’s a good chance that the payback for the felony conspiracy could be essentially zero.

    Thirdly, a not-so-profitable series doesn’t immediately affect the NBA at all. They have fixed multi-year contracts with the networks. Their next contract doesn’t come up until 2016. They don’t have any direct and immediate financial motivation to deliver a blockbuster every year.

    Finally, I do think NBA officiating is slanted, but not the way you say. I looked at a YouTube “bad call” game summary of that Lackers-Kings game you mentioned. Very compelling stuff. I was especially impressed how Bibby’s nose fouled Kobe’s elbow. But it wasn’t proof of a consistent pattern of bias favoring big market teams with big stars. Oddly, perhaps, I feel that way mainly because my own eyes see a fairly consistent pattern in ALL NBA games of refs giving stars the star treatment, granting someone like Kobe an almost automatic “and-one” with practically every shot. All season, every year, every game. Though it’s fair to wonder if it’s at least permitted by the league, it’s easily written off to human error. In any case, it’s not the same thing as fixing games. The officiating disparity I see favors players, not teams. By my theory, Kobe gets favored treatment. By yours, the Lackers are on their way to the playoffs again this year. The bias I see can be attributed to human nature, giving the benefit of the doubt to players one knows to be highly skilled. Your theory is a felony conspiracy.

    I actually think Donaghy’s reporting on the issue is more harmful to the NBA’s reputation than any game video, and the more successful he is at betting games, the worse the NBA smells. And if a 2nd Donaghy turns up, the NBA is toast. Billions of dollars: poof.

    And there’s the rub. No sane person would risk that kind of money on the abilities and the loyalty of a handful of stressed-out wage slaves – especially for the comparatively trivial amount of money it could gain. It. would. be. nuts. No matter how “cleverly” the “ref coaching” was phrased. Officiating bias, yes, sure. Conspiracy? For nits? Still not feelin it, even after you made me waste all this time on it.

    http://hoopspeak.com/2011/07/lockout-the-tv-problem/

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/06/report-lockout-could-cost-espn-abc-tnt-1-25-billion/

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/41109/at-last-a-real-nba-tournament

  28. Ok so I was off by a few zeroes :) Impressive work, you make a strong case.

  29. There are two things I find beyond belief:

    1. That Stern could or would fix that complicated ball machine.

    2. That New Orleans got the #1 pick. What were the odds? I’ve forgotten, but around 5% or lower?

    While we’re at it, what are the odds the Warriors get the 6th or 7th picks three years in a row, although this would be more in the range of probability?

    But please don’t tell me they tanked the season so they could get Harrison Barnes or Fuzzy Zoeller. It’s hard to believe they can’t get someone better, a hidden gem down the draft from a non-major conference, from abroad, from the D-league, wherever. I’d hate to remember the last game of this season against SA as the Fuzzy game.

  30. @35

    Felt, you’ve obviously forgotten about your posts a year ago on the same subject matter. At that time you also posted links and suggested doing some “homework” on the whole seedy topic. Well, I clicked links (yes, I already read that Bill Simmons piece) and surfed the web accordingly. No need to go there again for me personally. And also why I came close to not responding to your posts on the same issues this time around.

    Good luck with your bets.

  31. Mark Kreidler: GM Bob Myers says @Warriors unlikely to keep all 4 draft picks — tough to add so much youth. Look for team to pkg picks. #RiseGuys Twitter

    Mark Kreidler: GM Bob Myers says Andrew Bogut rehabbing in Australia: “He feels good.” Trainer and strength coaches to make a visit to him there. #RiseGuys Twitter

  32. WH @38: Didn’t have time to leave a longer answer before. I’ll address a couple of points:

    You take a very common sense approach, and at a distance I would tend to agree with you. But I actually watched these games, and I believe I knew what I was seeing. When Ibaka knocked that ball out of the cylinder at the end of game 1 of Denver-OKC last year, I knew that there was no way in hell that all three refs could have missed that. And so did George Karl. I’ve seen it over and over again, and my intuition has always told me it’s real.

    But the big problem I see for your argument is that all of the NBA players have the same intuition. So does an NBA owner. So does the greatest NBA coach in history. So does a former NBA ref. And so does the greatest NBA journalist in history. I don’t think you can come up with a reasonable explanation for that. Particularly at your distance, when all these others are insiders.

    As for the risks, there simply are none. The only risk to the NBA business is a rogue gambling ref, in business for himself, ala Donaghy.

    Did the baseball owners know that Bud Selig was complicit up to his eyeballs in the steroid scandal? You bet your ass they did. But it was great for business, and they were insulated.

    Do the owners in the NBA appreciate the efforts that the league makes to maximize their revenues? Goes without saying. And I’m sure they’re more than comfortable with what’s going on — they “don’t know nothing”, they’re completely insulated as well, but they absolutely love the way Stern handles business.

    And the risk to the league office is precisely zero. No ref could testify about anything, because there is absolutely nothing to testify about. Were you ever told to favor a player or a team? Hell no, never. Well were you ever told to call a game a certain way? We were shown tape so that we could fix what was being missed, and call the games correctly. Well why did your crew keep getting drawn in these key playoff games? Because we’re the best crew there is. We had the best performance evaluations.

    No case. Zero risk. Except for the fact that everyone inside the NBA, and a lot of savvy people (as I see it) outside the NBA, believe it’s going on. David Stern and crooked refs like Bennett Salvatore (try googling him) have been living with that for decades. BFD.

  33. New York —

    In a back room at the NBA draft lottery Wednesday night, a member of the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group approached Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob and made an amplified claim.

    “In five years, I think your ownership group could be considered the best in the NBA,” the Kings’ executive said to Lacob. “I completely get the vision you have for the arena in San Francisco.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/31/SP2H1OQ86N.DTL#ixzz1wVtFCsF8

    • Re: “member of the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group”

      One of those three wise man Mallof brothers? LOL!

  34. @25
    Brytex, an “absurd explanation” is really an “insult” to our intelligence, wouldn’t you agree? Well, you’ll have to agree cause “contumelious” is the closest thing I could find from our Hot For Words gal. LOL

  35. If AW of Yahoo is to be believed, at least one NBA team president thinks the lottery was rigged.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–nba-s-problematic-ownership-of-hornets-opens-door-to-rigged-talk-over-draft-lottery-20120531.html;_ylt=AoOuUJBMRvlY8vs__CRC7eq8vLYF

    And so long as stories like this come out, it’s kind of hard to call me crazy, isn’t it? If players, coaches, ex-refs, journalists and ralph nader think the refs are dirty, and playoff games rigged; and if NBA team executives think Stern is dirty, and the lottery rigged, then how crazy can I be for suspecting the same?

    I can’t be as crazy as them, right? Heck, they work with and know the people they’re accusing.

  36. On Wednesday, Governor Jindal signed Bill 1072 giving new owner $37 milllion in tax breaks, and $50 million in improvements to the New Orleans Arena (including corporate suites). This amounts to a near $100 million grant from the state to keep the Hornets in New Orleans until 2024.

    And New Orleans gets the #1 pick less than 24 hours later. Is there still doubt?

    I have uncovered these hidden transcripts;

    Stern to new Owner Benson: How about $350 million to buy the Hornets from the league:

    new Owner to Stern: Helll No, thats too much for this team, especially cuz you got rid of Chris Paul for nothing!

    Stern to new Owner Benson: Tell you what…get the Guvna to give you a $100 million, and we throw in the #1 pick to pay for CP3? The League cannot afford this dumpy team any longer. Besides that damn Ellison wants to move it to Silicon Vallley.

    Owner Benson to Stern: Why Son, ya alll gotta deal!

    Details are below link:
    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/05/new_orleans_hornets_tax_break4.html

  37. From Business Insider:

    The 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats were the worst team in the history of the NBA, and last night they missed out on the chance to draft Anthony Davis and generate some excitement for the new season.

    In a last-ditch attempt to get fans in the seats, the Bobcats are now rolling out a ridiculously cheap season-ticket deal.

    Fans in Charlotte can buy a season ticket for the 2012-13 season — seats are available for as low as $537.50 — and get a season ticket for the 2013-14 season absolutely free.

    That’s 82 games. For $537.50, or six dollars and 55 cents a game.

    Even if you only go to marquee games against the top four teams in each conference, over the course of two years you would be paying less than 30 dollars a game.

    For some perspective, fans have to put down a $100 deposit just to get on the waiting list for Los Angeles Lakers season tickets, with no guarantee of actually getting them. Actual season tickets cost thousands of dollars.

    Even Atlanta Hawks fans should start scooping up Bobcats season tickets at this price

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-desperate-charlotte-bobcats-are-practically-giving-away-season-tickets-2012-5#ixzz1wYM71C7H

  38. Felty: Do you believe that if Nellie and Pop coached the same team, that one would get better results than the other? And if so, who do you think is the better coach?

    • Nellie is the genius who invented many of the concepts behind the Spurs current style of play, but it would be tough to choose between the two as game coaches at this point.

      It’s pretty interesting just how closely to Nellie’s established blueprint Pop has constructed this team. Let’s see, two legit 3 point shooting spread 4s: Diaw and Bonner. Two 3 pt shooting, great defending, small forward/small ball 4s: Jackson and Leonard. Two point forwards: Diaw and Jackson. Two 3 point shooting, great defending, two guards with playoff length (6-6), Ginobili and Green. A playmaking 2 guard/ backup point guard: Ginobili. A scoring point guard who puts enormous pressure on the defense, forcing them to game plan to stop him first: Parker. Backed up by a great defensive center. All playing at the fastest pace in the league. Great shooting at every position. Playing outside in. This Spurs team is the very quintessence of Nellieball.

      If you wanted to construct a case for Nellie as the better coach, it might be this: 1) Duncan is one of the best centers to ever play the game. Nellie never had anyone close. 2) In 2003 Nellie’s hand- crafted Mavs gave the Spurs fits, and were poised to knock them off when Nowitzki got injured in game 3 of the conference finals. Those were the Spurs of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker in their PRIMES. 3) Did Pop ever win a series in which he wasn’t favored? Nellie did that on a regular basis.

      But at this point, I don’t think choosing between Pop and Nellie is really possible. They’re both among the best ever.

  39. Felty: Terrific analysis. You convinced me of what it takes to have a cohesive and winning line-up. The Warriors should have at least one PF who can shoot 3′s. It’s amazing that SA has many two-way players, and we don’t.

    I was opposed to the Bogut, Jefferson, and SA 30th pick for Ellis, Udoh and K. Brown. Were you?

  40. TORONTO – Enough with all the NBA conspiracy talk.

    The league didn’t rig the lottery so that the New Orleans Hornets could gain a chance to draft Anthony Davis.

    A law firm, team executives and media members are in the room where the drawing takes place. It would not be possible to fix the results. There is no way a multi-billion-dollar league like the NBA would take a chance and break federal laws and risk looking like a joke.

    The worst team has only stayed at the top once since 2004 and teams jump up all the time so this isn’t out of the ordinary.

    While it might seem a little fishy that New Orleans conveniently won after being league-owned and after trading its superstar point guard Chris Paul before this season started, it has to be a coincidence, just as the Chicago Bulls moving up from eight to draft hometown superstar Derrick Rose was.

    Patrick Ewing to the New York Knicks in 1985 might have been a different scenario, but in this day and age things are definitely on the up-and-up.

    While we’re at it, the referees aren’t on the take either.

    Like in all professional sports leagues, NBA officials have their fair share of bad moments. NBA refs, like MLB umps, are particularly prone to mistakes.

    On Wednesday night in Miami, we just happened to see way more miscues than usual.

    While many of the calls were horrible and inexcusable — particularly the stuff Dwyane Wade was getting away with — the NBA has always been a star-driven league with superstar calls.

    Blame Michael Jordan for that, but it isn’t going to change.

    Before James even played a game in South Beach, we surmised that the Heat would be in the bonus for the bulk of most contests.

    Though players like Raptors forward Amir Johnson denied it and continue to deny it, Wade and James being able to draw a ton of fouls isn’t anything new and it doesn’t mean the referees are out to get the Boston Celtics. Those guys just happen to take it to the rim hard and it’s very tough to stop them without fouling.

    They make a point of going inside and have done that all along. The referees reward teams like that and often give them the benefit of the doubt.

    The problem on Wednesday night, unfortunately, was Rajon Rondo wasn’t given that same courtesy.

    DECISIONS FOR COLANGELO

    Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo is keeping his options open as far as keeping or trading his No. 8 overall selection is concerned.

    Complicating a potential dealing of the pick for Colangelo is the fact that the team picking just ahead of the Raptors — the Golden State Warriors — also intend to explore moving the selection for a veteran.

    The rumour mill has the Warriors coveting several players the Raptors will consider going after, including Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay and Danny Granger.”

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/05/31/nba-lottery-wasnt-fixed

    • This guy is hilarious. He’d make a very poor lawyer. “The lottery is not rigged! (Except in 1985.) The refs are not dirty! (Except for Wednesday night in Miami.) Grow up!”

      • Steve, I have some (swamp) land near the American Airlines Arena in Flordia to sell you…call 1-800-DStern

  41. Spurs lose game 2.
    For most of the game I blamed refs. Late 4th quarter, Jackson being out with 6 fouls really hurt. But in that situation, don’t you have to double Durant? Mavs operated a year ago on the principle of someone other than KD has to beat you. I know how dangerous Harden is, and you do your best to rotate to him when you have to, but I’d rather anyone but Durant take the shots in crunch time. I expect Pop will adjust that going forward.

    FB, as you commented above, officiating in game 5 will be the one to watch. I have no interest in a Heat-Thunder final. Why should I care? If so, the only sport I’ll have left is the good old honesty of boxing…………meaning more time to prep for the end of the neoliberal era.

  42. Chris Broussard: I asked 22 NBA execs if they ran OKC & had to trade either Westbrook or Harden for $ reasons, which would they trade. 14 said RW, 8 said JH Twitter

    • 22 out of 22 said they would trade neither. They will have more rings than the other “Big 3″ before all is said and done.

  43. “Recounting a conversation with Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Stern said: “I said, ‘Can’t we close this deal before the lottery, just against the possibility that this team will win it?’ But we ultimately decided that it didn’t matter because, you know, if New Orleans comes up first it’ll be because we own it and we made a deal. If the Nets come up first it’s because of Brooklyn, and if it’s Charlotte it’s because of Michael Jordan.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/sports/basketball/a-big-day-for-hornets-and-nba-lottery-conspiracy-theorists.html?smid=tw-share

    • Felt was even ready for the chance the W’s would win it. Was gonna be cuz Stern really likes Lacob and Guber.

      Didn’t matter which team would win, it was due to a conspiracy.

      • You mean the Governor Jindal on Wednesday 24 hours before the draft, very good friend of New Orelans Hornets owner Benson, who was in a press conference with David Stern, had just handed over $90 million to Benson so the guy could justify the $350 million for a team that had below average NBA roster in a city with perhaps the worse economy in the league? No, that is how the state of Lousiana operates, and there are still people who have no idea how money is mother of milk when getting “things done” .

        http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/05/new_orleans_hornets_tax_break4.html

        The link below shows a picture the pre lottery press conference.

        • Notice ESPN never showed Stern or Silver or anybody picking the actual balls out of the hopper? Just after wards Silver displayed the placards…the result of the balls in the hopper.

          Instead of Stern’s bald headed Stooge Adam Silver, they should have hired magician David Blaine to pull the balls. Then the phony placards would never have been needed.

          Or put another way, the format of the show lends itself to a ‘fake’ lottery. If they want credibility show the whole selection, just tell Stern he could milk the show for three more commercial spots. And there would be no question…Just dont do the fake.

          • jindalwatch

            The actual deal is worth $53 million to the NBA ($3.5 million first ten years, and the extended five years ). If one adds the $50 million improvements to the New Orleans Arena, you get a total of over $103 million. Stern and the league get the $350 million but Benson pays no more than $297 million. The taxpayers paid $103 million to kep the team.

            #1 pick was a bargaining chip as implied in Sterns quote in the above article.

    • Even more revealing: After the drawing ended with the Hornets’ winning, the representatives in the room openly and loudly kidded New Orleans general manager Dell Demps about how the fix had been in. They were joking with him, mocking the ridiculousness of the idea that the league had rigged the machine. Demps asked a league official if he might open up the machine to remove the four winning balls as souvenirs — hardly something Demps would request, or something that the league would allow, if the balls had been doctored. A rival executive even shouted across the room that one of the balls was surely weighted, and that Demps should be careful to conceal it from the rest of the group.

      Everyone laughed, and that’s telling. People who believe they are victims of a conspiracy — people whose franchises had just been dealt a significant blow — would not immediately back-slap each other and generally share a good laugh about the whole thing. Or at least I don’t think that they would. I know I wouldn’t. I’d be angry — perhaps not angry enough to publicly criticize the very powerful Stern, but certainly angry enough to sulk in the corner and fire off some furious emails to friends

      • Nervous laughs for sure.

        The actual deal is worth $53 million to the NBA ($3.5 million first ten years, and the extended five years ). If one adds the $50 million improvements to the New Orleans Arena, you get a total of over $103 million. Stern and the league get the $350 million but Benson pays no more than $297 million. The taxpayers will pay $103 million.

        Benson is a campaign contributor to Governor Jindal.

        #1 pick was a bargaining chip as implied in Sterns quote in the above article.

        • The only team that actually got screwed and lost position as well as Anthony Davis were MJ’s Bobcats. Everyone else, got actually received their ordained position.

          Look for that team to be sold sometime in the future. Even before the lottery, they were giving season tickets away. The team is dreary. Look for Stern to drive more tax breaks perhaps from Washington State and move them to Seattle. Get your wallets out Sonic fans!

          • Robert Myers

            Me thinks the conspiracy theorists are paranoid for sure. Anthony Davis is not the godsend you all think. Remember Greg Oden? The hype is not real.

  44. The Trail Blazers’ next head coach: Trail Blazers interim head coach, Kaleb Canales, has come on strong as the favorite to secure their head coaching vacancy, according to a source.

    The thinking is, if the Trail Blazers aren’t going to be competing for a championship anytime soon and if they’re going to hold on to their two lottery picks, Canales, 34, is being viewed as “the perfect guy” to take over the young Trail Blazer roster.

    Indiana Pacers’ assistant coach, Brian Shaw, has interest in the Trail Blazers head coaching vacancy, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking and Golden State Warriors’ assistant coach, Mike Malone, has interest as well.

    http://www.csnnw.com/pages/landingblazers?Sources-Blazers-concerned-with-GM-finali=1&blockID=718556&feedID=5212

    • the Spurs game plan
      . . .
      them to him.

      In other words, “if OKC wants to try to beat us with their bigs, we’re all for it.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard Popovich reveal a game plan, before or after a game. Jackson is a great player, but he should zip it.

      • woops. Here’s the Jackson quote:

        The Spurs’ game plan conceded OKC’s big men any mid-range jumper they wanted. The seven dunks the Spurs allowed, however, were off script. “That’s what we’re giving up,” Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said, referring to the jumpers. “That’s in our game plan. Some of those jump hooks Perk hit, we’ll live with. Some of those wide-open jumpers, (Ibaka) should hit those. We’re giving them to him.”

        • I think Jackson is enlightening fans and the media, not the other side. Both teams defensive game plans are obvious to the other side as soon as they are unfurled. Except for any surprise adjustments to come, both coaches are now playing with their cards face up.

  45. From RacineSportsZone.com:

    “It’s hard to imagine things getting worse for the Milwaukee Bucks, but there are concrete signs it will.

    The Bucks, coming off another forgettable season in which they missed the Eastern Conference playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons, appear on the brink of losing power forward Ersan Ilyasova.

    The 25-year-old Ilyasova, who averaged nearly a double-double with 13 points and 8.8 rebounds last season — will become an unrestricted free agent next month.

    The scuttlebutt is Ilyasova will command at least $8 million a season. That’s a nice little increase over his salary of $2.5 million this season.

    While the Bucks want to retain Ilyasova, it’s unclear whether the feeling is mutual. That’s why some NBA officials believe the New Jersey Nets — who scouted Ilyasova rather extensively late in the season — are the front-runners for his services.”

  46. Unfortunately, a family emergency has taken me out of town. Everyone’s ok, but I missed most of the last 2 games of both series, and am not sure what I can catch going forward.

    The last 2 games were throwaways — as they say, the series never starts until the team with home court advantage loses. Game 5 will be huge.

    Westbrook only taking 10 shots last game was a huge positive development for the Thunder. A one game adjustment or a sea change? I’m missing all the adjustments and counter adjustments that for me are the most interesting part of playoff basketball. C’est la vie.

    I also, as u may have noticed, like tracking the reffing. So I greatly enjoyed reading Rondo’s response when he was asked by the halftime interviewer what was working so well for the Celtics: ” The Heat complaining and crying to the referees in transition.”

    They’ll be happier in the next game.

    • Felt-san,

      If the NBA does tweak officiating to maximize revenue, nothing would accomplish that as surely as maximizing the number of games in every series. Boston’s win last night improves the odds of an extended series. Good for the NBA.

      But if Wade had made his final shot it could have cost the league and the TV networks millions. It was a close thing, he was wide open.

      So do you think the officials weren’t crooked enough, or adept enough in their crookedness to better ensure a Boston win? Is D Wade in on the scam?

      On a different topic, if you didn’t see last night’s game you missed Michael Pietrus pulling off a superb “he fouled me” scam on LeBron. He bodied up, then pulled James backward on top of himself. Pietrus then gave an Oscar-winning imitation of a squashed bug. Great stuff!

      • WH: Did you see last night’s game?

        It was the opposite James who got Garnett into foul trouble with that act, otherwise ‘LeChoke’ would have fouled out in regulation. The hack ref Kennedy called it on Garnett instead.

        In OT, It was Pietrus who was fouled by James who evidently is unaware of what a foul is. Referee Joey Crawford (the best, who doesnt take s*it from players made that call, and actually calls travels) Check the video on Youtube.

        • Robert,

          Sure did! I thought the LB and Garnett tangle should have been a no-call, but LB worked the refs by falling down. Still, if anyone was going to get called for a foul in that situation, it was going to be Garnett for trapping LB’s arm under his elbow.

          The Lebron/Pietrus thing was different. Pietrus intentionally staged the incident to get a foul called on LB. If you watch the video you can see Pietrus’ left hand pulling LeBron backward into his lap, then down on top of his flopping body. It happens at 3:47 of this clip:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ3UOPvngaE

          It was a very sneaky move by Pietrus. I don’t think more than a handful of NBA players could pull it off. Well played, Michael Pietrus!

          • Robert Myers

            WH,

            Went back and saw again per your advice. You must be a Heat/LeBron fan. Clearly James pulled Garnett down with his arm locked.

            And Brent Barry even said, Pietrius was guilty only of “pulling the chair out from under James”, a totally legal play.

            Lets just agree you’re
            1) From Miami
            2) A Heat fan!

            Go Warriors!

          • Robert, I’m rooting for Boston.

            I LIKE what Pietrus did. It was an awesome trick. And it was excellent payback for LeBron getting Garnett to foul out.

          • RobertMeyers

            Then Iwill concede based on who you’re rooting for!

      • WH, sick that I’m missing this. As I mentioned before, I believe in crew selection, signals and help, not conspiracies and definite outcomes. (Just as Phil Jackson does.) There’s a big difference.

  47. From Alex Kennedy: Grizzlies May Trade Rudy Gay. (Also, be sure and check out the blogger response from “Jim Talbert” that follows Kennedy’s column.)

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-pm-grizzlies-may-trade-rudy-gay

  48. George Karl with a busy day on the airwaves. First, talks about Melo and his “commitment to winning title”.

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/basketball/knicks/karl-critical-of-melo-s-commitment-to-winning-title-1.3761725?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed&qr=1

  49. Jim Fitzgerald, former owner of the Warriors back in the Run TMC days, died Monday at the age of 86.

    Some try to suggest that Joe Lacob is “too involved” with running the Warriors but Fitzgerald’s early resume for success in the NBA had many similarities with Lacob’s early tenure with GSW:

    “He was a very active owner and a very good owner,” said former Bucks player and longtime TV analyst Jon McGlocklin. “He took an active role, but not a daily role.”

    McGlocklin said Fitzgerald was heavily involved but left the day-to-day operation of the team to Nelson and Steinmiller.

    Fitzgerald also played a part in Nelson’s emergence as one of the top coaches in the league.

    “I think he had a lot to do with it,” McGlocklin said. “Nellie had come into his own as a coach and GM at that point. He could really relate to veteran players.

    “Nellie earned it, too. In his first years he was learning on the job, but learn he did.”

    Nelson and Fitzgerald had a close relationship and were said to have a “handshake agreement” rather than a contractual arrangement.

    “It started out as a handshake, but later it became a handshake on a piece of paper,” Steinmiller said. “There were lawyers (involved). But they had a special relationship.

    “Fitz had enough confidence in him (Nelson) to make a tough decision to put him in charge before he was ready. And he had enough patience to nurture him.”

    Fitzgerald was a businessman who made a smooth adjustment to running a sports franchise.”

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/157015455.html#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

  50. From 95.7FM The Game: Bob Myers in studio 40 min interview.

    http://957thegame.com/episode_download.php?contentType=36&contentId=5880420

  51. “There’s a conspiracy among conspiracy theorists to make everything sound suspicious.

    A Boston radio show urged Celtics fans to wear Tim Donaghy masks for Game 3 to demonstrate their belief that the Eastern Conference finals are rigged in favor of the Miami Heat.

    Donaghy is the disgraced ref who bet on games he officiated and claimed the corruption in the NBA was widespread.

    Celtics fans, on high alert after five technicals were called against Boston in Game 1 and made more skeptical by a free-throw disparity in Game 2, apparently didn’t have so much to worry about, after all. Boston rolled over the Heat, 101-91, Friday.

    The playoffs and last week’s NBA Draft Lottery are reminders that conspiracy theorists are alive and well. Maybe not mentally well, but well in other ways.

    Even some NBA team officials raised eyebrows (according to Yahoo Sports) when the New Orleans Hornets — owned and operated by the league last year before Saints owner Tom Benson stepped forward as a prospective buyer — won the lottery.

    You cannot overstate the silliness or the convenience of conspiracy theories.

    They have been popular at the NBA Lottery ever since Patrick Ewing landed in New York in 1985, prompting rumors of a frozen envelope.

    Nobody can quite explain what was in it for the NBA when Orlando got the top pick in the lottery in 1992 and 1993. So it’s best to ignore that one. It doesn’t fit the narrative.

    The Cavaliers, of course, won the lottery the year after LeBron James departed for Miami. Somehow, even that gets included in the too-odd-to-be-a-coincidence discussion at this time of year.

    No one knows why the league would have reprimanded owner Dan Gilbert for his message to Cavs fans basically accusing James of conspiring to get out of town and join Dwyane Wade while at the same time rewarding Gilbert by rigging the lottery in his behalf.

    When Yao Ming was the prize of the 2002 draft, pending his release by Chinese officials, suspicions mounted that Yao would end up in a market — New York, Chicago — with a large Asian population.

    Chicago had a 22.5 percent chance of landing the first pick. New York had a 4.4 chance.

    Houston got Yao, despite having the fifth-best percentage chance behind Chicago and Golden State, then Memphis and Denver.

    Probably because of the city’s large Tex-Mex-Chinese community.

    Other examples — and there are many — would only serve to get in the way of a good Oliver Stone screenplay.

    But let’s not let facts or common sense get in the way of our suspicions. Conspiracies feed right into America’s growing sense of victimization. We need them.

    Never get a single call back after so many forays into speed dating, guys? Can’t be the fresh neck tattoo and flip flops. It’s got to be Collusion of the Sisterhood.

    Maybe the craziest thing about the conspiracy theorists in the NBA is most consider themselves basketball fans.

    Left unexplained — along with so much else — is why they would watch a sport they think is as staged as pro wrestling.”

    http://www.cleveland.com/budshaw/index.ssf/2012/06/for_nba_conspiracy_theorists_k.html

    • Left unexplained is why those conspiracy theorists include Phil Jackson, Mark Cuban, David Kahn, an unnamed NBA team president, Tracy McGrady, countless other NBA players according to Michael Wilbon, Bill Simmons and Ralph Nader.

      And an obscure gambler by the name of feltbot.

      • “The playoffs and last week’s NBA Draft Lottery are reminders that conspiracy theorists are alive and well. Maybe not mentally well, but well in other ways.”

  52. Cavs beat writer Mary Boyer, who was in “the room”, says “no way” to possible rigged lottery.

    http://bit.ly/Mcpq6u

  53. Got to watch the Spurs Thunder. Thought the officiating was fair, Spurs just played like crap. Brooks made a terrific adjustment, guarding Parker with longer 2 guards and trapping: his midrange jumper disappeared. The rest of the Spurs couldn’t make up the difference: Green and Neal are scared, and Duncan really looked old.

    Kenny Smith: “If I had to pick one bench player in the league to play with me, it would be Stephen Jackson.”
    Shaq: “I agree.”

    I think Pop will come back with one final adjustment: They’ve got to find a way to punish the Thunder for single guarding Duncan. Bonner won’t play another minute in this series. Someone besides Manu and Jack will have to hit threes. And the Spurs have to stop turning it over. If all that goes down, and we get a fair whistle like tonight, the Spurs have a chance.

    • SJax has been a model teammate. He fit into the system quickly and has been utterly unselfish. He has also shot very well, with confidence. I’m wondering if they shouldn’t play him more and look to him as a third or even second scoring option, maybe letting him drive and at least draw a foul. More points in the paint might open things up outside.

  54. “Jackson embodied a reckless, talented Warriors team and pushed Baron Davis to play to his talent. They pulled off what many regard as the greatest upset in the NBA by toppling the top-seeded Mavericks in 2007. Jackson drew ejections in Games 2 and 5 in the series, but scored 33 redeeming points in the clinching game. Jackson also took Dirk Nowitzki, the league’s MVP, out of the series through his sheer defensive physicality. “I always said that if he could be a team’s third-best player, he’s a real big asset,” Nelson said. “If he has to be the second-best player, he’s not as good. And when he had to be the best player, it just didn’t work out.”

    From Grantland: The Devil and Stephen Jackson

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8009630/inside-mind-san-antonio-spurs-stephen-jackson

    • Great profile. The story of how Jack came out of Port Arthur exemplifies what is best about sports.

      “It was always about the team first with him.”

      Big love for this man.

  55. From Rusty Simmons:

    The Warriors thought they had worked out a trade last summer for Iguodala, but the deal, which would have brought the swingman west in exchange for Monta Ellis, was vetoed while the 76ers were in the process of being sold. Iguodala remains on the Warriors’ wish list, and they’ve expressed similar interest in Portland’s Nicolas Batum, Chicago’s Luol Deng, Memphis’ Rudy Gay, Indiana’s Danny Granger and Atlanta’s Josh Smith.

    Portland has given every indication that it will match any offer sheet signed for Batum, a restricted free agent, and Chicago has balked at past trade discussions involving Deng. League sources, however, think Gay could be dealt in a salary-cap-salvaging move by Memphis, Indiana could move Granger to allow star-in-the-making Paul George to play his true position, and Atlanta could break up its consistently middling core by trading Smith.

    The Warriors ideally would like to deal the No. 7 pick, one of their selections in the 30s and Dorell Wright for an upgrade at small forward. Then, they could use the remaining pick (No. 30 or 35) on a big man, like St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson, and have the mid-level exception to offer an experienced free-agent point guard.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/05/SP421OT4KO.DTL#ixzz1wzsIYjCi

  56. Bruce Jenkins: Celtics – Thunder would seem just right.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/06/SP421OT4JB.DTL

  57. I cannot believe the anti-conspiracy theorists are so haughty in their mockery of true believers. It is a common every day fact that Stern has subjugated the rules of the game to enhance star players…. these are consistent comments from announcers:
    “he is only a rooke – he will not get that call until he has been in the league a few years…”
    “the warriors just don’t get the respect from the refs that other teams do”
    “superstar x will always get that call”
    Did you ever hear these type of comments in baseball or football? NO Maybe a little for pitchers who have “established” certain pitches. This is a real problem that Stern has created to provide a foundation for his superstar approach to marketing the nba. I will never forget watching a routinely terrible warriors team of the late 90′s battle the lakers and kobe got call after call whenever he missed a shot and somebody was nearby… Kobe had shot 18 free throws and the warriors team shot 6. Replays showed alot of the calls were phantom. So the fact that the results are manipulated by choosing certain refs for certain games, etc. is a small extension of the philosophy that the refs are there to “protect” the superstars by giving them more calls. The later is clearly an undisputed approach to foul calling around superstars… Right?? No one dispustes the superstar foul treatment do they?? If not, then you have already agreed that Sterns play favorites.

    • Again quoting from Bud Shaw’s spot-on column:

      “But let’s not let facts or common sense get in the way of our suspicions. Conspiracies feed right into America’s growing sense of victimization. We need them.

      Never get a single call back after so many forays into speed dating, guys? Can’t be the fresh neck tattoo and flip flops. It’s got to be Collusion of the Sisterhood.”

      We’re going to believe what we’re going to believe regardless of arguments to the contrary in most cases. Personally, give me actual, factual documentation over supposition any day of the week.

      If anyone read Zach Lowe’s two columns precisely detailing his experience witnessing the “war room” lottery proceedings and still believes the recent lottery was rigged is beyond help and a conspiracy theorist for the duration, regardless of topic or circumstance. Your bedevilment has my sincere sympathies.

      “Striped shirts” are all real people who are also sports fans. They know who the good teams and players are and to extract that knowledge from their calls, while truly defining the professionalism their jobs supposedly entail, would simply be an impossibility.

      And guess what the better players and teams are supposed to do? They’re supposed to commit fewer errors/fouls than the not-as-good players and teams. Better players/teams make fewer mistakes, it’s a key element in their superiority. To eliminate that mindset from officiating, while part of the job description, is in reality next-to-impossible.

      This has nothing to do with integrity and everything to do with being human and a fan of whatever sport you’re officiating. The solution? Robotic officiating. Maybe see you in the 22nd century on that one.

      And again, this isn’t just about the NBA. Barry Bonds would always get the benefit of the doubt on close balls-and-strikes calls.

      In football the Pro Bowl left tackle gets a lot fewer holding calls during the season compared to the lesser known 2nd year guy playing the same position.

      Officiating pro sports is an incredibly difficult job that will always have one side or the other complaining about something. Thankfully I can watch any game, in any sport, without being distracted by any peripheral issues that some insist exist.

      “But let’s not let facts or common sense get in the way of our suspicions. Conspiracies feed right into America’s growing sense of victimization. We need them.”

      • PointGuard@gmail.com

        Just because some 300 lb sports writer (Bud Shaw) whose livelihood is directly dependent on gaining access to NBA players, coaches and management writes a funny column, does not make the lottery show legitimate.

        To quote Stacey King, Chicago Bulls Broadcaster and former player. “The Hype is Real!”.

        No one saw the actual drawing. No one knows for sure. Stern is a numbers and marketing guy regardless of the league outcome. Whether one believes the results were not contrived or not, you cannot argue with the facts. No one witnessed the drawing. To make fun of someone who merely questions the results, well that’s like saying the Warriors would not even ‘tank’ because of integrity etc!

        The league is about money and that is why coaches, players hold back when criticizing the league. Many fans look the other way for many reasons:

        1) Casual fans are there to enjoy the stars.
        2) We watch and attend because Sports results are unknown until the “final whistle”. Contrast this with stupid sitcoms, fake news etc,
        3) As many here witness a small number of fans love the sport and enjoy the competition.

        As many before have written, the league management has an obligation to maximize the profit of the league above all else. We all witnessed as recently as this year’s lockout. It was’nt about letting the best team win, it was a struggle between small and large markets sharing revenue.

        David Stern is not revered by owners because most teams lost money, or he continually creates a competitive league with hard competition. Rather it is because he is a master and marketing the NBA.

        Simply stated, No one witnessed the actual drawing. Until that happens, any sports hack can make fun of those who question the results. Until we witness the balls being taken out of the hopper and presented to the camera,

        “The hype is real!” Was the lottery?

      • Zach Lowe’s job depends on the NBA, and access to players, coaches and management. You will never find any of his substantive writings critical of the NBA. Who took the balls out of the hopper, do you have a camera shot of anything other than Adam Silver showing you the results? Does Zach Lowe? Why not?

  58. Wow shocker. I’m on the verge of going 0-2 in the conference finals. It’s remarkable that the ancient Celtics have actually gotten healthier as the playoffs progressed.

    I have a hard time not believing the league won’t rescue the Heat in Game 6 tho.

    • It is why they have to play the game! And why we love it! Garnett interview at the end of the game: Priceless!

      • Yeah, that interview was great! Garnett was still in maniacal high-intensity game play mode. Scary!

        • Yes, and with coaches including Doc Rivers waiting for him outside the locker room yelling “KG!”, and Garnett just thumping his heart.

          Garnett is old school!

  59. The officials can call mysterious fouls, but players still have to put the ball in the hole. At crunch time last night Miami ran predictable 1-on-5 plays, then scrambled for end-of-clock bail-out shots whenever Plan A didn’t work. On D, they didn’t get back and set up quickly, and Boston took advantage.

    Credit Paul Pierce, Michael Pietrus and the rest of the Celtics for coming through in the clutch.

    BTW, Pietrus performed another wonderful foul-collector in Q4. I couldn’t find a video, I guess because no one else considered it a highlight. He got the call by flopping after being touched. It was so outrageous that Jeff Van Gundy said that Pietrus shouldn’t have been rewarded, he should have been fined a MILLION DOLLARS for overacting.

  60. By Adrian Wojnarowski Yahoo

    “MIAMI – This was the fitting end to one of the darkest, most unseemly episodes in the history of the NBA, the perfect punctuation on the commissioner’s manipulation of the sale and salvation of a lost franchise.

    The New Orleans Hornets won the draft lottery and get to pick one of the most transcendent prospects in years, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. The NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets, with a 13.7 percent chance, won the lottery. For over a year, David Stern pushed hard to get maximum value for his owners on the re-sale of the Hornets, and Tom Benson gave Stern an asking price and an assurance the franchise wouldn’t leave New Orleans.

    “It’s such a joke that the league made the new owners be at the lottery for the show,” one high-ranking team executive told Yahoo! Sports. “The league still owns the Hornets. Ask their front office if new owners can make a trade right now. They can’t. This is a joke.”

  61. PointGuard, I didn’t realize that Bud Shaw weighed so much? Wow, that changes everything.

    Fortunately, neither Mary Boyer (see #90) or Rusty Simmons (reposted column below) weighs anywhere close to 300 lbs so hopefully their eyewitness accounts of the actual drawing of the ping pong balls will add some credibility here since you seem to think Zach Lowe is on the take.

    (BTW, how much does Zach weigh? If he’s also a 300 pounder forgive my inclusion of his columns.)

    NEW YORK — Even with so much on the line for his franchise, Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob managed to stay calm and collected much of Wednesday night.

    Then, the pingpong balls that would decide the first three picks in the NBA lottery – and in some ways the fate of the Warriors’ future – began to whirl in a plastic drum. That’s when Lacob’s nerves bubbled to the surface.

    “This was my first time in the back room at the lottery, and it will be my last,” Lacob said. “Oh God, it was horrible. I didn’t know if I could take it.”

    The Warriors maintained their pre-lottery slot at No. 7 and thus kept their pick, which would have gone to Utah had it dropped even one slot. But the event didn’t unfold without dramatic moments and ensuing reactions from Lacob.

    A Chronicle reporter was one of three journalists invited to view the lottery along with one representative from each team. Lacob was the most vocal representative during the process, which played out about an hour before the results were revealed during ESPN’s broadcast.

    Before the lottery, the 14 non-playoff teams were assigned a series of four-digit numbers with the worst team (Charlotte) getting 250 number combinations (out of 1,000) and the best team (Houston) getting five combinations. The Warriors had 36 chances.

    Fourteen numbered pingpong balls (the number needed to create 1,000 unique combinations) were then released into a plastic drum, where they spun for 20 seconds. One at a time, four numbered balls were pulled from the drum to make a four-digit number.

    When one of New Orleans’ 137 number combinations matched the first set of pingpong balls drawn, Lacob did little more than look to the heavens in thanks. The Hornets were already ahead of the Warriors with a pre-lottery draft position of fourth, so they didn’t displace the Warriors.

    After Charlotte won the No. 2 pick, he sat up in his seat and quietly said, “Please, one more.”

    Lacob knew that he needed to survive only one more set of numbers without a team slotted Nos. 8-14 leaping into the top three for the Warriors to keep the pick. Another New Orleans number was drawn third, so they had to spin again.

    “Oh, my God,” Lacob said through a huge nervous smile. “Oh, my Lord.”

    Charlotte came up next, so the third pick had to be drawn for a third time. Finally, a Washington number combination was chosen, and Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld turned to Lacob from a nearby table.

    “You guys ended up OK, right?” Grunfeld asked. Lacob said, “This is huge, but it’s unbelievable to have to watch this stupid thing.”

    Lacob wanted to call co-owner Peter Guber, general manager Bob Myers, anyone. But he couldn’t.

    The NBA takes the lottery process and the secrecy of its results seriously. Before the journalists or team reps were allowed to witness the pingpong ball drawings, all communication devices were given to league officials and placed into large envelopes that were sealed.

    Since he couldn’t talk to his staff until the lottery results aired, Lacob turned instead to the other representatives who would spend the next hour in quarantine.

    “Can we get any trades done while we’re waiting?” Lacob said.

    With the nerves settled, he could get back to business.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/30/SPOP1OPJ1N.DTL#ixzz1x1ootMhQ

    In summary, other than ZLowe, MBoyer, RSimmons, JLacob and 13 other team reps from the 14 lottery teams, and that shady accounting firm Ernst and Young, you’re right, PointGuard, no one outside of David Stern’s evil empire witnessed the actual drawing.

    In the immortal words of Mortimer Snerd, “Who’d have thunk it?”.

    • Jeez Steve,

      Gruber was at the draft lottery, Meyers winked at him (I guess he didnt have to call). ESPN showed him there. Why would Lacob have to call?

      One question for you Steve:

      If Cardinal Lacob affirmed by Pope Stern in 1490 told you the “earth was flat”, and you went on the Internet and saw Bud Shaw, and David Stern along with the Barcelona Times told you it was true and anyone who disagreed was just creating conspiracy theory, and some guy named Christopher C was tweeting the above *might* be wrong, and the Earth might be round would you Steve have called him a ‘conspiracy theorist’? Just because your media told you so?

      Your Welcome.

      • Steve,

        So if Benson doesn’t officially own the team yet, why would the NBA require them to be at the draft lottery?

        I guess it would have looked kind of unseemly to have David Stern, the Bobcats GM, the Wizards GM shaking hands with Stern, the lottery winner?

        • Petey, according to my sources Benson showed up unexpectedly at the last minute. The actual plan was for Zach Lowe to accept congrats and handshakes.

      • PointGuard, since bandwidth speeds supposedly sucked back in 1490 I probably would have been more concerned with finding a faster IP than sailing off the edge of the Earth.

  62. From Blazers Insider:

    “Steve Kauffman, a prominent agent who represents Golden State assistant Michael Malone wondered aloud Tuesday night: “Does Malone really have any kind of chance in this search?”

    This reeks of the slimy underbelly of NBA politics these days, with agent Warren LeGarie positioning both of his clients — Olshey and Canales — for a big payday. Other qualified candidates be damned if they aren’t in position to scratch the back of a fellow LeGarie client.

    I really don’t know whether Canales is a good coach. I can say he is energetic, enthusiastic and seems to work hard. And I remember veteran Joel Przybilla saying Canales was prepared and organized when he took over for McMillan for the final 23 games. But I also remember some pretty horrible team defense, although it’s difficult to judge good or bad those 23 games because the roster had been so depleted by trades and injuries.

    But I do know this: At least one NBA head coach, Monty Williams, says the Blazers are making a mistake if they don’t consider Malone. Full disclosure: Williams and Malone are both represented by Kauffman.

    But Malone is highly regarded by more than just Kauffman clients. This winter, NBA general managers voted Malone as the league’s No. 1 assistant, and it wasn’t even close.”

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2012/06/blazers_insider_coaching_search_should_extend_beyo.html

  63. Rusty Simmons:

    Two things overheard in the NBA pre-draft combine lobby that might interest Warriors fans: 1. Chicago is not expected to pick up the $3.7 million option on point guard C.J. Watson; 2. Swingman Josh Howard would love to play for the Warriors.

  64. “An Apology to My Readers”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/47709820

  65. From Rusty Simmons:

    “See, that’s what I’m talking about,” Blake said. “I think this is one of our deepest drafts. There are going to be good NBA rotation players drafted in the second round and guys who aren’t drafted at all that make rosters.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/06/SP4G1OTVOG.DTL#ixzz1x5G1Dksl

  66. CHICAGO – One interesting bit of scheduling news on the eve of the pre-draft camp, the largest annual gathering of NBA teams and college and international prospects: North Carolina power forward John Henson has a workout Monday in Sacramento.

    The Kings have the fifth pick on June 28 and it would be hard to find another team that rates Henson that high. It could be a reach by a personnel boss, Geoff Petrie, with a good track record in the draft.

    Or it could be exactly the right move.

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2012/06/06/the-not-so-crazy-crazy-idea/

  67. Finals TV schedule:

    http://www.nba.com/2012/news/06/06/finals-schedule/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt2

    OKC vs ? I still think the Heat will be there. If not the offseason should be pretty interesting in South Florida.

  68. Keyon Dooling on the flailing Miami Heat: ‘I want them to keep complaining’.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/keyon-dooling-flailing-miami-heat-want-them-keep-193155147.html

  69. From GSW.com: Jerry West from the draft combine talks to Tim Roye.

    http://soundcloud.com/goldenstatewarriors/jerry-west-at-the-nba-combine

  70. Video: Chronicle Live interview with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber following their waterfront press conference announcing plans for a new arena. (Part 1)

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/pages/video?PID=mOSxrAtBqob6G_7dN5qA0dE87FVTgzuK

  71. TrueHoop TV: What LeBron takes to Game 7

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8026805

  72. Video: Chronicle Live with Charles Jenkins and Chris Wright.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/pages/video?PID=pW7VAKFEbILMjD3mG2pEgdAFGj4yMIkC

  73. Rusty Simmons: NBA prospects face different pressure in interview.

    “Teams apply for the interviews in 10-player rankings. They ask for 30-minute windows with 10 A players, 10 B players and 10 C players. The league decides which 18 fit each team’s draft position and schedules the interviews from Wednesday to Friday.

    All of the interviews are distinctive. The Warriors try to make them comfortable, but it’s difficult.

    A prospect walks into a small hotel room, a room that has had the bed removed in favor of a round table and offers Walgreens-purchased water as the only refreshments.

    The prospect sees two headboards on the wall, but no beds. He sees a table, half glasses of water and eight people (Jerry West, Bob Myers, Travis Schlenk, Kirk Lacob, Mark Jackson, Larry Riley, Larry Harris and Speedy Claxton) ready to interrogate.

    The Warriors are trying to get a feeling for the prospect’s personality, but the prospect doesn’t know that. He knows only that his agent has prepped him for a certain number of questions.

    “You try to keep it casual, because we’re looking for a genuine dialogue,” Myers said. “The agent’s prep work runs out after about five minutes. Then, they become themselves and it becomes comfortable. It becomes a fruitful conversation.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/08/SPDD1OV3RA.DTL#ixzz1xJApmBfb

    • Thanks Steve!
      Now I’m convinced they are shopping Rudy Gay! LOL!

      With Mayo, Speights, and Arthur – contracts coming up and $63 million or so committed to 9 or so players next year… I’m guessing they’re going to be very open to having discussions about Rudy Gay and his big contract.

  74. Behind the Box Score: Miami Heat movin’ on. (As good as LeBron is this game was all about LeBosh.)

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/behind-box-score-where-miami-heat-earned-another-041514402–nba.html

  75. After officiating in the NBA for 25 years, Steve Javie will now try and explain calls to ESPN viewers during the Finals.

    Television viewers have long relied on broadcasters to provide analysis and explanations about the often-questionable decisions made by NBA referees.

    Steve Javie hopes to change that.

    The longtime NBA official, who retired before the start of this season due to an arthritic right knee after 25 years in the league, has been hired by ESPN as a rules analyst for pregame and postgame coverage of the NBA Finals, as well as SportsCenter. Javie hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mike Pereira, the former NFL vice president of officiating who has been sensational for Fox Sports in helping viewers understand the NFL’s byzantine rule book.

    In an interview with SI.com on Sunday, Javie said Pereira’s success inspired him to pitch ESPN on a similar position months ago. Last week, Laurie Orlando, ESPN’s senior vice president of talent planning and development, reached out to Javie to do a segment on SportsCenter on the officiating of the Heat-Celtics series. Network officials were pleased with what they saw and have now invited him to work the NBA Finals.

    “Mike and I are friends and I think what he’s done has been fantastic,” Javie said. “He’s been the trailblazer here and he told me he thought the NBA, ESPN or TNT would be interested in something like this. I think Mike has really gained credibility for officials in the NFL, but fans of the NBA have never heard from or been given the perspective from the officials’ point of view. I’m hoping for positive feedback because I believe it’s something that’s been missing. I hope people come away and say, “Boy, I didn’t even look at it that way, and I never knew that.”

    Asked whether he could criticize his former NBA colleagues, Javie offered a nuanced take. “One thing officials do all time is critique each other as a crew when we are watching film after a game,” he said. “You have to be open, honest and objective. The first thing I tell young referees is if you are not objective enough to admit your mistakes, you are not growing in the profession. The key is why did I blow the whistle or not blow the whistle, and I think I’ll be able to offer that perspective. I can probably show you the reason nine times out of 10 why an official missed the play, whether it was because of the angle or the positioning they were in. People need to know how they could miss something.

    “Now I’m not going to be a jerk about it because these are my guys. But I want to be the voice of the official and tell people, ‘Look at this play. Maybe you should have had a whistle here, but here is the reason why they didn’t blow it.’ I won’t be a guy who blasts the officials but at the same time I will be someone who points out to fans that the ref did not get a call right and here’s why. It’s not necessarily a criticism but an explanation on why a call was missed.”

    For years Javie ranked as one of the league’s highest-rated referees, with a reputation for talking things out with players as well as being quick to deliver a technical when needed. Among his highlights were calling Michael Jordan’s final game in 2003 and ejecting both a mascot (Hoops, of Washington Bullets fame, in 1991) and a broadcaster (Trail Blazers analyst Mike Rice in 1994, for disputing his calls).

    Last year Javie called Games 1 and 6 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and Mavericks, one of 18 Finals he has worked over his career. What kind of challenge do star players such as Kevin Durant or LeBron James present for referees?

    “I believe when you have great players, they make the game easier to officiate,” Javie said. “They do great things and people are astonished by it. But as an official, in my experience, when you get to the Finals, you have the best players, the best teams — and with someone like Durant and LeBron, their play is elevated and I think it makes it easier for officials. Does that mean there won’t be difficult plays? No. But the better the player they are, the easier the game is to officiate in my experience.”

    Javie was told during his interview with SI.com about a joke making its way through the sports blogosphere about Thunder center Kendrick Perkins receiving a technical from the refs before the start of the series. “That’s a pretty good line,” Javie said, laughing. “Kendrick Perkins is a very intense player as we all know. I don’t know him personally, but he seems to be a nice guy who lets his emotions get a hold of him at times. But in the playoffs, a lot of times the players keep their emotions more in check because they know one point can mean the game. I think in the Finals, you’ll see the players make a concerted effort to be under control.”

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/richard_deitsch/06/10/steve.javie.belmont/index.html#ixzz1xUdWaUCo

    • I think I have this right, and I heard it from a guy involved in one, that in antitrust suits the mere evidence of noncompetitive prices is taken as evidence of monopolistic behavior. They don’t have to pin down the actual behaviors or culprits, which is difficult if not impossible. I wonder if something similar happens in sports.

      Where the Grantland piece is utterly persuasive is in detailing all the financial gains that might be made from a poorly called fight. It’s hard to believe these don’t exert pressure somehow, perhaps in subtle and pervasive ways that might be hard to track down, if not, again, impossible. The choice of judges or the message given to them, while not corrupt, might have been ambiguous or misleading and could have had influence in something that is admittedly subjective and hard to call, boxing. Other forces could have come into play. And it may not be a case of direct intervention, deliberate fixing, but rather the profit motive has not allowed officiating the independence and quality control it needs, thus allowing the selection of judges who might falter in some subtle way at critical moments.

      It is simply a fact that NBA in playoffs players are allowed to play and the games aren’t called as closely, for the better. But how much is difficult to interpret and subject to error. Boston’s best shot was to play physically, especially against Lebron, yet there were several inconsistent calls that did have influence on the outcome, fouls called or not called. The promotion and simple selection of Joey Crawford for the playoffs, with his hair trigger, may have been a factor, not that he was told the throw the games, but his sensitivity was given a chance to err at critical moments, and only a few can make a difference.

      The NBA openly makes all kinds of decisions that work against competition in its desires to promote itself and make a buck. Some star players are promoted more than others (ever see an NBA ad featuring Rondo?), and/or they give into popular opinion, or what they think is popular opinion, as to which players the public most wants to see. It was the superstars, Bird, Magic, etc., after all who saved the NBA. Stern has also given many direct indications of what he thinks is “proper” behavior, who are “proper” players, and what, who are not.

      There are other anticompetitive influences, quite open. Home teams have a much larger advantage over visitors, more than any pro sport, for a variety of reasons, including these damned back-to-backs. The rushed, packed schedule this year heavily favored deep, experienced, and as we just saw, younger teams. The rapid expansion of the NBA to 30 teams had all kinds of influence over teams’ ability to draw and keep talent, favoring heavily the entrenched big market teams.

      Etc.

  76. “Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk, who just completed his eighth season with the team, is being mentioned as a possible general manager candidate for the L.A. Clippers.”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/basketball-golden-state-warriors/warriors-talk/Warriors-assistant-GM-mentioned-as-Clipp?blockID=722736&feedID=2799

  77. In the 18th century, the world was fooled for years by a machine, “The Turk,” that played chess and played it well, beating fine players. (It had half a mechanical man at the top that looked like a Turk, hence the name.) It took decades to discover the real man inside who worked the levers.

    Stern rules with a heavy hand and has been less than transparent. It’s hard not to suspect something going on in his office we’ll never know about, or know about any time soon. Remember, this is the guy reported to have said he “knows where the bodies are buried.” So I wouldn’t be surprised, if someone manages to get inside his inner sanctum, that we might discover Jimmy Hoffa, the alien from Roswell, letters to Lee Harvey Oswald–

    –and the little man who hid himself inside the draft ball machine.

  78. Sources: Bobcats narrow search to 3

    Updated: June 11, 2012, 7:34 PM ET
    By Chris Broussard | ESPN The Magazine

    The Charlotte Bobcats have narrowed their list of head coaching candidates to Jerry Sloan, Brian Shaw and Quin Snyder, according to league sources.

    After going through an initial interview with Charlotte executives Rod Higgins and Rich Cho, each of the three candidates will meet with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan within the next week or so.

    Sloan, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, is the only candidate with prior head coaching experience. The 70-year-old Sloan, who resigned abruptly during his 23rd season with the Utah Jazz last year, is eager to return to the sidelines and regards the Bobcats’ job as a great opportunity to teach young players, according to sources.

    Sloan led the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances but lost both times to Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

    Shaw, an assistant with the Indiana Pacers, is perhaps the most highly coveted assistant coach in the league. He is also a top candidate for the Orlando Magic coaching job. Snyder is an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Sloan, Shaw and Snyder were chosen from a field of interviewees that included Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, former Portland coach Nate McMillan, Golden State assistant Michael Malone, Cleveland assistant Nate Tibbetts, Charlotte assistant Stephen Silas, Memphis assistant Dave Joerger and St. John’s University assistant Mike Dunlap.

  79. Now here’s a basketball game:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/no-7-untouchables-loyola-marymount-186-point-onslaught-130029531.html

    Loyola Marymont beats U.S. Int’l. 186-140.

    “The origin of the fast-breaking style LMU made famous was Westhead’s stint coaching in Puerto Rico in the early 1970s. Westhead adopted an up-tempo approach after watching players bury 22-foot jump shots in transition with ease and realizing they were getting better looks at the basket than his teams were after a flurry of passes, cuts and screens.”

    Zarecky, of U.S. Int’l, is at De Anza College, Cupertino, here in SV, btw. Be sure to look at the box score at the bottom.

  80. More Rudy Gay spec:

    “The Golden State Warriors are desperately looking for some star power, and if they can’t land Dwight Howard they would love to have Rudy Gay. The Warriors also want to unload at least one and perhaps more of their four 2012 draft picks, and would happily package them with a combination of players – including David Lee – to make a trade happen.”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-2-memphis-grizzlies-trading-rudy-gay

  81. From David Aldridge and NBA.com:

    “Will you people ever get tired of peddling conspiracy theories?

    Like the swallows returning to Capitstrano, the lottery brought the return of lunatics and nut jobs insisting — with the usual, complete lack of any evidence whatsoever –that David Stern had fixed the proceedings to ensure that the Hornets got the first pick. The argument goes that since the NBA owns the Hornets, but is selling the Hornets to Saints owner Tom Benson, the league promised Benson the first pick –almost certainly Kentucky’s Anthony Davis — as a condition for buying the team. So the Hornets, who had the fourth-best odds of getting the top pick, leapfrogged Charlotte, Washington and Cleveland to get No. 1.

    It doesn’t seem to matter when you point out that respected reporters — each of whom would love to unearth evidence of a massive conspiracy, which would make their careers — have been regular witnesses of the actual lottery process for the last few years, and have each reported the exact same thing — the process is wholly transparent, and there is no manipulation afoot.

    Nor does it do much good to point out, again, that since the weighted system was introduced for the lottery in 1990, giving the team with the worst record the most chances, that team has gotten the first pick exactly three times. Three. In what is, now, 23 years. The lottery is fixed, just like the Finals are fixed. The fact that the Knicks, the team in the NBA’s No. 1 television market, have made the Finals exactly once since 1973 does not seem to make an impression on the conspiracy theorists.

    Nor does pointing out that the Spurs — ratings death in the Finals — have been in four finals since 1999, producing some of the lowest-rated championship series in history. If the NBA was determined to ensure ratings gold, why wouldn’t the Lakers be in every year? Or the Celtics?

    Why would the NBA have punished its most exciting team of the era, the Suns, so severely during the 2007 Western finals — suspending Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for the critical Game 5 against the Spurs for inching off of their bench after Robert Horry poleaxed Steve Nash into the court signage in the waning seconds of Game 4 — if it had a vested interest in putting Phoenix in the Finals instead of San Antonio?

    The brilliance of conspiracy theories is that any result only furthers the conspiracy. So, if Charlotte had won the lottery, it would have been proof that the league was trying to help Michael Jordan after his team’s record-setting mark of ineptitude. If Brooklyn had won, it would have been proof of the NBA’s desire to get Dwight Howard to New York and keep Deron Williams there. If Washington had won, it would have been proof that the league wanted to help out new owner Ted Leonsis and John Wall, the first pick in 2010.

    But I don’t wonder about the league. I wonder about you.

    Why, I wonder, is it so important to some of you that there has to be some kind of evil hand at work in every part of our lives?

    Why are people so invested in proving that someone other than Al Qaeda’s terrorists brought down the Twin Towers? Why is there a cottage industry dedicated to the idea that President Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen? Why have we become so conspiracy-addled as a nation? Why are we so paranoid, so untrusting, that we can’t even accept the results of ping-pong balls bouncing in a random order?

    “My particular feeling about conspiracy theory in general and why people who are otherwise normal — they’re not clinically paranoid — is that we like stories that make the world dramatic,” said Peter Starr, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at American University and a studier of the increase in paranoia and conspiracy in contemporary culture, on Sunday.

    “If David Stern is pulling some strings like the Wizard of Oz, it makes the world dramatic,” Starr said. “And it gives the person who articulates the conspiracy theory some sense of importance, because they’ve uncovered it. It’s like, everybody else is duped, but I’m not duped.”

    Starr’s webbook, “We the Paranoid,” takes a historical look at past conspiracy theories, from the Kennedy Assassination to UFOs, and why we are so susceptible to them. He is not a basketball expert, but after spending a few minutes researching the various NBA conspiracy theories over the weekend, he reached a quick conclusion.

    “They’re totally consistent with everything I study,” he said.

    Conspiracies usually break out in the aftermath of traumatic events like 9/11 or the Oklahoma City Bombing, Starr said, although it took longer — almost a decade — after Kennedy’s murder for the Grassy Knoll and other suppositions to really take root in the national consciousness. In the sports realm, Starr said, back-to-back losses by your favorite team is a traumatic event.

    The historian Richard Hofstadter famously wrote of “The Paranoid Style of American Politics” back in November, 1964, for Harper’s Magazine. He wrote then, “I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics. In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.”

    Exactly.

    “One of the things that Hofstadter says is that conspiracy theories don’t take into account chance and they don’t take into account the theory of bumbling and incompetence,” Starr said.

    “They felt the Bush Administration — which couldn’t even manufacture weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — could bring down the buildings without being detected,” he said. “We don’t want bumbling. We want an antagonist who’s strong. If the Celtics blow a play, it can’t be because they blew a play; it’s because they’re throwing the game. We want our antagonists to be hypercompetent and evil….why would Orlando get two first round picks when they’re a small market team? That just gets ignored…there’s a kind of selective attention there.”

    And conspiracies are counterintuitive: the more proof one produces to refute the theories, the more people believe the theories.

    “It’s hyperlogical until the one moment when everything falls apart,” Starr said. “It proves manipulation. Evidence that goes against it only gets construed as manipulation. It’s a perfect closed system; anything that’s exculpatory or disproves the conspiracy only proves how evil they are.”

    The explosion of certain media in recent years can reinforce one’s sense of grievance. Conspiratorial thinking has changed somewhat in the last 10 years for a couple of reasons, Starr said.

    “One is the sort of self-reinforcing way in which we get our news, in that you’re only preaching to the converted that a more skeptical audience wouldn’t let you get away with,” Starr said.

    The other is a reaction to the current flow in capitalism where money and markets have shifted dramatically since the 1970s, Starr said. The displacement that many feel about their economic futures leaves many willing to believe larger forces are at work.

    “There’s a lot of money at stake in manufacturing a New York Knicks-Miami Heat playoff,” Starr said. “So you can understand, on some level, (how) people go from there is some self-interest, that there then has to be a will. Why would San Antonio be playing Oklahoma City when the Lakers and Clippers are big market teams?”

    Of course, I went to American University. So, clearly, Starr and I are in on the conspiracy, too! That could explain why Starr doesn’t believe that the smoking gun of NBA conspiracy theorists — Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals between the Lakers and Kings, which L.A. won in most controversial fashion — is indicative of league manipulation.

    “Conspiracy theories aren’t statisticians,” he said. “One extremely badly officiated game over the decade doesn’t tend to prove.””

    • And a follow-up:

      Thirty-nine sentences into his letter, he shows that, perhaps, he has some skin in the game. From Spencer Kellar:

      I read your article titled Educated Guesses, primarily for the conspiracy theory section. I found many of your points to be very well thought out and put together, and you certainly put a damper on any conspiracy theorist’s parade. However, as you might have guessed, I’m not e-mailing you to agree with you completely. I do have a few issues.

      I think leaning too heavily to one side or the other is dangerous. Certainly, it’s almost illogical to latch on to any conspiracy, whether it be the “9/11 was an inside job” theory or the “The Earth is hollow” theory. But it’s also dangerous to write off every theory as foolish, because that can show a lack of thought or a thought process. Though I can spend a few e-mails arguing the merits of the JFK assassination conspiracy, I will keep it short. If we accept everything as it is told to us, and dismiss any other ideas as crazy nutcase conspiracy theories, then we’re risking a heck of a lot. Not that I’m saying that a few rigged lottery balls are on par with the assassination of a president via the CIA. But who is to say whether Stern has a hand in the lottery and in games or not? Certainly not Tim Donaghy; he was dismissed as a nutjob by Stern himself after the disgraced ref insinuated what most people already know — that the Western Conference finals, Game 6, 2002, was fixed. Jack Ruby was also dismissed as a nutjob. (Okay, okay, I’ll stop).

      Who are we supposed to ask? You? Look, I know you truly believe in what your writing, and I’m not trying to create another conspiracy. But what would else would I expect from a writer being featured on an NBA blog? “Breaking News: Stern a Fraud”? No, I don’t think that would go over too well. And if Donaghy isn’t to be trusted, which ref should I seek an opinion from? Dick Bavetta? Bennet Salvatore? Yeah, no thanks.

      All I’m saying is this. Maybe this lottery wasn’t fixed. That’s a likely possibility. The Hornets weren’t that far from the 1st pick, and the odds dictated that they had a decent chance. Maybe it’s just great luck for the Hornets. But really, that’s not the most suspicious of lottery winners. The Bulls sure lucked out in getting Chicago native Derrick Rose, a true franchise player for a team in need of one, when they had just a 1.7% chance of winning the thing. I mean, come on. Even if it was just a great coincidence, can we really dismiss the conspiracy theories. Who’s the real one in denial?

      And back to the WC Finals, Game 6, 2002, I’d like a definitive answer from you if you’d give me one, something that you didn’t do in your story. Because really, whether it be a David Stern master plan, or refs betting on games, or bigfoot, something was wrong with the officiating in that game. And I mean, really wrong. Like, a heck of a lot worse then usual. Am I Kings fan still suffering from that screwjob? You betcha. Does that make me more likely to side with conspiracy theories? Probably. I’d argue that’s only because as someone who has felt the presence of the league effect things, I’m more aware of these things. You’ll notice that Laker and Heat fans usually aren’t conspiracy theorists. But hey, maybe it’s all coincidence. For me though, it’s simple. Just ’cause I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.

      ——————————————–

      Spencer, I hope you appreciate the irony of your letter which says the NBA may well have fixed a conference finals game and rigged the lottery is appearing on NBA.com, untouched but for a couple of grammatical fixes. Once again, the inference is clear: since I write for NBA.com, I can’t possibly be objective — even as I, for the millionth time, point out that I am paid by Turner Sports and not the NBA, that I write for NBA.com because Turner runs NBA.com, that if Turner decided to start its own website I’d write for that, etc. Okay. I accept the fact that there are people who will simply not believe I can arrive at this conclusion without thinking I’m on the take or otherwise a stooge. That’s life.

      But you are asking me to believe something that’s even more crazy: that there could be a conspiracy involving something of this magnitude, yet no one with direct knowledge of it — the Commissioner (or someone in authority) told me he wanted Boston in the Finals; I was instructed to inject the ping pong balls with a liquid polymer beforehand that made certain balls come to the surface faster — has ever stepped forward.

      No one has ever credibly sold his or her story for money; no National Enquirer headlines; no “Dateline NBC” appearances. No one has ever come forward just so that they could become famous or have their 15 minutes in the spotlight, because no one has ever done that, right? No one has come forward because they feel betrayed or otherwise have an axe to grind against Stern and/or the league. No one has come forward because they stumbled upon something they thought was kind of fishy, like Frank Wills, the security guard who began the unraveling of Watergate by simply seeing masking tape over a lock that kept a door in the hotel complex open in June, 1972. (Forty years this month since Watergate. My God.)

      Tracing any conspiracy in the Lakers-Kings series from 2002 requires a true starting point — which is hard to come by.

      What do you think is more likely — a massive conspiracy involving at least a few dozen people to fix a playoff game or rig the Lottery, or said conspiracy happening while everyone involved in it remains silent, until they die?

      As for Game 6 between the Kings and Lakers, I will repeat what I’ve said over and over: I don’t know what happened in that game. It was out of the ordinary, to be sure. I have my suspicions, to be sure. But I have suspicions about a lot of things for which there is no actual proof.

      Here is what Donaghy wrote in his book, Personal Foul, about that game, which he did not work; the officials were Dick Bavetta, Ted Bernhardt and Bob Delaney:

      In the pregame meeting prior to Game 6, the league office sent down word that certain calls — calls that would have benefitted the Lakers — were being missed by the referees. This was the type of not-so-subtle information that I and other referees were left to interpret. After receiving the dispatch, Bavetta openly talked about the fact that the league wanted a Game 7.

      “If we give the benefit of the calls to the team that’s down in the series, nobody’s going to complain. The series will be even at three apiece, and then the better team can win Game 7,” Bavetta stated.

      As history shows, Sacramento lost Game 6 in a wild come-from-behind thriller that saw the Lakers repeatedly sent to the foul line by the referees. For other NBA referees watching the game on television, it was a shameful performance by Bavetta’s crew, one of the most poorly officiated games of all time.

      I don’t know if Donaghy is telling the truth. But there are questions that he does not answer. What calls “would have benefitted the Lakers”? Is he talking about flopping on the part of the Kings’ Vlade Divac? Fouls being committed against Shaquille O’Neal that weren’t being whistled? How was this different from the tapes and/or DVDs that every team sends to the league office during a season when it thinks its team is getting hosed on calls?

      To whom did Bavetta “openly” talk about the league wanting a Game 7? Was it Donaghy? One of the other refs working the game? I’m not Perry Mason, but I think I know the difference between direct evidence and hearsay.

      Where does the Bavetta quote about giving the benefit of the calls “to the team that’s down in the series” come from? When did he say that? And to whom? Did he say it to Donaghy, and if so, was it that morning? A week later? A year later? Was that conversation relayed to Donaghy by someone else? If so, whom? And when? I’m not saying there aren’t answers to these questions, but at the moment, we don’t have them.

      As far as the Lottery, while Cleveland indeed got the first pick the year after LeBron’s departure, Irving was by no means a sure thing coming into the league. He played only a small chunk of his one season at Duke. And while a lot of people indeed liked Rose a lot after his year at Memphis, no one was predicting he’d be the league’s MVP after his third season. There is some cherrypicking going on here.

      I am not naïve, and I don’t dismiss out of hand any possibility that there has ever been anything untoward done in the history of this league. But, again: where is the proof? If there is anyone out there who has direct knowledge of a conspiracy or can even point me in a direction, I will happily follow through on what you give me. If you don’t think I’d be interested in that story, you have never — ever — been a reporter.

  82. From MT:

    The Warriors’ summer workouts got a bit more intense Monday as two top prospects — Baylor’s Perry Jones III and Kentucky’s Terrence Jones — faced off for Golden State, which owns the No. 7 pick in this month’s draft.

    “They were going at it,” Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli said of the Joneses. Ezeli joined the Joneses and North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, BYU-Hawaii guard Jet Chang and McNeese State guard Patrick Richard at the workout.

    “(Perry) was doing what he does — getting to the rack,” Ezeli said. “And Terrence was playing good defense. They were just going at it. It was a competitive day.”

    When all was said and done, though, neither wowed Warriors management, according to sources. And while both played well, they didn’t do much to improve their chances of being selected by Golden State.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_20834853/perry-jones-iii-and-terrence-jones-work-out?source=rss

  83. Contempt: On Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao
    by Carlos Acevedo at The Cruelest Sport
    http://thecruelestsport.com/2012/06/10/contempt-on-timothy-bradley-manny-pacquiao/
    “Whatever the clincher was for Bradley, now 29-0 (12), it was not readily apparent, but, like those paranormal researchers on television who insist a grainy blotch in an out-of-focus still is some sort of demonic apparition, a case can be made for almost anything in boxing. You would have to search long and hard to tab Bradley the winner last night, but if you believe in ghosts, well, here are two pointy ears and what appears to be a sliver of fang or an ectoplasmic cock.”

    I’m all for conspiracy theories, but contempt probably doesn’t get enough due.

  84. Dave Zirin on why we should root for the Heat to destroy the Thunder
    http://bit.ly/LOoa5I

    “While Bennett said all the right things about keeping the Sonics in Seattle, a team executive dinner on Sept 9th 2006 tells you all you need to know about the man and his motives. On that fine evening, the Sonics management, all held over from the previous ownership regime, all Pacific Northwesters, gathered in Oklahoma to meet the new boss. Bennett made sure they were sent to a top restaurant, and picked up the bill. As the Seattle execs sat down, four plates of a deep fried appetizer were put on the table. After filling their mouths with the crispy goodness, one asked the waitress what this curious dish with a nutty flavor actually was. It was lamb testicles. Bennett laughed at their discomfort and the message was clear: the Sonics could eat his balls.”

  85. From Matt Steinmetz:

    “NBA officials will be wearing No. 57 on their jerseys during the NBA Finals to recognize referee Greg Willard, who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”

    “Willard, 53, is the kind of official who makes me stand up for officials so adamantly. He’s one of the reasons why I’ll defend so vigorously on referees’ behalf.

    Anybody who knows me or reads me with any interest knows that my dad was a high school and college basketball official back East, and I’ll give referees the benefit of the doubt – and then maybe even some more.

    I do that because in my heart I believe refs are fair and forthright, they’re doing it for the right reasons and they want to do the right thing.”

    “When I hear fans griping about referees or complaining that a certain guy screwed their team out of a playoff win, it irks me. Despite what some may think, the reality is that most refs do what they do because they love the game every bit as much as you do and they want to be involved in it — like players, coaches, broadcasters, trainers, statisticians, sportswriters, etc.

    Hey, I know my dad loves the game, and when he was officiating he was as conscientious and earnest about that as he was about anything else in his life. And I assume Willard is the same way.”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/basketball-golden-state-warriors/warriors-talk/Greg-Willard-is-very-best-kind-of-NBA-of?blockID=723226&feedID=2799

  86. OT: Music Time Out

    The Heatles or The Beatles? Nolo contendere.

  87. I think Steve’s pro NBA stance above is the blogger version of a filibuster!

    Steve, Denial is not just a river in Egypt! Your filibuster not withstanding, rational people with a critical mind can deduce when they are being fed bull pucky!

    Just because they can does not justify your naivete.

  88. Video: Conversations with CBS Sports (Ian Eagle interviews David Stern).

    http://www.cbssports.com/video/player/conversations

  89. “The truth of the matter is, we’ve regrouped and reshaped our team in a very positive way,” Karl said. “I feel as confident with this team as the year when we went to the Western Conference finals from the standpoint of where our future is. Why that fell apart? I came out with cancer, we had a tough year and Melo (Carmelo Anthony) has to be traded, it goes goofy. But in general, since the Chauncey (Billups) trade, the Nuggets have been in a very good place and have done their jobs in a very positive way.

    “I know there are a lot of people out there getting tired of me, but, you know, that’s part of being in a city for eight years. I’ve lost a lot of games, but people need to remember that I’ve won a lot of games too.”

    George Karl optimistic looking ahead.

    http://bit.ly/LW5ila

  90. I wanted to be familiar with what can refrain from a bee in entire’s brio so that’s hither it not who could not offer an punctilious answer.

  91. Pingback: 2012-2013 NBA Western Conference Rankings - Feltbot's Warriors Blog

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