LOS ANGELES – There’s a lot to get to here, and I am – once again – guilty of leaving the most loyal of NBA Confidential visitors without an update for a full fortnight.
The dateline should give some indication of the latest topic, as the end of the Lakers’ reign is as big as hoops stories get this time of year. And considering so many members of the media (yes, including yours truly) had June tickets to cover the Lake-Show, the spectacularly sudden way that it came to an end has led to some compelling content.
So before offering up the standard linkage to the latest (15) stories, I wanted to share a slice of the incredible theater that has been taking place down in LA-LA land. As I wrote today, Lakers center Andrew Bynum was put on blast by a litany of Laker greats after his cheap shot on Dallas’ JJ Barea on Sunday.
Hall of Famer James Worthy was among them, and I caught his interview with ESPN Radio’s Mason & Ireland in Los Angeles just after getting into town on Monday. Jerry West and Magic Johnson were both highly critical, but Worthy’s take came with a level of venom that was just incredible.
Bynum was eventually suspended for five games (which he’ll sit out at the start of next season – whenever that is) and fined $25,000 for the way he left the court (including taking his shirt off as part of the Defiant Fashion Line), but backlash like this meant he paid the even steeper price of his putting his reputation in jeopardy.
Tune in here – WORTHY INTERVIEW
If you’re more the visual sort, check out this picture from the Dallas Morning News that I probably stared at for at least three minutes while flying from Dallas to LA. There’s a lot to see here, from the looks on the faces of the Mavs players as Bymum passes to the fact that Dallas owner Mark Cuban appears to be hollering at Bynum and the irony that the one and only Ron Artest – of all people – is helping escorting his teammate away from a hostile situation.
On a much more pleasant note, it’s surreal how the Sacramento situation has turned around. After the May 2 announcement that the Kings would remain for at least one season, the swell of support is on the rise.
I hear there was quite a party tonight in California’s Capitol, where former Kings flew in to celebrate and local legends, Tesla, even came in to perform in front of a crowd of approximately 6,500. According to my friends at The Sacramento Bee, the Maloofs – who were pushing for a move to Anaheim before being forced to return – were mostly cheered and lightly booed. They invited Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson to represent the team at the draft lottery in New Jersey on May 17, a solid PR move to help with perceptions that there remains a rift between the two camps.
To read more on that event, click here.
Now at long last, the links. At SI.com…
* Stern, union chief Hunter schedule labor meetings (May 10)
* Lakers don’t feel big changes are needed (May 10)
* Bynum apologizes, but remains outspoken for desires with Lakers (May 10)
* Lakers fall apart in Jackson’s farewell (May 8)
* Right or wrong, finger of blame pointing at Pau Gasol (May 8)
* Lakers’ woes continue as Mavs put them on brink of elimination (May 7)
* Facing 0-2 hole, something is amiss in Laker Land (May 5)
* Jackson’s book may be nearing final chapter sooner than expected (May 4)
* Chandler restores Mavs’ edge (May 4)
* Jackson apologizes to Maloofs for comparison to McCourts (May 2)
* History says Lakers will recover, but Mavs sounded LA alarms (May 2)
* Thunder need Perk of old to return (May 2)
* Kings to stay in Sacramento (May 2)
* Will Maloofs act on frustrations, take NBA to court? (April 30)
* Playoff Preview of Chicago-Atlanta series (April 29)
* (VIDEO) Talking draft with SI.com anchor Maggie Gray (April 27)