Free Agency, Day 2 (even if it feels like Day 20)

Welcome to the NBA “off”season, where it’s clear that no one in the media will be getting days off anytime soon. Too much action. Too much drama. And we’re two days – I repeat, two days – into the free agency period.

I joined ESPN New York’s Bill Daughtry on Monday night to break down the latest. Move the sliding timer to the 40-minute mark for our chat. – Interview here.

I joined SI.com’s Maggie Gray to chat it up as well – Interview here (VIDEO)

If you missed the news of the day, it started with Anthony Davis becoming the latest Team USA candidate to fall and ended – at least on my end – with a source telling me that the Clippers are the clear frontrunners in their pursuit of free agent shooting guard Jamal Crawford (though the source said he is looking for more than the three-year, $15 million midlevel deal that, according to the LA Times, the Clippers are prepared to offer and that the two sides continued to exchange ideas leading up to his Tuesday visit in Los Angeles).

In between, of course, new Atlanta GM Danny Ferry traded a seemingly-untradeable contract (four years, $89 million remaining for the 31-year-old) by agreeing to send Joe Johnson to the Nets while likely ruining Orlando center Dwight Howard’s grand plan of becoming Brooklyn’s biggest star (though Chris Sheridan is hearing there’s still a scenario in play that could bring him there). Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you that Ferry wasn’t going to waste any time shaking up one of the league’s most stagnant, though competitive, rosters.

Day No. 3 of free agency is technically here already, meaning it’s time for me to turn in. Belated props to NetsDaily.com for breaking the Hawks-Nets story. Thanks for reading, following, and caring folks.

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Talking Playoffs, Draft

With the boys at NBA.com – Interview here

With the boys of the “Bull and Fox” show in Cleveland – Interview here

 

Playoffs???!!!

Talking anything and everything playoffs-related with Brian Geltzeiler of Hoopscritic.com and Jacob Noble of ProBasketballtalk.com – Click here

Doing the day (and night) job…

I obviously don’t chime in here very often these days, so be sure to read me at SI.com (Clink link). Be sure to check the ‘Interviews’ section for the latest radio or TV appearances. I’ll let folks know via Twitter when there’s a new NBA Confidential post.

Arena Armageddon: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson discusses his Las Vegas meeting with Kings co-owner George Maloof

For those of you who prefer to analyze a situation via the printed word as opposed to video, the transcript of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s midcourt media session from Friday night at Power Balance Pavilion is below (with the video even farther below).

It’s obviously a good sign for the locals that the two sides are talking again, especially considering the way the city’s success story of saving the team had devolved into the nastiest of smear campaigns on both sides (though Johnson’s camp took it much, much farther after the Maloofs backed out of the handshake deal). Next week will bring a whole new set of storylines in this drawn-out drama, but it’s safe to say the arena talks aren’t dead just yet.

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And the (PBWA) winners are….

When All-Star weekend in Orlando came to an end last month, a quality event was lost amid all the chatter about the slam dunk debacle and the game that didn’t get interesting until the waning minutes: the annual Professional Basketball Writers Association awards.

The tireless and talented NBA scribes who cover this game for a living get together at All Stars every year to hand out the hardware, and I was certainly honored to be among those having this fancy trophy sent to his house. Yet while the work was acknowledged privately, I decided belatedly that it’d be worth taking a moment here to acknowledge it publicly.

Do yourself a favor and read all of these pieces, then follow all of the writers on Twitter (links on names) since these stories are hardly aberrations. There are three categories (Game story, Column, Feature) and three places (with one unique exception that is explained below). Thanks to PBWA president Doug Smith, VP Steve Aschburner, and Treasurer Rich Dubroff for all you do as well.

Game story

1 Marc Stein, ESPN.com on Dirk Nowitzki Game 6 finals
http://espn.go.com/espn/print?id=6655647&type=story

2 Mark Woods, ESPN.com on EuroBasket gold medal game
http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/EuroBasket-110918/eurobasket-ibaka-gets-blocking-helps-give-spain-title-present

3 Kerry Eggers, Portland Tribune for Game 4 Blazers-Mavs
http://www.portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=130361447040397300

Column

1 Kevin Ding, Orange County Register on Kobe Bryant
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bryant-304531-james-nba.html

2 Henry Abbott, ESPN.com on Kobe in clutch
http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

* (Fran Blinebury of NBA.com initially won in this category, but his piece barely missed the cut in terms of having a 2011 publication date. Nonetheless, his story on Yao Ming is absolutely worth enjoying – http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/fran_blinebury/12/16/yao-ming/index.html)

Feature

1 Darnell Mayberry, Oklahoman on Russell Westbrook
http://newsok.com/russell-westbrooks-journey-from-community-center-gyms-to-the-nba-all-star-game/article/3542475

2 Scott Howard Cooper, NBA.com on Bismack Biyombo
http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/06/14/bismack-biyombo-euro-workout/index.html

3 Sam Amick, SI.com on Adam Morrison
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/sam_amick/11/22/adam.morrison/index.html

Extra, Extra: Tyson Chandler unplugged

Much has changed since I last posted here, though I trust anyone coming to ye old NBA Confidential hub on any sort of routine basis knows by now to find me at SI.com. I’m thrilled to report that the ‘Lockout Central’ tab above is now irrelevant and will soon become a historical reference rather than a place for the latest NBA news. We’re back to actual basketball again, and it’s with that that I drop this interview with New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler.

The top free agent of the latest class talked at length before the Knicks dropped a stinker to a Stephen  Curry-less Golden State squad, explaining how close he was to joining the Warriors, why he chose the Knicks and how he sees the Dallas situation he never wanted to leave behind. Be sure to read my piece on Chandler from tonight here, but below is the extra material that didn’t make the story. Chandler was awful against the Warriors, but I still love the signing and think he will eventually be phenomenal for New York.

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Going Postal: The NBPA gives its best UPS impersonation in flurry of letters…

Short and sweet here, since it’s late and the only point of this post is to share the latest lockout-related letter. If you need to get caught up on all the latest mailings, read about today’s letter from Billy Hunter or go to my archive here. Otherwise, the following is a letter from National Basketball Players Association president/Lakers guard Derek Fisher to the media addressing this story from FoxSports.com’s Jason Whitlock.

Derek Fisher Statement

November 1, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) – “The statements made in recent articles on the Fox Sports website are inexcusable.  Among the many baseless accusations, to allege that I am working with the league for my personal gain is unequivocally false.  The implication that I am doing anything but working in the best interests of the players is disgusting, defamatory and a flat out lie.  I have issued a letter through my attorneys demanding a retraction for the libelous and defamatory stories the site and reporter have continued to publish.

Regardless of the media reports, the Players Association, our staff, Executive Director and Executive Committee are unified and working side by side to serve our players.

There should be no more distractions.  We must continue to negotiate a fair deal for our players.”

Lockout Musings in the Media

I’d meant to put these interviews up a couple of nights ago, but the gunfight at the Not-so-Ok Corral (story linked) caused a bit of a delay. Billy Hunter’s fiery appearance after the NBA players meeting in Beverly Hills was the latest turn in this tired drama.

For more tidbits on Friday’s events, check out my Twitter feed here. Otherwise, here’s the latest round of media appearances discussing the lunacy behind this lockout from the last week.

FOX NEWS BUSINESS – With Madison Square Garden’s stock nearing a 52-week low, we break down the numbers and the issues.

NEWS10 in SACRAMENTO – Sports Anchor Bryan May and I break down what’s next for the league at large and the Kings.

CBS13 in SACRAMENTO – News anchor Sam Shane and I discuss whether the Kings owners will suffer during the lockout as they attempt to secure a new arena.

KNBR in SAN FRANCISCO – I join “The Razor & Mr. T” to talk lockout.

SPORTS BUSINESS RADIO – Talking lockout with Brian Berger in Portland.

Warriors Extra: On Welts and why it matters that he’s gay; Curry and Thompson updates

And the winner of the lockout news cycle award goes to…

The Golden State Warriors.

With all due respect to the National Basketball Players Association folks who have led the league’s players to a PR victory over the owners on the labor front, no organization has captured all the right kinds of headlines during the work stoppage like those boys by the Bay. It’s quite a feat considering the changed set of rules in this media game, as team officials could no longer discuss their own players and thus were relegated to spreading the good word on the ownership, front office and coaching fronts.

There was plenty of that for the Warriors.

But while there were rave reviews given to owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber for the additions of former agent Bob Myers as assistant general manager, the legendary Jerry West as consultant, the compelling Mark Jackson as coach, the well-respected Michael Malone as his lead assistant, and the popular subtraction of scorned team president Robert Rowell, none of those moves resonated outside of the sports world like the latest hiring of Rick Welts. In case you somehow haven’t heard, Golden State’s new chief operating officer and team president is gay.

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