The Nets new managers are not the boogeymen. Just for the record.

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Thumbnail image for nets-logo.gifWhen Mikhail Prokhorov’s name first started coming up as a potential owner of the Nets, you heard whispers: Does the NBA want to touch a guy who has touched the Russian mob? Didn’t he get arrested for having prostitutes around?

Turns out, he was clean — or as clean as any other NBA owner, which is not that high a bar to clear — and the NBA and other owners approved him. Prokhorov owns the Nets, but there are still concerns and whispers some places. Enter Irina Pavlova, the former Google executive who now is President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment (the Prokhorov company that owns the Nets).

As she sees it, one of her top jobs is to dispel those myths, as she says in an interview on the New Jersey Nets official site. (Via NBA Facts and Rumors blog)

I think just by being here, being open and letting our partners see that we’re not the Boogeyman, we’re not the Mafia; we’re normal people, doing business just like anyone else here. I think that removes a lot of the stereotypes, and just dealing with people face-to-face really makes them trust you more and makes you trust them. It works both ways.

She said the misunderstandings often just center around two very different business cultures.

I think the most difficult stuff is that the Russian business environment is a little less structured than the American (one), and I think that’s something I can help out with because I’ve worked for both Russian and US companies. I understand how it works. I think most of the problems that usually do arise for foreign companies working abroad involve communication. Just knowing how Russians think and do business and how Americans perceive it, I think I can be helpful in that.

So to recap: Russians not boogeymen, everyone just needs to talk more. And just love one another. And give peace a chance. That’s all we are saying.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.