When the Milwaukee Bucks cut Brian Skinner from their roster a little over a month ago, they were a different team. A healthier team. A team looking at a number of potential contributors at both power forward and center, led by Andrew Bogut but boasting a number of capable bigs to put behind and alongside him. Milwaukee spent the summer bolstering their depth, and Skinner was deemed to be a bit redundant.
Now a player like Skinner, or anyone capable of logging decent minutes at center for that matter, seems like a nice insurance policy to have. Milwaukee is aching for some insurance in the middle. Bogut continues to miss games with a tweaked back, and though Drew Gooden recently returned from a two-game absence, he’s battling the lingeringest of lingering injuries: plantar fasciitis. Both Bogut and Gooden are likely to nurse those same wounds all year long, making the addition of another big almost a necessity.
That’s bad news for second round pick Darington Hobson. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, the Bucks have waived Hobson (who was already projected to miss the entire season due to an unfortunate hip surgery) in order to clear out a roster spot. The move should come at minimal cost to the Bucks, as Hobson’s contract for the year wasn’t fully guaranteed. Kennedy’s source indicates that the resulting roster opening will likely be used to sign Skinner, who was one of the final cuts from the Bucks’ training camp.
Milwaukee could probably find a better big man than Skinner if they took a good look around, but he clearly did something to win over Bucks coach Scott Skiles in camp. What can I say? Milwaukee needs bigs to fill in minutes whenever necessary, and they’re going to go with what they know. Skinner, despite his lack of notable size or particular strength to his game, managed to get his foot in the door prior to the season, and now it’s likely to pay off for him. He doesn’t provide much help inside, but at this point the Bucks need bodies. Larry Sanders and Jon Brockman aren’t capable of keeping the Bucks’ defense steady for an entire game, and if nothing else, the addition of Skinner can at least get the other big men a bit more rest. Skinner doesn’t solve anything, but I suppose he doesn’t hurt, either.
In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.
DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.
Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.
Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.
“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”
“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”
The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?
In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.
I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.
Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.
The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:
The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
Clean, simple, cool — I like it.
That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)