Being the backup point guard in Phoenix can seem a no-win job.
No matter what you do, you are not Steve Nash. This is Nash’s team. This is Nash’s city (which is why they are not likely to trade him). You are the guy that takes the floor while Nash lies down by the bench and tries to keep his back from tightening up.
But Aaron Brooks is good with that. After being traded from Houston to Phoenix at the deadline last season he played well — 9.6 points and 4.2 assists per game in 19 minutes. His numbers were solid — not as good as in 2009-10, when he was the league’s Most Improved Player, but still solid.
He wants to come back to Phoenix whenever there is a next season. That’s what he told the Arizona Republic.
“I’m doing great,” he said Saturday shortly before playing in the H206 Charity Basketball Classic, a contest featuring many NBA and ex-NBA players with Seattle ties. “How’s Phoenix? I love Phoenix. I think they like me, too. They picked up my qualifying offer, didn’t they?”
That’s a $3 million offer, but all it really means is that the Suns can match any offer Brooks gets. Brooks is a restricted free agent. (At least it’s what it meant under the old labor agreement, whatever comes with the new one it’s likely that rule will be in place for at least this year for players like Brooks.)
Brooks struggled the first half of last season in Houston, so he likely will not see a better offer come in. Unless another team comes in with a wild offer, expect the Suns to keep him around. Which could be good for everyone, and Nash’s back.
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.)