Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Stephen Curry loves the three ball.
• Jason Segel — you know him from “How I Met Your Mother” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and, frankly his best work, “The Muppets” movie — was a high school teammate of Jason Collins. Segel was a big off the bench for Harvard-Westlake… although when you’re an average high school big man off the bench behind two future NBA seven-footers (Jason and his brother Jarron) you don’t get a lot of quality minutes. Still, impress your girlfriend with that trivia later.
• Here’s a report that Jeff Weltman, an assistant GM in Milwaukee, is the early favorite to become the Suns new GM.
• For the second straight year, Jason Kidd won the NBA’s Sportsman of the Year award.
• Former NBA All-Star Chris Gatling (yes he was in 1997) is facing criminal charges for being a squatter in an Arizona home.
• We told you before the Toronto Raptors were considering making a run at Phil Jackson to take over as president of their organization. ESPN says they are going to make their pitch this week. Jackson will listen and think it over. But accepting it is another matter.
• Pau Gasol says he would prefer to be back with the Lakers next season. Kobe Bryant says he wants Gasol back. Yet Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was clear on Tuesday that he’s going to look at trades.
• A ranking of the NBA arenas… with San Antonio’s AT&T Center on top of the list.
• J.R. Smith takes some just terrible shots, but he makes them more often than other NBA players.
• Smith is also on this list of bad shot takers/makers from SI, as is Carmelo Anthony.
• Paul George’s sister is better at basketball than you are.
• The U.S. Attorney’s office is going after a company that allegedly defrauded the NBA Players Union of $3 million.
• A great look at Andrew Bogut, Ty Lawson and four guys quietly impacting these playoffs by our man Rob Mahoney at SI.
• Who are the next Shane Battiers of the league?
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.)