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 Southerners like fried food….
• So, you think you’re good at pop-a-shot? Think again (via The Awesomer).
• The case for Chris Webber to make the Hall of Fame. I’ve already told you I think he should be in.
• Friend of the blog Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com makes a rational plea to Lakers fans: This season should be about having fun again, enjoying the experience and not the end result.
• We told you how the NBA was paying to put high tech, motion recording Spurts VU cameras in every NBA arena, which is going to track the detailed movements of players on the court and provide this wealth of information. What kind of information? John Schuhmann at NBA.com gave us a little breakdown, complete with some videos. Some interesting stats: In the 27 games the cameras tracked of his (remember they weren’t in every arena last year), Rajon Rondo had 37 “free throw assists” where he made the pass and it led to a foul and at least one made free throw; Tony Parker averaged almost two “hockey assists” a game (the pass that leads to another pass that leads to a basket). You get the idea, we are going to get a lot more information, and that is good for us fans.
• Things that may blind those cameras — Dwyane Wade’s light-up shoelaces:
• Mark Wahlberg talks the Bulls, Jimmy Butler and Boston.
• Tyreke Evans enjoys some time back in Philly.
• Memphis has invited swingman Tony Gaffney to training camp. He already has a contract to play in Germany this year, it is a camp invite only.
• Bill Cartwright with an interesting story of what it was like coaching in Japan.
• Magic Johnson has started a great program for at-risk youth.
• Finally, good to see Louisville’s Kevin Ware is dunking again.
Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:
After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:
The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.
Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.
It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.
In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.
This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.
At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.
Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.
But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.
Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.
But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.
Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.
Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:
“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”
The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.
There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.
But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.
Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.
Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:
In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.
It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.