NBA PM: Could Walsh Replace Bird in Indy?
Walsh, who is still under contract as a consultant with the Knicks for the upcoming season, is reportedly spending most of his time in the Hoosier State these days; and several sources “close to the situation” have told Isola that Bird is considering leaving after the 2011-2012 campaign. Walsh would then theoretically replace Bird as the team president and then hire Chris Mullin or Reggie Miller as general manager.
Last Friday Walsh was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, and while he declined to discuss his future at the event, the legendary NBA executive insists he still wants to work in the league.
And as always, Isola mentioned that Dolan wasn’t involved in the Carmelo Anthony trade and reiterated his belief that Isiah Thomas will return to the Knicks in some official capacity.
Could Meeting Spawn More Meetings?
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and CBSsports.com’s Ken Berger were in attendance—and Twittering—as NBA Players Association representatives and league representatives exited a surprisingly short bargaining session in New York Tuesday afternoon.
By most accounts, the meeting lasted less than two hours and ended because both sides agreed they needed talk amongst themselves. Berger reported that both union president Derek Fisher and commissioner David Stern said they discussed a split of basketball related income and the mechanical system that would be implemented under the next collective bargaining agreement.
Aldridge quoted Stern as saying that neither party walked out of the meeting, and if there is progress made during Wednesday’s negotiating session, there will be a subsequent session on Friday.
Who Cares About College Football? OKC Wants the NBA
Oklahoma cares more about college football in July than the rest of the nation cares about the sport on New Year’s Day. In fact, one of the reasons Oklahoma City never got a major professional franchise until the SuperSonics moved in and became the Thunder is because of the region’s devotion to collegiate sports. What pro franchise could pack an arena or stadium while competing with the Sooners and the Cowboys?
The Oklahoma City Thunder have given an emphatic answer to that question. As mentioned by the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry, the Thunder have joined the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls and Knicks as teams that have sold out their season tickets for the 2011-2012 season.
Even in a big market, it’s hard to understand how teams can sell out season tickets for a year that might not even happen (did you hear there’s a lockout going on?), but Oklahoma City’s desire for NBA tickets is simply too great to contain. That’s why the team has created the “True Blue Club” which allows fans who couldn’t obtain season tickets to reserve a place in line when more tickets become available.
You can debate whether or not Seattle deserved to lose its NBA team, but there’s no doubt that Oklahoma City can support a pro franchise.
Warriors Hire Welts
Rick Welts is a veteran of three Pacific Division Teams now that he’s become the president and CEO of the Golden State Warriors. Welts had the same position with the Suns, but resigned on September 9th and will now work for co-managing partners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
“Peter Guber and I have made it quite clear since we assumed control of this team in November that we’re looking to build a world class organization from top to bottom,” Lacob said in a press release. “We feel that we’ve taken a quantum leap in that direction today with the addition of Rick Welts as our President and COO. Rick is simply one of the most highly-regarded executives in the NBA and his accomplishments at both the team and league levels are extremely impressive. He’s been an integral part of every organization that he’s worked for in the NBA, including the league office in New York, where he earned the respect and admiration of David Stern, as well as with the SuperSonics in Seattle and the Suns in Phoenix.”
Welts was once a ball boy for the Seattle SuperSonics and held a league office position for 17 years.
Basketball Legend Arvydas Sabonis Suffers Heart Attack
There are multiple Internet and Twitter reports that former USSR, Lithuania and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis has suffered a heart attack. According to a Basketeurope.com report, the Lithuanian news agency has announced that Sabonis suffered a heart attack while playing basketball and was immediately hospitalized in Kaunas.
There are, however, differing reports as to how serious the heart attack is. In any case, we all wish the great man a swift recovery.
Video Game News… Because We Still Don’t Have Basketball News
“NBA Street” was a popular video game title for EA Sports for many years, but its only chance at survival now rests with another title, “NBA Jam.” Apparently the company is including “Street” in their latest version of “Jam” and based the fans reaction, they’ll decide whether or not to release another copy of “Street.” If you’re confused, so am I. Fortunately, the creative director of “Jam,” Trey Smith, does a better job of explaining it to ESPN.com’s Jon Robinson.
“I can say right now that there are no plans for another ‘Street,’ but it’s definitely one of those things where we can throw a feeler out there and if the fans dig the team in ‘Jam’ and they speak up about it, I think it increases the chances of another ‘Street’ happening,” Smith said. “We have online telemetry hooks, so we have the ability to track what players and what teams everybody is using, so it’s one of those things where if we find out that the ‘Street’ team is one of the most played teams and that they have a strong following, that gives us much more ammo to try and get another ‘Street’ going.”
And in other video game news, apparently the player ratings for “NBA 2K12” were released and Thunder fans are absolutely giddy. As mentioned on the “Daily Thunder” blog, Kevin Durant was rated as the sixth-best player in the game while point guard Russell Westbrook is up to 10th. The top five players in the game are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. “Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Amar’e Stoudemire are also in the top 10.
If you’re not sure why any of this is news, nobody blames you. Clearly, we are all ready for the NBA to return.
Check out: “Is today’s NBA like ‘Moneyball’?”
Henry Abbott of ESPN’s TrueHoop blog made an interesting connection between the NBA and the cinematic version of Michael Lewis’ bestseller “Moneyball.” Not many people were willing to go on the record, but stories came pouring out that paint a surprising image of an NBA front office. Player evaluations, sometimes, are neither an art nor a science.
Here are two of the claims made in the piece:
- One GM instructed an employee to undertake a negotiation, but when the employee returned to ask how their strategy should account for the player’s recently torn ACL, the GM was astonished. Not only had the GM not heard about the injury, he confessed he still needed to learn to use Google to obtain such information.
- An entire scouting department ignored the pleas of one stats-oriented employee because they believed a particular players’ build guaranteed he could be an effective shot blocker. When the stat guy popped off by pointing out the player in question was in the bottom HALF of the league in blocks per minute, the scouts immediately dismissed the premise of the statistic. “Blocked shots per minute,” Abbott quoted his source as remembering. “What’s this dumb stat, and who cares?”
I’ve only given a brief teaser of the entire story, so you should definitely give it a read.
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